JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF TRAFFICKING ACT OF 2015; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 47
(Senate - March 19, 2015)

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[Pages S1638-S1657]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of S. 178, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 178) to provide justice for the victims of 


       Portman amendment No. 270, to amend the Child Abuse 
     Prevention and Treatment Act to enable State child protective 
     services systems to improve the identification and assessment 
     of child victims of sex trafficking.
       Portman amendment No. 271, to amend the definition of 
     ``homeless person'' under the McKinney-Vento Homeless 
     Assistance Act to include certain homeless children and 
       Vitter amendment No. 284 (to amendment No. 271), to amend 
     section 301 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to clarify 
     those classes of individuals born in the United States who 
     are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the time until 12 
noon will be equally divided between the two leaders or their 
  The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to address the 
Senate as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Lynch Nomination

  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to address a 
very serious accusation leveled yesterday against Republican Members of 
this body by the Democratic whip, the Senator from Illinois. I do so 
with some regret. The Senator from Illinois and I have been friends for 
many years. We served in the House together and here in this body, and 
we have worked together. That is why I was so surprised and 
disappointed in the comments he made yesterday on the floor of the 
Senate--comments that are totally inappropriate to be made on the floor 
of the Senate.
  My colleague from Illinois said:

       The Republican majority leader announced . . . that he was 
     going to hold this nomination of Loretta Lynch until the bill 
     which is pending before the Senate passes, whenever that may 

  Then he went on to say:

       So Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman 
     nominated to be Attorney General, is asked to sit in the back 
     of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar. That is 
     unfair. It is unjust. It is beneath the decorum and dignity 
     of the U.S. Senate.

  What is beneath the decorum and dignity of the U.S. Senate, I would 
say to the Senator from Illinois, is for him to come to this floor and 
use that imagery and suggest that racist tactics are being employed to 
delay Ms. Lynch's confirmation vote. Such inflammatory rhetoric has no 
place in this body and serves no purpose other than to further divide 
  Perhaps my colleagues, and the Senator from Illinois in particular, 
need to be reminded of their own record when it comes to the treatment 
of African-American women whose nominations were before this body. In 
2003, Janice Rogers Brown--an African American--was nominated to serve 
on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia--a court that 
had never included an African-American woman judge. The Senator from 
Illinois voted to filibuster her nomination in 2003 and again in 2005. 
When she was finally confirmed, after waiting 684 days, the Senator 
from Illinois voted against the historic nomination. I would never 
suggest--even with veiled rhetoric--that Judge Rogers Brown's race was 
the reason for the opposition to her nomination by the Senator from 
Illinois. And he should extend, I say to my colleague from Illinois, 
that same courtesy to me and my colleagues.
  I would also like to remind the Senator from Illinois about how we 
were able to fill vacancies in the U.S. District Court of Arizona last 
year--effectively alleviating a judicial emergency. With tremendous 
bipartisan support of the nomination of Senator Flake and myself, we 
confirmed a diverse and historic slate of six nominees which included 
an Hispanic, an African American, and the first Native American woman 
ever to serve on the Federal bench. But their race had nothing to do 
with their successful confirmations, just as the race of Ms. Lynch 
should have no impact on her consideration in this body. Those six 
judges were approved by this body because each of

[[Page S1639]]

them had shown a commitment to justice, public service, and the people 
of Arizona. Each had also demonstrated the judicial temperament and the 
professional demeanor necessary to serve with integrity.
  I further point out to the Senator from Illinois that at no time has 
the majority leader ever indicated that he would not bring the Lynch 
nomination to the floor; in fact, the opposite is true. We have made it 
very clear time and again that we will consider the Lynch nomination 
once we have disposed of the bipartisan trafficking bill. Had the 
Senator from Illinois and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
not filibustered this bill over a manufactured crisis, we could have 
considered the Lynch nomination this week. They chose otherwise.
  I deeply regret that the Senator from Illinois chose to come to the 
floor yesterday and question the integrity and motivation of myself and 
my Republican colleagues. It was offensive and unnecessary. I think he 
owes this body, Ms. Lynch, and all Americans, an apology.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The assistant Democratic leader.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I am glad I heard the comments of my 
colleague firsthand and I wish to respond to them directly.
  As of today, Loretta Lynch, who is the President's nominee for 
Attorney General, has had her nomination pending before the U.S. Senate 
for 131 days. How does that compare to previous nominees for Attorney 
General? It is three times longer than the period of time that Attorney 
General Ashcroft was pending before the U.S. Senate, 2\1/2\ times 
longer than the time taken to confirm Attorney General Mukasey, and 
twice as long as the time taken to confirm Attorney General Holder.
  Why? In some cases, these nominees had questions that were raised by 
Members of the Senate--questions about their political views, their 
background; legitimate questions requiring time to answer.
  I sat in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for this nominee, 
Loretta Lynch. There were no questions raised of any nature, of any 
kind, questioning her ability to serve as Attorney General. None.
  When my colleague from Arizona notes the fact that I have voted 
against African-American women nominees in the past, it is true. I am 
not arguing that every Member of the Senate should vote for Loretta 
Lynch simply because she would be the first African-American woman to 
serve in that capacity. All I am saying is she deserves the same fair 
treatment we have given to other nominees for this job.
  She has now been pending before the Senate longer than any nominee 
for Attorney General in the last 30 years. She has been on the calendar 
now--on the calendar waiting for a vote--for a longer period of time 
than the last five nominees for Attorney General combined. Why? It has 
nothing to do with her qualifications for the job, which are the very 
  Why in the world are we taking this important post--Attorney General 
of the United States of America--why are we taking this important civil 
rights moment, when the first African-American woman in history is 
being given an opportunity to serve, and entangling it in the politics 
of the Senate?
  A week ago, the majority leader, Senator McConnell, said right 
outside this Chamber he was going to call her nomination this week. We 
breathed a sigh of relief; she has been waiting so long. Then, over the 
last weekend, he announced she wouldn't be called until a bill pending 
on the floor is passed.
  Yes, I am upset and frustrated on her behalf to think that she is 
being treated in this manner. I am not going to use any pejorative 
terms other than to say I believe it is insensitive for the Senate to 
hold her up for such a lengthy period of time with no objection to this 
woman's character, fitness, and ability to continue to serve the United 
  She has served. She is currently in a position as a U.S. attorney in 
New York. She has the support of the following organizations: the 
National District Attorneys Association, the Federal Law Enforcement 
Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of 
Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the Association of 
Prosecuting Attorneys, the FBI Agents Association, and a long list of 
Republican- and Democratic-appointed former U.S. attorneys, including 
Patrick Fitzgerald and Scott Lassar from the Northern District of 
Illinois. She has the support of former FBI Director Louis Freeh and 
former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson from the George W. Bush 
  Under ordinary circumstances, this would have been an easy ask for 
the President to bring a person of this quality to the Senate for 
confirmation. She had three votes supporting her on the Judiciary 
Committee from the Republican side. I don't understand the objections 
of the others, but I respect whatever their reasoning.
  All I am asking for--all the President is asking for and all the 
Senate is asking for--is a vote. Bring her off the pages of the 
calendar, before the Senate, for a vote. Don't make it contingent on 
some bill or some political agreement in the future. Let this woman, 
who has led such an extraordinary life, have her chance to continue to 
serve the United States of America. That, to me, is only fair and only 
just and would be in keeping with the traditions of the Senate to 
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time during the 
quorum call be divided equally between both sides.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DURBIN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, we find ourselves in the unusual posture 
of being stuck on a piece of legislation that had 12 Democratic 
cosponsors and was supported unanimously by all Republicans and all 
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and which 
uncharacteristically was brought to the floor without having to jump 
through the regular procedural hoops that legislation usually has to 
jump through that requires consent by all 100 Senators.
  So when you think about combating human trafficking and particularly 
the targeting of 12- and 14-year-old girls who are of the typical ages 
and gender of the people who are victims of human trafficking, you 
would think that if there is anything that ought to be able to avoid 
the partisan wars here in Washington, DC, and the divisions that seem 
to separate us, it ought to be the subject of human trafficking. Well, 
I guess to say I was disappointed is an understatement. But I am 
determined to keep our focus on the victims of human trafficking, the 
people this would help rescue and help heal and get on with their 
lives. Yes, I am also determined to make sure we can demonstrate that 
we can function, something I thought Senators wanted to do.
  After this last election there were a number of people who said: Gee, 
we would really like to change the Senate to restore its reputation as 
the world's greatest deliberative body, where we actually treasured and 
valued solutions more than we did scoring partisan political points.
  I come here today in the spirit of trying to offer a solution that 
will help us get unstuck from where we have found ourselves. I see my 
friend, the Senator from Maine, who has been working tirelessly to try 
to help us get unstuck, and perhaps this will help.
  Just to recap: The way this bill was structured is it would deal with 
the demand side of human trafficking; in other words, it would take the 
fines and penalties from the people who purchased these services and it 
would create a crime victims compensation fund, which in essence would 
be used to help provide the money to faith-based and other 
organizations that help rescue and help heal these victims of human 
trafficking. Then we heard from some of our colleagues on the other 
side that they wanted to change the way this was structured so that it 
was subject to the routine appropriations process and didn't enlarge 
the way the traditional limitations on appropriations were treated 
under the so-called Hyde amendment.

[[Page S1640]]

  Just to refresh everybody's memory: Since 1976, all funding, all 
appropriations bills, and many authorization bills, including the 
Affordable Care Act and the Defense authorization bills, have been 
subjected to a limitation on the use of tax dollars for abortions 
except in the case of rape and in the cases where a physician certifies 
the health of the mother is at stake. The bill we introduced that was 
passed out of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and has 12 Democratic 
cosponsors has a reference to an appropriations bill that had that same 
limitation. The idea was that we wouldn't try to change the status quo; 
we would try to maintain the status quo which has existed for 39 years. 
But then some of our colleagues on the other side said, when offered an 
opportunity to vote on an amendment stripping that language out, they 
would not even vote. They wanted to obstruct and filibuster this 
legislation instead.
  I, for one, am more interested in getting to a solution than I am 
engaging in this partisan point scoring. I believe there is a 
sufficient number of Members of the Senate who are sick and tired of 
the dysfunction and who don't want to be distracted by the politics but 
want to focus on how to help those 100,000 victims of human sex 
trafficking who are estimated to exist on an annual basis.
  What I have come to the floor to do is to say let's make this fund 
subject to the annual appropriations process that will preserve the 
money for the victims and it cannot be used for any other purpose, but 
it will be subject to the Appropriations Committee and the usual riders 
that have existed for 39 years. It won't represent an expansion of the 
Hyde amendment, as some of our colleagues have expressed concerns 
about. It would, basically, again, maintain the status quo.
  I came to the floor yesterday and my friend, the Senator from 
California, was here. I pointed out that not only did she cosponsor 
this legislation, she voted for it in the Judiciary Committee. But she 
now feels so strongly--and I know it is a matter of good faith and true 
conviction for her, but she feels like this is the place where we ought 
to fight this fight--we ought to relitigate the scope of the Hyde 
amendment. I don't think we have to do that. I am proudly pro-life and 
I believe the Hyde amendment represents one little island of consensus 
in the wars over abortion that we have. That is why for 39 years we 
have had a limitation on tax dollars. Indeed, fines paid into this fund 
would be public dollars. It wouldn't be generated from revenue, but it 
is not private money; once they are paid into this fund they are public 
dollars under my proposal, subject to appropriation on an annual basis 
by the Appropriations Committee. So now the money will flow from the 
victims fund through the relevant appropriations bills. It will be 
preserved for the victims and cannot be used for any other purpose, and 
all spending limitations that have routinely applied to those bills 
would apply to these funds as well.
  So the question is, Can our friends who have been obstructing and 
filibustering this legislation take yes for an answer? Can they take 
yes for an answer? I think this will also be very revealing, because we 
will find out whether people are actually interested in a solution or 
are they trying to shut down the Senate and prevent us from functioning 
on anything. As I said before, if we can't get the yes on an 
antitrafficking bill, Heaven help us on issues where there is not 
consensus, where there are genuine policy differences.
  I believe we can do exactly, for example, what Senator Leahy, the 
ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, asked for on the floor on 
March 10. He said ``but let's have it on things it should be on--
appropriations bills.'' So I would say yes, my proposal would give what 
Senator Leahy asked for.
  Then the minority whip, Senator Durbin, the Senator from Illinois, 
said on March 16:

       Henry Hyde authored the Hyde amendment that said no Federal 
     funds should be used to pay for abortion procedures except in 
     very limited circumstances: rape, incest, and life of the 
     mother. That has been put in appropriations bills every year 
     since--without question, without challenge.

  That was stated by the minority whip, Senator Durbin from Illinois. 
My proposal would facilitate exactly what he is arguing for. Can he say 
yes, take yes for an answer?
  The minority leader, Senator Reid, said on the 11th: I served in the 
House of Representatives with Henry Hyde; a very fine man. He has had 
his name affixed to an anti-abortion bill, anti-abortion legislation 
for almost three decades. And it's been continued year after year in 
appropriations bills.
  That was spoken by Senator Reid, the Democratic leader.
  As I pointed out, what has perplexed me so much about all of this is 
that our Democratic friends have routinely voted for appropriations 
bills that contain the same restriction. When it was said, well, now 
you are extending it to an authorization bill, I pointed out that they 
voted for this very similar restriction in the Affordable Care Act and 
the Defense authorization bill, so that argument doesn't hold water; 
but I am giving them a chance to say yes, and, in essence, trying to 
find a way to break this impasse that has existed now for the last 
couple of weeks.
  So that is the question. Now that we have made a proposal to them to 
give them what they have asked for and still preserve the 39-year 
limitation on the use of public dollars for abortion, can they take yes 
for an answer? I can't wait to hear what their response is to that 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, let me first commend the senior Senator 
from Texas for his efforts to work out a compromise that I hope will 
allow this bill to go forward. Senator Heitkamp and I also have been 
working with the senior Senator from Texas to try to come up with a 
solution that is similar to what he has outlined, and we will have more 
to say about that after the vote.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to proceed 
as in morning business for the purpose of a bill introduction, unless 
someone else is seeking the floor to speak on this bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. COLLINS. Thank you, Mr. President.
  (The remarks of Ms. Collins pertaining to the introduction of S. 804 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished senior Senator 
from Maine, my neighbor in New England.
  We actually still have some debates on this floor. We had an 
important one yesterday. Someone called it a ``C-SPAN moment.'' It was 
a focused and memorable discussion of a significant issue now before 
the Senate. It was an honest discussion about what is at stake in the 
debate we are having right now. The core question is how we are going 
to support the survivors, in what every Senator agrees is a heinous and 
deplorable crime.
  Late yesterday, Senator Feinstein spoke with powerful clarity about 
why the Hyde amendment has no place in what we are trying to do here, 
particularly when this legislation we are debating does not involve 
taxpayer funds. The Domestic Trafficking Victims' Fund included in S. 
178 is funded by a special assessment fine collected from convicted sex 
traffickers. It is intended to help survivors rebuild their lives.
  Now, whether taxpayer dollars should be used to ensure the full range 
of health care options available to this very vulnerable population is 
an important debate. We will have that another day. But the application 
of the Hyde amendment when zero taxpayer dollars are involved is 
unprecedented. It represents a very significant change in Federal 
  When asked why the Hyde amendment has resulted in such an outcry, 
Senator Feinstein said simply but powerfully:

       Because of what this legislation is. This legislation is 
     about the raping . . . of young girls.

  Senator Feinstein is right. I encourage everyone to go back and watch 
her moving remarks that got right to the heart of this debate.
  These are children who have been bought and sold like animals. They 
have had every choice taken away from

[[Page S1641]]

them. Now, if they survive, if they escape, we should not put limits on 
what health services they can seek. I stand with the survivors of these 
crimes. I stand with Senator Feinstein.
  This is a line we should not cross. Human trafficking victims are 
often not treated as rape victims. Too often these young girls are 
treated as prostitutes, even though they had no choice in it. That is a 
fact we are trying to change, but we cannot ignore the reality that 
many of these girls are put through our juvenile justice system and 
prosecuted as criminals, rather than treated as victims.
  It is easy for some to claim that there is a so-called ``rape 
exception'' to the Hyde restriction but the reality is that for the 
survivors of this terrible crime, the rape exception feels more like an 
overwhelming bureaucracy. In many States, victims are forced to jump 
through hoop after hoop to qualify for the exception. They have to 
obtain police reports or certifications from State agencies. They have 
to relive the details of their trauma again and again. One State even 
requires the Governor to approve any exception. Another State refuses 
to recognize the rape exception at all.
  The easiest, most appropriate solution here is to simply remove the 
Hyde restriction so that survivors can make their own health care 
decisions. That is what the survivors are asking us to do. That is what 
the professionals who work with human trafficking survivors are asking 
us to do.
  Yesterday, my friend, the senior Senator from Texas, argued that the 
inclusion of the language was routine, that this does not change the 
status quo at all. Well that is simply not accurate. The Hyde amendment 
is about keeping taxpayer dollars out of the abortion debate. We may 
have different opinions on the issue, but that is not what we are 
talking about here.
  The money at issue in this bill is not taxpayer dollars, it is money 
collected from sex traffickers. The bottom line is that the offender-
financed fund created in this bill relies on zero taxpayer dollars.
  So if you want to maintain current practice, you have to remove this 
provision. The House bill, that passed unanimously almost 2 months ago, 
does not contain this expansion of the Hyde amendment's reach. It does 
not apply the Hyde amendment to nontaxpayer dollars. If Speaker Boehner 
could find a way to bring the House together and pass this bill without 
injecting abortion politics into the discussion, then why can't we do 
that in the Senate?
  Senator Feinstein is right. We have amendments we need to consider if 
we can simply get past this stalemate, but she is also right that the 
issue at stake is too important to turn our back on. This is not a 
provision we can just ignore and dismiss as the status quo. But I 
believe, as Senator Feinstein and others have said, we can find a path 
forward. The path forward should not be one that expands restrictions 
on the health care choices of human trafficking survivors.
  These survivors--many are 12 or 13 years old--let's not put further 
hurdles in front of them. Let's not push for a political agenda on 
either side. The Hyde amendment will appear on taxpayer-funded matters, 
as it usually does. That is one thing the Appropriations Committee will 
face. We are not talking about taxpayer dollars here. We are not 
talking about taxpayer dollars.
  This would be like reaching into a State and saying: Oh, by the way, 
you have people who have raised money for a particular organization, 
not taxpayer dollars, but we in Congress are going to restrict what you 
can use that money for. Well, we do not do that. The reason we do not 
do it is because our involvement is with taxpayer dollars. If we want 
to go and appropriate money in this area, that is the time to bring up 
the issue.
  The Appropriations Committee--I have served on that Committee for 
almost 40 years--we handle that issue there, but not here.
  What is the pending parliamentary situation?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate is on consideration of S. 178, with 
the time until 12 noon equally divided between the two leaders or their 
  Mr. LEAHY. Is there a vote scheduled?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. At 12 noon.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to yield back all 
time and ask unanimous consent that the vote begin now.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the committee-
     reported substitute amendment to S. 178, a bill to provide 
     justice for the victims of trafficking.
         Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, James Lankford, 
           David Vitter, Richard Burr, Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, 
           Pat Roberts, Mike Rounds, James E. Risch, Daniel Coats, 
           James M. Inhofe, Shelley Moore Capito, Mark Kirk, Cory 
           Gardner, Thom Tillis.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
committee-reported substitute amendment to S. 178, a bill to provide 
justice for the victims of trafficking, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Tennessee (Mr. Alexander).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Tennessee (Mr. 
Alexander) would have voted ``yea.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Fischer). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 56, nays 42, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 75 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 56, the nays are 
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I enter a motion to reconsider the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion is entered.

                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on S. 178, a bill 
     to provide justice for the victims of trafficking.
         Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Tom Cotton, James Lankford, 
           David Vitter, Richard Burr, Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, 
           Pat Roberts, Mike Rounds, James E. Risch, Daniel Coats, 
           James M. Inhofe, Shelley Moore Capito, Mark Kirk, Cory 
           Gardner, Thom Tillis.

[[Page S1642]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on S. 178, 
a bill to provide justice for the victims of trafficking, shall be 
brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Tennessee (Mr. Alexander).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Tennessee (Mr. 
Alexander) would have voted ``yea.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 56, nays 42, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 76 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 56, the nays are 
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I enter a motion to reconsider the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion is entered.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I wish to speak about the bill that I 
would have thought a few days ago would have passed by now--the bill 
before the Senate and the bill that addresses this topic of modern-day 
slavery. This bill came out of the Judiciary Committee in a unanimous 
fashion before it came to the Senate floor. Then, there was no dissent; 
we agreed we should get right to the bill and pass it.
  I am pleased to cosponsor the Victims for Justice of Trafficking Act, 
which includes sexual trafficking and labor trafficking. This bill 
would help innocent victims of trafficking by creating grants for State 
and local governments to develop comprehensive systems to address these 
problems in every State, we are told, and certainly in almost every 
city--if not every city--where this is a problem.
  This bill allows law enforcement to deal with the problem by giving 
them the tools they need to hold the people accountable who are forcing 
these violent crimes and violent living conditions and the abuse of 
people's dignity in so many ways on others. Apparently, approximately 
100,000 American children each year are victims of commercial sex and 
child prostitution and child trafficking, according to the National 
Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is like so many numbers 
that we think of. I would encourage everybody to think of any city they 
can think of that has 100,000 people. Most of us would see that as a 
big community and a lot of people--100,000 children every year--100,000 
children every year, not every decade or every century--every year, in 
the United States of America, not all over the world.

  I would guess most Americans would assume if this is a problem, it 
has to be a bigger problem in any other country, but 100,000 children 
here among us are victims of this tragedy.
  The Justice Department says there are more human trafficking cases 
prosecuted by Federal attorneys in Missouri's Western District, the 
district where the U.S. Attorney's office is in Kansas City, MO, than 
anywhere else in the country. I hope that means the people in the 
Western District of Missouri who run that office are doing an 
extraordinary job, but I think it would be foolish for me to think that 
this isn't also an extraordinary problem. My house in Springfield, MO, 
is in that district, as are Springfield, Joplin, and Kansas City. These 
are places one wouldn't think, what is the No. 1 prostitution area for 
victims of human trafficking in the country? The Western District of 
  St. Louis, MO, is also one of the top 20 cities, we are told, for 
human trafficking, according to the Department of Justice. These are 
bad statistics, as every single statistic any of us could look at in 
our State could be. Of course, one case of human trafficking is one 
case too many, but we are not, unfortunately, just talking about one 
case; we are talking about lots of cases.
  Earlier this month the FBI arrested a person in my State who was 
charged with transporting a minor across State lines with the intent to 
engage in prostitution. The FBI reported the man involved was 
physically abusive, verbally abusive, emotionally abusive, and sexually 
abusive to this young person he was using for himself and offering to 
others. This modern-day slavery should not be allowed to continue.
  The bill that is before the Senate right now, the Justice for Victims 
of Trafficking Act, has been endorsed by 200 different advocacy groups, 
including the NAACP, the National Center for Missing and Exploited 
Children, Exodus Cry, a Grandview, MO, group, Rights4Girls, the 
National Association to Protect Children, the Fraternal Order of 
Police, and the National Conference of State Legislatures. We can't 
vote on it here on the Senate floor? We can't get this bill on the 
President's desk? Why is that?
  Why again today did the minority refuse to provide the votes we 
needed to get from where we are to 60? We did have a few Members from 
that side join us this week, but we are still short.
  Let's deal with this problem. They say it is because there is a 
section of the bill that deals with the Hyde amendment. OK, the Hyde 
amendment has been around now for part of four decades. What does the 
Hyde amendment do? It bans taxpayer-provided abortions.
  One of the things we have done in this country is to say because 
there is vast disagreement on this--we understand there is vast 
disagreement. Surely we are not going to take money from some taxpayers 
who are totally opposed to this and use it to pay for something they 
are totally opposed to. There is a provision in this bill. It was there 
when the bill was voted out of committee. It was there when everybody 
voted to move to the bill. Suddenly, it is a provision that nobody was 
aware of before. In fact, in committee, there was at least one 
amendment that amended the sentence right below this sentence. So are 
we not doing our job? Are we not reading these bills, or, are we just 
looking for a reason not to get anything done? Surely the Senate in the 
last half dozen years has proven to the country that the Senate can be 
dysfunctional. Surely we don't need to continue to make that case.
  So let's get to work. Let's get down to business. Let's look at what 
needs to be done here. Let's see what we could do to set an example for 
the world. Frankly, there were colleagues who had amendments that could 
have been at least debated that would have talked about what could be 
done to carry this beyond our borders to deal with this modern-day 
slavery--whether for labor or for sex--in ways this issue should be 
dealt with.
  I would love to see the President step forward and encourage the 
leaders of

[[Page S1643]]

his party to get together and get the votes needed to pass this. Let's 
move to a conclusion and put this on the President's desk. I think 
without the language that some people now suddenly find objectionable, 
this bill wouldn't pass the House. But the bill will pass the House as 
reported out of committee, if the Senate would pass it, and it would be 
on the President's desk. There is nothing new here.
  I hope we get this done. I think people are ready to see the Senate 
work. Let's get this done.
  Let's get on with a budget for the first time in 7 years, if we could 
join with the House of Representatives and say, OK, let's present a 
plan to the country of how we are going to get back to a balanced 
budget and what our priorities are.
  But one of our priorities should be to end the nightmare for victims 
of human trafficking, and we can't do that unless we face reality and 
get on this bill.

                      Letter on Iran Negotiations

  Also, Madam President, while I am here, I want to talk a little bit 
about the letter I signed along with Senator Cotton and 45 others a few 
days ago. I thought the interesting thing about that letter is that the 
letter was essentially addressed to the Foreign Minister of Iran but 
released to every newspaper in America. In many ways it was an idea 
that is important that the American people understand.
  I am sure the Iranian Foreign Minister, by the way, already 
understood it. If one had any interest in reading the Congressional 
Record or watching C-SPAN or reading any newspaper in the last 6 
months, you would have seen that the Senate was very concerned in a 
bipartisan way that the President was negotiating an agreement with 
another country and was refusing to come to the Senate and ask for the 
approval that the Constitution anticipates should be there.
  I was surprised by the Iranian Foreign Minister's response, which 
was: Well, really, when you are dealing with this kind of situation, it 
is international laws that prevail. The laws of any individual country 
don't matter. Well, we all take an oath when we are sworn in to the 
Senate that the law and the Constitution of the United States do matter 
and it is our job to uphold and defend the law and the Constitution of 
the United States. There was nothing I saw that suggested the Iranian 
Foreign Minister or anybody else should interpret that for me. The 
Constitution is pretty clear, by the way, that there is an advise-and-
consent responsibility. Frankly, advise means to talk to the Senate 
while you are negotiating.
  I read somewhere the other day that, well, it is so presumptuous for 
the Senate to want to give advice to the President before he has 
negotiated an agreement. Well, the Constitution says that we are in a 
position to do that. The traditions of the country say if the President 
doesn't keep at least the right people in the Senate informed--the 
chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, the minority senior person 
of that committee, the chairman of the defense committee, the Armed 
Services Committee--if they aren't kept informed, you are not going to 
bring people along as you should. That is obviously part of trying to 
make the government work.
  No matter what the President thinks, the Senate is not just an 
inconvenience; the Congress is not just an inconvenience. There is a 
reason for these branches of government.
  Actually, in another interesting response, the Secretary of State 
said: Well, obviously this agreement is not binding on anybody but the 
person who signs it. That is what I have been saying for about a year, 
but it was interesting that it took this letter for the Secretary of 
State to say that. This agreement really doesn't bind anybody. If the 
President signs this agreement, it is an agreement, not a treaty. What 
does that mean? It means if it is not a treaty, then the government of 
the United States hasn't agreed to it. Only the President of the United 
States has agreed to it. President after President have brought 
agreements about nuclear weapons to the Senate--the START treaty, all 
the treaties which were approved by the Senate. It would have been 
unthinkable just a few years ago that one would even think about 
committing our country to something that involves nuclear weapons 
potential and not involve the U.S. Senate.
  So I think getting these issues on the table is a good thing. 
Frankly, I think a nuclear-weapons-capable Iran is the most 
destabilizing thing that could happen in the world today. Not only our 
great ally and friends in Israel, but countries all over the Middle 
East will immediately be concerned. Countries within reach of those 
potential future weapons in Europe and other places would soon be 
concerned. We are headed down a bad path here, negotiating not that 
Iran will never be allowed to have nuclear weapons but apparently 
negotiating how long it will be from the moment they start until they 
can have the enriched material it would take to have a nuclear weapon.
  There are many countries in the world today that have nuclear power 
that don't enrich in a way that would allow them to ever have a nuclear 
weapon. Iran, if it wanted to, could have added itself easily to that 
list. Iran, one of the most energy-rich places in the world, could 
easily have added itself to that list, if it wanted to add to all that 
nuclear energy power. I think it is obvious the shadow that Iran would 
like to cast over the next decade in the region they are already 
dominating in a handful of capitals is a shadow of nuclear weapons 
capability. The United States should be very concerned, and this 
discussion at the highest levels is the right kind of discussion for 
the country to be having.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Flake). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President and colleagues, in my professional life I 
always considered myself to be a numbers guy. As I have sat back and 
listened to the debate over these past 17 days since the Justice for 
Victims of Human Trafficking Act was reported out of the Judiciary 
Committee, I decided I would maybe try a different take on the numbers 
we should be concerned about.
  As I said, it has been 17 days since the bill we are considering came 
out of the Judiciary Committee--56 days since the bill was first 
introduced on January 13th. Now, some of my colleagues on the other 
side have said that somehow between when the bill was introduced on 
January 13th and when it was reported out of Committee on March 10th, 
there was a provision placed in the bill that they were not made aware 
of. This is simply not the case. My colleagues had days to review this 
bill, but unfortunately, some of them are in the habit of passing 
something and then finding out later what they were actually voting 
  It has been 39 years since the Hyde language we are currently 
discussing was first passed into law. It was so long ago I was even 
young--16 years old. The Hyde language was first enacted in 1976, and 
since then, has become known, well-settled law. Obviously, this is not 
some sort of new concept. It is language that everybody who is in this 
body--and every staffer who has served somebody in this body--should 
know about.
  Now, with the Hyde amendment being around for some four decades, I 
was trying to figure out: Well, maybe we are talking about Members who 
are familiar with the Hyde language, but never voted for it.
  So I decided to go back to my numbers and take a look at the voting 
history of the Senators in this Chamber today, many of whom--all of 
whom, actually--on this graphic are now preventing this very important 
human trafficking legislation from moving forward.
  The minority leader has voted in support of the Hyde amendment 14 
times, and all these other Senators on my chart at least a dozen times, 
with the exception of Senator Boxer who has voted in support of the 
Hyde language 10 times. Senator Boxer stood on the floor last week and 
said it was offensive language. However, Senator Boxer has voted for 
this language 10 times, most recently this past December when they 
passed the fiscal year 2015 omnibus bill.

[[Page S1644]]

  So one wonders what they are really trying to accomplish here. I hear 
them. My Democrat colleagues are very sympathetic to the content of the 
bill. I hear them say that human trafficking is horrible, and we need 
to do something about it. But their words do not fit their actions. 
Their words say we ought to move forward and end these horrible 
situations--and I will talk a little bit more about those numbers 
later--but their actions are just burning time in this body preventing 
us from moving on to the many other important things we need to 
address--such as our national security, our economic security, and our 
energy security. But no, we have spent 17 days on a bill that my 
colleagues in the Democratic caucus say we should act on, but are at 
the same time impeding the process.
  Now, as confusing as these numbers are, as confusing as it is to hear 
so many Senators say that this language is offensive and needs to be 
taken out--despite the fact that they have regularly voted for it in 
the past--the very sad result of their actions are what we are not 
getting done, and that is getting the human trafficking bill passed so 
we can end the horrible conditions that are imposed on the many people 
who are enslaved on a daily basis.
  I'm going to give my colleagues a couple of numbers to think about. 
The State Department and other agencies estimate that there are 600,000 
to 800,000 people trafficked across global borders each year. That is 
about 1,600 to 2,200 boys, girls, men, and women being enslaved every 
single day in this world.
  Now, in our country, it is estimated that 17,500 people are 
trafficked across our borders into the U.S. sex trade every year and 
that there are about 100,000 people already here.
  Think about that in terms of the numbers. Every day that goes by, 
there are another 50 victims from overseas trafficked into the U.S. for 
sex trade--every single day another 50 people.
  This week, we have had five votes on this bill. This means, another 
250 young girls, young boys, women, and men will have been trafficked 
into our country for sex trade.
  This is a good bill, and it works to stop the growth of human 
trafficking and free those who are currently enslaved.
  Colleagues, I am a freshman. I have been here fewer than 70 days. 
When I read the human trafficking bill, I knew that the Hyde amendment 
was in it. Anybody who is doing their job in the Senate should have 
been able to figure that out.
  So it raises a very interesting question--how could we come out of 
the Judiciary Committee, which I serve on, with a unanimous vote? As a 
matter of fact, there are 12 Democrat cosponsors of this bill. 
Certainly, those Members of the Democratic Caucus read the bill and 
their staffs had time to read the bill in the months that the language 
has been public.
  So, colleagues, I wonder if it is really about the human trafficking 
bill and the language or if it is about a strategy just to slow the 
process down, but what I think is so sad is the human consequences of 
this inaction, and we need to move forward.
  I just came from the Senate steps to take a picture with about 100 
students from my great State of North Carolina.
  While I had time before the photographer arrived to let them ask me 
few questions, I said: I am going to have to go to the Senate floor 
soon and speak. They said: What are you going to speak on?
  I was really at a loss for words. I was wondering how I was going to 
tell them I am trying to help pass legislation that makes them safer, 
but we are having a petty fight in the Senate over process.
  So I really ask Members of the Democratic caucus to look into their 
hearts and to understand the human tragedy this legislation is 
attempting to correct and join with us to pass this bill and move on to 
the many other things we need to do for this great Nation.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, we have had a lot of discussion regarding 
the pending bill. I thought again I would emphasize what Senator 
Feinstein said earlier, which was so good, and I hope people will 
listen to her words. I would just follow on to that to say my good 
friend--and he is my friend--the distinguished senior Senator from 
Texas has suggested that we make the funds collected from traffickers 
subject to the appropriations process to get around this impasse, but 
that does not solve the problem.
  The pending legislation came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 
an authorizing committee that does not appropriate funds. We should be 
telling appropriators that we believe services to trafficking victims 
are important by authorizing funds. As the most senior member of that 
Appropriations Committee I can tell you that this is an important 
process that results in real money for victim services.
  It is a process that works well. Under Democratic leadership of the 
Senate Appropriations Committee, total appropriations for trafficking 
victims' services more than doubled from $28.1 million in FY2014 to 
$58.1 million for FY2015.
  Senator Cornyn's proposal to simply funnel fees collected from 
traffickers through the appropriations process still presents the same 
problem--this is not taxpayer money, and subjecting it to the Hyde 
amendment would expand the amendment's reach to an offender-financed 
fund meant for women and children who should have all options available 
to them when it comes to health services after being sexually 
  I would quote what the House Republican author of this bill, 
Congressman Poe, said today:

       We passed a bill. The Senate should take it up and pass it.

  That could be done immediately. I don't think there would be anybody 
trying to block it. The Republican House of Representatives passed this 
bill unanimously. We could take up and pass it, and not waste 2 weeks 
of having this dance on the floor, vote after vote, which both sides 
know isn't going anywhere. The easiest and best thing to do is to 
remove the Hyde restriction so survivors can make their own health care 
  I will not do it again today, but I put into the Record letters and 
statements from hundreds of people--survivors' organizations and the 
people they represent--and they have said: Let us make our own health 
care decisions.
  Now, to argue what my friend from Texas says, that the inclusion of 
this language is routine and it does not change the status quo at all, 
is not accurate. In fact, that is probably why, I suspect, a majority 
of the Members of the House of Representatives--who support the Hyde 
amendment--did not include it in the House version of the bill. The 
Hyde amendment is about keeping taxpayer dollars out of the abortion 
debate. Now, we can have different opinions on the issue, but that is 
not what we are talking about here. The money at issue in this bill is 
collected from sex traffickers.
  The bottom line is the offender-financed funds raised in this bill 
rely on zero taxpayer dollars. Maintaining the current practice, if 
that is what you want to do, means removing the provision. Maybe we 
ought to listen to some of the leadership on the Appropriations 
Committee and how they feel about this. They are not the ones asking to 
do this. The Appropriations Committee is not asking us to turn them 
into some kind of a superauthorizing committee, and we should not put 
them in that position.
  I hope cooler heads will prevail and come together on this. I think 
it will be very easy for both sides who do want to stop sex trafficking 
to come together, and pass this bill.
  Then, let us also take the steps to correct what has been a shameful 
position in the U.S. Senate and confirm Loretta Lynch as Attorney 
General. She has waited on the floor much longer than the four men who 
preceded her put together. This woman has waited longer than those four 
men before her put together, and yet everybody applauds her as a superb 
prosecutor. We talk about sex trafficking, and she is about the only 
person we have seen in here as a nominee who has actually prosecuted 
sex traffickers. Let's get on with the job.

[[Page S1645]]

  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I saw on television my friend from 
Vermont, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, talking 
about the virtues of the House human trafficking bill, and I thought it 
would be worthwhile for Members and whoever else is listening to 
understand the difference between the two bills.
  First of all, our bill, the one that is being filibustered by our 
Democratic colleagues--I should say, all but four of them--contains a 
$30 million fund that is financed through criminal funds. This is 
analogous to a crime victims compensation fund. For example, when I was 
attorney general of Texas, we administered one, and we were able to 
make grants to various organizations. That is what this $30 million 
fund would be. The bill on the House side actually has no fund. It is 
an authorization. It is a $5 million authorization. It has no money. It 
has no mechanism to generate funds like ours does.
  Our bill contains language increasing restitution for trafficking 
victims by using criminal assets to satisfy these needs and allowing 
law enforcement to pay witness-assistance award money to victims.
  The bill in the House does nothing. In other words, we have an asset-
forfeiture provision in our bill to take the people who profit from 
human trafficking and to forfeit those funds and use that to add to the 
fines and use that money to help rescue and heal the victims. The House 
bill has nothing in it in that regard.
  Our bill requires law enforcement agencies to file regular reports of 
human trafficking case totals as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting 
Program. That is important because so much of the human trafficking 
damage is never reported to law enforcement.
  First of all, many victims of human trafficking are children who may 
or may not actually consider themselves victims. They may be runaways. 
They may find some adult who has taken them under their wing, only to 
turn them out on the streets as prostitutes and the like. They may not 
actually consider themselves victims, at least initially, which they 
  Our bill would make sure the statistics and reports of human 
trafficking totals are reported in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program 
so we would actually have a better objective record about the number of 
cases and so people could appreciate the severity of this problem. The 
bill in the House has nothing in that regard.
  Next, our bill clarifies that child pornography producers are engaged 
in commercial sex acts. The bill on the House side does nothing in that 
  Our bill requires persons indicted for human trafficking to be 
treated as violent criminals for purposes of pretrial, in terms of the 
availability of bail. The bill on the other side of the Capitol, in the 
House, does nothing in that regard. Our bill requires prosecutors and 
judges to undergo training to improve restitution in traffic cases. 
Again, our friends on the other side of the Capitol--their bill does 
nothing in that regard.
  Finally, our bill requires human traffickers to remain under 
supervision for at least 5 years after they are released from prison. 
On the House side, it doesn't touch on that.
  I don't say that to criticize the House bill, because I think they 
have done some good work. But it is important to recognize that the 
bill over here, which is being filibustered by our Democratic minority, 
does a lot more and a lot of different things, and things that I think 
are going to be a lot more helpful to the victims of human trafficking, 
which I can only imagine should be our collective goal.
  I came to the floor this morning, and I said that we would be willing 
to work with our Democratic colleagues to try to address some of their 
stated concerns with the original bill. I said that notwithstanding the 
fact that 12 Democrats cosponsored the bill, the original bill that is 
now being filibustered. Nine Democrats, along with all of the 
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, voted to pass the bill out of 
the Judiciary Committee. Literally all 100 Senators had to consent for 
the bill to come to the floor without going through the typical 
procedural hurdles with which we are all very familiar.
  Imagine my surprise, when in the middle of last week, these 
objections came up. What was the nature of the objection? The objection 
was that this bill contained a reference to an appropriations bill that 
was passed in 2014 and for which all of our Democratic colleagues 
voted. But that reference was to a restriction on the use of taxpayer 
dollars to fund abortions, known as the Hyde amendment. Then after they 
saw that or after they claimed that this was something new and 
unbeknownst to them, they objected.
  I just simply cannot accept this argument that a provision that 
colleagues on that side of the aisle have routinely voted for on 
appropriations bills, that they routinely voted for on Defense 
authorization bills, and one they voted for on the Affordable Care Act, 
restricting the use of taxpayer funds under these circumstances--why 
they would pick this vehicle to object to that very same provision.
  I accept at face value that some of our colleagues said that this is 
something they perhaps should have read more closely but they failed to 
do. I personally find it a little hard to believe, given the nature of 
the professional staff we have here in the Senate, that Members did not 
know that this restriction, known as the Hyde amendment, was part of 
the underlying bill. But assuming that is the case, what we are now 
offering them is a middle ground--to say that instead of this fund 
being a separate pool of money outside of the appropriations process, 
we would agree that the Appropriations Committee would appropriate 
money out of this fund in the same manner as they do all 
appropriations, with the exception that the money would be specifically 
designated to help the victims of human trafficking and not be able to 
be used for any other purpose.
  So the reports are--after we made this proposal trying to address 
some of the concerns on this side of the aisle--that they would not be 
happy unless we stripped out all reference to the Hyde amendment in the 
bill. That is unacceptable. That is unacceptable for the same reason 
that they would object to a change in the status quo by an expansion of 
the Hyde amendment. We have now brought the Hyde amendment back within 
the appropriations process where it has been for 39 years. But to say 
we are going to eliminate any reference to those restrictions, which 
have been the law of the land for 39 years, would be viewed as an 
erosion of the Hyde amendment--hardly a status quo.
  I don't know how long this is going to take. I appreciate the 
perseverance and commitment of the majority leader who, as you know, 
determines what bills come to the floor and when and who says we are 
going to stay on this bill until it passes. We have had a number of 
votes, and four of our Democratic colleagues have joined us to get to a 
place where we could actually pass this legislation. We just need a 
handful more--two or three more--to help us.
  I know that a number of Senators are going to be hearing from their 
constituents back in their States because 200 different organizations--
law enforcement organizations and victims' rights organizations that 
are very concerned about this human trafficking plague--are going to be 
lighting up the phone lines, sending emails, and communicating with 
their elected officials--as they should.
  There is no reason we cannot get to ``yes'' on this bill unless this 
whole debate is a phony debate, and what the leadership on the 
Democratic side is more concerned about is trying to make the Senate as 
dysfunctional in the 114th Congress as they did in the 113th Congress.
  I suspect, unfortunately, because of the phony issues saying take out 
language we voted for time and again--yes, it was contained in a bill 
we cosponsored. Yes, it was contained in a bill we voted for already. 
Now we are going to come to the floor, and we are going to block it.
  We know who pays for this political gamesmanship. Sadly, it is the 
very same victims whom our colleagues

[[Page S1646]]

here on the floor say they want to help--the children--the 100,000 
children who are subjected to human trafficking each year. Other people 
who need our help and deserve our help are among the most vulnerable 
people we can possibly imagine.
  All of us are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. We all 
understand this could happen to anybody's family. Why in the world 
would we want to indulge in this sort of gamesmanship and phony 
objections to provisions that have been voted for time and again by the 
same Members who now object to them on this legislation and say to 
these victims of human trafficking that we don't care and we are not 
going to help?
  I don't believe for a minute that is why Members of the Senate come 
here. I know virtually all 100 Senators, and I believe that most 
Senators--if not all Senators--come here because they actually want to 
do something. They actually want to solve problems. They actually want 
to help people who need the help. I cannot think of anybody more 
deserving than the victims of human trafficking.
  I see the distinguished Senator from Colorado here. I will yield for 
him momentarily.
  I wanted to come to the floor and respond to the comments made by the 
distinguished Senator from Vermont, the ranking member of the Judiciary 
Committee, that all we need to do is take up and pass the House bill. 
The House bill doesn't appropriate any money. It is an authorization 
bill. It authorizes $5 million in appropriations.
  The great thing about our bill is it doesn't take any tax dollars. 
These are all fines and penalties and asset forfeitures from people 
engaged in the criminal enterprise, and this takes some of the profit 
out of this terrible crime.
  It also does a number of other things, which I mentioned earlier. But 
the idea that we can somehow just take up and pass the House bill and 
avoid this bogus objection and somehow solve the problem, I think, just 
misses the point.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. BENNET. Mr. President, through the Chair, I would like to thank 
the senior Senator from Texas for his courtesy in allowing me to speak 
this afternoon.

                            Lynch Nomination

  Mr. President, I rise today to discuss the nomination of Loretta 
Lynch to be our next Attorney General. It has been 131 days since 
President Obama nominated her for this position. By Monday, she will 
have waited longer on the Senate floor than the last seven Attorney 
General nominees combined.
  When it comes to Ms. Lynch's nomination, it seems as if we are 
setting records--but for all of the wrong reasons. The irony of that is 
that she is probably one of the most qualified and least political 
Attorney General nominees that this Chamber has seen in decades.
  She has spent a significant portion of her career as a Federal 
prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York, having twice served as 
the U.S. attorney. There she took on corrupt public officials and 
expanded the office's national security practice. She has also worked 
in private practice at one of the country's top law firms, where she 
specialized in commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense, 
and corporate compliance.
  In 2011, she was recognized as the Federal Law Enforcement Officers 
Association Foundation honoree of the year. In 2014, she was honored as 
the recipient of the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation 
President's Award. She has received support--no surprise--from all 
across the political spectrum.
  Just this week, even former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani--hardly a 
great friend of the President--wrote that she was ``balanced, 
professional and a dedicated public servant.'' He went on to write that 
he can ``further attest that her skill set seems very appropriate to 
the tough tasks she would face as attorney general.''
  The Major Cities Chiefs Association, which represents the 67 largest 
law enforcement agencies in the country, wrote this to the Senate: 
``Ms. Lynch has overseen many important criminal prosecutions for 
terrorism, organized crime, corruption, drug and gang related cases. It 
is clear that her familiarity with the Department, managing a fast-
paced and high profile office as well as her integrity and private 
sector legal experiences make her a qualified candidate.''
  What are we waiting for?
  Some 25 former U.S. attorneys who worked in both Democratic and 
Republican administrations wrote to this body saying: ``Ms. Lynch has 
the experience, temperament, independence, integrity, and judgment to 
immediately assume this critically important position.'' They should 
know. They should know. These are the folks with whom she has worked 
closely, and will continue to work as Attorney General. Both as a 
Federal prosecutor and in private practice, they have seen firsthand 
her character, intellect, and her integrity.
  I myself once worked for the Deputy Attorney General of the United 
States at the Department of Justice. I know how close the collaboration 
is when things are working well between the Attorney General and the 
U.S. attorneys all throughout the United States of America, and it is 
something to see.
  I know it has become fashionable around this place to continually 
criticize our Federal employees, but I recommend that our new 
colleagues, if they ever have the chance, go see the investiture of a 
new judge in their State, as I have had a chance to do in my State. 
When you see how the U.S. attorney's office, the Federal public 
defender's office, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI, and the U.S. 
Marshals Service are all represented, you will say to yourself: Thank 
God I live in a country that is committed to the rule of law. Thank God 
I live in this country instead of most of the countries around the 
world where they don't even know what the rule of law is.
  That is what we have in the United States, and the chief law 
enforcement officer of this country is our Attorney General.
  Everybody who has looked at this nomination from the outside has said 
she would be an excellent Attorney General. So given all of that, it is 
awfully difficult to understand why she has had to wait so long just to 
receive a simple up-or-down vote. Has anyone challenged her 
qualifications? Come to the floor today and do it. Has anyone 
questioned her character or integrity? Of course not. Has she failed to 
provide necessary information to the Senate? It is my understanding 
that she testified for almost 8 hours and responded to about 900 
questions for the record. Is her nomination delayed just to make 
political points on completely unrelated issues?
  I have gotten to the point now that when people come to my office 
after they have been nominated to be a judge or have been nominated to 
do something in the Federal Government, the first words out of my mouth 
are not ``Congratulations'' anymore; the first words to come out of my 
mouth are ``Don't take it personally. Don't take this process 
  We are losing talented people who want to serve the United States of 
America in these important and in many cases nonpolitical jobs because 
the Senate cannot confirm them. It is because we tell somebody like 
Loretta Lynch: Sorry, it is going to be zillions of days before you 
have a chance to even serve this country.
  It is not right. I am amazed at the capacity of people in this place 
to waste their own time, but we should not waste other people's time.
  Unfortunately, the delay in confirming Ms. Lynch is having real-world 
consequences. Earlier this week, the former Deputy Attorney General 
expressed his concern that the protracted nomination process is adding 
unnecessary uncertainty to the Department of Justice. He highlighted 
the importance of having continuity in undertaking long-term 
investigations or in developing national security policy and how it is 
harder to facilitate continuity the longer Ms. Lynch's nomination is 
  As I said, this has become in many ways the new norm in our politics 
where these fights in Congress are having real-world consequences on 
the people we represent. It is incredibly counterproductive to the 
people we represent, whether it is shutting down the Department of 
Homeland Security or running the government on continuing resolutions 
or passing 2-week tax extender bills, for goodness' sake. There is not 
a mayor or county commissioner

[[Page S1647]]

in the entire State of Colorado who could get away with governing like 
this, and neither should we. It is obvious to everybody watching the 
Senate that we have not been productive. We have not really been 
productive for a long time but certainly not for the last 90 days. We 
barely managed to keep the Department of Homeland Security open for 
another 6 months. We passed a resolution of disapproval that the 
President will veto.
  At the very least, we should be able to find the time to confirm 
Loretta Lynch as the Nation's next Attorney General. Her experience, 
temperament, and independence make her abundantly qualified for one of 
the most important positions our country has, and she has waited too 
long to receive an up-or-down vote.
  I am not worried about her; she will be fine no matter what she does. 
I am worried about the Department. I am worried about our homeland 
security. I am worried about the willingness of other Americans to put 
their hand up and say ``Let me serve'' for fear that they will get 
caught in the crazy politics of the Senate.
  I look forward to supporting Ms. Lynch's nomination. I hope we will 
have the opportunity to consider that nomination in the coming days.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, this is an important subject. For many, 
it is a matter of life and death. So I am pleased that we are taking up 
this bill so early in the session.
  The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act can save lives, it can 
restore dignity to the victims of these heinous crimes, and it can help 
end modern-day slavery. I believe, without a doubt, every Member of 
this body wants to see this bill become law. I hope we can overcome 
this delay and send the bill to the President so we can make it a 
  As the father of three girls and as a grandfather of granddaughters, 
I support the bill. I cosponsored it. I am eager to see it become law. 
By doing so, we will build on our previous efforts that have 
dramatically reduced instances of human trafficking around the globe.
  Since the passage of the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act 
of 2000, the United States has been a leader in the international 
community's fight to end modern-day slavery. This law ushered in a new 
strategy that addressed human trafficking on multiple fronts.
  Combining strong protection for victims, including shelter and 
asylum, with tough punishments for traffickers, including long jail 
sentences and asset confiscation, and, most importantly, sanctions for 
offending governments, the law has enabled us to crack some of the 
biggest international human smuggling rings.
  The most recent statistics show that during the 12-year period from 
2000 to 2012, over 1,100 traffickers were charged in the United States, 
resulting in 755 successful convictions. The Justice for Victims of 
Trafficking Act can replicate these successes in combating 
international trafficking by helping us take on the traffickers here at 
  This is an effort by my colleagues that we can all agree is 
worthwhile, which is clear by how easily this passed in committee and 
by the level of bipartisan cosponsorship it maintains. So I am not 
quite certain I understand what the Democratic leadership's strategy 
aims to accomplish. The language they now find objectionable has been 
in the bill all along. It is standard language that has been around for 
  On top of that, the majority leader offered a vote to strip the 
language. Yet the minority continues to block this bill from floor 
consideration. Not only can they offer an amendment to strip that 
language, but Members of the minority can offer any amendment they 
want, any amendment they believe will make the bill stronger. That is 
the amazing thing about regular order. I know some Senate Democrats are 
still getting used to the idea after years of being forced to the 
sidelines by their own leadership, but this is a good change which we 
should all embrace.
  I believe this particular bill was strong from the onset, but I have 
offered a couple of amendments to make it even stronger and better. 
Both of these amendments make improvements to our efforts to address 
trafficking on the global stage.
  The first one deals with countries that try to game the system to 
avoid sanctions. The State Department's tier system for ranking 
offending countries is an excellent tool for ferreting out the problem 
governments and prompting positive change. By utilizing the threat of 
sanctions, we can effect change for the better.
  Regrettably, some countries have abused the system and taken 
advantage of the ``special watch list'' designation that is supposed to 
be reserved for troubled nations making good-faith efforts to actually 
change. These nations have been able to get this designation without 
ever attempting to address human trafficking and, in turn, avoiding the 
sanctions that they deserve. China is a perfect example.
  With this amendment, we can put an end to the games. It will close 
the loopholes that allow governments to retain the ``special watch 
list'' designation without making immediate progress to reduce human 
trafficking or face quick removal. This will force governments to take 
real action, not just a nod and a wink to the problem to buy sanctions 
  The second amendment aims to put more teeth in the State Department's 
Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking. This amendment seeks to 
rename it and elevate it to the status of bureau to increase its 
effectiveness so that those responsible for this essential diplomatic 
tool are heard within the State Department.
  These two amendments will help our overall strategy to combat 
trafficking, but again, this bill, as it was introduced, would be a 
huge help in our efforts to save lives.
  The bill has the support of 200 advocacy groups, many of which are 
law enforcement organizations. These advocacy groups are voicing the 
same concerns we hear on the local level in our communities back home--
that this is a real problem with real victims--and our local officials 
want this bill passed for that exact reason.
  Just last week, I was visiting with some of my State's mayors who 
were in Washington for the Arkansas Municipal League fly-in, and the 
issue came up. The mayor of Hot Springs, AR, Ruth Carney, said that 
this is an issue which is really close to her heart and highlighted 
that Garland County has a task force to tackle human trafficking. She 
said: ``It's a great thing to see that Congress is working to help with 
this situation because I feel like it's very important for our 
country.'' I imagine that the Senators holding up this bill hear the 
same thing from their State and local officials. Perhaps they should 
listen to them about the importance of getting this done.
  So why drag this on longer? We could pass this bill within hours if 
the Democrats would drop this manufactured outrage over language that 
has been in the bill since its introduction. This language has 
literally been applied to similar legislation for decades.
  The senior Senators from Texas and Minnesota came together in a 
bipartisan manner to draft this important legislation. It was passed by 
the committee, in regular order, in a similar bipartisan manner.
  I urge my colleagues to stand with the victims, pass this bill, get 
them help, and get our communities the resources they need to save 
thousands more from becoming victims.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, today, we are continuing our consideration 
of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. I should note from the 
outset this is a bill that essentially every Senator--every single one 
of us--supports. How could we not? Right now in this country there are 
thousands of human beings living as slaves--stolen from their homes, 
stripped of their God-given rights, and robbed of their human dignity. 
A disproportionate number of these victims are women and children, 
often forced into sex slavery. These are crimes that shock the 
conscience, and every single one of us

[[Page S1648]]

should do everything in our power to stop this scourge and help make 
the victims whole again.
  The legislation we are currently considering makes important steps 
toward achieving those goals. It treats children trapped in these 
horrible circumstances for what they are--victims, not criminals. It 
imposes stiff penalties on traffickers, exactly the sort their 
despicable crimes merit. It establishes an effective means of 
restitution for the victims, helping them to begin to rebuild their 
lives in the wake of enormous suffering.
  I applaud the majority leader for his commitment to getting this bill 
passed. It is exactly the sort of legislation the Senate should be 
considering. While this may seem an obvious point, it is worth spelling 
out why this is true.
  The majority leader's traditional right to be recognized first gives 
him control over what sort of legislation we consider. There is always 
a temptation to bring up partisan bills, so-called messaging bills. 
These bills are not designed to actually pass; after all, we all know 
we need 60 votes for cloture and 67 votes to override a veto. Instead, 
the goal of these messaging bills are to make a political point for the 
next election or even just for the next news cycle.
  In the last Congress, the Democratic leadership called up these sort 
of messaging votes week after week. They repeatedly moved to bring up 
highly partisan bills that they refused to let us attempt to amend, 
with full knowledge that many of us would therefore have to vote 
against them and in most cases have to make them get at least 60 votes.
  In last fall's election, the American people showed just how fed up 
they were with partisanship and gridlock by voting in a new Republican 
majority that promised a return to productive legislating through 
regular order. The majority leader's commitment to passing this human 
trafficking bill demonstrates how those of us in the new majority are 
trying our hardest to keep our promise to get the Senate back to work 
for the American people. This is not about partisan messaging votes 
doomed for failure. This is about getting a bill with broad bipartisan 
support passed into law that makes meaningful progress in our fight 
against the evils of human trafficking. Scoring political points for 
our party is rightfully taking a backseat for producing important 
results for our country.
  Nevertheless, our majority can only do so much on its own. Simply 
put, it is hard to get much done in the Senate without bipartisan 
cooperation. So for all the restraint the majority has shown by 
bringing up bills such as this one that enjoy broad bipartisan support, 
we need at least some measure of restraint from the minority. By 
restraint, I do not mean to call for my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle to give up all their principles and simply give in to 
everything the majority wants. Instead, I mean the minority cannot 
demand getting their way on every single issue, that they should be 
willing to work through the open amendment process to reach an 
accommodation. Unfortunately, we find ourselves at an impasse with the 
minority claiming we somehow ambushed them with supposedly 
controversial language that they now are demanding we remove. My 
colleagues and I have come to the floor repeatedly over the past few 
days to illustrate just how ridiculous that claim is--how the language 
that is in the bill has been in there every step of the way since its 
introduction and how the Democrats had voted for it over and over again 
over the nearly 40 years it has been settled law.
  Beyond all of the rhetoric, the pivotal moment in this debate came 
when the majority leader came to the floor and offered an up-or-down 
vote to strip out the language in question. This offer should have 
settled this controversy once and for all. It represented the majority 
leader extending his hand across the aisle in hopes of cooperation, but 
the minority leader objected, demanding a guarantee the provision would 
be removed. Well, that is not the way it works around here. That moment 
revealed what this logjam is really about. This is about the minority 
leadership resorting to the same ``my way or the highway'' tactics they 
abused when they were in the majority, tactics that have no place in a 
body built on compromise. This is about trying to stir up a fake 
controversy to fit a discredited war-on-women narrative.
  Above all else, this is about scoring political points and trying to 
embarrass the majority by undermining our efforts to govern 
responsibly. This behavior is itself embarrassing and unworthy of this 
great institution in which we all serve, but it comes at a price.
  It comes at a price for the victims of human trafficking whose 
suffering we are all committed to alleviate. It comes at a price for 
those men, women, and children living in silence, fear, hopelessness, 
and unspeakable anguish.
  My colleagues on the other side of the aisle are not bad people--far 
from it. They are men and women of great character who want to do the 
right thing for their constituents and for the Nation. I have enormous 
respect for each and every one of them, but in this latest maneuver, I 
feel many of them have gotten so caught up in partisan rhetoric--
something that is so easy to do in Washington--that they have staked 
out an unjustifiable position that is prolonging the suffering of 
trafficking victims.
  Let's be honest about it. The Hyde amendment has been in many bills 
that we all voted for time after time after time. However, NARAL, the 
National Abortion Rights Action League, and Planned Parenthood have 
tried to make this into an issue that it should never have been made 
into. Unfortunately, we don't have any courage on the other side of the 
aisle except for a few Senators who are willing to vote with us. We 
don't have any real courage to take on these people.
  My gosh. I mean there comes a time--keep in mind, how do Republicans 
give in on this when this has been such an established law of our 
  I ask my colleagues to take a step back from the heat of the debate 
to think about this language that has been in the bill from the very 
beginning, that they have voted for in so many other contexts, that has 
been the settled law of the land for nearly 40 years, that they have 
rejected an up-or-down vote to remove, and that they have demanded be 
removed as a condition for passing this important legislation.
  Is picking this fight really worth it?
  Is scoring points against Republicans really worth the costs of 
victims of human trafficking?
  Is trying to undermine our efforts to govern worth sacrificing the 
opportunity to help these men, women, and children in need?
  The choice is clear. I applaud my colleagues on both sides of the 
aisle who are pushing to end this stalemate, especially my colleagues 
on the other side of the aisle who are willing to sacrifice temporary 
political gain to do the right thing for these victims we all want to 
help. I plead with those who have yet to join our efforts to move this 
bill forward to realize the suffering they are prolonging and to change 
their approach at the earliest possible opportunity.

                       Geospatial Data Reform Act

  Mr. President, in addition to urging the passage of the bill under 
consideration to fight human trafficking, I want to highlight another 
important bipartisan bill I have introduced and urge its speedy 
consideration. It is exactly the sort of productive legislating in 
which I believe the Senate should be engaged.
  I rise in strong support of the Geospatial Data Reform Act, a 
bipartisan bill that will save taxpayers money while improving public 
safety, bolstering public development and preserving our natural 
resources through wider accessibility to geospatial data.
  I am grateful for Senator Warner's collaboration on this bill. 
Without his partnership this legislation would not have been possible, 
and I wish to thank him for his support over the past several months. 
Together we have worked tirelessly to craft bipartisan legislation that 
streamlines the way Federal agencies collect, manage, and distribute 
geospatial data to better serve the American people.
  Whether we realize it or not, geospatial data is ubiquitous in our 
everyday lives. Geospatial data is the information that identifies the 
geographic locations and characteristics of

[[Page S1649]]

natural or constructed features and objects. To make this abstract 
concept more tangible, consider that every time we turn to the GPS on 
our phones we rely on geospatial data to find our destination. 
Geospatial data is an invaluable information resource, and we are just 
beginning to tap its full potential.
  Every year, private businesses and government agencies are finding 
new and innovative ways to use this information to better deliver 
services to the public and to improve overall quality of life. FEMA's 
use of geospatial data during Hurricane Sandy is testament to the 
merits of this information resource.
  The tragedy of Hurricane Sandy is still fresh in our memories. In 
2012, this late autumn storm ravaged our eastern seaboard, battering 
buildings, toppling homes, and demolishing power lines, leaving behind 
a wake of destruction and shattered lives. Sandy was the deadliest 
hurricane to reach our shores since Katrina in 2005. In addition to the 
human toll, Sandy extracted a heavy financial cost, with estimated 
damages exceeding well over $50 billion. By using geospatial data, our 
government was better equipped to respond to this catastrophe. As 
victims rummaged through the rubble and wreckage of their broken homes, 
FEMA set to work analyzing geospatial datasets to identify over 40,000 
homes damaged by the storm. This information allowed the Agency to 
pinpoint the most devastated neighborhoods and dispatch emergency 
personnel to those areas more quickly and efficiently. The use of 
geospatial data in response to this tragedy played an integral role in 
coordinating emergency response and helping families repair their 
damaged lives.
  The way FEMA used geospatial data to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy 
is just one powerful example of the positive impacts geospatial data 
has on our lives.
  But there are many more. The CDC also uses geospatial data to track 
disease outbreaks, informing decisions that ultimately save lives, the 
Department of Education uses geospatial data to analyze test scores 
from schools across the country to make plans for improvement, and the 
National Park Service uses geospatial data for resource management and 
to conserve our Nation's natural treasures.
  There is almost no end to the sundry uses and benefits of geospatial 
data, but as the Federal Government invests billions of dollars every 
year in the collection and storage of geospatial data, there is a 
serious problem of interagency duplication. This duplication stems from 
a glaring lack of coordination between agencies on efforts to collect 
this information. In short, agencies are spending inordinate sums in 
taxpayer dollars to collect the same geospatial data other agencies may 
have already collected.
  These duplicative efforts are a monumental and inexcusable waste of 
taxpayer money. Although the executive branch has been working for 
decades to reduce duplication and standardize the process for 
collecting and storing geospatial information, it has received little 
help from Congress.
  The legislation Senator Warner and I have introduced provides the 
executive branch the resources and direction it needs to reduce 
duplication and engender cooperation among agencies to ensure the 
efficient collection and dissemination of geospatial data across all 
levels of government. To save the taxpayers money, our bill requires 
Federal agencies to implement international consensus standards for 
geospatial data and assist in eliminating duplication.
  The Geospatial Reform Act also codifies the implementation of the 
national spatial data infrastructure and provides agencies with a clear 
definition for geospatial data and metadata.
  In addition, this bill standardizes the collection process by 
requiring agencies to comply with the Federal Geospatial Data 
Committee's standards for the development, sharing, and use of 
geospatial information.
  Finally, our bill ensures accountability, transparency, and public 
access to nondefense-related Federal investments in geospatial data. 
Already, States, counties, municipalities, and the private sector are 
discovering dynamic ways to use and share geospatial data with one 
  Collaboration in this sphere is leading the way for new and improved 
services that were previously impossible to deliver. These entities 
outside of the Federal Government are finding new ways to coordinate 
investments and implement common standards. We need to do the same on 
the national level. We need proper Federal management for these data 
assets, and we need a national strategy for their many uses.
  Our legislation provides the foundation for both. In a political 
environment clouded by polarization, this bill is a ray of hope. It is 
an opportunity for us to work together in a bipartisan fashion to pass 
commonsense legislation that is based on transparency and good 
  I urge all of my colleagues to support the American taxpayer by 
supporting this bill. It is the right thing to do.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business, and that following me, the Senator from Washington be 
allowed to speak.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                              Oso Mudslide

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, almost 1 year ago, on a calm Saturday 
morning in the small town of Oso, more than a square mile of mud rushed 
down a mountainside in my home State of Washington. In a matter of 
seconds, dozens of homes were destroyed, dozens of people were missing, 
and they were trapped in the debris from the mudslide.
  It was unclear at first the extent of the damage, the number of 
people trapped, and what could be done in the face of such devastation. 
First responders risked their own lives, braving dangerous conditions 
to look for survivors. Some were pulled from the rubble, but so many, 
too many, were lost. Houses over more than a square mile were simply 
swept away. The main highway to nearby Darrington was blocked, 
isolating that community. Forty-three people--children, mothers, 
brothers, and aunts--were killed.
  This was the deadliest mudslide in our country's history. A year 
later, there is not a single person in Oso who has not been affected by 
this devastating natural disaster. In the blink of an eye, they saw 
water and earth wipe away their homes and their entire community. Let 
me tell you what I found when I visited the small nearby town of 
Arlington, where recovery plans were being made just days after the 
mudslide occurred 1 year ago.
  I saw small towns like so many across the country in all of our 
States, the types of towns where everybody knows each other, the types 
of places where everyone stops to say hello and lend a helping hand. 
What I saw that day last March was a community where there was not a 
single person who was not doing every single thing they could to help.
  Amidst the terrible destruction, I saw hope. I spoke to firefighters 
who had not slept for days, refusing to stop searching for survivors. I 
saw neighbors and friends and volunteers providing food and shelter and 
hugs and prayers, anything to assist the community who had experienced 
the unthinkable.
  I want to tell one story from the days following that awful moment, a 
story that has been told before but bears repeating. A local woman 
named Rhonda Cook heard about the slide and she found out that her 
friend was driving by and was buried when the slide hit. Rhonda spent 
days digging through that debris looking for that blue car she knew was 
there somewhere, determined to bring her friend out of the mud.
  When that car was finally uncovered and her friend's body was lifted 
out, Rhonda paused to pay her last respects. But then she kept on 
digging, looking for others. Rhonda is just one of the many heroes. 
There were so many, and so many more who continue working to this very 
  Last year, I joined many others in a pledge to stand with the people 
of Oso and Darrington in the months and years to come and to do 
whatever we could to help them on the road to recovery. I was proud to 
work with my colleagues in the Senate and with our friends in the House 
to make sure the Federal Government was offering a hand, because we are 
a nation that sticks together when times are tough.

[[Page S1650]]

  We worked to secure housing grants and FEMA funding and 
transportation investments to repair State Route 530. More than 600 
National Guard soldiers were deployed to help in the emergency 
response. The main highway through Darrington reopened finally last 
summer. Homes are now being rebuilt. Lives are being pieced back 
together. While I am so grateful for all that has been done to aid the 
recovery, our work is far from done.
  Although the devastation will eventually be cleared, injuries will 
heal, the emotional scars will always remain, and the memory of those 
who were lost will never leave us. A disaster of this magnitude 
requires long-term assistance to help these communities respond, 
rebuild, and cope. Now a year down the long road of recovery, there is 
one word that comes to mind when trying to explain what the people of 
Oso and Darrington are at their core: resilient.
  Aid workers searched for remains to return to loved ones for as long 
as 4 months after that mudslide. A man who lost his wife and son gave 
thousands of dollars in donations to other victims who he thought 
needed the money more than himself.
  The people of Oso and Darrington will look back on March 22, 2014, 
this weekend, remembering lost homes and lost loved ones and even pets. 
I want those communities to know that all the way here across the 
country in the other Washington, I stand with Oso. We stand with Oso. 
Their resiliency in the face of such unthinkable devastation is an 
inspiration to us all. We will always remember what it means to be 
``Oso strong.'' They have the thoughts and prayers of everyone in the 
country to continue rebuilding, from Washington State to Washington, 
DC, and everywhere in between.
  I yield the floor to my colleague, Senator Cantwell, who, as I was, 
was there time and time again with this community.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleague from 
Washington, Senator Murray, on the observance of this very solemn 
milestone. This Sunday will be 1 year since this catastrophic event. I 
want to thank Senator Murray for something she did not mention, which 
is her leadership on helping us get passed the Green Mountain Lookout 
legislation in the aftermath of this event, which is legislation that 
she had championed for a long time and yet had been stuck. When people 
realized there were things we could do for this community to help 
restore its recreational and economic activity, she got on it and we 
were able to pass that very quickly. So I thank her for that 
  This Sunday is a very solemn milestone, because 43 Washingtonians 
lost their lives in a very destructive mudslide that buried the highway 
between the communities of Darrington and Oso and nearby Arlington. 
These communities lost loved ones, friends. Their memory will be with 
us for a long time. These communities have shown that even in the most 
unimaginable devastation, people can come together in unity and 
persevere. They showed how light and hope can shine through even in 
  Now, after many months, stores are reopening, the highway is again 
bustling, there are new connections of Internet and phone lines being 
restored, residents are rebuilding, and they are hoping for a brighter 
economic future.
  As my colleague said, we were very inspired by the hope and grace of 
this community, that continues to demonstrate that on a daily basis. It 
is hard to believe that a year has gone by. On that morning, it became 
just like every other morning, a rainy Saturday morning, and people 
went about their business. But as the heavy rain weakened one of the 
hills in the Stillaguamish Valley, the resulting landslide was 
approximately 1 square mile. Forty-nine homes were destroyed, 530 were 
covered, and the Stillaguamish River was basically rerouted. So many 
problems arose. But immediately more than 1,000 volunteers descended. 
Many from the local community, with their own transportation systems, 
their own rigs, came to the river and devoted thousands of hours to try 
to help survivors and to help the community recover.
  This American flag was hoisted by one of the firefighters. It is 
tacked to a standing nearby tree, just to show our resilience. Much 
like the American flag, this community was battered and bruised but was 
very proud. During those days, many Washingtonians would make sure that 
every resource was made available to this community. When faced with 
these immense challenges, these communities of Darrington and Oso 
pulled together and, yes, Oso became ``Oso strong.''
  It was a rallying cry for the volunteers, to the young people, to 
many people who were working many hours a day. Private companies and 
individuals, corporations, tribes, charities, nonprofits--all sorts of 
governments chipped in. Everybody helped. We want to thank them for 
that help. It was just a year ago that it seemed as though every 
resource covered the festival grounds and the Forest Service parking 
lot, FEMA, Snohomish County, the Department of Natural Resources, the 
National Guard, fire departments up and down the State. They continued 
to make sure everything was addressed--recovery efforts underway, local 
people gathered, such as the small business owner there in Darrington, 
Kevin Ash, who tried to keep a plan for every business to stay open.
  We looked at what could be accomplished for the future. Out of these 
meetings, we were able to secure a $150,000 grant from the Economic 
Development Administration to draft an economic disaster recovery plan 
for the community. That plan is set to be unveiled in June and help the 
local economy that once was heavily dependent on logging that was hit 
hard by this disaster.
  Senator Murray and I have worked with Mayor Dan Rankin from 
Darrington, whose leadership and on-the-job focus for this has helped 
the community continue to survive this incredible disaster. There are 
so many strategies Mayor Dan has put into place that are about how the 
community moves forward.
  Over the past year, the Small Business Administration awarded 
$400,000 in low-interest loans to help rehabilitate businesses in the 
area. It is helping the Darrington-Arlington economy and others in the 
affected area. Through their innovation and hard work, everybody is 
trying to help what is called the Upper Stillaguamish Valley not just 
get back to where it was but flourish in the future. This is some of 
the most beautiful territory in our State, from the heights of Glacier 
Peak to the depths of the Upper Stillaguamish Valley. This typifies the 
beauty of the Northwest.
  I want to make sure we thank the appropriate people who helped us in 
this response: President Obama, who visited the area; Homeland 
Secretary Jeh Johnson; FEMA Director Craig Fugate; obviously our 
Governor; Representative DelBene, who was there practically every 
moment of this disaster, from the moment it happened, for days and days 
and days, and then around the clock, shuttling back and forth between 
Washington, DC, and the site; Congressman Larsen; obviously SBA 
Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, who came to the site; the Red 
Cross; the Oso fire station.
  We talk about first responders here. But when you see first 
responders for small communities step up and address such an incredible 
natural disaster and coordinate everything--I want to say a thanks to 
Willy Harper from the Oso fire station, and Travis Hots, who was the 
incident command leader for the first several days from Snohomish 
County Fire District, which brought all of the resources together to 
try to make the planning and recovery efforts for this incredible 
disaster go as smoothly as possible; County Executive John Lovick and 
Sheriff Ty Trenary. I also want to say Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert 
did more for the community in using every resource she had to help 
support the recovery of these Washington residents. Some communities 
might say, well, that is somewhere down the road, and who is going to 
help us? But she put every Arlington resource onto this site, knowing 
it might be months and months and months before she ever saw any of the 
resources to reimburse them.
  We want to thank Arlington for everything they did. So while we will 
this weekend be having a moment of silence on the site, we have to 
remember the

[[Page S1651]]

individuals we lost, and how we need to move ahead. This hillside bears 
an unmistakable scar. It has inflicted deep wounds. But it is healing 
because of the friends and neighbors who have strengthened us in this 
  We want to make sure that the memories of those we lost will fuel our 
determination to do better. Regardless, it is not going to be easy, it 
is not going to be quick, but we will continue to build off of the 
strength this community demonstrated in the aftermath of this disaster.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Coats). Without objection, it is so 
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, on behalf of myself and Senator Heitkamp, 
I send an amendment to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The amendment will be received.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, for the past 10 days this body has been 
engaged in an important debate on a bill that has had widespread, 
bipartisan support, that was reported unanimously by the Senate 
Judiciary Committee, and that would help to end the scourge of human 
  I am a cosponsor of this bill because I believe it will help equip 
law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools they need to combat 
these horrific sex trafficking crimes.
  I, along with my colleague, Senator Leahy, have also introduced a 
bill--that we have filed as an amendment--that would reauthorize the 
Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs so we can also have a 
prevention piece in this legislation.
  Many Members of this body have worked very hard on this legislation. 
Senator Cornyn, whose bill we are considering, has been a real leader 
in the area of human trafficking. Senator Klobuchar also has a bill I 
have been proud to cosponsor. Senator Grassley and Senator Leahy, at 
the request of all 20 of the women Senators, held a hearing on this 
issue at which I was privileged to testify, along with Senator Ayotte, 
Senator Mikulski, and Senator Gillibrand.
  I applaud the Judiciary Committee for its work in shining a light on 
some of the darkest stories imaginable. No State is immune from the 
evils of human trafficking.
  Just recently in Maine, a couple was arrested for allegedly 
trafficking a girl who was only 13 years old. They used the Internet to 
sell her for sex.
  The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act that 
Senator Leahy and I have cosponsored seeks to prevent young people from 
ever getting trapped in these situations in the first place, and I hope 
we can move on to that bill, which we have filed as an amendment.
  But, regrettably, we find ourselves at an impasse--imagine that--an 
impasse on a bill that would help curb human trafficking. How can that 
  Senator Heitkamp and I have joined forces to try to move this bill 
forward. That is our goal, and the goal of the amendment we have filed.
  What our amendment would do, and it is very straightforward, is it 
would subject the fund that Senator Cornyn has created, and which I 
strongly support, to the annual appropriations process and to all of 
the usual restrictions that the Appropriations Committee can and does 
add to appropriations bills.
  There is precedent for taking a fund that is not financed by tax 
dollars and sending it through the appropriations process. It, frankly, 
happens all the time. We have seen it with the oil and gas revenues 
that go to the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Those are not tax 
  We have seen it with a number of fees and restitution programs that 
are not tax dollars but go through the appropriations process, where 
the Appropriations Committee can work its will.
  Under out amendment, all of the money collected from special 
assessments imposed on certain trafficking criminals and deposited into 
the fund would still be made available to anti-trafficking and victims' 
services grant programs, but only through the direction of the annual 
appropriations process. By placing the fund squarely within the 
jurisdiction of appropriators, each and every penny collected would be 
subject to the limitations in those appropriations bills. Our amendment 
would strike the reference that has been the sources of this 
controversy from this authorizing bill, but does not alter that 
restriction on federal funds that has existed for 39 years.
  Our amendment makes clear that money in the fund, or transferred from 
the fund, is subject to the limitations provided in appropriations 
  I believe our amendment, by allowing the Appropriations Committee to 
put whatever restrictions are appropriate on this fund--and I have no 
doubt the usual restrictions will be put on by the Appropriations 
Committee--could get this bill to move forward, and those such as 
Senator Cornyn, Senator Klobuchar, and others who have worked so hard 
to bring this bill to the Senate floor, will see there is a path 
  We owe it to the victims of human trafficking. We owe it to the 
victims of human trafficking. We owe it to them. We cannot fail in this 
task. If we cannot approve a bill to deal with human trafficking, then 
what will we be able to deal with?
  We have to get past the tendency to score partisan, political points 
that have affected too many bills on both sides of the aisle. In this 
case, it is simply too important.
  I thank my dear friend and colleague from North Dakota, Senator 
Heitkamp, who has been an attorney general, who has dealt with the 
victims of this terrible crime, for coming forward and joining with me 
as we attempt to put forth--for our colleagues' sincere consideration--
a path forward that will end this impasse.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Ms. HEITKAMP. Mr. President, I thank my great friend, the Senator 
from Maine. She has been so instrumental in achieving compromise in the 
body, whether it is in the Commonsense Caucus, when we were in shut 
down, or it is just bridging the gap many times and trying to find a 
path forward for us to legislate in the Senate. She truly is a champion 
in her efforts in trying to make this body work.

  I wish to start off by saying that as an attorney general, the whole 
while I was attorney general--for 8 years--there was very little 
activity on prostitution. When I was running for office, I visited with 
law enforcement--and I still have a lot of friends in law enforcement--
and I asked them: What are your challenges? Every local sheriff, 
especially those in western North Dakota, and every city chief of 
police said: We have a growing concern with prostitution.
  I started thinking about that. I started thinking about what that 
meant. Then I started looking behind what those claims of prostitution 
were, and I began to realize that for very many of these young women--
often children--who are in this life of prostitution, it is not by 
choice. This is some of the most horrific victimization that goes on in 
America today--the victimization of small children, the dehumanization 
of small children, the challenge of a recovery once they are given an 
opportunity to find a different path forward, the addiction that comes 
with it, the grooming that comes with it, and the shame that comes with 
  Many people say they want to prevent this, but very often we know the 
victims of human trafficking come from homes that weren't the 
healthiest of homes. These are very often runaways, they are homeless 
youth, and they have no other option for recovering, they have no other 
option for sustaining their life than being part of this horrific 
  So as my great friend from Maine talks about this, we need to do a 
better job in getting the tools for prosecution, which is the excellent 
bill Senator Klobuchar has advanced for promoting safe harbor 
legislation, which will not only help in the path to recovery but also 
will give us an opportunity to encourage more and more of these victims 
to come forward as witnesses for the prosecution. It is very difficult 
to convince someone who has been told for years and years, as they have 
been in the life, that ``If you tell about this victimization, what 
will happen is you will go to jail with me. So we have to

[[Page S1652]]

stick together.'' How do we break that cycle of control? We break it by 
providing opportunity, which these bills do. We break it by passing the 
homeless youth and runaway bill. We break it by focusing a bright light 
on this problem.
  I could not have been prouder of this body as we moved toward these 
series of bills on homeless youth and moved forward on these series of 
bills on trafficking. This body was speaking for some of the most 
disenfranchised citizens in our country--those victims of human 
trafficking. So you can imagine my despair and I think the despair of a 
lot of victims groups and the despair of a lot of people in this body 
when we reached this impasse.
  It is important that we say that the goal now is not to rehash what 
has happened in the past, it is not to rehash the problems and the 
concerns everybody has had in the past. We must set aside all of that. 
Set aside all of the rancor we have heard for the last week and focus 
on one thing: Focus on a victim who may be watching us. Focus on a 
victim's advocate who may be wanting and needing and desperately 
seeking the help we can provide that advocate in providing a secure 
future for these victims. Let's focus on them. Let's focus on what we 
can do to bridge this impasse.
  My friend Senator Collins and I think we have, as she has described 
it, advanced a proposal that we believe firmly resolves all the issues. 
It sets forth a path where we can, in fact, move forward and listen to 
the voices that don't get heard very often in places like Washington, 
DC, and respond to their concerns, respond to the victimization, be the 
empathetic body I know we can be by saying: Yes, we can help, and we 
will help.
  So my colleague and I hope this will at least generate enough 
discussion, provide at least enough of a bridge forward that we can 
continue to have the dialogue, continue to address amendments--if we 
can get through this--and actually move this issue forward.
  I yield to my great friend from Maine, but I would like to ask her a 
question. As an appropriator, I know there may be some controversy. She 
has raised this already. There is some discussion that this may not be 
an appropriate place to make this decision, and I would like my 
colleague to elaborate on the appropriations process.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. If I could respond through the Chair, Mr. President, I 
do have the privilege of serving on the Committee on Appropriations, 
and I have seen the restrictions we have put on funds over the years. 
One of those restrictions which is at issue here goes back 39 years. So 
it is not unusual for the Committee on Appropriations to put certain 
limitations on the use of funds.
  As I explained earlier, the Committee on Appropriations also deals 
with nontax dollars. It is not unusual for us to appropriate money that 
comes from the collection of fines, of fees, of penalties, from leases. 
This is common. So what we are proposing in this bill is not anything 
new, unusual, or unique. It would be part of the standard 
appropriations process.
  Indeed, Senator Cornyn actually raised the idea on the floor today of 
having the victims fund go through the appropriations process. We 
differ in language, so I don't want to imply there is any endorsement, 
but the concept is one the author of the bill has raised.
  So in response to my colleague from North Dakota, who has spoken so 
eloquently of her experience in dealing with the victims of human 
trafficking, I would assure her that as a member of the Committee on 
Appropriations, I know full well that we put restrictions and 
limitations on funding as a standard course.
  Ms. HEITKAMP. Mr. President, I would like to have a moment where we 
think about this body and how impressed everybody throughout the 
country is, how proud they are of our system of government, how proud 
of the great decisions that have been made in this room and of the 
great deliberations and the great debates. This truly is a remarkable 
government, and it is a remarkable system. But it has always been 
remarkable because it is not just the wealthy and powerful who have a 
voice in this body. With us comes the opportunity to speak for the most 
disadvantaged Americans, the most disadvantaged people in our system. 
And I cannot imagine a more horrific life than the life of being sold 
into prostitution. I cannot imagine a more horrific life than being 
enslaved through the horrible events of human trafficking.
  Let's speak for those victims. Let's speak for those advocates who 
work so hard, who have been so encouraged that an issue such as this 
has become a priority issue for the United States of America. Let's try 
to bridge this gap. Let's work across the aisle, and let's reach to 
find a way forward because these victims deserve our attention, they 
deserve this debate, and they deserve our voice.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I again want to thank my colleague from 
North Dakota for her very eloquent plea to our colleagues.
  I know we can do this. I know we can find a path forward. I know we 
can get a sufficient number of votes so that we can proceed and debate 
the many amendments that have been filed on this bill. I know we can do 
it. The victims of this horrific crime deserve no less from the United 
States Senate, so let's not fail them. Let's not fail them.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I come to the floor again today to talk 
about the importance of getting the bill passed, and we have seen today 
for the first time--I talked I think 3 hours yesterday--the need to 
change the tone and try to work across the aisle on some ideas to move 
forward with this bill. That is happening in many conversations in this 
Senate Chamber and in offices, and I am pleased that we have had a 
change in tone and that we have some possibility of moving forward. I 
thank my colleagues for that.
  Senator Cornyn and I have worked on this issue for a long time. In 
addition to the bill that is on the floor today, we also have the 
important safe harbor bill that I am leading and that Representative 
Erik Paulsen is leading in the House. This is a bill--since it went out 
of the Judiciary Committee unanimously and has none of the issues and 
controversy involved in the current bill on the floor--I hope will be 
able to get through this Senate Chamber in the coming week as either 
part of this bill or on its own.
  This safe harbor bill, of course, is about treating the victims of 
sex trafficking as victims and not treating them as criminals when they 
are 12 years old. It is taking a model from Minnesota and 15 States and 
now creating incentives to bring it out to the rest of the country.
  So what is it we have been talking about here over this last week? We 
are talking about 27 million people around the world who are victims of 
some kind of trafficking every year. Some of this is labor trafficking, 
but what we are focused on this week is sex trafficking. It is the 
third biggest criminal enterprise in the world. The first is illegal 
trafficking of drugs, the second is illegal trafficking of guns, and 
the third is illegal trafficking of girls and young boys. And the 
average age is 12 years old--not even old enough to drive a car, not 
even old enough to go to their first prom.
  Last year, I went to Mexico with Cindy McCain, and we met with a 
number of officials and prosecutors and victim advocates who were 
working to fight this crime in Mexico. We visited a shelter for abused 
girls. We met with the Attorney General and with the Federal Police. 
But what I most remember of all of those meetings as to how we could 
better coordinate our focus on sex trafficking was the visit to the 
Covenant House in Mexico City, where there were girls as young as 11 
years old who were victims of trafficking.
  There was one girl who truly stood out. Her name was Paloma. She was 
new to the house which had taken her in and was in the first stage of 
recovery. Unlike the other girls who spoke

[[Page S1653]]

through an interpreter, she could speak English, but all she could say 
was her name, and then she couldn't stop crying. And while some of the 
other girls told their stories, she never told her stories in words. 
She only told her story through her tears. That is a moment I won't 
  It reminded me of something I heard when I visited a refugee camp 
once in Jordan, where a mother said she had seen things that would make 
stones cry. That is what that little girl Paloma was saying through her 
tears, that the experiences she had had of being trafficked at 11 years 
old would make stones cry. These are real stories.
  When Polaris--one of the major groups working on this issue of sex 
trafficking--released their State-by-State rankings of efforts to fight 
human trafficking, here is what they had to say:

       The scope and scale of human trafficking within the United 
     States presents a daunting challenge to policymakers, service 
     providers, law enforcement, and advocates. Originally, human 
     trafficking was thought to be more of a problem in other 
     countries, but now it is known to be happening in our own 
     backyards. It is estimated that there are hundreds of 
     thousands of victims of sex and labor trafficking inside our 

  But what we know today is that 83 percent of the victims in the 
United States are from the United States. It is not just girls at the 
bottom of a ship--which does happen--it is girls right in our country, 
girls right in Minnesota, on the streets of Rochester, where just in 
the last few months we had a 12-year-old girl who got a text inviting 
her to a party, showed up at a McDonald's parking lot where she was 
supposed to go, a guy puts her in a car, takes her up to the Twin 
Cities, rapes her, takes sexually explicit pictures of her, puts them 
on the Internet. The next day she is sold on Craigslist to two other 
men and raped. That happened in Minnesota. That man has now been 
indicted by the U.S. Attorney's office. But we have seen these cases 
over and over again.
  People say, why is this getting worse? Why is the Senate debating 
this issue right now? It is because, as much as we love the Internet, 
we also know it has provided a vehicle for this kind of activity so 
that it is much easier for people to do behind closed doors where no 
one notices them basically get these young girls in their grasp.
  Yesterday I spent nearly 3 hours reading from a book by Nicholas D. 
Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn about international sex trafficking called 
``Half the Sky.'' I did that because I felt the tone had gotten so bad 
in this Chamber on both sides, with people hurling accusations and not 
even being willing to talk about possible ways to resolve this, and I 
am glad again that now we are finally talking today.
  They have another book about domestic sex trafficking, which is the 
focus of the bill on the floor today, as well as our safe harbor bill. 
They tell a story of a girl named Clemmie. The book is called ``A Path 
Appears.'' They say:

       One of the first women whom Becca helped was Clemmie 
     Greenlee, an African American woman who had been raped 
     repeatedly beginning at the age of five and then 
     systematically pimped from the age of twelve. Clemmie began 
     drinking at the age of eight, dropped out of school in fourth 
     grade, and soon became a heroin addict and an expert at 
     robbing johns. On one occasion she did more than steal. A 
     customer was beating her so badly, so she pulled out a knife 
     and stabbed him. ``I didn't see blood, so I stabbed him 
     again, four more times,'' she said. He almost died, but 
     fortunately for Greenlee he was a married man who begged the 
     police not to press charges, and without his testimony they 
     didn't have a case. She was freed.
       By 2001, Greenlee was a gaunt eighty-five pounds, sleeping 
     on the streets or in abandoned buildings, all of her money 
     was going to crack cocaine. She had had a son who was killed 
     in gang violence. She was seen as having so little commercial 
     value that pimps abandoned her. An old friend from the 
     streets found Greenlee in a crack house and dragged her over 
     to see Reverend Stevens at Magdalene.

  This is an example of what we are seeing across this country--right 
in our own country. These stories are so raw and so ugly, but I tell 
them and read from that book yesterday just so people remember why we 
are here and what we are dealing with, so we can put some of these 
issues--extraneous issues, things we need to change in the bill and fix 
in the bill, that we have some motivation to do it. These girls really 
don't know how to change the laws in Congress. They need our help to do 
  My good friend Cindy McCain, through her work at the McCain 
Institute--and I see Senator Rubio here from Florida, who is also 
familiar with that work and knows what she has done. They undertook a 
study looking to get some baseline data on sex trafficking around big 
events. We have seen what happens where we have increases in Web site 
advertising and other things, and we have seen what happens when law 
enforcement actually comes together across all jurisdictional lines--
Federal, State, and local--when the private sector engages, like our 
hotels--hotels like the Radisson Hotels in Minnesota. Marilyn Carlson 
Nelson has been such a leader on this, and has really set up and helped 
to fund foundations, because they see it. They know their workers are 
on the frontline and can actually stop it from happening--or airlines, 
like Delta, American, United that are on the frontlines and they train 
employees so they can stop this from happening.
  So, yes, these bills will help. The bill we have on the floor right 
now that Senator Cornyn and I worked on, and many others in this 
Chamber, will help get funds for the victims and for these shelters. 
The bill I am leading with Senator Cornyn will actually help to make 
sure our States get incentives to make sure we are handling these 
criminal prosecutions in a way that works, that emboldens the victims 
so they don't go back to the pimps, so they don't go back to that cycle 
of violence, so they actually feel they are in a safe harbor, that they 
are in a safe place so they will testify against these perpetrators--
the ones running these rings, these crooks, these people who are 
treating these young girls as chattel. That is what these bills are 
  So we need a path forward. I think for the first time today we are 
seeing--despite no agreement yet and a lot of ideas out there, we are 
seeing a different tone. I want people to remember that not only will 
this bill involve the fund I am talking about, but once we either join 
it or pass separately our safe harbor law, it will also create 
incentives for States to change their laws. It will also create a 
national sex trafficking strategy that is in my safe harbor law. It 
will also allow these young girls who are victims to be part of job 
training programs and other things, to make it easier for our law 
enforcement with an amendment that I included in my bill from Senator 
Sessions and Senator Whitehouse with the U.S. Marshals. There are many 
good things that are going to help.
  Mostly, we are going to send a message from this Chamber, finally, 
after all of this acrimony over the last days and all of the blame, 
that we can finally send a message to that little girl named Paloma 
that this country believes in her. We believe these lives have value, 
and we must stand by these victims and stand up for these victims--not 
only in our country but internationally.
  I thank the Presiding Officer. I thank my colleagues. I know these 
conversations are continuing as we work to find a path forward. I thank 
Senator Cornyn for the work we have done together. I look forward to 
getting this done.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be 
recognized to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, let me begin by acknowledging the work the 
sponsors of the human trafficking bill are doing. Trafficking is a 
sanitized way to discuss this issue. It is actually slavery, and I am 
glad that term is finding its way into the lexicon of how this is 
  It is not just the sex trafficking--sex slavery--it is also labor 
trafficking, which is a major problem in this country as well.
  I do hope we can find a way forward on this one. It is an 
extraordinarily important issue, one that has taken far too long to pay 
attention to. It is not something that happens just around the world, 
but it happens here closer than we think.


  Mr. President, I want to talk about a separate topic today as well. 
It is one a

[[Page S1654]]

lot of people have been reading about in the newspapers over the last 
72 hours.
  As we all know, there was an election in Israel this week, and many 
people are wondering: What is this aftermath of the election we keep 
reading about, where there is this controversy and back and forth? 
Certainly some of that happened a few weeks ago, when the Prime 
Minister of Israel visited Washington and spoke before the Congress. 
People are wondering, what is it that is going on here and why is there 
so much controversy around all this? I want to take a moment to delve 
deeper into this, because this is important.
  First of all, to answer the fundamental question: Why should we care 
about what is happening with Israel, in Israel, and about Israel? There 
are two reasons I think we should care.
  The first is because Israel represents everything we want that region 
of the world to be. Israel is a democracy, as evidenced by the vibrant 
election process they just underwent. Israel is a free enterprise 
economy, a developed economy, that provides prosperity for its people 
and its partners in trade and commerce. And Israel is a strong American 
ally--a democracy, a free enterprise, and a strong American ally.
  Don't we wish the entire Middle East looked that way? Don't we wish 
we had more countries in the Middle East that looked like Israel--that 
were allies, that were democratic, and had a free and prosperous 
economy? How much better would the world be if the Middle East looked 
more like Israel and less like Iraq and Syria and other places look 
like at this moment?
  There is another reason why we should care about Israel. Israel is 
not just another country. It has a special and unique purpose. It was 
founded as a homeland for the Jewish people in the aftermath of the 
Second World War and of the Holocaust, where over 6 million human 
beings were slaughtered. It was founded on the promise that never again 
in the history of the world would there not be a place for the Jewish 
people to go and be safe. It is not just a nation, it is a nation with 
a special and unique purpose unlike any other nation in the world, and 
I for one am proud that the United States has stood with Israel for all 
these years, and I am proud that the American people on a bipartisan 
basis have stood behind the Jewish State of Israel for all of these 
years. So the security, safety, and future of Israel is in our national 
security interest, as well as a moral obligation of every Member of 
this body and us as a nation.
  What are the underpinnings of Israeli security? There are two things. 
First, the ability of Israel to defend itself; and the second, the 
reality that if Israel ever has to defend itself, the United States 
will be there to support them.
  There is little doubt about the first pillar of its security. As the 
Prime Minister reminded us: Unlike many other countries, Israel is not 
asking us to send American soldiers or aircraft to support them. They 
are willing to defend themselves. But the second pillar, about strong 
and unquestionable American support, is increasingly being questioned 
around the world. And there is good reason why.
  Let's begin with the aftermath of this recent election.
  As far as I know--maybe this has changed in the last few hours--after 
this election, the President has yet to call the Prime Minister. That 
is unlike, of course, the fact that in March of 2012, he was among the 
first to call and congratulate Putin in Moscow. Or that in June of 
2012, he was among the first to call Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood 
when they won the Egyptian Presidency. Or that in November of 2012, he 
called to congratulate the top Chinese Communists on their new 
position--which, by the way, is not elected in the way you and I would 
consider there to be an election. Or the fact that in 2013, there was 
an historic phone call. They bragged about how he called the Iranian 
President and congratulated him on his election. And of course, in 
August of 2014, he called to congratulate Turkey's President Erdogan.
  And on and on.
  Time and again, this President has made a habit of quickly calling 
these leaders when they win. But as of 4:40 p.m. eastern time, as far 
as I know, that call has yet not been made. Thinking about all the 
things that have been going on with Israel, we would think he would be 
quick to make that call. It hasn't happened. Maybe it has already, but 
it certainly didn't happen fast enough.
  But where does this come from? Is this new? Is this something that 
just happened recently? It isn't. In fact, we can start to see the 
trends here pretty early.
  In October of 2008, then-Senator Obama told an audience in Cleveland:

       There is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says 
     unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud [one of the 
     political parties in Israel] approach to Israel that you're 

  Which is a silly comment to make, since at that time that party had 
been out of power.
  In January of 2009, the President, upon taking office, makes a quick 
phone call to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before 
he even phoned the Israeli Prime Minister. Abbas's spokesman Nabil Abu 
Rudeina quoted Obama as saying:

       This is my first phone call to a foreign leader, and I'm 
     making it only hours after I took office.

  In July of 2009, the President hosted American Jewish leaders at the 
White House, and he reportedly told them that he sought to put 
``daylight'' between America and Israel. Here is the quote that someone 
at that meeting says he made: ``For eight years [during the Bush 
administration] there was no light between the United States and 
Israel, and nothing got accomplished,'' he declared.
  In September of 2009, in his first address to the U.N. General 
Assembly, President Obama devoted five paragraphs to the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, during which he declared--to loud applause; by 
the way, in the United Nations, no surprise--``America does not accept 
the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.'' He went on to draw a 
connection between rocket attacks on Israeli civilians with living 
conditions in Gaza. There was not a single unconditional criticism of 
Palestinian terrorism.
  In March of 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton berated Prime 
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on a now infamous 45-minute call, telling 
him that Israel had ``harmed the bilateral relationship.'' By the way, 
the State Department triumphantly shared details of the call with the 
press. That same month, the Israeli Ambassador was dressed down at the 
State Department, and Mr. Obama's Middle East envoy canceled his trip 
to Israel, and the United States under his leadership joined the 
European condemnation of Israel.
  In May of 2011, the State Department issued a press release declaring 
that the Department's No. 2 official would be visiting ``Israel, 
Jerusalem, and the West Bank,'' as if Jerusalem was not part of Israel. 
So they left that separate.
  Later in the month, only hours before Mr. Netanyahu departed from 
Israel to Washington, Mr. Obama delivered his infamous Arab Spring 
speech, which focused on a demand that Israel return to its 
indefensible pre-1967 borders with land swaps.
  In November of 2011, an open microphone caught part of a private 
conversation with the President and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. 
Sarkozy said of the Israeli premier:

       I can't stand Netanyahu. He's a liar.

  But rather than defend Israel, the President piled on. He said:

       You're tired of him; what about me? I have to deal with him 
     every day.

  In February of 2012, at a conference in Tunis, Secretary of State 
Hillary Clinton was asked about Mr. Obama pandering to ``Zionist 
lobbies.'' She acknowledged that it was ``a fair question'' and went on 
to explain that during an election season ``there are comments made 
that certainly don't reflect our foreign policy.''
  In 2014, during the Gaza conflict, the White House and the State 
Department criticized Israel for the deaths of Palestinians who were 
being used as human shields by Hamas. But far worse and far more 
suggestive of the President's true feelings was the White House's 
decision to try and use arms supplies as a pressure point against 
  In October of 2014, an anonymous administration official called Prime 
Minister Netanyahu ``a chicken----'' I can't even finish it.

[[Page S1655]]

  That is what has happened up to this point. That is what has happened 
up to this point. What has happened now? An election just happened 2 
days ago. The first thing the White House says is: You used a lot of 
divisive language in that election. That is saying a lot from someone 
who has been elected at least once, probably twice, on extremely 
divisive language.
  But what about when Iran had a fraudulent election in 2009 and the 
people of Iran took to the streets to protest in the famous Green 
Revolution? You know what the White House said? We are not going to 
comment on that election because we are not going to interfere in the 
sovereignty of Iran. They will comment on the elections of an ally, 
calling the rhetoric of the election divisive. But when an enemy--which 
is what Iran is--has a fraudulent election and kills people who protest 
against it, we can't comment. We can't comment because that would be 
infringing on their sovereignty.
  The other thing that has happened is the Prime Minister made a 
statement about how a two-state solution isn't possible given the 
current circumstances. What does the White House do? They jump up and 
say: Well, that means we may have to reconsider. We may have to go to 
the United Nations Security Council now and support a resolution, and 
that means not to use our veto authority to stop a resolution that 
calls on Israel to create a Palestinian State with 1967 borders.
  Why would the Prime Minister of Israel say that, by the way? He is 
right; the conditions don't exist. Do you want to know why the 
conditions don't exist? First of all, let's go through the history of 
peace negotiations.
  In 2000, at Camp David, Israel offered the Palestinian Authority 
nearly all of the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem, and Gaza. The 
Palestinians said no. In 2000, Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon. 
Do you know what that is today? That is a place where they launch 
rockets against Israel.
  In 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza. Do you know what that is today? A 
place where they launch rockets from against Israel.
  In 2008, Israel offered--again, to the Palestinian Authority--nearly 
all of the West Bank, nearly all of Judea and Samaria and Eastern 
Jerusalem. The Palestinian authority said no.
  What about the Palestinian record? Let's begin with the fact that 
according to many reports, about 6 percent of the Palestinian budget is 
diverted to pay the salary of prisoners. That means the salary of 
terrorists, of people who have blown up centers and killed civilians, 
including Americans. They are being paid salaries and benefits, 
including with money from donors, such as the United States, Great 
Britain, Norway, and Denmark.
  Here is another material on how the PA routinely depicts a world 
without Israel. This is from a Palestinian schoolbook:

       Palestine's war ended with a catastrophe that is 
     unprecedented in history, when the Zionist gangs stole 
     Palestine . . . and established the so-called State of 

  Or what about this particularly horrific expression of ideology which 
appeared in a Palestinian Authority daily as far back as 1998:

       The difference between Hitler and [British Foreign 
     Minister] Balfour was simple: the former [Hitler] did not 
     have colonies to send the Jews to, so he destroyed them, 
     whereas Balfour . . . [turned] Palestine into his colony and 
     sent the Jews. Balfour is Hitler with colonies, while Hitler 
     is Balfour without colonies. They both wanted to get rid of 
     the Jews...Zionism was crucial to the defense of the West, 
     [by] ridding Europe of the burden of the Jews.

  This is from a daily of the PA. These are the people with whom we are 
pressuring them to cut a peace deal.
  What about this?

       The Palestinian Authority has named numerous locations and 
     events after Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing 
     Israeli civilians.

  What about this? This opinion piece appeared in the New York Times in 

       The Palestinian Authority's television and radio stations, 
     public schools, summer camps, children's magazines and Web 
     sites are being used to drive home four core messages. First, 
     that the existence of a Jewish state . . . is illegitimate 
     because there is no Jewish people and no Jewish history. . . 
     . Second, that Jews and Zionists are horrible creatures that 
     corrupt those in their vicinity. Third, that Palestinians 
     must continue to struggle until the inevitable replacement of 
     Israel by an Arab-Palestinian state. And fourth, that all 
     forms of resistance are honorable and valid, even if some 
     forms of violence are not always expedient. Instead of being 
     schooled in the ``culture of peace,'' the next generation of 
     Palestinians is being relentlessly fed a rhetorical diet that 
     includes the idolization of terrorists, the demonization of 
     Jews and the conviction that sooner or later Israel should 
     cease to exist.

  These are the people with whom this President wants to put pressure 
on them to cut a peace deal. I think Netanyahu is right. The conditions 
do not exist for a peace deal with people who teach their children that 
killing Jews is a glorious thing. The conditions for peace do not exist 
with a people--with a government, I should say, not a people. The 
people are victims of this government, the Palestinian Authority--not 
to mention Hamas, which teaches people that killing Jews is a glorious 
thing, that there is no such thing as a Jewish people, that any methods 
of destroying them is valid, that pays them salaries and benefits.
  This President is making a historic mistake. Allies have differences. 
But for allies such as Israel, when you have a difference with them and 
it is public, it emboldens their enemies--to launch more rockets out of 
southern Lebanon and Gaza, to launch more terrorist attacks, to go to 
international forums and delegitimize Israel's right to exist. This is 
what they are doing.
  This is a historic and tragic mistake. Israel is not a Republican or 
a Democratic issue. If this were a Republican President doing these 
things, I would give the exact same speech. In fact, I would be even 
angrier. This is outrageous. It is irresponsible, and it is dangerous. 
It betrays the commitment this Nation has made to the right of a Jewish 
State to exist in peace. No people on earth want peace more than the 
people of Israel. No people have suffered more at the hands of this 
violence and this terrorism than the people of Israel. They need 
America's support unconditionally. If there are differences, they need 
to be dealt with privately as we do with other allies.
  More than anything else, they deserve to be treated with more 
respect, not less than the respect this President and this White House 
is giving the Supreme Leader of Iran. He would not dare say the things 
about the Supreme Leader of Iran now that he is saying about the Prime 
Minister of Israel because he wouldn't want to endanger his peace deal 
or his arms deal that he is working out with them.
  I hope he will reconsider. I hope the bipartisan nature of our 
support of Israel is reinvigorated. I hope that once again this body, 
this Congress, and this government will recommit themselves to this 
extraordinarily important relationship, because if America doesn't 
stand with Israel, who would we stand with? If Israel--a democracy, a 
strong American ally on the international stage--is not worthy of our 
unconditional support, then what ally of ours around the world can feel 
safe in their alliance with us?
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, today I want to comment on the recent 
election in Israel and the Obama administration's outrageous reaction 
to it. Two days ago Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud Party won 
a decisive victory in the Israel election. For myself and on behalf of 
3 million Arkansans, I want to offer hearty congratulations to Prime 
Minister Netanyahu. I have the greatest admiration for the Prime 
Minister's visionary and courageous statesmanship, as well as his 
service as a young man in his country's elite special operations 
forces. Prime Minister Netanyahu and his family have paid the highest 
price over the decades in the fight against the common enemies of 
Israel and the United States.
  Yet let me also stress that the alliance between the United States 
and Israel is not an alliance for this or that Israeli statesman nor 
this or that Israeli political party. Nor, for that matter, does the 
alliance depend on whom or which party controls the White House or the 
Congress. Rather, it is an alliance between the American people and the 
Israeli people, between the ultimate defender of the West and the 
easternmost frontier of the West. Our alliance rests on our shared 
experiences and principles: our Judeo-Christian heritage, respect for 
the natural

[[Page S1656]]

rights of mankind, democratic self-government, market-based economics, 
and strong provision for our common defense. Israel's commitment to 
democratic elections demonstrated just this week an important 
distinction from many of their neighbors and why they are our closest 
ally in the region.
  Apparently, President Obama harbors such deep-seated and irrational 
antipathy for Prime Minister Netanyahu that he is now willing to upend 
this decades-long alliance. President Obama's antagonism toward Prime 
Minister Netanyahu is longstanding and well known. Last year, for 
example, anonymous administration officials used a vulgar epithet to 
question Prime Minister Netanyahu's courage.
  I will point out, as an aside, that anonymity is the Washington 
coward's shield, just as I am also compelled to point out that, so far 
as I know, neither the President nor his senior political aides served 
in our country's elite special operations forces, unlike Prime Minister 
  Back to my main point, in the last 48 hours, more anonymous 
administration officials have suggested a fundamental rethinking of the 
United States-Israel alliance, citing Prime Minister Netanyahu's simple 
restatement of fact that there can be no Palestinian State until 
conditions change. The Palestinian Authority must, at a minimum, eject 
Hamas from its governing coalition, reclaim control of the Gaza Strip, 
accept a demilitarized eastern border in Judea and Samaria, and 
recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State. As Prime Minister 
Netanyahu has said, if the Palestinians lay down their arms, there will 
be peace. But if Israel lays down its arms, there will be no Israel.
  The Obama administration, though, has gone off the deep end and let 
their personal bitterness towards the Israeli Prime Minister drive 
their public foreign policy toward our closest ally. Here are just a 
few quotes from administration officials suggesting a fundamental 
change in our relationship with Israel and a willingness to abandon 
Israel at the United Nations.
  One official said: ``We are signaling that [if the Israeli 
government's position is no longer to pursue a Palestinian state,] 
we're going to have to broaden the spectrum of options we pursue going 
  According to reports, that same official ``wouldn't rule out a 
modified American posture at the United Nations, where the U.S. has 
long fended off resolutions criticizing Israeli settlement activity and 
demanding its withdrawal from Palestinian territories.''
  Another senior White House official said:

       The premise of our position internationally has been to 
     support direct negotiations between the Israelis and the 
     Palestinians. We are now in a reality where the Israeli 
     government no longer supports direct negotiations. Therefore 
     we clearly have to factor that into our decisions going 

  Finally, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said:

       We're currently evaluating our approach. We're not going to 
     prejudge what we would do if there was a UN action.

  Some observers will dismiss these comments as the petulant response 
of a President and political operatives who didn't get their way in the 
elections this week. But there is something much more worrisome 
underway. While Prime Minister Netanyahu won a decisive victory, he 
still has just started assembling a governing majority coalition.
  These kinds of quotes from Israel's most important ally could very 
well startle some of the smaller parties and their leaders with whom 
Prime Minister Netanyahu is currently in negotiations. This raises the 
question, of course, if the administration intends to undermine Prime 
Minister Netanyahu's efforts to assemble a coalition by suggesting a 
change to our longstanding policy of supporting Israel's position with 
the United Nations.
  After all, if you were an elected leader in Israel's parliament, you 
surely would worry about the United States refusing to exercise its 
veto at the U.N. Security Council. Consider the United Nations' long 
and dark history of anti-Semitism.
  The U.N. Human Rights Council has condemned Israel in 45 resolutions 
since its creation in 2006. In 2013, the U.N. General Assembly adopted 
a total of 21 resolutions singling out Israel for disapproval and just 
4 resolutions for the rest of the world.
  Fifty percent of all emergency special sessions of the General 
Assembly over the last six decades were convened to denounce Israel. 
Meanwhile, no emergency special session has been called for any other 
state in over 30 years. Given this history and the stakes here and 
abroad, let me speak bluntly so there can be no misunderstanding. Under 
no circumstances will I or this Congress allow the Obama administration 
to abandon Israel to the United Nations or any other international 
institution or to change fundamentally the terms of our alliance with 

  This administration's latest outrageous pronouncement is even more 
difficult to understand as they simultaneously coddle the terrorist 
regime in Iran. The people of Israel should know the American people 
remain in solidarity with them in their quest to exist peacefully with 
their neighbors and that we will not allow them to be thrown to the 
jackals at the United Nations--a characterization made famous by a past 
Member of this body, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. I call on all 
Members of this body, including my colleagues on the other side of the 
aisle, to join with me in one voice supporting our ally Israel against 
the jackals.
  In the coming days--perhaps as soon as the debate over the budget 
resolution next week--I will propose legislation that reaffirms the 
longstanding policy of the United States to continue to defend Israel 
against attacks at the United Nations and other international agencies. 
I urge all Members of this body, including my colleagues on the other 
side of the aisle who have a long history of supporting Israel, to join 
me in supporting such legislation.
  Further, should the United Nations, its subordinate agencies, the 
International Criminal Court or any other international agency take 
adverse action against Israel, I will consider introducing legislation 
to restrict U.S. funding for the offending agency. Finally, if the U.S. 
Ambassador to the United Nations does not exercise the American veto 
against any anti-Israel resolution, I will also consider introducing 
similar legislation to restrict funding to the Ambassador's office.
  For decades, the relationship between Israel and the United States 
has transcended political and personal differences. Our shared 
interests were enough to overcome any ideology or personal 
disagreement, but I fear mutual respect is of little concern to this 
administration. The President and all those senior officials around him 
should carefully consider the diplomatic and security consequences of 
their words. This Congress certainly will.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Maryland.

                  Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise to discuss the ongoing crisis in 
Syria. Sunday, March 15, marked the fourth anniversary of the beginning 
of the Syrian civil war.
  Since this brutal war began, more than 3.8 million Syrians have fled 
Syria, 7.6 million have been displaced within Syria, and 12.2 million 
Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance. Most tragically, more 
than 205,000 people have died as a result of the war. This past year 
was the deadliest year since the conflict began, with more than 76,000 
dying in 2014 alone, including more than 3,500 children.
  One thing has remained clear over the last 4 years--the war tactics 
employed in Syria by both government and opposition forces represent 
gross violations of human rights and fly in the face of internationally 
accepted rules of war.
  The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on 
Syria has reported that the progovernment forces have murdered, 
tortured, assaulted, and raped civilians in Syria. Antigovernment 
groups have also engaged in murder, execution, torture, hostage-taking, 
and shelling of civilian neighborhoods. Medical workers and hospitals 
across Syria have also been targeted, but nowhere was the brutality of 
this war more evident than the events of August 21, 2013, when the 
Syrian Army, under the direction of President Assad, launched a 
chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs killing 1,400 Syrians.

[[Page S1657]]

  The United States, along with the international community, has a long 
tradition of upholding international norms, including holding 
accountable those guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The 
international community cannot stand by and allow the murder of 
innocent men, women, and children to go unchallenged. He must 
immediately bring Assad and all the perpetrators of gross human rights 
violations in Syria to justice. This cannot wait another year.
  Earlier this week, I reintroduced the Syrian War Crimes 
Accountability Act, along with my colleagues Senators Rubio, Menendez, 
Shaheen, and Peters. This bipartisan legislation establishes a Syria-
specific standard of reporting and accountability for crimes against 
humanity. The bill will require the U.S. State Department to report to 
relevant congressional committees on war crimes and crimes against 
humanity committed in Syria. This would include an account of war 
crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the regime of President 
Bashar al-Assad and violent extremist groups and other combatants 
involved in the conflict.
  Today, as I stand on the floor of the Senate, the violence is 
continuing unabated.
  Some of my colleagues may be aware of a Syrian defector and 
photographer named Caesar. Caesar fled from Syria in 2013 with more 
than 55,000 photos documenting the torture and murder of more than 
11,000 civilians. Last week, some of those photos were put on display 
at the United Nations.
  We must shine a light on the atrocities that have been committed in 
Syria and demand accountability. Ignoring these violations sends a 
message to the global community that war crimes and crimes against 
humanity are tolerable. The Syrian people deserve much more than that.
  On this fourth anniversary of the beginning of the Syrian war, we 
must recommit to supporting the Syrian people through humanitarian 
efforts and by holding those individuals and groups which are guilty of 
committing war crimes and crimes against humanity accountable for their 
  I ask my colleagues to stand with the Syrian people and join me in 
supporting the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act.

                            Lynch Nomination

  Mr. President, I will also take time to urge my colleagues to 
immediately bring Loretta Lynch's nomination to the floor of the U.S. 
Senate to be the next Attorney General of the United States.
  Ms. Lynch currently serves as the Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney for 
the Eastern District of New York. She has already been confirmed by the 
U.S. Senate. She served with great distinction as the U.S. attorney for 
the Eastern District.
  I had the chance to visit with her last January and talk to her 
firsthand about her vision to be the next Attorney General of the 
United States. She is extremely impressive, very well qualified, and 
has the right values to be the Attorney General of the United States.
  I will give a few examples. I know all of us are concerned about 
equal justice to the law. Well, Ms. Lynch has lived that through her 
own personal commitments. At Harvard Law School, she was a member of 
the Legal Aid Bureau, helping people who otherwise would not have been 
able to afford access to our legal system.
  Ms. Lynch has a long and distinguished record of prosecuting 
terrorists, sex traffickers, organized crime cartels, corrupt 
politicians, and dangerous gangs. She has been endorsed by a wide 
variety of law enforcement agencies and individuals.
  Put it this way: I have not heard anyone question her qualifications. 
I have not heard anyone question why she should not be confirmed to be 
the next Attorney General of the country.
  Loretta Lynch's nomination has been pending on the Senate floor as 
long as the five most recent Attorneys General combined. If we take 
five of the most recent Attorneys General and add all the time it took 
for their nominations to be confirmed, Loretta Lynch is now exceeding 
that. That is not fair.
  President Obama is entitled to have his team in place, and we have a 
responsibility to vote on his nominations. Let's do the right thing and 
take up this nomination, debate it, and then have Senators vote up or 
down, not maybe, on her nomination. We owe it to Ms. Lynch, the 
employees of the Justice Department, and the American people to have a 
newly designated Attorney General in place as the Nation's chief law 
enforcement officer and top defender of Americans' constitutional 
  With that, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.