(Senate - August 05, 2015)

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[Pages S6329-S6348]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 754, which the 
clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 28, S. 754, a bill to 
     improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced 
     sharing of information about cybersecurity threats, and for 
     other purposes.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). Under the previous order, the 
time until the cloture vote will be equally divided between the bill 
managers or their designees.
  The Senator from California.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, it is my understanding that although 
the Senate had been scheduled to vote at 10:30 on a cloture motion, 
that time might be changed. However, I wish to make some further 
remarks in addition to what I said yesterday on the Cybersecurity 
Information Sharing Act.
  I think it is fair to say that I have been very disappointed over the 
past couple of days that we have not moved to this bill more quickly 
and that we haven't reached an agreement to take up and begin 
considering amendments. There has been a lot of talk about committee 
jurisdictions and germaneness of amendments and process issues that the 
American people just don't care about and which, frankly, don't make 
anyone safer. So I wish to take a few minutes to point out what we are 
really talking about.
  Here are a few facts and figures. As I said in my remarks yesterday, 
cyber attacks and cyber threats are getting more and more common and 
more and more devastating. This isn't going to stop. It is going to get 
worse, and it affects everyone. That is why last night the White House 
had a simple message, and I hope my colleagues will hear it. A White 
House spokesman said yesterday: ``Cybersecurity is an important 
national security issue and the Senate should take up this bill as soon 
as possible and pass it.''
  Here is why this is so important.
  Last year the cyber security company McAfee and the Center for 
Strategic and International Studies, which we call CSIS, estimated that 
the annual cost of cyber crime is more than $400 billion--that is the 
annual cost--and could cost the United States as many as 200,000 jobs. 
That is not my analysis; that is the analysis of security experts. Also 
last year the cyber security company Symantec reported that over 348 
million identities were exposed through data breaches--348 million 
people had their data exposed.
  Poll information out this week from the Financial Services Roundtable 
shows that 46 percent of Americans were directly affected by cyber 
crime over the past year--that is almost one-half of the American 
population--and 66 percent are more concerned about cyber intrusions 
than they were last year. Why are people so concerned? Well, here is a 
list of 10 of the most noteworthy cyber breaches and attacks from the 
past year and a half.
  Of course, we all know OPM. June of this year, Office of Personnel 
Management. There was an announcement that roughly 22 million 
government employees and security clearance applicants had massive 
amounts of personal information stolen from OPM databases.
  Primera Blue Cross. In March of this year, Primera Blue Cross, a 
health insurer based in Washington State, said that up to 11 million 
customers could have been affected by a cyber breach last year.
  Anthem. In February 2015, Anthem, one of the Nation's largest health 
insurers, said that hackers breached a database that contained as many 
as 80 million records of current and former customers.
  Sony Pictures Entertainment. In November of last year, North Korean 
hackers broke into Sony Pictures Entertainment and not only stole vast 
amounts of sensitive and personal data but destroyed the company's 
whole internal network.
  Defense Industrial Base. A 2014 Senate Armed Services Committee 
investigation found over 20 instances in the previous year of Chinese 
actors penetrating the networks of defense contractors to the 
military's Transportation Command.
  JPMorgan Chase. In September of last year, it was reported that 
hackers broke in to their accounts and took the account information of 
76 million households and 7 million small businesses.
  Home Depot. In September of last year, Home Depot discovered that 
hackers had breached their networks and may have accessed up to 56 
million credit cards.
  EBay. In May of last year, it was reported that up to 233 million 
personal records of eBay users were breached.
  There are people here who are concerned with personal information.

[[Page S6330]]

Look at the breach of personal information that has taken place because 
we haven't been able to stop it.
  Destructive attack on Sands Casino. In early 2014, Iran launched a 
cyber attack on the Sands Casino in Las Vegas that rendered thousands 
of their electronic systems inoperable, according to public testimony 
of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper.
  Target. In December 2013, Target discovered that up to 70 million 
customers may have had their credit card information taken by hackers.
  That is just the last year and a half. This Senator remembers, before 
this was disclosed in 2008, when hackers broke into Citibank and broke 
into the Royal Bank of Scotland and robbed individuals in each one of 
more than $10 million. That was not made public for a long time because 
they didn't want anybody to know. That was 2008. That was 7 years ago, 
and we haven't done anything about it.
  Those are some of the breaches from the past year and a half. There 
are cyber crimes, theft of personal information, intellectual property, 
and money every single day.
  In 2011 and 2012, there were denial-of-service attacks against major 
Wall Street banks and Nasdaq, showing that our financial institutions 
are vulnerable. In 2012, Saudi Aramco, the world's largest energy oil 
and gas company, had three-quarters of its corporate computers wiped 
out in a cyber attack. We are vulnerable and these attacks will 
  This legislation, which was approved by a 14-to-1 vote in March and 
has been significantly improved since then, will not end these attacks, 
but it will greatly enhance the ability of companies and the U.S. 
Government to learn from each other about the threats they see and the 
defenses they employ.
  I would like to make a couple of comments about the bill on specific 
points, if I may. We have made some 15 privacy information improvements 
in this bill, and I would like to read page 16 of the bill on ``Removal 
of Certain Personal Information.''

       An entity sharing a cyber threat indicator pursuant to this 
     Act shall, prior to such sharing--
       (A) review such cyber threat indicator to assess whether 
     such cyber threat indicator contains any information that the 
     entity knows at the time of sharing to be personal 
     information of or identifying a specific person not directly 
     related to a cybersecurity threat and remove such 
     information; or
       (B) implement and utilize a technical capability configured 
     to remove any information contained within such indicator 
     that the entity knows at the time of sharing to be personal 
     information of or identifying a specific person not directly 
     related to a cybersecurity threat.

  That is the first personal information scrub in this bill.
  The second scrub is left to the agencies receiving the information. 
To that end, the Attorney General is directed to issue guidelines to 
all agencies once the information goes through the DHS portal and goes 
to the Defense Department or FBI or any other agency. Page 25 of the 
bill has details on the agencies' guidelines that will be developed to 
make a scrub:

       Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this 
     Act, the Attorney General shall, in coordination with the 
     heads of the appropriate Federal entities and in consultation 
     with officers designated under section 1062 of the National 
     Security Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 (42 U.S.C. 2000ee-
     1), develop, submit to Congress, and make available to the 
     public interim guidelines relating to privacy and civil 
     liberties which shall govern the receipt, retention, use, and 
     dissemination of cyber threat indicators by a Federal entity 
     obtained in connection with activities authorized in this 
       (2) Final guidelines.--
       (A) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall, in 
     coordination with heads of the appropriate Federal entities 
     and in consultation with officers designated under section 
     1062 of the National Security Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 
     (42 U.S.C. 2000ee-1) and such private entities with industry 
     expertise as the Attorney General considers relevant, 
     promulgate final guidelines relating to privacy and civil 
     liberties which shall govern the receipt, retention, use and 
     dissemination of cyber threat indicators by a Federal entity 
     obtained in connection with activities authorized in this 

  Then there is a section on periodic review.
  Then there is a section on content:

       The guidelines required by paragraphs (1) and (2) shall, 
     consistent with the need to protect information systems from 
     cybersecurity threats and mitigate cybersecurity threats--
       (A) limit the impact on privacy and civil liberties of 
     activities by the Federal Government under this Act;
       (B) limit the receipt, retention, use, and dissemination of 
     cyber threat indicators containing personal information of or 
     identifying specific persons, including by establishing--
       (i) a process. . . .

  And it goes on through page 27 of the bill. Everyone can pick it up 
and read it.
  Section (E) on line 27 says it must ``protect the confidentiality of 
cyber threat indicators containing personal information of or 
identifying specific persons to the greatest extent practicable. . . . 
  Somebody can pick up this bill and read the section, pages 25, 26, 
and 27, and see the second personal information scrub that is in this 
bill. It happens, first, the company must scrub the information and 
then, second, the government must scrub the information. I think those 
are very substantial mandates.
  I have been very disappointed by our inability to move this bill. 
Yesterday I cited the procedural history. This is the third bill we 
have dealt with. It gets into a question of committee jurisdiction, but 
the Intelligence Committee has been working on this issue for 5 years 
now. We have worked with companies. We have worked with technicians. 
Our staffs are very well aware of all the issues and the technical 
difficulties in putting together a bill.
  The earlier bills were fragmented. This bill has a solid support from 
over 50 different companies and associations. I want to read just a few 
of them.
  For the first time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the bill; 
the Software Alliance supports this bill; the Information Technology 
Council supports this bill; yesterday I received a letter from General 
Motors supporting this bill; the American Bankers Association; the 
American Financial Services Association; the American Insurance 
Association; Agricultural Retailers Association; Airlines for America; 
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers; American Cable Association; 
American Chemistry Council; American Fuel and Petrochemical 
Manufacturers; American Gaming Association; American Gas Association; 
American Insurance Association; American Petroleum Institute; American 
Public Power Association; American Water Works Association; Association 
of American Railroads; Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies; The 
Clearing House; Consumer Bankers Association; Credit Union National 
Association; Electronic Transactions Association; Financial Services 
Forum; Independent Community Bankers of America; Investment Company 
Institute. It goes on and on and on.
  I would point out Oracle and the National Association of 
Manufacturers support it; IBM; as I said, General Motors; and the U.S. 
Telecom Association support it.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that this list be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

    Supporters of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015

       U.S. Chamber of Commerce; BSA: The Software Alliance; 
     Information Technology Industry Council; American Bankers 
     Association; American Financial Services Association; 
     American Insurance Association; Agricultural Retailers 
     Association; Airlines for America; Alliance of Automobile 
     Manufacturers; American Cable Association; American Chemistry 
     Council; American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers; 
     American Gaming Association; American Gas Association; 
     American Insurance Association; American Petroleum Institute; 
     American Public Power Association; American Water Works 
     Association; ASIS International; Association of American 
       Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies; The Clearing 
     House; Consumer Bankers Association; Credit Union National 
     Association; Electronic Transactions Association; Financial 
     Services Forum; Financial Services Roundtable; Independent 
     Community Bankers of America; Investment Company Institute; 
     NACHA--The Electronic Payments Association; National 
     Association of Federal Credit Unions; National Association of 
     Mutual Insurance Companies; Property Casualty Insurers 
     Association of America; Securities Industry and Financial 
     Markets Association; BITS--Financial Services Roundtable; 
     College of Healthcare Information Management Executives; 
     CompTIA--The Computing Technology Industry Association; 
     CTIA--The Wireless Association; Edison Electric Institute; 
     Electronic Payments Coalition.

[[Page S6331]]

       Electronic Transactions Association; Federation of American 
     Hospitals; Food Marketing Institute; Global Automakers; 
     GridWise Alliance; HIMSS--Healthcare Information and 
     Management Systems Society; HITRUST--Health Information Trust 
     Alliance; Large Public Power Council; National Association of 
     Chemical Distributors; National Association of Manufacturers; 
     National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies; National 
     Association of Water Companies; National Business Coalition 
     on e-Commerce & Privacy; National Cable & Telecommunications 
     Association; National Rural Electric Cooperative Association; 
     NTCA--The Rural Broadband Association; Property Casualty 
     Insurers Association of America; The Real Estate Roundtable; 
     Software & Information Industry Association; Society of 
     Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates.
       Telecommunications Industry Association; Transmission 
     Access Policy Study Group; Utilities Telecom Council; Oracle; 
     National Association of Manufacturers Association; IBM; 
     General Motors (GM); US Telecom Association.

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. So I want to say something about jurisdiction of 
committees. The Homeland Security Committee is certainly free to do a 
bill. The Judiciary Committee is certainly free to do a bill. We have 
the one on the Intelligence Committee--and the Presiding Officer is a 
member of this committee--which has been working on this for a long 
time. We have done two bills previously. This bill, I believe, has hit 
the mark of support across the Nation, from the companies--both 
corporate and privately owned--that would have to use this.
  It is all voluntary. It does not force anybody to do anything they do 
not want to do. If one does share, and share according to the 
strictures of this bill, you are protected with liability insurance. If 
you reduce it to its basic elemental truth, it is the on-ramp to cyber 
security protection in this country. It gives companies the ability to 
talk to each other about a well-defined cyber threat indicator, to talk 
with the government, and to be able to take advice from the government. 
If they follow the bill, they don't have to worry about a lawsuit. That 
is what this bill does.
  So this Senator must say we have made at least 15 different privacy 
amendments to meet individual Senators' needs. There is a managers' 
package, a substitute amendment, if you will, that takes out any use of 
this information from being used for any other purpose--violent crime--
other than cyber security because a number of Senators weighed in, and 
they felt it could be used to be monitored as a surveillance bill.
  This is not a surveillance bill. What it is meant to be is a 
voluntary effort that companies can enter into with some protection if 
they follow this law. It gives the Attorney General the obligation to 
come up with secure guidelines to protect private information.
  It is very hard for me, candidly, to understand why this has become 
such a big issue because we protect privacy information. Today out in 
this vast land of the Internet, there is very little privacy 
protection. You can see that by the cyber interruptions. You can see 
that by the use of insurance data by company to company. You can see 
that by companies that are designed to accumulate data about an 
individual so they can sell that data to other companies, which can 
tell you who uses a credit card, how you use it, where you use it, and 
at what time you use it. To me that is a privacy violation.

  We have taken every step to prevent privacy violations from happening 
under this bill. Yet there are individuals who still raise that as a 
major concern. I believe it is bogus. I believe it is a detriment to us 
in taking this first step to protect our American industries. If we 
don't pass it, the thefts are going to go on and on and on.
  I understand that the cloture vote has been postponed until 2 
o'clock. I will vote for cloture. I believe we have, in good faith--
Senator Burr and I, the committee as a whole, the staffs on both sides 
of the aisle--gone out of our way to listen to Senators, to present 
amendments where they felt they were workable and applicable to the 
bill. We need to get on with it because the litany I read in the last 
year and a half of almost half of the American people being affected by 
cyber crime cannot go on.
  I make these remarks and hope at least it can clear the air somewhat, 
so when a cloture vote does come at 2 o'clock, we will have the votes 
to proceed to the bill.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the Democratic leader and myself 
continue to discuss the way forward on cyber. I think we have made some 
progress, but to make that more possible for us to reach some kind of 
agreement, I now ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding the 
provisions of rule XXII, the cloture vote with respect to the motion to 
proceed to S. 754 occur at 2 p.m. today; further, that the mandatory 
quorum call under rule XXII be waived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. 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.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the time 
during quorum calls be charged equally to both sides.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. 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. 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.

                      Nuclear Agreement with Iran

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, this is not the first time, nor will it be 
the last time that I speak in this Chamber about the Iran nuclear 
agreement. I listened to some of the hearings on this subject in both 
the House and the Senate, last week, and I want to provide a bit of my 
perspective on the challenge before us.
  I was a law student in Washington during the 1962 Cuban Missile 
Crisis. My wife and I were living probably 2 miles from the White 
House, and we were paying very close attention to what might happen. 
Afterward, as more of the history came out, we realized that some of 
President Kennedy's top advisers and Members of Congress pushed for a 
military attack on Cuba--actually, a military attack against the then-
Soviet Union. A war between the two nuclear superpowers would have at 
the very least risked the annihilation of both countries. Fortunately, 
President Kennedy had the thoughtfulness, patience, and fortitude to 
resist the pressure to go to war.
  It is not easy to stick with the long road of tough negotiations when 
many are clamoring for a military solution rather than negotiations. It 
is the same today as it was back in the time of the Cuban Missile 
  Today we are considering an agreement at the end of such negotiations 
between the United States and our allies, and Russia, China, and Iran 
to curb an illicit nuclear program that threatens the Middle East and 
the world.
  I know from my conversations with the President and with Secretary 
Kerry and Secretary Moniz how difficult this was. I also know from my 
conversations with them that they were prepared to walk away rather 
than settle for a bad deal. But based on what I have heard so far, this 
is not a bad deal.
  There are aspects of the agreement that I and others have legitimate 
questions about, but we already know a lot about it.
  We know that prior to negotiations, Iran's nuclear program was 
hurtling forward despite multinational sanctions.
  I remember back in September of 2012, I had been named the Senate 
delegate to the U.N., and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke. He 
warned that Iran was within months--months--of producing a nuclear 
bomb. Well, whether or not that was accurate then, it certainly is not 
accurate if this agreement is implemented.
  We know negotiations succeeded in freezing Iran's nuclear development 
in place, and now we have an agreement to roll back Iran's program.

[[Page S6332]]

  We know that this is the most rigorous monitoring and inspection 
regimen ever included in a nonproliferation agreement. Actually, I 
think it is a lot more rigorous than many observers predicted it would 
  We know that without this deal, the monitoring and the onsite 
inspections would go away, and so would support for the international 
sanctions we painstakingly built. Remember, it took years for us to put 
together a coalition of other countries to impose the sanctions. Many 
of them did so at great economic cost to their own economies, but they 
stuck with us because they thought we would negotiate in good faith and 
that diplomacy could succeed. If we walk away now, many of these 
countries are going to say: OK, you are in this by yourself. The United 
States can impose sanctions, but they will be nowhere near as effective 
as they were when we joined you.
  We know that the sanctions reprieve in this agreement is limited and 
reversible. It is structured so that many sanctions remain in place, 
sanctions in which other countries have joined us. If Iran fails to 
meet its commitments, we and our partners can revoke the limited relief 
and we can impose additional sanctions.
  Some criticized this agreement within minutes of the agreement being 
announced. They are long on scorn, but they are short on alternatives.
  Again, I remember that speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu years ago 
when he warned that Iran was just months away from building a nuclear 
weapon. Today, people are expressing concern about what may happen 15 
years from now, not a few months from now. They ignore the fact that if 
Congress rejects this agreement, Iran can immediately resume its 
development of highly enriched uranium. Iran can build a nuclear weapon 
in far less than 15 years. I would ask, is that the alternative they 
  Or is it another war in the Middle East, which our senior military 
leaders say could spiral out of control and at best would delay the 
resumption of Iran's nuclear weapons programs by 2 to 3 years, after 
which it would not be subject to international inspections?
  Some of the most vociferous critics of this agreement reflexively 
supported sending American troops to overthrow Saddam Hussein and 
occupy Iraq. We did this after having hearings and meetings in which 
the Vice President of the United States implied that Iraq was involved 
in the attack on 9/11 and made it very clear that they had weapons of 
mass destruction.
  I voted against that war because I read the intelligence files, and 
they were very clear that there was no credible evidence that Iraq had 
weapons of mass destruction, and it was very clear that they had 
nothing to do with 9/11. That colossal mistake killed or maimed 
thousands of Americans, hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, and 
by now has cost more than $2 trillion and the meter is still running--
$2 trillion. It is the first time in this Nation's history when we went 
to war on a credit card; we didn't enact a tax to pay for it. Even 
unpopular wars, like Vietnam and Korea, were paid for.
  Is it the critics' alternative to reject this agreement and then 
somehow convince the other parties to it--Russia, China, and the rest 
of the P5+1--to impose even stronger multilateral sanctions? Have they 
bothered to ask officials in any of those governments what the chances 
of that would be? Certainly the statements those officials have made 
make it very clear that those chances--to use a precise expression--are 
  I am as outraged as anyone by Iran's support of terrorism, its 
arbitrary arrests and imprisonment of Americans, its denial of due 
process, its use of torture and other violations of human rights, and 
its summary executions of political opponents, just as I object to 
similar abuses by many countries we deal with every day.
  But as horrific as Iran's behavior is, it pales compared to the havoc 
Iran could wreak if it obtains a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran 
could commit acts of terrorism that dwarf by thousands or even millions 
of times over those it engages in today. There is simply no comparison.
  A workable agreement doesn't just buy more time, it can also buy more 
opportunities. In Iran, the impetus for reforming its hostile and 
destabilizing foreign policy comes from the Iranian people. For 
decades, the Iranian middle class has been smothered--first by a 
revolution that crushed their aspirations and then by a regime that 
imposed the harsh consequences of its own criminal behavior on the 
Iranian population.
  Ordinary Iranians overwhelmingly do not want an empire; they want 
more economic opportunities, freedom of expression, and to reengage 
peacefully with the world. With this agreement, the Iranian middle 
class can continue to be a factor in future negotiations.
  It is well understood that in the Congress, we agree or disagree, we 
debate, and we vote. That is one of the reasons I wanted to be a Member 
of this body. Ideally, we do so in a manner that reflects the respect 
each of us owes to this institution. For a nation of over 300 million 
Americans, there are only 100 of us who have the privilege at any given 
time to serve in this body. We are but transitory occupants of the 
seats the voters have afforded us the opportunity to occupy. In 
carrying out our responsibilities, we should do our best to live up to 
the standards of those who created what we take pride in calling the 
world's oldest democracy.
  I mention this because, as I said earlier, I listened to portions of 
the hearings in the various House and Senate committees on the Iran 
nuclear agreement at which the Secretaries of State and Energy 
testified. Presumably, they were asked to testify because the members 
of those committees had questions and concerns about those agreements 
and wanted to hear the witnesses' responses. However, rather than a 
respectful, substantive exchange, what has too frequently occurred has 
been an embarrassing display of political theater.
  What we have heard is a series of speeches often containing 
assertions or accusations that are either contradicted by the actual 
words of the agreement or without factual basis, and then they are 
followed by questions the witnesses were unable to answer because when 
they tried, they were interrupted or told the time had expired.
  Many Vermonters have talked to me about those hearings. They were 
often embarrassing to watch, and they did a disservice to the American 
people who deserve to know that their representatives are engaged in a 
substantive, in-depth exchange of views on the hugely important issue 
of how to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
  I have questions myself because, short of unilateral surrender by one 
party, every agreement involves compromise. That is as true for 
international diplomacy as it is for the Senate. Neither side gets 
everything it wants. Anyone who suggests that was a possible outcome 
here is fooling themselves or, even worse, deceiving the voters who 
sent them here.
  The President has been unwavering in his insistence that the goal of 
this agreement is to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I 
commend him for his vision and resolve. I have spoken with him at 
length about this.
  I will say to my colleagues what I said to the President. It is now 
up to Congress to carry out its oversight responsibility. We can strive 
to make this work, keeping in mind the vital national security 
interests at stake for our country and for our allies, or we can 
impulsively sabotage this chance.
  But we should engage in this process in a manner that enhances the 
image of the U.S. Senate and that affords those in our government who 
spent years forging this agreement the respect and appreciation they 
  Mr. President, there have been many thoughtful articles and opinion 
pieces written about the Iran nuclear agreement. I am sure there will 
be many more. I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record one 
of those articles, authored jointly by Eric Schwartz and Brian Atwood, 
two former Assistant Secretaries of State.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                      [Commentary, July 30, 2015]

                Cheerleaders for War Are Still so Wrong

      congress needs to ``practice history'' and ok the agreement.

                  (By Eric Schwartz and Brian Atwood)

       In ``Practicing History,'' historian Barbara Tuchman 
     observed that there are ``two ways of applying past 
     experience: One is to enable us to avoid past mistakes and to 
     manage better in similar circumstances next time; the

[[Page S6333]]

     other is to enable us to anticipate a future course of 
       Tuchman would find it strange today that many of the 
     loudest opponents of the Iran nuclear agreement are the same 
     prominent individuals and organizations who unequivocally 
     supported the most significant national security blunder by 
     the U.S. in recent memory, the war of choice in Iraq.
       As evidence has accumulated since the failure to find 
     weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the price of that 
     foreign policy engagement has become obvious to most. The 
     cost to the U.S. includes trillions of dollars lost to future 
     generations of Americans, tens of thousands killed or 
     injured, the opening of a Sunni-Shia Pandora's box of 
     sectarian strife, the ascendance of Iran and the diminished 
     influence of the U.S. in the Middle East.
       Remarkably, there are still unrepentant cheerleaders for 
     that war, as well as those who argue that the U.S. invasion 
     was a good idea in principle that was just executed poorly. 
     And they are among the most influential voices opposed to the 
     agreement with Iran.
       Why does it matter that the pundits who were so convinced 
     about invading Iraq more than a decade ago now pursue with 
     passionate certainty the defeat of the diplomatic effort 
     involving Iran?
       It matters because, then and now, these voices suffer from 
     a greatly exaggerated view of the ability of the U.S. to 
     unilaterally dictate geopolitical outcomes that we desire. In 
     the case of Iraq, this was perhaps best expressed by former 
     Vice President Dick Cheney who, when pressed before the war 
     on our capacity to remake Iraqi society, argued that we would 
     be ``greeted as liberators.'' Of course, the experience in 
     Iraq, the resulting ascendance of Iran and reduced U.S. 
     influence in the region have only further diminished our 
     capacity to act without the support of others and have 
     underscored the importance of smart power--diplomacy backed 
     with all of the resources at our disposal to achieve our 
       The nuclear agreement, now endorsed unanimously by the 
     United Nations Security Council, is long and complex, and it 
     is presumed that Congress will study carefully the details. 
     Are the verification provisions adequate and does the 
     International Atomic Energy Agency have the resources to 
     monitor compliance? What is the process by which sanctions 
     could be reimposed if violations occur? Are all paths to a 
     nuclear bomb blocked? What are the alternatives to this 
     approach and are they acceptable to the American people?
       Our expectation is that a serious examination of this 
     agreement should win over a bipartisan majority. The 
     agreement's substantial reductions in uranium stockpiles and 
     installed centrifuges, robust inspection regime and 
     dramatically diminished capacity for an Iranian breakout and 
     ``race to a bomb'' provide unprecedented means to ensure Iran 
     will meet its stated commitment to never build a nuclear 
       But these elements will not win over those with an 
     unrealistic view of the capacity of the U.S. to play the Lone 
     Ranger in international politics. And while opponents say 
     they support diplomacy, the so-called alternatives they would 
     prefer--like pressing for a harder line on sanctions relief--
     would put us at odds with our allies, be rejected by Iran and 
     increase the risks of another war in the Middle East that 
     would be tragic for both the U.S. and for Israel.
       The nuclear agreement will of course pose challenges for 
     U.S. policymakers, as sanctions relief will provide benefits 
     to Iran and opportunities to make mischief in the region. But 
     through our continued presence, support of regional friends 
     and allies, and an enforceable nuclear agreement, we have the 
     strongest capacity to manage such challenges effectively.
       Americans must hope that Congress will be preoccupied with 
     the substance of the Iran agreement and the poor alternatives 
     to it, and not be influenced by voices of the past that cling 
     to dangerous views about our prospects as a go-it-alone 
     superpower. Congress should ``practice history'' and 
     recognize that this agreement has the potential to interrupt 
     the downward spiral in the region, from conventional war and 
     terrorism to nuclear conflict.
       Forcing the president to veto a rejection resolution would 
     reflect badly on the Congress and the United States of 
     America. Even worse, overriding a presidential veto would 
     have grave implications for the U.S., for Israel and for the 
     region for many years to come.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I will speak further on this subject, but I 
see no other Senators seeking the floor. While I do appreciate the 
opportunity to be here, I must admit that, looking at the weather and 
live views of Vermont this morning, I will look forward to the time we 
complete our work because after the last vote of this week, I will be 
on the first flight I can get on and look forward to being in Vermont. 
I will miss all of you, of course, but not so much I want you all to 
come and join me.
  With that, Mr. President, 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. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). Without objection, it is so 

                     Working Together in the Senate

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, as Senators get ready to head home for 
the August recess, I think it is a good time to look back at what we 
have been able to achieve so far this year.
  I would say, by any measure, the record of the Senate this year has 
been one of great accomplishments and bipartisan achievements because 
we have worked together to find solutions to help the country move 
  With Republicans in charge, the Senate set a very fast pace for the 
first 100 days of the new Congress. We have kept up that pace now over 
the first 6 months of the Congress, and we are going to continue to 
build on that momentum for the rest of the year and, I believe, achieve 
even greater success on behalf of all Americans.
  Under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans are now 
governing, and we are doing it in a bipartisan way, just as we 
  The Senate passed the first budget resolution with the House since 
2009--the first one since 2009. The Appropriations Committee passed all 
12 spending bills for the first time in 6 years. We passed the longest 
reauthorization of the highway trust fund in almost a decade. The 
Senate passed trade promotion authority for the first time since 2002. 
We passed a permanent doc fix to prevent Medicare payment cuts--after 
17 temporary patches since 2002. And the Senate ended Washington's 
test-based education policies by making States responsible and 
  A lot of people in Washington have written about gridlock, and they 
had gotten used to the gridlock when Democrats ran the Senate. Now they 
are starting to realize the Senate really is working again. They 
realize we can actually get things done. That is not me speaking. That 
is what the Bipartisan Policy Center recently said. This is a group of 
former Republican and Democratic Members of Congress. They came out 
with a report called their ``Healthy Congress Index.'' They did it for 
the first 6 months of 2015.
  The headline of the report was ``Continued Signs of Life in 
Congress.'' Continued signs of life--imagine that--actual signs of life 
and activity taking place in Congress this year.
  This bipartisan group reported that the total number of days worked 
is up from previous years--15 more days worked just so far in the first 
6 months of the Senate compared to last year. That is 3 more weeks of 
work on the Senate floor than the year before under Harry Reid.
  The Bipartisan Policy Center also said the committees are actually 
working again. ``Congressional committees have been extremely active, 
reporting a significantly larger number of bills than the previous two 
Congresses.'' That is because the committees are working again. In the 
first 6 months of this year we had 102 bills reported out of committees 
in the Senate, compared to just 69 in the first 6 months of the last 
Congress and just 42 in the Congress before that. Now, that is just 
through the end of June. Our committees have produced even more bills 
since then. So committees are working--and we are working together--to 
push out bipartisan bills.
  Right now both Houses of Congress are in a 60-day period of 
scrutinizing the Iran nuclear agreement. We are able to do that because 
the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act had unanimous support in the 
Foreign Relations Committee--Republicans and Democrats voting 
together--and then it got overwhelming bipartisan support on the Senate 
floor. That is just one more way the Senate is working again.
  So far in this Congress we passed more than 64 different bills. The 
highway trust fund legislation was bipartisan. It will fund highways 
and transportation all across the country, and 26 Democrats voted in 
favor of that legislation. We passed the education reform bill with 40 
Democrats in favor. When we passed the trade promotion authority, 14 
Democrats joined Republicans to get that done. These important pieces 
of legislation are just part of our commitment to work together to 
solve problems for the American people.
  Even Tom Daschle--Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate leader--

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recently said: ``The good news is that Congress is continuing to move 
in the right direction: staying in session more often, empowering 
committees to work together.'' That is from a former Democratic 
majority leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle. He is exactly right. The 
Senate is working again, we are moving in the right direction, and we 
are just getting started. I am hopeful that we can continue to work 
together to find solutions on more issues that matter to the American 
  There is still a lot of work to be done, specifically related to our 
economy. People want a healthy economy. But there is still far too much 
redtape and regulation coming out of Washington, and it continues to 
strangle our economy.
  New numbers came out last week about the slow pace of economic growth 
over the first half of the year. One of the headlines came out last 
Friday about the slow pace and it said: ``Worst Expansion Since World 
War II Gets Even Worse.'' ``Worst Expansion Since World War II Gets 
Even Worse.'' The article says: ``The economy expanded at a 2.3 percent 
annual rate in the second quarter [of the year], once again falling 
short of projections for a decisive rebound and raising concerns that 
the six-year old expansion will never pick up steam''--will never pick 
up steam, ever. So the recovery from the last recession has been far 
weaker than recoveries from other recessions under Presidents Reagan 
and Clinton.
  One reason is that the Obama administration has tied the hands of 
those who hire others. It makes it much harder to get our economy going 
again. Hard-working families are still struggling because their wages 
are not growing.
  That is what another set of government numbers said on Friday. 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment costs had their 
worst gains ever in the second quarter of the year.
  What does the White House plan to do about it? What is President 
Obama's plan for ``Worst Expansion Since World War II Gets Even 
Worse''? What does the President want to do about it? Well, on Monday 
President Obama and the administration announced its so-called--so-
called--Clean Power Plan, and it is going to mandate massive new 
redtape and job-crushing regulations. It is a national energy tax.
  More Americans will lose their jobs, and more hard-working families 
across the country will be hit with higher electric bills. Congress can 
stop this costly and destructive regulation from taking effect, and 
that is where we are headed.
  The way to do it is by passing a bipartisan piece of legislation 
called the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act.
  The American people have seen that Congress is capable of coming 
together to take on important issues, and this is certainly one.
  Hardworking Americans are extremely anxious for us to continue 
working together to solve some of these problems that continue to face 
our country. We have done it before, and we can do it again, as long as 
we have a willing partner.
  The Senate passed the bipartisan Keystone XL Pipeline jobs bill. Then 
President Obama vetoed it.
  We passed an appropriations bill out of committee that funded the 
Department of Defense at the levels the President requested, and the 
Democrats here in the Senate have blocked those funds for our troops. 
In fact, Democrats are blocking all of the appropriations bills, 
including ones that passed out of the committee with bipartisan 
  The American people want their elected representatives in the Senate 
to deal with these issues. The American people want to see us get past 
the gridlock once more--as we have already done so many times this 
year. The American people want us to tear down the barriers to stronger 
economic growth so they can get back to work, they can earn a decent 
wage, and they can take care of their families.
  This Senate has accomplished a lot in the first half of the year. I 
believe we can do even more in the second half of the year. That is the 
commitment Republicans made to the American people, and we are keeping 
that commitment.
  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.
  Mr. DURBIN. 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. DURBIN. I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                      Nuclear Agreement With Iran

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I have had the honor of serving in the 
Senate now for three terms, and I'm in my fourth term. I have been on 
the Senate floor a major part of my public life and witnessed a lot of 
things that have occurred here. I remember quite a few of them, but the 
one that sticks in my memory goes back to 2002. It was the end of 
September or the beginning of October--I will get the exact date--and 
there was a critical debate taking place on the floor of the Senate 
that went late into the night. The final vote happened around midnight. 
The question was whether the United States should be authorized to 
invade Iraq.
  I remember that debate because we were still reeling from the tragedy 
of 9/11. We were still determined to keep America safe. We worried 
about our vulnerabilities and our strengths. The George W. Bush 
administration, after several months of preparing for this debate, led 
most Americans to believe that Saddam Hussein, the leader in Iraq, 
possessed weapons of mass destruction. Some of the testimony even 
suggested those weapons could threaten our allies, our friends, and 
even the United States of America.
  It was in that context that a decision was made to invade Iraq, but 
first the decision had to come through Congress. The American people 
had their chance through their elected representatives in the Senate 
and the House to make that decision.
  The public sentiment behind the war in Iraq was overwhelmingly 
positive as we voted. The belief was that we had to stop Saddam Hussein 
before there was another attack on the United States like 9/11. 
Sentiments ran very high. The rhetoric was heated.
  I remember that night. I remember there were two of my colleagues on 
the floor after everyone had gone home. One was Kent Conrad, the 
Senator from North Dakota, and the other was Paul Wellstone, the 
Senator from Minnesota. Now, 23 of us had voted no on authorizing the 
war in Iraq. It included the three of us who remained.
  I was up for reelection, as was Senator Wellstone. I went to Paul 
Wellstone in the well of the Senate and I said: Paul, I hope that vote 
doesn't cost you the election in a few weeks.
  Paul Wellstone said to me: It is all right if it does. This is who I 
am and this is what I believe, and the people of Minnesota expect 
nothing less.
  The story unfolds. In the ensuing weeks Paul Wellstone died in a 
plane crash before the election took place, but I still remember that 
moment, and I remember what I considered to be an act of conscience by 
my friend and colleague from Minnesota.
  I thought about the thousands of votes that I have cast in the House 
and the Senate, and only a handful are still right there in front of 
me. They include the votes that you cast that relate to war. You know 
if you vote to go to war even under the right circumstances, innocent 
people will die. Americans will die. There is no more serious or grave 
responsibility than to take those questions of foreign policy as 
seriously as or more seriously than virtually any other issue.
  Fast forward to where we are today. We will leave this week and be 
gone for 4 or 5 weeks and return in September. The first item of 
business will be the Iran agreement. I view this vote on the Iran 
agreement in the same class as the vote on the war in Iraq. It is a 
question, a serious foreign policy question, about whether Iran will be 
stopped from developing a nuclear weapon. We have added into this 
conversation the decision of Congress as to whether they approve the 
President's treaty. That doesn't often happen, but it will in this 
  We have to look at the possibility that Congress will reject the Iran 
treaty. Even if the President vetoes it, there is still a question as 
to whether

[[Page S6335]]

Congress would override that veto. We have to ask ourselves: What 
happens if this Iran agreement comes to an end? Military action--some 
form of military action.
  One of the Senators on the other side of the aisle assured us 4 
days--we will take care of the Iranian nuclear problem in 4 days. He 
wasn't here when we were told the war in Iraq would last 2 weeks. So 
4,844 American lives later, with tens of thousands injured, and 
trillions of dollars spent, that war ended with a result that none of 
us really view as a success for American foreign policy. Now we face 
that same question. Those who would reject the Iranian agreement have a 
responsibility to come to this floor and explain what happens next.

  Yesterday we called a meeting. I asked the Ambassadors from the five 
nations that joined us in the negotiations with Iran to come meet with 
Members of the Senate on the Democratic side. We had the Ambassador 
from Russia, the Ambassador from China, the Ambassador from the United 
Kingdom, and the Deputies Chief of Mission from Germany and France. 
About 30 Democratic Senators gathered to ask questions in a completely 
off-the-record, informal atmosphere.
  The first question asked was, what happens if Congress rejects this 
Iranian agreement? What happens the next day? What is the next step? 
They said the notion that we will sit back down at the table with the 
Iranians, in the words of one of these Ambassadors, is far-fetched.
  We have spent 35 years bringing Iran to this table. These nations 
joined us in an effort to try to stop Iranians from developing a 
nuclear weapon. These nations are satisfied that what we have put 
together is an agreement that is verifiable with inspections.
  When I think back to Ronald Reagan, I didn't agree with him on a lot 
of things, but I sure agreed with what he said when it came to these 
agreements, ``trust, but verify.'' There is verification in this 
agreement. The IAEA, which is the United Nations group that inspects 
atomic facilities around the world, is tasked with inspecting and 
reporting and continuing to investigate Iran throughout the life of 
this agreement.
  Can we trust them? Well, just as a historic reminder, it was the IAEA 
that said to the United States: There are no weapons of mass 
destruction that we can find in Iraq.
  We ignored them. We invaded. We paid a heavy price for it. It turns 
out they were right. Some of our leaders were just plain wrong. The 
agency has credibility, it has a track record, and it is authorized 
under this agreement to move forward.
  What struck me, as I looked at those Ambassadors sitting across the 
table from 30 Members of the Senate yesterday, was how historic this 
moment is. China, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the 
United States were all together negotiating, trying to bring at least 
some modicum of peace to the Middle East. Some of the statements that 
were made were compelling.
  A gentleman from the German side said: I won't go into the history of 
Germany--you know it well--but I will tell you we are more committed to 
the survival of Israel than any nation in Europe.
  Any student of history knows exactly what he was speaking of. Now we 
have an opportunity to turn to diplomacy to avoid the military and 
avoid war. And what do we find? In April of this year, 47 Senators on 
the other side of the aisle sent a letter to the Ayatollah in Iran, the 
Supreme Leader of Iran, and said: Do not negotiate with President Obama 
and the United States. Whatever you think you have agreed to is subject 
to congressional approval, and don't expect the next President of the 
United States to abide by any agreement.
  Forty-seven Senators from the other side of the aisle signed that 
letter. What would have happened if 47 Democratic Senators had sent a 
letter to Saddam Hussein before the invasion of Iraq and said the same 
thing: Don't negotiate with President Bush. Don't even think that you 
can avoid a war.
  I think they would have had us up on charges. At least Vice President 
Cheney would have. But in April, before the agreement was even 
announced on the other side of the aisle, 47 Senators said: Don't waste 
your time negotiating. I think they are wrong.
  I think we ought to go back to the words of John Kennedy. John 
Kennedy said: We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should 
never fear to negotiate.
  Leaders in our country--Republican Presidents--have stepped up to 
that negotiating table with a flurry of criticism that they would even 
sit down with these enemies of the United States and try to find a more 
peaceful world. Ronald Reagan sat down with Gorbachev looking for 
containment of nuclear weapons. It was Richard Nixon, another 
Republican President, who sat down with the Chinese to open relations 
with them while the Chinese were supplying and fortifying the North 
Vietnamese fighting American forces. Despite that criticism, they had 
the courage to sit down and look for a diplomatic way to find a more 
peaceful world, and that is what we face today.
  This Iran agreement is our opportunity to test diplomacy, and I 
invite Israel, our friends and allies in Israel, to join us in holding 
Iran to the letter of the law in this agreement. Join us in reviewing 
these inspections. Join us in calling for the availability of these 
facilities so we know exactly what is going on with Iran from this 
point forward. Let's join together in a force to make this a more 
peaceful world. I think this is our chance. I know this is a vote of 
conscience for me, and I am sure it is for all of my colleagues. I hope 
there will be the courage to try diplomacy before we turn to war.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, in the days ahead, we are facing one of 
the most consequential issues we will face as a nation--this issue of 
an agreement with Iran. Some people want to make this into a partisan 
conversation. It is not a partisan conversation. It is a national 
security issue, and it is a world security issue.
  The Senate has already held multiple hearings on Iran and on this 
particular agreement with the Intelligence Committee I sit on, the 
Armed Services Committee, and the Foreign Relations Committee. I 
personally met with Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, Secretary of Energy 
Ernest Moniz, and Secretary of State John Kerry. I have been through 
the agreement and the classified portion of this agreement in every 
  I wish I could also go through the IAEA information about how the 
inspections will actually occur because the agreement itself gives 
broad statements. The IAEA agreement will be the narrow, practical 
version of how they will actually do inspections. I have been told over 
and over again by the administration and by officials that the United 
States will not have a role in determining how the inspections will be 
done and that they will not even see the methods of how we will do 
inspections before they actually begin.
  They told me they have been orally briefed on the process, but they 
have not actually seen it, which means since they haven't seen it, I 
can't see it. It seems odd to me that the final aspect of the agreement 
that actually gives the greatest detail of how the inspections will 
occur none of us can actually see. It is difficult to have this 
``trust, but verify'' attitude when we were not given the ability to 
verify how they are verifying it and to see how much trust is actually 
being given in this process.
  The White House has told us over and over again that if you don't 
like this deal, there are two options--it is either war or provide a 
better solution. I am telling everyone: Let's slow down. Let's look at 
both of those things, and let's also back up and see where we are.
  For years the United States and the United Nations said that Iran 
should not enrich uranium. In fact, there are six U.N. resolutions 
saying that Iran should not enrich uranium. Why? Because Iran is the 
single largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Iran has 
propped up the Assad regime in Syria. They are paying the soldiers to 
walk side by side and to fight with Assad right now and hold up that 
Syrian Government. Iran is paying for and propping up the coup that is 
in Yemen right now on Saudi Arabia's southern border. They are still 
chanting in the streets ``Death to America,'' and they are actively 
pursuing larger and larger

[[Page S6336]]

weapons. I think there is a reason to take this seriously.
  Now, back to the statement by the White House. They have said: If you 
don't agree with this agreement, then it is either war or you come up 
with a better option.
  I will briefly touch on those two issues. I think in many ways this 
agreement actually pushes us faster to a process towards war. Why would 
I say that? Because the conventional weapons ban is lifted under this 
agreement, and Iran can freely purchase weapons from around the world 
that have been banned by a U.N. treaty, and that is now lifted under 
this agreement.
  To pacify the Gulf States and Israel, the administration immediately 
went to the Gulf States and said: We understand the conventional 
weapons ban is being lifted there, so we are going to provide you 
greater technology and weapons, and we are going to provide you greater 
access to weapons and help to be able to get those weapons.
  So help me understand why encouraging the Middle East to start 
dialing up with more and more weapons on both sides of this doesn't 
actually push us towards war even faster?
  Then there is this statement about providing a better solution, as if 
this is the only option that is sitting out there. Well, the agreement 
itself was written in such a way that the U.N. would approve this 
first, the European Union would approve it second, and then the U.S. 
Congress would get it third. That was intentionally done to try to add 
pressure to this Congress to say: You can't turn away from this. The 
rest of the world has signed on to it, so you can't turn away from it.
  This Congress should not process things under fear, and this Congress 
should not process things by saying: You are the last in line so you 
better sign up to where the rest of the world is.
  We have to look at this because we are directly affected by this 
issue. Remember, Iran has said over and over again that the United 
States is the great Satan in the world. Anyone who believes that Iran 
wants to be able to come alongside us and be a peaceful member of the 
club is not listening to what Iran is actually saying, not to mention 
this whole theory of, if you don't sign onto this agreement, there is 
no better deal.
  Last week Bloomberg reported that the French senior diplomat, Jacques 
Audibert--the senior diplomatic adviser to President Hollande, the 
individual who led the French diplomatic team in discussions with Iran 
in the P5+1 group, and the one who was in the room--earlier this month 
directly disputed Kerry's claim that a congressional rejection of the 
Iran deal would result in the worst of all words, the collapse of 
sanctions, and Iran racing to a bomb without restrictions.
  The French senior diplomat actually said: If Congress votes this 
down, there will be saber-rattling and chaos for a year or two, but in 
the end nothing will change and Iran will come back to the table and 
negotiate a better deal that will be to our advantage.
  I will run that by again. He said he thought if Congress votes this 
down, we will get a better deal. That means two things: He believes, 
again, that Iran will come back to the table on this, and he also 
believes there is a better deal out there, and that this is not the 
best deal we can get.
  After going through the agreement, I have very serious concerns about 
it. I am concerned there are loopholes in this agreement that are big 
enough to drive a truck through. Specifically, this truck is the truck 
that is big enough to drive it through.
  I will go through some of my concerns. This agreement assumes that 
the intelligence community can identify locations in a country the size 
of Texas--all the locations--for a possible inspection, notify the IAEA 
which places they should go, and that we would be able to contact Iran 
and get permission from them to visit those sites, which takes 
approximately 1 month--I will go into greater detail on that--and that 
we will actually access those sites and find the information we want 
  The IAEA is reporting that they can actually only track for uranium. 
So all of the other research that goes into building a nuclear weapon, 
they couldn't actually track that after 24 days, but if there was 
uranium there, they feel confident they could actually track that. So 
basically, if we are in the final stages of their assembling something, 
and we catch them and we are able to get permission to get in there, we 
could get to it. Not to mention the fact that the Iranian leaders have 
said over and over again since the agreement was signed that there is 
no way that the IAEA will get access to military sites in Iran. That is 
a loophole big enough to drive this truck through.
  The IAEA has to give 24 hours' notice of its intent to inspect, and 
then Iran has 14 days to let the inspectors in. Of course, they can 
stall for 10 more days in the agreement itself. That is 25 days, 
minimum, to hide whatever they are working on. That is a lot of time to 
be able to move computer equipment and all sorts of installed things. 
At the end of it, the IAEA would say, we can actually determine if 
there were ever uranium there even after 25 days, but basically nothing 
  We have incredible people who work for us in the intelligence 
community that most Americans will never see and never meet. There are 
some amazing, patriotic Americans, but they can't see everything and 
they can't catch every needle in the haystack that is in Iran. It would 
help the intelligence community, and it would help us in our 
inspections, if we had access to the previous military dimensions for 
the nuclear weapons program that Iran has had on board. But the 
agreement itself only says we have to get all things from right now 
forward, that we don't have to have the documents previous. And if we 
do, Iran will actually pick the documents that we will see previous in 
their nuclear practice.

  So now we have to find a location with no previous documents, with no 
way to be able to really see what research they have done and how far 
advanced they are. We are looking for different things, if there are 
different stages of their research and development on a nuclear weapon. 
To say in the agreement we are not going to have to get all the 
previous research they have done in the past is an enormous loophole 
and it is a definite detriment to what we are doing in our own 
  Iran has to dramatically decrease the number of centrifuges that are 
spinning and cascading to enrich uranium. That is true, and I am glad 
for that. They have to pull out what is a known stockpile and reduce 
it. I am glad of that, and that is a positive thing. But Iran can 
continue to enrich uranium with 5,000 cascading centrifuges, just in 
smaller amounts and using their older centrifuges. Again, that sounds 
like a win. But there is no reason, if they have peaceful purposes for 
uranium, to keep 5,000 centrifuges spinning--if they are only doing it 
for peaceful purposes.
  Iran can continue testing their advanced centrifuges in small 
cascades--their IR-6s, their IR-8s.
  Iran can continue doing research and development on their most 
advanced form of centrifuges. Worst of all, they can keep over 1,000 of 
their most advanced centrifuges still in a cascade in their most 
heavily fortified facility. They just have to promise they won't put 
uranium in there. But they can continue to do testing and development 
so when that time comes, they will be ready to accelerate uranium 
faster. So, basically, they can do everything in the process, except 
include uranium at that point.
  We are allowing them time to increase their research, with 1,000 
centrifuges in their most advanced level. Why would we agree to that? 
That doesn't seem to be a pathway to peaceful purposes. That seems to 
be a pathway to high-grade uranium and the development within country.
  I have already mentioned that within just a very few years, the 
conventional weapons ban is lifted in this agreement, allowing 
additional conventional weapons to flood into the single largest state 
sponsor of terrorism in the world--not to mention the fact that what is 
flooding in before all of those conventional weapons are billions of 
dollars that have been held in sanctions.
  Now, again, there has been no change on tactics of terrorism. There 
has been no change of statement from the leadership of Iran, but they 
are getting billions of dollars. Under sanctions, they used their money 
to prop up Yemen to form a coup there and to prop up Assad

[[Page S6337]]

in Syria. What are they going to do with an additional $60 billion, $70 
  The administration has said they desperately need that money so they 
can do infrastructure. They are getting billions of dollars. No one is 
going to tell me a major portion of that is not going to be used for 
  As the administration has said, we have built in snapback sanctions 
so that if Iran violates something, immediately we will snap back the 
sanctions. But if we actually look at the details of how those snapback 
sanctions happen, it is months and months in the process of getting 
everyone back together and forming an agreement that we are going to do 
that. And if we snap back sanctions, written into the agreement it says 
Iran can then--if we snap back sanctions--kick out their part of the 
agreement as well and consider it a violation of the agreement and walk 
away, and now there are no restrictions on them. So, basically, we are 
the ones that are punished if we ever snap back sanctions. If we snap 
back sanctions, Iran could say, see, I told you so, and then 
immediately kick into the normal process they were into before. By the 
way, their advanced centrifuges are already spinning. They are still 
continuing. Nothing was diminished. I haven't even mentioned that their 
research and development can continue on all of their weapons systems. 
All of that is unabated. The only limitation seems to be around 
enriched uranium, but everything else continues the same.
  I was also appalled as I went through this agreement and saw the 
leader of the Quds Force, General Suleimani, who personally coordinated 
the creation, distribution, and installation of improvised explosive 
devices in Iraq designed to kill Americans. This leader personally was 
engaged in killing hundreds of American soldiers in the war in Iraq--
hundreds. The sanctions on that general are lifted so he can have 
normalized relationships worldwide, and four American hostages remain. 
Can someone tell me why for the murderer-of-Americans general, his 
sanctions are lifted, but American citizens still remain hostages in 
  I have to tell my colleagues, I was stunned by many things that were 
in this agreement and how many loopholes were built into it, but none 
surprised me more than the part of the agreement that we made as a 
country, apparently, that if Iran is attacked, the United States will 
now come to their defense. Help me understand this. As they continue a 
nuclear weapons program, if a country steps in and attacks them and 
says no, you can't do that, that is a violation and we are going to 
stop that, the United States is now agreeing to come defend Iran as 
they are advancing their nuclear program? Have we lost our mind?
  Now, the administration, when asked about this, just said it won't 
happen. If it won't happen, why did we put it in the agreement? Why is 
it there at all? There seems to be a struggle to be able to get an 
agreement more than it is a struggle to say we have to prevent the 
world's largest sponsor of terrorism from getting a nuclear weapon at 
any cost. This is not about slowing their nuclear program. It should be 
about stopping their nuclear program.
  This cannot come to our doorstep. This cannot come to the Middle 
East. And while the Middle East further weaponizes to prepare for a 
more aggressive Iran, we continue to step up and say we will help you 
weaponize, and I don't see how that is deterring us from war.
  There is a better agreement out there, and we should push to get it. 
We should take care of the loopholes that are big enough to drive a 
truck through. We should resolve this issue. We should not pretend this 
is a partisan issue. This is not about Republican versus Democrat. This 
is about peace. This is about trying to work out the differences--and 
the differences are strong--with all nations and Iran. Let's work that 
out together, and let's keep pushing until we get this resolved.
  I cannot support this agreement with Iran.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak in favor of the 
Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015.
  I wish to first recognize the hard work of Chairman Burr and Vice 
Chairman Feinstein and their leadership on this very important 
legislation. As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am 
well aware of the need to strengthen our computer networks against our 
adversaries, whether they be nation-states, such as China, Russia, and 
Iran, or terrorist groups or international criminal gangs or 
  Along with former Senator Joe Lieberman, I authored the Intelligence 
Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. This bill implemented many 
of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission report in the wake of Al 
Qaeda's terrorist attack on our country that took the lives of nearly 
3,000 people. Many of the reforms enacted in our law were well-known 
and recommended prior--far before--the attacks on our country on 9/11, 
but they simply were never implemented, despite the clear and present 
threat posed by Al Qaeda.
  Today, my concern is that we are repeating much the same mistake when 
it comes to the cyber domain. Our Nation has unparalleled strength, but 
cyber space allows much weaker adversaries to target our people, our 
economy, and our military.
  Just as modern passenger planes designed in the United States were 
turned against us and used as weapons back in September of 2001, so too 
could the digital tools designed in the United States be turned against 
us to deal a devastating blow to our economy, our national security, 
and our way of life.
  We already know many of the steps necessary to reduce the likelihood 
of a cyber 9/11, yet many of these actions have not yet been taken in 
either the government or the private sector. As one former official 
told the 9/11 Commission last year in preparation for its 10th 
anniversary report, ``we are at September 10th levels in terms of cyber 
preparedness.'' How many experts have to tell us that it is not a 
matter of if we are going to be the subject of a major cyber attack but 
when? How many more serious intrusions do we have to have in the 
private sector with banks, major retailers affected or in the public 
sector, where we have had the huge and serious OPM breach which affects 
some 21 million Americans? How many more of these do we have to have 
occur before Congress finally acts?
  Consider the fact that the economic and technological advantages that 
the United States enjoys today required decades of research and 
development and investment of literally billions of dollars. Yet these 
competitive edges are eroding because hackers and other countries are 
stealing the intellectual property that gives us our competitive edge 
in the world.
  Three years ago, when I stood on the Senate floor with Senator Joe 
Lieberman to urge the passage of the Cyber Security Act of 2012, which 
we wrote, I quoted the then-NSA chief, General Keith Alexander, who 
said that we are in the midst of the greatest transfer of wealth in our 
Nation's history. Yet this transfer of wealth continues and 
accelerates. Information sharing remains fragmented, and the private 
sector is still hesitant about sharing and receiving information with 
government. We have lost 3 years and endured endless, expensive data 
breaches since the Senate refused to stop a filibuster on our cyber 
bill in 2012. I urge my colleagues: Let's not make the same mistake 
  Passing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 would make 
it easier for public and private sector entities to share cyber threat 
vulnerability information to stop the theft of trade and national 
security secrets, to stop the theft of personally identifiable 
information, and to help stop the theft of important information that 
all of us hold dear and consider to be private.
  The bill would eliminate some of the legal and economic disincentives 
impeding voluntary two-way information sharing between private industry 
and government. It is a modest but essential first step, especially for 
businesses, large and small, trying to protect their networks and 
  Just this week, I met with an individual whose trade association has 
been compromised, according to the FBI. Indeed, back in 2012, when we 
were debating whether to bring the Lieberman-Collins cyber security 
bill to the Senate floor, one of the chief opponents was being hacked 
at that very time but did not know it until the FBI went to

[[Page S6338]]

that business organization and informed them.
  While this bill promotes sharing between the government and the 
private sector--and that is an important and essential step--it does 
little to harden the protection of Federal networks or to guard the 
critical infrastructure on which we rely every day. Thus, I am 
introducing, with several of my colleagues, two amendments to further 
strengthen our Nation's cyber security posture. It would be a good 
first step if we could just pass this bill as it was reported by the 
Intelligence Committee, but I believe also strengthening the civilian 
side of the Federal Government and our critical infrastructure is 
essential for us to do the job completely and effectively.
  I want to make clear that I recognize there is no law we could ever 
write that is going to prevent every cyber attack. That is not 
possible. But there are effective actions we can and should take that 
would lessen the chances of these attacks occurring and that would 
decrease the opportunities for these intrusions. So we must act. It is 
incumbent upon us.
  For the millions of current, former, and retired Federal employees 
whose personal data was stolen from the poorly secured databases at the 
Office of Personnel Management, the threat posed by adversaries to 
inadequately protected Federal networks is all too real. As the FBI 
Director testified before the Intelligence Committee in open session 
last month, this breach is a ``huge deal'' and represents a treasure 
trove of information for potential adversaries. But this cyber hack 
also points to a broader problem--the glaring gaps in the process for 
protecting sensitive information stored in Federal civilian agency 
  To respond, 2 weeks ago I introduced bipartisan legislation with 
Senators Warner, Mikulski, Coats, Ayotte, and McCaskill that would 
strengthen the security of the networks of Federal civilian agencies. 
Most importantly, our legislation would grant the Department of 
Homeland Security the authority to issue binding operational directives 
to Federal agencies to respond in the face of a substantial or imminent 
threat to Federal networks to ensure that immediate action is taken.
  Think of all those IG reports that OPM leaders completely ignored. 
They go back to 2008. Last fall the IG issued a report which sounded a 
warning which was so serious that he recommended that certain networks 
be taken down until they were better protected. But OPM officials 
largely ignored those warnings, those calls for action. That is why we 
need to empower the Department of Homeland Security in a situation like 
that to act, just as NSA acts to protect the dot-mil domain, the 
military and intelligence agencies in the Federal Government.
  I am pleased to report that all of the key elements of our bill were 
incorporated into legislation unanimously approved last week by the 
Senate homeland security committee. I thank the chairman, Senator Ron 
Johnson, and the ranking member, Senator Tom Carper, for making those 
improvements in their bill and incorporating our bill. We have joined 
together to file an amendment to add the committee-approved bill to the 
cyber security legislation.
  The primary problem our amendment would solve is that the Department 
of Homeland Security has the mandate to protect the dot-gov domain, but 
it only has limited authority to do so. As I said, this approach 
contrasts sharply with how the National Security Agency defends the 
dot-mil domain, the information in the military and intelligence agency 
networks. The Director of the NSA has the responsibility and the 
authority from the Secretary of Defense to monitor all DOD networks and 
to deploy countermeasures on those networks. If the Director finds that 
there is an insecure computer system and wants to take it off the 
network, he has the authority to do so.
  Although the Secretary of Homeland Security is tasked with a similar 
responsibility to protect Federal civilian networks, he has far less 
authority to accomplish this task. Yet--think about it--Federal 
civilian agencies, such as OPM, the Internal Revenue Service, the 
Social Security Administration, and Medicare, are the repositories of 
vast quantities of very sensitive personal data of Americans that must 
be better protected. We have that obligation. Our bill would help 
ensure that occurs.
  Our amendment would harden Federal computer networks from cyber 
threats. I urge my colleagues to support the Johnson-Carper-Collins-
Warner amendment.
  I have also filed a second amendment aimed at protecting our 
country's most vital critical infrastructure from cyber attacks. For 99 
percent of private sector entities, the voluntary information sharing 
framework established in this cyber legislation will be sufficient, and 
the decision to share cyber threat information should be left up to 
them. It should be voluntary.
  A second tier of reporting is necessary to protect the critical 
infrastructure that affects the safety, health, and economic well-being 
of every American. My amendment would create a second tier of reporting 
to the government that would be mandatory but only for critical 
infrastructure where a cyber intrusion could reasonably be expected to 
result in catastrophic regional or national threats on public health or 
safety, economic security, or national security.
  The Department of Homeland Security has already identified fewer than 
65 entities--that is all we are talking about--out of all the hundreds 
of thousands of businesses and private sector entities in the United 
States, they have identified 65 entities where damage caused by a 
substantial but single cyber attack could cause catastrophic harm. How 
is ``catastrophic harm'' defined? It is defined as causing or having 
the likelihood to cause $50 billion in economic damage, 2,500 
fatalities, or a severe degradation of our national security. My 
amendment would just take that definition and require reporting from 
those entities--that would be mandatory if there were a cyber attack--
and no one else.
  Without information about intrusions into our most critical 
infrastructure, our government's ability to defend our country against 
advanced persistent threats will suffer in a domain where speed is 
  Let me further explain why this amendment is necessary. The fact is 
that 85 percent of our country's critical infrastructure is owned by 
the private sector, and we are not nearly as prepared as we should be 
for a cyber attack that could cause deaths, destruction, and 
devastation. A recent study by the University of Cambridge and Lloyds 
Insurance found that a major cyber attack on the U.S. electric grid 
could result in a blackout in 15 States and Washington, DC, that could 
cause more than $1 trillion in economic impact and $71 billion in 
insurance claims.
  Under my amendment, the owners and operators of our country's most 
critical infrastructure would be required to report significant cyber 
intrusions, similar to the manner in which incidents of communicable 
diseases must be reported to public health authorities and the Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention. Think about the ironic situation we 
have. Does it make sense that we require a single case of measles to be 
reported to the Federal Government but not an intrusion into the 
industrial controls controlling a piece of critical infrastructure that 
if it were attacked successfully could result in the deaths of 2,500 
  The threats to our critical infrastructure are not hypothetical; they 
are already occurring in increasing frequency and severity. ADM Mike 
Rogers, the Director of NSA, has described the cyber threat posed 
against critical infrastructure this way: ``We have . . . observed 
intrusions into industrial control systems. . . . What concerns us is 
that . . . this capability could be used by nation-states, groups or 
individuals to take down the capability of the control systems.''
  Multiple natural gas pipeline companies were the targets of a 
sophisticated cyber intrusion campaign beginning in December of 2011, 
and our banks have been under cyber attacks repeatedly, most likely 
from Iran during the past 2 years.
  By implementing this tiered reporting system for our country's 
critical infrastructure at greatest risk of a devastating cyber attack, 
our government can develop and deploy countermeasures to protect its 
own networks as well as the information systems of

[[Page S6339]]

other critical infrastructure and help these critical infrastructure 
owners and operators to better safeguard their systems from further 
  Simply put, the current threat is too great and the existing 
vulnerability too widespread for us to depend solely on voluntary 
measures to protect the critical infrastructure on which our country 
and citizens depend.
  Again, I want to emphasize, 99 percent of private sector entities 
would just have a voluntary system. I am talking about fewer than 65 
entities that operate critical infrastructure that the Department of 
Homeland Security has identified as at risk and has described that the 
consequences would be either $50 billion in economic damage, 2,500 
deaths or a severe degradation of our national security.
  Surely, if we have a cyber attack of that severity, we want to know 
about it. We will need to act. Our laws have simply not kept pace with 
the digital revolution. We must not wait any longer to make these 
reforms or be lulled into the mistaken belief that small incremental 
steps will be enough to stay ahead of our adversaries in cyber space 
or, worse yet, that we take no action, that we allow a filibuster 
against even a modest bill to help us be more secure.
  By adopting the underlying legislation, plus the two amendments my 
colleagues and I have offered, we can begin the long overdue work of 
securing cyber space. In doing so, we will be securing our economic and 
national security for the next generation.
  I was in the Senate on that terrible day in September of 2001, on 9/
11/2001, when our Nation was attacked. I was assigned the 
responsibility, along with Joe Lieberman and the other members of what 
was then the Governmental Affairs Committee, to look at whether that 
attack could have been prevented if the dots had been connected. The 9/
11 Commission's conclusion was that most likely it could have been.
  I don't want to be here after a massive cyber attack that has 
resulted in the deaths of thousands of our fellow Americans, severe 
economic damage or a terrible degradation of our national security and 
ask the question: Why did we not act? I am not saying any law can 
prevent every attack. Clearly, that is not the case. Our adversaries 
are infinitely creative, and they will keep probing our computer 
systems, our cyber networks, but surely we ought to be doing everything 
we can to make it far more difficult for any of these attacks to be 
successful, surely we ought to pass the bill reported with only one 
dissenting vote by the Intelligence Committee, and surely we ought to 
strengthen the protection of our critical infrastructure and our 
Federal civilian agencies.
  We need to make sure we are doing everything we responsibly can do to 
lessen the possibilities of a cyber 9/11. I urge my colleagues to 
proceed to consider this important bill.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant 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. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, for the information of my colleagues, I 
just wanted to list the cosponsors of the amendment that I described 
having to do with critical infrastructure. I listed the cosponsors of 
the amendment that deals with protecting civilian agencies but 
neglected to do so on the other. It is a bipartisan amendment. It is 
cosponsored by three other members of the Intelligence Committee: 
Senator Warner, Senator Coats, and Senator Hirono.
  I just wanted that to be clear. I think it is significant that those 
members of the Intelligence Community do believe we need to go further 
in this arena.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.

                    Remembering David ``Dave'' Ruhl

  Mr. ROUNDS. Mr. President, I rise to honor a fallen hero, David or 
``Dave'' Ruhl of Rapid City, SD. Dave was an engine captain on the 
Mystic Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest near Rapid 
City. Since June 14, Dave had been serving our country on a temporary 
assignment as the assistant fire management officer on the Big Valley 
Ranger District on the Modoc National Forest near Adin, CA.
  Dave had been bravely and selflessly fighting the Frog Fire near 
Alturas, CA, along with many other firefighters who were risking their 
lives to protect the people and communities near that fire incident. 
Friends say he took this voluntary assignment to learn more about 
firefighting and improve his skills because he was so passionate about 
his profession.
  Tragically, the team lost contact with Dave on Thursday evening, July 
30. Search and rescue teams worked diligently to locate Dave with the 
hope that he would be found safe. Sadly, Dave did not survive.
  An investigation will reveal details about this very unfortunate and 
tragic loss of life, and there will be a learning which comes from 
this. His death is a great loss to the State of South Dakota, and his 
legacy and heroism will not be forgotten. Dave will be memorialized 
forever on the South Dakota Firefighter Memorial in Pierre, his name 
etched in history for all to honor.
  Professionally, Dave will be remembered as a passionate, 
knowledgeable, and well-trained firefighter. That is according to his 
colleagues who admired him and respected him. His commitment to helping 
others was evident throughout his life. Dave began his Forest Service 
career in 2001 as a seasonal forestry technician. Prior to that, he 
served in the U.S. Coast Guard and as a correctional officer with the 
State of South Dakota.
  Dave will also be remembered personally as a dad, a husband, and a 
selfless public servant who longed to help others. Dave leaves behind 
his wife Erin and their two children Tyler and Ava of Rapid City. To 
them, I offer my deepest sympathy.
  While we cannot take away the hurt, please know we will never forget 
the sacrifice Dave made, and we will not forget the sacrifice that you 
as his family have made. Not everyone is willing to put their life on 
the line to protect us, but Dave did just exactly that. He put others 
before himself. Dave is a true hero.
  We ask the Good Lord to bless the Ruhl family and their friends 
during this difficult time and we ask all Americans to keep the Ruhl 
family in their thoughts and in their prayers.
  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. MURPHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                      Nuclear Agreement with Iran

  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, one thing we all agree on is that Iran 
cannot obtain a nuclear weapon. That has been the foundation of 
American policy. For a long time, it has been at the root of these 
negotiations. That has been our guidepost as a body. It certainly has 
been my guiding principle as I review the course of these negotiations 
and the agreement that is now before us. That is because we know what a 
nuclear-armed Iran would mean for U.S. security, for Israeli security, 
and for regional security. Not only would it make their provocations in 
the region even more dangerous by giving them a nuclear cover of 
protection, but it would also lead to a nuclear arms race in the 
  That doesn't mean Iran's unacceptable conduct begins and ends with 
its pursuit of a nuclear weapons program. This is one of the largest 
state sponsors of terrorism in the world. This is a country that has 
called for the obliteration of the Jewish State still to this day, 
chants for ``Death to America,'' a country that denies basic human 
rights and political liberties to its own citizens, and executes and 
imprisons thousands upon thousands of people who disagree with the 
  But this agreement and these negotiations from the beginning have 
been about the nuclear issue. It has not attempted to resolve all of 
these other very dangerous and malevolent behaviors that Iran engages 
in, in the region. We are focused on the nuclear issue because we 
frankly believe we are more likely to deal with this other activity if 
we remove the question of a potential nuclear weapons arsenal cover 
from the equation.

[[Page S6340]]

  So the test for this agreement is simple: Is Iran less likely to 
obtain a nuclear weapon with this deal than without it? Because I 
answer yes to this question--because I believe they are less likely to 
get a nuclear weapon with this agreement than without it--I am going to 
support the agreement when it comes before the Senate for a vote this 
  That doesn't mean there aren't parts of this agreement that I find 
distasteful. I would have preferred for the duration of the agreement 
to be longer than the 10 to 15 years of many of its components. I would 
have preferred to see fewer conditions on the inspections and on our 
access to contested sites. I would like for Congress's ability to 
impose new sanctions on nonnuclear activity of Iran to be clearer and 
less clouded as part of this agreement.
  That being said, I think we achieved our objectives. Our negotiators 
achieved their objectives that they set out at the beginning. We have 
lengthened the breakout time from 2 to 3 months to now over a year. We 
have reduced by 95 percent the amount of stored nuclear material that 
is housed within Iran's borders. We get an inspection regime which is 
absolutely unprecedented. No other country has been subject to this 
kind of an inspection regime, not just as a declared site, not just the 
ability to get to undeclared sites but a view of the entire supply 
chain that backs up their nuclear program.
  There is an ability to snap back sanctions should they cheat, an 
ability that is not conditioned on the support of countries such as 
Russia and China, and then an international consensus that undergirds 
this entire agreement.
  To me, this isn't a referendum on the agreement, the decision we are 
going to make in the Senate; it is a choice. It is a choice between one 
set of consequences that flow from supporting the agreement and then 
another set of consequences that flow from a congressional rejection of 
the agreement.
  The set of consequences that occur if Congress rejects this agreement 
are pretty catastrophic. I would argue it would result in a big win for 
Iranians. What would happen? First, the sanctions would fray, at best; 
at worst, they would fall apart. Iran would resume their nuclear 
program. Maybe they wouldn't rush to a bomb, but they would get closer. 
Inspectors would be kicked out of the country so we lose eyes on what 
Iran is doing.
  For those who believe we should just come back to the table and get a 
better deal, you have a very high bar to argue. You have to make a case 
that there are going to be a set of conditions that will cause Iran to 
come back to the table and agree to something different, more 
strenuous, and more rigorous than they did today. How does that happen 
if the sanctions are weaker and their nuclear program is stronger? It 
doesn't. So this idea that you can get a better deal to me appears to 
be pure fantasy.
  Finally, I wish to spend a few minutes talking about this 
juxtaposition that the President has created that I know has caused 
some in this Chamber to blanch--the idea that this is a choice between 
this agreement or going to war. I understand that feels and sounds very 
unfair because no one who votes against this agreement believes they 
are voting to go to war. I want to make the case it is not as unfair as 
some may think it is because if there is no deal, if there is no 
ability to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon through a 
negotiation, and if we accept the premise that we are not going to 
stand still, do nothing, and take a wait-and-see approach if they were 
to move closer to a bomb, then the only option is the military 
option. And I frankly think it is time we start taking seriously the 
rhetoric we are hearing from some Members of this body. Senator Cotton 
said this week that we could bomb Iran back to day zero if we took a 
military route to divorcing Iran from a nuclear weapon.

  Let us get back to reality for a second about what a military strike 
would mean. You can set back Iran's nuclear program for a series of 
years, but you cannot bomb Iran back to day zero unless you are also 
prepared to assassinate everyone in Iran who has worked on the nuclear 
program. Why? Because you can't destruct knowledge. You can't remove 
entirely from that country the set of facts that got them within 2 to 3 
months of a nuclear weapon.
  So I know Members bristle at this notion the President is suggesting 
that it is a choice between an agreement or war, but there are Members 
of this body who are openly cheerleading for military engagement with 
Iran, who are oversimplifying the effect of military action, who are 
blind to the reality of U.S. military activity in that region over the 
course of the last 10 to 15 years. This belief in the omnipotent 
unfailing power of the U.S. military is not based in reality.
  We could set back a nuclear program for a series of years, but the 
consequences to the region would be catastrophic. So I get that people 
don't like the choice the President presents, but at some point we have 
to take Senator Cotton and his allies seriously when they continue to 
make a case for war and oversimplify the effects of a military strike.
  But let us be honest. This is all just a political agreement we are 
talking about here today. So we do have to reserve the possibility that 
if all else fails and there is no other way to stop Iran from getting a 
nuclear weapon, we may have to take military action. None of us have 
taken that wholly off the table. But a military strike, if it is 
necessary, is made more effective if this deal is in place.
  We will have more international legitimacy if we try diplomacy first 
and Iran rushes to the bomb in the context of this deal. We would have 
more partners in this military action if we stuck together on this 
  I won't say war isn't an option, but I know it is more likely to be 
successful and effective in the context of this agreement than without 
it. And I certainly would challenge anyone--Senator Cotton and others--
who try to simplify the effects of a military strike or suggest that it 
is the immediate alternative to this agreement.
  In 1993, Yitzhak Rabin said, when talking about Israel's decision to 
recognize the PLO, that ``you don't make peace with your friends, you 
make it with very unsavory enemies.'' Diplomacy is never easy, and the 
results of diplomacy are never pretty.
  This isn't peace with Iran. We still reserve the right to fight them 
tooth and nail on their support for terrorism, on their denial of the 
right of Israel to exist, and their miserable human rights record. But 
the question still remains: Is the world better off with this agreement 
or is the world better off if this agreement falls apart at the hands 
of the Congress and we are right back to square one?
  I believe Iran is less likely to become a nuclear weapons state with 
this agreement than without it, and I am going to support it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Iowa.


  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I come to the floor, as I often do, to 
speak about the efforts of whistleblowers. Many of you know my belief 
in and my respect for those patriotic people--men and women who, often 
at great cost to their own careers and personal well-being, raise their 
voices when they see things happening they know are wrong, usually 
against the law or the misuse of taxpayer money. So it was with great 
joy that I participated just last Thursday with about two dozen 
whistleblowers and hundreds of their families, friends, and supporters 
in the first annual congressional celebration of National 
Whistleblowers Day.
  In my remarks to that group, I said that agency leadership needs to 
follow the example my colleagues and I set with the Whistleblower 
Protection Caucus. They need to send a strong signal that 
whistleblowers are valued and that retaliation will not be tolerated. 
After all, the need to protect whistleblowers is not new and it is not 
going away.
  In the midst of the whistleblowers appreciation day celebration, I 
received yet another harsh reminder that retaliation is alive and well 
in the executive branch's bureaucracies. At the very time several of my 
colleagues and I shared our appreciation for whistleblowers, U.S. 
Marshals Service whistleblowers told me the hunt was on for folks in 
that agency who disclosed wrongdoing to my office.
  How ironic, as we recognized the bravery and the benefits of 
whistleblowers in the past, a new set of

[[Page S6341]]

truthtellers were facing harsh consequences that all too often come 
with their brave action in exposing wrongdoing.
  Agencies use many pretexts to hunt, to punish, and to intimidate 
whistleblowers. So what is the pretext the Marshals Service is using? I 
am told the Marshals Service has launched an internal affairs 
investigation to find what they describe as a leak to the media and 
what harm a leak to the media does.
  Well, this is a dubious claim. For one, news stories about the 
problems at the Marshals Service are not new. Second, there are many 
stories in several different magazines and newspapers that strongly 
suggest there are many sources of those news leaks.
  Finally, I understand the Marshals Service internal affairs has 
allegedly seized the personal property of at least one of its so-called 
targets. I also understand this personal property contains privileged 
communications with the target's attorneys and protected disclosures to 
Members of Congress.
  I wish to note some things for leaders at the Marshals Service and at 
any Federal agency. First, protection for whistleblowers under the 
Whistleblowers Protection Act is not just there for reporting to 
Congress or reporting to the inspector general or reporting to the 
Office of Special Counsel. The Supreme Court has said disclosures to 
media may be covered if the disclosure is not specifically prohibited 
by statute or Executive order, even if such disclosure violates an 
agency rule.
  So not only does this investigation appear to be retaliatory, but its 
supposed justification is obviously not legitimate.
  Second, even if there were nothing suspicious or retaliatory about 
the so-called investigation, it cannot be true that investigators need 
protected and privileged material to carry it out.
  Third, the recent track record of the Marshals Service on 
whistleblower protection is pretty dismal. The internal affairs inquiry 
follows months of investigation by Congress, the inspector general, and 
the Office of Special Counsel into allegations of misconduct at the 
U.S. Marshals Service. It also follows at least two inaccurate and 
misleading responses from the Marshals Service and the Justice 
Department to letters from my committee. And it follows numerous 
letters reporting allegations of widespread retaliation and very deep 
fears that employees have of such reprisal.
  Just so we are very clear, over 60 current and former U.S. Marshals 
Service employees have made disclosures to my office since March. That 
is over 1.1 percent of the agency. Many of the reports include 
allegations that the Marshals Service frequently uses internal affairs 
investigations as mechanisms for reprisal. Reprisal for what, one might 
ask--for engaging in activities that are explicitly protected by law.
  Multiple whistleblowers from all across the Marshals Service have 
also told me that internal affairs does whatever it can to charge 
employees with misconduct, regardless of what the evidence actually 
says. So I thought the Justice Department would understand why I have 
concerns about this investigation and about the way the marshals are 
apparently handling it.
  Remarkably, the Justice Department has told me that is all none of my 
business, and, of course, I strongly disagree. When you hear these 
sorts of things once or twice, there is a bit of a problem. When you 
hear them more than 60 times, coming directly to my office in less than 
5 months, you start to understand there is a pattern out there.
  From where I sit, it seems to me the best thing for the agency to do 
is to get some outside input into this so-called investigation. The 
Department should be willing to work with me, other Members of 
Congress, the inspector general, and the Office of Special Counsel to 
ensure that whistleblower rights are fully protected as the law 
intends. But officials won't even sit down and talk to us about it.
  Senator Leahy and I sent a joint letter to the Attorney General last 
Friday asking for a briefing as soon as possible. The answer? They 
claimed it would be inappropriate to discuss it with the two of us. I 
will tell you what would be inappropriate: using internal 
administrative inquiries to hunt down whistleblowers and stiff-arm a 
congressional scrutiny. That is what would be inappropriate.

  If the Justice Department and the Marshals Service think I am going 
to go away or give up on this, they are even less competent than I 
  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. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mr. Sullivan pertaining to the introduction of S. 
1944 are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced 
Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. SULLIVAN. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. HEINRICH: Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                      Nuclear Agreement With Iran

  Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, in the first decade of this century, 
when the policies of President George W. Bush entangled our Nation 
firmly in the war in Iraq, Iran's nuclear program surged ahead rapidly 
and unchecked. They added thousands and thousands of centrifuges. They 
built numerous and complex nuclear facilities. They stockpiled highly 
enriched uranium. As we evaluate the proposed nuclear accord with Iran, 
it is important to compare what we have achieved with our allies 
against this reality.
  I firmly believe that as we work to ensure that Iran is never able to 
develop nuclear weapons, facts, data, and details actually matter far 
more than the rhetoric you hear here in Washington, DC. Perhaps it is 
just the engineer in me, but when the accord became public, I sat down 
that morning and I started highlighting numbers. People in Washington 
are amazingly adept at arguing that up is down and that right is left. 
But numbers and data are a little harder to bend to our rhetorical 
  Let's start with this most important and critical data point: Without 
a deal, Iran has enough nuclear material stockpiled that they could 
acquire enough highly enriched material for a bomb in 2 to 3 months. 
That is what you hear talked about on the news as breakout time. Today 
Iran's breakout time is 2 to 3 months. They have enough material that 
were they to move forward, they could break out in just a matter of 
months. With this accord in place, their pathway forward is blocked. 
What is more, the breakout time is pushed back to over a year, giving 
us and our allies around the world enough time to make sure they don't 
move down this very dangerous path.
  Let's move on to another key data point. If you went back to 2003, 
Iran only had 164 centrifuges. They surged forward--adding centrifuges, 
adding more advanced and complex centrifuges--to where they now have 
19,000 centrifuges today.
  With this deal, once again, that number has rolled back. It has 
rolled back by two-thirds. But more importantly, of the 6,000 that 
remain, 1,000 of those cannot be used for enrichment, and all of them 
are the most basic and primitive IR-1 models.
  In addition, without a deal, Iran has amassed 12,000 kilograms, which 
is over 26,000 pounds of enriched uranium. This slide shows the public 
a representative example of what that would look like today. Under this 
accord, that is rolled back by 98 percent to just 300 kilograms. So 
starting from over 26,000 pounds, or 12,000 kilograms, and reducing it 
by 98 percent, they no longer have the capacity or the stockpile to be 
able to quickly move forward to a weaponization scenario.
  In addition, it is important to realize Iran had enriched some of its 
stockpile to 20 percent. That is a very dangerous figure because 20 
percent is actually a lot closer to weapons grade, and that would 
enable them to move quickly to weapons grade. It actually takes far 
longer to get to 4 percent than it does to get from 20 percent to a 
weaponized enrichment level.
  Under this accord, what previously was an enormous stockpile--and 
where some of that stockpile had actually reached dangerous levels of 
enrichment--will be rolled back to a point

[[Page S6342]]

where all of the very limited 300 kilograms have to be below 4 percent, 
a level of concentration and enrichment that is appropriate for 
peaceful energy purposes but not for a weapons program.
  In addition, without this accord, Iran's uranium stockpile today is 
large enough to yield 10 to 12 nuclear bombs. With this accord, they 
won't have enough stockpile--enough material--to produce even a single 
nuclear bomb.
  Now, we all know that verification is key to success, and under this 
deal Iran must allow 24/7 inspections and continuous video monitoring 
at its nuclear infrastructure, including Natanz, Fordow, the Arak 
reactor, and all of its uranium mining, milling, and processing 
facilities. Furthermore, there is a mechanism in place that will allow 
inspections of any additional sites, should we suspect covert action is 
being taken to build a bomb outside of their existing supply chain. 
Consequently, this accord breaks each and every pathway that Iran has 
developed to create a weaponized nuclear device, including any 
potential covert effort that they might pursue. We should welcome each 
of those developments as a major step toward both regional and 
international security.
  I have thought about these issues for a long time. I have thought 
about both the science and the politics of the nuclear age since I was 
a young boy. I remember growing up listening to my dad because he was 
there when this age started. He watched nuclear devices being exploded 
in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific. He told me stories of 
what it was like to watch a mushroom cloud form over Enewetak Atoll.
  When I was studying engineering at the University of Missouri, I 
worked at one of the largest research reactors in the country. I know 
what it is like to look down into that blue glow of a reactor pool. As 
a Senator from the State of New Mexico, I have seen firsthand many of 
the world's centrifuges which are housed in my home State of New Mexico 
and dedicated to the peaceful production of energy.
  Serving on the Armed Services Committee, I helped set policy on 
nonproliferation and nuclear deterrence. As a member of the Senate 
Select Committee on Intelligence, I have received numerous briefings on 
both Iran's nuclear program and their capabilities. I am well 
acquainted with the steps necessary to successfully construct a nuclear 
weapon and the steps necessary to detect that kind of activity. It is 
because of this familiarity that I am confident in this accord.
  The comprehensive, long-term deal achieved earlier this month 
includes all of the necessary tools to break each potential Iranian 
pathway to a nuclear bomb. Further, it incorporates enough lead time--
the breakout time that we talked about before, which we currently are 
in dire need of--so that should Iran change its course in the future, 
the United States and the world can react well before a device can be 
built. We hope that scenario never occurs, but should that happen--even 
with this accord--it truly leaves all of our options on the table, 
including the military option.
  Some of my colleagues in the Senate object to this historical 
accomplishment, saying that we could have done better; however, none of 
them have offered any realistic alternatives. The only concrete 
alternative, should Congress reject this deal, has been to engage in a 
military strike against Iran. While the military option will always 
remain on the table for the United States, even as we implement this 
accord, it should remain our absolute last resort.
  As one can imagine, our military and intelligence leaders have looked 
at the potential repercussions should a direct military conflict with 
Iran occur. That dangerous path would provoke retaliation, instability, 
and would likely lead to a nuclear-armed Iran in a matter of just a few 
years rather than decades or never. Needless to say, this would be an 
irresponsible mistake.
  As former Brigadier General and Deputy to Israel's National Security 
Advisor Shlomo Brom has said, ``This agreement represents the best 
chance to make sure Iran never obtains a weapon and the best chance for 
Congress to support American diplomacy--without taking any options off 
the table for this or future presidents.''
  For too long, our country has been engaged in overseas military 
conflicts that have cost our Nation dearly in both blood and treasure. 
We must always be ready at a moment's notice to defend our country, to 
defend our allies, and even our interests, but we must also look to 
avoid conflict whenever a diplomatic option is present and possible. At 
this extraordinary moment, I am convinced that this accord is in the 
best interest of our Nation and that of our allies.
  I am still deeply distrustful of Iran's leadership. To make peace, 
you negotiate with your enemies, not with your friends. Obviously any 
deal with Iran will not be without risk, but the risks and the 
consequences of rejecting this deal are far, far more dire. This deal 
sets the stage for a safer and more stable Middle East and, for that 
matter, a more secure United States of America. We must seize this 
historic opportunity.
  I yield the rest of my time.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). The clerk will call the roll.
  The 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 (Mr. Toomey). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to withdraw the 
cloture motion with respect to the motion to proceed to S. 754.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time 
to be determined by the majority leader, in consultation with the 
Democratic leader, the Senate proceed to the consideration of Calendar 
No. 28, S. 754; I further ask that Senator Burr then be recognized to 
offer the Burr-Feinstein substitute amendment and that it be in order 
for the bill managers or their designees to offer up to 10 first-degree 
amendments relevant to the subject matter per side.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCONNELL. For the information of all Senators, the first 
amendments on the Republican side will be the following: Paul No. 2564, 
Heller No. 2548, Flake No. 2582, Vitter No. 2578, Vitter No. 2579, 
Cotton No. 2581, Kirk No. 2603, Coats No. 2604, Gardner No. 2631, Flake 
No. 2580.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I assume we would alternate with Republican 
and Democrat amendments; is that right?
  Mr. McCONNELL. Yes.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the agreement 
be modified to allow 11 Democratic amendments instead of 10.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REID. They will be as follows: Carper No. 2627, Coons No. 2552, 
Franken No. 2612, Tester No. 2632, Leahy No. 2587, Murphy No. 2589, 
Whitehouse No. 2626, Wyden No. 2621, Wyden No. 2622, Mikulski No. 2557, 
and Carper No. 2615.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I suggest the absence of quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The 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.

               Unanimous Consent Agreement--H.J. Res. 61

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that following 
leader remarks on Tuesday, September 8, the Senate proceed to the 
consideration of H.J. Res. 61 and that the majority leader or his 
designee be recognized to offer a substitute amendment related to 
congressional disapproval of the proposed Iran nuclear agreement.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I want the 
debate we are going to have in a matter of weeks to be--and I think all 
of us do--dignified and befitting the gravity of one of the most 
important issues of the

[[Page S6343]]

day. This is a step forward, and I do not object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, with this agreement, we set up 
expedited consideration of the cyber bill and the Iran resolution. The 
Senate will hold voice votes on Executive nominations, but there will 
be no further rollcall votes this week.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, so that all are clear with respect to where 
matters are with the cyber security legislation, a couple of days ago 
it was my fear that this bill would be brought up--it is a badly flawed 
bill--with no opportunity for Senators on either side of the aisle to 
fix the legislation. I was afraid that it would come up with no 
amendments and people would say ``Oh my goodness, there are serious 
cyber threats.'' And that is unquestionably correct. My constituents in 
Oregon, for example, have been hacked by the Chinese. I was concerned 
that people would say ``We have all of these cyber threats; we have to 
act'' and there would be no real opportunity to show how the 
legislation in its current form creates more problems than it solves.
  So that all concerned understand where things are, there are going to 
be more than 20 amendments to this badly flawed bill. Those of us who 
want to make sure there is a full airing of the issues have come to 
understand that there is no time limit that has yet been agreed to on 
those amendments. So there is going to be a real debate, and, of 
course, that is what the Senate is all about.
  I particularly wish to commend the millions of advocates around the 
country who spoke out. I understand there was something like 6 million 
faxes that were sent to Members of this body.
  I am going to take a few minutes--I see my colleagues are here as 
well--to describe where I think this debate is and give a sense of what 
the challenge is going forward.
  I start with the basic proposition that we have a very serious set of 
cyber security threats, and I touched on seeing it at home. Second, 
information sharing can be valuable. There is certainly a lot of it 
now. It can be constructive. Information sharing, however, without 
vigorous, robust privacy safeguards, will not be considered by millions 
of Americans to be a cyber security bill. Millions of Americans will 
say that legislation is a surveillance bill.
  So what I am going to do tonight--just for a few minutes because it 
is my understanding there are colleagues who would also like to speak--
is describe exactly where this debate is.
  As written, the cyber security legislation prevents law-abiding 
Americans from suing private companies that inappropriately share their 
personal information with the government. When I say personal 
information, I am talking about the contents of emails, financial 
information, basically any data at all that is stored electronically. 
CISA, as the bill is called, would allow private companies to share 
large volumes of their customers' personal information with the 
government after only a cursory review. Colleagues who want to look at 
that provision ought to take a look at page 16 of the bill.
  We were told repeatedly that this legislation is voluntary. The fact 
is, it is voluntary for the companies, but for the citizens of 
Pennsylvania, the citizens of Oregon, citizens across this country, it 
is not voluntary. The people of Pennsylvania won't be asked first 
whether they want their information sent to the government. Oregonians 
won't have the chance to say whether they want that information sent. 
For them, this legislation is mandatory.
  To explain the damage that I believe this legislation would do, I 
want to take a minute to explain how cyber security information sharing 
works now. Right now the Department of Homeland Security operates a 
national cyber security watch center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
This watch center receives cyber security threat information from 
around the Federal Government and from private companies, and this 
watch center sends out alerts and bulletins to security professionals 
to provide them with technical information about cyber security 
threats. In fiscal year 2014, this watch center sent out nearly 12,000 
of these alerts to more than 100,000 recipients. That happens today, 
with lots of companies participating.
  The system that is in place today includes rules to protect the 
privacy of law-abiding Americans. These rules ensure that companies 
have a strong interest in protecting the privacy of their customers. 
But the legislation as it has been written now overrides those rules. 
The bill in front of us prevents individual Americans from suing 
companies that have mishandled their private information. As a result, 
companies would suddenly, in my view, not have the same incentives with 
respect to caring about sharing their customers' personal information 
with the government. And my concern and the concern, I believe, of 
millions of Americans is that the interests of some who are 
overzealous--overzealous in government, overzealous in the private 
sector--would overwhelm the interests of all of those customers who 
voluntarily handed over their information.
  I thought I would give a couple of examples of the problems the bill 
in its current form causes. Imagine that a health insurance company 
finds out that millions of its customers' records have been stolen. If 
that company has any evidence about who the hackers were or how they 
stole this information, of course it makes sense to share that 
information with the government. But that company shouldn't simply say 
``Here you go'' and hand millions of its customers' financial and 
medical information over to a wide array of government agencies.
  The records of the victims of a hack should not be treated the same 
way that information about the hacker is treated. If companies are 
sharing information for cyber security purposes, they ought to be 
required to make reasonable efforts to remove personal information that 
isn't needed for cyber security before that information is handed over 
to the government. And those government agencies ought to focus on 
using that information to combat a cyber security threat.
  That, I say to my colleagues, is not what the bill says. Page 16 of 
the bill would very clearly authorize companies to share large amounts 
of personal information that is unnecessary for cyber security, after 
only a cursory review.
  Now I wish to speak about just one other issue specifically that I 
think Senators are not familiar with, and that is the issue of cyber 
signatures. Cyber signatures are essentially recognizable patterns in 
online code. A number of informed observers have raised the concern 
that once individual cyber signatures are shoveled over to the 
government by private companies, they could be used as the basis for 
broad surveillance affecting law-abiding Americans. I am not going to 
confirm or deny any of the press reports that have raised concerns 
about cyber signatures being used in this way, but I believe Senators 
should understand that this is certainly--and it is being widely 
discussed in the public arena--a theoretical possibility, and that 
helps underscore the importance of including a strong requirement for 
private companies to remove unrelated personal information about their 
customers before dumping data over to the government.
  In wrapping up, I would be remiss if I didn't note that a secret 
Justice Department legal opinion that is clearly relevant to the cyber 
security debate continues to be withheld from the public. This opinion 
interprets common commercial service agreements, and in my judgment it 
is inconsistent with the public's understanding of the law. So once 
again we have this question of what happens when the people of 
Pennsylvania, Virginia, or Oregon think there is a law because they 
have read it in the public arena or on their iPad at home and then 
there is a secret interpretation.
  I have urged the Justice Department to withdraw that secret 
Department of Justice opinion that relates directly to the cyber 
security debate. They have declined to do so. I suspect many Senators 
haven't had the chance to review it. As I have done before on this type 
of topic, I would urge Senators or their staffs to take the time to 
read it because I believe that understanding the executive branch's 
interpretation of these agreements is an important part of 
understanding the relevant legal landscape on cyber security.

[[Page S6344]]

  I am going to close by speaking about the question of effectiveness. 
I think we all understand that we are facing very real cyber threats. I 
am of the view that this bill in its present form would do little, if 
anything, to stop large, sophisticated cyber attacks like the Office of 
Personnel Management had.
  I don't think Senators ought to just take my word for it. In April, 
65 technologists and cyber security professionals expressed their 
opposition to the bill in a letter to Chairman Burr and Vice Chairman 
Feinstein. In referring to the bill and two similar bills, they wrote:

       We appreciate your interest in making our networks more 
     secure, but the legislation proposed does not materially 
     further that goal, and at the same time it puts our users' 
     privacy at risk.

  As they wrap up their letter, this group of technologists and cyber 
security professionals state:

       These bills weaken privacy law without promoting security.

  That has always been my concern. If we look back at our experiences, 
we have tried to write these new digital ground rules. Fortunately, we 
took a step in the right direction as it related to NSA rules. The 
challenge has always been the same. The people of our country want to 
be safe and secure in their homes and in their businesses and in their 
communities, and they want their liberty. Ben Franklin said anybody who 
gives up their liberty to have security doesn't deserve either.
  What troubled me and why I am glad that the Senate has stepped back 
from precipitous action where we would have just passed this bill 
without any amendments--we will have a chance in the fall to look at 
ways to address cyber security in a fashion that I think does respond 
to what our people want, and that is to show that security--in this 
case, cyber security--and liberty are not mutually exclusive. It is 
sensible policies worked out in a bipartisan way that will respond to 
the needs of this country in what is unquestionably a dangerous time.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.

                             Islamic State

  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, we are about to start our traditional 
August recess. Congress is in an interesting place because we not only 
get a recess--a vacation--as many Americans do, but we are legally 
required to take one. That is right. By an act of Congress, Congress is 
required, absent a separate agreement, to take a month off during 
August. I learned that just yesterday during a great presentation from 
one of our Senate Historians, Kate Scott.
  This mandated August adjournment is part of the Legislative 
Reorganization Act of 1970. The act provides that in odd-numbered 
years, the Houses adjourn from the first Friday in August until the 
Tuesday after Labor Day. There is an exception: The mandated recess 
``shall not be applicable if on July 31 of such year a state of war 
exists pursuant to a declaration of war by Congress.'' Again, the 
mandated recess is not applicable if on July 31 of such year a state of 
war exists pursuant to a declaration of war by Congress. This provision 
makes basic sense, doesn't it? Congress shouldn't go out for a 
mandatory 30-day vacation when the Nation is at war. It is not right 
that American troops should risk their lives overseas far from home 
while Congress takes a month off. The Congress that passed this bill in 
1970 had an expectation about how serious war was and how Congress--the 
institution charged with declaring war--would treat such a serious 
  Well, we are about to go on a 1-month adjournment with the Nation at 
war. In fact, this Saturday, August 8, marks 1 year since President 
Obama initiated U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State in northern 
  In the past year, more than 3,000 members of the U.S. military have 
served in Operation Inherent Resolve--and thousands are there now--
launching more than 4,500 airstrikes, carrying out Special Forces 
operations, and assisting the Iraqi military, the Kurdish Peshmerga, 
and Syrians fighting the Islamic State. Virginians connected with the 
USS Roosevelt carrier group are stationed there right now.
  We have made major gains in northern Iraq and, more recently, in 
northern Syria, but the threat posed by the Islamic State continues to 
spread in the region and beyond. The war has cost over $3.2 billion 
through mid-July--an average of $9.5 million a day--and seven American 
servicemembers have lost their lives serving in support of the mission.
  Recently we have heard that the administration may be expanding the 
scope of the war to defend U.S.-trained Syrian fighters against 
attacks, including from the Assad regime. We are expanding our 
cooperation with Turkey in the region. We even hear rumors of a U.S.-
Turkish humanitarian zone in northern Syria. Each of these steps is 
potentially significant and could lead to even more unforeseen 
expansions of the ongoing war. We have already had testimony by 
military leaders to suggest that the war will likely go on for years.
  But as the war expands and our troops risk their lives far from home 
and as we prepare to go on our traditional 1-month recess, a tacit 
agreement to avoid debating this war persists in Washington.
  The President maintains that he can conduct this war without 
authorization from Congress. He waited more than 6 months after the war 
started to even send Congress a draft authorization of the mission.
  Congressional behavior has been even more unusual. Although vested 
with the sole power to declare war by article I of the Constitution, 
Congress has refused to meaningfully debate or vote on the war against 
the Islamic State. A Congress quick to criticize any Executive action 
by the President has nevertheless encouraged him to carry out an 
unauthorized war. As far as our allies, the Islamic State, or our 
troops know, Congress is indifferent to this war.
  I first introduced a resolution to force Congress to do its job and 
to debate this war in September of 2014. That led in December to an 
affirmative vote by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to authorize 
the war with specific limitations. But the matter wasn't taken up on 
the floor because the Senate was about to change to a new majority, and 
that party wanted to analyze the issue afresh.

  Six months then went by, and Senator Jeff Flake and I introduced, 
finally, a bipartisan war resolution in June to prod the Senate to take 
its constitutional responsibility seriously after so many months of 
inaction. We wanted to show there is a bipartisan consensus against the 
Islamic State. The result: a few discussions in the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee, but otherwise silence.
  One year of war against the Islamic State has transformed a President 
who was elected in part because of his early opposition to the Iraq War 
into an Executive war President. It has stretched the 2001 
Authorization for Use of Military Force that was passed to defeat the 
perpetrators of 9/11 far beyond its original meaning or intent. It has 
shown to all that neither the Congress nor the President feels obliged 
to follow the 1973 War Powers Resolution, which requires the President 
to cease any unilateral military action within 90 days unless Congress 
votes to approve it. And it has demonstrated that Congress would rather 
avoid its constitutional duty to declare war than have a meaningful 
debate about whether and how the United States should militarily 
confront the Islamic State.
  This 1-year anniversary also coincides a few minutes ago with a 
vigorous congressional effort to challenge U.S. diplomacy regarding the 
Iranian nuclear agreement. The contrast between congressional 
indifference to war and its energetic challenge to diplomacy is most 
  So, why isn't Congress doing its job?
  Last month I asked Marine Commandant Joseph Dunford, nominated to be 
the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whether congressional 
action to finally authorize the war against the Islamic State would be 
well received by American troops. His answer said it all. ``I think 
what our young men and women need--and it's really all they need to do 
what we ask them to do--is a sense that what they're doing has purpose, 
has meaning, and has the support of the American people.''
  A debate in Congress by the people's elected representatives and a 
vote to authorize the most solemn act of war is how we tell our troops 
that what they

[[Page S6345]]

are doing--what they are risking their lives for--``has purpose, has 
meaning, and has the support of the American people.'' Otherwise, we 
are asking them to risk their lives without even bothering to discuss 
whether the mission is something we support. Can there be anything--
anything--more immoral than that--to order troops to risk their lives 
in support of a military mission that we are unwilling even to discuss?
  One year in, our servicemembers are doing their jobs, but they are 
still waiting on us to do ours. And as I conclude--oh, yeah, what about 
that August recess? How can we go away and adjourn for a month in the 
midst of an ongoing war?
  Why, that is easy. The part of the statute that creates an exception 
for the mandatory August adjournment applies only if there has been ``a 
declaration of war by the Congress.'' Because we haven't even bothered 
to debate or authorize this war in the year since it started, we are 
still entitled by statute to take the month of August off.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.

                 Economic Security for American Workers

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, in today's economy, too many of our 
workers across this country are underpaid, they are overworked, and 
they are treated unfairly on the job. In short, they lack fundamental 
economic security.
  In Congress, we have got to act to give our workers much needed 
relief. We need to grow our economy from the middle out, not the top 
down. And we should make sure our country works for all Americans, not 
just the wealthiest few. There is no reason we can't get to work on 
legislation to do just that. That is why I am here this afternoon, 
joining my colleagues in calling for us in the Senate to move on some 
important policies that will help restore economic security and 
stability to more of our workers.
  Mr. President, I understand that we are waiting for one of my 
Republican colleagues to come to the floor before I ask unanimous 
consent, so I will pause for just a minute.
  But I will say while we are waiting that we are very concerned about 
many Americans today who make few dollars an hour, who don't have paid 
sick leave, who are told to go to work at hours that they cannot 
control or know about, and we are introducing legislation or asking to 
introduce legislation today to deal with all of those issues.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 1150

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time to be 
determined by the majority leader, following consultation with the 
Democratic leader and no later than Friday, October 30, the HELP 
Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. 1150, the 
Raise the Wage Act; that the Senate proceed to its immediate 
consideration; that the bill be read a third time; that the Senate vote 
on passage of the bill, and the motion to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, on behalf of the chairman of the HELP 
Committee, Senator Alexander, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 497

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time to 
be determined by the majority leader, following consultation with the 
Democratic leader, and no later than Friday, October 30, the HELP 
Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. 497, the 
Healthy Families Act; that the Senate proceed to its immediate 
consideration; that the bill be read a third time; that the Senate vote 
on passage of the bill, and the motion to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, on behalf of the chairman of the HELP 
Committee, Senator Alexander, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Massachusetts.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 1772

  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time to 
be determined by the majority leader, following consultation with the 
Democratic leader and no later than Friday, October 30, the HELP 
Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. 1772, the 
Schedules That Work Act; that the Senate proceed to its immediate 
consideration; that the bill be read a third time; that the Senate vote 
on passage of the bill, and the motion to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, on behalf of the chairman of the HELP 
Committee, Senator Alexander, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, reclaiming the floor, it is disappointing 
to us that the Republican majority has objected to bringing these bills 
forward and blocking our efforts to provide some much needed economic 
stability and security for our workers in this country. Our workers 
have been waiting a long time for relief from the trickle-down system 
that has hurt our middle class.
  This Senator wants to put the Senate on notice that the Democrats are 
going to keep working on ways to grow our economy from the middle out, 
not the top down, and we are going to be working to make sure our 
workers and our families have a voice at the table. We are going to 
continue to focus on making sure our country works for all Americans, 
not just the wealthy and few.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, the Senator from Washington knows how much 
I admire and respect her. We have had great opportunity to work 
together in a very productive way, but what we have just seen from our 
friends across the aisle is not designed to actually get anything done. 
It was a show to try to claim political advantage and to try to create 
a narrative which simply isn't borne out by the facts.
  The facts are that these costly proposals are unfunded mandates 
designed to make it hard for Americans to find jobs or become employers 
and create jobs for millions of people working for a step up the 
economic ladder. What Americans need, rather than show votes, are more 
job opportunities, more flexibility at work, and the freedom to 
negotiate a schedule that works for them.
  Our friends across the aisle have been in charge and we have seen the 
results: an economy that grew last year at 2.2 percent--as a matter of 
fact, in at least one quarter it actually contracted. So we know what 
the fruit of these policies are because they have had their chances.
  Their policies will destroy jobs, smother innovative startups in job 
creators like Uber, and perpetuate the Obama part-time economy, which 
has left a shocking 6.5 million Americans in part-time work as they 
search in vain for full-time work--and, I might add, a 30-year low of 
the labor participation rate--the percentage of people actually in the 
workforce that are employed, people that would otherwise want to work. 
We have seen what the results are.
  The voters last November decided to try something different. They 
have given us a chance to show what we can do while we are in the 
majority, and I think the results are pretty good. We passed a budget 
for the first time since 2009. We passed a 6-year highway bill just 
recently, and we are still working with the House to try to figure out 
how to do that on a bicameral, bipartisan basis. We passed unanimously 
the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to fight the scourge of 
human trafficking, which targets teenage girls predominantly for sex. 
We have passed the Defense authorization bill to make sure our men and 
women in uniform have the authority and what they need in order to keep 
us safe here and abroad.
  We actually have had a very productive year so far in the 114th 
Congress under Republican leadership. What our

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Democratic colleagues want to do is take us to the past with slow 
economic growth and policies that simply don't work.
  That is why I am happy to stand here today and object to these show 
requests that aren't actually designed to do anything but are designed 
for fundraising, press releases, and other publicity stunts that simply 
are not what is going to help the American people the most.

                       Tribute to Russ Thomasson

  Mr. President, on another note, I want to talk a little bit about my 
chief of staff who is leaving. My chief of staff in the whip office is 
Russ Thomasson, who I hope is somewhere around here. He is at the back 
of the Chamber. His son Austin is down here as one of our pages.
  The bottom line is, Russ and I learned together from the time he came 
as my military legislative assistant in 2003. From that time until now, 
we learned how to be effective on behalf of the 27 million people I 
work for in the State of Texas and to work with all of our colleagues 
to try to produce positive results for the American people.
  He is leaving now for greener pastures. I mean that not exactly 
literally, but he is going into the private sector where he will no 
doubt be compensated for what his skills and experience are worth.
  Back when I started in the Senate, Russ came on board as my military 
legislative assistant. He brought with him great experience as an Air 
Force intel officer. He is an engineer; I am not. It was helpful to 
bring with him the attention to detail that engineering training 
brings. He is also a Russian specialist, which we didn't need a lot of 
in my office in Texas, but he brought great knowledge and experience to 
the forefront, helping me in my job on the Armed Services Committee, 
given that great background.
  We had some big challenges in 2005 as all of our colleagues here at 
the time remember. That was the Base Closure and Realignment 
Commission. Texas likes to tout the fact that 1 out of every 10 persons 
in uniform comes from Texas. Our military is very important to us. I 
was raised in a military family. Being effective on behalf of our men 
and women in uniform who happen to call Texas home is particularly 
important to me, and Russ did a tremendous job there and elsewhere.
  As a matter of fact, he did such a good job as my MLA, my military 
legislative assistant, that when the opportunity came, he was promoted 
to legislative director. There he got to apply his knowledge and 
expertise far beyond just national security and foreign affairs and 
helped me navigate all of the various policy issues we confronted 
during the time he was my legislative director from 2007 to 2012.
  Some of these are issues that particularly hit home in Texas, things 
like immigration, Supreme Court nominations, and the ObamaCare debate. 
Not only did Russ bring valuable policy perspectives to that role as 
legislative director, but he was also able to help on the 
communications side because he understands it is not just important for 
us to do a decent job--or at least to the best of our ability--it is 
important to be able to communicate what you are doing in a way so the 
American people, and in particular the people of Texas, can understand. 
Yet he also understood the politics that go along sometimes with the 
job we have in the Senate.
  Perhaps just as importantly, he brought with him his good judgment to 
help me hire an outstanding legislative staff. I believe firmly that 
part of my responsibility--and I am sure the Presiding Officer and our 
other colleagues feel the same way. I believe one of the most important 
things we can do is hire the best and brightest staffers because if we 
do that, and we work with them, we can benefit tremendously and our 
constituents benefit tremendously from their advice.
  Russ has set a high bar as my legislative director. He is a tireless 
worker who has given a lot of himself.
  Then I would like to say just a word about his job as my chief of 
staff--as the whip. When I became the whip, he came with me to the whip 
office. We have found ourselves in a few nail-biting situations in 
tense moments, and Russ's calmness and personality, his calm demeanor 
and his diligence have simply helped us get the job done for the Senate 
and for the new majority.
  Whether it is trafficking, trade, highways, funding the government, a 
budget--the first budget that we have passed since 2009--his 
fingerprints are all over those, along with those of other members of 
my whip staff who have done a great job. As I learned from the majority 
leader, he wants to know where the votes are before the vote is 
actually cast. My whip team, both staff and my deputy whip team, of 
which the Presiding Officer is one, have done a great job providing 
that essential information and knowledge to the majority leader so we 
can efficiently and effectively represent our constituents in the 
  By the way, I would say that Russ's intelligence background has 
proven to be invaluable--gathering information, talking to people, and 
understanding the situational awareness that is so necessary in order 
to be as effective as we can be. The results prove he has made a big 
contribution to helping us turn the Senate around, going from 
dysfunction to function and actually producing important results for 
the American people.
  So here is how Russ describes the task ahead in the Senate. He likes 
to talk about the four P's. This is supposedly the key to what makes 
the Senate work and how to be effective in the Senate. The first P is 
policy. The second is pressure. The third is politics. The fourth is 
power. So I think by his four P's, he encapsulates one of the ways to 
be most effective in the Senate.
  I guess, in the end, everything comes down to people and our 
relationships, the level of trust we are able to build working with 
each other because that is what helps us be effective and helps Russ be 
an effective chief of staff in the whip office. The truth is, as I have 
gone from No. 99 in the Senate when I came here, sitting in that back 
row over there, down to this desk over the last 12 years, I could not 
have done it without great staff like Russ Thomasson and all of my 
staff, both in the whip office as well as my staff in my official 
office. Many of them I know are here sitting in the back.
  So on behalf of all of Team Cornyn, I want to wish Russ, his wife 
Cindy, Sasha, and Austin all the very best in the next chapter of their 
lives. We used to kid that it is sort of like the Eagles song ``Hotel 
California,'' you can check out, but you can never leave, once you 
become part of Team Cornyn. That is as true today as it was then.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.

                      Nuclear Agreement With Iran

  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I have never faced a more difficult decision 
than the vote on the Iran nuclear weapons agreement which is currently 
scheduled for mid-September. The stakes could not be higher, the issues 
more complex or the risks more difficult to calculate. In approaching 
this decision, I have taken a two-pronged path. The first is to have 
learned everything I possibly could about the agreement itself and then 
carefully analyzed the alternatives.
  This second step is critically important, particularly in this case. 
No negotiated agreement is perfect. It is easy to pick apart whatever 
agreement is before you, but the question is, Compared to what? Often, 
an imperfect agreement is preferable when compared to the likely 
alternatives. Starting with a close reading of the agreement over 
several nights and early mornings back in July, and following hearings, 
classified briefings and sessions, meeting with experts inside and 
outside the administration, extensive readings about the agreement and 
its implications and discussions with my colleagues, this is where I 
have come out: First, if implemented effectively, I believe this 
agreement will prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon for at 
least 15 years and probably longer; second, at the end of that 15 
years, if we take the right steps, we will have the same options then 
that we have today if Iran moves toward the building of a bomb; third, 
the current alternatives, if this agreement is rejected, are either 
unrealistic or downright dangerous.
  So based upon what we know now, I intend to vote in favor of the 
agreement. This is why: The deal itself, I believe, is strong and 
explicit in terms of the burdens it places upon Iran's nuclear program 
for the first 15 years--a

[[Page S6347]]

98-percent reduction in their current stockpile of enriched uranium, 
strict numerical limits on further enrichment, the effective 
dismantling of the plutonium reactor at Arak, and dismantlement of two-
thirds of their current fleet of enrichment centrifuges.
  But many argue that after 15 years, Iran could become a nuclear 
threshold state, which is certainly a possibility we need to be 
prepared to address, but Iran is a nuclear threshold state today. To be 
arguing about what may or may not be the case in 15 years and ignore 
the fact that they are a nuclear threshold state today, it seems to me, 
is the height of folly. If they decided to build a bomb today, they 
could get there in 2 to 3 months. After the rollbacks required in this 
agreement, however, this period is extended to at least 1 year, and we 
would know almost immediately if they were on track to a bomb.
  I might mention that we will have a much greater insight into their 
activities if this agreement is enacted than we do today. The 
inspection and verification provisions, as I mentioned, which will be 
monitored and enforced by the International Atomic Energy Agency, 
coupled with the tools and capabilities of the U.S. intelligence 
community and those of our international partners which, by the way, is 
an important part of the verification regime.
  There is a lot of discussion about the IAEA, as if those are the only 
people who will be watching, but indeed the intelligence agencies of at 
least half a dozen countries will also be watching. I believe the 
combination of the IAEA and our intelligence assets provide us with a 
high level of confidence that any attempt by Iran to cheat on its 
enrichment program will be detected.
  IAEA inspections at known nuclear sites indeed are anytime, anywhere, 
and include Iran's entire uranium supply chain. While it is true that 
inspections at hidden sites--sites we don't know about--could be 
delayed for up to 24 days from when the IAEA requests access and that 
some covert work at such a site could be harder to detect, it is in the 
nature of uranium that traces can be detected long after 24 days, no 
matter how much they try to clean it up.
  The half-life of uranium-235 is 700 million years. They are not going 
to be able to clean it up in 24 days. In the end, to build a bomb, 
there has to be nuclear material. But what about after 15 years when 
most of the restrictions on enrichment are lifted? If the Iranians try 
to break out at that point, we have the some options we have today, 
including the reimposition of sanctions or a military strike.
  In other words, we are in a similar place in 15 years to where we are 
now, but we will have achieved 15 years of a nuclear weapon-free Iran. 
If Iran violates the terms of the agreement at that point, I believe 
reimposing the effective international sanctions involving the rest of 
the world would be stronger and more likely than it would be today 
because it would be Iran breaching the agreement, not us walking away 
from it. I cannot argue, nor can anyone, that this deal is perfect. For 
example, I would prefer that the 15-year limits be 20 or 25 or 30 years 
or that the U.S. arms embargo would remain in place indefinitely. I 
would prefer to see that in the agreement.
  In fact, I think Congress can and should have a role to play in 
seeking to ensure the strict enforcement of the agreement and to 
mitigate some of its weaknesses, as well as reassuring our regional 
allies and partners and further strengthening our ability to ensure 
Iran never becomes a nuclear weapons state, but then we get to the 
central question. As I said, it is easy to pick apart a deal: I don't 
like this aspect. I don't like that. I think it should be longer. I 
think it should be shorter.
  But the question is, Compared to what? What are the alternatives? 
What happens next if we reject this agreement? The usual answers I have 
heard in this body, in hearings, and in meetings over the last month or 
so are sort of vague references to reimposing or strengthening the 
sanctions, bringing Iran back to the table, and getting a better deal.
  The problem with this is that the countries which have joined us in 
the sanctions--and by doing so have considerably strengthened the 
impact of those sanctions on Iran--believe this deal is acceptable. 
They have accepted it. Our unilateral rejection would almost certainly 
lead to those sanctions eroding rather than getting stronger. I would 
not argue they will collapse, but they will definitely erode. It is 
hard to argue that the sanctions will get stronger when the countries 
that have helped us to enforce and make those sanctions effective 
believe we should endorse and enter into this agreement.
  If that happens, we have the worst of all worlds: Iran is unfettered 
from the terms of the agreement, and they are subject to a weaker 
sanctions regime. It is important to remember, and this often is not 
conveyed much in the information that is shared, this is not simply an 
agreement between the United States and Iran, this is an agreement 
between the United States and Germany and Great Britain and France and 
China and Russia and Iran. This is not a unilateral agreement. This is 
an agreement that has been entered into by the major world powers. They 
have found it acceptable.
  The other option, if we cannot somehow find our way to a better 
deal--and I have not heard anybody credibly argue why or how that would 
happen. The only other option, of course, is a military strike, which 
the experts estimate would only set the Iranian nuclear program back 
between 2 and 3 years. Where are we then? Are we in a position where 
there would have to be follow-on strikes to prevent the reconstitution 
of Iran's nuclear facilities every 2 or 3 years? That would be at an 
unpredictable and incalculable cost.
  It is true that as a result of Iran's acceptance of the limitations 
of the agreement, they get relief from the nuclear sanctions and the 
release of approximately $50 billion of restricted foreign assets that 
they will be able to spend, but it is important to remember they only 
get that after they comply with the limitations. If we sign on to this 
agreement, they don't get the money the next day. They have to meet the 
limitations in the agreement and the IAEA has to verify that. Let me 
repeat. There is no sanctions relief until Iran implements and the IAEA 
verifies that its nuclear commitments have been met. To get that relief 
is why they entered into these negotiations in the first place. And to 
get them into the negotiations is why we led the imposition of the 
nuclear weapons sanctions in the first place.

  In other words, sanctions relief in exchange for acceptance of 
limitations on their nuclear program is the essence of the deal. 
Neither the sanctions nor the negotiations were ever about Iran 
foreswearing terrorism or recognizing Israel or releasing hostages. All 
of those things are things I wish we could do. I believe those are good 
policies, but that isn't what this negotiation was about. To try to add 
them now or argue that the deal falls short because they aren't 
included is simply unrealistic.
  The United States, along with our allies and partners, must redouble 
our efforts outside of the nuclear agreement to address these issues. 
They are critically important issues. We need a strategy to deal with 
an expansionist Iran that is completely separate from the nuclear 
issue--I don't deny that--and to deal with Iran's malign activities in 
the region. It is also important to reiterate that all U.S. sanctions 
on Iran related to terrorism and human rights will remain in place.
  When President Kennedy was negotiating the removal of the Soviet 
missiles from Cuba, he did not throw in that Cuba had to depose Castro 
or that the Soviets had to foreswear their dangerous enmity to the 
West. The phrase they used was this: ``We will bury you.''
  He simply wanted to get those missiles out. He didn't try to settle 
all the issues in the Cold War. And, indeed, so it is with this deal. 
The idea is to constrain. The idea has always been to constrain Iran's 
nuclear capability, not settle all the issues of the Middle East--no 
matter how desirable that might be.
  In my book there is only one thing worse than a rogue Iran seeking to 
make trouble for its neighbors and us, and that is a rogue Iran seeking 
to make troubles for its neighbors and us armed with nuclear weapons. 
That is the issue before is.
  Finally, of equal importance as the terms themselves of the nuclear 
agreement is ensuring that it is effectively implemented. One of the 
principles of my life is that implementation and

[[Page S6348]]

execution are as important as vision. If this agreement is approved, 
that is day 1 of the critical implementation and execution period. 
There is a real risk, I believe, that as time wears on, the attention 
of the international community on this issue will diminish. It will be 
vital to the United States, across successive Presidents, to maintain 
focus on implementing and enforcing the terms of the agreement.
  Congress also will have a crucial role to play, both in oversight of 
the deal's implementation and in making certain that the IAEA and our 
intelligence agencies have the resources they need to monitor and 
assure compliance, and more broadly to ensure that all of our options 
to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon--whenever they may 
decide to take that step--remain viable if the agreement collapses.
  I have negotiated lots of contracts over the years, and one side or 
the other rarely wins in a negotiation. The idea is that all sides get 
something they want or need, and, in the end, I believe that is what 
happened here. If this deal is implemented properly, I believe it will 
accomplish our national security objectives, while preserving or 
improving all of our existing options to ensure that Iran never 
develops a nuclear weapon.
  There is no certainty when it comes to this question. As I said at 
the beginning, I believe this is the most difficult decision I have 
ever had to make. There are risks in either direction, and there are 
credible arguments on both sides. But, in the end, I have concluded 
that the terms of this agreement are preferable to the alternatives--
and that is the crucial analysis; what are the alternatives--and that 
it would be in the best interests of the United States to join our 
partners in approving it.
  I intend to remain deeply engaged in this issue in the weeks and 
months ahead because the process does not end the day of our vote. If 
this agreement moves forward, it will fall to future Presidents and 
future Congresses to oversee it and make it work. We owe the American 
people our best judgment, and it is my belief that this agreement, if 
implemented effectively and in conjunction with the other measures we 
must take to ensure its ongoing vitality, will serve our Nation, the 
region, and the world.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I wish to say a few words about the deal 
negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran to deny Iran's access to a nuclear 
  First, I commend the administration and others involved in the 
negotiations for seeking a diplomatic solution. There always needs to 
be a credible threat of military force to deny Iran a nuclear weapon, 
but it is incumbent upon us to test every avenue for a peaceful 
solution before resorting to such force.
  I am mindful that--like any agreement involving multiple parties that 
are friendly, belligerent, and somewhere in between--this agreement 
can't be used against the ideal. It has to be judged against the 
alternative. On the whole, this agreement measured against the ideal 
doesn't look all that good. Against the alternative, it is a much 
closer call.
  I must say that I am not as sanguine as some of my colleagues about 
the ability to reassemble the multilateral sanctions regime that has 
brought Iran to the negotiating table.
  On the nuclear side, Iran's ability to amass sufficient fissile 
material to assemble a nuclear weapon would be severely curtailed for 
up to 15 years. The inspections regime to ensure compliance, at least 
as it pertains to known nuclear facilities, is fairly detailed. That is 
no small achievement. Much credit is due to the scientists and others 
who assisted with the negotiations.
  On the other hand, I have grave concerns regarding our ability--and 
if not our ability, our willingness--to respond to nefarious nonnuclear 
activities that Iran may be involved with in the region.
  We are assured by the administration that under the JCPOA, Congress 
retains all tools, including the imposition of sanctions, should Iran 
involve itself in terrorist activity in the region. However, the plain 
text of the JCPOA does not seem to indicate this. In fact, it seems to 
indicate otherwise. Iran has made it clear that it believes that the 
imposition of sanctions similar to or approximating those currently in 
place would violate the JCPOA.
  My concern is that the administration would be reluctant to punish or 
deter the unacceptable nonnuclear behavior by Iran in the region if it 
would give Iran the pretext not to comply with the agreement as it 
stands. I don't believe this is an idle concern. The degree to which 
the administration has resisted even the suggestion that Congress 
reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act, for example, which expires next 
year, just so that we might have sanctions to snap back, makes us 
question our willingness to confront Iran when it really matters down 
the road.
  Now, if this were a treaty, that could be dealt with with what are 
called RUDs--or reservations, understandings and declarations--where we 
could clarify some of these misunderstandings. But since this was 
presented to Congress as an Executive agreement, we don't have that 
  We have had numerous hearings and briefings in the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee. I commend Senator Corker, the chairman of the 
committee, and the minority ranking member, Senator Cardin, for the 
manner in which they have engaged in these hearings and briefings.
  We have had a lot of questions raised. Some have been answered; some 
have not. These hearings will continue. I will leave from this Chamber 
to go to another briefing that we are having. I expect to hear more in 
the coming weeks and will seek to answer questions that I still have 
about the agreement. The bottom line is I can only support an agreement 
that I feel can endure--not just be signed but that can endure--and 
that will serve our national interests and the interests of our allies.
  Again, I commend those who have been involved in this process. I 
commend those involved in ensuring that Congress had a say here. I will 
continue to evaluate this agreement based, as I said, not on the ideal 
but the alternative. There are many questions I wish to have answered.
  I encourage the administration to work with Congress in the coming 
weeks on legislation that would clarify some of these 
misunderstandings. It would take the place of so-called RUDs if this 
were a treaty.
  I have mentioned before that this kind of legislation is going to 
come. It will come prior to implementation day, and I think it behooves 
the administration and the Congress to begin now to work together on 
items that we can agree on that clarify this, assuming that this 
agreement will go into effect. It ought to be clarified now and not 
down the road. That would make it far more likely to be an enduring 
document rather than one that is simply signed and forgotten later.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, 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. LEE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Utah.