EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 42
(Senate - March 12, 2015)

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[Pages S1471-S1474]
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                           EXECUTIVE SESSION





  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to consider the following nominations, 
which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read the nominations of Christopher A. Hart, of 
Colorado, to be Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board 
for a term of two years; and Tho Dinh-Zarr, of Texas, to be a Member of 
the National Transportation Safety Board for the remainder of the term 
expiring December 31, 2018.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will be 30 
minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form.
  Who yields time?
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum, and I 
ask unanimous consent that the time be divided equally.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. NELSON. 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the quorum call be rescinded.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. NELSON. Mr. President, I want to speak on a number of issues. I 
rise in support of the nominations of Christopher Hart to be chairman 
and Bella Dinh-Zarr to be a board member of the National Transportation 
Safety Board.
  The National Transportation Safety Board helps keep all of us safe. 
When a terrible crash happens, we watch on television or read about the 
crash and wonder what happened. But it is the National Transportation 
Safety Board that steps in. During those first moments, they get in, 
preserve evidence, sift through the debris, and then figure out what 
went wrong.
  They play a difficult role. They must put aside all differences 
between jurisdictions, politics, and partisanship to get the job 
done. In the last month alone, the board has launched investigations 
into a ship collision in Texas, a plane veering off the runway in New 
York, two terrible and fatal train crashes in New York and California, 
and a tragic incident in DC where smoke filled one of the Metro tunnels 
and resulted in a passenger dying.

  They are also helping with an oil train derailment in West Virginia 
and one in Illinois that sparked fires and an evacuation. Their work 
plays a critical role in guiding our decisions about safety and their 
recommendations have influenced safety improvements. They have played a 
role in everything from drunk driving and seatbelt laws to the amount 
of rest that pilots and truck drivers should get, and they are also 
helping to shape the safety requirements of travel in the future.
  In October of last year, a test flight for commercial space flight 
ended in tragedy when an experimental spacecraft broke apart in 
midflight over the desert in California.
  The National Transportation Safety Board stepped in to investigate 
the tragic accident. They are still conducting the investigation, and 
the results are going to help us better address the future safety of 
commercial space flight to and from the edge of space, which is what 
that spacecraft was designed to do. This is why it is so critical that 
we select people with technical knowledge and human compassion to put 
the pieces of these tragedies back together.
  We have two great nominees. Christopher Hart is a dedicated public 
servant with an extensive career in transportation safety. He has 
served as Vice Chairman of the NTSB for 5 years; and since April 2014, 
he has served as the Acting Chairman of that agency.
  Like Mr. Hart, Dr. Bella Dinh-Zarr has a distinguished career in 
transportation safety. She currently serves as the director of the FIA 
Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting safe and sustainable 
  Previously, Dr. Dinh-Zarr worked in various safety capacities with 
the Make Roads Safe campaign, the American Automobile Association, and 
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  They are both good leaders, and I ask the Senate to join me in 
supporting their nominations.

                             Takata Airbags

  Mr. President, I wish to provide the Senate with an update on what 
every Senator has had their attention called to--the Takata airbag 
recall. We have seen five deaths. We have seen a spate of serious 
injuries related to these defective airbags. One of the deaths occurred 
in my home State of Florida.
  Through my position of working with Chairman John Thune of the 
Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I have been pushing 
Takata and the automakers to speed up fixes for these defective 
  People are driving around with a lethal bomb in their steering wheel. 
If it is defective and it goes off, they are filled with shrapnel. That 
has killed five people. It is documented in this country that it has 
killed five people.
  Nobody ought to be driving, therefore, a car for months when, in 
fact, they have a known defect that can seriously kill them.
  Well, it is just not acceptable, and the progress has been painfully 
slow. We received a letter from NHTSA noting that only 2 million of the 
vehicles recently recalled--2 million of 17 million--are all that have 
been repaired as of the end of last year.
  That letter notes that Takata has continued to stonewall NHTSA's 
request for documents related to the defect. It is now being fined 
$14,000 a day until they start cooperating fully. They have also failed 
to produce a number of critical documents that the Commerce, Science, 
and Transportation Committee has requested as part of its investigation 
into this mess.
  Earlier today, Senator Thune and I sent a letter to Takata again 
requesting that they turn over these documents to the committee as soon 
as possible so that we can complete our investigation into how this 
mess happened and, very importantly, how we can get people's cars fixed 
so they are not driving around with this bomb about to explode in their 
steering wheel. Safety can't wait.

                              Bob Levinson

  Mr. President, sadly, this week is the eighth year that Bob Levinson, 
a retired FBI agent who disappeared on a tourist island in Iran called 
Kish Island, has not been seen or heard from. He has a wife and seven 
  A couple of years ago, the family received a video. A few months 
after that, they received a photo.
  In these extensive discussions with Iran over matters of war and 
peace as to whether Iran is going to be willing to step down and not 
have a nuclear weapon, one of the discussion items also is not only the 
three known Americans in captivity in Iran but Bob Levinson, who has 
been missing for 8 years.
  Only the Iranian Government can produce the evidence of what has 
happened to Bob and where he is, and we continue that vigil.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, later today, the Senate will vote on 
two nominees who are critical to ensuring the safety of our Nation's 
transportation network: Christopher Hart, to be Chairman of the 
National Transportation Safety Board, also known as the NTSB, and Bella 
Dinh-Zarr to be a member of the Board.
  Mr. Hart has a distinguished career in aviation safety and has served 
with distinction as acting chair in recent months.
  Dr. Dinh-Zarr has a distinguished career in auto safety and will 
bring an important perspective and background to the board.
  Right now, the NTSB only has three members, with one--Mr. Hart--
serving as Acting Chairman. Today's vote will add another member and 
ensure Mr. Hart is Chairman in an official capacity. It is imperative 
that we have a strong, long-term team at the helm. As a member of the 
Commerce Committee, I know there is much important work ahead for the 
  The NTSB is charged by Congress with investigating every civil 
aviation accident in the United States as well as

[[Page S1472]]

significant accidents in the other modes of transportation--railroad, 
highway, marine, and pipeline--and issuing safety recommendations to 
agencies and others in the transportation industry aimed at preventing 
future accidents.
  It is not a regulatory or oversight agency; rather, it has a unique 
task--investigating safety issues and accidents and then making 
recommendations on how we can save lives. It is independent, and this 
ensures that agencies that regulate and oversee safety aren't 
investigating themselves when and if there are potential lapses in 
their oversight.
  The NTSB's work is critical--and it has been very busy recently--
especially in my region. Last month, we saw a horrific collision at a 
railway crossing just outside of New York City on our commuter 
railroad, Metro-North. The tragic incident killed six, including a 
resident of Danbury, CT. The NTSB is investigating that crash, and its 
finding will help us so we don't have to witness similar disasters 
again. Having a full board helps this important work move forward.
  This recent investigation comes after the NTSB dedicated tremendous 
resources and hours into investigating other horrific incidents on 
Metro-North in 2013 and 2014. At one point, all of the NTSB's rail 
investigators worked on that one investigation, which resulted in a 
substantial report last November. The NTSB's conclusions in that report 
have been a guidepost for reform. At the same time, the NTSB has been 
busy investigating other major incidents such as rail-grade crossings 
elsewhere in our country, like in southern California, derailments of 
trains carrying crude oil, like in West Virginia, plane crashes, major 
highway disasters, and significant transit incidents.
  The NTSB is also evaluating other issues, such as the safety of 
passenger vehicle tires, distracted driving, substance abuse in the 
transportation sector, and ensuring procedural compliance by 
transportation providers. It is a long and extensive list of projects.
  We need these nominees in their posts immediately so they can keep 
these investigations moving forward and bolster the NTSB's critical 
work. And I note that here in Congress, we need to do our part as well 
to advance the NTSB's efforts and findings, which include ensuring 
railroads install positive train control, or PTC, which was first urged 
by NTSB after a rail collision in 1969 in Darien; requiring advanced 
technology like cameras in trains; requiring railroads to have 
redundant signal protection, which, had it been in place, would have 
saved the life of one of my constituents; requiring better fatigue 
management in all modes of transportation; improving the 
crashworthiness of passenger rail cars; and ensuring labor has a voice 
in safety investigations, among many key reforms.
  Thankfully, we have before us today two supremely qualified nominees 
who will help us advance these key initiatives and make our 
transportation network safer, more secure, and more reliable. Again, I 
urge my colleagues to support them.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 
10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Human Trafficking

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, all week we have been on an important 
piece of legislation on the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. 
Just to remind everybody, this is a bill to treat child prostitutes not 
as criminals but as the victims they are--obviously, beneath the age of 
consent--and to recognize that the criminal organizations that traffic 
in human flesh for sale, economic, sex, and other reasons, are a real 
problem in our society. So much of what happens in this trade is really 
nothing more or nothing less than modern-day slavery--something we 
thought was relegated to the history books and didn't exist in the 
United States of America, the freest country in the world.
  We got here through a rather strange set of circumstances, because 
the legislation that I introduced was broadly bipartisan--which is a 
novelty these days. We had 10 Democratic cosponsors of the legislation.
  Then, when we had a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee--Chairman 
Grassley kindly called up that bill in February--we had a unanimous 
vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee. All Republicans and all 
Democrats voted for it.
  Then we had another unusual development. Majority Leader McConnell 
was left wondering: Am I going to have to go through procedural steps 
to get the bill to the floor? The minority, our Democratic friends, 
said, I think, fairly: This is not a controversial piece of 
legislation. We are going to agree to get on the legislation.
  But then something very strange happened. All of a sudden, some of 
our Democratic friends, including the Democratic leader, said: We are 
going to filibuster this legislation. You can imagine my surprise after 
that bipartisan record of cooperation leading up to that point.
  I was even more surprised when the stated reason for that was a 
provision in the bill, which was as plain as the nose on your face, and 
it actually was a provision of the law that was voted on unanimously by 
all of our Democratic friends late last year.
  So it is a provision that has been the law of the land for 39 years, 
which they reaffirmed with their vote just late last year.
  This is what one of the 200 groups--law enforcement and victims 
groups--had to say about this discovery this week of this 
appropriations provision known as the Hyde amendment. It said: ``Senate 
Democrats are choosing a phantom problem over real victims.''
  So I wish to take a minute to think about who is actually paying the 
price for the political games that are going on in the Senate. Who is 
bearing the consequences? Is it going to be the Republican Party or the 
Democratic Party in the next election? That seems to be the rage in 
Washington, DC. People want to talk about the politics.
  But here we have children, typically between the age of 12 and 14, 
mainly girls, who are trafficked for sex and who have nowhere to turn. 
Our bill gives them an opportunity to begin to heal by penalizing the 
very people who demand this sex trade, taking that money and diverting 
it into services for the victims.
  Reflecting on what has happened this week and thinking that surely we 
can all get together on something as bipartisan as combatting human sex 
trafficking for children, surely we can finally come together, all join 
hands together and support this important legislation, I had to 
reflect: Why in the world would they ever want to come to the Senate if 
they are not going to try to help make the lives of these victims of 
human trafficking just a little better? I mean, we are all used to the 
hardball of elections and politics. We get it. We are all volunteers. 
We are grownup men and women. But these children shouldn't have to pay 
the price for the political games that are going on in the Senate. And 
it is not only this legislation.
  I think it really speaks to: Why in the world would anybody want to 
serve in a body where all we are doing is filling space and throwing 
obstacles to the passage of bipartisan legislation that is going to 
help some of the vulnerable people in our society?
  If this is our legacy, I just have to say: Shame on us. Shame on 
those who would put partisan political games and phantom problems ahead 
of the welfare of these child victims of human trafficking.
  Is this the legacy that any Member of the Senate, Republican or 
Democratic, would want to be known by? Yes, they served in the Senate, 
the greatest deliberative body in the world. But do you know what they 
are remembered for? For stopping help for child victims of human 
trafficking. That is their legacy. Does anyone want that? I don't think 
  Why in the world would we squander a perfectly good opportunity to do 
everything we can? This isn't a panacea. This isn't going to all of a 
sudden wipe out the issue of human trafficking in America, but it is a 
small first step to dedicate $30 million in a crime victims 
compensation fund--paid for by the very people who purchased these 
services and who are convicted and pay fines. This is a first step to 
take that $30 million and to divert it to help the victims of this 
sordid crime to begin to heal.

[[Page S1473]]

  So I ask our colleagues to reconsider, to reflect on why they are 
here--just to play partisan games, or are they actually here to do some 
good? Is this what they want to be known by? Is this how you want to be 
remembered by your children and grandchildren? Is this how you want to 
be remembered in our history books? And why in the world would you come 
to the Senate only to squander the opportunity to do something good for 
the most vulnerable people in our country by blocking this legislation 
over a provision of law which has been the law of the land for 39 years 
and which all of our Democratic friends have repeatedly voted for time 
and time again, as recently as late last year in the Omnibus 
appropriations bill?

  This is a phantom problem, and they are choosing a phantom problem 
over real victims. It is beyond belief and I think deeply depressing. 
But there is an opportunity for our colleagues to rise above this 
partisanship they have displayed and to do the right thing. One would 
think the 10 people who have been cosponsors of the legislation would 
be for advancing this legislation, as well as all the members of the 
Senate Judiciary Committee, Republicans and Democrats alike. One would 
think that since they have already voted for this provision, they would 
do so again and let us consider it, along with an open amendment 
  In the end, this isn't hurting us or other Senators. This isn't just 
poisoning the well here in Washington, DC, making it harder and harder 
for us to get things done; this isn't just poisoning our reputation in 
the eyes of the people we represent around the country who look to 
Washington and see nothing but dysfunction; it is squandering an 
opportunity to help vulnerable children who are the victims of this 
sordid sex trafficking. I hope my colleagues will reconsider and allow 
us to proceed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.

                   unanimous consent request--S. 178

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the bipartisan Justice for Victims of 
Trafficking Act will go a long way to fight the scourge of modern-day 
human slavery. It was introduced back in January by a Republican, 
Senator Cornyn, and a Democrat, Senator Klobuchar. As is done with all 
legislation, it was posted on the Internet for everyone to read.
  Not long after, 14 female senators on the Democrat side joined their 
female counterparts on the Republican side to call for a Judiciary 
Committee hearing on the matter. Chairman Grassley is committed to 
fighting human trafficking. So not only did he hold the hearing they 
requested, he promptly scheduled a markup on legislation to combat 
modern human slavery, including the Justice for Victims of Trafficking 
Act. That markup was conducted in an open and transparent way. The 
Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was debated and amended in 
  For example, the senior senator from Connecticut offered an amendment 
to this bipartisan bill on behalf of himself and the junior senator 
from Illinois. That amendment was approved.
  The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act was reported unanimously 
to the floor. Every single Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voted 
for it. Every single one. Soon after, the junior Senator from North 
Dakota called on me to take up this bill, which I was happy to do.
  The Democratic Majority did not bring this bill to the floor in the 
last Congress, and I was determined to try to do something about the 
terrible problem of human trafficking. Just a few days ago, every 
single Democrat consented to the Senate taking up this bipartisan bill. 
The Democrat Leader even committed to work to clear any problems that 
would arise on his side of the aisle, although he said he doubted that 
any would.
  Well, no sooner had these words been uttered, then our Democrat 
colleagues began complaining about a provision that was sitting on page 
four of the bill. This provision was in there when this bipartisan bill 
was introduced. It was in there when the committee held a hearing on 
it. It was in there when the committee marked it up--at which point 
every single Democrat voted for it. And it was in there when every 
Democrat in the Senate agreed to proceed to it on the floor. But now 
they are complaining about it and even threatening to filibuster this 
critical human rights bill over it.
  Now, I understand threatening to filibuster a bill that you oppose. 
But our colleagues are threatening to filibuster a bipartisan bill that 
they have co-sponsored, voted for, or in some cases, done both.
  We have been reasonable throughout this process. Consistent with that 
approach, I suggest we resolve this bizarre issue the way the Senate 
has traditionally done. I will be proposing a consent agreement where 
our friends on the other side of the aisle will get to offer a motion 
to strike a provision that so many Democrats voted to support in the 
past. As part of my offer, I would further propose that such an 
amendment be the first amendment in order, and that it be decided as a 
simple up-or-down vote. That is as fair as one can be. An up-or-down 
vote at a simple majority threshold.
  Not only is that the regular order way to resolve this issue, it is 
also the way that leading antitrafficking groups have said we should 
resolve this issue. For example, an official from the Coalition Against 
Trafficking in Women said, ``Senate Democrats are choosing a phantom 
problem over real victims.'' She said Senate Democrats should offer an 
amendment to strip out the provision if they don't like it. And then 
she said, ``Win or lose and move on.''
  I think that is good advice, Mr. President. That is precisely what I 
am going to suggest. And I hope my Democratic colleagues will take 
``yes'' for an answer.
  Mr. President, the Senator from Texas, who has been a leader on this 
issue and is the craftsman of this bill--as has Senator Grassley, the 
chairman of the committee--has laid out how we got to where we are. It 
is sort of a mind-boggling, twisted path that makes almost no sense 
even to the casual observer. The dilemma seems to be that our 
Democratic friends, having read and signed off on this bill all along 
the way, have suddenly discovered a piece of it they do not like. Well, 
of course, the way to eliminate a piece you don't like would be to vote 
on it.
  So I am going to offer a unanimous consent agreement that would give 
our friends on the other side an opportunity for an up-or-down, simple 
majority vote on the provision they have recently discovered, after 
reading the bill for 2 months, that they find offensive. I will give 
them an opportunity with a simple majority vote to strike the provision 
which they find objectionable and which Senator Cornyn has pointed out 
has been part of the law for 39 years.
  In that regard, I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate resumes 
consideration of S. 178, that it be in order for Senator Leahy or his 
designee to offer an amendment to strike the limitations language; that 
there be up to 1 hour of debate on the amendment equally divided 
between the managers or their designees; and that following the use or 
yielding back of the time, the Senate vote on the amendment; further, 
that following disposition of this amendment, the managers or their 
designees be allowed to offer amendments in an alternating fashion.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, my friend the senior Senator from Texas 
could write a book on how the Senate has been dysfunctional. That 
chapter, which would become a huge part of what he would be writing 
about, would be on what has happened in the last 6 years. Talk about 
dysfunction. The Republicans have basically filibustered everything, 
and I mean everything--everything. The decision was made after Obama 
was elected that they weren't going to support anything, and to your 
credit, I say to the Presiding Officer and all Republicans, you stuck 
with it. You supported nothing Obama wanted to get done. So let's not 
talk about the dysfunction of the Senate because the book on that has 
been written by the Republican minority for the last 6 years.
  Mr. President, the legislation dealing with human trafficking is 
going to pass this Congress, but it is going to pass this Congress 
without abortion language in it.

[[Page S1474]]

  There has been a lot of talk in the last couple of days about how to 
handle this issue, and the way to handle the issue is very simple: Just 
take it out of the bill. It could be done with a consent agreement in 
the matter of a second or two. So that is what we proposed, and we have 
been proposing it for the last several days. Take the abortion language 
out of this bill. If my Republican colleagues want to get something 
done, just take the abortion politics out of this bill. Unfortunately, 
for those who want to see this trafficking bill pass, Republicans are 
ignoring the obvious path forward while setting a new low standard on 
all bipartisan business that is conducted in the Senate.
  By saying that Democrats should always assume their Republican 
partners are just not being forthright, I guess it is our fault because 
time and time again, whether it is on the funding of Homeland Security 
or whether it is trying to solve a problem we have in the Middle East, 
there is always something that comes out of nowhere--something so 
unusual, so unbelievable that we would have 47 Senators sign a letter 
directed to the Ayatollah. Never in the 200 years of this body has 
there been this level of interference in negotiations by the President 
until just a few days ago.
  The bottom line is this: Democratic Senators have been working in 
good faith on this critical legislation for years. Assuming their 
Republican partners were being forthright when they provided a list of 
changes that did not include the addition of the Hyde language, 
Republicans are now saying that trusting them was a mistake.
  There is a clear path forward to passing this trafficking bill, which 
is the goal shared, I hope, by Democrats and Republicans. Republicans 
should work with us to remove the unrelated abortion language that has 
no business being in this bill. Democrats are open to any number of 
ways to improve the language in this bill, but it is so simple: Just 
take it out. Take the abortion language out.
  Today, Senator Leahy, a senior Member of this body, submitted text 
that omits the abortion language. One way forward would be for the 
Senate to adopt, not simply vote on, this text. Voting to reject the 
change Democrats are seeking, as Senator McConnell says he wants to do 
today, is not a viable path forward since it does not address 
Democrats' concern that abortion language has no place in a bill 
designed to protect victims of human trafficking.
  This trafficking bill could pass quickly if the abortion language 
were removed, as I said. We hope Republicans will do the right thing in 
the interest of passing this bill and will work with us to remove the 
completely unrelated abortion language that has no business being in 
this bill.
  I, therefore, object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I want to make sure everybody 
understands what has been objected to. The provision that was in the 
bill has been in there for 2 months. Everybody had a chance to read it. 
It came out of committee unanimously. No one objected to proceeding to 
it on the floor.
  I just offered the minority an opportunity for a simple up-or-down 
vote to strike the provision they recently discovered, and they have 
objected to it.
  Senator Cornyn, Senator Grassley, and a number of others of you have 
worked very hard on this extremely important legislation. I brought it 
to the floor the other day, open for amendment, but we have not been 
able to offer any amendments because the minority doesn't want to have 
an open amendment process and is insisting on trying to kill this 
important bill because of a provision they claim somehow they missed. 
After its being in there for 2 months, they now suddenly find it 
  So where we are is we are still on the bill, and we are going to pass 
this bill, I assure you. I want to assure Senators Cornyn, Grassley, 
and all the people out in America who have been clamoring for this 
bill--and I might ask Senator Cornyn, how many groups are there that 
are supporting this measure?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. If I could respond, Mr. President, there are about 200 
different law enforcement and victims' rights organizations, including 
the one from the chart I mentioned earlier, the Coalition Against 
Trafficking of Women. This is one of those rare subjects where people 
have genuinely come together in revulsion to this terrible crime but 
also in an attempt to do something meaningful to address it.
  Mr. McCONNELL. So what I want to say to those groups is that we are 
going to stay on this bill until we pass it. I have offered the 
minority an opportunity to have an up-or-down vote to take out the 
provision they have suddenly discovered is offensive to them even after 
having it in the bill for 2 months. Even the most casual observer would 
have to conclude that the minority is going to great lengths to prevent 
the Senate from even doing business on things that are overwhelmingly 
supported. But I will say this to everybody out there who cares about 
this bill: We are going to stay on it until we finish it.
  I yield the floor.

                        Vote on Hart Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is, Will the Senate advise and 
consent to the nomination of Christopher A. Hart, of Colorado, to be 
Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board for a term of two 
  Mr. INHOFE. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Florida (Mr. Rubio).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) 
and the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 97, nays 0, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 70 Ex.]



                             NOT VOTING--3

  The nomination was confirmed.

                      Vote on Dinh-Zarr Nomination

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is, 
Will the Senate advise and consent to the nomination of Tho Dinh-Zarr, 
of Texas, to be a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board 
for the remainder of the term expiring December 31, 2018?
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motions to 
reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table, and the 
President will be immediately notified of the Senate's actions.