May 12, 2016 - Issue: Vol. 162, No. 75 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 2nd Session
ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2016; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 75
(Senate - May 12, 2016)
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[Pages S2721-S2731] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2016 The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 2028, which the clerk will report. The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A bill (H.R. 2028) making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes. Pending: Alexander/Feinstein amendment No. 3801, in the nature of a substitute. Alexander (for Flake/McCain) amendment No. 3876 (to amendment No. 3801), to require that certain funds are used for the review and revision of certain operational documents. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri. Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business for 15 minutes. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Nuclear Agreement With Iran Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, today I want to talk about the Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran and the many ways the agreement has failed to rein in Iranian hostile behavior over the course of the last year. Over the last week, I thought it was interesting that there was great reluctance on the part of people who voted in an enabling way to allow the Iranian agreement to occur to take a stand on the position that Mr. Cotton brought to the Senate floor, where we would not now give Iran millions of dollars to purchase heavy water that they would use in their nuclear activities and obviously continue to produce. In addition to that, I saw on Monday of this week that Iran tested a variant missile with a range of over 2,000 kilometers capable of striking Israel. Over and over again, we see Iran participating in hostile behavior and, somehow, none of that behavior violates either the spirit or the `letter of the agreement that was discussed as such an important breakthrough with what was going to happen in Iran. For those of us who predicted that Iran's behavior would not change and that behavior in the neighborhood would change in fear of what would happen because of Iran--I think those predictions are becoming more and more obviously true. On April 2, 2015, a framework agreement was reached on that program. Here we are a year later. This agreement seems not to have accomplished any of the things that we would want to accomplish with the country of Iran. According to President Obama: ``Iran so far has followed the letter of the agreement, but the spirit of the agreement involves Iran also sending signals to the world community and businesses that it is not going to be engaging in a range of provocative actions that might scare business off.'' That is an absolute quote from the President. Now, why we are concerned about scaring business off from Iran, I don't know, because another quote from the administration over and over again is that Iran is the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. I think if we were talking more about that activity of Iran and less about what they need to encourage business activities, we would be doing what we should be doing. Jennifer Rubin wrote in the Washington Post that ``his comments are curious both because the `letter of the agreement' seems to be forever changing to incorporate Iran's demands and because despite Iran's actions, the president continues to make more and more concessions.'' The administration sold this deal on the promise that we would see a great change in behavior. Take, for example, the behavior that has occurred: Iran's continued disregard of the United Nations Security Council resolutions dealing with ballistic missiles. Since the conclusion of the nuclear deal last summer, Iran has test-fired new classes of missiles whenever it wanted to; as I just mentioned, as late as last Monday. In October, they tested new missiles that are precision guided and more sophisticated than the current missiles they have. They have now tested missiles that could reach Israel. Despite the U.N. Security Council explicitly calling for Iran to halt its ballistic missile activity, Iran's leaders have consistently rebuffed anything that is coming from the international community that it says is out of bounds of the resolution, and apparently everything is out of bounds of the resolution. In August of 2015, the deputy foreign minister of Iran and chief nuclear negotiator told the Tehran Times: ``The restrictions on weapons posed through Resolution 2231 . . . are not mandatory and we can disregard them.'' That statement directly contradicts Secretary of State Kerry's statement when he talked about the resolution. When he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last July, on July 23, Secretary Kerry said: They are restrained from any sharing of missile technology, purchase of missile technology, exchange of missile technology work on missiles. They cannot do that under Article 41, which is Chapter 7 and manda- tory. . . . Obviously the administration has a much different interpretation of the current U.N. resolutions than Iran, but they also appear to have a completely flexible interpretation of what the agreement actually says. In March of this year--just a few weeks ago--the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment of Iranians who carried out cyber attacks against critical infrastructure and the financial sector of the United States with the knowledge of the Iranian Government. What does critical infrastructure mean? Critical infrastructure means the utilities, the transportation network, the things we have to rely on every day to provide the infrastructure the country needs to function. The indictment notes that one of the hackers ``received credit for his computer intrusion work from the Iranian government toward completion of his mandatory military service in Iran.'' I don't know any other way to interpret that than to say that if someone is in the Iranian military and if they want to cyber attack the United States, they will give someone credit for military service time to do that. I would think the administration would consider applying sanctions to put more pressure on Iran and not worry quite so much about Iran's future business opportunities. Curiously, yet predictably, the administration has [[Page S2722]] taken the opposite approach and continues to reward bad behavior. That reward can come and has come in the administration's basically easing financial restrictions that prohibit U.S. dollars from being used in transactions with Iran. The dollar continues to be the principal economic currency of the world. Why we would want Iran to have more access to that currency, I don't know. Yet the Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew, said that giving Iran access to U.S. currency would ease the blockade. He said, ``Since Iran has kept its end of the deal, it is our responsibility to uphold ours, in both letter and spirit.'' There may be only five people in the world--and they are all in the Obama administration--who believe that Iran has kept up its end of the deal. On April 2, 2016, Eli Lake wrote about how the President has to keep on giving to save his Iran deal. In other words, Mr. Lake wrote: I was under the impression that the nuclear negotiations with Iran ended in July. There was the press conference in Vienna, the U.N. resolution that lifted the sanctions on Iran and the fight in Congress that followed. That turns out to have been wrong. He goes on further to say: It wasn't part of the ``deal'' in July, which only lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran but kept other sanctions to punish the country's support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and its ballistic missile program. We don't seem nearly as committed to those sanctions. On April 3, 2016, the Ambassador of the UAE to the United States wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal highlighting concerns about Iranian actions in the year since the nuclear deal. The Ambassador pointed out that behind the talk of change, the Iran we have long known is still around. He then goes on to list the concerning actions Iran has taken in the last year, such as firing rockets near the USS Truman aircraft carrier in December 2015 while the Truman was peacefully transitioning the Strait of Hormuz; No. 2, detaining 10 American Navy sailors in January of 2016; No. 3, Iranian visits to Russia to purchase military fighter jets and equipment, presumably with the billions they received as part of the nuclear deal. According to the Ambassador, the list can go on and on, with Iranian influence continuing to cause instability in Yemen, Syria, as well as Iran's support for Hezbollah. There can be no doubt that the Obama administration's nuclear agreement with Iran has left regional allies nervous. The Ambassador from the UAE in the editorial I referenced has made that point very clearly, and I ask unanimous consent to have it printed in the Record. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From the Wall Street Journal, Apr. 3, 2016] One Year After the Iran Nuclear Deal (By Yousef Al Otaiba) Saturday marked one year since the framework agreement for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action--the nuclear deal with Iran--was announced. At the time, President Obama said this agreement would make ``the world safer.'' And perhaps it has, but only in the short term and only when it comes to Iran's nuclear-weapons proliferation. Sadly, behind all the talk of change, the Iran we have long known--hostile, expansionist, violent--is alive and well, and as dangerous as ever. We wish it were otherwise. In the United Arab Emirates, we are seeking ways to coexist with Iran. Perhaps no country has more to gain from normalized relations with Tehran. Reducing tensions across the less than 100-mile-wide Arabian Gulf could help restore full trade ties, energy cooperation and cultural exchanges, and start a process to resolve a 45-year territorial dispute. Since the nuclear deal, however, Iran has only doubled down on its posturing and provocations. In October, November and again in early March, Iran conducted ballistic-missile tests in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. In December, Iran fired rockets dangerously close to a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, just weeks before it detained a group of American sailors. In February, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan visited Moscow for talks to purchase more than $8 billion in Russian fighter jets, planes and helicopters. In Yemen, where peace talks now hold some real promise, Iran's disruptive interference only grows worse. Last week, the French navy seized a large cache of weapons on its way from Iran to support the Houthis in their rebellion against the UN-backed legitimate Yemeni government. In late February, the Australian navy intercepted a ship off the coast of Oman with thousands of AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. And last month, a senior Iranian military official said Tehran was ready to send military ``advisers'' to assist the Houthis. The interference doesn't stop there. Since the beginning of the year, Tehran and its proxies have increased their efforts to provide armor-piercing explosive devices to Shiite cells in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. A former Iranian general and close adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for Iran to annex all of Bahrain. And in Syria, Iran continues to deploy Hezbollah militias and its own Iranian Revolutionary Guard to prop up Syria's Bashar Assad. These are all clear reminders that Iran remains the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism--a persistent threat not only to the region but to the U.S. as well. ``Death to America'' has always been more than an ugly catchphrase; it has been Iranian policy. Iran has orchestrated countless terrorist attacks against Americans: from the Marine barracks in Beirut to Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. During the Afghanistan war, Iran paid Taliban fighters $1,000 for each American they killed. In Iraq, Iran supplied the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that killed or maimed thousands of U.S. soldiers. And in recent weeks seven Iranian hackers were indicted in a U.S. federal court for a cyberattack against U.S. banks and critical infrastructure. As Henry Kissinger once said, Iran can be either a country or a cause. Today ``Iran the cause'' is showing little of the same kind of pragmatism and moderation in its regional policies and behavior as it did in the nuclear talks. Last week, Mr. Khamenei insisted ballistic missiles were key to the Islamic Republic's future. ``Those who say the future is in negotiations, not in missiles, are either ignorant or traitors,'' he said. It is now clear that one year since the framework for the deal was agreed upon, Iran sees it as an opportunity to increase hostilities in the region. But instead of accepting this as an unfortunate reality, the international community must intensify its actions to check Iran's strategic ambitions. It is time to shine a bright light on Iran's hostile acts across the region. At the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh later this month, the U.S., the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman should reach an agreement on a common mechanism to monitor, expose and curb Iran's aggression. This should include specific measures to block its support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Hezbollah units in Syria and Lebanon, and Iranian-linked terrorist cells in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. If the carrots of engagement aren't working, we must not be afraid to bring back the sticks. Recent half measures against Iran's violations of the ballistic-missile ban are not enough. If the aggression continues, the U.S. and the global community should make clear that Iran will face the full range of sanctions and other steps still available under U.N. resolutions and in the nuclear deal itself. Iran's destabilizing behavior in the region must stop. Until it does, our hope for a new Iran should not cloud the reality that the old Iran is very much still with us--as dangerous and as disruptive as ever. Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, the administration's nuclear agreement has left the region nervous, has left the world less stable, and has left our colleagues in the Senate who voted for it unwilling to vote on anything else about Iran. I think we are finding that the people we work for don't believe this was a good agreement, and we will be talking about this agreement and the aftermath the agreement has created for a long time. We need to restore a world where America's friends trust us and our enemies are afraid of us. It is a dangerous world if we have exactly the opposite of that happening, when our friends don't trust us and our enemies aren't afraid of us, and this Iranian agreement is one of the reasons that is the case. Mr. President, I yield the floor. Change of Vote Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. President, on rollcall vote No. 70, I voted yea. It was my intention to vote nay. Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that I be permitted to change my vote since it will not affect the outcome of the vote. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I am pleased that today the Senate will pass the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2017. By rejecting the poison pill riders that sidelined the appropriations process for much of last year, the Senate has taken a responsible step forward to meet the needs of the American people, keeping our government functioning, and investing in critical programs to support energy research, production, and management. I am particularly pleased that the Senate rejected efforts to eliminate Federal support for key regional commissions, including the Northern Border Regional Commission. The Northern Border Regional Commission, like others across the country, is a joint [[Page S2723]] Federal-State economic development effort that includes some of the most severely and persistently economically distressed and underdeveloped counties in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and northern New York. Every Federal dollar invested through the commission leverages on average $2.6 in matching funds in return for vital economic development and infrastructure projects. The $10 million this energy and water bill provides for the NBRC will help create new jobs and retain thousands more. This bill also makes important investments in the Army Corps of Engineers, in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, in scientific research, for weatherization programs, and in environmental cleanup. I want to thank Chairman Alexander and Ranking Member Feinstein for working with me, too, on important report language to encourage the Department of Energy to facilitate the sharing of information and resources among host communities with nuclear power plants that face decommissioning. Communities impacted by the decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant would benefit greatly from the experiences and best practices of other host communities in which plants have recently been decommissioned. I look forward to working with the Department of Energy to further advance these goals. The bill also includes report language that directs the Department of Energy to fund activities that support the development and testing of new low-emission, highly efficient wood stoves, an important heat source for many Vermont homes because of the affordable and renewable thermal energy they provide. Senator Alexander and Senator Feinstein have worked in a bipartisan way to produce a responsible, rider-free appropriations bill, and I hope this process will serve as a model for the Senate as we continue the appropriations process this year. Mr. BLUNT. 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. FLAKE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. FLAKE. I ask unanimous consent to be allowed to speak as in morning business. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Free Trade Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, spring has sprung, April showers are giving way to May flowers, and soon we will be in the dog days of summer. Every bit as much as a tired cliche, we have again heard sabers rattle in opposition to free trade, which tends to happen at this point every even year. 'Tis the season for anti-free trade rhetoric. Opponents of free trade are vehemently arguing that the country needs to ``get tough'' and hide behind protectionist barriers. Unfortunately--and this is what is most troubling--a lot of these arguments are coming from the Republican side of the aisle. When Congress turned its attention to renewing trade promotion authority a couple of years ago, I commented that some Republicans had to do some pretty impressive verbal gymnastics to put themselves in opposition to free trade. If that was the case then, we have to be witnessing mental triple gainers here with calls to end NAFTA, to reject the Trans- Pacific Partnership outright, and to hike tariffs to ridiculous levels. It is unfortunate, indeed, when this time of year brings out strawman arguments scapegoating free trade for everything that ails the U.S. economy. The truth is, free trade expands economic freedom, spurs competition, raises productivity, facilitates job creation, and increases the standard of living for all countries if we choose to embrace it. To put it simply, free trade provides the U.S. economy with access to global markets. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 80 percent of the purchasing power and more than 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside of our borders. In addition, 92 percent of the world's economic growth is also outside of U.S. borders. In an increasingly global economy, it is incredible to think of the financial opportunities that free trade opens up for a variety of sectors of our economy. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, U.S. exports supported more than 11 million jobs in goods and services in 2013, a quarter of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and more than 900,000 jobs in the agriculture sector just since 2012. And it is not just jobs directly related to exports. In 2013, the United States spent more than $450 billion in research and development--more than any other country on the planet. Do we really think U.S. companies are going to pour their hard-earned dollars into developing products and technology if they are able to sell only to the U.S. market alone? Not a chance. Lowering trade barriers and allowing reciprocal access to U.S. markets also provide U.S. consumers access to lower cost goods, boosting their purchasing power. By some reports, U.S. middle-class Americans gain more than a quarter of their purchasing power from trade, allowing individuals and families coast to coast to purchase a wider variety of goods at lower cost. This is the part that some people don't appreciate. Imports not only stretch dollars for consumers at the cash register, but free trade also allows for access to cheaper inputs that make U.S. industries more globally competitive around the world. In fact, it is estimated that half of U.S. imports are actually inputs for U.S. production for U.S. manufacturing. Lower price imports also help reduce production costs and can lead to expanded production, employment, and wages in the United States. I bring up these issues today because in the midst of somewhat predictable politically heated comments, albeit from somewhat unpredictable sources on the Republican side of the aisle, it is important to remember that trade is a critical component of the U.S. economy. We should be working to expand trade, not impede it. Beyond barring the direct benefits I have noted, a protectionist agenda can only result in a chilling effect on foreign investment. In the long run, U.S. workers, industry, and consumers will all lose out if foreigners perceive the U.S. as a hostile place of doing business. I understand it is difficult for politicians to point to the benefits of free trade. It is tougher to look out there and find individuals who directly benefit from buying cheaper goods or having cheaper inputs for their own production. It is easy to find individuals whose companies have closed down because of global competition, but in the aggregate, on the whole, the country is far better off, and we should understand that here. We have access to the information and the modeling, to everything that tells us that trade is extremely beneficial to the economy, and it is good for the U.S. worker as well. We are often told to everything there is a season. Unfortunately, this is the season where empty protectionist rhetoric is allowed to bloom. I urge my colleagues to consider this carefully the next time they are tempted to talk about protectionist benefits rather than the benefits of free trade. With that, I yield back. 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. LANKFORD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Zika Virus Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, I wish to spend a couple of moments to talk about the Zika virus and our response from Congress to it. There has been a lot of conversation about the Zika virus, both in the media and in a multiple of our committees for months, actually. This is not a new issue that has been brought up. This is an existing issue. The spread of the Zika virus is moving across our hemisphere. It is rapidly spreading in multiple countries to the south of us, and it is moving toward the United States. As most people know, the Zika virus is carried by a mosquito--a particular type of mosquito. Not all mosquitoes can transmit the Zika virus. This particular type of mosquito can carry the virus from one person when the Zika virus is in their blood. It gets in the mosquito. The mosquito bites someone else and transfers it. The interesting [[Page S2724]] thing that most people don't realize is that the Zika virus for most individuals is not all that difficult or painful to be able to work through. In their own materials that they have now put out in their response to the Zika virus, the CDC tries to list the symptoms of Zika and what it really means for most individuals. For most individuals, it is something they will have for a few days. They said that for many individuals, they don't even know they have it. It is something similar to having a cold, where they may have some muscle pain and a headache. They may have a fever or a rash, but it goes away after a few days. They are then immune to it for the rest of their life. In fact, the CDC says that if you have it, the treatment they list for the Zika virus--obviously, they always suggest that you check in with your doctor. But the common treatment from CDC is to get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and take Tylenol. It is not something that most people should be afraid of unless you are pregnant, but the risk of birth defects is astronomical. Now, not everyone who is pregnant and gets the Zika virus also has birth defects, but for those that have, it can be very, very serious. This is to be taken seriously, but it is not a new issue as well. The Zika virus has been known to be around since the 1950s. It has moved through multiple different countries in multiple different regions. In the United States, though, we have yet to have a single case in the continental United States that originated in the United States. These are individuals who traveled to countries south of us in Central America or South America and picked up the virus there or in Puerto Rico or in some of the other areas in the Caribbean and then have come back to the United States. But it is yet to have a transfer, that we know of, from any individual within the United States to another person in the United States. Again, that doesn't belittle the issue, but I want to put it in the context of where we are. We are at the early stages of dealing with this as U.S. citizens. In Puerto Rico and other areas, it is very advanced and there are hundreds of cases there. Now the determination is this: What do we do? The CDC has already stepped up, trying to intervene and trying to find ways to be able to develop a vaccine for it, which they feel confident they can do. I met with the Director of the CDC not long ago. He feels very confident they will be able to have a vaccine within a couple of years. But then we have a couple of years that we are dealing with in the process just for the development of the vaccine and then the distribution of that vaccine. The main thing that can be done right now is actually putting down mosquito populations. It is getting into areas where there is rapid advancement of mosquitoes and actually putting pesticides in those areas to greatly diminish the population of mosquitoes. It is developing better testing for Zika. It is getting out the opportunity in different health departments around the country to say: How are we going to evaluate this and how do we know if someone just has a fever and a rash, if that is something else related to heat, or if that something related to Zika? The CDC is engaging in all of those things. In the middle of this, the White House has requested almost $2 billion in what they are calling an emergency request for Zika. I do believe there should be a response to Zika, and we should aggressively lean in. The last thing we should do is sit around and wait until the Zika virus spreads across the United States and affects many of these pregnant moms who are out there. Then we have birth defects because of our inactivity in the days ahead. But almost $2 billion in an emergency request is interesting to me because for a lot of it they haven't given us great detail on it of really what all of that will engage. But they have said they need this large amount of money. I have to tell you that I am a little bit skeptical when anyone comes and says: It is an emergency. I need $2 billion, and I will tell you what it is for later. We went through this with the Ebola funding, where there was a $5 billion request for Ebola funding. Two years later, they spent about $2.5 billion of that. Recently, the administration transferred half a billion dollars of that funding for Ebola into treatment and discovery for Zika. So they have already reprogrammed some of that money and have started to be able to move it over. I would ask just a couple of things of this body as we consider how we are going to handle Zika. One is to treat it seriously. Though for most people it is not a serious issue, if you are pregnant, it is serious. We should treat it seriously. The second thing is that we should do this appropriations in the normal appropriations process. I do not think we need to have additional debt spending. We can reprogram existing funds to be able to deal with this. We also need real detail of how this money is going to be spent so that we don't allocate dollars and then find out later how they were going to be spent. We have a responsibility as Congress to know how American tax dollars are being spent, and I think my skepticism is justified. Let me give you just a quick idea. Right now, if we are going to deal with actually funding this area--which I believe we should--then we should begin with allowing the Department of State, HHS, and USAID to have transfer authority within their existing accounts to be able to address this. These three agencies currently have $86 billion in what they call unobligated balances from previous years that they already have right now--$86 billion. With this much money lying around, there is absolutely no need to ask the American people to pay an additional $1 billion on top of the originally already obligated--overobligated-- and bloated budget. The transfer authority I would ask for would be accompanied by a comprehensive spending plan that requires the administration to detail exactly how it plans to use these funds and then report out any obligations to match up with the original spending plan. Before we write a blank check to the administration, I believe the American people should actually know how this is being spent. Now, there are some individuals who would say this is an emergency. We just need to add $1 billion more in debt and figure out how to pay for it later. I would disagree. We have transfer authority. This is not new. In fact, if you go back to 2009, President Obama requested transfer authority to HHS to deal with the H1N1 panic. Remember when the big panic was about swine flu and about H1N1 in 2009? As a nation, we stood up and addressed some of these issues. At that time the President made a very specific request for transfer authority to deal with this. That is not any different than what I am saying right now. I don't understand how this is different than how we were dealing with H1N1. Right now we have to have additional spending on top of everything else, but in 2009 it was entirely appropriate to be able to reprogram funds. Again, this is not new. As I have mentioned before about for the Ebola emergency supplementals, the President has already taken about $600 million from Ebola and transferred that over to Zika. It is interesting to note that in March President Obama reprogrammed $500 million from the Economic Support Fund, which is designated by Congress to combat infectious diseases. He took $500 million from the fund to combat infectious diseases and instead reprogrammed it over for the Green Climate Fund. So he took half a billion dollars from the infectious diseases account and used it instead for the Green Climate Fund--internationally. He has done this before. In fact, it was just days ago that the President took $8 million out of a different account and reprogrammed it to purchase almost $9 million of heavy water from Iran. This body, of all bodies, has the responsibility to be able to not only deal with the health emergencies that are happening around the world but also the fiscal issues that we have in our Nation. We can do both. There is no reason to do debt spending when the money is there right now to be reprogrammed. We do not have to break the budget caps, and we do not have to accelerate other areas of spending just to do what is our responsibility. We [[Page S2725]] should do the responsible thing in dealing with Zika. We should also assume the responsibility we have to take care of the American taxpayer at the same time. With that, 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 be allowed to speak as in morning business. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Prescription Opioid Abuse Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I am honored to represent the State of Illinois. It is a big State. From Chicago to Carroll at the southern tip of our State is 400 miles, and, of course, there is more State north of Chicago. I traveled the State over the last several months, and last week I went to the southern tip of the State, worked my way through, came back through central Illinois, and was in the city of Chicago. There is one recurring challenge I find all across the State: No matter what community I visit, I have learned that there is no town too small, no suburb too wealthy, no city that has escaped the opioid and heroin epidemic we are now facing. America is losing more people to heroin overdose than we are to traffic accidents. It has become that common. I try to have roundtables around the State--rural areas, suburban towns--and really try to get the picture of what is happening. I think I have come to understand it a little better because of this effort, and I would like to discuss it today. The opioid/heroin crisis demands our immediate attention. It demands a comprehensive response involving local, State, and Federal Government, law enforcement agencies, and the private sector. For too long we have focused our efforts almost exclusively on responding to and treating addiction. That is a critical element, and I am not going to diminish it, but we need to look beyond that. Yes, we need to make sure substance abuse treatment is available. Right now there are some archaic laws in the Medicaid Program that restrict the number of beds one can have in a treatment facility. I see Senator Alexander from Tennessee has come to the floor, and he is chair of the committee that may consider this issue. He may be aware of the fact that many years ago we restricted the number of treatment beds in substance abuse treatment facilities to 16 beds. If we can imagine, for facilities treating the city of Chicago, 16 beds doesn't even touch the problem we are facing with addictions today, so I hope we can increase that number. I talked to Senator Collins of Maine, and she has run into the same thing in her home State, and I bet others have as well. When it comes to treatment, there are things we must do, and this is one when it comes to Medicaid. But we have to do more than that. Simply dealing with substance abuse treatment, as important and critical as it is, is not enough. We need to look at the root causes of the issue. Each year in America, the pharmaceutical industry produces 14 billion opioid pills--14 billion. That is enough to provide every adult in America a 1-month prescription of opioid painkillers. There is a definite need for these painkillers and pain management. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 14 to 16 percent of Americans face chronic and acute pain. I want to be sensitive to their needs and make certain they have the kind of pain relief and pain management they desperately need every single day, but what we have now is a market in America flooded with these opioid pills. The number of opioid prescriptions has risen dramatically, from 76 million prescriptions in 1991 to 245 million in 2014--more than triple the amount. The United States is the largest consumer of opioid pain pills, accounting for almost 100 percent of the world's total consumption of hydrocodone and 81 percent of OxyContin. There are a number of reasons we have seen the sharp rise in the number of opioids being prescribed over the last two decades: There is increased attention on identifying and treating pain; there is perceived financial incentive in some cases to overtreat pain; and there is a lack of insurance coverage for alternative pain treatment modalities. However, the single largest reason behind the dramatic increase is the production on the pharmaceutical side. The dramatic increase in prescriptions for these addictive pain killers can be directly linked to Purdue Pharma introducing OxyContin in the late 1990s. Between 1996 and 2002, Purdue Pharma funded more than 20,000 pain-related educational programs for doctors through direct sponsorship or financial grant and launched a multifaceted campaign to encourage long-term use of OxyContin for chronic, noncancer pain. They, of course, promoted their pills to doctors and patients on the false promise that these powerful painkillers could relieve pain for up to 12 hours in many patients. When clinical trials and physicians' and patients' feedback showed that OxyContin didn't last for that full period, Perdue Pharma refused to explore other dosing intervals. Instead, they urged doctors to increase the dosage, leading to highs and lows of crippling addiction and overdose. The recent guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against using opioids for chronic, noncancer pain management, but by this point Perdue Pharma had opened the door for others to follow. From 1972 to 2015, the Food and Drug Administration has approved more than 400 different opioid products-- 100 brand-name drugs and more than 300 generic versions. The pharmaceutical industry is flooding our communities with greater and greater quantities of these drugs. Between 1993 and 2015, the production of hydrocodone increased twelvefold, the production of hydromorphone increased twenty-three-fold, and the production of fentanyl increased twenty-five-fold. As I mentioned earlier, there are approximately 14 billion prescription opioid pills on the market in America every year. What has been the result of this overproduction and overprescribing? Nearly 2 million people in the United States are currently addicted to opioids. We have seen alarming increases in opioid-related emergency room visits and treatment admissions for abuse. In 2014 opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths in America. In 2014 Illinois had 1,652 opioid-related drug overdose deaths--a nearly 30 percent increase over 2010. Each week in Illinois, we average eight deaths due to prescription drug overdose. And it doesn't stop there. In so many cases, prescription opioid abuse leads to heroin addiction. Four out of five current heroin users say their addiction began with prescription opioids. It is heartbreaking to have these roundtables in communities and to sit across the table from recent graduates from high school who tell the story of having been addicted in high school for years, and then when they couldn't afford the expensive pills, they switched to heroin, which was cheaper and in many cases for their friends, deadly. The United States currently has 467,000 heroin addicts. Between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, with more than 8,200 people dying from heroin in 2013. It is time to change. We need a comprehensive solution. We need it now. We have to prevent these drug companies from flooding the market with excessive amounts of addictive pills. We can't sit idly by while they tell us these powerful painkillers are safe. We know better. We must encourage the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FDA to use their authority to keep unnecessary, unsafe drugs off the market, and we must crack down on doctors and providers who are overprescribing. Let me repeat. People suffering chronic and acute pain need help. They need pain relief, and they need pain management. I will never stand in their way. But we know from the volume of painkillers that are being prescribed that there are many people who are abusing. I shared with four major medical societies a recent letter asking them to help us help our Nation combat this [[Page S2726]] epidemic. I want them to endorse mandatory continuing medical education programs for those who prescribe opioids--doctors and dentists. They should support proposals to require that physicians and dentists check prescription drug monitoring databases before they prescribe opioids to patients, ensuring that these patients aren't just doctor shopping, and they should increase awareness and transparency in physician- prescribing practices, as well as proper accountability and intervention. Every stakeholder in this complex opioid epidemic has played a role in reaching this dreadful point, and now every stakeholder has a responsibility to help us address this crisis. The Senate passed a bill earlier this year that has some good provisions and authorizes new programs, but it did not go far enough. It didn't provide additional funding for the crisis. Simply passing an authorizing bill and giving stirring speeches on the floor of the Senate is not going to solve the problem. It didn't address the overprescription of opioids, and it is time for us to be honest about this. I recently heard one of our leaders on this subject tell us: Well, we are going to start teaching the new doctors in medical school not to make the same mistakes. I am sorry, but that is not good enough. Those who currently have the legal authority to prescribe have to change their ways to stop this epidemic. And the bills we considered didn't address the overproduction of these addictive drugs. We can't solve this massive American problem with half measures. We need to come together--Congress, local government, law enforcement, health care providers, drug companies, doctors--to help solve this problem, and we need to do it as soon as possible. I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). The clerk will call the roll. The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday, today, May 12, all postcloture time be considered expired and that following the disposition of the Alexander substitute amendment, the cloture motion on H.R. 2028 be withdrawn, the bill be read a third time, and the Senate vote on passage of the bill, as amended. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered. Unanimous Consent Agreement--H.R. 2577 Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that following disposition of H.R. 2028, the Energy and Water appropriations bill, the Senate proceed to the consideration of H.R. 2577, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill; further, that the pending amendments be withdrawn and that Senator Cochran or his designee be recognized to offer a substitute amendment that contains the text of S. 2844 and S. 2806 as reported by the Appropriations Committee with a technical citation correction in section 237 of S. 2844; further, that the substitute amendment be considered an Appropriations Committee amendment for the purpose of rule XVI and that H.R. 2577 serve as the basis for defense of germaneness under rule XVI for the division of the substitute that contains S. 2844 and that H.R. 4974, as reported by the House Appropriations Committee, serve as the basis for defense of germaneness under rule XVI for the division of the substitute that contains S. 2806; finally, that floor amendments be drafted to one of the two divisions and use the corresponding House text for defense of germaneness and that rule XVI discipline apply during consideration of this measure. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered. The Senator from Oregon. Energy Policy and Climate Change Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, today I rise to talk about a movement-- a vision--called ``Keep It in the Ground'' and why it is so important to the future of our energy policy here in the United States and our energy strategy around the world. The core challenge we face as citizens of this planet and as policymakers in the United States is that the impact of global warming is having devastating effects across our country and the world. We can simply look at my home State of Oregon and see that because the winters are warmer, and the pine beetles are thriving and killing a lot more trees. There is such a broad swath of dead trees that it is referred to as the red zone. You can fly above the red zone, as I have, in a plane and see--it feels like it is from horizon to horizon--this swath of red. It is causing extraordinary damage to the forests, and it impacts the natural ecosystem and timber industry, which is a key part of the economy of Oregon. We could go across the State to the Oregon coast where the oyster industry started having severe problems about the time I was elected to the Senate. The problem was rooted in the fact that baby oysters were dying, and they couldn't figure out why. They thought that perhaps it was due to a bacteria or virus. They had help from research scientists who stepped in to study the situation. It turned out to be the increasing acidity of the Pacific Ocean, and that acidity was making it very hard for the baby oysters to form a shell. As a result, they were dying. So they artificially manipulated the acidity of the water that the baby oysters were bred in, and that is helping quite a bit. What other challenges are there for the food chain in the oceans if our oceans have absorbed so much carbon and produced so much carbonic acid that it is affecting the formation of shells on our oysters? What else will start going wrong? We can turn to the changing weather patterns that are producing drought and floods with greater intensity and understand the impact on agriculture. We can look to the Klamath Basin in my State, which has had the three worst droughts within a 15- year period. We can look at the impact of the snowpack in the Cascades and realize and see the decline of the winter snow entertainment industry. We can look around the country and see all kinds of other impacts. We see that the moose are dying in the northeastern part of the United States because the winters are not cold enough to kill the ticks. The ticks are killing the moose and the moose are disappearing. We can look at Louisiana. Recent reports say that they are losing a football field's worth of coastline every 48 minutes due to global warming. That is less than an hour. That is a substantial amount of land that is disappearing hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month, and, of course, year after year. It is having a huge impact. We have come to understand that as the weather warms, certain insects that provide hosts to various diseases gain a greater terrain. As the temperature changes, mosquitoes from the southern part of the United States are moving north, and two of those mosquitoes carry the Zika virus. That is just one example of the concerns that are presented by changing insect populations. We can look at the impact on the lobsters in Maine. The lobsters are moving north as the water warms in Maine. They are also dealing with the loss of their cod fishery because of the changing water temperatures. The impact is everywhere. For anyone who looks across the United States and does not recognize that we are in an extraordinary time of multiple changes in the weather patterns, temperatures, and the impacts on animals, insects, agriculture, and timber--if you can't see that, you are really choosing not to look, and we cannot afford not to look. It is our responsibility to be aware of what is happening, why it is happening, and how we need to respond. That is why I am on the floor today. I am here to talk about ``Keep It in the Ground.'' I will be doing a series of speeches about different components of the challenge we have in responding to global warming. A part of those conversations will involve looking at these various effects in more detail, such as what I have already mentioned, and other speeches will talk about the promise of new policy strategies, new technologies, new investments, mission innovations, et cetera, that provide a [[Page S2727]] glimmer of hope of what is happening here in the United States and across the globe. Here is the challenge. What this all boils down to is that these problems are created by the massive burning of fossil fuels. I think people are generally aware that fossil fuels are created by hundreds of millions of years in which plant life has settled to the bottom of the ocean, then is trapped and submerged. Over time, it is converted into coal, oil, and natural gas. We are pulling out that carbon that has developed over these hundreds of millions of years in a very short span of a few generations on this planet--just over the last 150 years. It has been just over the last 150 years. We have been burning it so it is putting this massive infusion of carbon dioxide back into the air and changing the chemistry of our air. Therefore, it is changing the heat retention of our thin layer of atmosphere that covers our planet and thereby warming our planet--the greenhouse effect as it is referred to. So our core challenge is to pivot from burning fossil fuels for energy to other forms of energy that do not put carbon dioxide into the air and to do so in a very short period of time. Naturally, this leads to the question: How much of these fossil fuels can we continue to burn without devastating consequences? That is something that is referred to as the climate math, and that is what I am going to turn to now. The basic situation is, we have proven reserves that equate to about 2,800 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Those are fossil fuels in the ground equating to about 2,800 gigatons of carbon dioxide. If we were to burn all of those proven reserves that we have in the ground currently, we would massively accelerate global warming, and with the feedback mechanisms, that is disastrous for our planet. The international community has gotten together and said: What do we need to aim at in order to avoid these catastrophic consequences? There will be serious consequences. We already have serious consequences and we can't avoid them. How do we avoid catastrophic consequences? The general position they have put forward is that we need to limit the warming of the planet to no more than 2 degrees centigrade. In the United States, we primarily operate in terms of Fahrenheit, so we translate 2 degrees centigrade to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the time we started burning coal until now, we have already raised the temperature of the planet about half that amount--1 degree centigrade or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. So we are already halfway toward the limit beyond which the effects become more and more catastrophic. As scientists have evaluated that 2,800 gigatons of carbon dioxide trapped in fossil fuels and asked how much more can we burn, they essentially have come to the conclusion that we can burn about one- fifth of it--one-fifth of the proven reserves. Let's translate what that means. That means, to avoid catastrophe, we have to leave 80 percent of the proven reserves in the ground. This is an enormous challenge for human society--for governments and policymakers and individuals across the planet--to undertake because every owner of those proven reserves has the knowledge that their coal, their oil, their natural gas has substantial value on the market. They want to preserve the ability to extract it out of the ground and sell it for combustion. For example, some oil is used in making plastics, but the great majority is utilized in combustion--the creation of energy. That is where this challenge is coming from. So how do we go about creating policies that keep 80 percent of the proven reserves in the ground, when they have so much value to their owners and the owners want to retain the ability to extract them? That is the challenge we face. It is an extraordinarily difficult challenge. The reason I particularly want to emphasize this ``Keep It in the Ground'' movement is it shines a bright light on this carbon math, this global warming math. When we talk about, well, the planet is getting warmer, and we have to burn less so we need to make our buildings more energy efficient, that is absolutely true, and we should do everything to make our buildings more energy efficient, but it doesn't convey the fundamental understanding of the size of the challenge we face, which is to keep 80 percent of the proven reserves in the ground. When we talk about the need to make our cars more fuel efficient in order to burn less gasoline, which means burn less oil to produce less carbon dioxide, that is true. We absolutely need to make our cars more energy efficient, but talking about that doesn't convey the enormity of the challenge, which is to keep 80 percent of the proven reserves in the ground. When we talk about the need to move more freight on trucks that are more efficient and shift more freight to trains because they are more fuel efficient, that also is absolutely true, but again it doesn't convey the key challenge. As we look at each of these areas of strategy and conservation, all of them are tools we are going to need to use to keep our reserves in the ground. We are also going to need to use other tools. Those tools certainly involve a quick pivot to produce more renewable energy to substitute for the electricity that is generated by the burning of coal and the burning of natural gas. We have to pivot quickly, but again, when we talk about pivoting quickly, it doesn't convey the size of the challenge. What is that challenge? We must leave 80 percent of the proven reserves in the world in the ground. That is the challenge. So we must do energy conservation. We must proceed to pivot quickly to renewable energy, but we need to understand the urgency, the speed with which we do so because we have a limited carbon budget. On this chart, the layout in the orange bar is the size of the proven reserves that are in the ground. Here, with this yellow bar, is the amount of fossil fuels we can burn and not exceed 2 degrees centigrade or a 3.6-degree Fahrenheit temperature change. As we can see, the vast bulk of the reserves that are in the ground have to be left in the ground. That is the 80 percent that has to be left in the ground. This ``Keep It in the Ground'' movement is all about understanding this core carbon math and crafting policies in which we emphasize that we are on a pathway to achieving success; that is, to leave this 80 percent in the ground. This also leads to a conversation about the U.S. ownership of a vast amount of fossil fuels. You and I, as citizens of the United States, we are owners of a huge amount of coal, a huge amount of natural gas, a huge amount of oil. We don't think of ourselves as energy barons, but each and every one of us as citizens collectively own a vast amount of fossil fuels because on Federal land there is a tremendous amount of oil, a tremendous amount of coal, and a tremendous amount of natural gas. We have the responsibility in the Senate and in the House and in the executive branch to manage what we own as citizens of the United States for the public good. In the past, managing for the public good meant let's do leases and raise some revenue for the Federal Government, and we have leased out about 10 percent of the carbon reserves that we own as citizens--our citizen-owned carbon, fossil fuel reserves--but 90 percent of it has not been leased out. When we do a lease, it creates a legal contract in which the individual company that has purchased the lease now has the right to extract that oil, to extract that natural gas, to extract that coal for years to come, and to renew the lease. There are many leases that result in extraction going on for decades--for 10 years, for 20 years but even three decades, four decades, five decades into the future. We cannot afford, as Americans or as citizens of this planet, to be facilitating the extraction of fossil fuels to be burned three, four, or five decades into the future. There is no way that the world is going to meet this challenge of keeping 80 percent of the carbon in the ground, 80 percent of their fossil fuels in the ground if the public entities can't even exercise discipline not to extract and burn these fossil fuels. So how much do we own? How big of oil barons are the citizens of the United States? How much oil and natural gas and coal do we have? Well, the total amount measured in terms of carbon dioxide is about 300 to 450 gigatons. That is this green bar. If we think about the 80 percent we leave in the ground, that substantial amount, [[Page S2728]] which is over 2,000 gigatons, this amount we own as citizens is a substantial percentage. It has been estimated to be in the range of about 14 to 20 percent of the amount the world needs to leave in the ground. So if we make the decision as Americans to leave what we own in the ground to save our planet, we have helped set the world on a course in which we reach this 80 percent target of what is left in the ground, but if we can't exercise discipline and quit leasing out our fossil fuel reserves, often at $1 or $2 per acre--if we can't stop that, how can we anticipate adopting the policies necessary to help lead the world in this enormous challenge? So this has led to the keep-it-in-the-ground bill I introduced last year. The keep-it-in-the-ground bill says the fossil fuel reserves that you and I own best serve the public good by not burning them, by not doing new leases for extraction--extraction that will continue 30, 40, 50 years into the future; that we cannot afford to do that without devastating consequences to our planet. The existing leases--we have already leased out 10 percent of the fossil fuel reserves, which means there isn't a complete shutdown of the fossil fuel enterprise on public lands, but it does mean we are not going to go any further or, as it has been put, if you are in a hole, quit digging. In this case, we are in a carbon hole and we absolutely need to quit digging. There have been a number of Senators sign on to the keep-it-in-the- ground bill, recognizing the best, highest use of our citizen-owned fossil fuels is to keep them in the ground, and I appreciate their support a great deal. There has also been a series of conversations around the country since the time the bill was introduced that have been very relevant or related to these issues. The first conversation was about the Keystone Pipeline. Should we build a pipeline that turns the tap on to some of the dirtiest fossil fuels on the planet, the Canadian tar sands? The answer is no. Those tar sands need to be left in the ground. We need a Canadian keep-it-in-the-ground movement to say that Canada, too, is going to utilize its citizen-owned fossil fuels at the highest purpose, which is to leave them in the ground, to keep them in the ground. Certainly, the United States shouldn't be facilitating the extraction by building a convenient, cheap way to move those fossil fuels out of the ground. So I applaud all of those who stood with humanity in this key mission and said no to the Keystone Pipeline. Another aspect has been offshore drilling. There was a big conversation about drilling in the Arctic. The Arctic, because it is so cold and frozen and full of ice, has been a terrain, particularly offshore, where drilling is extraordinarily difficult, with extreme risk of oilspill. Should an oilspill occur in very cold water, that means the damage will be enormous because the oil will break down so slowly. So I put forward a keep-it-in-the-ground bill for no offshore drilling in the Arctic. And that is not the bill we have had action on here in the Senate, but, as it turns out, we have moved forward. Shell, which was the leading company to explore offshore in the Arctic, sent ships up for several years. They had one calamity after another, one disaster after another because of the harsh and challenging circumstances. Citizens in the United States, in a grassroots movement, said: Shell, no. Shell, no. This is wrong. This is the height of irresponsibility to our environment and to have the U.S. leading extraction in a whole new area. We should be leading the Arctic nations and leaving the Arctic off limits as part of this ``Keep It in the Ground'' movement, not leading the front edge of extraction. Well, Shell abandoned its leases, both because of the difficulty of drilling and because of citizen reaction here at home saying what they were doing is wrong. I thank Shell for ending its Arctic drilling program, and I thank the administration for saying that they are not going to issue any more leases for drilling in the Arctic waters. Let's go further. The United States is the chair of the Arctic Council. Let's use that chairmanship to lead nations in putting the Arctic off-limits. That would be a tremendous collaborative effort among a small group of nations to move forward this ``Keep It in the Ground'' movement and to save our planet. Another big piece of this conversation has been about coal leases. As I mentioned, we often lease acres of coal for just a few dollars. It is no substantial revenue in the large scheme of things to the United States. It is hugely beneficial to the cheap extraction of coal, though, which is the opposite of the direction we need to go. So we need to quit doing new coal leases. That is part of the keep-it-in-the ground bill I introduced. No more leases of citizen-owned fossil fuels. And the Obama administration has now suspended its leases on coal, new coal leases. That is a tremendous event. Part of what the administration said was that we need to pause and evaluate the impact on global warming in doing these leases. We need to also evaluate the impact on American leadership in the world on this major issue facing humanity. If we are telling other nations ``Please don't burn coal. Please expand your use of renewable energy and do it quickly,'' how is that consistent? How is our plea for partnership--because we must do this as a collection of nations--how is our request for partnership in this great and important mission of our generation consistent with us continuing new leases of coal? It certainly is not consistent. We need to put an end to these coal leases, and I applaud the administration. And in the next administration, whether it is Democratic or Republican, we need to work together to do no new coal leases. So that was a tremendous step forward in this effort. Back in December, nearly 200 nations came together to work together to create an international accord with the singular goal of reducing the burning of fossil fuels and converting to renewable energy or reducing the burning of fossil fuels because of energy conservation. The countries made a variety of pledges. One of those countries that made those pledges was India. I had a chance to lead a bilateral meeting between legislators from the United States and members of the Government of India. They said: We have 300 million citizens in India who do not have access to electricity. As a national government, we have to expand our electric infrastructure to provide electricity for a basic standard of living and basic economic development. We can certainly understand that mission. We went through rural electrification. Our goal was to make sure there was wiring in every house in America to improve the standard of living for Americans. So Americans we are certainly understanding of the goal of the Indian Government. They proceeded to say this: Right now we plan to provide electricity to 100 million individuals through renewable energy and 200 million citizens of India through coal-burning power. It almost causes your heart to sink, this plan for massive increases in coal-burning in India. So here is an opportunity. How can we in the United States work with India so they can meet that demand of 300 million citizens with conservation and renewable energy rather than new coal plants? How can we work in partnership with China as they work to provide electricity to their hundreds of millions of individuals and to do so with renewable energy and conservation, not new coal-burning plants? This is a challenge for us, and an important challenge, but we certainly have no credibility talking to India about trying to make sure they do no new coal-burning plants if we are signing new leases to extract coal off of our public lands. Credibility is very important in this international conversation. It has been said that we are the first generation to feel the impacts of global warming and we are the last generation to be able to do something about it. That is profoundly true. That is the moral challenge to American leaders in our generation. That is the moral challenge to international leaders in our generation. Our children and our children's children, our children's grandchildren and great- grandchildren are going to say: You were the generation that saw the impact of global warming on our Nation and on our planet, and you knew from the science that we had to move quickly to pivot off of fossil fuels, and yet you did too little and you damaged the quality of life for billions of children and children of children for generations to come because of your short-term failure to act. [[Page S2729]] Let that not be the story told by our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. Let them instead say: That generation was the first to see the impact of global warming and know they had to act quickly to reverse the steady climb of temperature on our planet. Let's thank them because they saw the challenge and they acted, and we are forever indebted to them for doing so. Let that be the story that is told. Let this be the moment that we act. Thank you, Madam 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. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, in about 15 minutes, the Senate will vote on final passage of the Energy and Water appropriations bill that the Senator from California, Mrs. Feinstein, and I have been working on with Members of the Senate for the last few weeks. The Senate began consideration of this bill on Wednesday, April 20. According to the Congressional Research Service, this is the earliest date the Senate has begun debating an appropriations bill in the last 40 years. When we finish today, this will be the earliest the Senate has passed an appropriations bill in the last 40 years. Eighty Senators either submitted requests or offered amendments to the bill. Senator Feinstein and I have worked hard to accommodate most of those. The last time this bill, the Energy and Water appropriations bill, was considered by the Senate and passed in regular order was in the year 2009. By ``regular order,'' I mean it came to the floor, it had an open amendment process, all 100 Senators had a chance to participate in it, instead of just the 30 on the Appropriations Committee, and it was eventually voted on and approved. Yesterday, the Senate voted to end debate on the substitute amendment by a vote of 97 to 2. As I mentioned, today we are ready for final passage in about 15 minutes. By the end of this process, we will have considered 21 amendments and adopted 14. I appreciate my colleagues supporting the regular appropriations process. I thank Senators who offered germane and relevant amendments, and I hope we can now overwhelmingly pass the bill. I begin by pointing something out. It is appropriate that we have in the chair the Senator from Georgia, who has devoted so much of his time this year to reforming our budget process. This is the part of the budget that we are working on. It is a little more than a trillion dollars, and it is not the Federal spending problem that we have. This is 2008 through about today, and you can see that spending levels are pretty flat. This is the projection by the Congressional Budget Office about where spending for this part of the budget will go over the next several years. What is in this blue line? It is all of our national defense; all of the work we need, such as in this bill, to deepen the harbors in Savannah and in Charleston; all the money for our national laboratories; all the money for our Pell grants for college students; and the money for the National Institutes of Health for treatments and cancer cures. In this part of the budget--in this trillion dollars that we work on--there are very important matters that virtually everyone who votes for us would like to see us address. I believe those of us on the Appropriations Committee have done a good job of oversight of this trillion dollars in spending. Here is where the problem is--this red line. This is the entitlement spending. It gets to be three times as much as this blue line. It is up toward $4 trillion. This is $1 trillion. This is where we need to go to work. Sometimes Senators of each party will come to the floor and beat their chests, bragging about cutting this blue line as if they were doing something about the red line. I hope we will stop that. I hope we will go to work and figure out what we are going to do to responsibly keep this line under control as we go forward. What we have done--with the cooperation of the Senate in the last couple of weeks--is to pass the first of the Senate appropriations bills and to do it earlier than it has been done in the last 4 years. I see the Senator from California has arrived. I wish to acknowledge her leadership and thank her for it. In her words, we give and we take. We have a process whereby we stick to our principles, but we do our best to come to a result, which we have done. It is a great pleasure to work with her. I am going to cease my remarks 5 minutes or 6 minutes before the vote so that Senator Feinstein will have a chance to speak if she would like to speak. Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Thank you. Mr. ALEXANDER. I also wish to thank the staffs for their work on this bill. They have been remarkably good. In Senator Feinstein's staff are Doug Clapp, Chris Hanson, Samantha Nelson, and Tim Dykstra. The staff on my side includes Tyler Owens, Adam DeMella, Meyer Seligman, Jen Armstrong, Haley Alexander, David Cleary, Allison Martin, Mackenzie Burt, Lucas DaPieve, Kayla McMurray, and John Rivard. Then I thank the Republican floor staff, who have had to put up with us as we have had tried to work through the amendments: Laura Dove, Robert Duncan, Megan Mercer, Chris Tuck, Mary Elizabeth Taylor, Tony Hanagan, Mike Smith, and Katherine Kilroy. I thank the Democratic floor staff as well for working with us and making this possible. I will make a few remarks about this bill. This bill is almost half and half defense and nondefense, about $37.5 billion. It supports several Federal agencies that do important work, including the U.S. Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, National Nuclear Security Administration, which has to do with our nuclear weapons, and the Appalachian Regional Commission. It invests in our waterways. It repairs our locks. It deepens our harbors. It puts us one step closer to doubling basic energy research. It helps to resolve the nuclear waste stalemate that our country has been in for 25 years, finding appropriate places to put used nuclear fuel so we can continue to have a strong nuclear power program--which produces 60 percent of all the carbon-free electricity we have in this country--and it cleans up hazardous materials at Cold War sites. I mentioned earlier that I thought we had done a good job of being stewards of the taxpayers' dollars. That is this blue line here. We have kept this under control. For example, Senator Feinstein and I have again recommended--and the Senate has agreed--to eliminate funding for a fusion project in France. That saves us $125 million. We worked together to help keep big projects such as the uranium facility at Oak Ridge on time and on budget. We are working with Senator Graham, Senator Scott, and Senator McCain to try to take the big MOX facility in South Carolina and see what we can do about the huge expense of what we are doing there. We are being good stewards. The President cut $1.4 billion from the Corps of Engineers. Well, we put it back. We set a new record level of funding for the Corps. There is no funding line in this budget that more Senators are concerned with. It includes $1.3 billion for the Harbor Maintenance Fund. It is the third consecutive year that we have done that, consistent with the recommendations of our authorizing committees. That deepens harbors in Gulfport, Charleston, Mobile, Texas harbors, Louisiana harbors, Anchorage Harbor, and Savannah Harbor. There is money for the west coast harbors as well. We take a step toward doubling basic energy research. Our top priority was the Office of Science, which for the second consecutive year has a record level of funding for an appropriations bill. There is $325 million for ARPA-E, an agency we value because of the good work it does. We support the administration's request to keep the United States at the forefront of supercomputing in the world. As I mentioned, we support nuclear power, especially efforts to find places to put used nuclear fuel. [[Page S2730]] We have again included the pilot program Senator Feinstein authored, and which I support, and support for private waste facilities that could also serve that same function. We have money for advanced reactors and for safely extending the length of time nuclear plants can operate, which is the easiest way to keep the largest amount of reliable carbon-free electricity available over the next several years. In terms of the National Nuclear Security Administration, we support the warhead life extension programs and the Ohio-class replacement submarine. We have $575 million for the uranium facility, and $5.4 billion for cleaning up hazardous wastesites left over from the Cold War. I am proud of the bill, but I am even more proud of the process which we have gone through. This has almost been a learning process for the Senate. More than half of the Senators have never been through a process where we take more than one appropriations bill, take it through committee, consult with every Member of the Senate, bring it on the floor, and give all 100 Members a chance to offer amendments and consider their amendments. We have processed 21 amendments and have adopted 14. Almost any Senator who had a contribution to make that they wanted to make to this bill has had a chance to do that. There is a great deal included in here that every Senator can be proud of. I suspect that is why on the last vote that we had to cut off debate and move toward final passage, the vote was 97 to 2. I hope we have that same enthusiasm when it comes time in a few moments to have a vote on final passage of the bill. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California. Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I wish to begin by extending my congratulations to our chairman. You are a distinguished chairman, and it really has been a great pleasure for me to work with you. I think we have accomplished a task which hopefully sets an example for other bills that will be shortly forthcoming. But, more importantly than anything, it is really the integrity, sincerity, and earnestness with which you go about this job of chairing this subcommittee. I am very pleased to be Tonto to your Lone Ranger. So thank you very much for that. The chairman has been very distinct in his remarks about pointing out some of the major features, but we have one major infrastructure program in our bill, and that, of course, is the Army Corps of Engineers--other than, I should say, the highway bill. That is $1.4 billion over the budget request. I think that is a very good number that should enable more projects that are vital all across this great land to move forward. The second is the Bureau of Reclamation, and that is $163 million over the budget request. It includes $100 million for western drought. We have 17 States within the Bureau of Reclamation's jurisdiction. What is happening with dryness in the western part of the United States is really a very serious threat to the economic and social well-being of our country. I am very pleased at that mark. All applied energy accounts are funded at levels equal to current- year levels. We have increased funding for cleaning up nuclear sites, including the WIPP site in New Mexico and the Hanford site in the State of Washington. We matched the budget request for nuclear nonproliferation. Actually, this includes MOX funding of $270 million. The chairman spent some time on the floor, and I did as well, in terms of making the point that what appropriations bills really concern is but 15 percent for what is called domestic discretionary and 15 percent for military discretionary. Together, they are but 30 percent of what the Federal Government expends and outlays each year. The fact of the matter is that 63 percent of the money that is spent in a given fiscal year--2016--goes for entitlements and mandates: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits, and all the other mandatory programs. They are not actually in the budget. This is the huge spending, and interest on the debt is 6.3 percent. That brings the mandatory spending up to nearly 70 percent of what we spend in fiscal year 2016. In fiscal year 2017, it will go up slightly from there so that the relative amount of spending that these bills contain is very small in comparison to the amount the Federal Government actually spends. There are a lot of people who think we should do more with entitlements and increase that 63 percent of total spending to even more. That is a question that remains to be seen, but how you pay for all of that is a totally different and more difficult story. I extend my congratulations to the distinguished Senator from Tennessee on passing this bill. We have not passed a free-standing Energy and Water bill on this floor for 7 years, since 2009, when Senators Dorgan and Bob Bennett were chair and ranking member. Not only are we passing the bill, but we are passing a good bill. I thank the subcommittee staff for their work. Interestingly enough, the staff had only 12 days from receiving a notional allocation, which is how much we can spend, to help us produce a bill and report it for subcommittee consideration. So let me thank Tyler Owens, Meyer Seligman, Adam DeMella, Jennifer Armstrong, and on our minority side, Doug Clapp, Chris Hanson, Samantha Nelson, and Tim Dykstra for their hard work. I would also like to recognize the work done by Senator Alexander's personal office and my own in helping get this bill passed. Frankly, I want to thank the floor staff on both sides of the aisle. They were really helpful and, in addition to that, they were patient and willing to provide some guidance. So I thank them as well. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, all postcloture time has expired. Amendment No. 3876 The question is on agreeing to Flake amendment No. 3876. The amendment (No. 3876) was agreed to. Amendment No. 3801, as Amended The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the substitute amendment No. 3801, as amended. The amendment (No. 3801), as amended, was agreed to. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the cloture motion on H.R. 2028 is withdrawn. The amendment was ordered to be engrossed, and the bill to be read a third time. The bill was read the third time. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The bill having been read the third time, the question is, Shall the bill pass? Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, 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 legislative clerk called the roll. Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) and the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) are necessarily absent. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The result was announced--yeas 90, nays 8, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 71 Leg.] YEAS--90 Alexander Ayotte Baldwin Barrasso Bennet Blumenthal Blunt Booker Boozman Brown Burr Cantwell Capito Cardin Carper Casey Cassidy Coats Cochran Collins Coons Corker Cornyn Cotton Crapo Daines Donnelly Durbin Enzi Ernst Feinstein Franken Gardner Gillibrand Graham Grassley Hatch Heinrich Heitkamp Hirono Hoeven Inhofe Isakson Johnson Kaine King Kirk Klobuchar Lankford Leahy Manchin Markey McCain McCaskill McConnell Menendez Merkley Mikulski Moran Murkowski Murphy Murray Nelson Perdue Peters Portman Reed Reid Risch Roberts Rounds Rubio Schatz Schumer Scott Shaheen Shelby Stabenow Sullivan Tester Thune Tillis Toomey Udall Vitter Warner Warren Whitehouse Wicker Wyden [[Page S2731]] NAYS--8 Cruz Fischer Flake Heller Lee Paul Sasse Sessions NOT VOTING--2 Boxer Sanders The bill (H.R. 2028), as amended, was passed. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee. ____________________