(Senate - May 12, 2016)

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[Pages S2721-S2731]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  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.


       Alexander/Feinstein amendment No. 3801, in the nature of a 
       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 
  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 
  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 
       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 
       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 
  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. 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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.]



[[Page S2731]]




                             NOT VOTING--2

  The bill (H.R. 2028), as amended, was passed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.