THE ELECTION AND SENATE PRIORITIES
(Senate - November 15, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 163 (Tuesday, November 15, 2016)]
[Pages S6322-S6323]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                   THE ELECTION AND SENATE PRIORITIES

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I came to the floor to talk about the 
election of November 8 and the opportunities we have, working together 
going forward, to turn the direction of the country around. 
Unfortunately, I found myself sitting here listening to the latest 
tirade by the Democratic leader against the President-elect and his 
team. Surely he is entitled to his opinion, but he does nothing to 
contribute to the healing of our country after a very polarizing, hotly 
contested election by continuing to pile on the President-elect and his 
team.
  We had an election. The American people voted. The American people 
chose their next President. But to come here after the election, after 
the American people have spoken and made that choice, and continue to 
disparage their choice for the next President, as well as the 
leadership in the House and the Senate, really just smacks of--well, we 
used to call people like that sore losers. But, frankly, what he does 
is he also contributes to the coarsening of our discourse and debate 
here in the Senate.
  I had to check the Standing Rules of the Senate to see whether rule 
XIX, which governs the terms of debate, would cover the President or 
the President-elect because certainly--when the Senate rules say that 
``no Senator in debate shall directly or indirectly by any form of 
words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or 
motive unworthy or unbecoming of a Senator,'' certainly the Democratic 
leader's comments, although not technically within the ambit of the 
rule, violate the spirit of the rule and the sort of debate and 
discussions we ought to be having here in a civilized and civil and 
dignified sort of way.
  I realize the Democratic leader will be leaving the Senate at the end 
of this year. I hope we can return to the sort of civil and dignified 
discourse and differences of opinion that we surely will have from time 
to time about matters of policy. This is the Senate, for heaven's sake. 
This is where those differences are supposed to be debated and 
litigated and discussed and then we vote. But the sort of 
recriminations that the Democratic leader keeps coming back to just 
strike me as inappropriate and uncalled for.
  Rather than contribute to the sort of healing of our Nation that 
Secretary Clinton--who, by the way, had more to complain about than the 
Democratic leader does in terms of the outcome; she ended up on the 
short end of the stick--or the President of the United States, 
President Obama--the comments they have made, the gracious comments 
recognizing the importance of a peaceful transition of power from one 
Presidency to another--that is the sort of tone I wish we would hear 
more of here in the Senate and in the country generally, not pour 
gasoline on the fire, as the Democratic leader continues to do.
  It is true that we had an earth-shaking event occur on November 8--
the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United 
States. I believe the reason Mr. Trump was elected is because the 
American people want change. They are eager for Washington to tackle 
the big challenges we are facing as a nation, from terror threats 
abroad to a stagnant economy here at home. They are looking forward to 
an administration that believes the rules apply to all of us equally--
in other words, equal justice under the law, not that a separate set of 
rules applies to the Washington elites or those who can get away with 
it, that a different set of rules applies to them than applies to the 
rest of us in the country. They want equal justice under the law. They 
want restoration of the rule of law--something we have not seen in the 
outgoing administration because of an overpoliticized Department of 
Justice, among many other reasons.
  I personally look forward to working with the President-elect in the 
years ahead to address issues that are important to my State and to 
families across the country.
  I am grateful, as well, that the American people have entrusted such 
a big task to Republicans, who will lead both Chambers of Congress. In 
an election year that no one could predict--in fact, almost every 
prediction I made was wrong--in an election year where very few people 
were right about their predictions as to the ultimate outcome, we see a 
clear theme emerge: People want something different from business as 
usual when it comes to politics. They want us to shift gears. They felt 
it was necessary to get the country back on the right track. I agree 
with them.
  I will note the one thing the American people did not want to change, 
and that is the Republican majority of the Senate. That led to the 
reelection of Republican Senators in States such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, 
and Wisconsin, in addition to the new Member of our conference from the 
great State of Indiana. I look forward to welcoming all of them, as 
well as our new Democratic colleagues, and invite them to work with us 
to try to meet the challenges of these times and to work together to 
solve the challenges and problems that confront the American people.
  But it is very clear that the American people wanted a change in the 
White House. They did not want to change Republican majorities in both 
Chambers of Congress. They did not want to do that. Voters were able to 
cut through the noise and see what we have been able to accomplish so 
far--not that they gave us the Good Housekeeping seal of approval, but 
they have

[[Page S6323]]

seen a difference in the last 2 years under a Republican majority in 
the Senate, and apparently they saw enough that they liked that they 
wanted to keep us in the majority. They have seen a Senate that has 
prioritized the American people, that has carefully and methodically 
returned the Senate back to the basics of doing our job, which is 
legislating. That includes passing key pieces of legislation through 
Congress, like the first multiyear highway bill in a decade. I realize 
that does not excite a lot of people, but it is the basic fundamental 
job of the Senate and the Congress to legislate, to deal with our 
infrastructure needs, as the Democratic leader talked about. We 
actually did deal with some of our major infrastructure needs by 
passing the first multiyear highway bill in a decade, which is 
important to our economy, to public safety, and to the quality of the 
environment. That represents a substantial accomplishment.
  We also passed the first education reform law since No Child Left 
Behind, which was admittedly controversial. We repealed the common core 
mandates and devolved more authority from Washington, DC, back to the 
States, back to our school administrators and parents and teachers 
where it belongs.
  We should have learned by now the hard way that when somebody has a 
bright idea here in Washington, DC, that has not been tried and tested 
across the rest of the country in the laboratories of democracy known 
as our States, we are just as likely to get it wrong. I would say 
Exhibit No. 1 or A for that is ObamaCare. Trying to take one-sixth of 
our economy and transform it in a way that does not get the buy-in of 
both political parties, much less the American people, only to see 
those promises not kept--that does nothing to promote public confidence 
in their government.
  We did pass the Every Student Succeeds Act, which does send some of 
that power back home.
  We have done a number of other things, including one that I am 
particularly proud of, which was to help root out human trafficking and 
protect the victims of this heinous crime--the first major human 
trafficking legislation passed perhaps in 25 years, and more resources 
are now available to the victims of human trafficking so that they can 
begin to heal.
  We proved that we could get some things done--not as much as we would 
have liked but some substantial things.
  As the Presiding Officer knows, lifting the crude oil export ban has 
been very important to the energy producers here in the United States 
and will go a long way to making sure they get a fair price for their 
product on the world markets. It will also give us a chance to help 
some of our allies around the world against whom energy is used as a 
weapon by people who would cut off their supply to electricity, oil, 
gas, and other energy sources as a way to keep them in tow.
  We also passed major legislation to address the growing opioid 
epidemic hurting families across the country.
  Under Republican leadership, the Senate saw all 12 appropriations 
bills pass out of their respective committees for the first time since 
2009 and the first balanced budget passed since 2001. Unfortunately, 
our Democratic colleagues saw fit to filibuster those Senate 
appropriations bills, which is why we are here after the election in 
the waning days of 2016 to try to make sure that we pay the bills and 
keep the government up and running in a lameduck session.
  This is not a great way to do business, and this isn't our first 
choice. But because of the filibuster of those appropriations bills--
even though they passed out by overwhelming bipartisan majorities and 
represent policies that are agreed to by both political parties--here 
we are.
  We have also had more participation on a bipartisan basis by Members 
of the Senate in the legislative process. There were more votes on 
amendments--more than 250 during this Congress. This is because of the 
determined leadership of our majority leader, Senator McConnell, who 
has seen fit to restore the power to committee chairmen to have the 
freedom and flexibility to lead their committees while allowing 
Members, on a bipartisan basis, to contribute to legislation before it 
comes to the floor and is subject to further action. I believe the 
result is the creation of solid legislation that will stand over time--
not partisan or ramming legislation through because you can do it but 
building consensus and trying to address problems on a step-by-step 
basis.
  With the election behind us, the Senate can begin looking to next 
year. We are eager to finish our work this year, which I am sure we 
will shortly, and are looking to what we might be able to do with what 
the American voters have given us in terms of majorities in both Houses 
and President-Elect Trump. As I said, I look forward to working with 
the new President to improve the lives of the men and women working day 
in and day out across the country. This is an exciting moment for them 
and for us. It is good news that we have been provided this 
opportunity.
  Fortunately, the Senate will continue to have a major role to play. 
Over the last few months, we spent a lot of time talking about what was 
at stake in this election. At the forefront was the U.S. Supreme Court. 
So I look forward to hearing who President Trump will nominate to fill 
the seat being vacated by the death of Justice Scalia. I hope that the 
Senate Judiciary Committee will take that nomination up on a timely 
basis and that we will quickly move forward once the nomination is 
made.
  We have a lot more work to do. Over the last 8 years, the Obama 
administration has been marked by a go-it-alone attitude. Remember, the 
President said he had a phone and a pen, and he was quite prepared to 
act and not consult with Congress. Of course, that resulted in a flood 
of Executive orders and unilateral actions that won't live out his term 
of office. When he becomes President, I am confident President-Elect 
Trump will reverse many of those Executive orders, and we will work 
with the administration to repeal much of the overregulation that is 
strangling small businesses and our economy.
  Going into this year's Presidential election, we all knew that the 
President-elect would have a decision to make--either to shore up 
President Obama's policies and further those burdensome regulations 
that were created by his administration or to rip up those that are in 
place or were put in place unilaterally and instead work with Congress 
on a bipartisan basis. After all, we are the elected representatives of 
the American people. It is our firm desire to unleash the sleeping 
giant of the American economy, and I believe we can, given the outcome 
of this election.
  Fortunately, President Trump appears to be eager to work with us to 
help grow American jobs, strengthen our economy, and make sure that the 
next generation is better off than those before it. As I said, that 
means pushing back on harmful regulations that have been promulgated 
by, for example, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency. It certainly 
means repealing ObamaCare, a law that was jammed through on a party-
line vote and that has not worked as it was promised to work.
  We have a lot of work ahead of us. I believe we also have a mandate 
from the American people, who are sick and tired of business as usual, 
ready for change and for a government that works for them and not 
against them.
  I look forward to being part of that change. I am grateful the 
American people have given us the opportunity to serve.
  I yield the floor.
  Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Ayotte). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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