(Senate - December 05, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 174 (Monday, December 5, 2016)]
[Pages S6697-S6699]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


                             Cloture Motion

  The VICE PRESIDENT. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the 
Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 
     34, an act to authorize and strengthen the tsunami detection, 
     forecast, warning, research, and mitigation program of the 
     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and for 
     other purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, Johnny Isakson, Bob Corker, Richard 
           Burr, Pat Roberts, Roy Blunt, Thom Tillis, Lindsey 
           Graham, Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn, Chuck Grassley, 
           Michael B. Enzi, John Barrasso, Shelley Moore Capito, 
           John McCain, Bill Cassidy.

  The VICE PRESIDENT. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call 
has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 
34 shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Washington (Mrs. Murray) 
and the Senator from Oregon (Mr. Wyden) are necessarily absent.
  The VICE PRESIDENT. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 85, nays 13, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 156 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--2

  The VICE PRESIDENT. On this vote, the yeas are 85, the nays are 13.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  Cloture having been invoked, the motion to refer and the amendments 
thereto fall.
  Mr. THUNE. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The VICE PRESIDENT. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill 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 (Mr. Lankford). Without objection, it is so 


  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, last Friday I had a meeting in Chicago 
with about 50 in attendance. It was Friday morning, and we gathered 
groups of people from across the city of Chicago and the State of 
Illinois who were focusing on one make-or-break issue for many of us. 
It was an emotional issue, one that caused many to break down in tears 
as they told me their stories. It is the reason I have come back to the 
floor of the Senate today and every day since the election to talk 
about one specific issue that I believe is important for this Nation to 
reflect on.
  Mr. President, 16 years ago a young lady contacted my office. Her 
name is Tereza Lee. She had been brought to the United States from 
Korea at the age of 2. She had grown up in Chicago with a family of 
modest means.
  During the course of her childhood, she signed up for what is known 
as the Merit music program in Chicago. They offered free instruments 
and free musical instruction to kids from low-income families. It is a 
great program. Tereza Lee signed up, and it turned out she had an 
extraordinary talent at piano. When she came to contact my office, it 
was as she was leaving high school and applying to be accepted at the 
best music schools in the America--Juilliard in New York and the 
Conservatory of Music in Manhattan.
  She went to fill out the application, and when it came to a question 
of her citizenship and nationality, she wasn't certain what to put. Her 
mother suggested that she call our office, and she did. We told her 
that under the law she was undocumented, brought here at the age of 2 
on a visitor visa. Her mother had never filed any papers for her. She 
had grown up in America thinking she was an American citizen like her 
brother and sister who were born here, and she came to realize at the 
age of 17 or 18 that in the eyes of the law she had no legal standing 
in America.
  The law is pretty harsh for people like Tereza. The law says she 
needs to leave the United States for 10 years and apply to return to 
the United States.
  Where would she go--to Korea? She had never been there. She grew up 
in Brazil for a short period of time. She didn't speak the language. 
She doesn't speak Portuguese.
  She was caught in the middle. That is why I introduced the DREAM Act. 
It said that young people brought to the United States by their parents 
before the age of 16, if they finish school and have no serious 
criminal issues, should be given a chance to go to school further and 
have a legal status in America and, ultimately, to earn their way to 
citizenship--going to the back of the line and waiting their turn but 
at least setting that as their goal. I introduced that bill 15 years 
ago. It has never become law, but there are 2.5 million people in that 
circumstance in America.
  Six years ago, the President of the United States created something 
called DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, by an 
Executive action. As a result of that action, President Obama allowed 
these eligible DREAMers--as they have come to be known--to receive DACA 
  In order to do it, they have to apply, come out of the shadows, 
declare themselves, file a fee of about $500 with the government, go 
through a criminal background check, and then be given temporary--only 
temporary--legal status so they can't be deported and can

[[Page S6698]]

legally work, which is renewable every 2 years. As of today, 744,000 
young people have done that. Many of them were in the room--at least 
some of them were in the room in Chicago last Friday.
  They are not certain what is going to happen next. The new President 
has promised to end DACA. If he ends it, what happens to these young 
people? For instance, there are 28 of these DACA young people who are 
in medical school at Loyola University in Chicago--28 students who are 
undocumented who are there without any Federal Government assistance, 
and most of them have promised to give a year of service to the State 
of Illinois in rural areas and poor neighborhoods when they become 
doctors. If they lose their DACA status, they lose their ability to 
work legally in the United States and they cannot go through the 
clinical experience, which is part of becoming a doctor. They would 
have to drop out of medical school. There is one thing we can say for 
certain: We don't have an oversupply of doctors serving inner cities 
and rural areas in my State and across the Nation. We need these 

  If DACA changes, if it is eliminated, what will happen to these young 
people? That is a challenge which I face, and other Members have as 
well. I salute Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He is working 
with me on legislation to address this, to at least give a temporary 
status to these DACA-eligible young people while we debate immigration 
reform in a larger context.
  There are important issues at stake, but the most fundamental issue 
is one of fairness and justice. These young people did nothing wrong. 
They were brought to this country by their parents. They have grown up 
in this country, gone to our schools, and there are some amazing 
stories of what they have done with their lives. I wish to tell you one 
of those stories. I have done this over 100 times now on the floor of 
the Senate.
  This is Barbara Olachea. In 2002, when Barbara was 5 years old, her 
family brought her to the United States from Mexico. She grew up in 
Phoenix, AZ, and she knew she would face challenges, being 
undocumented. Her older sister had been accepted to Arizona State 
University but couldn't afford to go to school there. As an 
undocumented immigrant, she is not eligible for Federal financial 
assistance. Arizona law specifically prohibits State financial 
assistance to DREAMers such as Barbara and her sister.
  During her freshman year in high school, a mentor told her that as a 
DREAMer, ``You're going to have to try harder than everybody else.''
  Barbara said:

       Those words confirmed what I had known all along. Although 
     I was only starting high school, I began to dread what most 
     students anticipate with excitement: graduation day. What if 
     I got into my dream school, but I still couldn't go because I 
     couldn't afford it?

  In high school, Barbara was a great student and was involved in many 
extracurricular and volunteer activities. She was a member of the 
Academic Decathlon team for 4 years and team captain when she was a 
senior. She was a member of student government, yearbook, and 
homecoming. She volunteered to tutor middle school students and worked 
part time to save money for her education. She participated in a number 
of programs at Arizona State University, including the Walter Cronkite 
School of Journalism. She recorded a story about her life that was 
aired on National Public Radio. This experience sparked her interest in 
journalism and led to an internship at KJZZ, the Phoenix affiliate for 
  Last year Barbara graduated as valedictorian of her high school class 
with a 4.5 grade point average. As a result of her accomplishments, 
Barbara was accepted at Dartmouth College, an Ivy League school, where 
she is now a sophomore.
  Barbara wrote a letter to me and said this about DACA:

       I am very grateful for DACA, as it allowed me to work and 
     not be deported to a country I do not know and have not been 
     to since I was five. Just like thousands of other 
     undocumented students in the United States, I have grown up 
     and become accustomed to the culture here. The U.S. is where 
     I belong and I want to be a contributing member of society, 
     as I have proved in my 13 years here.

  Barbara and other DREAMers have so much to give. They are young, they 
are idealistic, they are energetic, and they are amazing. These young 
people have overcome odds that many young people never face in their 
lives. To think that in your freshman year of high school, you are 
reflecting on the fact that even if accepted to college, you may not be 
able to go--that was her future as she saw it then.
  If DACA is eliminated, Barbara will lose her legal status and could 
be deported to Mexico--a country where she hasn't lived since she was 
5. Will America be a better country if Barbara is deported or if she 
stays here and uses her talent, her determination, her energy, and her 
inspiration, for our future? I think the answer is clear.
  Now is the time for America, this Nation of immigrants, to come 
together and heal the wounds that divided us in this election. I am 
just hoping that this President-elect, when he reflects on Barbara and 
700,000-plus other DACA eligibles, will realize that they can bring 
important values and achievements to America's future. I am hoping that 
in the Senate, we can overcome our differences--and there are many deep 
differences, political differences--and give these young people a 
  Senator Graham and I are basically working on a bill that says at 
least suspend their status so they won't be deported, so they can 
continue to work. Do that while we do our business here on the issue of 
immigration. That is only fair. It is only right. It is the right 
American way to approach an issue that can affect so many innocent 
American people.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.

                         Miners Protection Act

  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about an issue of 
great urgency--the fate of tens of thousands of American workers.
  In just a matter of weeks, 16,000 coal miners and their dependents 
will lose their health care coverage and roughly 6,000 others will join 
that group in the year 2017, and here we are just days away from 
Congress wrapping up its work for the year. This should be a time to 
motivate us to action.
  I have served in Congress a long time, and I know nothing motivates 
Congress more than a deadline, being up against a deadline, as we are 
today. This time should be no different, and here is why: Without some 
resolution before Congress adjourns, the men and women who have powered 
our Nation and spurred economic growth for generations will have the 
carpet ripped out from under them. They will lose the health care 
benefits they so rely on and have been promised.
  It is important to recognize the risks our coal miners take to better 
our lives every day. When you visit a coal mine, which I have done--I 
have been underground in a coal mine--you see the rigorous and often 
very dangerous working conditions where these men and women do their 
job every day to provide the energy we need to light this Chamber, to 
warm our homes, and to keep our classrooms lit. These miners are the 
pillars of our communities, and many of them are veterans of our 
Nation. For decades they have worked hard and played by the rules. Yet 
the realities facing these men and women are stark. They are up against 
the wall, and we are up against the wall with them. The challenges they 
face will only grow if we fail to accommodate and have immediate 
  We can talk about the realities of the War on Coal, but this is about 
more than that. This is about people--tens of thousands of people, 
mostly older, many suffering health issues--who rely on health care, 
and many are in need. This is about tens of thousands of coal jobs that 
have been lost, devastating my region of the country, forcing miners to 
rely on these modest benefits more than ever before. This is about 
employers who are bankrupt who can no longer fund these benefit plans.
  We have a solution right here in front of us that is ready for a vote 
to prevent any lapse in benefits. It is a solution that has support 
from both sides of the aisle. We passed the Miners Protection Act out 
of the Finance Committee in a bipartisan way, and it is a solution that 
could make a difference in the livelihoods of tens of thousands of 
  I had really hoped that we could offer the Miners Protection Act as 
an amendment to the 21st Century Cures

[[Page S6699]]

bill. The 21st Century Cures bill is all about health. The Miners 
Protection Act is a lot about the health and well-being of our miners.
  That is why, despite the many good things and benefits in the 21st 
Century Cures Act, such as funding for the opioid epidemic that hit my 
State of West Virginia and many of our States very hard, advanced 
medicine, and Cancer Moonshot, I had to oppose us moving forward on the 
Cures Act tonight without an amendment process. That is how important 
this issue is to our miners.
  Before Friday we will move forward on a bill to fund our government. 
We must take action in that bill--which I consider mostly our last 
chance, the continuing resolution--to protect these important benefits 
for our miners. If we don't, we will be failing to act for the benefit 
of thousands of American workers.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.