December 8, 2016 - Issue: Vol. 162, No. 177 — Daily Edition114th Congress (2015 - 2016) - 2nd Session
FAREWELL TO THE SENATE; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 177
(Senate - December 08, 2016)
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[Pages S6850-S6862] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] FAREWELL TO THE SENATE Mr. REID. Mr. President, the history of Searchlight starts this way, the first paragraph of that book: Searchlight is like many Nevada towns and cities: it would never have come to be had gold not been discovered. Situated on rocky, windy, and arid terrain without artisan wells or surface water of any kind, the place we call Searchlight was not a gathering spot for Indian or animal. Searchlight. It is a long way from Searchlight in the U.S. Senate. I grew up during World War II in Searchlight. As Senator McConnell mentioned, my dad was a miner, a hard-rock miner, an underground miner, but work wasn't very good in Searchlight. The mines during World War II were especially gone--all over America but especially in Nevada. There were a few things that went on after the war, promotions. He would work, and sometimes they would pay him, sometimes there were bad checks that would bounce. Sometimes they wouldn't pay him, they would just leave. My mom worked really hard. We had this old Maytag washer. There were lines outside. She worked really hard. Searchlight had about 250 people then. It had seen its better days. Searchlight was discovered in 1898 when gold was discovered, and for 15 or 18 years, it was a booming, booming town. It was one of the most modern cities in all of Nevada. It had electricity--turn of the century, electricity. It had a telegraph. It had telephones. It had a fire station, firetrucks. It had roads with signs on them designating the name of the street. It had a railroad. When I grew up, that was all gone. Searchlight, as I said, had 250 people. So people may ask: How did my mother work so hard in a town with 250 people? We had at that time no mines, but 13 brothels at one time in Searchlight--13, not over time but at one time. The biggest was the El Rey Club. So that tells everyone what wash my mom did, from the casinos and from the brothels. She worked really hard. She ironed. She washed. As I look back on my growing up in Searchlight, I never felt, during the time I was a boy, that I was deprived of anything. I never went hungry. Sometimes we didn't have, I guess, what my mom wanted, but we were fine. But as I look back, it wasn't that good, I guess. We had no inside toilet. We had a toilet outside. You had to walk about 50 yards to that because my dad didn't want it close to the house, and we had a good time, even with that. My poor mother, what a wonderful woman she was. Sometimes, my younger brother and I sometimes, just to be funny, when my mother would go to the toilet, which had tin walls--it was made out of tin--and we would throw rocks at that. ``Let me out,'' she would say. It doesn't sound like much fun, but it was fun at the time. When I started elementary school, there was one teacher for grades one through four and then another teacher for grades five through eight, but when I got to the fifth grade, there were not enough students for two teachers so one teacher taught all eight grades. I learned at that time in that little school that you can really learn. I have never ever forgotten a woman by the name of Mrs. Pickard. I can still see her with those glasses, just a stereotype spinster teacher-- but she was a teacher. She taught me that education was good, to learn is good. When I graduated, we had a large graduating [[Page S6851]] class: six kids. The Presiding Officer from Nevada should feel good about me. I graduated in the top third of my class. My parents did the best they could. My dad never graduated from eighth grade. My mom didn't graduate from high school. In Searchlight-- this is probably no surprise to anyone--there was never ever a church service in Searchlight that I can ever remember. There was no church, no preachers, no nothing regarding religion. That is how I was raised. My brother and I were born in our house. There was no hospital. It had long since gone. I didn't go to a dentist until I was 14 years old, but I was fortunate. I was born with nice teeth, especially on the top. The bottoms aren't so good, but rarely have I had a cavity of any kind. I have just been fortunate in that regard. We didn't go to doctors. It was a rare occasion. There was no one to go to. I can remember my father having such a bad toothache, I watched him pull a tooth with a pair of pliers. My mother was hit in the face with a softball when she was a young woman in Searchlight and it ruined her teeth. As I was growing up, I saw her teeth disappear--a few, a few less, and finally no teeth. My mom had no teeth. My brother was riding his bicycle, slid on the dirt, broke his leg, never went to the doctor. I can remember it as if it were 10 minutes ago, my brother Larry in bed. We couldn't touch the bed, it hurt him so much, but it healed. The bottom part of one leg is bent, but it healed. I can remember once a TB wagon came through Searchlight, the only time I remember. People had tuberculosis, or TB. I can remember Con Hudgens had TB. I don't remember who else. We had miners who were there who had silicosis, some of them, my dad included. My mom had one of those tests. She went into the big truck and had her chest x-rayed--I guess that is what they did. A few weeks later, she got a postcard that said her test was positive and she should go see a doctor. She never went to see a doctor. I worried about that so much. I can't imagine how my mother must have felt, but obviously it was a false positive. Think about that, never going to the doctor when you are told you have tuberculosis. As I learned more about my dad, I know how important health care would have been for him, to be able to see somebody to try to explain more to my dad so he could understand himself a little better. I am sure I haven't done all the good in life I could do, but I am here to tell everyone that there is one thing I did in my life that I am so proud of, and I will always be. I hope I am not boasting; if I am, I am sorry. I worked long hours at a service station. As Mitch indicated, there was no high school in Searchlight so I went to school in Henderson, NV. I worked in a Standard station. I worked really hard, long hours. I took all the hours they would give me. I saved up enough money--I had $250--I was going to buy my mother some teeth. I went to a man--he was a big shot. They named a school after him, and he was on the school board in Las Vegas. He married this beautiful woman from Searchlight. I went to him. I had never met him before, but Dr. Smith knows who I am. His name was J.D. Smith. I said: I want to buy my mother some teeth. He said: I don't do credit here. He insulted me. So I went to Dr. Marshall in Henderson and bought my mom some teeth. It changed my mother's life. My mother had teeth. My parents lived in Searchlight until they both died. There are a number of people who know, at least my staff knows, that my dad killed himself. I can remember that day so plainly. I had been out and spent 2 hours with Muhammad Ali, he and I, one of his handlers and one of my staff. It was so--for me, as someone who has always wanted to be an athlete, an athlete want-to-be, that was great. Some of you know I fought, but he was in a different world than I, but he was nice. He was generous with his time and he was so much fun. He said: Pay no attention to me. I am fighting some White guy and I am going to cause some trouble out here. He kicked the walls and yelled and screamed, and I was happy. I walked to my car, got to my office, and my receptionist, Joanie, said to me, Mr. Reid, your mom is on the phone. I talked to my mother all the time--many, many times a week. She said: Your pop shot himself. So she lived in Searchlight. It took me an hour, an hour and a half to get out there. I can still remember seeing my dad on that bed. I was so sad because my dad never had a chance. He was depressed always. He was reclusive. I did things; he never came to anything that I did. I never felt bad that he didn't because I knew my dad. My mom came to everything she could. But I felt bad about that. I will talk a little more about suicide in a little bit, but I think everyone can understand a little bit of why I have been such an avid supporter of ObamaCare, health care. I was ashamed, embarrassed about Searchlight. When I went to college, when I was in high school, law school, I just didn't want to talk about Searchlight. I was kind of embarrassed about it. It was kind of a crummy place. I didn't show people pictures of my home. Many years later, I was a young man, and I was in government. Alex Haley, a famous writer who wrote the book ``Roots,'' was a speaker at the University of Nevada foundation dinner in Reno. He gave a speech that was stunning. It was so good. Basically, what he said to everyone there--he directed his remarks to me, I thought, and of course he didn't, but he said: Be proud of who you are. You can't escape who you are. I walked out of that event that night a different person, a new man. From that day forward, I was from Searchlight. When I got out of law school, I bought little pieces of property so I had contacts there. My parents lived there, and I went there all the time, but I became Harry Reid, the guy from Searchlight. So one thing people ask me all the time--they say: You have done OK. Tell me what you think are the important aspects--especially young people ask all the time--and ``young'' is a relative term--what would you recommend? What do you think is the way to success? I tell them all the same thing. I didn't make it in life because of my athletic prowess. I didn't make it because of my good looks. I didn't make it because I am a genius. I made it because I worked hard. I tell everyone, whatever you want to try to do, make sure you work as hard as you can to try to do what you want to do. I believe that is a lesson for everyone. The little boy from Searchlight has been able to be part of the changing State of Nevada. I am grateful I have been part of that change. When I graduated from law school, the population of Nevada was less than 300,000 people. The State of Nevada has now 3 million people. We grew from one Member of Congress in 1864 to 1882. One was all we had. Now we have four. During my 34 years in Congress, I have seen the country change. I have seen Nevada change. The change for the country and Nevada has been for the better. Now I am going to spend a little bit of time talking about some of the things I have been able to do as a Member of the United States Senate. I know it is long and I know it is somewhat tedious, but I have been here a long time, so please be patient. My legislation. Reducing tax burdens. I am sorry he is not here--David Pryor from Arkansas. I don't want to hurt the feelings of any of my very capable friends, but the best legislator I have ever served with in State government, Federal Government, was David Pryor. He was good. He was not a big speaker, but he was good at getting things done. The first speech I gave as a Member of the Senate was way back there where Cory Booker is right now. I gave a speech. I tried to do it in the House; it was called the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. I couldn't get Jake Pickle, the chair of that subcommittee on Ways and Means, to even talk to me in the House. But I came over here and gave that speech, and David Pryor was presiding. He was subcommittee chair of the committee dealing with that in finance. Chuck Grassley was also listening to my speech. Pryor sent me a note when I finished and said: I want to help you with this. Grassley did the same thing. So my first speech led to the passage of the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights, with the help of David Pryor and Chuck Grassley. It was landmark [[Page S6852]] legislation. It put the taxpayer on more equal footing with the tax collector. Everybody liked it so much, we have done two more iterations of it since then to make it even stronger. Source tax. I am sure it is just a boring thing to everybody, but it wasn't boring to people who came from California and tried to retire someplace else. The State of California was merciless in going after people. They had the law on their side, they thought. If you had worked in California, it didn't matter where you went, they would go after you--for your pension, is what it amounted to. I tried for 15 years to get that changed, and I got it changed. No longer can California--with all due respect to Feinstein and Boxer--do that. They can't do that anymore. If you retire in California and move someplace else, they can't tax that money. Mortgage tax relief. We all participated in that. I initiated it when the collapse of Wall Street took place. That was a big help. Tax incentives for solar and geothermal--very important. I will talk a little bit more about that. Payment in lieu of taxes. All my western Senators will appreciate that. It was just 4 or 5 years ago that we were able to fully fund PILT, payment in lieu of taxes. I worked very hard with Baucus and Wyden, and we did things to take care of some issues they had. That is the first time it had ever been fully funded. Cancellation of indebtedness. Those are buzzwords for people who understand taxes a little better. But what happened is people-- everything collapsed. They would try to get out of the debt they had. They couldn't because the IRS would tax them at the value of it when they bought it. It was unfair, and we got that changed. That was in the stimulus bill. We got that changed. Let's talk about the economy a little bit. I know some of my Democratic colleagues will say: Why did you do that? Here is what I did. I worked with Republican Senator Don Nickles from Oklahoma. There was a Republican President. Don and I talked about this. We knew the administration would change and it would affect every President, Democratic and Republican. It was called the Congressional Review Act. What that said is the President promulgates a regulation and Congress has a chance to look it over to see if it is too burdensome, too costly, too unfair. And we have done that quite a few times. That was because of Reid and Nickles. That was legislation that I did, and it was great when we had Republican Presidents, not so great when we had Democratic Presidents, but it was fair. One person who has been so important to the State of Nevada is a man by the name of Kirk Kerkorian, an uneducated man. He flew over the North Atlantic during World War II for England at great personal sacrifice to himself. As I said, he had no education, but he became one of America's legendary entrepreneurs. Many years ago, as a young new lawyer, I met him, and for many years I helped him and especially his brother with their legal issues. He is the man who helped create Las Vegas the way it is. He did something unique. He decided he was going to build something on the Las Vegas Strip called CityCenter. When you go to Nevada, look at that sometime. You could be in the middle of New York City--you would think you were there, basically. This is a magnificent operation. Well, it started before the Recession. They were desperate to get it finished. More than 10,000 people worked on that project. I would drive by there and count the cranes--25, 30 cranes at one time there at work. Well, I interceded in that. I did some things that probably a lot of people wouldn't do, but I did it because I thought it was very important that the operation didn't shut down. Kerkorian had already put billions of dollars of his own money in it, and they had an investor from one of the Middle Eastern countries. I did a lot of things, I say, that a lot of you probably wouldn't do, but I did it and I saved that project. I won't go into detail, but I called people whom I doubt any of you would call. I called bank presidents, and I called leaders of countries. Anyway, it is completed now. I take some credit for that. The stimulus, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We got that done. Yesterday, the Presiding Officer was the senior Senator from Maine. Oh, she was so helpful. I will probably get her in trouble by boasting about her here today, but she and her colleague from Maine, Olympia Snowe, and Arlen Specter--we only had 58 votes as Democrats, and they were the difference. We were able to get that passed only because of them, and it was so good for our country. President Obama--the first 2 months after having been elected, the country lost 800,000 jobs. Can you imagine that? One month. But because of the stimulus bill, we were able to reverse that. We did a lot of wonderfully good things in that that were important for the country. The Travel Promotion Act. Amy Klobuchar is here; she worked so hard helping get that done. It promoted travel to get foreigners to come here, come to America, and it worked out so well. Seven different clotures I had to file on that to get it done, but we got it done finally, and it has been remarkably good for America. Other countries-- you will see them on TV--are always advertising: Come visit Australia. Come visit the Bahamas. Come visit England. Come visit everyplace. But now there is advertising around the world: Come visit America. Now, everyone knows that Las Vegas gets more than its share, probably, of visitors, but it was good for Nevada and it was also good for the country. Nevada test site workers. We were the Cold War veterans in Nevada. That was a big project. We had 11,000, 12,000 workers there at one time. An aboveground test--I could remember seeing them. We were a long ways away in Searchlight, but you could see that flash. You wouldn't always feel it. Sometimes it would bounce over Searchlight. But it was a very big deal. We didn't know it was making people sick, but they were good enough to make sure the tests didn't go off when the wind was blowing toward Las Vegas. It blew up toward Utah, and Utah suffered terribly because those were aboveground tests. So we worked to make sure the test site workers were a part of it because they were the reason we were winning the Cold War, because what they did was dangerous. We passed that. It took a number of different segments to get it done. So we have done a lot to protect people. Nevada transportation. McCarran Airport. I have tried for years to get the name taken off--a Democratic Senator from Nevada who was an awful man. I tried to get his name off that, and it didn't work. I tried to get J. Edgar Hoover's name off the FBI Building; that didn't work. We had a vote here. I can still remember how mad Orrin Hatch was when I did that, but, anyway, everybody had to vote on it. I think I made a mistake. I tried to name it after Bobby Kennedy. That was a mistake I made on that. Anyway, McCarran Airport. It is I think the fifth busiest airport in America now. We have gotten money for a new air traffic control center. It is one of the largest structures in the Western United States. We have done a good job taking care of McCarran, with all kinds of construction funding for runways and rehabilitation of runways. In the stimulus bill, one of the last things we put in that was bonding capacity that allowed McCarran Field to build a big new terminal. More than $1 billion we got in that legislation. It was really important during the recession to have all those workers. There were thousands and thousands of them on that new terminal, which is now completed. Reno. I was also able to direct money toward getting a new traffic control center there, a new control tower. We have done all the construction funding. A lot of stuff, good stuff for the airport in Reno. So I feel good about what we have done to help Nevada transportation, not the least of which, everybody, are the billions of dollars in directed spending for roads and highways in Nevada. It has made a change in Northern Nevada and in Southern Nevada. It is important for us to be able to bring people to Las Vegas, so we made deals with the California State Department of Transportation, and we participated in big construction projects that took place in California, in Barstow and San Bernardino. We did that because it would make it easier for people to go to Las Vegas. So I wasn't just giving money to Las Vegas, NV; we also did it, of course, for California because it helped us. [[Page S6853]] Health care. The Affordable Care Act. I have talked about that a little bit. It would have been wonderful if we had something like that around to help my family when we were growing up. I worked hard to help a number of you on the Children's Health Insurance Program. Orrin Hatch was certainly involved in that. Just like I had trouble coming to grips with my home in Searchlight, I had trouble coming to grips with the fact that my dad killed himself. I was like most--we are called victims. We shouldn't be, but that is what we are called. This year, about 32,000 people will kill themselves in America. That doesn't count the hunting accidents that are really suicides or the car accidents that are really suicides. So I couldn't get my arms around the suicide. Republican Senator Cohen from Maine was chairman of the Aging Committee upon which I served, and we were doing a hearing on senior depression. Mike Wallace came--the famous journalist--and here is what he said: I have wanted to die for years. I would take the most dangerous assignments I could hoping I wouldn't come back. You know, I am OK now, though. I want to live forever. He said: I take a pill once in a while, I see a doctor once in a while, and I am good. I am OK. I said for the first time publicly: Mr. Chairman, my dad killed himself. That was a long time ago, but I think it would be extremely important for this committee to hold a hearing on senior suicide because we have learned--since my focusing on suicide, we have done some good things as Members of Congress. We have directed spending to study why people kill themselves because we don't know for sure. Isn't it interesting that most suicides take place in the western part of the United States? You would think it would be in the dark places, like Maine and Vermont, where it is so dark and cold, but, no, it is in the bright sunshine of the West. We are learning a lot more. That has been so good to me as a person, and we have now funded projects around America where there are suicide prevention programs that are extremely important. There are suicide victims programs where people can get together after a loved one kills themself. That is something I am glad I worked on. Finally, health care. So 24 years ago, one of my friends from Las Vegas called me, Sandy Jolly, and she said: I would like you to look at this film I am going to send you. You are not going to want to watch it, but I want you to watch it. What it showed was a beautiful little girl in Africa in a white party dress. She looked so pretty. It was a party. Suddenly, two men grabbed her, spread her legs apart, and cut out her genitals--right there, with a razor blade. I thought: Man, that is hard to comprehend. My staff said it is something you shouldn't deal with; it should be something for a woman. But I went ahead, and I did something about it. We haven't done as much as we should do, and I hope that we have people who will pick up this issue. I had a meeting last Friday--the biggest audience I have ever had. There was a conference on female genital mutilation. I say that word because that is what it is. Millions of little girls have been cut. That is what it is called--``cut.'' Last year, no one knows for sure, but probably 250,000 little girls were cut. Last Friday, I had 200 people there. I said: This is wonderful. I said: I have had 10 people a couple of times. Two or three of the people were lost and didn't really want to be there. It is really important that we do something about it. We have some laws now. It is against the law in the United States. They can't go away for the purpose of being cut. There is a lot more that needs to be done. Our government has done almost nothing. I am going to spend a little bit on the environment. I have been chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee twice--not for very long. I gave it up once because I had to, because of the control of Congress, and one time I gave it away. Remember? I gave it away. I gave my chairmanship and my committee spot to Jim Jeffords. I love that committee. I have been involved in environment and energy issues since I came here. The State of Nevada is 87-percent owned by the Federal Government; 87 percent of the State of Nevada is Federal land. The rest, 13 percent, is private land. Of course, I should be concerned about it. As to Yucca Mountain, I am not going to get into a long dissertation about that. We spent about $8 billion there so far, maybe more. It is gone. Someone asked me the other day: Well, you know, Republicans are in power now. They are going to come back to Yucca Mountain now. I said: Well, they better bring a checkbook with them because there is nothing there. They would have to start all over again. With the big auger, they spent well over $1 billion digging that tunnel. That is scrap metal. There is nothing there. You can probably get it going again now for $10 billion, $12 billion. If you have a way to pay for it, good luck. If you were smart, what you would do is leave it where it is in dry cast storage containers, which is proven to be extremely safe and effective. That is what should be done. Renewable energy transmission. Part of the stimulus bill said one of the problems we have with energy is that we don't have a way of transmitting electricity to where it should go. We talk about all this renewable energy, which is produced in places where there aren't a lot of people, but you can't get it anyplace where there are a lot of people. That has been changed with the stimulus bill. For example, in Nevada we have Line One, and for the first time in the history of the State of Nevada, we can move power from the north to the south of Nevada. That is underway now. That line will go up into the north-northwest. That was good legislation. I have had clean energy summits for many, many years. We bring in national leaders. Democrats and Republicans have focused attention on the problems America has with energy. The Clintons have come. Obama has been there. We have had Republicans. Here is one who came and did a great job--Tom Donohue. Everybody knows him. We Democrats know him, for sure. He is head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. I have no problem with coal. I have helped fund clean coal technology. The Tracy powerplant, outside of Reno, was a clean coal plant. It didn't work. So they had to go to another type of fuel. I have nothing against coal. However, I was upset about this. Nevada is very pristine. I have told a couple of people this. People don't understand Nevada. Everybody thinks it is the deserts of Las Vegas, but it is not. Nevada is the most mountainous State in the Union, except for Alaska. We have 314 separate mountain ranges. We have a mountain that is 14,000 feet high. We have 32 mountains over 11,000 feet high. It is a very mountainous State. When I learned from reading the papers that we were going to have power companies come to Nevada in the most pristine areas and they were going to build three or four new powerplants fueled by coal, I said no. My staff said: You can't do that. You are up for reelection, and they will destroy you. They tried. They left leaflets on all the cars in the parking lots and said I was running up the power bills. I won; they lost. There are no coal-fired powerplants in Nevada. There are two left. One of them is going out of business in 2 weeks; the other is on its way out, probably within a year. We are not going to have coal-fired plants in Nevada, but we do have a lot of renewable energy. I have done work, especially with John Ensign, when he was here, on major land bills--Clark County, Lincoln County, White Pine County, Carson County--and we were able to do a lot of good things to save land. He was a real conservative guy, and because of him, I had to make deals to make some of the 87-percent land private. I was able to do that. He was able to work with me to create more wilderness, and we worked together to get that done. I created the first national park in Nevada, Great Basin National Park. It is wonderful. Everything within the Great Basin is in that park. It is hard to believe, but in Nevada we now have a glacier. We have the oldest living trees in the world on that mountain. Those old pine trees are there. They are 6,000 or 7,000 years old--bristlecone pine. It is a beautiful, beautiful park. [[Page S6854]] As to Basin and Range National Monument, I worked with President Clinton on this. There are more than 700,000 acres in a remote place of Nevada. It is a place where John Muir came as a young man, camping there, and talked in his diary about how beautiful this was. Now everyone can see that. In part of that wonderful place is a man who is a world famous artist. His name is Michael Heizer. He worked for 40 years building this monument in the middle of nowhere. It is in the middle of nowhere, and it is done. It is called the City. It is magnificent. We don't have roads coming there yet, but we will pretty soon. That is done. Tule Springs. People came to me and said: We have this place in Nevada where we have the oldest and most abundant source of fossils anyplace in America. To make a long story short, that is now a national monument. You can come to Las Vegas if you are an archaeologist, or if you are interested in old fossils, you can come there. I don't mean old people. You can come there. There are all these studies going on with Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument. When I came to Congress, we had about 70,000 acres of wilderness in Nevada. Now we have about 4 million. Those are legislative initiatives of mine. We have approximately 4 million acres of wilderness. We have a million, 1.5 million acres of additional conservation of land, and I mentioned some of it here. Water has been difficult for Nevada, in the north and the south. I knew I had been elected to the Senate, and I was leaving Reno, NV, on an airplane and someone asked me: What is the most difficult problem facing Nevada? I said: Water. Having said that--we have all done it--I thought: What am I going to do now? I had to do something. We did something. Now it is all done. We settled a 100-year water war between the States of California and Nevada. We settled all the litigation on the Truckee and Carson Rivers. It took 20 years to finally implement that. There were many water systems--the Lake Tahoe region--and they are gone. We had large wetlands that had gone dry, and that is now getting fresh water in it. It involved an irrigation district for Indian tribes and endangered species, and we were able to get all that done. It made a stable water supply for Northern Nevada, the Reno area. Southern Nevada is really a desert. It has 4 inches of rain a year in Las Vegas. We have worked hard with Pat Mulroy. She has done wonderful things. I see the junior Senator from Arizona here. When he was elected, the States of Arizona and California wouldn't speak to each other. They were fighting over water. Now we work together on water. It has been remarkable what we have been able to do as partners to get things done. We bank water for Arizona, and when they need the water and it is in our ground, we can give it back to them. It has been good for Nevada because we can use that water in the meantime. We have done good work with California. California got most of the water out of the Colorado River. They took a lot more than they should have, and we were able to work on that. We worked with California in a very positive way. We help pay for port reservoirs. We help line canals. We have done a lot of good things to help water in that whole area. I am happy about that. We share Lake Tahoe with California. Lake Tahoe is a stunningly beautiful place. There are only two alpine lakes in the world. One of them is in Siberia, and the other is there. I have had 20 summits there. We have gotten over $1 billion there with the cooperation of the California delegation and many others. We have done well in stabilizing and helping the clarity of that beautiful lake. Walker Lake is another lake that was originally controlled by the Indians. It has been stolen from them by us. We now have gotten hundreds of millions of dollars directed toward that, and we have bought up water rights, and we have saved Walker Lake. There are 21 desert terminus lakes in the world. There are two in America. They are both in Nevada, and we saved those two lakes--Walker and Pyramid Lakes. There was a great big gravel pit. It was 10, 15 times bigger than this Chamber--huge. There were spots of black that appeared on it. The State of Nevada didn't have the resources to take on the oil companies and airlines. So they didn't know what was wrong. I got Bill Bradley, who was chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy, to hold a hearing. It was so important we did that because we determined that oil was coming from broken oil lines, fuel lines, going to the Reno airport. Had we not done something, it would have been awful. It was declared an emergency superfund site, and people immediately moved in and took care of that. I am giving a quick look at it. That gravel pit is now a beautiful lake. It is called the Sparks Marina. There are condos, apartments, and businesses all around there. People boat on it. It is wonderful. It all started out as a gravel pit. I appreciate Bill Bradley's good work on that. I want to talk about national security. There are people in this Chamber much better than I am on national security, and I know that, but I have worked hard. I worked hard. We have been a dumping ground for all things in the military. We have Nellis Air Force Base. It was named after Bill Nellis, who was from Searchlight. He was a war hero in World War II. It is the finest fighter training facility in the world. If you want to fly jet airplanes, then you must train at Nellis. They have a large gunnery range. The Navy does the same thing in Northern Nevada with the naval air training center. Frankly, I was able to get tens of millions of dollars for both of those operations because they have been important. We hear a lot about drones. Every drone attack that takes place in the world takes place 30 miles outside Las Vegas at Creech Air Force Base. We have all of these great servicemembers, mostly airmen, who take care of that. They protect us around the world. Barbara Mikulski is here. She was in a position to help me on appropriations. She said: This facility in Reno is awful, and I-- Barbara Mikulski--am going to do something about it, and she did, very quickly. We renovated that place. It was so bad. It was a little VA hospital with hallways so narrow they couldn't bring in new hospital equipment because they couldn't get it down the hall. I appreciate what Senator Mikulski did for that hospital. I requested money for two VA hospitals, and they were built in Southern Nevada. We had one that was an experiment. It was a joint venture between the Veterans' Administration and the Air Force. It worked great except we had a Middle East war and the veterans had to go someplace else so we don't have that hospital anymore, but we have a huge new one. It is the newest and best in the entire VA system. They don't have all of the equipment they need, but it has been functioning very well for the last couple of years. I feel very proud of that. The Nevada Test Site is part of our national security, and I have done everything I can to make sure that facility is taken care of, and it is. There are a lot of experiments going on there all the time. We have fuel spills and different tests that take place there. Finally, this is one of the best things I ever did. Yesterday I heard Barbara Mikulski say listen to what your constituents say. A group of veterans came--just a few feet from here--to talk to me a number of years ago. One of them said: Senator, this is somewhat strange. I am disabled from the military, and I am also retired from the military. I can't draw both benefits. I said: What are you talking about? He said: I can't. If you retire from the Forest Service and have a military disability, you can get your pension from the BLM, the Forest Service or whatever it is, and also get your disability, but not if it is both military. We changed that. Now, if you have a disability and you have retired from the military, you can draw both. It is called concurrent receipt. That took a long time, but we got it done. It is not perfect, but it is 80 percent complete. I talked earlier this morning about being a lawyer. I am proud of the fact that I was a trial lawyer. I hear Senators talk all the time about these judicial selection committees. They have to help pick whom they will have on the Federal bench. I am glad they do that because I also have a judicial selection committee. You know who is on that committee? Me. No one else is on it. I select all of my judges. I am the [[Page S6855]] committee, and I am very happy with what I have been able to do. One of the things I did when I was in the House was name a Federal building in Las Vegas after a very famous family of lawyers, the Foley family. They had two Federal judges, a district attorney, and a State court judge. They were a wonderful family called the Foley family. I attended the 10th anniversary of that, and when I looked up there, I saw nothing but White males. I thought to myself, ``Gee, I hope someday I can change that,'' and as fortune would have it, Lloyd George decided to take senior staff and I had a chance to do something about that. I have sent names to the President and selected far more judges myself in the entire history of the State of Nevada. So what I did with the first one, I said, well, I want to get a woman judge, but we didn't have a Black judge on the court either. I wanted to nominate a Black judge and a woman judge, and that is what I did. Boy, was I criticized. They said: She doesn't have enough experience. You could have found somebody better. She was a dynamo. People loved this woman. She was so good that she is now on the Ninth Circuit, and she quickly went there. To make a long story short, she has been part of the talk about who could get appointed to the Supreme Court. She is a wonderful woman named Johnnie Rawlinson. I put Roger Hunt, great trial lawyer; Kent Dawson, one of my predecessors as city attorney; David Hagan, a wonderful trial lawyer, and I put him on the bench. I selected Brian Sandoval as a Federal judge, and he was a good Federal judge. Things were going great until he ran against my son for Governor, and I wish he hadn't because my son would now be Governor. He is my friend, and our family has accepted that. He was the first Hispanic on the bench. I appointed another Hispanic, Gloria Navarro. Her parents were born in Cuba, and she is now the chief judge. Miranda Du, how about that, a woman who was born in Vietnam is now on the bench in Nevada. How about that, Miranda Du. She was born in Vietnam and came over when she was 11 years old to Alabama. Jennifer Dorsey, a woman; Andrew Gordon, a Harvard law graduate; Richard Boulware, African American. I changed that Nevada Federal bench significantly. I had the pleasure of voting for and against all eight members of the Supreme Court who now sit there. I have had a chance to vote for every one of them during my career. Education. I worked hard for education in Nevada, and I have done OK. The Desert Research Institute is a unique organization. It is not helped by the University in Nevada at all. They all have Ph.D.s and they have been in existence for 50 years. Some of the most significant research in the world is done there. They have two supercomputers. Our earthquake center is the best in the world. They have more shake tables than anyplace in America. People come from all over the world to study what happens to earthquakes. Biodiversity study. For many years, I directed funding to the biodiversity study. It was the best science going on at the time on the environment and studying the Great Basin. Native Americans in Nevada. We have 26 different tribal organizations. I am really happy with what I have been able to do to help Native Americans, and, believe me, they haven't been treated well in Nevada or anyplace else. I have led the legislative efforts to make sure they have their water rights taken care of, settled longstanding claims against the United States. We have the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, and the Duck Valley Reservation have all been able to develop their water rights and economies. For example, Pyramid Lake will receive almost $100 million and Fallon will receive $60 million. I worked to get two new high schools built, and they were so long overdue. It took decades to get the Shoshone Claims Distribution Act done, and we finally got it done. Thanks to President Clinton, we were able to get the Indians who belonged up there, the Washoe Tribe, right on the lake. Working with the Obama administration for the last 8 years has been a dream job of mine, being the President's point man here in the Senate. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have an extended speech on President Obama that I gave yesterday printed in the Record. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [Dec. 7, 2016] Statement of Senator Harry Reid Paying Tribute to President Barack Obama It's hard to imagine today, but it wasn't that long ago that Barack Obama was a little-known Illinois legislator with a very unusual name. I still remember the first time I heard that name. I was in the House gym, where ex-members congregated. And one of the people I shared the room with was Abner Mikva, long-time Illinois Congressman, appellate court judge, President Clinton's chief legal officer. I had known that Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois decided not to run for re-election after one term. And Judge Mikva turned to me and said he knew the perfect person to fill that open seat. ``Who could that be,'' I said? He said, ``Barack Obama.'' I said, ``What?'' He said, ``Barack Obama.'' I said, ``Who? What kind of name is that?'' He said: ``He is one of the most talented people I've ever met in all my years.'' That said a lot to me. Even though, at that time, I smiled and left the room. But it didn't take long before I understood what Mikva told me. Barack Obama won that election to the Senate. Came from nowhere, the man with the unusual name. And once he was here, it was obvious he was the real deal. His ability to communicate was--and is--stunning. I can remember one of his first floor speeches he gave here in the Senate. It was on George Bush's policy regarding the Middle East war. It was eloquent, thoughtful. Powerful. I was so impressed that following his speech, there had been a quorum call. His seat was way back there. I walked up to him and he was sitting, I was standing, looking over him. I said, ``Senator, that was really terrific. That was really good.'' I will never forget his response. He looked at me without hesitation, without any braggadocio, no conceit, just humility. He looked up at me and said, ``I have a gift.'' This wasn't a boast. This was a fact. I have never met anyone with an ability to communicate like Barack Obama. Whether it is writing, speaking to 30,000 people, a small crowd or someone individually, he is without equal when it comes to communicating. His reputation was well known, even before he came to the Senate. He had written his first book, ``Dreams from My Father,'' a decade before arriving here. Like his 2006 book, ``The Audacity of Hope,'' this book was full of lyrical, insightful writing. In ``Dreams from My Father,'' he outlined the remarkable life story we've all come to know: born to a father from Kenya in faraway Africa. His mother was from Kansas. He was raised by his grandparents in Hawaii. His mother and grandparents set positive examples for him. They pushed him to do better--to be the man he was born to be. That upbringing would serve him well. Barack Obama went to some of the most elite schools in the world. Undergrad at Columbia. Of course he was an honor student. Harvard Law School. He graduated with distinction. He made history as the first African American to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review. Just to be a member of the Harvard Law Review, having gone to law school myself, it is significant. But he was the number-one guy in that very, very prestigious law school. Even then, his reputation for bringing people together and his gift for communication was renowned. He became a professor of constitutional law at one of America's great law schools. He became a community organizer, as he has talked about a lot. He became an Illinois state senator before giving one of the most dramatic convention speeches in American history, in 2004 at the Democratic National Convention in Boston. Throughout it all, his ability to communicate and connect with people fueled his ascendancy. Those skills made Barack Obama a terrific senator. And they have greatly benefited our country over the last 8 years. In a few weeks, Barack Obama will finish his term as the 44th President of the United States. I don't know if I'm leaving with him or he's leaving with me. I guess I leave a few days before he does, but we're leaving together. I cannot think of a better person with whom to leave public service. For 8 years I was his point man and it has been an honor and an effort of pleasure. What this man accomplished--despite unprecedented obstruction from Republicans--is remarkable. History will remember President Barack Obama's many accomplishments. President Obama saved the country from economic collapse, ushering in a new era of growth. Since 2010, the economy has added more 2.6 million private- sector jobs. Median household incomes have risen significantly. The unemployment rate is now at 4.6 percent. In some states, like Nevada, it was as high as 14 percent. President Obama brought the American auto and manufacturing industries back from the brink of collapse with unique programs such as Cash for Clunkers. [[Page S6856]] More than 800,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2010. The auto industry added more than 646,000 jobs since 2009. Domestic production of autos doubled from below 6 million units per year to 12 million per year in 2015. President Obama brought health care to tens millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act. And every day we learn how important this bill has been. We heard from a very conservative American Hospital Association today that doing away with Obamacare would bankrupt the hospital industry. They would lose over the next few years--almost $200 billion. 21 million more Americans now have affordable health care. The uninsured rate is at an all-time low--92 percent of Americans have coverage. Insurance companies cannot deny coverage or charge more to cover people with pre-existing conditions. And how many of us have gone out to our home states and had people with tears in their eyes say, you know, Debbie has been sick since she was a little girl with diabetes? Now for the first time in her life she can have health insurance. Insurance companies cannot discriminate against anyone because of their gender. Every American with insurance has access to preventive care without cost sharing. That means no co-pays for immunizations, cancer screenings, contraceptive coverage for women, diabetes screenings, or blood pressure and cholesterol tests. President Obama held Wall Street accountable. He signed into law the most comprehensive Wall Street and financial reform legislation since the--Great Depression-- Dodd-Frank. His Administration established a new watchdog to help protect consumers from unfair financial practices He signed legislation into law that protected homeowners from mortgage fraud. President Obama took more action to protect our planet from a changing climate, including the historic Paris Climate agreement. I met yesterday with some Native Alaskans. It was scary to talk to this woman, a Native Alaskan, her town of 800 having trouble getting in and out of the town. She told me the animals are confused because the seasons are changing. The caribou have traveled for 20,000 years, we believe, 3,000 miles, migrate every year. They walk in single file, not in large herds jammed together. She said they're having such difficulty. They used to be able to walk over. President Obama made the largest investment ever in renewable energy. He tripled wind power and increased solar power by 30 times--creating more than 200,000 jobs in solar alone, with hundreds of thousands more jobs in the next few years. President Obama protected more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters. That includes more than 700,000 acres in Nevada with one order that he signed. It's called the Basin and Range National Monument, a place where John Muir came looking around for special places in America. He camped in the Basin Range. And hopefully someday every Senator can go to this magnificent thing in the desert. It has taken 40 years to build. One man has done it, a famous artist by the name of Michael Heizer. It's called City. When I talk about 40 years, I mean days, weekends, overtime, and large contingencies of people he directed to this magnificent thing in the middle of the desert. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama made our nation's children a top priority. In 2010, President Obama signed a bill into law to fight child hunger and improve school meals to ensure children receive the nutrition they need to have healthy, successful futures. President Obama made strides on education. Our nation's high school graduate rate is the highest in history. He reformed the federal student loan program, increased the Pell Grant, made student loan repayment more affordable, and expanded loan forgiveness for graduates that enter public service professions. President Obama granted deferred action to immigrant youth who would have qualified under the DREAM Act, bringing nearly 800,000 young people out of the shadows. President Obama made our country more inclusive. He signed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He signed executive orders protecting LGBT workers. Americans are now free to marry the person they love, regardless of gender. And as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama brought Bin Laden to justice. These are just a few aspects of President Obama's storied legacy that is still growing. What a record. It is a legacy of which he should be satisfied. America is better because of this good man spending eight years in the White House. But I am even more impressed by who he is as a person than who he is as a president. He is a man of integrity, of honesty. I have learned much from him. I have never heard Barack Obama denigrate anybody, ever. There have been times where he could have. Perhaps I thought a negative word should be said and I suggested that to him. But he would never take it. No, he would never do that. That's Barack Obama. And, above all, I admire the attention he has given his family. He may be President of the United States, but nothing gets in the way of his family. He is a terrific husband to Michelle and outstanding father to Sasha and Malia. He arrives home for dinner with his family virtually every night he is in Washington. He goes to their plays. He goes to their games. President or not, he is a husband and a father. His devotion extends to his staff, as well. And he has had a terrific staff working for him. I can't mention all of them, but I'll mention his present chief of staff. Denis McDonough. He and I have a very close relationship. Close relationships come with a lot of difficulty, sometimes, because it's been tough, what we've tried to work through together. Pete Rouse, one of the nicest people I've ever known. He also worked for the president very closely. He was his chief of staff as senator and of course chief advisor when he was in the White House. Rahm Emmanuel, now the mayor of Chicago, Illinois. Former chief of staff, current mayor of Chicago. A man known for his bluntness and his productivity as a member of Congress and as chief of staff. Alyssa Mastromonaco, former deputy chief of staff. I hope that I had something to do with the romance that wound up with Alyssa marrying my chief of staff, David Krone. These are a few people I had the pleasure of working with. And then there's President Obama's cabinet--a cabinet of quality. That includes my friend, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar--a wonderful man and terrific public servant. A man of substance, like no other I have ever known. After eight years leading our country, President Obama is leaving office on a high point. When he first took office, our country was in an economic freefall. It was hemorrhaging jobs. Now the economy is experiencing the longest streak of private-sector job growth ever. We have the lowest unemployment rate in nearly a decade. After eight years of President Obama, we are now on a sustainable path to fight climate change and grow renewable energy. We are more respected around the world. We reached international agreements to curb climate change, stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and are on the path to normalizing relations with our neighbor Cuba. Our country has made significant strides in nearly every way. There is no doubt that the United States is better now than we were eight years ago. And we have Barack Obama to thank for that. Thank you, President Barack Obama, for being the person you are. Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that lots and lots of stuff I have done be printed in the Record. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: REDUCING TAX BURDENS FOR NEVADA RESIDENTS & BUSINESSES Taxpayers' Bill of Rights--The ``Taxpayers' Bill of Rights'' was the first bill Senator Reid introduced upon entering the Senate. Several of the ideas in his bill were later incorporated into the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998. The ``Taxpayers' Bill of Rights'' laid out the rights of taxpayers during an audit, procedures for appealing a decision or filing complaints, the procedures the IRS may use to enforce laws and placed the burden of proof on all issues upon the IRS. Ended the Source Tax--Senator Reid and the Nevada delegation were successful in protecting Nevada retirees from taxes imposed by other states. This legislation ended taxation without representation by prohibiting states from taxing the retirement benefits of nonresidents. Sales Tax Deduction--Senator Reid reinstated the deduction for sales taxes to level the playing field for residents of states with no income taxes and he has been successful in extending it. Mortgage Tax Relief/Debt Cancellation for Homeowners-- Eliminates the income tax penalty for homeowners who are successful in negotiating a lower mortgage with their lender. Tip Tax Agreements--These are agreements between the IRS, the employer, and tipped employees that make it easier for employees to report and pay the tax due on tipped income. Senator Reid was instrumental in making sure that these agreements are fair for Nevada's tipped employees. Tax Incentives for Solar and Geothermal Energy--Senator Reid was instrumental in securing the long-term extension of tax incentives to promote the development of electricity generated by solar and geothermal sources in Nevada. Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) & Secure Rural Schools-- Senator Reid led a bipartisan coalition of Western senators to fully fund PILT and reauthorize Secure Rural Schools the first time since 1994 and provides $130 million over five years to rural counties in Nevada. Cancellation of Indebtedness--Businesses needing to restructure their debts in order to survive the economic downturn found themselves facing a significant tax penalty as a result of that process. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Senator Reid was instrumental in pushing through relief from this tax penalty, helping Nevada companies to improve their balance sheets and save thousands of jobs. [[Page S6857]] Homebuyer Tax Credit Extension--Instrumental in securing an extension of the $8000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers and offering a reduced credit of up to $6500 for repeat buyers who have owned their current home for at least five years. NEVADA JOBS, ECONOMY AND LABOR Congressional Review Act--Worked with Senator Don Nickles to lead passage of the Congressional Review Act, making it easier for Congress to overturn burdensome regulations imposed by executive branch agencies. CityCenter--Worked with stakeholders of CityCenter to ensure construction of project continued and advanced to opening in 2009, saving almost 10,000 jobs. Housing Loan-to-Value Ratio--Requested the Administration raise the loan- to- value requirement for its mortgage modification program, and the Administration responded by raising it 125 percent. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)--Shepherded the stimulus legislation through the Senate and conference, which will provide Nevada with $3 billion in economic recovery funding, which is expected to create or save 34,000 jobs, 90% of which are in the private sector. Each worker is eligible for up to $400 in tax relief and families could receive up to $800. A tax credit of $8,000 for first-time homebuyers will help Nevadans invest in a home and move the excess supply of houses off the market. The ARRA provides a temporary deduction for non-itemizers for sales tax paid on the purchase of a car or truck. The HOPE education credit for higher education is increased to $2,500 dollars. Every SSI recipient, Social Security beneficiary, Railroad Retirement beneficiary and disabled veteran receiving VA benefits will receive a one-time economic recovery payment of $250. Federal and state pensioners who are not participants in Social Security will be eligible for a $250 tax credit. Travel Promotion Act--Using the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's model for Las Vegas, the bill will create a Corporation for Travel Promotion which will be responsible for marketing the United States around the world as a tourist destination. Senators Reid and his colleagues from both sides of the aisle believe that efforts through this bill to make the U.S. more attractive abroad and easy to visit will directly increase the number of visitors to Nevada and create tens of thousands of sorely needed jobs. A study by Oxford Economics estimates that this plan would attract 1.6 million new international visitors annually and projects TPA could create $4 billion a year in new economic activity. Minimum Wage Increase--In 2007, Senator Reid worked with a bipartisan coalition of Senators to increase the minimum wage for the first time in ten years. Signed into law by President Bush, this legislation helped some of the hardest-working Nevadans make ends meet. Nevada Test Site Workers EEOICPA--Senator Reid was instrumental in the passage of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA) of 2000, which provides monetary compensation and medical coverage to NTS workers with radiation-induced cancer, beryllium disease, or silicosis. Nevada Test Site Workers 1951-1962--Senator Reid was instrumental in establishing the Atmospheric Testing years at NTS in an expedited eligibility category. Nevada Test Site Workers 1963-1992--Senator Reid was instrumental in the writing and submission of a regulatory petition to include more Nevada Test Site workers in an expedited eligibility category. According to a recent position paper by the agency responsible for establishing membership in the expedited eligibility category, it appears the Underground Testing years are on their way to being granted the expedited status. Nevada Test Site Workers Area 51--In 2008, Senator Reid successfully fought for the federal agencies to allow Dept. of Energy workers at Area 51 to be eligible for the EEOICPA, thereby reversing a Republican Bush Administration policy. Unemployment Insurance Extension--Instrumental in passage of an extension of Unemployment Insurance benefits in 2009 and 2010 for states that have been hit the hardest, like Nevada, and out-of-work Americans across the country. NEVADA TRANSPORTATION McCarran Airport Funding--Senator Reid has secured tens of millions for McCarran Airport. Among the projects this money has funded include: new air traffic control tower; increased Customs and Border Control protections; wind hazard detection equipment; fiber optic telecommunications systems; and apron rehabilitation and reconstruction. Reducing Flight Delays Act--Led passage of legislation that provided the Secretary of Transportation with flexibility to transfer funds to reduced FAA traffic control operations, which had been reduced as a result of sequestration. Reno Airports Funding--Senator Reid obtained more than $55.8 million for the needed improvements to the Reno-Tahoe International and Reno-Stead airports. These funds have paid for new approach lighting systems, new control towers, runway/taxiway reconstruction and lighting to name but a few projects. McCarran Airport: Tax Relief for Growth and Construction-- Senator Reid was able to save the Clark County Department of Aviation tens of millions of dollars by passing relief for the department's Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for bonds which refinanced the Terminal 3 project at McCarran Airport. This provision will lower financing costs for this important project by at least $72.4 million. Last Highway Reauthorization (SAFETEA-LU)--Increased Nevada's highway funding by 30% and Transit funding by 152%. Senator Reid was instrumental in getting over $1.3 billion for Nevada transportation projects included in the 2005 National Highway Bill. Some Additional Major Transportation Projects: NORTH Interstate 580 Extension Between Reno and Carson City--$29 million Reno Transportation Rail Access Corridor Cover (ReTRAC)-- $15.25 million Virginia and Truckee Railway from Virginia City to Carson City--$10 million Reno Bus Rapid Transit--$12 million Lake Tahoe Passenger Ferry Service--$8 million Carson City Bypass Enhancement--$2 million Meadowood Interchange--$3.75 million SOUTH Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge--$50 million Boulder City Bypass--$28.6 million Interstate 15 Widening Project from Primm to Apex--$27 million Boulder Highway Bus Rapid Transit System--$12 million UNLV Transportation Research Center--$2.5 million Lake Mead Parkway, Henderson--$2 million AFFORDABLE & QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR ALL NEVADANS Affordable Care Act--Led passage of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the health reform law, which is helping thousands of Nevadans and millions of Americans gain access to the affordable health care that they need and deserve. The law has resulted in 21 million more Americans being covered by health insurance, and an all-time high insured rate of 92%. Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Creation and Reauthorization--This long overdue reauthorization ensures health care for thousands of children across Nevada whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance. Thanks to the recent expansion, an additional 4.1 million low-income children across the country will now have access to quality health coverage. Strengthening Medicare--Seniors and people with disabilities know the value of the Medicare program. In the last Congress, Senator Reid led the way to overriding a Presidential veto of improvements to the program. This legislation ensured that physicians did not experience severe cuts to reimbursement that could have jeopardized access to care for Nevada's seniors. Suicide Prevention--Senator Reid is responsible for the creation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and has helped enact a number of laws that will help reduce the rate of suicide, including the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act targeting youth suicide, legislation that will lower the Medicare coinsurance for outpatient mental health and the mental health parity act. Mental Health Parity--The bipartisan legislation which Senator Reid helped pass ensures that plans covering mental health services cannot provide different financial requirements or treatment limitations than they would for medical or surgical benefits. Drug Quality and Security Act--Provided the FDA with more authority to regulate and monitor the manufacturing of compounded pharmaceutical drugs. Interstitial Cystitis Research--Senator Reid earmarked millions of dollars for the National Institutes for Health (NIH) to research IC, a disease which affects women, and has funded programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support public and health provider education and outreach about the illness. Nevada Cancer Institute--Senator Reid has secured tens of millions of dollars to support the infrastructure costs to create a cancer institute in Nevada. This has helped to attract world class cancer researchers to Nevada and will help to ensure that Nevadans will have access to clinic trials. In 2009, Senator Reid worked on a bipartisan basis with the Nevada Congressional delegation to secure 80 acres of federal land for the Institute to construct a new facility devoted to developing new treatments for Nevadans afflicted with cancer. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research--Senator Reid has a long history of supporting efforts related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since he first became aware of this devastating disease in 1987 when the first known outbreak of CFS cases was documented in Incline Village, Nevada. In 1999, he uncovered a scandal at the CDC and forced CDC officials to acknowledge that they had misappropriated the majority of the $22.7 million he had earmarked for CFS research at the CDC in 1995. Contraceptive Equity--Passed legislation ensuring that federal employees have access to prescription contraception. Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act--Sponsored by Senator Reid, this law will help to establish a national strategy to study the potential links between the environment and breast cancer and would authorize funding for such research. The resulting discoveries could be critical to improving our knowledge of this complex illness, which [[Page S6858]] could lead to new treatments and perhaps, one day, a cure. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Registry Act--Sponsored by Senator Reid, this law will create an ALS registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will aid in the search for a cure for this devastating disease. Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act--Senator Reid was instrumental in passing legislation that establishes strong protections against discrimination on the basis of genetic information by health insurance companies and employers. Affordable Birth Control--Senator Reid was instrumental in passing a provision that would restore the practice of allowing safety net providers to have access to nominally priced drugs. Historically pharmaceutical companies have been permitted offer low, or ``nominally priced,'' drugs to safety net providers to help ensure that low-income populations have access to affordable medication. In 2005, Congress passed legislation which tightened regulations about who was eligible for nominally priced drugs. In doing so, Congress inadvertently cut off every safety-net provider from obtaining birth control at a low cost, and passing on those savings to their patients. Women who once paid five to ten dollars each month had to pay $50 or more for basic birth control. Pandemic Flu Funding--Senator Reid has worked to secure billions of dollars to ensure we are prepared to minimize the impact of the H1N1 flu or any potential flu pandemic. Medical Research Funding--Senator Reid has a long history of directing funding to the National Institutes of Health for funding biomedical research in areas such as cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes and stem cells. Last year alone, he supported directing over $40 billion to the National Institutes of Health through ARRA and the Omnibus. These investments could lead to new cures and treatments, and will address debilitating health conditions that prevent our workforce from reaching optimal productivity. FDA Reauthorization Including Drug Safety Requirements--In September 2007, Senator Reid worked to enact the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act (Public Law 110-85), which extends the legal authority for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) programs for approving prescription drugs and medical devices. While this new law will improve prescription drug and food safety for all Americans, it also will improve programs focused just on our children. These improvements represent a victory for consumers and patients who depend on our nation's system for ensuring that life- saving drugs and devices come to market in a timely and safe way. Federal Medical Assistance Program (FMAP) Increase--Senator Reid worked very hard to increase temporarily the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) as included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). The goal was to enable states to maintain their Medicaid services, while also targeting additional funds to the states most in need like ours. Nevada will receive more than $450 million in additional funding as a result, which is the largest percentage increase of any state in the Federal Medical Assistance Program. Cobra Expansion--The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) requires most employers with group health plans to offer employees the opportunity to continue their coverage under their employer's plan if their coverage is cut off or suspended due to a layoff, or other qualifying change in their employment status. Many Nevadans who have recently become unemployed are troubled by the steeply rising premiums for their COBRA insurance coverage. Senator Reid was instrumental in obtaining a premium subsidy for COBRA recipients in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This provision created a 65% subsidy for health insurance premiums under COBRA for up to nine months for workers and their families who have been involuntarily terminated between September 1st, 2009 and December 31st, 2009. NEVADA'S ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY & LANDS Yucca Mountain--Slashed funding for Yucca to record lows during the pro-Yucca Republican Bush Administration, and worked with President Obama to terminate the project and launch a Blue Ribbon Commission to develop alternatives. Renewable Energy and Efficiency tax incentives--Since 2000, Senator Reid has secured over $100 million for Nevada-based projects to research and advance our nation's renewable energy and energy efficiency capabilities. Additionally, the Recovery Act provided over $500 million for energy efficiency, renewable energy and weatherization projects in Nevada. Nevada's institutions of higher education, schools, counties and others are working to make Nevada the nation's renewable energy leader Renewable Energy Transmission--Delivered $3.25 billion in financing for developing transmission for renewable energy in the West (Recovery Act), as well $4.4 billion to build a national smart grid to accelerate renewable energy development in Nevada and across the country. Solar Energy--Worked with Department of Interior to designate seven Solar Energy Study Areas in Nevada and to institute fast track environmental reviews for key renewable energy projects (3 solar and 2 wind energy projects). Hosted Eight National Clean Energy Summits Established the Blue Ribbon Panel on Energy in Nevada--Senator Reid, has hosted the National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada since 2008. These events have helped build a dialogue among the nation's most distinguished leaders in clean energy policy on how to build the infrastructure and create jobs to achieve energy security using renewables, other forms of clean energy, and efficiency. Speakers have included President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, along with many other leaders from government, business, labor, and the non-profit communities from Nevada and beyond. Geothermal Energy--Prevented the Republican Bush Administration from closing down the geothermal energy R&D program. Mormon Crickets--Was successful in getting over $20 million appropriated for Nevada. BLM California Trail Center in Elko--Passed authorizing legislation and secured more than $10 million to build the Center. Clark County Heliport--Conveyed 230 acres to create a new, dedicated facility. 100,000 people are safer as a result. Ivanpah Airport--Authored and passed legislation that designates 6,500 acres for a new long-haul airport. Clark County Land Bill--In 2002, led Nevada delegation to pass a comprehensive public lands management plan for Clark County. This strong bipartisan legislation released wilderness study areas to enhance economic opportunities in Clark County while also adding 440,000 acres to the national wilderness system. Lincoln County Land Bill--Led Nevada delegation to pass the largest wilderness bill in the history of Nevada. This legislation designated over 768,000 acres in new wilderness areas, including over 150,000 acres of the Mormon Mountains. This legislation also provided new authority for land sales to increase Lincoln County's tax base. White Pine County Land Bill--Senator Reid led the Nevada delegation to pass legislation protecting 559,000 acres of incredible wilderness lands and provided a timely economic boost to White Pine County. The bill also added important protections to the land surrounding Great Basin National Park, enlarged two state parks and a state wildlife management area, and provided lands for the future growth of the Ely Shoshone Tribe. Carson City Land Bill--This legislation increases open space opportunities and helps the city pursue its smart growth plans. The bill includes a land exchange between the city and the Forest Service, giving each entity land that is more suited to its mission and management abilities. The legislation also conveys the Silver Saddle Ranch and Prison Hill to Carson City for continued public use, with a conservation easement retained by the Bureau of Land Management. Ely Native Seed Warehouse--Currently under construction, the Ely Native Seed Warehouse will hold one million pounds of native seed used to will help reseed habitat after fires. Fallon Plant Materials Center--Secured funding for the Center which will help develop resilient crops for the Great Basin. Nevada Hunting Bill--Restored each state's ability to differentiate between in-state and out-of-state hunters when selling game tags. Drop 2 Reservoir--Passed legislation allowing construction of a major water-saving reservoir east of San Diego, which will allow southern Nevada to take significant additional water from the Colorado River. REBUILT/RECONSTRUCTED SEVEN BRIDGES IN JARBIDGE Sloan Canyon--In the Clark County Land Bill, created the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area to preserve the beautiful areas that bless southern Nevada. Clark County Shooting Park--Conveyed 3,000 acres and provided $60 million to develop the world's finest shooting range. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area--Protected southern Nevada's most notable and beloved outdoor and scenic area. Great Basin National Park--Championed legislation that created Nevada's first National park in 1986; secured funding for and dedicated a new visitor's center in 2005; and stopped two coal plants that would have wrecked the park's incredible clean air. Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument--In 2012, Senator Reid authored and introduced legislation to establish Nevada's only current National Monument in the north Las Vegas Valley. The legislation was passed in 2014 and created a 22,600 acre National Monument that protects the best collection of Ice Age mammal fossils in the United States. The legislation also provided economic development, educational and recreation opportunities throughout Clark County. Basin and Range National Monument--President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act on July 10, 2015, to permanently protect more than 700,000 acres of land in eastern Nevada as the Basin and Range National Monument. Senator Reid advocated for years to protect this truly special area where the Mojave Desert meets the Great Basin, and Joshua trees and cactus give way to a sea of sagebrush. It is home to desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope. It is an area that provided food and shelter for Native Americans, and one can see their history today in incredible rock art panels there. The Basin and [[Page S6859]] Range Monument will also protect the cultural integrity of world-renowned artist Michael Heizer's expansive sculpture, `City'. Lake Tahoe--Hosted the first Tahoe Summit to help preserve the lake's clarity; passed the original Lake Tahoe Restoration Act; sent over $300 million in federal funds to help the Lake. Fallon Water Treatment Plant--Senator Reid secured funding for the construction of the Fallon Water Treatment Plant which opened in April of 2004. The residents of Fallon and the neighboring Naval Air Station had been subjected to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water that were ten times greater than the national standard set by the EPA. Walker Lake--In line with Senator Reid's commitment to protecting the environment and Nevada's natural resources, saving Walker Lake is one of his top priorities. In response, Senator Reid has secured more than $375 million in federal funds for efforts to preserve the lake. Truckee River Operating Agreement--Senator Reid helped negotiate the settlement for Truckee and Carson Rivers. Sparks Marina--Senator Reid worked with the residents and community leaders of Sparks and used his position in the Senate to clean up the once-contaminated gravel pit into the Sparks Marina. Now the Sparks Marina is a popular recreational area used by thousands each year for boating, fishing and other outdoor activities. 2 Million Acres of Wilderness Land--Beginning with the Nevada Wilderness Act of 1989, which designated 740,000 acres of land as protected wilderness, Senator Reid has been devoted to protecting Nevada's wilderness. To this date, he has continued working hard to turn more than 2 million acres into protected wilderness. One of the highlights of the Senator's efforts includes the Black Rock Desert--High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails Act of 2000 which provided 750,000 acres of wilderness in Nevada. Rural Water--Secured more than $100 million to rural water systems across Nevada to improve drinking water quality and treatment systems. Water Security--Enhanced Nevada's water security by directly authorizing development of the All American Canal, a critical piece in implementing the lower Colorado River Basin multi-state shortage agreement. NATIONAL SECURITY AND VETERANS Secured Vital Funding for All of Nevada's Military Installations. Over the course of his tenure, Senator Reid has secured millions for Nevada's troops, veterans, military families and installations. In fiscal year 2017, Senator Reid worked to obtain over $204 million in federal funding for projects at the Nellis Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Fallon, and Reno VA Medical Center. In addition, $90 million was allocated nationwide for construction of state veteran extended care facilities, including one to eventually be built in Reno. Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC)-- Successfully fought to keep Hawthorne Army Depot open through the BRAC process and prevented the Nevada Air National Guard from losing their C-130 aircraft. Senator Reid's leadership position in the Senate was pivotal in allowing him to appoint a Nevadan to the Commission. Nellis Air Force Base--Secured more than $350 million in funding for Base Infrastructure. Creech Air Force Base (Indian Springs)--Secured $128.8 million in funding for Base Infrastructure and for a new Center of Excellence for the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Hawthorne Army Depot--Secured over $59 million in funding for Base Infrastructure and modernized demilitarization facilities. Senator Reid also helped protect the Depot from closure during the BRAC process saving hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in impact for the community. Nevada National Guard (Army and Air)--Secured over $195 million in funding for Base Infrastructure and equipment. Cold War Heroes--As part of the Omnibus Lairds Bill of 2009 (PL111-11), Senator Reid secured passage of the Cold War Historical Sites Study Act which requires the Department of the Interior to evaluate sites and resources for commemorating and interpreting the Cold War, including the Mount Charleston Plane Crash Memorial. Concurrent Receipt for Nevada's Veterans--Senator Reid was instrumental in getting concurrent receipt legislation passed in 2004 that enabled our veterans with 100 percent service- related disability to collect both disability and military pay. The following year, Senator Reid won passage of his amendment that expanded concurrent receipt to cover America's disabled veterans rated as unemployable. This issue has been a top priority of Nevada's 250,000 veterans, as well as veterans across the country. New Las Vegas Veteran's Hospital--Senator Reid has secured more than $600 million for the construction of the Veterans Administration's new Las Vegas Hospital and Community Living Center on Pecos Road in North Las Vegas. Additionally, the $75 million Mike O'Callaghan Federal Hospital at Nellis Air Force Base opened its doors in 1994 due to Senator Reid's leadership. New VA clinic in Laughlin, Nevada--In January 2015, Senator Reid announced the opening of a VA Outreach Clinic in Laughlin, which will allow Veterans in the Southeast area to more easily access high quality care. The Laughlin Clinic will provide primary care for eligible Veterans who are appropriate for care at an outreach clinic as well as some mental health and social work care. Nevada Test Site--Maintained the Nevada Test Site as part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, and provided appropriations of over $20 million annually. Urban Area Area Security Initiative--Reinstated Las Vegas onto the UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) city list, thereby securing millions in funding to help prepare and protect the city from attack. Implement the 9/11 Commission Recommendations--As Majority Leader, Senator Reid pushed to have the recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission written into law. This law made Nevadans and all Americans more secure by: giving first responders the tools they need to keep us safe; making it more difficult for potential terrorists to travel into our country; advancing efforts to secure our rail, air, and mass transit systems; and improving intelligence and information sharing between state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies. NEVADA'S JUDICIARY Nevada Federal Courthouses and Buildings--Senator Reid secured more than $83 million in funding for construction of a new federal building for Southern Nevada, the Lloyd D. George Courthouse and Federal Building in Las Vegas. Senator Reid was also instrumental in securing funding for the Bruce R. Thompson Courthouse and Federal Building in Reno. Mills B. Lane Justice Complex Security Upgrades--Secured nearly $1 million for the Reno Municipal Court and the Washoe County District Attorney's security following the 2006 sniper shooting. ETHICS & LOBBYING REFORM Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act)-- Senator Reid led the way in creating new reporting requirement for Members of Congress and staff regarding stock and commodity transactions. Honest Leadership and Open Government Act--Senator Reid authored the ``Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007,'' which passed on a bipartisan basis and was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Sen. Reid's measure was recognized as one of the toughest and most sweeping ethics reforms in a generation. Among the many accomplishments of this law include: Closing the ``revolving door'' between government & lobbyists by former Senators & staff Reforming and increasing transparency for earmarks and conference reports Prohibiting pensions for Members of Congress convicted of certain crimes Expanding the lobbying disclosure requirements Toughening limits on gifts and travel NEVADA EDUCATION AND RESEARCH Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act--Changed the federal student loan program from fixed interest rates to rates based on the Treasury note plus a percentage for undergraduate, graduate or parent loans. GI Bill of Rights--Under Senator Reid's leadership, the Post 9/11 GI Bill of Rights--the largest expansion of educational benefits since the original GI Bill of Rights-- was passed. Teach for America--Reid worked to bring Teach for America to Nevada, which has resulted in the hiring of several hundred highly qualified teachers in the Clark County School District. America COMPETES Act--Reid led passage of the America COMPETES Act, bipartisan legislation to improve math and science education and increase the federal commitment to research. UNR Fire Science Academy--The Fire Science Academy located in Carlin opened its doors in 1999. In cooperation with the University of Nevada, Reno, Senator Reid succeeded in getting the Department of Energy to award the facility with an $8 million in grant and appropriations support. Nevada State College Campus--In 2002, Senator Reid successfully pushed through a land transfer in Southern Nevada that provided campus land for the newly created Nevada State College. Desert Research Institute (DRI)--Secured more than $70 million in appropriations for projects. UNLV Super Computers--Secured $2.7 million. UNR Earthquake Center & Biodiversity Study--Secured $2.5 & $7.5 million respectively. UNLV Research Park--Conveyed 122 acres of federal land to UNLV Research Foundation for construction of a research center and provided special authority to allow the Foundation to keep and reinvest 100% of any lease revenues from the land. Dandini Research Park Conveyance Act--Passed legislation signed into law by President Bush transferring 476 of the 467-acre parcel north of downtown Reno from the Bureau of Land Management to the Board of Regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada for use by Truckee Meadows Community College and the Desert Research Institute. native americans Indian Water Settlements--Senator Reid has led the legislative effort to quantify Indian water rights and settle long-standing claims against the United States. The Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe (1990), the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe (1990), and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation (2009) have been able to develop their water rights and their economies because of these settlements. [[Page S6860]] Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act--Senator Reid led efforts to enact a law ordering the United States to distribute settlement funds resulting in the resolution of the Western Shoshone land and accounting claims against the United States. The settlement funds, now totaling nearly $160 million, will be distributed to an estimated 6,000 eligible Shoshones. They and their descendents will be eligible for benefits from a $1.5 million educational trust fund. Washoe Tribe: Additional Land for Residential and Commercial Development. As part of the Omnibus Public Land Act of 2009, Senator Reid passed a measure to address the Washoe Tribe's need for more land for residential and commercial development. Under the bill, about 300 acres of Forest Service and BLM land near the Carson and Stewart Colonies will be conveyed to the Washoe Tribe, with nearly half of those acres available for development. Ely Shoshone Tribe Land Transfer--Senator Reid, working with his Nevada colleagues in Congress passed the White Pine County Lands Bill as part of a braid tax package in 2006. The bill transferred 3,526 acres to the Ely Shoshone Tribe for traditional, ceremonial, commercial and residential purposes. Las Vegas Paiute Tribe Land--In 1983, Senator Reid (then in the US House of Representatives) passed a measure--which was signed into law by President Reagan--to declare 3850 acres of land held in trust by the federal government would thereby be ``declared to be part of the Las Vegas Paiute Reservation.'' ENSURING EQUALITY FOR NEVADANS `Don't Ask, Don't Tell'--As Majority leader, Senator Reid led passage of the repeal of `Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Mr. REID. I am winding down, everybody. I know you are glad, but it has been 34 years. I served with 281 different Senators during the time I have been here. I have such fond memories of so many. There was the hilarious and confident Fritz Hollings. I have never known a better joke teller than Frank Lautenberg. I asked him to tell the same story so many times, I could have told it. He had one about two wrestlers, but I am not going to repeat it. He was very, very funny. I am not going to go through the whole Ted Kennedy list and all of that, but I have had wonderful experiences with my Senate friends. When I came here as a Democratic Senator, there was only one woman, Barbara Mikulski, and that was it. I am very happy now that we have 17 Democratic women, and we have four Republican women. I want to make the record very clear that the Senate is a better place because of women being here. There is no question about that, for many different reasons, but they have added so much to the Senate. The only problem we have now is that there aren't enough of them, but we did our best this go-round. We have four new Democratic Senators. Leaders. I have already talked about Senator McConnell. It has been my good fortune to have served with such good leaders like Robert Byrd. I don't know if it is true. I accept it because that is what I want to believe, but a number of people told me I was his pet. As I said, I don't know if I was or not, but he sure was good to me. George Mitchell, what a wonderful extemporaneous speaker. He was the best. He was a Federal judge, U.S. attorney, and a good man. I was a junior Senator and didn't have a lot of interchange with Bob Dole when he was the leader, but I have had a lot lately. He calls me to talk about some issues he is working on now. One of the most moving times of my life was when Dan Inouye was lying in State in the Rotunda. Bob Dole called me and asked if I would go over there with him, and I said of course I would. He was in a wheelchair and somebody pushed him over there, and he said stop. There was a little alcove there, and Bob Dole, as hard as it was for him, walked over to the crypt where Danny was and he climbed up on the bier and said, ``Danny, I love you.'' If that doesn't bring a tear to your eye, nothing will. I will always remember that. Trent Lott was a really good leader. He was extremely conservative but extremely pragmatic. We got lots of stuff done. I was Senator Daschle's point person to get legislation out of this body, and we did some really good things. Tom Daschle always gave me lots of room to do things. I can remember one occasion when I was the whip, I thought he had been too generous with one of the other Senators and I complained. He said: Look, you are going to make this whip job whatever you want it to be. I took him at his word, and I did. I never left the floor. When the Senate opened, I was here, and when it was closed, I was here. Bill Frist is a fine human being. I really cared for him a lot. He wasn't an experienced legislator, but that is OK. He is an experienced human being, and I liked him a lot. I already talked about Mitch. Diversity. We don't have enough diversity in the Senate, but I do take credit for creating a diversity office here with Democrats. Senator Schumer has indicated he will continue that, and I am very happy he will do that. I repeat, we don't have enough diversity. I want to tell everyone here I am grateful to all of my Democratic Senators. They have been so good to me during my time as leader, but I have to mention Dick Durbin. He and I came here together 34 years ago. He has been so supportive of me. He has been my ``Cousin Jeff.'' Can I tell the story? Here I go. My brother still lives in Searchlight, and he is an interesting man. He had a girlfriend there who was married and brought her home one night. Her husband or boyfriend, whatever it was, jumped out of the tree on my brother's back, and they had a fight. My brother won. So a couple of weeks later, he is at the 49er Club, a bar, a little place in Searchlight. He is having a beer, whatever he drinks. He looks around, and he sees the guy he beat up, but the guy has a couple of people with him. He knew why they were there. They were there to work him over. He said: What am I going to do? Just about then a miracle happened. Our cousin Jeff walked in. He hadn't been to Searchlight for a couple of years. But Cousin Jeff was known as being a really tough guy. So Larry said: Here's the deal. Cousin Jeff looked them over and went over to the biggest one, grabbed his nose, twisted it as hard as he could. He said: Do you guys want any part of me or my cousin Larry? They said no. They left. The reason I mention that--the reason I say Durbin is my Cousin Jeff--I was in my office watching the floor, and McConnell was up there. I was so damn mad. He was talking about stuff. I was mad. I called my office: Why don't we have somebody out there saying something? They said: Senator, that was recorded earlier today. We are out of session. So Durbin has been my man, my Cousin Jeff. Whenever I have a problem, I call Dick Durbin, and he can come. Dick Durbin can talk about anything, and it sounds good. OK. Chuck Schumer. My kids said: Make sure you tell everybody about how smart you think he is. OK. I am going to do it. One day I said to Schumer--we have known each other for a long time. But I said: How the hell did you ever get into Harvard? He said: It helped that I got a perfect SAT and a perfect LSAT. That is true. He did. He is a brilliant man. He has a big heart. He works extremely hard. He has been so good to me. We have worked together. He took a job he did not want, the chair of the DSCC twice, but it worked out great. We were able to get the majority. So I will always have great affection for him, and I wish him well in being my replacement. I am confident he will do a good job. He will not be me, but he will go a good job. My staff. We checked yesterday--my staff did. It is hard to comprehend how many people I have had work for me over 34 years--almost 3,000, everybody. I feel so strongly about my staff. They are my family. I really, really do believe that. I feel they are my family. Chiefs of staff--I haven't had that many, surprisingly, over 34 years. Claude Zobell, Ray Martinez, Susan McCue, Gary Myrick, David Krone, Drew Willison, and, of course, Dave McCallum, who has done so much to make sure I did not overspin things, and my utility man, Bill Dauster. He can catch, pitch, play any position on the field. He has been great for me. I appreciate Bill's work very much. Thank you, Adelle, because I would be so embarrassed if I did not say something about Patty Murray. She has been part of this little leadership team I have had. We have never had anything like this before in the Senate. The leaders prior to me did it all on their own. But I have had these three wonderful human beings helping me for all these years. [[Page S6861]] We meet every Monday night and get set up for the caucus on Tuesday, leadership meetings on Tuesday. So, Patty, you and Rob, I just care so much about. I want you to know how I appreciate your loyalty, your hard work. You have taken some jobs that you did not want to take: a budget job, that super--whatever the hell it was called. That was awful. I don't know how long she is going to live, but that took a few years off her life. You and Rob have been great. Loretta is my friend. Iris I love. So thank you very much, you guys. I have told everyone on my staff, with rare exception: You represent me. If you are on the phone, when you answer that phone, you are representing me. You are as if you are Harry Reid on the phone. I say the same to those who speak, write, and advocate for me. They represent me. They have done so well. They have helped me in good times and bad times. What is the future of the Senate? I hope that everyone will do everything they can to protect the Senate as an institution. As part of our Constitution, it should be given the dignity it deserves. I love the Senate. I don't need to dwell on that. I love the Senate. I care about it so very, very much. I have enjoyed Congress for 34 years. As the leader of the Senate, I have had such joy and times of awe. Wow. What are we going to do now? That is what these jobs are like. They are so exhilarating, until, oh, man, something happens, and I think all of you have done as I have just said: Wow. What are we going to do now? The Senate has changed, some for the good, some for the bad. I want to say this, though. It is not the same as when I first came here. There is change in everything. The biggest change has been the use of the filibuster. I do hope my colleagues are able to temper their use of the filibuster; otherwise it will be gone. It will be gone first on nominations, then it will be gone on legislation. This is something that you have to work on together because if you continue to use it the way it has been used recently, it is really going to affect this institution a lot. Something has to be done about the outrageous amount of money from sources that are dark, unknown, and now involved in our Federal elections. The Citizens United case in January 2010--if this does not change and if we don't do something about this vast money coming into our elections, in a couple of more election cycles, we are going to be just like Russia. We are going to have a plutocracy--a few rich guys telling our leader what to do. Leonard Cohen, who recently died, was one of America's great music geniuses. He recently died, as I said. In one of his songs called ``Anthem,'' he says it all: There is a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything) That's how the light gets in That is what he said. I believe there are cracks in what is happening with the huge amount of money currently in Federal elections and excessive partisanship. The cracks are that the American people don't like it. They don't like this money. They don't like the partisanship. So there are cracks--cracks, I repeat--because the American people are complaining big time about excessive use of money and objecting to the partisanship. That is the crack. That is how the light is going to get in. That is how America has an opportunity to become a better place, where money will not control our political system over partisanship. So just a little bit of advice to my colleagues: It has worked OK for me. It does not matter if I am in Elko, really a conservative place in Nevada, 400 miles from Las Vegas. If a question is asked of me in Elko, I give the same answer there as I give in Las Vegas. We should all do that. People in Nevada have never had to weigh how I stand on an issue. I tell them how I feel. That is why I have never had any big-bang elections. People at least know how I stand. People don't necessarily like how I vote, what I talk about, but at least they know how I feel. I think that is good advice for everybody. At least that has worked well for me. What is your formula for success? What do you recommend? I tell them the same thing about working hard. Of course that is important. Of course it is important, but also stay true to who you are--your roots. Now my social life. My time in Washington has been different than that of many. I am not saying it is better, but it has been different. Every year there are galas: White House Correspondents' Dinner, the Gridiron Club Dinner, Radio and Correspondents' Dinner, Alfalfa Club. So during my 34 years in Congress, I had approximately 135 to 136 of these. I have attended one of them. For me, that was enough. I have attended one Congressional picnic in 34 years. That was because my son Key had a girlfriend named Maile and he wanted to impress her. I guess he did because they are married. But one was enough for me. I have attended one State dinner. That is because I had a son who spent 2 years in Argentina. I wanted him to meet the President of Argentina. I did that for my son Rory. But one was enough. I have not been to another one. I have never been to a White House Congressional Ball. That is going to be held tonight. I guess I am inquisitive of how it would be, but I don't want to go. I have seen one World Series. That was enough. I have been to one Super Bowl. That was plenty. I have flown once in an F-18. That was enough. Over the years, I have gone to hundreds of fundraisers for my friends and colleagues, but everyone has to acknowledge, I can get in and out of those pretty quick. Let me talk about the press a little bit and their responsibility, as I see it. We are entering a new gilded age, and it has never been more important to be able to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. We have lawmakers pushing for tax cuts for billionaires and calling it populism. We have media outlets pushing conspiracy theories disguised as news. Separating real from fake has never been more important. I have met him, but I wish I could sit down and talk to him sometime because I so admire Pope Francis. Here is what he said yesterday: The media that focuses on scandals and spreads fake news to smear politicians risks becoming like people who have a morbid fascination with excrement. That is what Pope Francis said. He added that using communications for this rather than to educate the public amounted to a sin. Well, he can categorize sin; I can't. But I agree with him on what he said. I acknowledge the importance of the press. I admire what you do and understand the challenges ahead of you. But be vigilant, because you have as much to do with our democracy as any branch of government. This is best understood by listening to what George Orwell had to say a long time ago: ``Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose.'' So, press, criticize and oppose. Please do that. This really is the end of my speech. I have five children: Lana, Rory, Leif, Josh, and Key. They have been role models for me and for Landra. They were role models. We learned from them when we were young, and we are still learning from them. We appreciate the exemplary lives they have lived. I am confident, hopeful, and determined to make sure that they understand how much affection and admiration I have for each of them, for their wonderful spouses, and our 19 grandchildren. OK. Here goes. Whatever success I had in my educational life, my life as a lawyer, and my life as a politician, including my time in Congress, is directly attributable to my Landra, my wife. We met when Landra was a sophomore in high school and I was a junior. That was more than six decades ago. We married at the age of 19. As I have said, we have five children, and we have 19 wonderful grandchildren. She has been the being of my existence in my personal life and my public life. Disraeli, the great prime minister said in 1837--listen to what he said: ``The magic of first love is that it never ends.'' I believe that. She is my first love. It will never end. Landra and I have talked. We understand we are going to have a different life. We have said and we believe that we are not going to dwell on the past. We will be involved in the past any way we need to be, but we are going to look to the future. I wish everyone the best. I am sorry I have talked so long. I usually don't do that. I thank everyone for listening to my speech. I appreciate my wonderful family being here, my friends, my [[Page S6862]] staff, and each of you. Thank you for your friendships over the years. (Applause, Senators rising.) The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rounds). The Senator from Nevada. Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, I will yield for a couple more minutes for sentiments, and then I wish to say a few words. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. ____________________