(Senate - July 13, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 113 (Wednesday, July 13, 2016)]
[Pages S5036-S5041]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Vermont.

                         College Affordability

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, while the Senator from Missouri is still on 
the floor, I noted what my friend said about his being the first member 
of his family to get a college degree.
  The Leahys came to Vermont in 1850. When my grandfather--who was a 
stone carver--died, my father was a teenager, and he had to go to work. 
I became the first Leahy to get a college degree, and my sister was the 
second one. I have to think what the path might have been otherwise. 
There is one thing we all have to agree on: We have to make it easier 
for college to be affordable, with all kinds of plans and ideas. The 
kids have to be able to go to college. I was able to do that. I was 
able to go on to graduate school. It is so important to be able to 
compete today. I was touched by what my friend said, and I appreciate 

               Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Bill

  Mr. President, we have kind of a good news/bad news situation today. 
The good news is that Congress is taking a step forward on how to 
respond to opioid addiction. By advancing the Comprehensive Addiction 
and Recovery Act, or CARA, we are leaving behind decades-old 
misconceptions about how to confront addiction.
  For too long, Congress relied on punitive measures that only served 
to push addicts further underground and away from recovery. This 
legislation treats opioid addiction as an illness. It combats it as we 
would any other public health issue, through a commitment to evidence-
based treatment and recovery programs. But the bad news is our 
commitment falls short.
  The conference report promises critical programming, but then it does 
not pay the bill. It does not provide the resources necessary to 
support the programming. So we should know what we have here. We have a 
first step--an important first step but barely a first step. If we make 
a mistake and say: OK, we have done our job, then we have failed the 
countless communities across the country grappling with addiction. We 
are doing very little to stem this epidemic.
  I am afraid my friends, the Republicans, have repeatedly blocked 
efforts to fund the programs authorized by CARA. When the legislation 
was first considered on the Senate floor, Republicans opposed Senator 
Shaheen's amendment that would have provided $600 million in new 
funding of emergency supplemental appropriations, which is actually a 
modest amount considering what is needed in this country.
  Then we have the appropriations process in committee this year. 
Emergency funds to fight this addiction epidemic were denied. Senate 
Republicans kept assuring us that there was going to be a time and a 
place to include real funding. Well, last week's conference provided 
such an opportunity. I, along with other Democratic conferees, 
identified commonsense and bipartisan offsets that would enable us to 
dedicate almost $1 billion in new resources to put the programs in CARA 
to work. We told our Republican counterparts we

[[Page S5037]]

could not sign the conference report unless it included meaningful 
funding, but the Republicans voted against funding CARA so I did not 
sign the report. They also made a new promise. At the conference 
meeting, the Republicans promised to include $525 million in new 
funding to combat addiction through the appropriations process. I have 
to note that I hope Americans demand that Congress keep this promise 
and provide meaningful funding for CARA--not with poison pill offsets 
that would kill it but with real promises.
  I will soon again join with Senators Murray, Wyden, and Shaheen to 
introduce legislation to provide $920 million to fund CARA. It could be 
fully paid for. It could be paid for with offsets that received 
overwhelming bipartisan support. If we are really serious about 
combatting the opioid epidemic, there is no sense not to pass this, and 
there is no sense not to put our money where our mouths are, because, 
if we fund it, it can make an important difference. We can expand 
prevention efforts, expand access to treatment and recovery services, 
and authorize the critical public health programs to create and expand 
Medication Assisted Treatment, MAT, programs.
  If CARA were funded, it could make an important difference in 
communities across the country. The bill lays the groundwork for 
expanding prevention efforts and access to treatment and recovery 
services. It removes arbitrary restrictions on prescribing Medication 
Assisted Treatment, which will allow nurse practitioners and physician 
assistants in Vermont to treat addiction just as they treat other 
illnesses. It authorizes a critical public health program I helped 
create to expand MAT programs. Some Vermonters tell me they are 
struggling with addiction and they have had to wait nearly 1 year to 
receive treatment. At the Chittenden Clinic in South Burlington, VT, 
several have died while waiting. Because we wouldn't fund it, several 
died. This story is not unique.
  The bill also includes my provision to support our rural communities 
by increasing access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone. Rural 
locations have the highest death rates in the country from opioid 
poisoning, and getting this drug into more hands will save lives.
  The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act also recognizes that the 
overprescription of opioids is largely responsible for this epidemic, 
and the legislation includes a provision I strongly support to 
encourage the National Institutes of Health to intensify research on 
the effectiveness of opioids in treating chronic pain and to encourage 
the development of opioid-alternatives to manage chronic pain.
  Two weeks ago, on a beautiful Vermont evening, a standing-room only 
crowd filled a conference room at the Green Mountain Technical and 
Career Center for a community meeting on opioid abuse. The event was 
organized by Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux. He is a former DEA 
agent who has seen the toll of heroin and opioid abuse and what it has 
done in the rural regions of my State.
  Dr. Betsy Perez, a panelist and longtime practitioner at nearby 
Copley Hospital, surprised many in the crowd when she addressed the 
opioid issue from a personal rather than from a medical perspective. 
This doctor told the heart-wrenching story of her addicted daughter's 
  Despite many efforts at treatment, her daughter repeatedly relapsed, 
eventually winding up homeless on the streets of Burlington. Her 
daughter is now 2 years into recovery and recently became a mother. The 
cost of her intensive residential treatment was high. It drained the 
doctor's retirement savings. But she would have it no other way. I 
wonder how much better off they might have been if we had prevention 
clinics in place.

  I held a hearing in St. Albans, VT--again, standing room only. I 
remember a noted pediatrician who spoke about being with parents whom 
he did not identify. He said they were well off. He was telling them 
about the dangers of opioids and how teenagers can get addicted. They 
were shocked to hear this.
  They said: Thank you for telling us about this. We will watch out for 
our daughter.
  He said: I have been treating your daughter for 2 years. She is an 
  You could hear a pin drop in that room. But she was getting 
treatment, and many are not so fortunate. Each day, throughout our 
country, 129 people die from drug overdoses. I suspect that almost 
every Vermonter knows someone who has been impacted by addiction. This 
is not the future we want for our children, our grandchildren, our 
communities. In Vermont, we know what it takes to get ahead of 
addiction. While I appreciate the attention Congress has given this 
issue, CARA will only work for Vermont and States across the country if 
Congress is willing to provide the funding that is necessary to fight 
this epidemic.
  I was proud to help usher CARA through the Senate. I will support it 
today. But I am greatly disappointed that Congress has so far refused 
to treat this public health crisis as seriously as it did the swine flu 
or Ebola.
  I would urge all Senators: Don't go just to formal meetings. Just 
stand outside your local grocery stores, as my wife, a registered 
nurse, and I often do. Just talk with people. Walk down the street, and 
talk with people. You are going to find what Vermonters know all too 
well: Lives are at stake here, and time is of the essence. It is time 
for Congress to act like it and fully fund CARA.
  I know when Marcelle and I go home, we want to say that we are 
helping because we know some of these families personally. In a little 
State of only 600,000 people, you tend to know a lot of people. I have 
seen some of the finest families in our State devastated by this. I am 
sure it is the same in the Presiding Officer's State and every other 
State in this country. We have to represent the people from our States 
and help.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up 
to 15 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

          Relationship Between Police and Communities of Color

  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, as our Nation confronts what increasingly 
feels like a weakening of the bond between law enforcement and the 
communities they serve, I rise to urge all of my colleagues to examine 
the relationship between police and communities of color. One year ago, 
I joined the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 
urging our colleagues to convene hearings on this critical issue.
  The Justice Department had recently made public the, frankly, 
shocking findings on its investigation into the Ferguson Police 
Department, which found that the city engaged in a pattern and practice 
of constitutional violations. But the Judiciary Committee, which has 
jurisdiction over matters relating to civil liberties and criminal 
proceedings, and entire subcommittees devoted exclusively to matters of 
crime and to the protection of constitutional rights held no hearings 
on the broader issue. No proposals were debated by the whole committee, 
no testimony heard.

  We had already lost Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and 
Freddie Gray. And rather than honor our obligation to confront this 
problem head-on, rather than engage in difficult conversations about 
race and about persistent inequality, we allowed these problems to be 
met with silence.
  It must be said that we owe a debt of gratitude to the brave officers 
who worked tirelessly to keep us safe from harm. Every day, they put 
their lives on the line to protect our safety and that of our families. 
But we are doing a disservice to the noble men and women of that 
profession and to the communities they serve by turning away from 
unpleasant facts and by refusing to talk about them.
  That silence carries a terrible price. Last week, a 32-year-old man 
named Philando Castile was pulled over for driving with a broken 
taillight in Falcon Heights, MN. It was the 53rd time he had been 
pulled over in just a few short years. His girlfriend Diamond was 
beside him. Her 4-year-old daughter Dae'Anna was in the back seat. We

[[Page S5038]]

don't know precisely what happened as Philando spoke to the officer who 
approached the car. We don't know what the two men said to each other, 
but we know how that encounter ended. Philando died after suffering 
multiple gunshot wounds.
  Philando's community--our community--in Minnesota is devastated. That 
community includes Philando's family, his loved ones, and his friends. 
It also includes the staff and the children in the elementary school 
where Philando worked; he knew them all by name. And it includes the 
parents of those children, many of whom began the morning after his 
death by explaining to their kids that Phil wouldn't be at school 
  The impact of Philando's death has been felt far beyond those who 
knew him. In Dallas, as people seeking justice for Philando and his 
family gathered in a peaceful protest, a deeply troubled man murdered 
five members of a police force shielding demonstrators from gunfire. 
And over the weekend, protests in St. Paul took a vicious turn as 
protesters pelted police with rocks and chunks of concrete.
  Such violence does not honor the lives of those we have lost. It does 
not advance the cause of justice. Rather, violence makes it more 
difficult for our communities to begin the long and difficult healing 
  From the suburbs of St. Paul to downtown Dallas, our communities are 
in pain, and it is our responsibility as lawmakers to do something 
about it. We cannot take the steps necessary to confront this challenge 
if we fear acknowledging that it exists. We cannot solve this problem 
without coming together as a nation to address and dismantle the 
systemic racial injustices that lead to far too many of these deaths 
and to identify solutions. We cannot solve this problem if we run away 
from it.
  But running from it is precisely what this body will do. In just a 
few short days, the Senate will adjourn for 7 weeks. During that time, 
our communities will continue to endure anguish, heartache, and pain. I 
hope every Senator uses this time to meet with people who have been 
touched by these events and to better understand the challenges that we 
face and they face. I urge them to join me in working to address them.
  When asked about her son's death, Philando's mother said: ``All we 
want is justice.'' And she deserves nothing less.

                           Zika Virus Funding

  Mr. President, I wish to turn to another important issue: the Zika 
virus outbreak, its devastating impact on families, and--I hate to say 
this--the Republican obstructionism that is preventing us from taking 
meaningful action to address this outbreak.
  As you know, the Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily 
through the bite of an infected mosquito, but it can also be 
transmitted through sexual contact, through blood transfusions, or from 
mother to child. While it typically causes no symptoms or mild illness 
in adults, we now know that a Zika virus infection during pregnancy can 
cause microcephaly and other severe birth defects. In fact, the World 
Health Organization has declared this outbreak a public health 
emergency of international concern. In some countries, Zika virus 
transmission is so high that public health officials have asked women 
to delay their pregnancies.
  While other countries are feeling the brunt of this outbreak, Zika is 
also affecting us here at home. So far, there have been over 1,100 
people in the continental United States who have been affected by the 
Zika virus while traveling to endemic countries. This includes 320 who 
are currently pregnant. We are already seeing local transmission in 
U.S. territories, where 2,500 additional people have been infected, and 
these are just the confirmed cases. The actual number of those infected 
is likely to be much, much higher.
  This is why over 140 days ago President Obama asked Congress for 
emergency funds to respond to the Zika virus outbreak. His request, 
drawing on the expertise of public health experts, sought funds for 
things such as mosquito control, vaccine and drug development, and 
diagnostics so that more people can get tested and receive their 
results faster.
  After weeks of deliberation, the Senate eventually reached a 
bipartisan compromise. Although we didn't get all the money we need to 
fight the virus, we did get $1.1 billion. Democrats and Republicans in 
the Senate negotiated in good faith and got a bipartisan package that 
included important provisions to combat the Zika virus. That is why 68 
Members of the U.S. Senate, including 22 Republicans, voted for the 
Senate bill.
  Unfortunately, that bipartisan spirit has not prevailed. As it turned 
out, Republicans in the House of Representatives delayed and then 
derailed the funding request. Even though the Senate passed a 
bipartisan compromise, House Republicans, with support from Republican 
Senate negotiators, sent back a partisan package packed with 
ideological poison pill provisions. These included provisions that 
deliberately block funds from going to family planning clinics, take 
away money from the continuing fight against Ebola, and even erode 
provisions in the Clean Water Act.
  Let me explain some of these provisions in more detail. The bill the 
House and Senate Republican negotiators sent back to us limits women's 
access to contraceptive services. Imagine that. At a time when many 
women have decided to delay their pregnancies out of fear of the Zika 
virus, my Republican colleagues are actively working to keep birth 
control out of reach. Such provisions disproportionately harm low-
income women who turn to safety net clinics such as Planned Parenthood 
for birth control and for education on family planning.
  Two weeks ago, one of my Republican colleagues addressed this issue 
on the floor of the Senate. Standing next to a photo of a baby girl 
with microcephaly, he argued that Democratic objections to the bill 
were ``fanciful and imagined.'' That is what he said--``fanciful and 
imagined.'' He dismissed the idea that Planned Parenthood was 
deliberately targeted in this legislation since it was not mentioned by 
name in the text. But it is actually that intention that is fanciful.
  Because of the way the legislation is crafted, it excludes family 
planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood from receiving funds. This 
is particularly harmful in places like Puerto Rico, where infection 
rates are rising rapidly and high numbers of uninsured women need 
access to information about the virus, as well as effective birth 
  This kind of tactic is deeply counterproductive. To combat this 
virus, we must rely on the strength of our entire medical system and 
not sideline the country's most experienced family planning providers.
  Second, Republicans have criticized Democrats for asking for more 
money, describing our vote against their bipartisan package as 
``disgraceful.'' Let me describe what is disgraceful. This Republican 
bill, unlike any other recent emergency spending bill, actually takes 
money away from efforts to control Ebola outbreaks--which are still 
active in Africa--in order to pay for Zika.
  I would like to remind my colleagues that a short time ago Ebola 
ravaged West Africa, infecting more than 28,000 people and killing over 
11,000, making it the deadliest Ebola outbreak on record.
  While research is under way, we do not yet have a vaccine against 
this virus. Ebola is still an active threat. In fact, since the 2014 
outbreak, there have been several new clusters of Ebola virus due to 
the virus's persistence in survivors. Public health experts warn that 
this virus will return; the question is whether we will be ready. At 
this juncture it would be irresponsible to cut funding from Ebola 
research, surveillance, and public health infrastructure. The 
Republican strategy to fight the Zika virus would do just that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for an additional 
1\1/2\ minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Thank you.
  Finally--see, I was going to say ``finally'' anyway.
  Finally, the bill even waives permitting requirements when it comes 
to applying pesticides near bodies of water. This clean water 
requirement was intended to protect people from toxic

[[Page S5039]]

substances, particularly pregnant women, children, and other vulnerable 
populations. But my colleagues are mischaracterizing our objection to 
this rider. In fact, one of my colleagues went to the Senate floor 
recently and accused the Democrats of being ``more focused on 
protecting the mosquito than they are protecting people.'' That is just 
  To sum up, my Democratic colleagues and I supported the Senate bill 
to fund the fight against a devastating disease, and Republicans 
decided to politicize this issue by sending back a conference report 
that was filled with partisan policy riders.
  Every day that we don't act, this virus continues to spread. And, in 
the meantime, the Republican leader has not given any indications that 
he plans to change course. In fact, he said he plans to bring up the 
same exact partisan bill that was defeated last week.
  The President has already threatened to veto this bill, so another 
vote would be useless.
  I urge my Republican colleagues: Please, please stop playing partisan 
politics, and let's pass something meaningful to address this crisis.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, at the moment, we are considering the 
reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, and I am 
disappointed by what we are about to do today, although at this point 
there appears to be no option. This extension fails to accomplish 
significant and important reforms in the aviation world, and it is 
something we were able to do, should have been able to do, and almost 
accomplished. As a result of our failure, I will oppose the 
reauthorization legislation we will vote on in just a few moments.
  Three weeks ago, I came to the Senate floor to express my concern 
with what was happening, and my plea and request to our House 
colleagues to act on the FAA reauthorization bill as the Senate sent it 
to them--the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2016, which in April passed the 
Senate by the unusual vote of 95 votes in favor--broadly supported.
  I serve on the Commerce Committee, and Chairman Thune and Ranking 
Member Nelson worked hard with all of us on that committee to see that 
a wide variety of interests, a wide variety of opportunities were 
explored for us to make improvements in the world of aviation.
  The way it works is, we have a piece of legislation that is in effect 
and will soon expire, and we are up against a deadline for that 
extension, but we knew that. In fact, we went to work early. The Senate 
Commerce Committee began hearings a long time ago--months ago. We 
worked hard to find consensus, and we did. Our product came to the 
Senate floor not just with a simple reauthorization of the Federal 
Aviation Administration but with items that were so important to this 
country's economy, to those who utilize general aviation, to 
communities that care about their local airports, and to those--in my 
case in Kansas--who care about how many jobs we have and can continue 
to have and how many more we can create as a result of the 
manufacturing of aircraft in this country. So we did what we were 
supposed to do in the Senate. We worked together and found solutions. 
We found compromises, and we passed legislation overwhelmingly.
  Unfortunately, when it went to the House of Representatives, no 
action was taken in the House. As I said, the clock is ticking and the 
FAA will no longer continue to have legal authority to exist. Once 
again, as has happened in years gone by, we are left with a take-it-or-
leave-it situation. We either take the House-passed extension or the 
FAA shuts down. There is no need for us to be in the position we are in 
today, and the extension we are going to vote on will be missing many 
important provisions included in the Senate-passed bill.
  My perspective on this certainly is as a Kansan, but it matters no 
matter what State you live in. Kansas is an aviation State. General 
aviation is our State's largest industry, and our largest city is 
Wichita, which is appropriately known as the air capital of the world. 
Kansas aviation workers have supplied three out of every four general 
aviation aircraft since the Wright brothers' first flight at Kitty 
Hawk, and today some 42,000 Kansans make a living manufacturing, 
operating, and servicing the world's highest quality aircraft.
  So what does the FAA reauthorization--the extension we are about to 
vote on--have to do with those jobs in Kansas? What does it have to do 
with jobs in this country? If we have a goal we ought to be working on 
together to achieve, it would be to create more opportunities for more 
Americans to have better jobs. We need--and we all know it--a strong 
manufacturing sector in this economy. Yet we will fail to take 
advantage of the opportunity to increase the chances of more 
manufacturing jobs, more general aviation jobs, more airplane 
manufacturing jobs in the United States--more jobs for Americans, 
better jobs for Americans, more secure jobs for Americans--because we 
aren't able to do today--the House was unwilling to include in the 
extension those things that increase the chances the aviation industry 
in our country can better compete with those in a global economy that 
are our competitors.
  What the manufacturing side of aviation needs, what aviation 
manufacturers in Kansas need is the ability to compete in a global 
marketplace so the industry remains our country's No. 1 net exporter. 
This requires significant reforms at the FAA, particularly in their 
certification process and improvements in the regulatory environment.
  These provisions that are so helpful were contained not just in the 
Senate-passed bill but also in the original House FAA bill that was 
approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee 
earlier in the spring. So here we have a situation in which the House 
Transportation Committee, the Senate Commerce Committee--in fact, the 
full Senate--approves things that matter greatly to our country and, 
most importantly, to its workers, and yet today we come to the Senate 
with a relatively simple extension that ignores those important reforms 
and improvements.
  These provisions that are not included in this extension would 
streamline aircraft certification, significantly improving efficiency, 
and better focus the FAA's valuable resources someplace else. These 
reforms would have had a positive impact upon our economy, on job 
security, and job creation. Both the House and Senate recognized the 
importance of this issue and advanced nearly identical certification 
reform language, but, as I said, for some reason that language no 
longer appears in this bill.
  In addition to certification, there were lots of other issues we 
agreed upon. Among the members of our committee and among Members of 
the Senate, overwhelmingly popular bipartisan provisions were included 
in this bill originally in the Senate but are not included now in this 
simple extension, including things such as strengthening our Contract 
Tower Program, which is so important, particularly to 
rural communities.

  Again, while I come from a State where we manufacture planes, I also 
represent a State in which general aviation, our pilots, and the 
airports which they utilize are important to communities across my 
State as we again try to compete in a global economy. The ability to 
bring a business customer to a small community that has a manufacturing 
plant is dependent upon airport and air services.
  The language from section 1204 of the Senate-passed bill would have 
significantly reformed the cost-benefit eligibility rules for contract 
towers--again, this is a way we provide air safety for communities that 
are small and have small airports--strengthening the program and 
providing certainty once and for all for the 253 contract towers that 
handle nearly one-third of our tower operations nationwide. It was a 
good idea. It was broadly supported--supported in the House in the 
Transportation Committee, supported in the Senate in the Commerce 
Committee and on the Senate floor--but not included in today's simple 
  Apparently, the reason these important reforms were excluded was so 
they could, at a later date, be used as a political bargaining chip. 
The House held these popular reforms hostage in an attempt to gain 
leverage and to later promote an effort to privatize our Nation's air 
traffic control system.

[[Page S5040]]

  By putting on hold these long overdue, noncontroversial certification 
reforms, the Contract Tower Program, and others, Congress is damaging 
the business aviation industry and the people who work therein.
  Not too long ago I spoke on this floor defending general aviation 
from the Obama administration's repeated attempts to end the 
accelerated depreciation schedule for general aviation aircraft. In my 
view, the proposal came as a clever political sound bite--the so-called 
corporate jet loophole--but in reality it would have meant thousands of 
jobs would be gone and the unemployment lines longer. The President's 
proposal would have accomplished nothing for the economy--not even a 
meaningful increase in tax revenues--and only would have hurt 1.2 
million Americans who make their living building and servicing 
  This makes today all the more disappointing. It is one thing for me 
to come to the floor and complain about an Obama administration 
proposal, but today I come to the Senate floor to complain about a 
Republican-controlled House that was unable to take advantage of an 
opportunity to pass a strong, long-term reauthorization bill and 
instead leaves us with a simple, short-term extension.
  Of course, I believe fully that the leadership of my Commerce 
Committee--Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson--worked very hard 
at crafting this Senate-passed FAA bill. I am here in support of their 
efforts and express my disappointment that their efforts were not 
rewarded by the House of Representatives. I regret that because we did 
not have a willing partner in the House, we are left with a watered-
down extension so we can further entertain other ideas at some other 
point in time while uncertainty continues.
  While that uncertainty continues, the rest of the world can advance 
their efforts, particularly in airplane manufacturing, while we wait 
for improvements, efficiencies, and modernization in our own. While we 
wait for Congress to do its work, the rest of the world moves on, with 
the potential of taking away jobs from the manufacturing sector here in 
the United States.
  Americans rightfully should expect, and do expect, leadership from 
their officials in Washington. At a time when this partisan dysfunction 
puts us in places in which we constantly find barriers in the 
legislative process, it sure seems to me to be a waste that this 
opportunity to pass meaningful bipartisan reforms and improvements that 
could have an immediate positive impact on our economy is foregone.
  We have enough other problems around here in the way this place 
works. Here we had, in my view, a chance to grasp victory for the 
American people, for its workers, and for our economy. We failed to do 
it, and in the process and as a result of that failure, the ability of 
American manufacturers to create jobs is diminished and Kansans are 
more at risk for their futures as a result of our failure to do our 
  Mr. President, I thank the Chair for the opportunity to address my 
colleagues in the Senate, and I express my dissatisfaction and 
disappointment with the end product, recognizing the circumstance we 
now find ourselves in.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up 
to 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise to talk about the FAA 
reauthorization we are going to be voting on, and I thank Senator Moran 
for being here and talking about aviation in general and aviation 
manufacturing. He comes from a strong aviation manufacturing State, so 
I certainly support many of the things he said.
  I certainly support making sure we continue to streamline our 
process, and it is one of the things left out of this legislation. So 
we need to do more on that effort. I certainly don't want people 
demonizing any aspect of aviation because they are all aviation jobs. 
People don't realize how many aviation jobs we have in the United 
States and the fact that we are still the top when it comes to aviation 
manufacturing jobs. So it shouldn't be a sector we relent on. We have a 
lot of work to do.
  I would add to that list, though, the passage of the Export-Import 
Bank Board members so the Export-Import Bank can be functioning so we 
can actually approve aviation sales when we get them done, and this is 
for smaller aircraft or larger aircraft. It doesn't matter.
  If we build the best product, we ought to be able to sell the best 
product around the globe. And we are still stuck on getting that 
nominee out of committee because of someone holding it up, and the fact 
that they are holding it up means we will go many more months before 
completing airplane sales.
  I want to talk about some other provisions we are passing today. I am 
so proud to have worked with the chairman of the committee, whom I just 
saw pass here on the floor--I am sure he is going to speak in a 
moment--and the ranking member on very important aspects of aviation 
  First, we are doubling the number of terrorist-deterrent teams at 
U.S. airports and ground transportation. As we can see, these TSA teams 
are people who are very involved in making sure we handle security at 
our airports. This is a very important aspect of this legislation 
because, as we saw with the tragic events in Brussels and Istanbul, 
terrorists can attack us not just on airplanes or inside the security 
perimeter but outside security as well. So I think this legislation, 
thanks to Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson, is giving us the 
workforce we need to enhance the use of bomb-sniffing dogs, strengthen 
perimeter security, expand training, respond to active shooter attacks, 
and make sure the outer limits of our airports are secure.
  I am proud that many of these provisions we passed out of the 
Commerce Committee are contained in this legislation and that it is 
doubling the number of these TSA VIPR teams that conduct controls and 
make sure our passengers are secure. These teams consist of a 
combination of law enforcement, inspectors, explosive specialists, and, 
as I mentioned, bomb-sniffing dogs.
  What is so important about those dogs is that they are one of our 
best deterrents, picking up explosive material and tracking down 
people, and that is what we need to have at our airports. I again thank 
Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for putting this in. Combining 
these law enforcement and bomb-detecting canine capabilities provides 
another layer of security at our airports. We have seen how the use of 
dogs helps us expedite our security lanes at SeaTac--now the busiest 
airport in the country as far as increase in volume--and we need to 
have more of these dogs outside on the perimeter as well. This will 
give us a visible deterrent and help us in protecting the much needed 
continuation of air transportation travel.
  I also want to mention a couple of other things that are in this 
legislation--the checkpoint of the future and making sure we are 
streamlining our security checkpoints. We have been proud to work with 
the Pacific Northwest Lab in Richland, WA, where critical work is 
underway in detection technologies. And this legislation contains the 
extension of an important aviation safety item. There are 136 airports 
across the country that have automated weather equipment, but they need 
weather observers to make these around-the-clock observations. So at 
Spokane International Airport, this is a vital tool, and I was so glad 
to work with Senator Moran and others in keeping this on.
  Finally, we address in this extension a critical upcoming shortage of 
air traffic controllers by making improvements to the FAA's hiring 
process and creating a path forward for graduates like those at the 
Green River Community College in Washington State.
  I thank Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson for these inclusions 
in their work. We obviously have much more work to do to maintain our 
aviation infrastructure, and I look forward to getting those done in 
the very near future.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 
5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

[[Page S5041]]

  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President I rise today to discuss the security, 
safety, and other air travel benefits included in the bipartisan 
aviation reform agreement that was negotiated with the House of 
  Last week, Senator Bill Nelson, the ranking member on the Senate 
Commerce Committee, and I reached accord on a way forward with House 
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster and 
Ranking Member Peter DeFazio. Our agreement presents an opportunity for 
the Senate to break the pattern of short-term extensions for the 
Federal Aviation Administration that have not included any meaningful 
  The aviation bill the Senate passed by a vote of 95 to 3 in April was 
a larger and, granted, more comprehensive bill than the agreement that 
came out of our negotiations with the House. It contained provisions 
added by Members in the Commerce Committee and on the Senate floor that 
we remain committed to enacting.
  Nevertheless, we knew that certain safety and security reforms just 
couldn't wait until next year for the process to restart. When we 
looked at the ISIS attacks in airports in Brussels and Istanbul, as 
well as the downing of a Russian jetliner leaving Egypt, we knew there 
were meaningful reforms that could help efforts to prevent these kinds 
of attacks here in America, and so we acted.
  To address the threat of an ``insider'' working at an airport helping 
terrorists, the aviation reform agreement now before the Senate 
enhances requirements and vetting for airport workers with access to 
secure areas. It expands the use of random and physical inspection of 
airport workers in secured areas and requires a review of perimeter 
  Responding to ISIS's demonstrated interest in targeting unsecured 
areas of airports, this aviation reform bill includes provisions to 
enhance the security presence of units that can include canines and 
other personnel in prescreening airport areas and increases 
preparedness for active shooter incidents.
  Because some international airports abroad operating nonstop flights 
to U.S. airports lack the security equipment and expertise of U.S. and 
other state-of-the-art airports, the bill authorizes TSA to donate 
unneeded security equipment to foreign airports with direct flights to 
the United States, permits increased cooperation between U.S. officials 
and partner nations, and requires a new assessment of foreign cargo 
security programs.
  This bill, which the House passed earlier this week, recognizes that 
long TSA lines aren't only an inconvenient delay for passengers trying 
to catch flights, but they can lead to large crowds in unsecured 
airport areas that create a target for terrorists. To address these 
lines, the bill includes the TSA PreCheck Enhancement Act, which will 
help enroll more Americans in expedited security screening and reduce 
waits by vetting more passengers before they arrive to get them through 
checkpoints quickly.
  Beyond question, safety and security needs drove the effort to finish 
this 14-month aviation reauthorization. The result, I can confidently 
say, ended up being the most significant airport security reform bill 
in over a decade. Our bipartisan, bicameral bill is good legislation 
that guards against the threat of terrorism, provides stability for the 
U.S. aviation system, and boosts safety and consumer protections for 
airline passengers.
  As we prepare for a vote on this important bill, I urge my colleagues 
to support this bill that we carefully crafted over the past several 
months with our House counterparts that keeps the American people 
protected from terrorists, makes air travel safer and more secure, and 
addresses an issue of importance to all Americans.
  Again, I thank the ranking member on our committee, Senator Nelson. 
Senators Ayotte and Cantwell, the chair and ranking member on the 
Aviation Subcommittee, were very involved in crafting this legislation. 
And, of course, there is the great work of our staffs, who put in 
countless hours to get us to where we are today, not only moving the 
original bill across the Senate floor back in April but also in 
negotiations with the House of Representatives to produce a result 
which I think we can all be proud of and which puts us on a path toward 
a safer travel opportunity for people in this country who use our 
airlines to get to their destinations.
  Mr. President, I hope we will have a big vote, a bipartisan vote, in 
support of this bipartisan legislation.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.

                        Vote on Motion to Concur

  The question is on agreeing to the motion to concur.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Cochran), the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. 
Inhofe), the Senator from Kansas (Mr. Roberts), the Senator from South 
Dakota (Mr. Rounds), the Senator from Alabama (Mr. Sessions), the 
Senator from Alabama (Mr. Shelby), and the Senator from Mississippi 
(Mr. Wicker).
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Scott). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 89, nays 4, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 127 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--7

  The motion was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.