(Senate - July 13, 2016)

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[Pages S5045-S5058]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New York.

             Unanimous Consent Request--Executive Calendar

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I rise this afternoon to talk about the 
pace of judicial confirmations with my friends, the Senator from Hawaii 
and the Senator from Massachusetts, who have been real leaders on this 
  Well, we have only one more day of legislative session before 
Congress breaks until September. It is an appropriate time to take 
stock of how the majority has handled their job of scheduling and 
confirming judges. More than a year into this new Congress, the 
Republican leadership has allowed only 22 judges to be confirmed--only 
22. In the last 2 years of the Bush administration with a Democratic 
majority--the mirror situation of what we are in today--there were 68. 
So that is 68 versus 22.
  The Republican majority is confirming judges at the slowest rate in 
more than 60 years. This has real consequences across America. 
Vacancies have risen from 43 to 83 since Republicans took over the 
majority; 29 have been judicial emergencies. I know that in my city of 
Buffalo in Western New York we had an emergency. We have one of the 
busiest courts, and for a while we had no judges. Now we have one.
  At this point in time in the Bush administration, with Democrats in 
control of the Senate, we had reduced the number to 39. That is half as 
many vacancies as now exist. From the district courts to the Federal 
courts of appeal, all the way up to the Highest Court in the land, the 
Republican majority has been showing the American people that when it 
comes to judges, they just are not doing their job.
  This is hardly a Senate that is back to work. The nuts and bolts of 
governing is the process of nominations, especially for the judiciary. 
By this measure, the Republican Senate and its Judiciary Committee are 
not back to work; they are sleeping on the job. There is no better 
example of it than the irresponsible, partisan blockade of President 
Obama's Supreme Court pick, now in its fifth month.
  The speedy application of justice, the right to petition the 
government for redress of grievances is a bedrock of American values 
enshrined in the Constitution. This is not an abstract concept. It has 
real, everyday consequences for American litigants. Justice delayed is 
justice denied.
  Without judges on the bench, justice is denied for a woman who was 
unjustly fired, suing to get back her job and support her family.
  It is denied for a small business owner seeking to resolve a contract 
dispute and keep his stores open. Any small business owner can tell you 
that when lawsuits hang over them, whether they are plaintiffs or 
defendants, it causes them sleepless nights. My dad was a small 
business man. Our Republican colleagues are just twiddling their 
  It is denied for criminal defendants who deserve to have their cases 
heard in a courtroom before an impartial judge and a jury of their 
peers. This matters in so many of the States, including my home State 
of New York.

[[Page S5046]]

One of the judges who has been languishing on the calendar is Gary 
Brown. He is currently serving as a magistrate judge in the Eastern 
District of New York. He has been nominated for a seat on the Islip 
court, a crowded bench. Long Island has 3 million people, more than 
many States. That seat has been vacant for 18 months--18 months.
  The small business people in Long Island who need these cases settled 
and the many others who are awaiting justice are in anguish. Our 
Republican colleagues just sit there. We know why. The American people 
know why too. They are not doing their jobs.
  Gary Brown is eminently qualified for this seat. As a magistrate 
judge, he heard a number of cases related to the fallout from 
Superstorm Sandy. Only through Judge Brown's intelligence and integrity 
were deficiencies in the insurance claims process uncovered, and 
hundreds of homeowners began to recoup their losses. So we need a Judge 
Brown. The people of Long Island need a Judge Brown. Without judges on 
the bench, we are diminishing that corps.
  Our majority leader likes to talk about the fact that the Senate is 
working again. Give me a break. If you can't even appoint judges, how 
can you say the Senate is working? There is no good reason other than 
the usual political games, games that Democrats did not play when we 
were in the same position in the last 2 years of George Bush's term and 
we had the Senate majority.
  Well, we have 1 day left before we break. Yet this body has failed to 
pass adequate legislation dealing with Zika, failed to pass real 
funding on the opioid crisis, failed to pass sensible gun safety 
measures after another senseless tragedy in Orlando, and failed to fill 
our benches, whether it is the Supreme Court, the circuit courts, or 
the district courts.
  Our Republican majority owes it to the American people to make some 
progress on judges before Members run for the hills. We should not be 
adjourning with this many vacancies, this many judicial emergencies. It 
is time to confirm these uncontroversial nominees. I say to every one 
of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, particularly the 
majority leader, it is time to do your job.
  I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to executive session 
to consider the following nominations: Calendar Nos. 11, 27, 28, 29, 
30, 31, 359, 362, 363, 364, 459, 460, 461, 505, 508, 569, 570, 571, 
572, 573, 597, 598, 599, and 600; further, that the Senate proceed to 
vote without intervening action or debate on the nominations; and that, 
if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon 
the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, reserving the right to object--and, of 
course, I will. I would like to put all this in perspective and talk 
about the theatrics that we sometimes call the discussion on the Senate 
floor. You know, I think that we have a tendency here--maybe it is 
because we are busy and we have got a lot of other things we are doing, 
but we have a tendency to have very short memories.
  We should remember that we confirmed a judge last week and the prior 
week. In fact, one of those judges was a judge put forth, supported by 
Senators from the State of New Jersey, both Democrat Senators. We moved 
forward with the confirmation.
  I also want to talk a little bit about history because I am new here. 
But my facts seem to stand in contrast to what is discussed on this 
floor from week to week. When it comes to judicial nominations, the 
President has been treated much more fairly, I would submit, than 
President George W. Bush. To date, the Senate has confirmed 329 of 
President Obama's judicial nominations. At this point, President Bush 
had only 312 judicial nominations confirmed.
  In fact, President Obama has now surpassed President Bush in terms of 
the total judicial nominees confirmed for the entire Presidency of 
George W. Bush. During his entire Presidency, the Senate confirmed only 
326 of President Bush's judicial nominations. We have already confirmed 
329. So I would submit, that is getting the work done. That is getting 
the job done. That is doing our job.
  I know the other side of the aisle does not like the fact that they 
don't set the floor agenda. But any reasonable, objective review of the 
record demonstrates that President Obama has been treated more fairly 
than his predecessor, George W. Bush.
  So, for that reason, I do object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Massachusetts.

             Unanimous Consent Request--Executive Calendar

  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, Donald Trump spent years pedaling Trump 
University, a sham college that his own former employees refer to as 
one big, fraudulent scheme. Now he is being sued for fraud and, worse, 
for targeting the most vulnerable people he could find, lying to them, 
taking all their money and then leaving them in debt.
  Now, the judge presiding over Trump's case is Gonzalo Curiel, a 
former Federal prosecutor who has spent decades quietly serving his 
country, sometimes at great risk to his own life. The Republican 
Governor who first appointed him calls him an American hero, and he was 
confirmed with bipartisan support from the Senate.
  Like all district court judges, Judge Curiel's work is not political 
so he is following the law in the Trump University case, but Donald 
Trump wants Judge Curiel to bend the law to suit Trump's own personal 
financial interests and Trump's very, very fragile ego.
  A little over a month ago, Trump began savagely attacking the judge's 
integrity and his Mexican-American heritage at political rallies. Some 
Republicans in Congress claimed to be shocked by the assault on our 
legal system. Paul Ryan called Trump's attack the ``textbook definition 
of a racist comment.''
  Oh, please. Spare me the false outrage. Where do you suppose Donald 
Trump got the idea that he can demean judges with impunity? He got it 
from Republicans right here in Congress.
  It is bad enough that Senate Republicans will not even give Merrick 
Garland, the President's Supreme Court nominee, a hearing--while the 
Republicans' allies spend billions of dollars conducting a nonstop 
campaign of slime against him. But the story is actually much bigger 
than Judge Garland.
  Sixteen noncontroversial district court judicial nominees--16--are 
waiting to take their seats alongside Judge Curiel on the Federal 
bench. They have been investigated, they have gone through hearings, 
and they have been voted out of committee. About half have been sitting 
there for more than a year.
  But in a few days, the Republicans who control the Senate are 
planning to pack up and shut down this body for most of the rest of the 
year, leaving every single one of these men and women to twist in the 
wind. Why? Because in 6 months Donald Trump might be President. Make no 
mistake, Republicans want Donald Trump to appoint the next generation 
of judges. They want those judges to tilt the law in favor of big 
businesses and billionaires like Trump. They just want Donald Trump to 
stop being so vulgar and obvious about it.
  It is ridiculous. If Republicans expect the American people to 
believe they don't agree with Trump's disgraceful attacks on an 
independent judiciary, they should confirm these judges.
  We have just one message for the Republicans: Do your job--now--
before shutting off the lights and leaving town. At least confirm the 
13 noncontroversial district court judges who were nominated before 
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to 
executive session to consider the following nominations: Calendar Nos. 
359, 362, 363, 364, 459, 460, 461, 508, 569, 570, 571, 572, and 573; 
that the Senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on 
the nominations in the order listed; that the motions to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or 
debate; that no further motions be in order to the nominations; that 
any related statements be printed in the Record; that the President be 
immediately notified of the Senate's action, and the Senate then resume 
legislative session.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, reserving the right to object.

[[Page S5047]]

  Sometimes when I come to the Senate floor, I can't help but think 
that people who are watching me in the Gallery and watching on C-SPAN 
are thinking: What's going on? I thought we were working on funding the 
veterans, coming up with a solution to Zika, funding the DOD, making 
sure States and localities have adequate resources to combat drug 
addiction and the opioid epidemic. Instead, we get floor speeches that 
have nothing to do with doing our jobs.
  I am doing my job today in objecting to these measures so we can 
actually get back to the pressing matters that hopefully will get 
passed out of the Senate before we go to the state work period and 
return in September.
  Mr. President, for that reason, I object to the motion from the 
distinguished Senator from Massachusetts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I am not sure what version of the 
Constitution you are reading that doesn't say confirming judges is part 
of doing your job in the U.S. Senate.
  These judges have all been completely vetted, they are 
noncontroversial, and they have bipartisan support. The amount of time 
it would take to get these judges confirmed is simply: Don't object. 
Let us go forward.
  We hear a lot of talk these days from Republicans in Congress 
suddenly caring about the rule of law. Talk is cheap. Real cases are 
piling up. Real courts are starved for help. Real justice is being 
denied, and the American people aren't easily fooled. If Senate 
Republicans leave town without putting a single one of these highly 
qualified, noncontroversial judicial nominees on the bench, they are 
making it clear that for them politics is everything 24/7, that 
politics trumps everything, even an independent judiciary.
  Mr. President, I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.

             Unanimous Consent Request--Executive Calendar

  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, I thank Senators Schumer, Warren, and 
others for their efforts to get some movement on these neglected 
judicial nominees. When we talk about the Senate doing its job, of 
course confirming judges is a part of the Senate's job. In fact, only 
the Senate can do that job.
  So far 23 of the 24 nominees on the Executive Calendar were approved 
by the Judiciary Committee by voice vote, including 16 district court 
nominees. This includes Hawaii's own Clare Connors. Before I speak 
about Clare, I want to also mention that she and the other nominees 
before us today--who were unanimously approved by the Judiciary 
Committee--will be kept from serving on the Federal bench, kept from 
doing those jobs because of Republican inaction.
  I will tell you something about Clare. She has wide-ranging 
experience, including district and appellate venues, criminal and civil 
arenas, and litigation on issues ranging from tax law to tough cases 
such as crimes against children.
  I met with Clare in Hawaii and when she came before the Judiciary 
Committee. She is more than qualified to serve on the Federal bench 
today. Senator Grassley has indicated that Republicans will shut down 
the nomination process this month, even though vacancies have nearly 
  If Clare is not confirmed, the Hawaii district court seat would be 
left vacant for a year. Historically, the Senate has held confirmation 
votes on widely supported nominees into September of a Presidential 
election year.
  The nominees before us all have bipartisan support and come from 
States throughout the country: Tennessee, New Jersey, New York, 
California, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Utah, and of course Hawaii.
  I urge my Republican colleagues to do their job.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to 
executive session to consider the following nominations: Calendar Nos. 
359, 362, 363, 364, 459, 460, 461, and 508; further, that the Senate 
proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on the nominations 
in the order listed; that the motions to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate; that no 
further motions be in order to the nominations; that any related 
statements be printed in the Record; that the President be immediately 
notified of the Senate's action, and the Senate then resume legislative 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from North Carolina.

  Unanimous Consent Request--Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 2577

  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, reserving the right to object.
  I wish to just touch briefly on what the distinguished Senator from 
Hawaii mentioned regarding vacancies. If you take a look at the average 
number of vacancies over the last 25 years or so, during every 
presidency, the average vacancy rate has been higher than it is in 
2016. It is a natural part of the process that when judges move up to 
senior status, we are filling the vacancies. This goes up and down. 
This is not a crisis. It is no different than a situation the Senate 
has dealt with long before I got here.
  Mr. President, so that we can dispense with these matters and move 
back onto the legislation before us that can fund the VA, that can 
address the Zika crisis and do things that we need to do before we get 
out of town, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I want to get back on doing my job. I 
promised the people of North Carolina I was going to help fund the VA.
  That is why I am proud to be a member of the Veterans' Affairs 
Committee. I told the soldiers down at Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune and 
across this Nation we were going to work to fund the Department of 
  What I wish to do is see if we can get back to these matters that are 
necessary and important. They will save lives. They will equip our men 
and women to take the fight wherever we may go.
  Today I want to talk specifically about the MILCON-VA-Zika bill that 
is before us. It is a conference report. For those who are not familiar 
with conference reports, they are unamendable. We need an up-or-down 
vote, and we need to send it to the President's desk.
  That is what lies before us. That is a bill we can pass this year, 
funding that the Democratic conference in large numbers supported at 
$1.1 billion when it went to the House.
  What is that funding going to do? It is going to fund remediation 
programs to make sure we don't have an epidemic that is spread through 
mosquito bites. Right now, the known U.S. cases are all travel related, 
but we are afraid of that threat--particularly as mosquito season sets 
in across the Nation. It has been going on in North Carolina and the 
South for several months. We want to give local health professionals 
and the CDC the resources they need to find a vaccine that the CDC 
promises we can get in a matter of 18 months, and we want to make sure 
we do everything we can to educate people about the potential dangers 
of this disease. That is what approving this conference report will do.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the 
consideration of the conference report to accompany H.R. 2577 and that 
the conference report be agreed to with no intervening action or 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Democratic leader is recognized.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I reserve the right to object, and I am 
going to say a few words.
  I say to my friend, the junior Senator from North Carolina, this is 
the first time I have ever heard anyone say the problem with the judges 
is it is just one of those things, let's not worry about it, it happens 
all the time--but that is not true. Around America today, we have a 
number of extremely important judicial emergencies, meaning we have all 
these judicial districts where there are not enough judges to do the 
  Justice delayed is justice denied. Having practiced law quite a few 
years, it is very hard to go to a court and be told: We are sorry, but 
the judge is doing all civil cases today. He has no time for criminal 
cases--or vice versa.
  So I appreciate his succinctness saying: Well, this is no big deal. 
Don't worry about the judges.
  We are worried about the judges. It is very difficult.

[[Page S5048]]

  Let's move on to the second subject he brought up, the second 
subject--judges are no big deal. I think that is a tremendously big 
deal and so do the American people.
  Once again, the Senator from North Carolina seeks to pass the very 
partisan VA-Military Construction-Zika bill. Yes, he said--for those 
not familiar with the conference reports, I am familiar with lots of 
them. I have been through lots of conference reports. I understand the 
rules, but I also understand that we as a body can do anything we want 
to do. That is the way the Senate operates. We have the ability to 
change the rules in a manner of minutes and move on to change what is 
before this body. We know the reason the Republican leader cannot move 
forward on a Zika funding bill that is reasonable is because the House 
of Representatives is unreasonable.
  We passed out of this body a very good bill. It wasn't what I wanted. 
I wanted $1.9 billion that the Centers for Disease Control and the 
National Institutes of Health said they need--$1.9 billion. But I said: 
OK, $1.1 billion will help a tremendous amount. It is emergency 
spending, no offsets.
  So we agreed and sent it to the House. Eighty-nine Senators voted for 
it. The Democrats voted for it and the vast majority of Republicans 
voted for it. That was good. It wasn't perfect, but it was good.
  So what did the House of Representatives do? They filled this report, 
this conference report. They ignored what we had done in the Senate, 
and they decided they were going to stick some of their favorite poison 
pills onto this legislation. Why? Because the Speaker, to his credit, 
is trying--but he is not doing much good over there. He is finding that 
Speaker Boehner couldn't do much better than he has done. That is why 
Boehner left. He couldn't handle it because, as Boehner used to call 
them, the ``crazies'' take over that caucus.

  They have a rule in the House, Mr. President--and the Presiding 
Officer used to serve in the House of Representatives. All the time he 
was there, they had this rule. When I was there, there was no such 
rule. The rule they have now is called the Hastert rule. Of course, 
Hastert is in prison, so they should at least change the name of that 
rule. The Hastert rule says: We are only going to pass a bill if we can 
get a majority of the majority to vote for it. So to get anything done 
in the House of Representatives, you have to have a majority of the 
Republicans support a bill. It doesn't matter how the Democrats feel. 
Basically, they do not get to vote on anything.
  So what they did, in an effort to get something back here--the 
Speaker has told lots of people: I can't pass anything dealing with 
Zika unless we do something about Planned Parenthood. That is what he 
has told everybody, and it is obvious from what they sent us. So this 
$1.1 billion, no offsets, came back to us as a--I don't know what to 
call it. They are not the same two vehicles. It restricts funding for 
birth control provided by Planned Parenthood.
  There is an obsession by the House Republicans--and I am sorry to say 
the obsession over here is fairly well fixed also--and they want to do 
everything they can to dramatically negatively affect Planned 
Parenthood. That is what this is about.
  If you are a woman in America today and you are worried about Zika, I 
think you should be concerned about birth control. And women all over 
America are. Some women can't go to a boutique physician and get a 
prescription; they need to go to Planned Parenthood, where the health 
care needs of millions of women are taken care of--but not under 
Republican guidance, no.
  So as part of this conference report, funding for Planned Parenthood 
would be restricted--birth control.
  Just to make sure they covered all their poison pill areas, they 
said: We have to do something to whack the environment, so we will 
change the Clean Water Act. That is what they did. That is what we got 
  We hear all these great speeches about ``We want to do something to 
take care of the veterans.'' Well, $500 million was taken out of 
veterans to help pay for Zika funding--$500 million. What was that 
veterans money to be used for? Processing claims. There is a tremendous 
backlog. But that is in there.
  Ebola funding. Two years ago, America was up in arms over Ebola. The 
epidemic has died down, but it is not gone. There are still pockets of 
real problems in Africa, and on any one day, they could burgeon into 
something like they were 2 years ago. The National Institutes of Health 
and the Centers for Disease Control want to keep some money there so 
they can take care of this epidemic, but, no, they whacked $107 million 
off of that.
  Everyone knows the money they took from ObamaCare--I could raise a 
point of order right now and it would fall. They can't do that. That is 
wrong. They have had 67 votes in the House to defund ObamaCare. None of 
them have passed, but they have had fun trying.
  But in a final effort to kind of stick their finger in our eye, they 
said: Here is what we are going to put on this great bill. We believe 
it would be appropriate to fly the Confederate flag in military 
cemeteries. You can't make up stuff like this. That is what they did.
  We have repeatedly reached out to the Republicans to try to 
compromise, to reach a solution to the threat of Zika. Of course, if we 
work together, we have a chance to prevent babies from being born with 
these terrible birth defects. The Presiding Officer is a physician. I 
wasn't able to listen to all of his speech last evening, but I watched 
part of it. He had a picture of a little baby, and he was explaining 
about what Zika is all about.
  We have reached out to Republicans to try to work something out. We 
can work together. Even now, when we can see just over the horizon the 
Republican convention starting on Monday, we can still do it before 
then. We need to work something out. We want to do that. I have tried.
  I know what is going on in the House. They can't pass anything on 
their own unless they put this kind of stuff in it. All they would have 
to do on the bill that passed the Senate with 89 votes--if the Speaker 
would allow a vote in the House of Representatives, it would pass 
overwhelmingly. Democrats, with rare exception, would vote for it. It 
would get 98, 99 percent of the Democratic vote, and a few Republicans 
would vote for it. It would pass overwhelmingly. That is what should 
happen, but it can't.
  I understand the Speaker is constrained by--he hasn't gone this far, 
at least publicly. Boehner publicly said he had to deal with his 
crazies. Speaker Ryan is dealing with the same crazies.
  So I am going to ask unanimous consent to pass the same Zika 
legislation that passed this body with 89 votes. As I said, if the 
Speaker allowed a vote on this, it would pass.

                  Unanimous Consent Request--H.R. 5243

  So I ask whether the Senator from North Carolina would amend his 
request to this: I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the 
consideration of H.R. 5243; that all after the enacting clause be 
stricken; that the substitute amendment, which is the text of the 
Blunt-Murray amendment to provide $1.1 billion in funding for Zika, be 
agreed to; that there be up to 1 hour of debate, equally divided 
between the two leaders or their designees; that upon the use or 
yielding back of time, the bill, as amended, be read a third time and 
the Senate vote on passage of the bill, as amended, with no intervening 
action or debate.
  Finally, Mr. President, I would ask that everyone be reminded that we 
have had emergencies all over America. The Presiding Officer--I am 
sorry to keep referring to him, but this is the subject at hand. When 
his State had that terrible devastation with that terrible hurricane, 
we were there. We were there the next day, the next week, the next 
month, the next year, doing what we could to provide emergency funding 
for the beleaguered State of Louisiana. We did it because it was the 
right thing to do. It was an emergency. It was unpaid for. There were 
no offsets. We have done that with an earthquake in California and with 
a manmade fire in Texas. That is what we do. That is what emergencies 
are all about.
  So I ask that my consent request that I have outlined be approved.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the Senator from North Carolina so modify 
his proposal?
  Mr. TILLIS. No.
  Mr. REID. Thank you very much, Mr. President.
  I guess the shake of the head takes care of it.

[[Page S5049]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, reserving the right to object--and I will 
be very brief--sometimes when I hear these debates, they seem to be 
far-ranging and they are getting off the main subject.
  The motion that is before us would basically unwind a carefully 
crafted compromise that could come crashing down if we don't move 
forward with this deal. What the minority leader has suggested takes us 
back to a process that takes days or weeks. We can't afford days or 
weeks; we need to get this done now.
  The motion we should be considering--that the Senator from Nevada 
objected to--is the one that would get this to the President's desk. 
The Senator's request adds time, complexity, and most likely is going 
to suffer the same fate in the House, so for that reason, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard to the modification.
  Is there objection to the original request?
  Mr. REID. I have objected to his request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Utah.

                  Sentence Reform and Corrections Act

  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I would like to give a few remarks about how 
I first became involved in the cause of sentencing reform within our 
Federal criminal justice system.
  I will never forget when I first began to appreciate the full 
magnitude of this problem--the problem we face within a Federal 
criminal justice system that is sometimes too inflexible and sometimes 
doesn't allow judges to take into account the unique circumstances of 
each case. It was 2004. I was a Federal prosecutor, an assistant U.S. 
attorney in Utah. In some cases, I witnessed judges being forced by 
Federal law to impose punishments that simply, under any standard, did 
not fit the crime--first-time offenders sometimes being locked up for 
periods of time longer than some rapists or murderers, terrorists or 
kidnappers. These were real people--people with children, siblings, 
parents, spouses, and, of course, dreams for a better life. Yet in too 
many cases the so-called system that was supposed to correct their 
mistakes arguably compounded them. This system wasn't just wasting 
money, it wasn't just wasting physical material resources, it was 
wasting lives.
  I know some in my party may view this as a progressive cause. I view 
it as a conservative one. Think about it. When there is a major problem 
tearing at our economy and our civil society--a problem that is 
threatening our most vulnerable families in our communities--
conservatives don't just shrug their shoulders and expect a bunch of 
outdated laws and bloated government bureaucracies to take care of it. 
We know better. Criminal justice reform doesn't call on conservatives 
to abandon their principles, it calls on them to fight for them.
  This process and the conservative cause are all about making our 
communities--these little platoons, if you will, of service and 
cooperation at the very heart of our constitutional republic--safe and 
prosperous and happy. It is about basing our laws and basing our court 
procedures and our prison systems on a clear-eyed understanding of 
human nature--of how human beings respond, what brings out their better 
selves and what doesn't, about man's predilection toward sin and his 
capacity for redemption--along with an uncompromising commitment to 
human dignity.
  Respect for the dignity of all human life, the basic dignity of the 
human soul, no matter how small or how weak, how rich or how poor, and 
the redemptive capacity of all sinners, no matter how callous, are the 
foundation for everything that conservatives purport to stand for. Our 
approach to policing and of punishment should be no different.
  Moreover, as a conservative, I believe we ought to watch out anytime 
we give the government extraordinary powers, especially powers that 
deprive the individual of liberty. And nowhere is the deprivation of 
liberty more severe, more intense, more long-lasting than the 
deprivation of liberty that occurs when a person is locked up for years 
or for decades at a time, with no opportunity to progress, no 
opportunity to interact with family members, no opportunity to interact 
with the vibrant growing economy.
  So when I got to the Senate and I was assigned to the Senate 
Judiciary Committee, I started looking for partners--partners on both 
sides of the aisle--who shared my concerns with the Federal criminal 
justice system, shared my concerns with the way Federal minimum 
mandatory sentences were working. I started looking for partners on 
both sides of the aisle who shared this commitment to reform. Progress 
in this area is difficult, and for a long time the progress we made in 
this area was slow, just as any deliberative process often is.
  I found an ally in my colleague, the senior Senator from Illinois. We 
teamed up and put together legislation. That legislation gradually 
started gaining some support. At first, it gained more support on the 
other side of the aisle than it did on my side of the aisle, but we 
were pleased with the progress that was made. But in the fall of last 
year, we struck an agreement and we started making more progress. We 
introduced a bill called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. 
Like most legislative compromises, it isn't perfect and it doesn't 
accomplish everything that every member of our coalition might wish we 
could accomplish, but it is an extraordinarily great start, and it 
proves it is possible to design our laws in a way that can balance the 
sometimes competing interests of retribution and rehabilitation, 
justice and mercy, the rights of victims and the rights of 
  The Sentence Reform and Corrections Act will expand the now-limited 
discretion of Federal judges so they can treat offenders like human 
beings and not mere statistics and punish them according to their 
particular circumstances. It would broaden the Federal safety valve, a 
provision of existing law that allows judges to sentence a limited 
number of offenders below the mandatory minimum. Contrary to what many 
of this bill's critics claim, this would not absolve offenders of their 
crimes, nor would it suddenly and indiscriminately release legions of 
violent predators into our communities. In fact, under this reform, the 
status of violent offenders would not change at all. They would remain 
ineligible for Federal safety-valve relief.

  Our criminal justice system simply has to be flexible--at least 
flexible enough--to apply in many different situations. Prosecutors and 
judges need to have the ability to impose lengthy sentences on serious 
offenders who pose the greatest threat to public safety, just as they 
must have the ability to impose modest sentences on those who violate 
our laws but do not pose an ongoing threat to public safety. Whenever 
we interfere with the flexibility of either of these, we impair the 
effectiveness and the efficiency of our Federal criminal justice 
system. When we do that, we necessarily make our country less safe, 
rather than more safe.
  So this bill would leave untouched the maximum penalty levels that 
exist under current law. It also would not eliminate any mandatory 
minimum sentences. Instead, it takes a targeted approach, reducing the 
harshest mandatory penalties and providing relief for low-level 
offenders with limited criminal history. It is this type of offender 
that helped draw my attention to this issue back in 2004, just as I 
described a few minutes ago.
  One of the cases that was being handled by the office in which I 
worked, the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, 
involved a young man named Weldon Angelos, a young man in his 
midtwenties, the father of two young children. He got involved in some 
criminal activity and was caught selling three relatively small 
quantities--dime-bag quantities--of marijuana to what turned out to be 
an informant. Because Mr. Angelos had a gun on his person at the time 
of these transactions, because of the way he was charged, and because 
of the way some of these provisions of law have been interpreted--
including a provision of law in 18 USC, section 924(c)--Mr. Angelos 
received a sentence of 55 years in prison.
  Now, we may ask: What on Earth was this judge thinking? How could 
such a judge be so cruel, so arbitrary, so capricious as to sentence 
this young man to 55 years in prison for selling three dime-bag 
quantities of marijuana? The

[[Page S5050]]

judge didn't have a choice. In fact, it was the judge who first drew my 
attention to the case because it was the judge who took the unusual--
the almost unprecedented, almost unheard of--step of issuing a written 
opinion prior to the issuance of the sentence, disagreeing with the 
sentence the judge himself was about to impose.
  Then-Federal district judge Paul Cassell issued a lengthy opinion 
stating: This is a problem. This young man is about to receive a 
sentence that is excessive under any standard. It is a longer sentence 
than he would have received had he engaged in many acts of terrorism or 
kidnapping. So why are we sending this guy away until he is about 80 
years old simply because of this minimum mandatory penalty? But, the 
judge said: This is a problem I cannot address. This is a problem I am 
powerless to remedy. Only Congress can fix this problem.
  Those words have haunted me ever since then: Only Congress can fix 
this problem. So when I became a Senator in 2011, I still remembered 
those words. Those words continued to haunt me and continue to haunt me 
to this day.
  Miraculously, fortunately, Mr. Angelos has been released through a 
variety of procedural maneuvers that I don't have time to address right 
now. He himself has been released. Many others are still in prison, 
under the same system, who have been locked up for years--decades--at a 
time, much longer than any reasonable person would think would be a 
just sentence. In fact, I have yet to meet a single person--Democrat, 
Republican, old, young, male, female--who believes that the sentence 
Mr. Angelos received was just. His story, his example is a good reason 
why we need to pass this bill.
  Finally, this bill improves the quality of our Federal prisons. If it 
became law, it would increase access to vocational training, 
therapeutic counseling, reentry services, and other programs, so that 
we would have fewer first-time offenders turning into career criminals.
  All of these are commonsense and, I believe, long-overdue reforms. 
But make no mistake. We are at the beginning, not the end, of this 
generation's story of criminal justice reform. As all of us know, the 
road to reform is long and full of setbacks and obstacles. Today's 
movement for criminal justice reform is no exception. But so long as 
the people here today are involved in this effort, I am confident we 
can together succeed where our prisons today often fail--in preparing 
offenders to reintegrate into their communities as productive and law-
abiding citizens, as spouses, parents, neighbors, and employees, 
instead of career criminals.
  We can fix this problem. This bill would begin to address this 
problem. But we need to bring this up. We need to have the opportunity 
to debate this, to discuss this, to vote on it, and to pass it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The assistant Democratic leader.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, Senator Booker from New Jersey is on the 
floor. The three of us asked to come to the floor at 3, because the 
rollcall was delayed.
  I ask unanimous consent, if it is all right with the Senator from 
Ohio, that Senator Booker be allowed to follow and to complete his 
statement on the legislation we are supporting.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I am going to be brief because I want to 
defer and give my time to the Senator from New Jersey.
  We are going through a moment in America's history that we are going 
to remember for a long time. We are used to shooting deaths. Sadly, gun 
violence has become part of America. Unfortunately, we are also used to 
mass murders, where more than four people are killed in one of these 
shooting incidents. But it rocked America's conscience and soul when 
five policemen from Dallas were murdered. Those five policemen were 
Officer Brent Thompson, age 43; Officer Patrick Zamarripa, age 32; 
Officer Mike Krol, age 40; Senior Corporal Lorne Ahrens, age 48; and 
Sergeant Michael Smith, age 55.
  Yesterday, President Obama and former President Bush were there for 
the memorial service to honor these men and to honor everyone in law 
enforcement who gets up each morning, puts on a badge, and risks their 
lives for us--for me, for my family, for my neighbors, for my 
community, for my town, for my State, and for my Nation.
  America was rocked by the senseless murder that took place in Dallas, 
TX. But it isn't the only thing that has stunned the conscience of 
America. At the same time, we have seen some shocking and disturbing 
videos. In Baton Rouge, LA--the home State of the Presiding Officer--
Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old father, was shot and killed outside a 
convenience store. In Falcon Heights, MN, Philando Castile, age 32, was 
fatally shot in his car during a police traffic stop for a broken 
taillight. His fiancee and her 4-year-old daughter were in the car.
  Those three events came together--the killings of the police in 
Dallas, and these video shootings--and shocked the conscience of 
America in a way that I haven't seen before. It really called into 
question some basics about our country and where we are going and what 
we need to do.
  President Obama said we must try to find common ground when he spoke 
at this memorial service. He is right. I thought about that over the 
weekend, and I called my colleague and friend from New Jersey and 
talked to him about it. I said to him: When it comes to really showing 
America, and particularly those who feel aggrieved by the current State 
of justice, our bill on criminal justice reform speaks to a fundamental 
issue as to whether or not minority populations--people of color--are 
treated fairly in our system of justice.
  Senator Lee just spoke. For those who may not know him, Senator Lee 
is a conservative--a tea party conservative, I believe he would 
probably say--Republican from the State of Utah. Senator Lee is joining 
us--Durbin of Illinois, Booker of New Jersey, and Senator Grassley of 
Iowa--in this effort. How many times do we run into that, where four 
Senators with such diverse political beliefs come together on one 
bill--this bill? As Senator Lee explained, what we are setting out to 
do here is to right an injustice--an injustice that is filling the 
Federal prisons, sentencing individuals to lengthy sentences for 
nonviolent, nongun drug offenses.
  This is long overdue, and it is something that we need to do. If we 
did it, it would say yes to those across America who are asking: Is 
Congress listening? Is the Senate awake to what is going on in our 
country? It would say to them: Yes.
  On a bipartisan basis, these four Senators, and many more, are 
prepared to bring reform to our criminal justice correction and 
sentencing system. Will it solve all of our problems? No, not at all, 
but it is a significant step forward.
  I was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives over 25 years ago 
when a famous basketball star at the University of Maryland died from a 
drug overdose. We were shocked by this. They came in and said it is 
possible that he was a victim of crack cocaine. We had never heard the 
term before. What is crack cocaine? A new form of cocaine crystals that 
are cheap, highly addictive, and destructive. Len Bias was his name. We 
were asked to put into law a sentencing provision that would be a 
warning to everyone across America: Don't use crack cocaine.
  We did. We imposed a new sentencing guideline for crack cocaine 100 
times the penalty over powder cocaine--100 times. What it meant, sadly, 
over a span of 25 years is that hundreds, if not thousands, of 
individuals were convicted of possessing and selling crack cocaine and 
sentenced for extraordinarily long sentences.
  I ran into one of them in the city of Chicago. Let me tell a story. 
It is brief, but it tells a story.
  Alton Mills, age 24 in 1994, was a runner, a seller when it came to 
street drugs. He was caught on his third offense of selling street 
drugs. His third offense. He had never served a day in jail, not one. 
His two previous offenses ended up in probation, and he didn't end up 
with any correctional time. But this third one was the third strike. It 
turned out that Alton Mills at age 24, for his third sale of crack 
cocaine, was sentenced to life in prison--life in prison.
  He languished there. Thank goodness, his mom and dad never gave up on 
him. He found a public defender, whose name, ironically, was MiAngel 
Cody. She went to work and fought for

[[Page S5051]]

him and took her message to every office, including mine, and I took 
her message to the White House. Alton Mills' sentence was commuted. He 
came out of prison after 22 years behind bars. That is one example--22 
  What we are trying to do is come up with a sentencing system that is 
sensible, that punishes those who are guilty for sure, but does it in a 
smart and thoughtful way--reforming and saying to populations across 
America, yes, we can be a more just society.
  This criminal justice reform idea is one that is not only bipartisan, 
but it passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October of last 
year--October--by a vote of 15 to 5. It was a bipartisan rollcall vote 
that came out of committee. Why haven't we taken up this bill? Why 
don't we take this up as soon as we return in September? Why don't we 
say to people across America that we are going to do something positive 
in terms of restoring justice in this country to everyone across the 
board in this bipartisan bill?
  That is why we come to the floor today, and that is what we are 
asking for. It will save money for taxpayers in addition to bringing 
justice to the system. I believe the money we save can be brought back 
to our law enforcement agencies for training and equipment. So let's 
show our faith in their efforts to keep America safe, and let's show 
our commitment to justice in this reform.
  I am fortunate because I was joined in this struggle by a brand-new 
Senator from New Jersey then named Cory Booker. He has been an 
extraordinary voice in this effort.
  Senator Lee and I were doing pretty well until Cory Booker came 
along, and he has added more firepower and more horsepower to this 
effort than any other Senator could, certainly any new Senator. I 
commend him for helping us in this effort and being committed to it in 
his heart.
  At this time I would like to yield the floor to my junior colleague 
from the State of New Jersey, Senator Booker.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. BOOKER. Mr. President, I want to thank Mike Lee for coming to the 
floor and speaking with such heart and conviction. Also, I want to 
thank Senator Durbin for his stand on the floor today.
  Please understand, Senator Lee, Senator Grassley, Senator Durbin, 
Senator Leahy, and so many Senators on both sides of the aisle have 
been speaking on this issue for years. In fact, since before I became a 
U.S. Senator, this moment has come. As Senator Durbin began talking 
about the issues of the day, where there is so much frustration, so 
much concern, so much consternation, so much divisiveness on this issue 
of criminal justice in America, it made me think personally about this 
idea of hope because this week I have talked to a lot of people who 
seem to be indulging in a dangerous, toxic state of being, which is 
hopelessness about criminal justice issues in our country.
  I have appreciated Senator Durbin, who has not just been a senior 
Senator, not just been steadfast in working on this issue, but he has 
been a friend, calling me up, not just this past week but weeks before, 
when lots of Americans were indulging in hopelessness about the 
divisiveness in our country, about the injustices in our country, about 
the ravages of a broken criminal justice system.
  As I have been thinking about hopelessness, I keep coming back to 
this understanding, taught to me by teachers on the streets of Newark, 
NJ, that hope does not exist in an abstract; that hope is the active 
conviction that no matter how bad things get, despair will not have the 
last word; that hope is a choice that must be made amidst hopelessness; 
that amidst despair, amidst frustration, you have to choose hope; and 
that choosing hope means you commit yourself to a process that doesn't 
divide this country but that unifies it with the conviction that we can 
be a nation that makes real the words we pledge when we say we are a 
nation, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice 
for all.
  This week we need those words. We need that hope. Mike Lee and Dick 
Durbin, two politicians on opposite sides of the spectrum, said: Hey, 
this is a time that we should be pushing hope, indivisibility, and we 
have a bill that addresses issues at the core of so much of the 
frustration going on. It doesn't solve all the issues, it doesn't wave 
a wand, but it will advance us toward liberty and justice for all 
because, unequivocally, we have gone off the rails.
  Since 1980, the land of the free broke with the rest of the world and 
became the incarceration nation. Our prison population has exploded 
since 1980. The Federal prison population is up 800 percent. Our 
overall prison population is up 500 percent. We have only about 5 
percent of the globe's population, but one out of every four 
incarcerated people on the planet Earth are right here in America.
  In response to a criminal justice system that has lost its 
proportionality in its punishment and that seems to have become more 
about retribution than restorative justice, a criminal justice system 
that is rife with the stories that Mike Lee talked about when he talked 
about Weldon Angelos and a judge who himself cried out about the 
injustice of sentencing someone to 55 years for a nonviolent drug crime 
or Alton Mills, whom Senator Durbin spoke about, who was sentenced to 
life in prison for a nonviolent drug crime, we in America went off the 
  I am hopeful today because on the right and the left, not just 
Members of this body but from the Koch brothers to Newt Gingrich, to 
Grover Norquist, to the ACLU, people on both sides of the political 
spectrum said we can do better because this broken criminal justice 
system is hurting us. Rather than being a tool for public safety and 
social order, as was intended by our criminal justice system, it 
instead became an industry and an end to itself. It became a massive 
exploding bureaucracy, draining our economic prosperity.
  In fact, one study has shown we would have 20 percent less poverty in 
America if our incarceration rates were similar to our industrial 
peers. This has been a divisive drain on our cohesive society, a 
misappropriation of taxpayer funds.
  While our infrastructure has been crumbling, we have led the planet 
Earth in building out a prison infrastructure. In fact, between the 
time I was in law school in the mid-1990s to the time I became mayor of 
Newark, we were building a new prison in this country every 10 days.
  Congress has increased Federal spending on prisons alone by 45 
percent since about the year 2000. Congress has cut spending on the 
things that keep us safe, such as law enforcement at the State level, 
by 76 percent--putting someone like Weldon Angelos in prison for 55 
years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in a long, disproportionate 
sentence for a nonviolent crime that could have gone to public safety, 
like hiring police officers for our community. What is painful to me in 
this time is that our criminal justice system--the data that I gave 
would be painful enough, but our criminal justice system clearly 
disproportionately affects poor people, leading authors like Bryan 
Stevenson to say that we have a criminal justice system that seems to 
treat you better if you are rich and guilty than poor and innocent.
  Blacks and Whites have no difference in America in using or selling 
drugs, but African Americans are about 3.6 times more likely to get 
arrested for selling drugs. Instead of a criminal justice system that 
unites us under principles of justice and fairness, we see it 
disproportionately persecuting groups because they are poor or because 
they are of color.
  If you look at Latinos, they account for the largest group of 
offenders convicted of offenses that have a mandatory minimum at 38 
percent. Native Americans are grossly overrepresented in the criminal 
justice system with an incarceration rate 38 percent higher than the 
national average.
  Eighty percent of Americans in our criminal justice system are 
represented by public defenders, meaning that they are deemed by the 
court to be indigent, to be too poor to afford an attorney.
  Our justice system does not reflect our values. This drug war is not 
being carried out in a way that is fair or just, and it is not just 
hurting the poor, the mentally ill, the drug addicted, the minorities. 
It hurts all Americans because it drains our resources; it drains our 
treasure. When I say ``treasure,'' I

[[Page S5052]]

don't just mean money. We have come to a point in America today where 
millions of children have had parents who are incarcerated, and it 
hurts generationally the best of our Nation, the promise of our Nation.
  The irony about our lack of action in putting this bill to a vote is 
that States are already moving more quickly than we are. Red States, 
Georgia and Mississippi and Texas, have been doing things for years 
that we have been proposing in this bill, and have yet to enact, that 
have shrunk their prison populations. Guess what has happened in States 
such as Texas and Georgia and Mississippi, which have lowered their 
prison populations. Guess what happened. Their crime went down, as 
well, because when you have a system that is not about retribution but 
about restorative justice, that has proportionality in sentences, you 
not only save money for your State, but you also empower people to 
succeed and lower crime.
  When States start to put drug addicts in treatment as opposed to 
jail, it empowers people to succeed, saves money, and lowers the prison 
population. It is common sense. Red states have acted. We have seen the 
success. But in the Federal prison population, there is an 800 percent 
increase. It takes away money that should be spent on homeland 
security, money that should be spent on investing in public safety, 
money that should be spent for our public universities, money that 
should be saved for the taxpayers but is now going, still fueling one 
of the biggest growing bureaucracies we have seen in the last 40 years.
  This calls for unity in our country. I tell you, we have unity. When 
I can stand in partnership with Mike Lee and Chuck Grassley, when you 
have people like Patrick Leahy and Dick Durbin--these folks are not 
normally mentioned together as partners on legislation, but I am proud 
that some of the most esteemed Members, the chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee and the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, both agree 
that we can put more justice in our justice system. We can do something 
to reverse this trend, and we can begin to put rationality back so that 
the values of this country are made more real.
  I am proud to have negotiated and worked with Chairman Grassley, who 
is sitting across the aisle from me right now. I am honored. In the 3 
years I have been in the Senate, one of the more proud things that I 
have accomplished is to find common ground with my Republican 
colleagues on the other side in a bill that I know--from the 
neighborhood and block that I live on to across the country--would make 
a difference.
  Now we have encountered some sclerosis, some blockage. A dam exists 
between where we stand now and greater justice for our Nation. This has 
been a tough week. It has been a week of frustration and grief and 
sadness. This is a time that we should choose hope. It is a time that 
we should choose unity. It is a time that this very body should be 
saying to America: Hey, we have challenges, but we can find common 
ground. We can come together, left and right, Black and White. We can 
do better than we are doing now. It is a hard walk that we have ahead, 
but this body can start leading on issues of justice.
  There have been other difficult times in our country when this body 
answered the call. There have been times where people were fearful, 
people doubted, and there have been times where people felt their heart 
was heavy. I am proud that, in our history, it was in those times that 
leaders emerged and chose hope.
  My prayer is that in the waning days of this Congress, with all the 
important things we have on our agenda, we remember that there are 
people right now who are stuck in despair. There are people who don't 
believe in our indivisibility, as we say in our Pledge of Allegiance. 
There are people who are frustrated. It is my hope, when it comes to 
issues of criminal justice, a system that is so obviously broken, that 
we choose reform; that we choose healing; that we demonstrate unity; 
that on this issue we bring forward a bipartisan bill that begins to 
cast away some of the darkness that hangs over our country with the 
light and wisdom that is in this bill that reflects both sides of the 
political aisle and, I believe, that reflects the best of who we are as 
a body.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I rise because I continue to believe 
that the Senate should take up the Sentencing Reform and Corrections 
Act. There is still time this year for both the Senate and the other 
body to pass legislation reforming sentencing. In light of recent and 
justified public concern over treatment of suspects by some police and 
treatment of police by people who would do them harm, the need for the 
bill is even greater.
  The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act contains three parts, each 
of which was formed as the basis of a bipartisan compromise among 
Judiciary Committee members, as well as members off the Committee.
  The first is a reduction in the mandatory minimum sentences for 
nonviolent drug offenders. The bill takes great pains to limit 
sentencing reductions to people with minimal criminal histories and no 
history of serious violence. Second, the bill enhances prison 
programming that has been proven to reduce the likelihood of 
reoffending, and reduces the sentences of inmates who successfully 
completed those programs. Reducing the likelihood of future crimes 
reduces the crime rate. And third, the bill makes various reforms to 
the federal criminal justice system. For instance, it allows people 
convicted of certain crimes as juveniles to expunge their criminal 
records if they turn their lives around. And it remedies a 
constitutional defect in Federal criminal law by permitting individuals 
sentenced to life sentences as juveniles to seek parole after many 
years, but doesn't guarantee that parole will be granted. It even adds 
two new mandatory minimum sentences to the Federal criminal code for 
serious crimes.
  The confidence of people in the criminal justice system is not as 
strong as we would like. There are various reasons for this lack of 
trust, and some of them are valid.
  The Judiciary Committee reported a compromise bill that is designed 
to address some of those concerns. The sponsors' willingness to 
compromise was further demonstrated by a managers' amendment that 
narrowed the bill's sentencing reductions.
  Those changes responded to concerns of some of my Republican 
colleagues and brought on board a number of new Republican cosponsors.
  I have been willing for a long time to enter into an agreement where 
members can offer amendments of various kinds and we can vote. For 
instance, the House has determined that a provision of substantive 
criminal law addressing intent should be part of any bill. I have been 
open to any compromise on that issue that could gain 60 votes. And I 
would agree to have a vote on the subject if a compromise cannot be 
reached. The differences can be aired and resolved.
  I am certain that this bill would receive many more than 60 votes and 
that most of the Republican conference would vote for it if given the 
  No one thinks the sentencing bill is perfect, as it represents a 
compromise among people with strong differences of opinion. But the 
people of this country want action to address deficiencies in the 
criminal justice system.
  This bill would make important but limited changes in the way the 
Federal Government sentences those who commit crimes.
  We should take the bill up, debate it, and show the American people 
that we are willing to take on one of the most important domestic 
challenges facing the country.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I rise to talk about the Comprehensive 
Addiction and Recovery Act. We had a good vote earlier today on 
proceeding to that legislation, and it is my expectation and hope that 
we will vote on this legislation either today or tomorrow morning.
  Let me say first say, this legislation called CARA, the Comprehensive 
Addiction and Recovery Act, also includes some criminal justice reform. 
It is one step closer to this broader bill that Senator Grassley and 
Senator Booker just talked about. I am a cosponsor of their bill 
because I do think we need sentencing reform, but CARA actually

[[Page S5053]]

has some reforms called diversion programs. Instead of putting people 
who are in the criminal justice system and addicted to drugs in prison, 
they are put into a treatment program, and those treatment programs 
have proven to be successful. We have drug court funding and specific 
new programs for our veterans. The notion is, this is part of criminal 
justice reform, to actually take people who are suffering from drug 
addiction in the criminal justice system and move them into treatment, 
which makes so much more sense for them, their families, taxpayers, 
their communities. That is part of this underlying legislation that we 
will vote on later today in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery 
  I also support broader legislation. I am hoping the broader 
legislation will have more to do with the prisoner reentry programs as 
well--the so-called second chance. I am the author of the Second Chance 
Act from my House days, and I hope that legislation can be reauthorized 
as part of this larger criminal justice reform issue.
  Today I will focus on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act 
because this legislation is badly needed. It is an emergency in our 
communities right now. This is the heroin and prescription drug issue 
that unfortunately many more people are learning about because it is 
affecting many more of us.
  I had a tele-townhall meeting last night, which I do monthly. We had 
25,000 Ohioans on the call. We typically have a few polls where we ask 
about the top issues. Last night, we asked how many people on the call 
were directly affected by the heroin and prescription drug issue. We 
asked people to indicate that by hitting ``1'' for a yes and ``2'' for 
a no. Sixty-eight percent of the people on this call said: Yes, they 
were directly affected. We had a lot of calls from people who were 
affected. We had a call from a woman whose stepson was addicted and he 
was trying to get treatment but couldn't find a place, and they wanted 
me to help them find a proper place to get treatment and recovery 
services. Others called in about the legislation and asked why we 
haven't passed it yet. My answer to them was, it is coming and help is 
on the way.
  I am frustrated, just as they are, that we haven't moved more quickly 
on this, but, again, we finally had a vote today to move this 
legislation forward. I hope the final passage vote will occur later 
today or tomorrow morning, and we will be able to get this to the 
President's desk for his signature.
  It initially passed the Senate with a 94-to-1 vote back on March 10. 
It then went over to the House of Representatives, where the House 
worked through their own process. They had 18 separate bills rather 
than 1 comprehensive bill, and then in the period between then and now, 
we have had this conference between the House and Senate to work out 
the differences. That conference report was voted on in the House last 
Friday, and it was an overwhelming vote. Why? Because this makes so 
much sense. Again, on the Senate floor today we had a very strong vote 
result of 90 to 2 on the cloture motion to move this legislation 
forward, and I am hopeful we will have a strong vote tomorrow morning 
so we can send this to the President and get it to our communities and 
begin to get those who need it some help.
  The legislation is considered by some to be inadequate because it 
doesn't have enough funding in it. Well, it is not a funding bill. It 
is not an appropriations bill. It is a bill that establishes new 
programs to fund new and better ways to deal with addiction. It 
authorizes significant new spending. Since the Senate passed the bill 
with a 94-to-1 vote, only two things have happened with regard to 
funding. One is that we more than doubled the authorization so there is 
more funding authorized--$181 million per year. Second, we also had the 
Appropriations Committee go through its process and both the Senate and 
House Appropriations Committee voted to actively increase funding in 
this area, and that is a good thing.
  I think it is an emergency, I think it is urgent, and I think we 
should spend more money here because it will save money over the long 
haul and because there are so many people who are not achieving their 
God-given purpose because this addiction has taken them off track. We 
have to help them and help them now. We have to help keep people from 
getting into that funnel of addiction by focusing more on prevention 
and education, but all that has happened since the 94-to-1 vote in the 
Senate is that there has been a 93-percent increase over last year's 
funding which will go into effect next year, and by the way that is a 
539-percent increase over the funding just 2 years ago.

  The House appropriations bill has a bigger increase in the funding. I 
will fight for that funding, and I will fight to ensure that that 
funding actually applies to the programs that are in the Comprehensive 
Addiction and Recovery Act because it is the kind of legislation that 
will actually make a difference helping to ensure that we can begin to 
turn the tide on this issue.
  The legislation before us is one that 94 Senators have already voted 
for, and, again, it passed the House with big numbers so I am hopeful 
there will not be any roadblocks in the way of getting it done.
  Today I was asked by some people: What does the bill really do? I 
started to go through all of the specific grant programs for our 
veterans, mothers who are pregnant, kids who are born dependent on 
drugs, and those folks who find themselves unable to get treatment. 
There are specific provisions for our law enforcement personnel, which 
is why the Fraternal Order of Police has been a strong supporter. I 
appreciate them for standing up early as a law enforcement entity. 
Others have backed this legislation as well because it provides more 
training on how to use this miracle drug called Narcan, or naloxone, 
which will help save people who have overdosed. There are a lot of 
specific programs here, but I think the answer to the question as to 
what it does is pretty simple. For the first time ever in this United 
States Congress, it begins to treat addiction like the disease it is, 
and this means, by necessity, if it is a disease, we need to get people 
into treatment. It begins to change the way we approach addiction by 
saying: Let's remove the stigma so people will come forward and 
families are willing to talk about it.
  Last night on that call, when 68 percent of the respondents to the 
poll said they were directly affected by this issue, I bet many of 
those people had not thought about talking about that issue publicly. I 
think this legislation helps to establish the fact that this is a 
  This legislation will also help deal with an underlying problem, 
which is how we will deal with prescription drugs in our communities. 
Too often in our society there has been an overprescribing of 
painkillers that are addictive.
  I heard another story today, and I hear them every day when I am back 
home. This was somebody whose family member had gone to the hospital 
for a knee operation, and when he was done with the procedure, the 
doctor gave him 80 Percocets. He didn't take any of them because he 
didn't need them, but his point was: Why 80 pills? Four out of five of 
the heroin addicts in Ohio and around this country started with 
prescription drugs, and often it was very inadvertent. It was something 
where someone had a wisdom tooth taken out and was given a number of 
these prescription pain pills but didn't understand the risks. When 
that person started taking them, there was a physiological change in 
that person's brain. That person became addicted and that person went 
to heroin and that person then died of an overdose. That has happened 
to two families in my home State. Those parents have now come forward 
not to just tell that story and share their grief but to channel that 
grief into something positive, which is to let other parents know. That 
is in this legislation. We have a national awareness program to let 
people know about the fact that the prescription drug link to heroin, 
opioids, and addiction is real, and we must be very careful.
  For the first time ever in Federal law, it also promotes recovery. 
Treatment is one thing, but as one of my friends back home who is in 
recovery told me, getting clean is easier, but staying clean is hard. 
In other words, so often what we found as we did our research around 
the country is that people go through a treatment program, but the 
recovery services aren't

[[Page S5054]]

there to take them through that longer term support to enable them to 
stay clean. Tragically, we save a life only to see someone overdose 
again later. Recovery is about finishing the job and helping people get 
their lives back, and it is an incredibly important part of this 
  Earlier this week, I spoke to Faces & Voices of Recovery. They have 
been terrific in promoting this legislation, and just as important, 
letting people who are in recovery know that you have friends, that 
this can be addressed, and that you can come out on the other side as a 
person who is achieving their purpose in life and God-given abilities. 
You can get through this.
  I was honored to speak at their rally here in Washington, DC. This 
was about a year ago, and they brought in people from all over the 
country. They had some great entertainers and people who were willing 
to stand up for the first time and say: I am in recovery. If you are in 
recovery, too, we want to embrace and help you.
  One of the advocates whom I met with the other night is a woman named 
Sarah Nerad. Sarah is someone I have gotten to know over the years. A 
couple of years ago, we had a roundtable discussion as this legislation 
was being drafted, and Sarah told me her story. She was a recovering 
addict who went to Ohio State University. She found there were no 
support services at the university. She started a student recovery 
support community. That community at Ohio State University not only has 
a lot of people now joining and participating in it--recovering 
addicts, family members, and friends--but she is also now spreading 
this at colleges and universities around the country.
  There are grants in this legislation to promote these support 
communities because they work, and I hold up Sarah as an example of 
someone who was brave and courageous enough to talk about her addiction 
and therefore was able to get other people attracted to her and her 
support group. As a result, she was able to go on and help so many 
other people and change so many other lives, and really, in her case, 
to be able to say that she is a major part of this legislation, because 
we included this partly because of her testimony and her stories.

  Until we end this stigma, we are not going to make the progress that 
we must. The Drug Enforcement Agency tells us that this is not getting 
better, this is getting worse. They tell us that from 2010 until the 
most recent data we have, which is 2014, there has been a tripling of 
heroin overdoses.
  In my own State of Ohio, we have seen a dramatic increase. Since 
March 10, when 94 Senators voted for CARA, we have lost more than 
14,000 Americans. Think about that. Since March 10, more than 14,000 
Americans have succumbed. In other words, they have overdosed and died 
from heroin and prescription drugs, opioid overdoses. Unfortunately, 
this is just the tip of the iceberg.
  As horrible as those numbers are--the 14,000 overdose deaths--think 
of all the casualties. Think of the 16,000 people in Ohio who have been 
saved from overdoses by Narcan. But many of them have not gotten into 
treatment, have not gone into recovery, and they continue to be broken 
apart from their families. The drugs are everything--not their kids, 
not their parents. They continue to be unable or unwilling to work. 
They continue to commit crimes. In most communities in my home State of 
Ohio, law enforcement will tell us that the No. 1 cause of crime is 
this issue. They continue to be unable to pursue their God-given 
abilities. Those are the casualties of this.
  No one suffers alone. In Ohio, we are told that 200,000 people are 
now struggling with addiction. That is the size of a major city in 
Ohio. Many of those addicted are parents. We are told that 30 percent--
think about this--30 percent of all kids in Ohio who are in the custody 
of the State are there because their parents are opioid users. Among 
infants, that number is 70 percent. Seventy percent of the infants who 
are in the custody of the State of Ohio are there because their parents 
are opioid users. I call that an epidemic.
  It is driving up crime, as I said. In Marion, OH, Police Chief Bill 
Collins put it this way: ``All of the property crimes we have--the 
shoplifting, the theft, the robberies--all go back to one thing, and 
that's heroin.'' That is a quote from him. He says that this epidemic 
makes him and other law enforcement officials feel like they are ``in 
the ocean without a life jacket.'' That is what we are trying to do 
with CARA, is to provide that life jacket.
  It is not just the silver bullet. It won't solve all the problems. 
Washington is not going to solve this problem--it is going to be solved 
in our communities and in our hearts--but this will help. It will help 
make the Federal Government a much better partner with State and local 
government, with the wonderful nonprofits that are doing the good work, 
and with the families and the communities.
  Last week, in just one 36-hour period in Akron, OH, 20 people 
overdosed on opioids, 3 of them fatally. That is not even 2 days in one 
city. When the first responders arrived at one of the overdoses, by the 
way, there were two small children present.
  In Central Ohio, in Columbus, nine people overdosed, two of them 
fatally, on Sunday. That is in one city in 1 day. Two of those occurred 
at McDonald's, by the way, with families around. It was in broad 
  A few months ago, we lost seven-time Grammy Award winner Prince to a 
fentanyl overdose. We all know about Prince. You might not know that 
this week, 10-time Grammy Award-winning singer Chaka Khan checked into 
a rehabilitation center for fentanyl addiction. I want to commend her 
for having the courage to admit she needed help and for taking the 
steps--very publicly--necessary to get her life back on track. This 
will help others to do the same thing. God bless you for doing it. I 
think this is, sadly, an instructive case because, much like Prince, 
she has fame, she has fortune, 10 No. 1 hit songs, and all of the 
talent you could ever ask for. Most people would say those aren't the 
kinds of people who get addicted. Addiction knows no ZIP Code. 
Addiction spares no one. It affects people of every single background.
  If you talk to people in Ohio, they get it. Ohioans understand the 
scope of this epidemic now, and they are taking action. They expect us 
to help and to take action too. That is what this legislation is about. 
They couldn't believe how slow we have moved on this. They couldn't 
believe these ideas that we might try to delay this further for reasons 
that had nothing to do with the substance.
  The Talawanda School District outside of my hometown of Cincinnati, 
OH, announced last week that they are now adding to their health and 
wellness curriculum key information about opiates. I talked to a couple 
of superintendents today who are doing the same thing in their schools. 
I believe this is critical to preventing overdoses from beginning in 
the first place, by using better prevention and identification, keeping 
people from getting into that funnel of addiction, and that is what is 
happening. CARA supports this.
  In Trumbull County, OH, more than 200 Ohioans participated in a Walk 
Against Heroin over the Fourth of July weekend. Again, people are 
starting to take action.
  I know it can be very discouraging. The scope of this problem is 
overwhelming, but there is hope. Treatment can work. Recovery does 
work. If we can get this legislation to the President, I am confident 
he will sign it into law, and in many more of our communities we will 
have better treatment and better recovery and more hope for the people 
we represent.
  I thank Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for his work with me on this 
issue. He has been the coauthor of this. We started more than 3 years 
ago, going to conferences here in Washington, DC. We had five 
conferences. We brought in experts from all over the country--people 
whom I have talked about earlier included--from Ohio but every State. 
We talked about how to actually make a difference in communities around 
the country. We didn't care where the idea came from--Republican, 
Democrat, Independent. That didn't matter. What mattered was whether 
the idea made sense. Senator Whitehouse and his staff have done a 
terrific job in keeping this bill moving and making sure we didn't get 
off track.
  I also thank other colleagues who have been helpful, especially 

[[Page S5055]]

Kelly Ayotte and Senator Amy Klobuchar for their passion and for their 
help in crafting this legislation.
  The American people are tired of the partisanship. We all hear that. 
We all know that. It is time for us to act.
  I also thank some of the staff who have been so helpful on this 
legislation and who have put their heart and soul into this effort, 
including Megan Harrington, Pam Thiessen, Mark Isakowitz, Teri Geiger, 
Brian Riedl, Allen Ernst, and Sarah Schmidt on my staff. I am proud of 
their work throughout this process.
  I thank all the advocates we have worked with all across Ohio and all 
across the country. They have been here in Washington. They helped us 
to get the great vote in the House last week, and they are working 
today on the vote tonight or tomorrow. I want to point out in 
particular that Jessica Nickel has helped to keep us all moving in the 
same direction. The outside advocates have been terrific.

  Last, I thank those who have shared their stories, and most 
importantly, I thank them for their willingness to allow us to hear 
from them. These are people who are in recovery. These are people who 
are in the trenches, dealing every day with this issue, who are 
providing the love and the attention and the support to help people get 
their treatment and into recovery. These are our first responders who 
are out there on the frontlines dealing with this issue every single 
day. These are our doctors and nurses who find our waiting rooms and 
our emergency rooms are filled with people who have addiction problems 
and overdoses. These are the people who work in the neonatal units with 
these babies who are born dependent, a 750-percent increase in my home 
State just in the last 12 years, and they take these babies through a 
recovery and treatment program so that they can be healthy and get back 
on track. I thank all of them.
  I want to finish with a story. About a year ago I visited a treatment 
center in Ohio. I have been to more than a dozen treatment centers in 
my home State to talk about this issue and to get ideas. It was the 
Zeph Center, which is a center in Toledo, OH. I had asked if we could 
have a discussion, a roundtable discussion, and sure enough, we did. At 
this roundtable discussion, some people came forward who are in 
recovery. There were about a dozen people there. Again, I congratulate 
them for coming forward and for being willing to talk to me and to be 
public. There were people there from the community who heard their 
stories for the first time, and they did share their stories, but also 
they came ready to talk. They had reviewed the draft legislation. They 
had it in front of them. They had ideas. They had input. They had 
looked at every single section of the bill. They knew what programs 
were funded. They talked about what they thought worked and what didn't 
work in their lives. It was an example of the process we went through 
with this legislation. It wasn't just a bunch of people in Washington 
saying we know what is best; it was people back home saying: We need 
this help, and we want to be sure you do it right. And by the way, keep 
it nonpartisan. Make sure we get this done. Don't let anything get in 
the way.
  That is what we have done. That is what we will do tonight or 
tomorrow morning when we vote on this bill. That is why it is so 
important that we get it passed, because it is those recovering addicts 
at the Zeph Center and others around the State of Ohio who have 
patiently waited for this legislation. It is now our duty to deliver 
that legislation and help turn the tide in this epidemic.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.

                          Our American Family

  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I rise today to give my second speech this 
week discussing the issues we are facing as a nation following last 
week's tragedies in Dallas, Minnesota, and Baton Rouge. This speech is 
perhaps the most difficult because it is the most personal.
  On Monday, I talked about how the vast majority of our law 
enforcement officers have only two things in mind: protect and serve. 
But, as I noted then, we do have serious issues that must be resolved.
  In many cities and towns across the Nation, there is a deep divide 
between the Black community and law enforcement. There is a trust gap, 
a tension that has been growing for decades. And as a family, one 
American family, we cannot ignore these issues because while so many 
officers do good--and as I said on Monday, we should be very thankful 
and supportive of all of those officers who do good--some simply do 
not. I have experienced it myself.
  So today I want to speak about some of those issues--not with anger, 
although I have been angry. I tell my story not out of frustration, 
although at times I have been frustrated. I stand here before you today 
because I am seeking for all of us, the entire American family, to work 
together so we all experience the lyrics of a song that we can hear but 
not see: peace, love, and understanding. Because I shuddered when I 
heard Eric Garner say, ``I can't breathe.'' I wept when I watched 
Walter Scott turn and run away and get shot in the back and killed. And 
I broke when I heard the 4-year-old daughter of Philando Castile's 
girlfriend tell her mother, ``It's OK, I'm right here with you.'' These 
are people. Lost forever. Fathers, brothers, sons.
  Some will say and maybe even scream: But they have criminal records. 
They were criminals. They had spent time in jail.
  And while having a record should not sentence you to death, I say, 
OK, then, I will share with you some of my own experiences or the 
experiences of good friends and other professionals.
  I can certainly remember the very first time I was pulled over by a 
police officer as just a youngster. I was driving a car that had an 
improper headlight. It didn't work right. And the cop came up to my 
car, hand on his gun, and said: Boy, don't you know your headlights are 
not working properly? I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and scared--very 
  But instead of sharing experience after experience, I want to go to a 
time in my life as an elected official to share just a couple of 
stories as an elected official. But please remember that in the course 
of 1 year, I have been stopped seven times by law enforcement 
officers--not four, not five, not six, but seven times in 1 year as an 
elected official. Was I speeding sometimes? Sure. But the vast majority 
of the time I was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car 
in the wrong neighborhood or some other reason just as trivial.
  One of the times I remember I was leaving the mall. I took a left out 
of the mall, and as soon as I took a left, a police officer pulled in 
right behind me. That was my first time. I got to another traffic 
light, and I took another left into a neighborhood. The police followed 
behind me. I took a third left onto the street that at the time led to 
my apartment complex and then finally I took a fourth left coming into 
my apartment complex, and then the blue lights went on. The officer 
approached the car and said that I did not use my turn signal on the 
fourth turn. Keep in mind, as my colleagues might imagine, I was paying 
very close attention to the law enforcement officer who followed me on 
four turns. Do you really think that somehow I forgot to use my turn 
signal on the fourth turn? Well, according to him, I did.
  Another time, I was following a friend of mine. We had just left 
working out and we were heading out to grab a bite to eat at about 4 
o'clock in the afternoon. He pulls out, and I pull out right behind 
him. We are driving down the road, and the blue lights come on. The 
officer pulls me into the median, and he starts telling me that he 
thinks perhaps the car is stolen. Well, I started asking myself--
because I was smart enough not to ask him but was asking myself--is the 
license plate coming in as stolen? Does the license plate match the 
car? I was looking for some rational reason that may have prompted him 
to stop me on the side of the road.
  I also think about the experiences of my brother, who became a 
command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, the highest rank for an 
enlisted soldier. He was driving from Texas to Charleston and was 
pulled over by a law enforcement officer who wanted to know if he had 
stolen the car he was driving because it was a Volvo.

[[Page S5056]]

  I do not know many African-American men who do not have a very 
similar story to tell, no matter the profession, no matter their 
income, no matter their position in life.
  I also recall the story of one of my former staffers--a great guy, 
about 30 years old--who drove a Chrysler 300, which is a nice car, 
without question, but not a Ferrari, not a super nice car. He was 
pulled over so many times here in DC for absolutely no reason other 
than that he was driving a nice car. He sold that car and bought a more 
obscure form of transportation. He was tired of being targeted. Imagine 
the frustration, the irritation, the sense of a loss of dignity that 
accompanies each of those stops.
  Even here on Capitol Hill, where I have had the great privilege of 
serving the people of South Carolina as a U.S. Congress Member and as a 
U.S. Senator for the last 6 years--for those who don't know, there are 
a few ways to identify a Member of Congress or Senate. Well, typically, 
when you have been here for a couple of years, the law enforcement 
officers get to know your face and they identify you by face, but if 
that doesn't happen, then you have an ID badge, a license you can show 
them, or this really cool pin. I oftentimes said the House pin was 
larger because our egos are bigger. So we have a smaller pin in the 
Senate. It is easy to identify a U.S. Senator by our pin.
  I recall walking into an office building just last year after being 
here for 5 years in the capital, and the officer looked at me, full of 
attitude, and said, ``The pin I know, and you I don't. Show me your 
ID.'' I will tell you, I was thinking to myself, either he thinks I am 
committing a crime, impersonating a Member of Congress, or--or what? 
Well, I will tell you that later that evening I received a phone call 
from his supervisor apologizing for the behavior. That is at least the 
third phone call I have received from a supervisor or the Chief of 
Police since I have been in the Senate.
  So while I thank God I have not endured bodily harm, I have felt the 
pressure applied by the scales of justice when they are slanted. I have 
felt the anger, the frustration, the sadness, and the humiliation that 
comes with feeling like you are being targeted for nothing more than 
being just yourself.
  As the former staffer I mentioned earlier told me yesterday, there is 
absolutely nothing more frustrating, more damaging to your soul than 
when you know you are following the rules and you are being treated 
like you are not.
  But make no mistake--no matter this turmoil, these issues should not 
lead anyone to any conclusion other than to abide by the laws. I think 
the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., said it so well. Returning 
violence with violence only leads to more violence and to even darker 
nights, nights, to paraphrase, without stars. There is never ever an 
acceptable reason to harm a member of our law enforcement community--
ever. I don't want anybody to misinterpret the words I am saying.
  Even in the times of great darkness, there is light. As I shared 
Monday, there are hundreds--thousands of stories of officers who go 
beyond the call of duty. Ms. Taylor--whom I spoke about on Monday 
night--at the Dallas incident was covered completely by at least three 
officers who were willing to lose their lives to save hers. We have a 
real opportunity to be grateful and thankful for our men and women in 
  I shared another story on Monday night as well, and while the one I 
want to tell you today does not involve a tragic loss of life, it does 
show support that meant a lot to me at the time it occurred. Prior to 
serving in the U.S. Senate, I was an elected official on the county 
level, State level, and a Member of the U.S. Congress. I believe it is 
my responsibility to hang out and be with my constituents as often as 
possible and to hear their concerns. At some point during my time as a 
public servant, I traveled to an event I was invited to along with two 
staffers and two law enforcement officers--all four were White, and me. 
When we arrived at the event, the organizer seemed to have a particular 
issue with me coming to the event. They allowed my two staffers to go 
into the event and seemed fine with allowing the two officers to go 
into the event, who both said they weren't going in unless I was going 
in. So in order to avoid a tense situation, I opted to leave because 
there is no winning that kind of debate ever. But I was so proud and 
thankful for those two law enforcement officers who were enraged by 
this treatment. It was such a moment that I will never forget and a 
situation that I would love to forget.
  This situation happens all across the country. This situation happens 
all across the country whether or not we want to recognize it. It may 
not happen a thousand times a day, but it happens too many times a day, 
and to see it as I have had the chance to see it helps me understand 
why this issue has wounds that have not healed in a generation. It 
helps me to appreciate and to understand and helps me communicate why 
it is time for this American family to have a serious conversation 
about where we are, where we are going, and how to get there. We must 
find a way to fill these cracks in the very foundation of our country.
  Tomorrow I will return with my final speech in this three-part series 
on solutions and how to get to where we need to go by talking about the 
policies that get us there and the people solutions because I, like 
you, Mr. President, don't believe that all answers are in government. I 
don't believe all the solutions we need start in government, but we 
need people doing things that only individuals can do.
  Today, however, I simply ask you this: Recognize that just because 
you do not feel the pain, the anguish of another, does not mean it does 
not exist. To ignore their struggles--our struggles--does not make them 
disappear; it simply leaves you blind and the American family very 
vulnerable. Some search so hard to explain away justice that they are 
slowly wiping away who we are as a nation. We must come together to 
fulfill what we all know is possible here in America--peace, love and 
understanding. Fairness.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The Senator from California.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, before Senator Scott leaves the floor, let 
me say to my colleague how much I appreciate his frank discussion 
today. We are so blessed to have you and Cory Booker here. We don't 
have enough diversity here--let me just be clear. As much as all of us 
want to walk in each other's shoes because we each have different 
experiences in our lives, it really matters who is in the room, who is 
at the microphone, who is sharing the truth.
  Senator Scott has shared a truth with us today, and I want to say 
Senator Booker shared similar stories with us in our caucus, and it is 
life-changing for us. I so appreciate everything you said, and it makes 
us better to have you and Cory Booker here.

                             Race Relations

  Having said that, Mr. President, I think it is important to discuss a 
very similar topic, which is the status of race relations today, 
because I don't think Senator Scott and Senator Booker should have to 
be the ones to have to carry this forward.
  Mr. President, when I was a little girl--I was 10--I came face-to-
face with ugly, vile, stupid, and dangerous discrimination. I cheered 
on Jackie Robinson with all my girl power to counteract what my dad 
said was hatred aimed at Jackie because of the color of his skin. And 
how blessed was I when I worked hard with a Republican colleague to 
make sure Jackie Robinson got the Congressional Medal of Honor.
  When I was with my mother in Florida--the same age, 10 years old, 
1950--I saw African Americans forced to sit in the back of the bus. I 
got up to offer my seat to an elderly woman. She must have been 55 at 
the time--I was 10--she looked old to me. I stood up and she refused 
me. She said no, no. I was hurt.
  I said to my mother: What is happening here? Why won't the woman take 
my seat?
  And my mother said: Segregation.
  Well, growing up in Brooklyn, this made no sense to me. My mother 
could have let it go; instead, she told me to follow her to the back of 
the bus--not that anyone noticed, but we knew exactly what we were 
doing. And I felt like a part of her team--part of a team against this 
craziness where people had to go to the back of the bus simply because 
of the color of their skin.
  The civil rights movement has made enormous progress in our laws, but 

[[Page S5057]]

trouble remains in our hearts. There is too much hatred in our 
communities. But let's be clear. Whether you are a police officer--
regardless of the color of your skin--kissing your family goodbye in 
the morning or the parents of a young African-American teenager, no one 
should ever have to fear that they will not see their loved ones at 
night. Yet that is a truth in America--a truth that has been witnessed 
by a couple of our Senators. No one should have to fear that they won't 
see their loved ones at night because of this type of hatred.
  Now is not the time to paint whole groups of people with a broad 
brush because when you do that, that is the exact definition of 
prejudice. You can't broad-brush a whole community because of the color 
of their skin or their religion or whom they love, and you can't broad-
brush all the police in the police department.
  What we need is a de-escalation of suspicion and an escalation of 
trust--a de-escalation of suspicion and an escalation of trust. It is 
long past time that we stood together united. It is long past time that 
we look inside our own hearts, look inside our own souls, and banish 
the hatred. We must instead embrace each other and God's creation, 
because we--each of us--are God's creation. Dr. Martin Luther King 
wrote: ``Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they 
fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know 
each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate 
because they are separated.''

  That is what Martin Luther King said--a man who taught us love, a man 
who taught us compassion, a man who taught us nonviolence, a man who 
taught us to listen to each other, a man who taught us to walk in each 
other's shoes. So we need that conversation. We start it by breaking 
down barriers that separate us, bridging the gap between communities 
and law enforcement and establishing trust. Healing will begin in the 
streets. It should.
  Policing should be for the community, by the community, and with the 
community. When I was a county supervisor in the 1970s, there were 
police-versus-community issues. So I recommended, and my colleagues 
concurred, in a new system of community policing. What does it mean? It 
means you get the police out of a central precinct and you move them 
into the community. Relationships develop. It seems so right. It works 
so well that I was shocked when I got out of local government and I 
realized that not enough communities were following that same community 
policing method.
  Where it exists, there is cooperation and true protection of the 
community. It is an obvious step that should be implemented widely. 
Well, what can we do? We can't force people to love. We can suggest it. 
We can't force people to be tolerant. We can suggest it. But I think 
there are certain things we can do.
  I have introduced legislation with Senator Cory Booker. It is called 
the PRIDE Act. It would start us off by getting statistics that we 
need. How many shootings are there in our communities by the police 
toward the community? How many shootings by the community toward the 
police are there? Believe it or not, we don't really collect those 
numbers. We would provide funding for States for the use-of-force 
training for law enforcement agencies and personnel, including de-
escalation and violence training and funding for tip lines and hotlines 
and public awareness announcements to gain information regarding the 
use of force against the police. So it is a very balanced piece of 
legislation that looks at the problems on both sides.
  Secondly, we need to better support law enforcement agencies who work 
to advance the practice of community policing. Now, we can do that by 
increasing funding federally for the Justice Department's Community 
Policing Development Program, which provides law enforcement agencies 
with funding to implement innovative community policing practices. But 
guess what; the funding for this critical program, which may well be 
one of our most important programs, is $8 million a year. That is it 
for the whole country. It is not enough. We need to do better.
  Number three, we should provide dedicated funding for Justice 
Department programs to initiate formal gatherings or summits to bring 
community members and police into one conversation. Anyone who looked 
at Dallas understands how hard they are trying, how much they have 
done. When I saw President Obama with Mrs. Obama and President George 
W. Bush with Laura Bush, I was so happy.
  They are starting that conversation, the building of that trust, the 
tearing down of that suspicion. One of the founders of Black Lives 
Matter, Alicia Garza, said:

       ``We have so many different experiences that are rich and 
     complex. We need to bring all those experiences to the table 
     in order to achieve the solutions we desire.''

  To anyone listening to Senator Scott or anyone who has heard the 
stories or read some of the words of Senator Booker, we have a lot to 
learn. A U.S. Senator was stopped--he said seven times; this is what I 
heard Senator Scott say--in one year because of the color of his skin. 
What? It is just too much for these people to bear. We need to help 
them change policies that lead to this suspicion.
  Yes, we have so many different experiences that are rich and complex. 
We need to bring those experiences to the table. My friend the Senator 
from Alaska is here. We are only 20 women out of 100 Senators. I think 
our colleagues understand that we have brought something to the body. 
We have brought our experiences to the body. It transcends 
partisanship. When we are in the room, it is a little bit of a 
different conversation. Not that we are any better, but we have had 
different experiences. When our African-American colleagues tell us: 
Look at our lives. Look at what we have been through. We have the same 
job as you. Why are we pulled over seven times in a year? Why have we 
been scared? Something is wrong. We can't turn our back on it. We can't 
leave it up to just those two colleagues to lead us. We need to help 
them, work together, and have this conversation that Alicia Garza says 
we should have.
  Number four, we must formally recognize and encourage police 
departments that epitomize what it means to be a keeper of the peace--a 
keeper of the peace. That is what they want to be--those officers who 
attend community meetings after work, who spend their Saturdays playing 
basketball with the neighborhood kids, who attend church services so 
they can connect with the congregants, who take lower income children 
shopping for toys and gifts at Christmas, who stop to check in on 
residents just because they care. That is happening all over the 
country. That is why we can't paint people with a broad brush. It is 
  In my State, in the community of Vallejo, in the San Francisco Bay 
Area, you should see what some of these officers do. They had a growing 
divide between the community and the police. The police department knew 
something had to change. So they invited the public to participate in 
those changes. They held open-door community meetings. They created a 
citizen advisory board to ensure residents' voices were heard. They 
invited residents to experience their training simulator and give them 
a new perspective on that police experience.
  See it through our eyes, they said, and we will see it through your 
eyes, and let's deescalate the tension and escalate the trust. They put 
a high importance on the hiring of officers who had a connection to 
Vallejo and wanted to serve the public. They even started a late-night 
youth program at the local high school. They started change from within 
that community.
  So I think we should have a community policing innovation fund at the 
Justice Department which would reward law enforcement agencies and 
localities that are doing the right thing.
  Lastly, I want to bring up that issue where everyone goes into their 
corners. I beg colleagues not to go into their corners. We have to 
address gun violence. Now, we know we can't prevent every tragedy. But 
we can do some smart things while protecting the Second Amendment.
  We don't need military weapons on the streets. They are weapons of 
war. The family of the gentleman who developed these weapons said to 
his family: I didn't develop them for people on the streets; I 
developed them for the military and law enforcement. We can't have the 
people who are protecting us outgunned. We don't need

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these weapons on the streets. There is only one reason--to kill as many 
people as you can as fast as you can without reloading.
  Don't tell me hunters need this. That is a bunch of baloney. The 
people who want to keep these weapons on the street are the ones who 
sell them. Let's be clear. The vast majority of people support this. We 
can expand background checks--90 percent of the people support that, 
even a majority of NRA members--so we can keep guns out of the hands of 
criminals and the mentally ill.
  We should prohibit the sale or possession of high-capacity magazines 
and end the ban preventing the Centers for Disease Control from 
researching gun violence. Have you talked to doctors who work in big 
city hospitals? I have. They say: We are prepared to go to any war 
zone. Those are the kinds of wounds they see. They tremble at what they 
see. They mourn about what they see.
  Somebody goes out to a nightclub. They hide in the bathroom. They 
call their mother. They never see their family again.
  My State of California has created a new research center on gun 
violence to understand the impact of firearm fatalities and injuries 
and, hopefully, reduce them in the future. It should happen at the 
Federal level.
  There are 30,000 of our people killed a year by gun violence. We lost 
55,000 to 60,000 in the Vietnam War--a 10-year period. It tore the 
country apart. This is 300,000 of our people over 10 years.
  So I am going to close with this. There will always be bad people. I 
have lived long enough to know that. There will always be bad people. 
There will always be lost people. There will also be mean people. But 
we cannot and must not allow them to poison this Nation wherever they 
are. Good people--and that is most of America--must join hands across 
every line that divides us--race, religion, color, creed, and, yes, 
  We must call out the racists, the prejudiced, and the haters--whoever 
they are, wherever they are--even if they are in elected office. We 
have to support those who believe in community, who believe in 
community policing and not support those who refuse to admit that there 
is a problem with profiling. Just read what Senator Scott said about 
his life, about his fears, about what happened to him. Ask Cory Booker, 
a Rhodes Scholar, what it is like.
  We have to support those activists who bring us together, support 
steps to improve our institutions, and reject those who inflame fears 
on any side in which they are found.
  We must speak out and support those who believe this is the United 
States of America, not the ``Divided States of America,'' and we will 
not allow this Nation to be divided by race, color, creed, religion, or 
whom you love. I know America. I believe we will overcome. I want to 
quote John Lewis as I close. He was beaten, bloodied, and jailed, 
fighting for civil rights. He tells this story, and I quote:

       ``I saw those signs that said `white men,' `colored men,' 
     `white women,' `colored women,' `white waiting,' `colored 
       I would come home and ask my mother, my father, my 
     grandparents, my great grand-parents, `Why?'
       They would say: `That's the way it is. Don't get in the 
     way. Don't get in trou-
     ble.' ''

  He goes on:

       ``In 1957, I met Rosa Parks at the age of 17.
       In 1958, at the age of 18, I met Martin Luther King, Jr., 
     and these two individuals inspired me to get in the way, to 
     get in trouble.
       So, I encourage you to find a way to get in the way. You 
     must find a way to get in trouble--good trouble, necessary 

  That is John Lewis. We are blessed to have this hero, John Lewis, 
among us in the Congress. We must listen to him because he is right. It 
is our job to get in the way of prejudice and hate. We may do it each 
in his or her own way. My way may not be your way, but our way is to 
fight against prejudice and hate wherever we see it. Our job is to move 
forward with respect and understanding, with tolerance and love.
  Our Founders knew we were not a perfect union. They told us we had to 
make a more perfect union. That is our job. I know we can do it, and we 
must do it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.