(Senate - September 19, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 141 (Monday, September 19, 2016)]
[Pages S5873-S5876]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 5325, which the 
clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 516, H.R. 5325, a bill 
     making appropriations for the Legislative Branch for the 
     fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, and for other 

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Zika Virus Funding

  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, we have a bit of good news because earlier 
today the CDC, or the Centers for Disease Control, announced that it 
had lifted its travel advisory to not go into a section north of 
downtown Miami called Wynwood. It is the neighborhood where the first 
locally transmitted Zika virus was found. So the fact that they said 
today that this area is no longer considered an area of active 
transmission is certainly good news, not only for those who live there 
but for those businesses that are dependent on those who are planning 
to visit there. That is just one area of Florida.

  There are now 835 active cases of Zika-infected people in the State 
of Florida. If you compare that to the number for the total United 
States, talking about infections, in 49 of the 50 States, it is 3,132. 
If you add our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and the territories, 
fellow American citizens, 17,315 are infected with the Zika virus. In 
Florida, 86 pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus. The total 
in the Nation is 731. In Puerto Rico--primarily there, although 
bringing in all the territories, it is 1,156. Combining Puerto Rico, 
the territories, and the United States, we are talking about close to 
2,000 pregnant women infected with the Zika virus.
  We know that the CDC has said that there is anywhere from a 1-percent 
to 12-percent chance--if a woman is infected in the first trimester of 
pregnancy, there is a 1- to 12-percent chance that her baby will be 
born with defects. If you do the math on the nearly 2,000 pregnant 
women, we are talking about a substantial number of birth defects, 
including the possibility of what we have heard about and seen--
microcephaly, babies with a deformed brain and shrunken head. In Puerto 
Rico they already had one live birth of microcephaly and they had one 
who did not live after birth.
  We can expect to see huge numbers coming on down the line. That is 
all the more reason for us--since we started our request for funding 
last spring--to get at this by doing a Zika vaccine. It is now ready to 
go into the FDA first trials. A vaccine is at least 2 years away, but 
we have to get started, and that costs money.
  The administration has been robbing Peter to pay Paul, finding every 
little pot of money that it can borrow from since last spring in order 
to try to fund the preventive measures of a vaccine, mosquito control, 
and all the attendant health expenditures through our health care 
centers that are sponsored and paid for by the government, and 
particularly for the very poor. As a matter of fact, the government 
raided the Ebola fund of $576 million to advance it to Zika. Well, we 
need to pay back all of those funds that were raided, and that is 
incumbent upon us now here at the last minute before we adjourn to go 
home to campaign before the election. You know, those words are 
suddenly similar to the words we used in early July, trying to get that 
done before the summer recess for the political conventions. Yet we did 
  The good news is that it looks as though there is now an agreement on 
Zika. As a result, we can come up with a funding bill to keep the 
government open until we can pass a permanent funding bill for this 
fiscal year starting October 1. We will pass a temporary one until 
sometime in early December. That will give us a chance to try to do the 
permanent one. In the meantime, the government has to stay open. We 
have to fund the functions of government, including national security 
and the U.S. Department of Defense.
  So one would think that this bill would be all done, but, unrelated 
to Zika, there are other issues that are threatening the funding bill. 
At the end of the day, we will get it done. Some of the issues are over 
as arcane a subject as who is going to administer the issuance of 
domain names on the Internet. There seems to be some controversy over 
that. As a result, we are here at the last minute, at the last

[[Page S5874]]

hour, having to act on a funding bill, and now we have issues that are 
now all wound around the axle again.
  I want to say very positively that I appreciate the progress that is 
being made on the Zika funding. It is not as if we haven't tried this 
before. Last May we had a bill that passed in a bipartisan fashion for 
$1.1 billion that did not have the attached political riders. It passed 
in the Senate by 89 votes out of 100 Senators. Then, of course, the 
bill in the House of Representatives got all wound up with all kinds of 
political messaging. I want to state very positively that I am very 
happy that it seems as if those issues have been put aside and there 
has been an agreement reached. Now let's get through the rest of this 
on the funding bill and go ahead and execute our responsibilities that 
we have to the United States of America.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.

                       Tribute to Emogene Stegall

  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I want to praise the work of a local 
elected official in Florida who has admirably served as supervisor of 
elections in Lake County, FL. This is an elected position in which she 
has now served for 44 years, and she is going to retire from her 
position as the chief elections officer after this upcoming election in 
November. That is an incredible tenure of public service, and Emogene 
Stegall should be commended for being the longtime supervisor of 
  ``Emogene'' is a name that is almost synonymous with ``Lake County'' 
because she has been an elected official for nearly half a century. 
What is so special about her is not only how many years she has held 
the office but how she embodied the details and the ideals of public 
  Since she was first elected in 1972, a lot has changed about the way 
elections are conducted, but through all of those decades, the same 
fundamental principles have guided Emogene Stegall's work: a dedication 
to treating all voters fairly without any regard for party affiliation 
and safeguarding taxpayer dollars--no partisan politics, no attention-
grabbing headlines, just humble public service.
  Before being elected supervisor, Emogene had already worked 14 years 
as the supervisor's deputy, starting in 1958. At that time there were 
only about 17,000 registered voters in Lake County and a handful of 
voting machines. Most of it was done by paper ballot. Her office used 
typewriters and carbon paper to function, and voting results were 
announced on the radio.
  Fast-forward to today. Emogene has been reelected many times over 
since winning her first election in 1972, and the number of registered 
voters in the county has gone from 17,000 to over 200,000. Now the 
supervisor's office is filled with computers, and computer programs 
tally the votes on election day before publishing them on the Internet 
so the voters receive almost instant results.
  Even with all these changes, Emogene is still there, opening her 
office to constituents of all political stripes and working long hours 
to make sure election day runs smoothly and that all citizens in Lake 
County can exercise their constitutional right to vote. Her principled 
approach to fulfilling her responsibilities explains why she has 
continued to be reelected to her post time and time again even though 
she is a registered Democrat in a county that shifted to Republican 
control long ago.
  The changes Emogene has witnessed run deeper than the office 
equipment and the party politics. When she was first elected, Lake 
County, along with much of the South of the United States, was still 
suffering from the scourge of Jim Crowe. African Americans in 
particular were often denied the right to vote. Even after the civil 
rights legislation was passed in the 1960s, the country still needed 
public servants to implement the law without prejudice in order to 
usher in change and combat racism. Emogene's steadfast commitment to 
ensuring the people's right to vote helped achieve that transformation 
and in a way brings our Nation closer to realizing the ideal of 
equality that we have reached and have tried to reach since our 
  It is also notable that Emogene Stegall served as the first woman 
elected official and community leader at a time when women's 
educational and professional opportunities were much more limited than 
  After so many decades of public service, Emogene will oversee her 
last election day this November. But her legacy for being a committed 
and tireless public servant will continue to be remembered. She has 
used her position to benefit the community she was elected to serve. 
She never was elected, nor used it, for herself or her own interests.

  Emogene Stegall is an example for all of us in public service. So I 
am honored to share her story and acknowledge her accomplishments on 
this occasion today on the floor of the Senate as Emogene Stegall will 
conduct and is preparing for her last election as Supervisor of 
  What a great public service. What a great public servant whom we can 
honor today.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

               Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, over the weekend, we were reminded once 
again of the threat that terrorism poses to our communities all across 
this country. I know we are all grateful the explosions that occurred 
in New Jersey and Manhattan and the knife attack in Minnesota did not 
hurt more people.
  I am thankful for the authorities, the law enforcement officials, the 
emergency medical officials and others who have responded so 
heroically. I am grateful there has already been a suspect detained in 
the New York and New Jersey incident before he could attempt additional 
  This is just another reminder, as if we needed more reminders, of the 
importance of remaining vigilant to the threat of terrorism in the 
United States. Our values and our way of life seem to be under near 
constant attack, certainly under constant threat. We have a 
responsibility to do everything we can within our power to support and 
protect those affected by the evil of terrorism within our borders.
  Last week, the Senate sent a piece of legislation, an important piece 
of legislation from my perspective, called the Justice Against Sponsors 
of Terrorism Act to President Obama for his signature. He has until 
Friday to act on it.
  I want to clarify for my colleagues exactly what is contained in this 
legislation because I have heard from some stories that make me think 
they are being misled by some but also maybe there is just some 
confusion I can help clear up. This legislation, the Justice Against 
Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or sometimes called the 9/11 families bill, 
makes some narrow amendments to a longstanding Federal statute, the 
Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and the anti-terrorism act. What it 
does provide is for Americans to be able to seek recourse in a court of 
law from governments or people who sponsor terrorist attacks on 
American soil.
  You would think that would not be particularly controversial. Put 
another way, this bill does not allow a lawsuit to proceed against a 
foreign nation unless they are alleged to have been behind a terror 
attack on American soil. As I said, this is pretty straightforward, 
which is why it passed the Senate and the House unanimously.
  I want to be clear what the bill does and does not do. First of all, 
the legislation does not single out any particular country for some 
kind of unfair treatment. It stands for the simple proposition that 
Americans should have recourse against those involved in terrorist 
attacks on our homeland, just as they do against others who commit 
other wrongs.
  I have had some of my colleagues say: Yes, but perception is reality. 
Well, misperception is not reality. The fact is, there is no country 
mentioned in the legislation, this extension of existing law. To the 
extent it singles out anybody, it only singles out countries, without 
naming any, that fund terrorists who commit terrorism on our soil.
  Some have suggested this could hurt our relationship with the Kingdom 
of Saudi Arabia, in particular. This bill has nothing to do, on its 
face, with our

[[Page S5875]]

strong partnership with Saudi Arabia, which is based on mutual 
interests. The reality is, the nuclear deal struck by President Obama 
involving the country of Iran has done far more to damage our 
relationship with our allies in the Middle East, including the Kingdom 
of Saudi Arabia.
  It has caused many of our allies, not just the Saudis but others in 
the Middle East, to question whether we are a reliable ally in the 
areas where we do share a common interest.
  We know many of our Gulf State allies, including the Saudis, believe 
the President has not done enough to achieve his own stated goal of 
defeating the terrorist army of ISIS, which threatens Saudi Arabia from 
Iraq, just across its northern border. Quite to the contrary, we know 
President Obama ignored the advice of his own military advisers and 
unwisely withdrew all combat forces from Iraq in a precipitous way 
before that country was ready and able to defend itself, only to see 
ISIS rush in and fill the vacuum left after the departure of American 
leadership and ground forces.
  The bottom line is that this legislation should not upset our 
relationships with any country with which we share common interests, 
including the Saudis. They should not take passage of this legislation 
as a reason to somehow question our commitment to an alliance based on 
shared values or shared interests.
  This bill targets those who fund terrorist activity against us--plain 
and simple. I should also add that all this bill does is to give 
victims an opportunity to have their case heard in court. It doesn't 
decide the merits of the case. It simply gives them an avenue for 
  Second, I want to debunk this idea that somehow the Justice Against 
Sponsors of Terrorism Act will suddenly result in lawsuits being filed 
against Americans by foreign governments. The reality is this already 
happens. We have an entire office at the Justice Department--the Office 
of Foreign Litigation--that defends the United States in foreign 
  As its Web site explains, that litigation includes ``litigation 
arising from U.S. agency or military activities in foreign countries,'' 
which is one reason why, before we pulled out all of our troops from 
Iraq, President Obama and his administration should have done a better 
job pursuing a status of forces agreement with the country of Iraq. But 
because they did not negotiate that, they decided to pull out, and we 
have reaped the whirlwind as a result.
  While likely a minority, there are cases, in fact, brought abroad 
that implicate our own overseas activity. For example, in 2010, CBS 
News reported on a case in Pakistan in which the CIA was sued for an 
alleged drone strike. This is a matter of public record that CBS News 
reported. The point is that today foreign governments allow suits 
against the United States from time to time, and they are defended 
based on international law and based on the merits of the case. That is 
because of their legal systems and domestic politics. Our laws are 
simply not consulted as a determining factor. Why would a foreign 
country apply American law or precedent or procedure?
  But let me also make clear: The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism 
Act makes only modest changes to current foreign sovereign immunity 
laws--laws that have already been passed by the U.S. Congress--and it 
has been written in a narrow manner to prevent such suits should any 
reciprocal law be passed.
  Finally, I remind my colleagues that this legislation was crafted and 
created through consensus. Before the Senate passed it several months 
ago, my colleagues and I took great care to address concerns from 
Members on both sides of the aisle, as you would expect. Working with 
other Members, we made changes to the legislation they requested so we 
could keep support for this legislation and support for the families of 
victims strong. It then unanimously passed the Senate in May.
  Over in the House, it passed without dissent. I have to say that it 
is hard to find any piece of legislation that can pass unanimously in 
the Senate and in the House of Representatives. It just doesn't happen 
very often.
  But even with so much bipartisan, bicameral support, President Obama 
still says he intends to veto the legislation. As I have said before, 
that is his prerogative, but I hope he does so soon so that Congress 
has the opportunity to vote to override his veto. Once he does veto it, 
I hope Congress will quickly act.
  I have been reminded of a passage in Henry Kissinger's book called 
``World Order,'' where he talks about how the West, in particular, 
often views the world as an orderly rules-based system. Of course, the 
problem with that is reality. The world does not all acknowledge a 
rules-based system, no matter who imagines it. Other countries will 
take actions based on what they perceive to advance their own 
interests, not because they just want to follow a certain set of rules 
that somebody else wrote up. That will remain true for the Kingdom of 
Saudi Arabia even after the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act 
becomes law. That is why our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi 
Arabia will continue, because they have been fighting terrorism on 
their own soil and we know that we share other interests as well.
  But at the end of the day, we need to do what is right for the 
American people, just as other countries would do right for their own 
citizens. We should not change our domestic laws because of our 
concerns about other countries perhaps being offended or because they 
have other interests other than what we are trying to vindicate here, 
which are the rights of the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 due to 
a terrorist attack on American soil. They should have the opportunity 
to make their case if they can, and nothing in this judges the merits 
of the case or makes any conclusion about whether they will be 
successful or not. But, certainly, they represent part of the American 
people who we work for, and they are entitled to get access to the 
courts for the purpose of making the case if they can.
  This bill sends a clear signal to every country that the United 
States is not afraid to stand and ensure that our countrymen and 
countrywomen have the ability to pursue justice here in our courts. 
That is nonnegotiable.
  I hope the President will act quickly. The President can string this 
out into next week if he wants, but he has already said he is going to 
veto it. So why put the families through any more delay, anguish, and 
uncertainty? The President should go ahead and veto the legislation. 
Then the Senate and the House of Representatives should take up a veto 
override vote. I am confident of what the outcome of that would be, 
based on the unanimous consent to the bill in the Senate and the 
unanimous vote in the House of Representatives.
  Madam President, I don't see any other Senator interested in 
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                 Unanimous Consent Agreement--H.R. 5985

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that at 5 
p.m. today, the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of H.R. 
5985; further, that there be 30 minutes of debate equally divided in 
the usual form; that following the use or yielding back of time, the 
bill be read a third time and the Senate vote on passage of the bill 
with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding rule XXII, the cloture motion on the motion to proceed 
to H.R. 5325 ripen at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. GARDNER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S5876]]


                Recognizing the United States Air Force

  Mr. GARDNER. Madam President, I rise to recognize the U.S. Air Force 
on the occasion of its 69th birthday.
  On September 18, 1947, President Truman signed the National Security 
Act, which established the U.S. Air Force as an independent service 
equal to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. The mission of the U.S. Air Force 
is to fly, fight, and win in airspace and cyberspace, and Colorado is 
proud to call itself home to units that play a vital role in executing 
all aspects of the Air Force mission.
  Although it is the youngest of the armed services, the Air Force has 
accomplished a tremendous amount--a tremendous amount--in those 69 
years. With a combined force strength of more than 660,000 Active, 
Reserve, National Guard, and civilian personnel within the U.S. Air 
Force, it is a force to be reckoned with. The U.S. Air Force's ability 
to maintain air superiority is evidenced by the fact that the last time 
an American ground troop was killed by ordnance delivered from an enemy 
aircraft was in 1953.
  On any given day, there are more than 21,000 Air Force personnel 
deployed to 179 worldwide locations, 16,000 airmen deployed to the 
CENTCOM area of operations, and more than 1,000 airmen working directly 
with partner nations. While American airmen serve all over the world, 
there are thousands of airmen in my State of Colorado protecting our 
Nation's interests.
  Colorado is home to five major Air Force installations that include 
Buckley Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base, Peterson Air Force 
Base, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, and the United States Air 
Force Academy.
  Buckley Air Force Base is home to the 460th Space Wing and has air 
operations, space-based missile warning capabilities, space 
surveillance operations, space communications operations, and support 
functions. If North Korea, Iran, or any adversary fires a missile at 
the U.S. homeland, Buckley would be the first to see it. Buckley is 
also one of 18 bases nationwide being considered by the Air Force to 
host the next-generation F-35 jet, and it is my firm belief it fully 
merits that designation as well.
  Peterson Air Force Base, named after 1st Lt. Edward J. Peterson, a 
Colorado native, has been in operation since 1926. Over its 90-plus 
years, Peterson Air Force Base has served a variety of operational and 
training missions and is currently home to the 21st Space Wing and Air 
Force Space Command as well. Peterson is also home to the U.S. Northern 
Command--NORTHCOM--and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or 
NORAD. NORAD-NORTHCOM is responsible for protecting the U.S. homeland 
from the myriad of threats we face in today's complex global security 
environment. On a day like today, when we reflect on what happened in 
Minnesota, when we reflect on what happened in New Jersey, and when we 
reflect on what happened in New York, we know that efforts to protect 
our homeland are critically important.
  In a recent letter to the President, several colleagues and I 
expressed grave concerns about the rapid advancement of North Korea's 
nuclear ballistic missile program. That regime represents a grave 
threat to global peace and stability and is a direct threat to the U.S. 
homeland--and that is what our bases in Colorado are responsible for. 
While we in Congress urge the President to take actions to counter the 
North Korean threat, the American people rely on the hard-working men 
and women at NORAD-NORTHCOM to protect us from this rogue regime.
  Just down the road from Peterson Air Force Base is Schriever Air 
Force Base, which is home to the 50th Space Wing of the Air Force Space 
Command. Schriever provides command and control for over 170 Department 
of Defense warning, navigational, and communications satellites. The 
global positioning satellite, or GPS, is operated by the 2nd Space 
Operations Squadron at Schriever. If you successfully use your Google 
Maps today, it is because of the good work by the satellite operators 
at Schriever.
  Schriever is home to the Joint Interagency Space Operations Center, 
or JICSpOC. Established in 2015, the JICSpOC consolidates efforts 
between the DOD, U.S. Strategic Command, and the intelligence community 
to create unity of effort and facilitate U.S. information-sharing 
across the national security space enterprise. JICSpOC will enhance 
U.S. space operations, contribute to operational command and control 
within the Department of Defense, and improve the Nation's ability to 
protect and defend critical infrastructure in an increasingly contested 
space environment.
  Since 1966, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force, stationed in Colorado 
Springs, has been a synergistic hub for tracking security threats 
worldwide and serves as an essential component to the defense of North 
America and global security. Cheyenne Mountain is an engineering marvel 
that provides an electromagnetic pulse-hardened facility to protect our 
Nation's most vital interests. Many of the people around the country 
may know Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station as the site of Matthew 
Broderick in the movie ``WarGames.''
  Last but not least of the major Air Force installations in Colorado 
is the U.S. Air Force Academy. Since the 1955 swearing-in of its first 
class of cadets, the Air Force Academy has been developing leaders of 
character to lead the world's best Air Force. The Air Force Academy 
educates, trains, and inspires men and women to become officers of 
character, motivated to lead the U.S. Air Force in service to our 
  In addition to celebrating the Air Force's 69th birthday, I would 
also like to recognize that this year, 2016, is the 40th anniversary of 
women cadets enrolling in the U.S. Air Force Academy. Just as the Air 
Force leads the way as the preeminent global air power, the Air Force 
Academy has been leading the way with the integration of women cadets 
into the Cadet Wing.
  In 1972, the Air Force Academy issued Operational Plan 36-72, which 
laid the groundwork for the arrival of its first 156 female cadets in 
the summer of 1976. In the proceeding 40 years, women cadets and 
graduates have made extraordinary contributions to both the academy and 
to the Air Force. These contributions are exemplified by women such as 
Michelle Johnson, who in 1980 became the first woman cadet wing 
commander, which is the highest ranking cadet in the academy, and then 
in 1981 she became the first woman cadet to become a Rhodes scholar. In 
2013, Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson became the first female superintendent 
of any military service academy when she became the superintendent of 
the U.S. Air Force Academy. Heather Wilson was the first female veteran 
to serve in Congress. Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms was the first woman 
graduate of the Air Force Academy to go into space. Lieutenant Roslyn 
Schulte became the first female graduate killed by enemy action in 
2009. These women and countless others are why the State of Colorado is 
proud, honored, and humbled to host the U.S. Air Force Academy.
  On behalf of all Coloradoans and a grateful nation, I wish the U.S. 
Air Force a happy 69th birthday. Aim high, fly, fight, and win.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Coats). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the Senator withhold.