(Senate - September 07, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 134 (Wednesday, September 7, 2016)]
[Pages S5370-S5373]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Mr. PORTMAN (for himself, Mr. Johnson, and Ms. Ayotte):
  S. 3292. A bill to amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to make the 
Postmaster General the importer of record for the non-letter class mail 
and to require the provision of advance electronic information about 
shipments of non-letter class mail to U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection and for other purposes; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I rise to talk about an epidemic that is 
affecting my State of Ohio and every State represented in this Chamber. 
Senator Whitehouse just spoke. He worked with me over a period of about 
3 years to put together legislation to address the heroin and 
prescription drug epidemic.
  We had five conferences in Washington, DC, bringing in experts from 
around the country, including from my home State of Ohio. We looked at 
what is working and what is not working and came up with the best 
practices from

[[Page S5371]]

around the country. That is what the legislation addresses. It is 
comprehensive. It deals with prevention and education. It deals with 
treatment. It deals with recovery. We learned longer term recovery was 
incredibly important to success.
  It actually passed this body with a vote of 92 to 2. That never 
happens around here. It is because working together with both sides of 
the aisle we were able to look at a problem objectively, take the 
politics out of it, and figure out what would work to help turn the 
tide. It is something that is urgent. We have to address it.
  I will tell you now nationally it appears overdose deaths from these 
opioids, heroin, prescription drugs, and now synthetic heroin is the 
No. 1 cause of accidental death, meaning it has surpassed car 
accidents. Sadly, it is getting worse, not better. So those changes 
this Congress voted on to modernize our Federal response to 
prescription drug and heroin addiction are incredibly important right 
  It was evidence-based. It was something where we again took best 
practices to make sure we were spending more money, but that money was 
going to places where it was proven to work. Now that CARA is law--the 
Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, and it was signed into law by 
the President about 6 weeks ago--we are working with the administration 
to get it implemented as quickly as possible because there are a number 
of new programs, new funding sources.
  It authorizes another $181 million per year on top of what is already 
being spent on this issue. Again, importantly, it authorizes new 
programs that we think will work better to reverse the tide, to get at 
the horrible epidemic that is growing in our States. We also need to 
work with the administration and with Congress to ensure that in the 
annual funding bills that are passed around here, we are fully funding 
this new effort.
  At the year end, which is September 30, fiscal year end for the U.S. 
Government, there will be a funding mechanism. It is probably going to 
be what is called a continuing resolution, continuing funding from last 
year. That is good in one sense, because we did get more funding in 
this year's appropriations bill for this issue. We have about a 47-
percent increase in funding for this year. So that would continue next 
year, but that is not enough.
  Unfortunately, this crisis has taken hold in a way--it has gripped 
our country in a way that we need more. Just to be able to fully fund 
the CARA legislation, we need more. So we are calling on the 
administration to work with us to ensure that we can get more funding 
into whatever is going to be passed at the end of this month, likely 
again a continuing resolution, to provide adequate funding to ensure 
that at a minimum we are funding what is in the CARA legislation.
  When there is a new appropriation for next year, which I assume will 
happen after the election, we also have hope because both the committee 
in the House and the committee in the Senate went through all their 
process, and they reported out of committee legislation that doubles 
the funding for opioids over a 2-year period. They included funding 
that is at $471 million, a 113-percent increase over the last 2 years. 
So we need to have a process to get this funding done. We hope the 
administration will work with us on that, even in this continuing 
  There is a group of 100 different organizations from around the 
country. It is a coalition that helped pass CARA that has recently sent 
a letter to the White House. It includes recovery advocacy groups, it 
includes prevention groups, and it includes law enforcement. This group 
of people who are on the frontlines, in the trenches all around the 
country, just sent a letter to the White House thanking the President 
for signing CARA into law but also expressing their support for fully 
funding it.
  What they specifically asked for was that the White House include 
what is called an anomaly or an add-on to the continuing resolution for 
this purpose. I hope the White House is listening. I hope they do it. I 
want to add voice to this coalition, to say this is the right thing to 
do. I have also brought this up with our leadership in the Congress. 
There will be some add-ons or anomalies to any continuing resolution. 
There always are. We have to be sure it is transparent, that they make 
sense. This one makes sense. We should make it transparent but also 
make it high enough so it fully funds the CARA legislation, regardless 
of what happens with the appropriations bills going forward.
  At the very least, let's close whatever gap there is between what is 
in the CR and what is needed to fully fund this legislation. Because I 
believe this is a crisis and an emergency, I actually would support 
emergency funding, going over and above what is in the CARA 
legislation. I think we should have a debate on that issue. We had one 
on the Senate floor. I voted for that. We were not able to get 60 votes 
for it, but I do think it is an issue that rises to that extraordinary 
level, like the Ebola issue, like the Zika virus, issues that are truly 
epidemics. This is.
  Let me tell you why I call it an epidemic. We found out recently that 
drug overdose deaths in my home State of Ohio increased from about 
2,500 deaths in 2014 to more than 3,000 in 2015, an increase of 20 
percent in just 1 year.
  Here is the sad news. This year, we are on track to exceed that 
percentage increase. In other words, we are on track this year to have 
better than a 20-percent increase in deaths from overdoses in Ohio. The 
Presiding Officer's State is probably experiencing the same thing. 
Nationwide, the number of heroin users tripled in just 7 years, and the 
number of drug overdoses every year tripled in just 4 years.
  Since 2000, the number of annual opioid overdoses has quadrupled. So 
this problem is getting worse, not better. One reason these overdoses 
are increasing even faster than the number of new users is that the 
drugs on the street are getting stronger and stronger. So you are 
seeing not just more addiction, but you are seeing even higher levels 
of overdoses--more addictive, more dangerous, and more deadly.
  Heroin is already deadly enough. It is extremely addictive, but it is 
now being laced with drugs like fentanyl, carfentanil, and U-4. You may 
have heard of this and wondered what it was. Well, it is a synthetic 
form of heroin. It is being made somewhere in a laboratory and being 
added often to heroin to poison the people we represent. It is that 
simple. Carfentanil, fentanyl, and U-4 are more dangerous.
  In Ohio, fentanyl deaths increased nearly fivefold, from 80 in 2013 
to about 500 in 2014--more than doubled to over 1,000 last year. Again, 
this year, we are on track to exceed that number significantly. Just 3 
years ago, about 1 in 20 overdoses in Ohio were a result of fentanyl. 
Then it was one in five. Now it is more than one in three. You can see 
where this is going.
  Prescription drugs are often the start of this. Four out of five 
heroin addicts in Ohio, they say, started with prescriptions drugs. 
This is an addiction that sometimes is inadvertent in the sense that 
someone might have a medical procedure and then be given these narcotic 
pain pills and develop this addiction, which is a physiological change 
in your brain. Addiction is a disease. It needs to be treated as such.
  Increasingly now we are seeing these synthetic heroins come into our 
communities to the point that 1 in 3 overdoses now, instead of just 3 
years ago 1 in 20--in Ohio--are due to these synthetic drugs. In my 
hometown of Cincinnati now, those fentanyl overdoses exceed the heroin 
overdoses. According to Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, who is Hamilton County 
coroner in Southwest Ohio, drug overdose deaths in Hamilton County 
increased by 40 percent from just 2014 to 2015, while fentanyl overdose 
deaths increased 153 percent.
  By the way, Dr. Sammarco and her medical team are doing an excellent 
job in very difficult circumstances. They are on top of this epidemic, 
but they need our help.
  These synthetic drugs are incredibly powerful. Heroin is already 
extremely addictive, as I said, and typically much cheaper, stronger, 
and more widely available than these prescription painkillers we talked 
about. Fentanyl can be 50, sometimes even 100, times as powerful as 
heroin. Think about that. Carfentanil is sometimes 10,000 times as 
powerful as morphine.
  So, as you can see, as these synthetic drugs are coming into our 
communities, they are more dangerous, they are stronger, they are more 
addictive. Carfentanil is so powerful, it is primarily used as a 
tranquilizer for large

[[Page S5372]]

animals such as elephants. It is so powerful that in cases where the 
police who have responded to an overdose have overdosed from just 
breathing fentanyl in the air or getting it on their skin at the scene.
  It is so powerful that sometimes multiple doses of Narcan are 
required to reverse an overdose. Narcan is this miracle drug that our 
first responders increasingly are carrying, and thank God it is there 
because it reverses the effects of the overdose, but Narcan is meant 
for a heroin overdose. Sometimes with these synthetic drugs like 
fentanyl and carfentanil and U-4, you need several doses of Narcan to 
reverse the overdose, and sometimes it does not work. I have heard 
cases where seven doses of Narcan were necessary to save someone's 
life. These synthetic drugs are taking a heavy toll on our country and 
my State of Ohio.
  In particular, in my hometown in Ohio recently--Cincinnati, OH--in 
just one 6-day span in August it had 174 overdoses: 6 days, 174 
overdoses in one city. That is less than 1 week in one city: 174. It is 
unprecedented, at least in our State. Dr. Sammarco has confirmed this 
sudden spike in overdoses is the result of heroin being laced with 
other drugs. At least in many of these cases it is carfentanil. So 
somebody is actually putting this large-animal tranquilizer into the 
heroin, mixing it, resulting in this huge spike in overdoses.
  I was glad to be helpful in providing a sample of carfentanil for 
Coroner Sammarco, because she could not find it anywhere in the region 
easily. Once she found it, we were able to get the comparison of the 
sample to what had happened and be able to confirm that carfentanil was 
behind these huge increases in overdoses.
  Our first responders deserve our praise because they were able to 
save the vast majority of these lives. So over 170 people overdosing, 
and yet, sadly, tragically, although there were four or five people who 
died, the rest of these people, over 170 people were saved. That is 
amazing. It is because they responded quickly. They responded 
  Last Wednesday I went to Fire Station 24 in Cincinnati, OH, which 
handled the largest number of these overdoses--1 fire station, 34 
overdoses in 6 days. They talked to me about how they saved lives. I 
thanked them, of course, for what they are doing every day. One thing 
they said to me was: Senator, this is not the answer. Saving people by 
using Narcan is necessary, it is absolutely necessary, but they said it 
is not the answer.
  I agree with them. The answer is getting people into treatment, 
getting them back on track, getting them into longer term recovery 
rather than applying Narcan again and again, as they tell me, sometimes 
to the same person. By the way, this epidemic is taking a toll on our 
firefighters and other first responders--police officers also. As we 
said, it has made their jobs more dangerous. It is also taking more of 
their time and resources.
  Last year the number we have is that firefighters and other first 
responders applied Narcan 16,000 times in one State. This year it will 
be far higher than that. By the way, this is why CARA provides training 
for Narcan, the legislation we talked about earlier, the Comprehensive 
Addiction and Recovery Act. It also provides more resources to our 
first responders to purchase Narcan. Narcan is getting more expensive, 
in part, because there is an increased demand. We have to be sure there 
are not any other reasons that those expenses are going up, and we have 
to be sure to provide the resources to our first responders so they can 
have these lifesaving drugs on hand.
  By the way, firefighters all over Ohio tell me the same thing, and I 
have talked to a number of them. I have gone to other firehouses, and I 
ask the same question everywhere I go: Are you going on more fire runs 
or more overdose runs? The answer now--consistently, everywhere I go--
is overdoses. There are more overdoses than fire runs in every 
firehouse I have been to in Ohio.
  The scenes they encounter when they go on these runs are truly 
heartbreaking. They see families torn apart. During that unprecedented 
6-day period in Cincinnati, they saved the lives of two parents who had 
overdosed in front of their two teenage sons.
  Last week in West Chester Township, OH, outside of Cincinnati, police 
saved the lives of a father and son who together overdosed on heroin 
while the father was driving on Interstate I-75. Thank God no one else 
was injured or killed.
  A few days later, in Forest Park, OH, outside of Cincinnati, a 3-
year-old girl found her grandmother, who was babysitting her, 
unconscious from an overdose. When police arrived with Narcan to save 
her grandmother's life, the story from the police officer was the 
little girl asked one of the police officers to please hold her while 
her grandmother was unconscious on the floor. It is heartbreaking.
  Forest Park police responded to five other overdoses that same day, 
including another overdose in the same apartment complex. This is a 
small town with a population of about 19,000 people.
  Two weeks ago, the Akron Beacon Journal published a letter from a 
high school girl from Akron to her dad, who was addicted to heroin. She 
writes to her dad, in part:

       When I found out you got arrested, I was happy. . . . I was 
     going to finally be able to sleep at night without having to 
     worry about whether I was going to get a call the next day 
     telling me that [heroin] had finally taken you away. I know 
     that being in prison isn't the best life, but at least you 
     are alive. . . . This is what heroin does: it possesses its 
     victim and does not let go until he is dead.

  To that high school girl, what we hope is that her father goes 
through a drug court, can get into treatment, can get into longer term 
recovery, reunite with his family, and get back to his life.
  We know that many of the drugs that are causing so many of these 
overdoses in Ohio--the fentanyl, the Carfentanil, the U-4--don't come 
from Ohio. In fact, they don't come from any State in this body; they 
come from other countries. Incidentally, it doesn't mean that someday 
they couldn't come from this country, but right now they are coming 
from other countries. From all the information we have from law 
enforcement, we believe the vast majority of these synthetic drugs are 
being made in laboratories in China and in India and then shipped 
through the mail to our communities to meet this growing demand for 
drugs. The traffickers actually get this poison, this synthetic drug, 
through the U.S. mail system. Right now, it is difficult to detect 
these packages coming from overseas before it is way too late. Unlike 
private carriers such as UPS, FedEx, or others, the Postal Service does 
not require electronic Customs data for packages coming into the 
country, so we don't know what is coming in. This makes dangerous 
packages containing drugs such as fentanyl or Carfentanil or U-4 that 
much harder to stop.
  We have had hearings on this issue in the Senate. In June, the 
Judiciary Committee held a hearing on synthetic drugs. A witness 
testified that because of this loophole of the Postal Service not 
requiring the information but the private carriers requiring it, 
getting these drugs into our communities was easier and that the drug 
traffickers used the mail system. To me, it is a loophole.
  The Homeland Security Committee on which I sit has also held hearings 
and a roundtable discussion on the flow of fentanyl and other synthetic 
forms of heroin into this country. We learned the same thing--that 
there is this discrepancy between how the mail system handles it and 
how private carriers handle it.
  Today I have introduced legislation to address the threat of 
synthetic drugs by simply closing that loophole, simply saying that 
with regard to packages coming from overseas, the Postal Service should 
require advanced electronic data so we know what is in these packages. 
This would include information such as who and where it is coming from, 
where it is going, and what is in it.
  As Customs and Border Patrol--the border protection people--has told 
us, this information will provide a much better tool to law enforcement 
to help them ensure that these dangerous drugs won't end up in the 
hands of drug traffickers who then sell these dangerous drugs in our 
communities. It will make our streets safer and save lives by helping 
to prevent overdoses. I think it is a commonsense idea that builds on 
CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, because

[[Page S5373]]

while CARA addresses the demand for drugs through prevention, 
education, treatment, and recovery, this legislation will help to cut 
the supply of drugs, help to cut off the flow of this poison into our 
communities. I think these two ideas go hand in hand. If you are one of 
the 92 Senators in this body, out of 100, who voted for CARA, I hope 
you will support this legislation too.
  Our law enforcement and first responders are doing an amazing job. 
They are saving lives every single day, and they are to be commended, 
but they need some help. They deserve our best efforts to stop these 
dangerous drugs from entering into the country in the first place, and 
so do the hundreds of thousands of families in Ohio and around the 
country who have been affected by this epidemic of addiction. They 
deserve our help as well. They deserve a safer community. They deserve 
peace of mind. They deserve to know that we are doing all we can to try 
to keep these dangerous synthetic drugs out of our communities.
  Just as I did with the CARA legislation, I urge my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle to support this additional legislation. Frankly, 
3\1/2\ years ago when we started putting together the CARA legislation, 
if this synthetic drug issue had been at the level it is today, I 
believe it would have been included in the CARA legislation. But we are 
now seeing this epidemic growing--heroin and prescription drugs, yes, 
but increasingly synthetic drugs, as we talked about this evening. It 
is time for us to be sure we are doing all we can to keep this poison 
out of our communities.
      By Mr. REID:
  S. 3293. A bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to transfer 
to the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation investment 
income held in certain funds; to the Committee on Indian Affairs.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the 
bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 3293

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       Section 10807(e) of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act 
     of 2009 (Public Law 111-11; 123 Stat. 1409) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``Upon completion'' and inserting the 
       ``(1) In general.--On completion''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(2) Transfer of investment income.--The Secretary shall 
     transfer to the Tribes in accordance with subsections (f) and 
     (g) any investment or interest income held in the Funds, 
     including any investment or interest income prior to the 
     completion of the actions described in section 10808(d), for 
     the use of the Tribes in accordance with subsections (b)(2) 
     and (c)(2).''.
      By Mr. CORNYN:
  S. 3295. A bill to authorize the Secretary of Homeland Security to 
work with cybersecurity consortia for training, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 3295

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,


       This Act may be cited as the ``National Cybersecurity 
     Preparedness Consortium Act of 2016''.


       (a) In General.--The Secretary of Homeland Security may 
     work with a consortium, including the National Cybersecurity 
     Preparedness Consortium, to support efforts to address 
     cybersecurity risks and incidents (as such terms are defined 
     in section 227 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 
     148)), including threats of terrorism and acts of terrorism.
       (b) Assistance to the NCCIC.--The Secretary of Homeland 
     Security may work with a consortium to assist the national 
     cybersecurity and communications integration center of the 
     Department of Homeland Security (established pursuant to 
     section 227 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002) to--
       (1) provide training to State and local first responders 
     and officials specifically for preparing for and responding 
     to cybersecurity risks and incidents, including threats of 
     terrorism and acts of terrorism, in accordance with current 
       (2) develop and update a curriculum utilizing existing 
     programs and models in accordance with such section 227, for 
     State and local first responders and officials, related to 
     cybersecurity risks and incidents, including threats of 
     terrorism and acts of terrorism;
       (3) provide technical assistance services to build and 
     sustain capabilities in support of preparedness for and 
     response to cybersecurity risks and incidents, including 
     threats of terrorism and acts of terrorism, in accordance 
     with such section 227;
       (4) conduct cross-sector cybersecurity training and 
     simulation exercises for entities, including State and local 
     governments, critical infrastructure owners and operators, 
     and private industry, to encourage community-wide 
     coordination in defending against and responding to 
     cybersecurity risks and incidents, including threats of 
     terrorism and acts of terrorism, in accordance with 
     subsection (c) of section 228 of the Homeland Security Act of 
     2002 (6 U.S.C. 149);
       (5) help States and communities develop cybersecurity 
     information sharing programs, in accordance with section 227 
     of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, for the dissemination 
     of homeland security information related to cybersecurity 
     risks and incidents, including threats of terrorism and acts 
     of terrorism; and
       (6) help incorporate cybersecurity risk and incident 
     prevention and response (including related to threats of 
     terrorism and acts of terrorism) into existing State and 
     local emergency plans, including continuity of operations 
       (c) Prohibition on Duplication.--In carrying out the 
     functions under subsection (b), the Secretary of Homeland 
     Security shall, to the greatest extent practicable, seek to 
     prevent unnecessary duplication of existing programs or 
     efforts of the Department of Homeland Security.
       (d) Considerations Regarding Selection of a Consortium.--In 
     selecting a consortium with which to work under this Act, the 
     Secretary of Homeland Security shall take into consideration 
     the following:
       (1) Any prior experience conducting cybersecurity training 
     and exercises for State and local entities.
       (2) Geographic diversity of the members of any such 
     consortium so as to cover different regions across the United 
       (e) Metrics.--If the Secretary of Homeland Security works 
     with a consortium pursuant to subsection (a), the Secretary 
     shall measure the effectiveness of the activities undertaken 
     by such consortium under this Act.
       (f) Outreach.--The Secretary of Homeland Security shall 
     conduct outreach to universities and colleges, including 
     historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-
     serving institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and 
     other minority-serving institutions, regarding opportunities 
     to support efforts to address cybersecurity risks and 
     incidents, including threats of terrorism and acts of 
     terrorism, by working with the Secretary pursuant to 
     subsection (a).
       (g) Termination.--The authority to carry out this Act shall 
     terminate on the date that is 5 years after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act.
       (h) Consortium Defined.--In this Act, the term 
     ``consortium'' means a group primarily composed of non-profit 
     entities, including academic institutions, that develop, 
     update, and deliver cybersecurity training in support of 
     homeland security.