STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 13
(Senate - January 24, 2017)

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[Pages S447-S451]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. FLAKE:
  S. 195. A bill to expedite the deployment of highway construction 
projects; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I rise to speak of legislation I am 
introducing today--the Transportation Investment Recalibration to 
Equality Act, or the TIRE Act. The TIRE Act would suspend the Davis-
Bacon prevailing wage requirement on all transportation-related 
infrastructure contracts. This would free up billions more in taxpayer 
dollars to be spent on jobs and on projects.
  For those who are not familiar, Davis-Bacon is a Depression-era law 
that requires contractors on Federal construction projects to pay 
workers no less than the so-called local prevailing wage. Now, since 
its enactment over 80 years ago, the Department of Labor has been 
unable to devise an effective system for determining prevailing wages.
  In fact, a 2004 Department of Labor inspector general report revealed 
that Federal wage reporting surveys, which are a key metric used to 
determine prevailing wages, are fundamentally flawed. Of all the wage 
report surveys reviewed by the IG, 100 percent contained flaws. Let me 
say that again: 100 percent of all the surveys were flawed.
  In addition, some of the wage surveys have not been updated since the 
1980s. The bottom line is that every time Davis-Bacon applies to a 
Federal project, less money is going to construction and more money is 
going to meet onerous wage requirements. According to the Beacon Hill 
Institute, Davis-Bacon forces taxpayers to pay 22 percent above the 
market rate for labor on Federal infrastructure projects.
  This is largely the result of disproportionate union participation in 
flawed wage surveys that skew Federal decisionmaking. Now, despite 
representing only 4 percent of the construction industry, unions are 
able to leverage their clout with Federal bureaucrats to inflate more 
than 60 percent of prevailing wages--talk about benefitting a few at 
the expense of the many.
  Here is some perspective on what it means in real dollars. In 2016, 
the Federal Government spent $23 billion on Federal construction 
projects, and 2.1 billion of these dollars was spent on above-rate 
labor costs.
  Again, $2.1 billion of the $23 billion spent was on above-market-rate 
labor costs. This means that nearly 10 percent of all Federal 
construction spending last year went to inflated contracts. Not only 
does this translate into less construction funding going to actual 
construction, but according to George Mason University, it results in 
roughly 30,000 lost construction jobs.
  So we lose both on the projects and the jobs that are created. More 
broadly, it discriminates against small businesses that don't have the 
resources to meet onerous Federal reporting and compliance 
requirements. Now, while it may be well-intentioned, Davis-Bacon ends 
up eliminating decent-paying construction jobs and hampering 
infrastructure spending.
  I have often talked to State and local officials who will say that if 
you have two bridges across the same river, even if they are just 100 
yards or 200 yards or a mile apart with the same underlying costs--or 
what should be the same underlying costs--if there are Federal moneys 
involved in one and no Federal moneys involved in the other, the one 
with Federal moneys will cost significantly more, and a big portion of 
that is because of Davis-Bacon requirements.
  Now, in this body, we have to look for issues to bridge the partisan 
divide. It turns out that one of these issues is bridges, roads, dams, 
and other infrastructure projects. Fixing our Nation's crumbling 
infrastructure is a top priority for many in Congress, and the new 
administration has touted a large infrastructure package as one of its 
agenda items.
  However, despite the bipartisan consensus on both ends of 
Pennsylvania Avenue for infrastructure investment, visions for the road 
ahead actually diverge. With a projected pricetag north of $800 billion 
for highways and bridges alone, every Federal dollar needs to be spent 
as efficiently as possible.
  The TIRE Act will return wage determinations for Federal 
transportation projects where they belong, and that is the market.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. CORNYN (for himself and Mr. Cruz):
  S. 201. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure 
that new wind turbines located near certain military installations are 
ineligible for the renewable electricity production credit and the 
energy credit; to the Committee on Finance.
  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. 201

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Protection of Military 
     Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act''.

     SEC. 2. NEW WIND TURBINES LOCATED NEAR CERTAIN MILITARY 
                   INSTALLATIONS.

       (a) In General.--Paragraph (1) of section 45(d) of the 
     Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ``Such 
     term'' and all that follows through the period and inserting 
     the following: ``Such term shall not include--
       ``(A) any facility with respect to which any qualified 
     small wind energy property expenditure (as defined in 
     subsection (d)(4) of section 25D) is taken into account in 
     determining the credit under such section, or
       ``(B) any facility which is originally placed in service 
     after the date of the enactment of the Protection of Military 
     Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act and is located 
     within a 30-mile radius of--
       ``(i) an airfield or airbase under the jurisdiction of a 
     military department which is in active use, or
       ``(ii) an air traffic control radar site, weather radar 
     site, or aircraft navigation aid which is--

       ``(I) owned or operated by the Department of Defense, and
       ``(II) a permanent land-based structure at a fixed 
     location.''.

       (b) Qualified Small Wind Energy Property.--Paragraph (4) of 
     section 48(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is 
     amended--
       (1) by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (D), 
     and
       (2) by inserting after subparagraph (B) the following:
       ``(C) Exception.--The term `qualifying small wind energy 
     property' shall not include any property which is originally 
     placed in service after the date of the enactment of the 
     Protection of Military Airfields from Wind Turbine 
     Encroachment Act and is located within a 30-mile radius of 
     any property described in clause (i) or (ii) of section 
     45(d)(1)(B).''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to property placed in service after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act.

[[Page S448]]

  

                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. KAINE (for himself and Mr. Portman):
  S. 206. A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to allow the 
Secretary of Education to award job training Federal Pell Grants; to 
the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, by 2020, it is estimated that 65 percent of 
all jobs will require at least some form of postsecondary education and 
training. The National Skills Coalition estimates that nearly half of 
all job openings between now and 2022 will be middle skill jobs that 
require education beyond high school, but not a four-year degree. While 
the number of students pursing postsecondary education is growing, the 
supply of skilled workers still falls short of industry demand. 
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 5.5 million U.S. jobs 
are currently vacant, in part, because of a shortage of qualified 
workers.
  Our current Federal higher education policy must be improved to help 
solve this problem. Pell Grants, needs-based grants for low-income and 
working students, can only be awarded towards programs that are over 
600 clock hours or at least 15 weeks in length. These grants cannot be 
used to support many of the short-term occupational training programs 
at community and technical colleges and other institutions that provide 
skills and credentials employers need and recognize. When it comes to 
higher education, Federal policies need to support the demands of the 
changing labor market and support career pathways that align with 
industry demand. According the Georgetown University Center on 
Education and the Workforce, shorter-term educational investments pay 
off--the average postsecondary certificate holder has 20 percent higher 
lifetime earnings than individuals with only a high school diploma.
  Today, I am pleased to introduce with my colleague, Senator Portman, 
the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students or JOBS Act. The 
JOBS Act would close the ``skills gap'' by expanding Pell Grant 
eligibility to cover high-quality and rigorous short-term job training 
programs so workers can afford the skills training and credentials that 
are in high-demand in today's job market. Since job training programs 
are shorter and less costly, Pell Grant awards would be half of the 
current discretionary Pell amount. The legislation defines eligible job 
training programs as those providing career and technical education 
instruction at an institution that provides at least 150 clock hours of 
instruction time over a period of at least 8 weeks and that provides 
training that meets the needs of the local or regional workforce. These 
programs must also provide students with licenses, certifications, or 
credentials that meet the hiring requirements of multiple employers in 
the field for which the job training is offered.
  The JOBS Act also ensures that students who receive Pell Grants are 
earning high-quality postsecondary credentials by requiring that the 
credentials meet the standards under the Workforce Innovation and 
Opportunity Act, are recognized by employers, industry, or sector 
partnerships, and align with the skill needs of industries in the 
States or local economies. In Virginia, the Virginia Community College 
System has identified approximately 50 programs that would benefit from 
the JOBS Act including in the fields of manufacturing, architecture/
construction, energy, health care, information technology, 
transportation, and business management and administration.
  The JOBS Act is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that would help 
workers and employers succeed in today's economy. As Congress works to 
reauthorize the Higher Education Act, I hope that my colleagues ensure 
that Pell Grants are accessible for individuals participating in high-
quality, short-term occupational training programs that are leading to 
industry-recognized credentials and certificates.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. CORNYN:
  S. 212. A bill to provide for the development of a United States 
strategy for greater human space exploration, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  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. 212

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Mapping a New and Innovative 
     Focus on Our Exploration Strategy for Human Spaceflight Act 
     of 2017'' or the ``MANIFEST for Human Spaceflight Act of 
     2017''.

     SEC. 2. REAFFIRMATION OF POLICY AND FINDINGS.

       (a) Reaffirmation of Policy.--Congress reaffirms that the 
     long-term goal of the human space flight and exploration 
     efforts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
     shall be to expand permanent human presence beyond low-Earth 
     orbit and to do so, where practical, in a manner involving 
     international partners, as stated in section 202(a) of the 
     National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization 
     Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 18312(a)).
       (b) Findings.--Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) In accordance with section 204 of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 
     2010 (Public Law 111-267; 124 Stat. 2813), the National 
     Academy of Sciences, through its Committee on Human 
     Spaceflight, conducted a review of the goals, core 
     capabilities, and direction of human space flight, and 
     published the findings and recommendations in a 2014 report 
     entitled ``Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches 
     for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration''.
       (2) The Committee on Human Spaceflight included leaders 
     from the aerospace, scientific, security, and policy 
     communities. With input from the public, the Committee on 
     Human Spaceflight concluded that many practical and 
     aspirational rationales together constitute a compelling case 
     for human space exploration. These rationales include 
     economic benefits, national security, national prestige, 
     inspiring students and other citizens, scientific discovery, 
     human survival, and a sense of shared destiny.
       (3) The Committee on Human Spaceflight affirmed that Mars 
     is the appropriate long-term goal for the human space flight 
     program.
       (4) The Committee on Human Spaceflight recommended that the 
     National Aeronautics and Space Administration define a series 
     of sustainable steps and conduct mission planning and 
     technology development as needed to achieve the long-term 
     goal of placing humans on the surface of Mars.

     SEC. 3. HUMAN EXPLORATION STRATEGY.

       (a) Human Exploration of Mars.--Section 202(b) of the 
     National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization 
     Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 18312(b)) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (3), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting ``; and''; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(5) to achieve human exploration of Mars, including the 
     establishment of a capability to extend human presence to the 
     surface of Mars.''.
       (b) Exploration Strategy.--
       (1) In general.--In accordance with this subsection, the 
     Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
     Administration shall submit an interim report and final 
     report setting forth a strategy to achieve the objective in 
     paragraph (5) of section 202(b) of the National Aeronautics 
     and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010, as 
     amended by subsection (a) of this section, through a series 
     of successive, sustainable, free-standing, but complementary 
     missions making robust utilization of cis-lunar space and 
     employing the Space Launch System, Orion crew capsule, and 
     other capabilities provided under titles III, IV, V, and IX 
     of that Act (42 U.S.C. 18301 et seq.).
       (2) Strategy requirements.--In developing the strategy 
     under paragraph (1), the Administrator shall include--
       (A) the utility of an expanded human presence in cis-lunar 
     space toward enabling missions to various lunar orbits, the 
     lunar surface, asteroids, Mars, the moons of Mars, and other 
     destinations of interest for future human exploration and 
     development;
       (B) the utility of an expanded human presence in cis-lunar 
     space for economic, scientific, and technological advances;
       (C) the opportunities for collaboration with--
       (i) international partners;
       (ii) private industry; and
       (iii) other Federal agencies, including missions relevant 
     to national security or scientific needs;
       (D) the opportunities specifically afforded by the 
     International Space Station (ISS) to support high priority 
     scientific research and technological developments useful in 
     expanding and sustaining a human presence in cis-lunar space 
     and beyond;
       (E) a range of exploration mission architectures and 
     approaches for the missions identified under paragraph (1), 
     including capabilities for the Orion crew capsule and the 
     Space Launch System;
       (F) a comparison of architectures and approaches based on--
       (i) assessed value of factors including cost effectiveness, 
     schedule resiliency, safety, sustainability, and 
     opportunities for international collaboration;

[[Page S449]]

       (ii) the extent to which certain architectures and 
     approaches may enable new markets and opportunities for 
     United States private industry, provide compelling 
     opportunities for scientific discovery and technological 
     excellence, sustain United States competitiveness and 
     leadership, and address critical national security 
     considerations and requirements; and
       (iii) the flexibility of such architectures and approaches 
     to adjust to evolving technologies, partners, priorities, and 
     budget projections and constraints;
       (G) measures for setting standards for ensuring crew health 
     and safety, including limits regarding radiation exposure and 
     countermeasures necessary to meet those limits, means and 
     methods for addressing urgent medical conditions or injuries, 
     and other such safety, health, and medical issues that can be 
     anticipated in the conduct of the missions identified under 
     paragraph (1);
       (H) a description of crew training needs and capabilities 
     (including space suits and life support systems) necessary to 
     support the conduct of missions identified under paragraph 
     (1);
       (I) a detailed plan for prioritizing and phasing near-term 
     intermediate destinations and missions identified under 
     paragraph (1);
       (J) an assessment of the recommendations of the report 
     prepared in compliance with section 204 of the National 
     Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 
     2010 (Public Law 111-267; 124 Stat. 2813), including a 
     detailed explanation of how the Administrator has ensured 
     such recommendations have been, to the extent practicable, 
     incorporated into the strategy under paragraph (1); and
       (K) technical information as needed to identify interest 
     from potential stakeholder or partner communities.
       (3) Independent review.--
       (A) In general.--The Administrator shall enter into an 
     arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to review 
     and comment on each interim report pursuant to paragraph (1). 
     Under the arrangement, the National Academy of Sciences shall 
     review each interim report on the strategy described in 
     paragraph (1) and identify the following:
       (i) Matters in such interim report agreed upon by the 
     National Academy of Sciences.
       (ii) Matters in such interim report raising concerns for 
     the National Academy of Sciences.
       (iii) Such further recommendations with respect to matters 
     covered by such interim report as the National Academy of 
     Sciences considers appropriate.
       (B) Timing of review and comment.--The Administrator shall 
     ensure that the review and comment on an interim report 
     provided for pursuant to subparagraph (A) is conducted in a 
     timely manner to comply with the requirements of this 
     subsection and, to the maximum extent practicable, to 
     facilitate the incorporation of the comments of the National 
     Academy of Sciences pursuant to subparagraph (A) into the 
     applicable final report required by this subsection.
       (4) Deadlines.--
       (A) Interim reports.--Not later than 90 days after the date 
     of the enactment of this Act, and not less than every five 
     years thereafter, the Administrator shall submit to the 
     National Academy of Sciences an interim report on the 
     strategy required by paragraph (1) in order to facilitate the 
     independent review and comment on the strategy as provided 
     for by paragraph (3).
       (B) Final reports.--Not later than one year after the date 
     of the enactment of this Act, and not less than every five 
     years thereafter, the Administrator shall submit to Congress 
     a final report on the strategy required by paragraph (1), 
     which shall include and incorporate the response of the 
     National Academy of Sciences to the most recent interim 
     report pursuant to paragraph (3).
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DAINES (for himself, Mr. Perdue, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Lee, Mr. 
        Johnson, and Mr. Rubio):
  S. 221. A bill to allow a State to submit a declaration of intent to 
the Secretary of Education to combine certain funds to improve the 
academic achievement of students; to the Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, as a fifth-generation Montanan and product 
of Montana public schools from kindergarten through college, husband to 
an elementary school teacher, and father of four children, I understand 
how important a first rate education is to our kids' future. That is 
why I am reintroducing the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success, or 
A-PLUS, Act this Congress. This measure will help expand local control 
of our schools and return Federal education dollars where they belong: 
closer to the classrooms. By shifting control back to the States, 
individual and effective solutions can be created to address the 
multitude of unique challenges facing schools across the country. 
Through these ``laboratories of democracy,'' Americans can watch and 
learn how students can benefit when innovative reforms are implemented 
on the local level. This bill would give states greater flexibility in 
allocating federal education funding and ensuring academic achievement 
in their schools. With A-PLUS, States would be freed from Washington-
knows-best performance metrics and failed testing requirements. Should 
this legislation be adopted, states would need to adhere to all civil 
rights laws and work towards advancing educational opportunities for 
disadvantaged children as well. States would be held accountable by 
parents and teachers because a bright light would shine directly on the 
decisions made by State capitals and local school districts. With 
freedom from Federal mandates comes more responsibility, transparency, 
and accountability on States. It would also reduce the administrative 
and compliance burdens on state and local education agencies, and 
ensure greater public transparency in student academic achievement and 
the use of federal education funds. Increasing educational opportunity 
in Montana and across the country isn't going happen through federal 
mandates or one-size-fits-none regulations. We need to empower our 
States, our local school boards, our teachers, and parents to work 
together to develop solutions that best fit our kids' unique needs. 
That is precisely what my A-PLUS Act does. Washington is the problem--
and we have the solutions in Montana and in states across the country. 
The A-PLUS Act goes a long ways towards returning the responsibility 
for our kids' education closer to home and reduces the influence of the 
Federal Government over our classrooms. I want to thank Senators Cruz, 
Perdue, Johnson, Lee, and Rubio for helping reintroduce the A-PLUS Act 
this Congress. I ask my other Senate colleagues to join us in 
empowering our schools to serve their students, not DC bureaucrats, and 
support this important piece of legislation.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. COLLINS (for herself, Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Isakson, Mr. 
        Casey, Mr. Tillis, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Wicker, Mrs. Shaheen, 
        Mrs. Capito, Mr. Tester, Mr. Barrasso, Mr. Donnelly, Mr. 
        Heller, Mr. King, and Mr. Kaine):
  S. 223. A bill to provide immunity from suit for certain individuals 
who disclose potential examples of financial exploitation of senior 
citizens, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, 
and Urban Affairs.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, as Chairman of the Senate Aging 
Committee, I am delighted to introduce, with my good friend and former 
ranking member, Senator Claire McCaskill, the Senior$afe Act of 2017, a 
bill that would help protect American seniors from financial fraud. I'm 
pleased that Senators Isakson, Casey, Tillis, Klobuchar, Wicker, 
Shaheen, Capito, Tester, Barrasso, Donnelly, Heller, and King have 
joined us in sponsoring this bill.
  According to the GAO, financial fraud targeting older Americans is a 
growing epidemic that costs seniors an estimated $2.9 billion annually. 
Stopping this tsunami of fraud is one of the top priorities of the 
Aging Committee. Last Congress, we held several hearings examining an 
endless variety of financial abuses targeting our nation's seniors. 
These range from the notorious IRS phone scam that burst onto the scene 
in 2015, to the incredible ``drug mule'' scam, where trusting seniors 
have been tricked by international narcotics traffickers into 
unwittingly serving as drug couriers, and then find themselves arrested 
and locked-up in foreign jails. The common denominator in these schemes 
involves innocent seniors falling prey and being tricked out of their 
hard-earned savings.
  Sadly, not all scammers are strangers to their victims, in too many 
cases, seniors are exploited by someone they know well. Sometimes, that 
abuse is perpetrated by ``friends'' or family members who are handling 
the victim's affairs informally. Other times, the abuse is committed 
under color of a fiduciary relationship, such as a Power of Attorney or 
guardianship.
  No matter the scheme, one factor is common to all--the fraudsters 
need to gain the trust and active cooperation of their victims. Without 
this, their schemes would fail. That is why it is so important that 
seniors recognize as quickly as possible the red flags that signal 
potential fraud.
  Unfortunately, many seniors do not see these red flags. Sometimes 
they are

[[Page S450]]

too trusting or are suffering from diminished capacity, but, just as 
often, they miss the signs because the swindlers who prey on them are 
extremely crafty and know how to sound convincing. Whatever the reason, 
a warning sign that can slip by a victim might trigger a second look by 
fmancial service representatives trained to spot common scams, who know 
enough about a senior's habits to question a transaction that doesn't 
look right. In our work on the Aging Committee, we have heard of many 
instances where quick action by bank and credit union employees has 
stopped a fraud in progress, saving seniors untold thousands of 
dollars.
  Let me give you an example. Last year, an attorney in the small 
coastal city of Belfast, ME, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for 
bilking two elderly female clients out of nearly a half a million 
dollars over the course of several years.
  The lawyer's brazen theft was uncovered when a teller at a local bank 
noticed that he was writing large checks to himself on his clients' 
accounts. When confronted by authorities, he offered excuses that the 
prosecutor later described as ``breathtaking.'' For example, according 
to press reports, he put one of his clients into a nursing home to 
recover from a temporary medical condition, and then kept her there for 
four years until the theft of her funds came to light. Meanwhile, he 
submitted bills for ``services,'' sometimes totaling $20,000 a month, 
including charging her $250 per hour for 6 to 7 hours to check on her 
house, even though his office was just a one-minute drive down the 
road.
  In another example, in 2015, a senior citizen in Vassalboro, Maine, 
was looking to wire funds from his account at Maine Savings Federal 
Credit Union to an out-of-state location, supposedly to bail out a 
relative who was in jail. Something about this transaction did not 
sound right to the credit union employee. She asked the customer, and 
he said he had received a call from an ``official'' at the jail--but 
that ``official'' had instructed him not to speak to anyone about this. 
The ``official,'' of course, turned out to be a con artist.
  Fortunately, the credit union worker recognized this as a scam, and 
her quick thinking saved her customer from falling victim and losing 
his savings.
  These stories demonstrate the critical nexus that financial 
institutions occupy between fraudsters and their victims. Their 
employees, if properly trained, can be the first line of defense 
protecting our seniors from these criminals. Regrettably, various state 
and federal laws can inadvertently impede efforts to protect seniors, 
because financial institutions that report suspected fraud can be 
exposed to litigation. The Senior$afe Act encourages financial 
institutions to train their employees, and shields them from lawsuits 
when they make good faith, reasonable reports of potential fraud to the 
proper authorities.
  There is no doubt that financial fraud and scams targeting seniors is 
a growing problem that we must act on. Last November, the Aging 
Committee heard testimony from Jaye Martin, the Executive Director of 
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly, who told the Committee that her 
organization has seen a 24 percent increase in reports of elder abuse 
in just one year. Many of these cases involve financial fraud.
  In a letter describing her support for the Senior$afe Act, Ms. Martin 
says that:

       In a landscape that includes family members who often wish 
     to keep exploitation from coming to light because they are 
     perpetrating the exploitation, the risk of facing potential 
     nuisance or false complaints over privacy violations is all 
     too real. This is a barrier that must be removed so that 
     financial institutions will act immediately to report to the 
     proper authorities upon forming a reasonable belief that 
     exploitation is occurring. These professionals are on the 
     front lines in the fight against elder financial exploitation 
     and are often the only ones in a position to stop 
     exploitation before it is too late.

  Our bill is based on Maine's innovative Senior$afe program, a 
collaborative effort by Maine's regulators, financial institutions, and 
legal organizations to educate bank and credit union employees on how 
to identify and help stop financial exploitation of older Mainers. This 
program, pioneered by Maine Securities Administrator Judith Shaw, also 
serves as the template for model legislation developed for adoption at 
the state level by the North American Securities Administrators 
Association, or NASAA. The Senior$afe Act and NASAA's model state 
legislation are complementary efforts, and I am pleased that NASAA has 
endorsed our bill.
  I am pleased that our bill has received bipartisan support in both 
houses of Congress. Last year, the House Financial Services Committee 
approved a version of the Senior$afe Act by a vote of 59 to zero, and 
it passed the full House by voice vote in July. In the Senate, the 
Senior$afe Act was cosponsored by a quarter of the Members of this 
body, balanced nearly evenly on both sides of the aisle, and was 
discharged out of the Banking Committee. Unfortunately, just one member 
of this body blocked it and prevented it from becoming law.
  Besides receiving broad support in Congress, our bill has the support 
of a wide range of stakeholders, ranging from the State securities 
administrators and insurance commissioners to advocates for seniors.
  Combating financial abuse of seniors requires regulators, law 
enforcement and social service agencies at all levels of government to 
work collaboratively with the private sector. The Senior$afe Act 
encourages financial institutions to train their employees, and shields 
them from lawsuits when they make good faith, reasonable reports of 
potential fraud to the proper authorities.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that letters of support be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                    Legal Services


                                              for the Elderly,

                                    Augusta, ME, December 5, 2016.
     Re Senior$afe (S. 2216).

     Hon. Susan Collins,
     Chair, Senate Special Committee on Aging, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Collins: I want to thank you for inviting me 
     to speak with the Senate Special Committee on Aging about the 
     serious problem of financial exploitation of seniors by 
     guardians and others in a position of power. I also want to 
     thank you for your leadership in working to ensure there is 
     training of financial institution employees in reporting 
     elder abuse and an improvement in the timely reporting of 
     financial exploitation when it is suspected through passage 
     of the Senior$afe Act. I strongly support this legislation 
     that is based upon work done here in Maine.
       I served for over two years on the working group that 
     developed Maine's SeniorSafe training program for financial 
     institution managers and employees. It is a voluntary 
     training program. Through that work I came to fully 
     appreciate the very real concerns of the financial industry 
     regarding the consequences of violating, or being perceived 
     as violating, the broad range of state and federal privacy 
     laws that apply to their industry. I also came to appreciate 
     that absent broad immunity for reporting of suspected 
     financial exploitation, privacy regulations would continue to 
     be a barrier to good faith reporting of suspected financial 
     exploitation. In a landscape that includes family members who 
     often wish to keep exploitation from coming to light because 
     they are perpetrating the exploitation, the risk of facing 
     potential nuisance or false complaints over privacy 
     violations is all too real.
       This is a barrier that must be removed so that financial 
     institution employees will act immediately to make a report 
     to the proper authorities upon forming a reasonable belief 
     that exploitation is occurring. These professionals are on 
     the front lines in the fight against elder financial 
     exploitation and are often the only ones in a position to 
     stop exploitation before it is too late.
       I want to add that tying the grant of immunity to required 
     training for not just supervisors, compliance officers, and 
     legal advisors, but to all who come in contact with seniors 
     as a part of their regular duties, will have the direct 
     result of bringing more cases of exploitation to the timely 
     attention of the proper authorities because it will 
     significantly increase the knowledge and awareness in the 
     industry of the red flags for elder abuse. In Maine, where 
     our training program is entirely voluntary and carries no 
     legal status or benefit, we have already seen what a 
     difference training can make.
       Senior$afe is a much needed step in the fight against 
     financial exploitation of seniors and there is no doubt it 
     will make our nation's seniors safer. I thank you again for 
     your leadership in this important area.
           Sincerely,
                                                   Jaye L. Martin,
                                               Executive Director.

[[Page S451]]

     
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                                         North American Securities


                             Administration Association, Inc.,

                                 Washington, DC, January 24, 2017.
     Re The Senior$afe Act of 2017.

     Hon. Susan Collins,
     Chair, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Washington, 
         DC.
       Dear Senator Collins: On behalf of the North American 
     Securities Administrators Association (``NASAA''), I am 
     writing to express strong support for your work to better 
     protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation through 
     the introduction of the Senior$afe Act of 2017. Your 
     legislation will better protect persons aged 65 and older 
     from financial exploitation by increasing the likelihood it 
     will be identified by financial services professionals, and 
     by removing barriers to reporting it, so that together we as 
     state securities regulators and other appropriate 
     governmental authorities can help stop it.
       Senior financial exploitation is a growing problem across 
     the country. Many in our elderly population are vulnerable 
     due to social isolation and distance from family, caregiver, 
     and other support networks. Indeed, evidence suggests that as 
     many as one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 has 
     been victimized by a financial fraud. To be successful in 
     combating senior financial exploitation, state and federal 
     policymakers must come together to weave a new safety net for 
     our elderly, breaking down barriers for those who are best 
     positioned to identify red flags early on and to encourage 
     reporting and referrals to appropriate local, county, state, 
     and federal agencies, including law enforcement.
       The Senior$afe Act consists of several essential features. 
     First, to promote and encourage reporting of suspected 
     elderly financial exploitation by financial services 
     professionals, who are positioned to identify and report 
     ``red flags'' of potential exploitation, the bill would 
     incentivize financial services employees to report any 
     suspected exploitation by making them immune from any civil 
     or administrative liability arising from such a report, 
     provided that they exercised due care, and that they make 
     these reports in good faith. Second, in order to better 
     assure that financial services employees have the knowledge 
     and training they require to identify ``red flags'' 
     associated with financial exploitation, the bill would 
     require that, as a condition of receiving immunity, financial 
     institutions undertake to train certain personnel regarding 
     the identification and reporting of senior financial 
     exploitation.
       The Senior$afe Act's objectives and benefits are far-
     reaching. Older Americans stand to benefit directly from such 
     reporting, because early detection and reporting will 
     minimize their financial losses from exploitation, and 
     because improved protection of their finances ultimately 
     helps preserve their financial independence and their 
     personal autonomy. Financial institutions stand to benefit, 
     as well, through preservation of their reputation, increased 
     community recognition, increased employee satisfaction, and 
     decreased uninsured losses.
       In conclusion, state securities regulators strongly support 
     passage of the Senior$afe Act of 2017. Please do not hesitate 
     to contact me, or Michael Canning, NASAA Director of Policy, 
     if we may be of any additional assistance.
           Sincerely,

                                                 Mike Rothman,

                                    NASAA President and Minnesota,
                                         Commissioner of Commerce.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DAINES (for himself and Mr. Manchin):
  S. 228. A bill to ensure that small business providers of broadband 
Internet access service can devote resources to broadband deployment 
rather than compliance with cumbersome regulatory requirements, and for 
other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, small businesses are the backbone of 
America. They generate more than half of the country's private GDP and 
support millions of families. In Montana, small businesses are 
innovating, offering new products and services, and creating jobs.
  The business community relies on the Internet to access the global 
marketplace. In rural states like Montana where it is costly to provide 
internet access, consumers and businesses depend on small businesses to 
provide connectivity. Without small broadband providers, many Montanans 
would not have the internet access that most of us take for granted.
  Burdensome regulations like the FCC's net neutrality rules are 
strangling our small businesses and preventing growth and investment. 
The enhanced transparency requirements in particular require small 
businesses to disclose an excess amount of information including 
network packet loss, network performance by geographic area, network 
performance during peak usage, network practices concerning a 
particular group of users, triggers that activate network practices, 
and the list goes on. Small companies operate with a small team of 
employees and do not have a team of attorneys dedicated to regulatory 
compliance. Small businesses simply do not have the bandwidth to take 
on additional regulatory burdens.
  That is why I am proud to introduce the Small Business Broadband 
Deployment Act of 2017 with my colleague Senator Manchin. The bill 
provides a temporary small business exception to the net neutrality 
enhanced transparency requirements. There is broad support in the 
record for this exception, including support from the American Cable 
Association, Rural Wireless Association, Competitive Carriers 
Association, Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, CTIA--The 
Wireless Association, Rural Broadband Provider Coalition, WTA--
Advocates for Rural Broadband.
  Providing relief from burdensome disclosure rules will allow small 
businesses to focus on deploying infrastructure and serving their 
customers rather than spending time on regulatory compliance. I ask my 
colleagues to join me in cosponsoring this much needed legislation.
  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. 228

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Small Business Broadband 
     Deployment Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. SMALL BUSINESS EXEMPTION.

       (a) Definitions.--In this section--
       (1) the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' 
     means--
       (A) the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
     of the Senate; and
       (B) the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of 
     Representatives;
       (2) the term ``broadband Internet access service'' has the 
     meaning given the term in section 8.2 of title 47, Code of 
     Federal Regulations;
       (3) the term ``Commission'' means the Federal 
     Communications Commission; and
       (4) the term ``small business'' means any provider of 
     broadband Internet access service that has not more than 
     250,000 subscribers.
       (b) Exception for Small Businesses.--The enhancements to 
     the transparency rule of the Commission under section 8.3 of 
     title 47, Code of Federal Regulations, as described in 
     paragraphs 162 through 184 of the Report and Order on Remand, 
     Declaratory Ruling, and Order of the Commission with regard 
     to protecting and promoting the open Internet (adopted by the 
     Commission on February 26, 2015) (FCC 15-24), shall not apply 
     to any small business.
       (c) Sunset.--Subsection (b) shall not have any force or 
     effect after the date that is 5 years after the date of 
     enactment of this Act.
       (d) Report by FCC.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
     of enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to the 
     appropriate congressional committees a report that contains 
     the recommendations of the Commission, and data supporting 
     those recommendations, regarding whether--
       (1) the exception provided under subsection (b) should be 
     made permanent; and
       (2) the definition of the term ``small business'' for the 
     purposes of the exception provided under subsection (b) 
     should be modified from the definition in subsection (a)(4).

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