March 21, 2017 - Issue: Vol. 163, No. 49 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 1st Session
PROVIDING FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISAPPROVAL OF A RULE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 49
(Senate - March 21, 2017)
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[Pages S1864-S1884] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] PROVIDING FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISAPPROVAL OF A RULE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the joint resolution. The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows: A joint resolution (H.J. Res. 69) providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to ``Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.'' The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska. Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I rise to encourage my colleagues to rescind a recently promulgated regulation by the Obama administration and to support the corresponding resolution of disapproval that the majority leader just brought up and that we unanimously moved forward to debate, H.J. Res. 69. There are few, if any, people in the world who love their lands and wildlife more than Alaskans. In Alaska, our land is the lifeblood that sustains us, that feeds our bodies, our families, and our souls. It is a deep and enduring part of our culture. Our hunting traditions are very much alive in Alaska. Alaskans hunt for food for cultural reasons and even for survival. There are people in my State whose families have called our beautiful and rugged lands home for thousands of years, living side-by-side with more recent arrivals. Alaska has also the well-earned reputation of having one of the best managed, most sustainable fish and game populations anywhere in America or anywhere in the world, for that matter. We have an abundance of wildlife that most States and most countries can only dream of. We do this year after year, generation after generation, through rigorous scientific processes that allow and encourage public participation through our Board of Game, Board of Fisheries, and our Fish and Game Department to make sure we manage our fish and game for sustainability, as required by the Alaska constitution, and that we take into account the needs of our citizens--the needs of Alaskans. It is not an easy process. It can be contentious, but all Alaskans take this very seriously. In Alaska, we respect the land and everything in it. That special connection and our ability to manage our own lands and resources was explicitly recognized in Federal law when Alaska became a State. The Alaska Statehood Act passed in this body in 1958, specifically granting Alaska the authority to manage fish and wildlife on not only State lands but on Federal lands, unless Congress passes a law to the contrary. By the way, that is the same authority granted to all States. It is granted to Ohio, New Mexico--all States in America have this authority. Further, in 1980, this body, the Congress of the United States, passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, designating 100 million acres of land, in my great State, as Federal conservation units, including over 70 million acres--I believe larger than the State of New Mexico--as wildlife refuges in one State. Many Alaskans didn't like this bill. Several saw this as a massive Federal usurpation of our land, but our congressional delegation fought to include explicit provisions in this Federal law that made it abundantly clear that the State of Alaska still had primacy in managing fish and game throughout the entire State--State lands and Federal lands. When that act was passed, it explicitly stated: ``Nothing in this act is intended to enlarge or diminish the responsibility and authority of the State of Alaska for the management of fish and wildlife on public lands. . . .'' That is pretty clear language, and it is very important language to Alaskans. ANILCA is the statute we are talking about, and that is what we call it in Alaska. That Federal law that passed in 1980 made numerous other commitments to Alaskans about how the Federal Government would not usurp the power of the State or our citizens to live the life we have in Alaska. How quickly the Feds forget. How quickly the Feds forget what this law requires. On August 5, 2016, the Obama administration's Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule that, No. 1, restricted certain State-approved fish and game management practices; No. 2, limited public input in the wildlife management process; and, No. 3, expanded closure procedures on refuges in Alaska, making it easier to keep people shut out of these Federal lands in our State. This rule is not based on sound science. Thousands of Alaskans and other Americans opposed it, tried to work with the Feds to get them to moderate it or rescind it, to no avail. It is not based on established wildlife management principles, and it is certainly not based on Federal law. The Fish and Wildlife Service didn't take this action because Alaska's sustainable and abundant populations of fish and game or their habitats were being threatened; it took this action because it wanted to control Alaska's fish and wildlife and because it subjectively disapproved of the way Alaska's game was being managed by our Department of Fish and Game and by the Alaska Board of Game, but the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service does not have this authority. To make this clear, we are proceeding today with this resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, H.J. Res. 69, to rescind that August 5 Obama Fish and Wildlife Service rule. The House has already passed this measure under Congressman Don Young's leadership. So I want to encourage all of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, to vote in favor of this resolution. It is backed by the force of law, the principles of federalism, and respect for the Alaskan Native people who have been hunting and fishing, subsisting off the land in Alaska for generations. It is also supported by millions of Americans across the country and wildlife professionals in every State in the Union who are committed to the conservation of the abundant species of wildlife in my home State and in theirs. Why should my colleagues support rescinding this Fish and Wildlife Service regulation? Well, first and foremost, as I have already mentioned, it clearly usurps power from the States [[Page S1865]] and it ignores Federal law. Unfortunately, faced with a Federal law it disagreed with, the Fish and Wildlife Service took the route other Federal agencies have been taking over the years by simply writing a reg to bypass the will of Congress and the American people, by simply moving forward with their preferred policy preference via regulation and ignoring the law. That is an issue every Member of this body, whether you are a Democrat or Republican, should be concerned about and vigilant to reverse. It is not a partisan issue. It is a federalism issue. It is a States' rights issue. That is why my State of Alaska, led by a Governor who is an Independent and a Lieutenant Governor who is a Democrat, sued to overturn the Obama administration's litigation. This litigation that my State brought against the Federal Government cites Federal laws like ANILCA, which declares that the State of Alaska ``has jurisdiction over the management of fish and wildlife on public lands throughout the State.'' That is the Federal law. The law is clear, and of course it makes sense from a management perspective. Alaska is a patch of many different ownerships of our land--State, Federal, and Native lands. The moose and bear in our great State don't know these borders. One agency needs to be in charge, and that is the State agency. While it might be true that this Obama administration regulation, as written, only applies and impacts Alaska, it is a precedent that should trouble every Member of this body and every State in the Union because if it can be done in Alaska, it can be done anywhere. That is why the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, State agencies charged with managing wildlife in all 50 States and territories from California, New Mexico, to New Jersey all support this resolution. They all support overturning the Obama administration's Fish and Wildlife reg. All 50 States, the people who know these issues, support what we are doing on the Senate floor right now. A second and related reason for the broad bipartisan support not only in Alaska but across the country for rescinding this Fish and Wildlife regulation is because it significantly reduces the public participation in managing lands and wildlife in Alaska. Before this rule came out, the harvest of fish and wildlife on Alaska refuges was governed by Alaska's Board of Game and Board of Fish, and the process was highly sensible. I have been to Board of Game meetings. It is open to the public and responsive to the public, but this new regulation gives the Federal Government a veto over State regulations issued by the boards, with no public process and no public input. The rule also makes closures of Federal lands subject more to the whims of Federal officials than to the input of the people they serve. It shuts down the public process, which is critical to the successful stable management of fish and game in my State. This Federal regulation also undermines subsistence. In Alaska, ``subsistence'' isn't just a word, a catch phrase, or a slogan. It is not what people do for the benefit of tourism. It is critical. The public participation element is critical to the healthy management of fish and game, and it also enables the professionals to learn from the people--particularly the Native people in my State--what we call traditional knowledge in Alaska. As I mentioned, ``subsistence'' in my State isn't just a catch phrase or a slogan. Subsistence encompasses the customary and traditional use of fish, wildlife, plant resources, preserving cultural traditions, supplying basic necessities such as food, firewood, and clothing. It provides for barter, trade, and income for subsistence in the cash-based rural economy. It is serious business in my State. Subsistence in Alaska is life, literally, and it has been so for thousands of years. In so many of my State's villages, there is no grocery store, there is no Costco, there is no Whole Foods market. If one doesn't get a moose in the fall or have enough salmon in the summer that someone catches, they might have trouble surviving in the winter. This is serious business. In other places in Alaska, where we do have small grocery stores, the costs are often more than twice to four times the national average for basic necessities. President Obama, when he visited Alaska in 2015, went out to the rural communities, and once he saw it, he understood this. When he came to Alaska, he said, ``You're looking at prices that are double, in some cases, or even higher for basic necessities like milk, like orange juice, like other produce. . . . That's part of the reason why the subsistence economy [in Alaska] is so important.'' This is the former President of the United States making this comment. One wonders why this Fish and Wildlife Service then issued a reg that attacked subsistence. But to be honest, most Americans and certainly most Senators do not fully understand this. Again, due to the tenacity of Alaska's congressional delegation--former Senators, such as Ted Stevens, and current Members, such as Don Young in the House--Federal law recognizes the importance of subsistence in Alaska. The protection of subsistence rights in ANILCA and other Federal legislation is listed throughout our Federal laws. Specifically, ANILCA states: The opportunity for rural residents engaged in a subsistence way of life must continue to be so. It further goes on to state that the Federal Government's actions in Alaska should have ``the least adverse impact possible on rural residents who depend on subsistence uses of the resources of such lands.'' This issue of subsistence is important to thousands of my constituents. It is not a theoretical issue, it is critical, but it is now more important to the Alaska Native populations in my State, which is close to 20 percent of my State. In 2014, the Alaska Federation of Natives ratified a resolution that criticized a proposal from the Federal Government that was similar to the one we are debating today, and they stated the following in their resolution: Alaska Natives have served as the stewards of their traditional lands and resources, maintaining healthy and productive ecosystems for thousands of years, and maintain the belief that human beings are an integral part of naturally functioning ecosystems, not separate from them. That is what all Alaskans believe. Yet, despite Federal laws that emphasize the importance of subsistence to all Alaskans and pleas and letters from hundreds of Alaska Natives who ask the Federal Government not to negatively impact their subsistence way of life and opportunities with this new Fish and Wildlife Service regulation, the Fish and Wildlife Service persisted. They promulgated this regulation in the face of opposing voices in Alaska and Federal law that says they do not have the authority to do this. You know it is targeted for subsistence because in the Fish and Wildlife Service's initial rule, that rule stated that the law and the policy had to ``take into consideration the fact that humans are dependent on wildlife refuge subsistence resources.'' That was the original draft rule. Subsistence matters. That was in there, a nod to Federal law. Guess what happened with the final rule? That entire section on subsistence was removed by the Federal Government, which showed that this law is an anti-subsistence law, which violates Federal law. They did not want Alaskans to subsist off their lands as required by Federal law. Alaska's attorney general, Jahna Lindemuth, who was appointed by an Independent Governor from my State, said: These federal regulations are not about . . . protecting the State's wildlife numbers. These regulations are about the federal government trying to control Alaskans' way of life. Hunting is a way of life in Alaska. The Presiding Officer is a hunter and understands that it is cultural and that it provides subsistence and even protection for our citizens. Let's be clear. The Fish and Wildlife regulation at issue today, which we are debating, is an anti-hunting rule, pure and simple. That this is the case became very clear when the former Fish and Wildlife Service Director, Dan Ashe, who promulgated this regulation, questioned the ethics of our hunters in Alaska in a Huffington Post column. He said that some of Alaska's practices are ``wholly at odds with America's long tradition of ethical, sportsmanlike, fair-chase hunting.'' That is from the former Fish and Wildlife Service Director. One knows where he is coming from on this. Along these lines, I anticipate some of my colleagues on the other side of [[Page S1866]] the aisle--I see one of them down here already--are going to come down and start touting this parade of horribles, spurred on by anti-hunting groups to convince our colleagues to vote against this resolution of disapproval--what we want to have passed. You might hear phrases from them like Alaska's practices constitute a ``war on wolves'' or a ``black eye for ethical hunters,'' with the implication that my constituents are not ethical hunters. One might even see my colleagues repeat the false and misleading claims that have been run on TV by certain groups about alleged unethical hunting and game management practices in Alaska. I would like to make a suggestion or two to my colleagues who are coming down here to speak against this resolution of disapproval. First, please let them try to do so with a sense of humility and a sense of history. Yes, one or two of them may have been accomplished hunters in their own right or are still accomplished hunters in their own right. I respect that. I love to hunt. But that does not mean one has as much or any knowledge or understanding of my State's long history and distinguished record of fish and game management. One might prefer his meat wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store. That is fine, but I ask that one doesn't criticize the thousands of Alaskans who have to hunt for their food and who value hunting as a deep part of their culture. I would also caution one from making claims that Alaska's wildlife officials allow for unethical hunting and management practices that require the Federal Government to intervene in my State's long history of distinguished fish and game management. Such an argument would be at odds with the consistent and numerous awards the State of Alaska has received for its outstanding management of fish and game year after year after year--American Fishery Society awards, awards from the Department of the Interior, the Wildlife Society, and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Those who manage wildlife in Alaska are the best in their field. It is not just Alaskans who take issue or who will take issue with such statements that I am sure we are going to hear on the floor. Let me read a list of hunting and conservation groups that support this resolution of disapproval, groups that, in other words, support the overturning of the Fish and Wildlife rule at issue today. It is a very long list, and it is actually longer than this: Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Boone and Crockett Club, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Delta Waterfowl Foundation, Alaska Outdoor Council, Alaska Professional Hunters Association, American Outfitter and Guide Association, Territorial Sportsmen, National Rifle Association, Safari Club International. The list goes on and on. These groups represent millions of hunters, conservationists, wildlife enthusiasts, and wildlife scientists who represent millions of Americans who are focused on the model of conservation that we all are supportive of, and they are the backbone of habitat and species conservation in our country. These groups--every one of them--are supportive of what we are trying to do on the Senate floor today. These groups certainly do not consider themselves unethical hunters. To the contrary, they care deeply about conservation and abundant wildlife populations not only for themselves but for the generations of Americans to come, and they have dedicated their lives to this. They represent Americans from across the 50 States--Montana, West Virginia, New Mexico, New Jersey. Their values, like the values held by Alaskans with regard to conservation and hunting, should not be doubted and I certainly hope are not going to be attacked on the Senate floor. In closing, I believe in respectful and informed debate. Sometimes it certainly requires reaching beyond one's own experience to listen to others with opposing views. I took the opportunity to do that just the other day. I had a conversation with the president and CEO of the Humane Society about the issue and resolutions we are discussing today. I know that he and others are leading the opposition to this, but we had a very respectful conversation. We heard each other's views, and although we likely will not agree on this issue, I hope he felt that I talked to him with respect and listened to him because that is what I did. Perhaps my colleagues who are going to speak against this resolution today should do the same. I would hope that those who come down to the floor to oppose overturning this rule would have picked up the phone and maybe called Alaska's Department of Fish and Game, or talked to a biologist there, or maybe talked to the chairman of the Board of Game and asked if he is an ethical hunter, or maybe called a store in remote Alaska to ask about food prices, or made some inquiries about the lack of stores in dozens of villages that rely on subsistence, or called an Alaska Native leader to see how important subsistence is to his life and his culture. Maybe my colleagues would have called one of my constituents who wrote in opposing this rule. He is an Alaska Native who lives in rural Alaska and whose grandfather taught him to hunt and fish. Here is what he wrote to us: Please do not pass these types of regulations that will change my future. These lands are dear to Alaska Natives, and I feel that some of the Fish and Wildlife workers are biased as well as listening to the wrong people. By the ``wrong people,'' I mean Fish and Wildlife officials who do not understand my subsistence rights, who do not work in the villages, who want to take away my right to hunt. This is about the rule of law, primacy, federalism, and it is about much more than that; it is about real people--people like my constituents. I urge my colleagues to support our resolution of disapproval and rescind this regulation that violates the law, undermines subsistence in Alaska, and will do harm to my State and other States. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico. Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, I come to the floor to oppose this effort by my good colleague from Alaska and by congressional Republicans to, in my view, turn back the clock 100 years on the management of our native wildlife on our national wildlife refuges in Alaska. Since 2002, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has embraced what some have called a politically driven and even unscientific regime of intensive predator control. I think it is helpful to look at the views of a former Governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles, who recently commented in High Country News: The most disappointing thing is that the balance of the views on the Board of Game has disappeared. I tried to work with a balanced board that reflected subsistence hunters, sport hunters, guides and conservationists, but now the board is made up of people who want to make hunting ungulates the priority for wildlife management. There's been a focused effort to dramatically reduce populations of wolves, coyotes, and bears, and the methods and means they've used are both unscientific and unethical. That is not my quote, but that of former Governor Tony Knowles of Alaska. In addition, in the past decade, the Alaska Board of Game and the department have turned their back, I think, on a long history of not only working together between Federal and State agencies but embracing ethics as central to wildlife management--not just to maintain the viability of that management but to maintain the support of the public for that management. This relatively new approach that actively seeks to eschew the long history of embracing sporting ethics can best be summed up by a quote from Doug Vincent-Land, the former director of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Wildlife Conservation. He said: ``The professionals at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game did not feel it was our role to judge the ethics of these practices.'' The result of this ethics-free approach is now glaringly obvious, when considering some of the methods of take that have been approved over time for native predators in Alaska. Shooting mother grizzlies with cubs, aerial gunning of wolves, killing wolf pups in their dens, using spotlights at bear dens, baiting of bears, and allowing the wanton waste of black bear meat are a few of the practices that Alaska's Board of Game has approved. Aldo Leopold, the father of modern wildlife conservation, once said: ``Ethical behavior is doing the right thing [[Page S1867]] when no one else is watching--even when doing the wrong thing is legal.'' Now, I know it has become fashionable in some hunting circles recently to ignore the importance of ethics to our way of life. Yet, if our greatest leaders are any indication, that is, at best, a slippery slope to irrelevance. This cartoon is a good reminder. It is from the early 20th century, at a time when President Teddy Roosevelt was invited down to Mississippi for a black bear hunt. When he wasn't successful, they tied a black bear to a tree. I think that cartoon from that period is a good reminder of how T.R. viewed the importance of sportsmanship and ethics in hunting as central to what maintains our credibility. Today, politicians jump at the chance to embrace his reputation, but too often they have not followed his example. So while shooting down grizzlies with cubs may be legal, I suspect the public will never view it as ethical. I have to wonder what good old T.R. would have to say about recent decisions to allow things like unlimited bag limits on black bear cubs or baiting of bears and shooting female grizzlies with cubs. So why does all of this ethics stuff matter so much to hunters? Why does it matter to me? It matters because hunters like me are a small minority of the population in this country. We are less than 5 percent, by most counts, and we are able to carry on this great tradition because the vast majority--the nonhunting public, which is 95 percent of the population--sees us as effective and ethical stewards of our country's native wildlife. We have embraced the North American model of wildlife conservation that has literally brought elk, deer, wild turkey, and species we think of as common today--Canada geese, for example--back from the brink of extinction, and that public shares in that success when they enjoy wildlife. That is true, even if they never hunt, never pick up a fishing poll. We as hunters also have the trust and the respect of the public because we are willing to literally spend billions of dollars of our own money to protect, conserve, and manage those resources with the best available science. The Alaska Game Board's decision to ignore the latest science on the importance of predators to healthy prey populations is indicative of a desire to effectively turn caribou and moose populations into livestock and to manage for maximum numbers and maximum tag revenue. Now, ironically, that approach has certainly been ineffective at boosting and maintaining historically high caribou and moose numbers. This is an example of a graph of moose population over time. We can see back in 2002, when these sorts of intensive take measures went into place: intensive predator control, preintensive management, and postintensive management. If you can discern a consistent correlation of an outcome of higher moose numbers there, you are doing better than I. This would all be fine if this was just happening on State lands in Alaska, perchance. But, unfortunately, the Alaska Game Board now seeks to suppress healthy predator populations on our national wildlife refuges--the very places set aside to protect and preserve our native wildlife--even predators, even black bears and grizzlies and wolves. Let that sink in for a moment. This is about embracing unscientific wildlife management on the very refuges that belong to each and every American citizen--not Alaska State land but our national wildlife refuges. People save up for years--sometimes decades--to travel thousands of miles to go to places like the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge so they can see a grizzly bear fish for salmon. Does it make sense to allow these kinds of extreme measures of take to allow for grizzlies with cubs to be killed in those refuges? Will these policies actually benefit the hunting public? I would argue that they do not. Not one of my colleagues can deny how much I love to hunt and fish. Many of my life's best memories have been forged around the campfire with my friends and family at elk camp. Just this past Christmas break, both of my boys joined me for what would be my son Carter's very first elk hunt. This is the picture of us in the Continental Divide Wilderness Study Area. After days of hard hunting, hiking miles through the rough and tumble backcountry of the Continental Divide WSA, my son Carter harvested his first elk. He soon learned that the real work starts after you pull the trigger. He labored long and hard to make sure that every scrap of meat from that animal made its way from the wilderness to our freezer. Anything less would be unethical and disrespectful to that magnificent animal. My son takes great pride in the meals that elk provides for our family and our friends. He also knows that hunting is conservation and that we have a responsibility to hand these wildlife resources off to the next generation unimpaired. I am proud that even at 13 he takes that responsibility very seriously. Some of my son's classmates in school are vegetarians. Too many of those who do eat meat think that it is created, as my colleague from Alaska said, on a Styrofoam platter wrapped in cellophane. Carter knows better. As someone who hunts and fully embraces the ideas of sustainability and ethics, the next generation of sports men and women couldn't have a better ambassador to this new generation of millennials for why hunting is actually critical to the future of wildlife. That, my friends, is what this CRA before us, in my view, puts at risk. When you vote to put the Federal stamp of approval on methods of take that the public views as objectionable--even unethical--when you allow that ideologically driven style of game management to even permeate the sanctity of our national wildlife refuges, I don't think that is standing up for hunters. I fear that it is endangering the future of something that is critical to culture and way of life. As I said before, the number of active hunters in the United States today sits, I think, at around 5 percent, or maybe a little lower--I hope not. By voting for this CRA, we are risking the confidence of the general public in our ability as hunters to be the best stewards of our wildlife resources. That is a risk that I am not willing to take. So I would urge all of my colleagues to stand up for our Nation's wildlife, to stand up for our national wildlife refuges, and to vote no on this proposal. With that, 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. Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, there have now been two speakers on the floor this afternoon speaking to H.J. Res. 69, which is the disapproval resolution on Alaska fish and wildlife refuge rule. I have come today to speak in strong support of this resolution, which will effectively overturn a rule imposed by the previous administration related to fish and wildlife management on millions of acres of refuge land in the State of Alaska. I would like to start my comments by acknowledging Senator Sullivan, for his lead on this initiative, and Congressman Young, as he moved this measure through the House just a couple of weeks ago. What we saw in the House measure and the final vote was a bipartisan vote that secured passage through the House, and I thank Congressman Young for his able leadership there. I also want to thank Senator Sullivan for his comments and for really doing an excellent job in outlining and explaining why this Fish and Wildlife Service rule is bad for Alaska, bad for hunters, bad for our Native peoples, and bad for America. Like my friend and colleague, I am here to encourage Members of the Senate to see this rule for what it really is. It is a clear departure from Federal law. It is unwarranted regulatory overreach, and, from all accounts, it is a direct attack on States' rights. Now, we will have discussion back and forth on the floor about various hunting practices, and we will see beautiful shots of wildlife and suggestions that, somehow or other, this is about a specific hunting practice. This is bigger than wildlife refuges in the State of Alaska. This is an issue that is not just isolated or contained in the State of Alaska. This resolution is specific to Alaska, but I would suggest to [[Page S1868]] my colleagues that for all of those of us who care about States' rights, who care about the promises made to our States about how they operate and how they manage activities in their States, this is something that we must all pay attention to because this is a direct attack on States' rights. I look at this and suggest that this rule is a solution in search of a problem. Again, there are those who would say: Why is the Senate spending 10 hours to debate practices within a refuge in the State of Alaska? Is this not just so parochial an issue that it ought not take our time? However, I would contend that this foreshadows what is in store for the rest of the country if we are not adamant in ensuring that this rule be repealed by Congress. Now, for those who may not be familiar with Alaska or gaming management laws within our State or within our national wildlife refuges in general, I think it is important to cover some basic facts and perhaps a little bit of history here to illustrate why this rule is so flawed. Alaska, like every other State in the Nation, holds primary legal authority to manage its fish and its wildlife, including on Federal refuge lands. So let's not get confused here and think that because we have Federal lands, somehow or other the States do not have primacy when it comes to management of fish and wildlife. Alaska holds legal authority to manage the fish and wildlife within its borders. This is clear. This is unambiguous. Congress explicitly provided that authority specifically to our State in not one, not two, but three separate laws. The first of these is the Alaska Statehood Act; then the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act--ANILCA; and the third authority was through the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act. In three separate authorities, Congress made it clear: Alaska, you are to manage the fish and wildlife within your borders. Our Statehood Act gave Alaska the right to manage its fish and its wildlife as soon as the State could assemble a department of fish and game, which we actually did in our first year of Statehood. Then, in 1980, ANILCA, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, affirmed twice that nothing within its text was ``intended to enlarge or diminish the authority of the State of Alaska for management of fish and wildlife on the public lands.'' Again, it is very clear, not only within the Statehood Act, but within ANILCA, that management would be left with the State. The authority to manage our fish and our wildlife--through decisions based on sound science and that make sense for our local communities--is something that we in Alaska take very, very seriously. For us, State management of fish and wildlife is practically sacrosanct. I cannot emphasize that enough. It is one of the key reasons the State of Alaska voted to join the Union, so we have pretty good reason for the emotion and the passion that come with this authority to manage our fish and our wildlife. I am proud to acknowledge that not only am I the first Senator to serve in the Senate who was born in Alaska; I was actually born in the territory. My parents and my grandparents were engaged in the battle for Statehood. Some think it was about the land. For most of the discussion that I recall from my family, it was all about fish. It was all about the salmon. One of the reasons we fought for Statehood was management of our fisheries. The Federal management of Alaska salmon fisheries prior to Statehood was absolutely appalling, with salmon stocks falling from 113 million in 1934 to just 25 million in 1959. We saw the management from the Federal side, and that experience left Alaskans absolutely committed to State management and the preservation of both fish and game, so we negotiated that for ourselves. We put it into law; we enshrined it into law in several different places. And we expect our Federal agencies to abide by that. Those were the terms of the deal when we entered the Union as a State: Alaska is to manage the fish and wildlife within our borders. It is our right and our responsibility, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We have an entire department of fish and game dedicated to it and, as Senator Sullivan rightly noted, a department that has been recognized for the good work they do, the strong science they utilize. We are proud of the efforts they make to ensure that this management is done for sustained yield, the principle we stand by in our State's constitution. For decades now, we have done just that, until the National Park Service in 2015 and the Fish and Wildlife Service in 2016 took it upon themselves to propose regulations to take control away from Alaska, despite what was contained in our Statehood agreement, in ANILCA, and in the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act. The National Park Service's rule is outside the reach of the Congressional Review Act. So while, in my view, that also deserves repeal, it is not the focus of our debate today. Instead, the resolution we are discussing focuses on the Fish and Wildlife Service rule that was finalized over the protests of Alaskans in August of last year. The rule itself was packaged perhaps innocently enough. The Fish and Wildlife Service spoke of clarifying ``existing mandates'' for conservation and biological diversity, and the agency claimed it was outlawing a few methods of predator control, couched its rule as a victory for public participation, and then promised us that it did not change Federal subsistence regulations or impose new regulations on subsistence users. On the face of it all, it sounded as though it was going to be not so bad--if you take the agency's description at face value. Many who are outside of Alaska are looking at this and saying: Why are you making such a big deal about all of this? The Department of the Interior is just clarifying some hunting rules, so it can't be that big of a deal. But the answer on that is: Wrong. This is a big deal. Some of our opponents will allege the repeal of this rule will legalize brutal predator-control practices. What the Senate should know is that it is already illegal for hunters to use certain practices--gas against wolves, traps to harvest bears. You cannot do this on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. So those arguments are false and, unfortunately, serve mostly to distract from what this rule is really about. As I mentioned at the outset of my comments, what this is really about are the States' rights, States' authorities, and, effectively, States' control. First and foremost, I am here to defend the rights of my home State and all of the States to manage fish and game within their boundaries. The game management rule severely erodes the authority of Alaska to make these decisions, and I think it sets a terrible precedent for the other 49 States. If you think, this rule is just about Alaska, that this is not something you need not worry yourself about--well you really actually ought to be worried. Especially so if you have Federal lands within your State. Your State could be the next one where Fish and Wildlife Service comes in and says: No, it's not going to be you, State, that has this management authority. We're going to come in and tell you what can and cannot be done. The Fish and Wildlife Service freely admits its rule will impact 54 million acres of refuge land inside the State of Alaska. This is an area 10 times larger than the size of the State of Massachusetts. This is not insignificant. Really, this is truly the camel's nose under the tent. If Congress allows this rule to stand, it will effectively override U.S. Supreme Court rulings from 1896 and 1979, which held that the States have the power to ``protect and conserve wild animal life within their borders.'' The States' power in this area is subject only to specific Federal authorities articulated by Congress, such as the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The precedent being set for Alaska--and every other State--should be sufficient reason for us to oppose this rule. But I also need to speak to some of the particulars included within it, especially the Obama administration's claim that it would not change or restrict subsistence uses. This regulation made significant and substantive changes to regulations related to the hunting of bears. While I realize that not everyone may agree with hunting, I urge you to listen to what my colleague from the State of Alaska said in his comments and what [[Page S1869]] he outlined in terms of subsistence to Alaska Natives, subsistence to those who are in areas so remote that ``rural'' is not even the right way to describe it. We call it Bush Alaska. There are no stores, there is no Safeway, there is no Whole Foods, and there is no Stop-N-Go. There is no place where you can go to get your meat, to get your fish. In many areas there just isn't even a store, much less a store where you can buy Hamburger Helper or whatever it is that you are going to provide for your family. That model just does not exist in certain parts of our State, so what the people who live there do is hunt. That is how they provide for their families. They hunt and they fish and they gather. That is subsistence. That subsistence is not only nutritional sustenance, but for many, it is also their cultural identity, whether you are the ``People of the Caribou,'' the ``People of the Whale,'' or the ``Salmon People.'' The Native people who have been part of this corner of the world for millennia relate to their food source, making sure that not only their traditional diets can continue, but how they are able to practice this subsistence lifestyle matters greatly. The regulation we are talking about today jeopardizes the ability of many of those Alaskans to sustainably harvest wildlife, to hunt, to feed themselves and their families. So when we think about the Alaska model of management and how it works to achieve healthy populations, this rule we are dealing with right now upsets that balance. It makes significant changes to the types of activities allowed when hunting bears without the support of the State or the traditional user groups. In updating regulations governing public notice and participation, the rule eliminates tools and obligations necessary for meaningful engagement with affected Alaskans. It curtails the use of local knowledge and insights for refuge management. It relies on an arbitrary and unscientific interpretation of the agency's national biological integrity, diversity, and environmental health policy. The sustainability of Alaska's ecosystem depends on good, sound management--expert management--of fish and game populations. But under this regulation, well-established best practices employed by wildlife management professionals are more vulnerable to what could be unscientific or certainly bureaucratic second-guessing. That has sweeping implications for wildlife populations and for those who depend on them. If left in place, this rule will be applied to the entire refuge system either unilaterally or through litigation, placing our Nation's fishing and hunting traditions at even greater risk. Those who actively participate in the sustainable management of our Nation's fish and wildlife populations understand the dangers presented by this rule, and they are overwhelmingly opposed to it. Senator Sullivan mentioned a list of the organizations that have voiced their support. I will not repeat many of the names, but it includes the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents all 50 States. It includes subsistence users, guides, outfitters, tourists, hunters, anglers throughout the country, and dozens of conservation groups, from the Alaska Outdoor Council and the Alaska Professional Hunters Association to Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International, the National Rifle Association, and the Boone and Crockett Club. When you have a coalition that is this strong, that is this broad and yet united against a Federal rule, you know something went terribly awry with the regulation. I would encourage the Senate to see through some of what I consider to be misleading arguments that some of the outside groups are making against us and to really see this rule for what it is--that this Fish and Wildlife Service game management rule for Alaska refuges is the very definition of Federal overreach. It defies the will of Alaskans, while disregarding sound scientific game management principles. It will result in less stable populations of fish and wildlife within our State. It will harm our subsistence users who hunt, not for sport but for their literal cultural sustenance, their nutritional sustenance, and, again, so much of their identity. I again want to thank those that have been leading on this issue. This is a bad rule that deserves repeal. I would encourage all of my colleagues to look carefully at this. Look carefully at this, not just as a rule that is parochial and limited to just Alaska alone, but look to it within the context of what this does and what it says when it comes to States' rights and States' ability to manage fish and wildlife within their own State borders. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont. The President's Budget Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, last Thursday the Trump administration submitted its first budget blueprint to Congress. The President called it ``America First, A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.'' The title would seem like a ``Saturday Night Live'' skit if the topic were not so serious. Like some of the President's tweets, his budget is a hasty list of appallingly unbalanced, shortsighted, and, I believe, politically driven priorities. He proposes to eliminate or drastically cut programs that benefit the middle class and safeguard its most vulnerable citizens, programs that protect our environment, programs that promote our interests overseas but also security at home. Instead, he wants to spend billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars on a misguided wall along our southern border and increased spending for the Pentagon. He says his proposal causes ``strength, security and resolve.'' He couldn't be more wrong. You don't want to make America ``great again'' at the expense of middle-class families and the most vulnerable among us. We are not a ``great'' nation if we abandon our shared desire to cure cancer, the desire to bring an end to Alzheimer's disease or diabetes. We don't do that by slashing billions for the National Institutes of Health. You can't switch complex and promising medical research off and then say: Well, maybe someday later we will just turn it back on again. We are not a great nation if we eliminate heating assistance for the 6 million vulnerable households that receive LIHEAP. Some 21,000 of those households just had to dig themselves out from a historic snowstorm in my State of Vermont. And we are not a ``great'' nation if we don't protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. You don't make America stronger by eliminating the very programs that strengthen our alliances around the world and make our Nation more secure. We are not a strong nation if we simply pour more money into the Pentagon but then renege on commitments to international peacekeeping and security alliances or slash funding to respond to humanitarian crises or cut our diplomatic presence around the world. Interesting enough, when the other body spent millions of tax dollars to investigate a lack of security in Benghazi and came up with nothing, this budget slashes huge amounts that could be spent on security in our embassies, just as they voted to cut out hundreds of millions of dollars from a Senate budget that would have improved our security. The President says he prefers hard power to soft power, but it is not either/or. The notion that soft power is weak or wasteful is mindless. If you are cutting programs that feed millions or prevent AIDS or treat tuberculosis and malaria, well, that doesn't help. It makes the world less stable, less secure. I am afraid the budget proposal is divorced from reality. It has a lot of partisan campaign promises. He promises infrastructure investment--and all of us would agree with that--but then it cuts critical Federal funds for proven successful State transportation projects. He claims it will save rural America, but he cuts those Federal programs that spur rural economic development. That is not a budget with vision. We need a serious budget proposal--a proposal that acknowledges the devastating effects the Budget Control Act and sequestration have had in our country and a budget that charts a path forward, rather than doubling down on further cuts on programs for the middle class. We need a budget proposal investing in our citizens and in our military, not a proposal that pays for one at the expense of the other. We have a lot of work to do. I am the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. I would say we have [[Page S1870]] to finish the fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills and then get to work on fiscal year 2018. Anybody who has been a Governor of their State would recognize that because they know they have to do it in their State. We should do it for the United States. To accomplish that, we need a budget framework that respects the principles in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, including parity between the defense and nondefense spending and that, even though they might be politically popular, doesn't have poison pill riders. We need relief from sequestration, not more misguided cuts. This budget proposal takes us backward, not forward. But we can remind ourselves that it is Congress that holds the power of the purse, not the President. I have said that, whether we had Democratic or Republican Presidents. I take the responsibility seriously. I look forward to working across the aisle with colleagues both on and off the Appropriations Committee. I want to craft a responsible budget, a thoughtful budget, a serious budget--one that truly makes us a better and safer Nation and reflects the values we share as Americans. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to the resolution which uses the Congressional Review Act process to overturn a Fish and Wildlife Service resolution prohibiting certain inhumane methods of killing bears and wolves within the 16 national wildlife refuges in Alaska, which cover about 20 percent of the State of Alaska. I understand the opponents of the Fish and Wildlife Service rule argue that States' rights issues are at hand, and they are responsible for the management of fish and wildlife in the State. That is certainly true within the State, but on Federal national wildlife refuge land, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is in charge--just like at Mount Rainier or Olympic National Park, where the National Park Service is in charge. I am sure there are times when Pierce County or even Seattle would like to make rules related to Mount Rainier, but they are not allowed because it is part of our National Park System. Similarly, the Fish and Wildlife Service manages our national wildlife refuge system. The rules in this proposal only apply to those national wildlife refuge lands in Alaska. They don't cover any other lands in the State. So this isn't about States' rights. It is about how we can manage these wildlife refuges to the degree that agencies believe are necessary for the preservation of the wildlife. Managing these national wildlife refuges--the 16 Federal refuges in Alaska--is about ensuring the management policies are consistent with the purpose of the wildlife refuge. It is not about prohibiting hunting. In fact, hunting has been allowed, and will continue to be allowed within these refuges in Alaska, as is the case with most national wildlife refuges throughout the United States. As the Senator from New Mexico pointed out earlier, this is about what people want to see when they go to a national wildlife refuge. Do they want to see the inhumane killing of bear cubs in their den or would they like to see the bears and the other fish and wildlife activity that exists in so many of these beautiful areas? Another argument that has been raised is that this rule will stop Alaskans from hunting for subsistence purposes--Native Alaskans who depend on subsistence hunting. The rule says nothing about this. It does not affect subsistence hunting. This rule is only about prohibiting certain methods of predator control in our wildlife refuges. Some people think this is contrary to responsible wildlife management practices in other States. But this rule only applies to national wildlife refuges in the State of Alaska. The actions that Alaska has authorized on their State lands are so aggressive, that permitting them on Federal wildlife refuge land would be counter to the purposes of these national wildlife refuges. I know one of my colleagues was here citing what they think is already prohibited under state law, but the Alaska Administrative Code does allow for carbon monoxide cartridges to be used in humane euthanizing in these wolf dens and the killing of young animals. Mr. President, let me read from the relevant provision of the Alaska Code, which is 5 AAC 92.110, Control of Predation by wolves. Subsection (h) states that ``carbon monoxide cartridges may be used to humanely euthanize wolf young in the den in areas under a predation control implementation plan.'' The next subsection, subsection (i) states that ``the killing of wolf young in the den, commonly known as `denning,' is prohibited unless the commission authorizes the killing of wolf young in the den in areas under a predation control implementation plan.'' That is in the Alaska Administrative Code today, and it is something that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not want to see happen in national wildlife refuges. The killing methods authorized by the State of Alaska include killing bear cubs or mothers with cubs, killing brown bears, including grizzly bears, using bait, killing brown bears using traps or snares, killing wolves or coyotes and their pups during the denning season, and shooting bears or wolves from aircraft or helicopters, using the aircraft to track down the bears or wolves, then landing and shooting them. When you see the list of prohibited actions, you have to wonder why anybody would oppose this rule. Who is advocating for the slaughtering of wolf pups or bear cubs in their dens, shooting them from aircraft or using snares to catch them by their necks and kill them? I think my colleague from New Mexico had a picture of such an event. Who is advocating for this kind of method? This is why the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy makes sure that if predator controls used, that they are based on science and not these inhumane actions. The wildlife rule is not a case of regulating sportsmen for traditional hunting practices, but it is making sure that they are doing so in a humane way. The law requires that the Alaska wildlife refuges be managed to conserve fish and wildlife populations in their natural diversity, but Alaska's predator control practices are not consistent with that management requirement. They are directly opposite to conserving the natural diversity and are instead promoting the wholesale killing of predator species. So that is why we oppose this override of the regulation. I hope my colleagues will turn it down. If we want to make improvements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule, we can do so by legislation, or by working to change the rule. But by overturning this rule, you are also prohibiting the agency from fulfilling their job of protecting the wildlife refuge. I want to make sure that all our colleagues understand that this is about protecting wildlife refuges in a humane way, allowing hunting practices, but doing so in a way that preserves the species. Mr. President, I yield the floor. Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, I oppose this outrageous resolution, which would overturn a Fish and Wildlife Service ecosystem management rule for the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. This resolution is a cruel measure that has horrified many of my constituents, and I share their strong opposition. The purpose of our National Wildlife Refuge System is to protect wildlife across the country. It does so by maintaining sustainable populations and balanced ecosystems. The Alaska National Wildlife Refuge is a stunning habitat that attracts hikers, fishers, hunters, and photographers to take in the beauty of the landscape and enjoy the wildlife there. The Fish and Wildlife Service rule simply codifies scientifically based wildlife management practices. It does not affect subsistence hunting by rural and Native Alaskans. By overturning this rule, Congress would permit extreme and cruel hunting practices that include killing wolves and pups in their dens and trapping, baiting, and using airplanes to [[Page S1871]] scout and shoot bears and cubs. This so-called predator control is unnecessary and indefensible. Most Alaskans oppose these extreme practices. The resolution of disapproval would impede the Federal Government's ability to manage 76 million acres of public lands that Congress set aside for all Americans. The Fish and Wildlife Service is charged with balancing multiple needs in wildlife refuges and conserving natural diversity. Overturning its rules to allow a small minority of hunters to use cruel and inhumane practices in a wildlife refuge is wrong. I oppose this resolution. Ms. CANTWELL. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the Senator withhold her suggestion regarding the absence of a quorum? Ms. CANTWELL. Yes. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado. Nomination of Neil Gorsuch Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Washington State for delaying the quorum call. I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you today and to share some of the conversations I had yesterday before the Judiciary Committee in regard to the confirmation of a Coloradan, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who now serves on the Tenth Circuit Court, which is housed in Denver, CO. Yesterday began his confirmation hearing before the Senate--the first step in a process which will ultimately end in his confirmation as a Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was a great honor to be able to introduce Judge Gorsuch to the committee. It is a tradition that Members of the Senate from the home State of the judge nominated to serve on the High Court be allowed to introduce the nominee--in this case, a judge of the Tenth Circuit Court. I joined my Democratic colleague Michael Bennet from Colorado in this tradition and am very excited to express my support for Judge Neil Gorsuch. I thought this afternoon I would share some of the comments I gave yesterday before the committee. I will start by talking about Confluence Park in Denver, CO. In downtown Denver, if you look at Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, they join together. That is where the Colorado Gold Rush began. When it was first discovered, it started bringing people out to the West, out to Colorado, to a place now known as Confluence Park, where the two rivers come together. At Confluence Park in Denver, if you look, there is a plaque on one of the walls there that has a poem written on it from Colorado poet laureate Thomas Hornsby Ferril. It is a poem known as ``Two Rivers'' describing the settlement of the West. The poem ends with this: I wasn't here, yet I remember them. That first night long ago, those wagon people Who pushed aside enough of the cottonwoods To build our city where the blueness rested. ``Where the optimistic blueness of our Colorado skies rests against the mountains and the plains'' is a good description of our great State. We are reminded about how incredibly diverse our great Nation is, its people and its geography. Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court helps recognize the diversity in geography, the diversity of our country, and it helps to recognize that indeed there are highly qualified jurists who reside west of the Mississippi River. Judge Gorsuch is a fourth-generation Coloradan. He is a skier. He is a fly-fisherman. He serves on a court that represents 20 percent of our Nation's landmass. Once confirmed, Judge Gorsuch will be only the second Coloradan to have ever served on the Nation's highest Court. The first Coloradan to serve on the High Court was Justice Byron White. Justice Byron White also led the NFL in rushing, which is something Neil Gorsuch won't be able to claim when he is confirmed but is certainly something that makes his confirmation as the second Coloradan unique in our history. Should he be confirmed, Judge Gorsuch will also make history as he represents the first Generation X Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, the emerging generation of American leadership. Judge Gorsuch was confirmed to the Tenth Circuit Court unanimously by voice vote in this Chamber in 2006. In fact, 12 current Democratic Senators did not oppose his confirmation, including three distinguished members of the Judiciary Committee. Ranking Member Feinstein, Senator Leahy, and Senator Durbin are all members of the Judiciary Committee who supported, through voice vote, his nomination. Eleven years ago, Senator Graham presided over an empty committee dais as Neil Gorsuch faced his confirmation in 2006. No one showed up. What a difference a court can make. The level of bipartisan support for his 2006 nomination is almost unheard of in today's political climate, but when you look at his record, his writings, and his statements, it is easy to see why Judge Gorsuch has such overwhelming support. Judge Gorsuch is not an ideologue. He is a mainstream jurist who follows the law as written and doesn't try to supplant it with his own personal policy preferences. As he said, ``Personal politics or policy preferences have no useful role in judging; regular and healthy doses of self-skepticism and humility about one's own abilities and conclusions always do.'' Judge Gorsuch is not an activist judge but, rather, a faithful adherent to and ardent defender of our Constitution. Judge Gorsuch said that judges have a ``foundational duty'' to ``do more than merely consider [the Constitution]. . . . They take an oath to uphold it.'' The judge recognizes that the judiciary is not the place for social or constitutional experimentation and that efforts to engage in such experimentation delegitimize the Court. As he said, ``This overweening addiction to the courtroom as the place to debate social policy is bad for the country and bad for the judiciary. . . . As a society, we lose the benefit of the give-and-take of the political process and the flexibility of social experimentation that only the elected branches can provide.'' Judge Gorsuch has a deep appreciation and respect for the constitutional principle of federalism and the separation of powers prescribed by our Founding Fathers. As he stated, ``A firm and independent judiciary is critical to a well-functioning democracy.'' Judge Gorsuch understands the advantage of democratic institutions and the special authority and legitimacy that come from the consent of the governed. As he said, ``Judges must allow the elected branches of government to flourish and citizens, through their elected representatives, to make laws appropriate to the facts and circumstances of the day.'' Judge Gorsuch appreciates the rule of law and respects the considered judgment of those who came before him. As he said, ``A good judge will seek to honor precedent and strive to avoid its disparagement or displacement.'' It is this appropriate temperament, this fidelity to the Constitution, this remarkable humility that has made Judge Gorsuch such a consensus pick among Colorado's diverse legal and legislative communities. Former Colorado Senator, Democrat Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior under Barack Obama, in praising Judge Gorsuch's temperament, said during his circuit court confirmation: [A] judicial nominee should have a demonstrated dedication to fairness, impartiality, precedent, and the avoidance of judicial activism--from both the left and the right. I believe that Mr. Gorsuch meets this very high test. A very prominent Colorado lawyer and former adviser to President Bill Clinton said: Judge Gorsuch's intellect, energy, and deep regard for the Constitution are well known to those of us who have worked with him and have seen firsthand his commitment to basic principles. Above all, this independence, fairness, and impartiality are the hallmarks of his career and his well- earned reputation. Hundreds of prominent liberal and conservative Colorado attorneys support Judge Gorsuch, writing this bipartisan letter of support praising the judge: We hold a diverse set of political views as Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Many of us have been critical of actions taken by President Trump. Nonetheless, we all agree that Judge Gorsuch is exceptionally well qualified to join the Supreme Court. He deserves an up-or-down vote. The people who know him best in Colorado--they have worked with him [[Page S1872]] in the Tenth Circuit Court, and they have worked with him in private practice--believe that he deserves an up-or-down vote, believe that he is exceptionally well qualified to join the Supreme Court. One of the individuals, one of the lawyers, one of the Democrats who signed that very letter, who wrote this phrase, was a Democrat who was the cochairman of the host committee for the Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008 that saw the nomination of then-Senator Barack Obama to be the Democratic candidate for the 2008 ticket. Colorado's former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter and former Republican Attorney General John Suthers jointly said: It is time to use this confirmation process to examine and exalt the characteristics of a judge who demonstrates that he or she is scholarly, compassionate, committed to the law, and will function as part of a truly independent, apolitical judiciary. Judge Gorsuch fits that bill. Judge Gorsuch has a consistent record of applying the law fairly, and his reputation among his peers and lawmakers is evidence of it. According to the Denver Post, Marcy Glenn, a Denver attorney and Democrat, recalls two cases before Gorsuch in which she represented underdogs, and she said: ``He issued a decision that most certainly focused on the little guy.'' That same article cited another example. ``Judge Gorsuch can't be pigeonholed as either pro-prosecution or pro-defense,'' said Peter Krumholz, a Denver appellate attorney who reviewed the nominee's criminal law record. ``He is very independent and will not hesitate to rule in favor of a criminal defendant's rights when he thinks it's warranted by the Constitution.'' For all these reasons cited today and the many reasons that have been cited over the past several weeks, I am certain Judge Gorsuch will make Colorado proud and that his opinions will have a positive impact on this country for generations to come. I look forward to Judge Gorsuch receiving a fair hearing today, tomorrow, and after that, to working with my distinguished colleagues on both sides of the aisle to expeditiously confirm his nomination. Thomas Hornsby Ferril, a great poet laureate, wrote another poem. This one is memorialized on a mural painted in the rotunda of the Colorado capitol. It ends with these words: ``Beyond the sundown is tomorrow's wisdom. Today is going to be long, long ago.'' The wisdom of Neil Gorsuch, guardian of the Constitution, will serve our Nation well for generations to come. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas. Remembering Warren D. Blaylock Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to Warren Blaylock, a friend and true public servant who was a lifelong resident of Crawford County, AR. Warren was a World War II veteran and someone I admired greatly for the vital role he played in his community for decades. Born in 1921, Warren grew up near Alma, AR, and knew the harsh realities that many Americans encountered during the Great Depression. He graduated from Alma High School and went on to join the Army during World War II. During the war, he served as a combat medic with the 67th Evacuation Hospital. His unit landed at Normandy just days after the Allied forces stormed the beaches on D-day and went on to follow the Allies as they marched through Europe. Warren was promoted to first sergeant while serving in Europe, and he received several awards and commendations, including two Bronze Stars, the Superior Unit Award, and the Combat Medical Badge. I am so thankful for his service alongside so many others in the ``greatest generation'' as they risked their lives in the defense of freedom. Even after he left the service, Warren spent the rest of his life giving back to his community and advocating for causes he believed in. After returning home from the war, he attended the University of Arkansas and earned a bachelor's degree in business. In his professional life, he was vice president and general manager of the Derrel Thomas Company in Van Buren, AR. Still, Warren found time to participate in numerous civic organizations within the community. He was an active member of the Alma United Methodist Church for decades and served on the Methodist Health and Rehabilitation Board for 41 years. Additionally, Warren served on various other boards and organizations and was a pillar in the community. Perhaps most notably, he was a member of the Rotary Club--first in Van Buren and then in Fort Smith--for 54 years and maintained perfect attendance. This is just one example of Warren's dedication to serving and giving back to Arkansas. While Warren never sought recognition for the work he did on behalf of his community, his contributions were noticed and recognized by the city of Alma, as well as on the regional and State levels. He was inducted into the Arkansas Senior Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2015, I had the honor of participating in the ceremony where Warren was inducted into the Arkansas Military Hall of Fame on the basis of his honorable military service and exceptional State and community service. This was yet another reminder of how loved and valued Warren was by so many people whose lives he touched. As active as he was, Warren always enjoyed spending time on his ranch tending to his livestock. In fact, he was also a talented auctioneer who would lend his skills to various charitable auctions and events. A devoted follower of Christ, a wonderful father and family man, a respected humanitarian, and a rock within his community, Warren will be greatly missed by many. We wish his family, friends, and loved ones comfort as we all mourn his loss, but we also take great joy in knowing just how profound an impact Warren had on the lives of so many others. He leaves behind an incredible legacy of love, devotion, and service that will last for many years to come. I very much appreciate Warren's service and even more his friendship, encouragement, and the amazing example he set. I will miss him and the vital role he played in his community and in Arkansas. He leaves a huge void that will be hard to fill, but I hope all those who witnessed his committed service to his fellow man will join me in resolving to live and love more like Warren as a way to honor him and his legacy. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida. TrumpCare Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, we have seen TV clips about various Members and Senators around the country having townhall meetings. For example, three of our colleagues this past weekend--Indiana was one of them--had tremendous townhall meetings with a good exchange of information. With this looming House of Representatives healthcare bill, which I refer to as TrumpCare, since the President has endorsed it, I wanted to see a particular group in our society who is extremely vulnerable and those are the older Americans who are not 65--not old enough to be eligible for Medicare. Now, be careful because there are people lurking in these halls and the administration who would like to raise Medicare eligibility from age 65 to 67. But that is not what is confronting the House of Representatives; it is what is going to happen to those people below the age of 65 for their healthcare. Under current law, once they hit 65, they are eligible for Medicare. I reached out to a particular group of Floridians. These are folks whom I did not know that our offices in Florida had become aware of because they had written about the healthcare debate that is going on and, in many cases, had described their circumstances. Yesterday, the group of 8 or 10 whom we had in my Orlando office were all in the age range of 50 to 64. I want to tell the Senate about this group of people because, if approved in its current form, the House healthcare bill, TrumpCare, would dramatically increase healthcare costs for folks in that age group, 50 to 64. Those are folks who either get their healthcare through expanded Medicaid or they get their health insurance through healthcare.gov, which is the exchange, whether it be on the State exchange or the Federal exchange because the State does not participate. According to the Congressional Budget Office, a 64- year-old making $26,500 could see their [[Page S1873]] healthcare costs go from $1,700 a year, which they pay now under the Affordable Care Act, all the way up to $14,600 a year under the House plan, TrumpCare. That is a dramatic jump, obviously. Do we think that is really too much of an extreme example? I want to tell you what these people said. If you look at what the House is proposing, the dramatic rise in cost is due in large part to two provisions contained in the House bill, one that would allow insurers to charge older Americans up to five times as much as younger people; the second one caps the Federal tax credits meant to help seniors pay for the rising cost of health insurance. Federal tax credits is a fancy way of saying ``subsidy.'' So if you are a senior and you are above 138 percent of poverty, which for a single individual is approximately $16,000 a year--by the way, who making $16,000 a year can afford health insurance? That is why we need the remaining 19 States, my State of Florida included, to expand Medicaid up to that 138 percent of poverty. But if someone is between that level and all the way up to 400 percent of the poverty level, which for a single individual is about $46,000, $47,000 a year--in that zone of 138 percent of poverty up to 400 percent of poverty, there are these tax credits or subsidies. The one with the lower income gets more of a subsidy in order to buy private health insurance on the private marketplace through the exchange. As they get up to 400 percent, a person making $46,000 or $47,000 a year--can they really afford health insurance? Not the real cost, unless it is some huge deductible plan that doesn't give them much. That is why these folks need some assistance. That is in place. That is the law. That is the Affordable Care Act, which has been so maligned over the last several years. Aside from health insurance, there is the expansion of Medicaid that has helped a lot of people. There are still 4 million people in this country who would benefit if those 19 remaining States would expand Medicaid up to 138 percent. They are left in the cold. They are not getting health insurance; they are not getting healthcare. They are eligible to have it, and the Federal money is there to draw down to enable them to have that Medicaid, but 19 States, including my State of Florida, have decided not to expand it. With all of that as background, I asked these folks to come in. According to the AARP, there are millions of Floridians in that age group of 50 to 64 who currently receive Medicaid or tax credits to help them pay for the insurance through healthcare.gov; there are millions who are eligible. So the group came in, and here's what I learned. I am going to give you some personal vignettes. Marshall Stern is a 61-year-old heart transplant survivor who lives in Kissimmee, FL. Marshall has had a serious heart condition since he was a young man. Three years ago, his condition worsened, and it resulted in several hospitalizations, after which he was told he would need a heart transplant. Since he is on full disability, he was told that he had to enroll in Medicaid or he would not be eligible for the transplant. Just the medication for the posttransplant operation costs around $100,000 a year, which, obviously, Marshall would not be able to afford without Medicaid coverage. He also is going to have to take this medication for the rest of his life if he is going to live. He worries that the House TrumpCare bill will turn Medicaid into a block grant program, which is a fancy way of saying: We are going to cut it off, and you are not going to get any more money, and you are going to have to finance it from your own State resources. Governors and State legislatures are going to have to share more of the burden of healthcare costs. He is worried that if that House bill passes and Medicaid is threatened as we know it, he is not going to be able to have the medications he needs to stay alive. This is what Marshall told me, and it was very dramatic. He said: ``It is as good as saying that I die.'' For the rest of us who are not facing that, imagine having a fellow tell you that. This is serious business. Let me tell you about Susanna Perkins. She is a 62-year-old living in Altamonte Springs. Susanna's husband lost his job in 2009, and she lost her employer-provided health plan during the recession. The couple blew through their IRA, and they ended up selling nearly everything they had. They eventually moved out of the country to save money, but in 2014, they decided to move back. Why? Because the Affordable Care Act passed, and the ACA made it possible for them to afford health insurance again. This is what Susanna said: If they shred [the ACA] like they're [threatening] to, we're going to be hightailing it out of here, because dealing with the health care [costs] and insurance makes you sick. We're getting by, but if the ACA goes away, and if they make these changes they're talking about, we'll be uninsured again. I was going to show you a picture. These are the folks whom I met with yesterday. I will not point out the individuals, and I am going to talk about some of the others, but you can see almost everybody. There is one person who is outside the photograph. But we sat down for an hour's conversation, and I heard their stories. I wish every Senator and every Member of Congress would go out and talk to people who are real people with real problems and understand how petrified they are. These folks look like our neighbors and our friends. They look like the people whom we go to church with. They look like the people who have children or grandchildren whom we play with, and they are petrified. They are scared to death that they are not going to have healthcare. So let me tell you about another one of these ladies. Terri Falbo is a 59-year-old living in the Orlando area. She moved to Florida back in 2012 to take care of her elderly mother and disabled sister. For 25 years she had good health insurance through her employer where she lived up north, and she rarely used health insurance. After losing her job in 2006, as we went into the beginnings of the recession, she purchased an individual insurance policy that cost her $500 to $650 a month. Prior to the ACA, she had to make withdrawals from her retirement account. She had to max out her credit cards to pay for the premiums. As a result, she depleted all of her reserves and all of her retirement funds. Since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, she has had an affordable policy because she qualifies for the monthly subsidy of over $600, bringing her premium payments to $70 a month with a zero deductible. She could have gotten a policy with a $5,000 deductible for $3 a month. At her age, she needed assurance that she would be able to have the healthcare she needed, so she paid $70 a month because of the subsidy. Yet that is not what is protecting her in the House TrumpCare bill. Under that proposed healthcare plan, her maximum subsidy would be less than $300 a month, which means she would end up paying $4,000 more per year--an amount that she simply cannot afford. That is what she told me: ``I cannot afford it.'' She said she would have to go without health insurance instead. Before the ACA, she was desperately trying to have health insurance, and she depleted all of her retirement funds. There is another lady who is sitting around that table in the picture I showed, Nancy Walker. She is a 51-year-old self-employed actor who is living in Kissimmee. She is active. She is healthy. She chose to pursue a career in the arts. The unstable nature of her profession has often left her unable to afford health insurance. So she has gone without it most of her adult life as an artist, as a performer. Since the ACA took effect, however, she has, finally, been able to afford health insurance, thanks to the subsidies. She told me that it has been a relief for her to be able to go to the doctor not only for checkups but, actually, when she has a problem, to fix it. If Congress passes the House TrumpCare bill, her premiums are going to go up. She has no doubt that she will, once again, be unable to afford health insurance and healthcare. She told me that she fears simple health issues will fester, becoming serious, chronic, and expensive to treat. Remember, I said they were petrified--that they were scared to death. There is an example. Finally, she has health insurance after all of these years of going without because she did not have an employer who paid for her. Let's take another one. Marilyn Word is a 63-year-old retiree living in Orlando. Marilyn lives mainly off of Social Security payments but is not [[Page S1874]] old enough to qualify for Medicare. She is under that magic year of age 65, at which one is eligible. After retiring, Marilyn enrolled in an insurance plan through the ACA exchange, and she is eligible for annual tax credits to help her pay for her insurance. Marilyn told me that she was extremely worried about the increased premiums that she would likely have to pay under the House TrumpCare plan. I will give you another example of a lady who is sitting around that table. Sharon Brown is a 58-year-old widow. She lives in the Orlando area. Since her husband's death, Sharon has been dealing with several medical issues and pulling money out of her retirement account to pay for her current plan. She has a nest egg from her husband's life insurance money, but due to her health condition, she will likely need long-term medical care. This is what she told me: My premium's pretty high because I've got multiple medical conditions that make it so I cannot work. I've done a lot of reading on this . . . and the cost of my healthcare [under the TrumpCare plan] will amount to double what I make right now in income. She looked at me with this pained expression on her face and said: ``It's very scary, and the anxiety that goes along with this happening right now is making it worse.'' Sharon told me that she is a lifelong registered Republican--she volunteered this--and she said that the bill being considered now is forcing her to reconsider her party. She said: I'm changing my political affiliation to independent. I want to vote my conscience. When one puts faces to these stories--to these people about whom I have just talked and about whom we just talked yesterday--the House TrumpCare plan ends Medicaid as we know it because it cuts off the amount going to the States. I understand that in the House, in trying to fix up some things just last night, they filed an amendment in an attempt to address some of the problems. One of the things they were trying to fix would allow States to choose between capping or block-granting the Medicaid Program. Under either proposal, the Federal Government is going to be contributing less to the States, and that means more money will have to be picked up--the tab--by the States. Just ask the Governors how much more they can pick up. I urge our House and Senate colleagues to join all of these people whom I have talked about and vote as Sharon said--with their consciences on what they are going to do to folks like them. Gutting Medicaid and forcing struggling, older Americans to pay more for health insurance is simply not the right thing to do. For a change, we ought to be trying to do the right thing. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Strange). The majority whip. Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I came to speak on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch as Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court, but in listening to my colleague from Florida, I feel like I am missing something because he has described the Affordable Care Act in a way that I do not recognize, and he has talked about a bill that has not even passed the House of Representatives as a fait accompli. ObamaCare was sold under false pretenses. The President himself said: If you like what you have, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Oh, yes, by the way, a family of four will see a reduction of its premiums by $2,500. None of those have proven to be true. So we are going to repeal and replace ObamaCare. I have to tell my friend from Florida to please join us. If he does not like the product that is working its way through Congress, please join us and help us make it better because, right now, all I see from our Democratic friends is sort of like a Pontius Pilate moment--a washing of their hands and letting the Republicans alone do the heavy lifting. We invite them to work with us in a bipartisan way, which is something that did not happen, by the way, in ObamaCare, which was passed on a purely party-line vote, and I think it has proven to be a terrible mistake. Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, will the Senator yield since he has invoked my name? Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I will yield for a question, but I will not yield the floor. Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I do not intend for the Senator to yield the floor, and he is my friend. The Senator started out by saying he was missing something. Yes, he missed the first part of my speech, during which I talked about these folks in the age category of 50 to 64, who are not eligible for Medicare. Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I will yield for a question but not for a speech. Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I am about to ask the question. I want to introduce the Senator to these people in that age group of 50 to 64. In fact, they told me stories that had them scared to death. Would the Senator believe that they believe that they are going to lose coverage? Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I say to my friend from Florida that I think there has been a lot of false advertising and scaremongering taking place around the country in trying to convince people that, somehow, they are going to lose their coverage, which is not the case. We believe we can do better than ObamaCare, which has created a one- size-fits-all healthcare package and has basically denied people the right to choose the kind of coverage that suits them best at a price they can afford. In Texas alone, a person making about $25,000 a year could spend up to 30 percent of his gross income under ObamaCare. That is a young person, and it is no surprise that many of them have opted out of ObamaCare and simply decided either to pay the penalty or to just become noncompliant because it is unaffordable. I am sympathetic, certainly, to the genuine concerns of anybody in one's getting appropriate healthcare coverage, but I sure hope people do not succumb to the scaremongering taking place in parts of the country that tells people they are going to be left high and dry. For example, my friend and colleague said that Medicare was going to be gutted under the House bill. That is not true. Right now, Medicaid is an uncapped entitlement. It is one of the fastest growing sources of Federal Government spending. The bill in the House proposes not to cut it but to restrain its rate of growth. Right now, it is the third largest budget item in the Texas budget. My friends in the Texas Legislature tell me that it crowds out all other spending, including education, law enforcement, and other things--that it just eats up so much money because it is uncapped. What we would propose to do is to leave Medicaid at the current levels but then make sure that it grows according to the Consumer Price Index--and a rather generous one--in medical inflation. I will say what I said earlier, which is that I do not recognize the bill that my friend from Florida has described. If the House did not pass a bill and if the Senate did not pass a bill, we would still be here, talking about the meltdown of the Affordable Care Act because many insurance companies have simply pulled out of the marketplace. Many people do not have choices. They are forced to deal with, perhaps, the one remaining health insurance company, and in some places they are going to have all insurance companies pull out of the individual market. I yield for one more question, and then I really need to get to my speech. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida. Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from Texas, and he knows my affection for him. The Senator has stated that he would like, in a bipartisan way, to fix the current law. Would the Senator believe, if there were a genuine, bipartisan attempt to fix what needs fixing instead of repealing and replacing it with something that has people petrified, that he could find that bipartisan consensus? Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I would welcome that any day and every day. The only way we get things done around here in any sort of durable fashion is on a bipartisan basis. But so far, I have seen zero indication from our friends across the aisle that they are interested in working with us. I hope that is a misunderstanding on my part, and I hope going forward we will be able to come up with some bipartisan bills. [[Page S1875]] The truth is that, given the constraints of the budget process, we are not going to be able to do everything we want to do in this bill that is going to pass the House on Thursday and which we will take up here in the Senate next week. So there is going to be a necessity to do some more, and I hope we can do that on a bipartisan basis. We also know that the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Tom Price, is working from a regulatory standpoint to try to do everything he can to stabilize the insurance market and to make sure that people continue to have some choices. I think this is fundamentally a test of our principles regarding whether we actually believe in more choices and competition, and my firm conviction is choices and competition improve the quality of a service and the quality of a product. That is really one of the foundational principles upon which our economy is based. I think it also works in healthcare, but we haven't had that since ObamaCare passed. Nomination of Neil Gorsuch Mr. President, I want to speak a little bit about the important hearing on the judicial nomination of Judge Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court that is taking place in the Senate Judiciary Committee even as we speak. We know that President Trump nominated Judge Gorsuch at the end of January to a seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Justice Scalia was a lion of American law. He was bigger than life. His intellect, his writing, and his wit inspired a lot of young lawyers and not-so-young lawyers and judges and law students over the past decades, and reminded us that judges have a distinct and special and important role in our system of government, but it is decidedly not to be a legislator or a policymaker because they are ill-suited for doing that. First of all, Federal judges are appointed for life. Judges are not supposed to take public opinion polls to figure out how to rule in a case. I asked Judge Gorsuch today: Is it proper for a judge to decide in a case in front of him or her who he or she thinks should win and then try to work backward to justify it in a judge's decision? He said: Well, it is actually just the opposite. What you try to do is to take the facts and the law and you apply them and you respect the outcome, even if sometimes it is not an outcome you would prefer if it were a matter of your personal preference. What he described, really, is called the rule of law, which has distinguished the United States of America from most of the rest of the world and which has given us our competitive advantage. When people know that we are going to have a legal system that doesn't depend on personalities, doesn't depend on politics, but rather on a written law or Constitution, then people can take confidence in their investments, in their plans, and our economy has been the winner. There is a Peruvian economist who wrote a book called ``The Mystery of Capital.'' I will just summarize, briefly. I was intrigued by the book and by his thesis. Basically, his argument is the United States is no more entrepreneurial than other parts of the world, but what distinguishes us from much of the rest of the world is what I just said a moment ago: It is the rule of law. For example, if you buy a house and get a title to that house, then you have a legal right to it, and you can defend it against all other claimants or people who might try to say: No, that is really my house. I know that sounds so basic, and we take it for granted, but it really does distinguish our country from others, where the law is really not about law, but it is about politics. It is about who is in power. Well, our laws are designed to protect people who are not in power, including people in political minorities. I think the greatest legacy of Justice Scalia was a strong belief that the words in the Constitution and laws passed by the Congress matter. He believed judges should apply those texts and not just pronounce their policy preferences in deciding cases. He understood, as I do, that a careful adherence to text ultimately protects our democracy, which is the intention of our Founding Fathers. I have spent time, like many of my colleagues, talking about the type of judge we need to fill this vacancy--someone who understands the lessons that Justice Scalia taught us--and will apply them faithfully, without regard to persons or personalities or politics. I believe there is no question that Judge Gorsuch is the man for the task. I am confident that the hearings this week will make that clear to the rest of America. It is interesting to listen to some of my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee who want to talk about everything other than Judge Gorsuch and his qualifications. They want to talk about President Trump. They want to talk about abortion. They want to talk about same-sex marriage. They want to try to get Judge Gorsuch to prejudge some future case that may come before the U.S. Supreme Court. Well, no judge worthy of that title will tell anybody: Well, if you confirm me as a judge, I promise you this outcome. That is a violation of the most fundamental ethics of a judge, because a judge is not, again, a policymaker, a judge is not a politician; judges aren't about outcomes, but rather a commitment to the rule of law and due process of law in reaching their decisions. So far, in almost two days in the Judiciary Committee, I think Judge Gorsuch has performed admirably and demonstrated no reason why our colleagues across the aisle can't support him. As a matter of fact, my view is that if you can't vote for somebody like Judge Gorsuch, there is probably nobody that would be nominated by this President that you would vote to confirm. It is hard for me to imagine the nomination getting much better. We have already learned a lot about the judge. We know of his intellect. We know of his sterling qualifications and his extensive experience. I particularly appreciated his testimony today about access to justice and his concern that people of modest means--low income, the so-called little guy that our friends across the aisle keep talking about. The little guy in America is essentially denied access to our courts because it costs so much and it takes too long, and there have to be mechanisms in place for us to resolve our differences that everybody has access to or else the statement carved in the marble over the U.S. Supreme Court that says ``equal justice under law'' is just a pathetic joke. So we have a lot to do in terms of providing access to justice. I think somebody with Judge Gorsuch's background--someone who actually has practiced the law and who has represented clients in court and who has been thoughtful about this and so many other topics--is just the type of person that can help us get our legal system back on track, so that saying, that model, ``equal justice under law,'' is a reality. We know that Judge Gorsuch has spent a decade on the bench and about 10 years in private practice, and he has also worked at the Department of Justice. Like Justice Scalia, he is a steadfast believer in the Constitution laws and that they should be interpreted based on their text; that is, what they actually say. I asked Judge Gorsuch today: If you don't believe that you ought to interpret the law based on what the law actually says, what would you use as your guide? If you are not going to interpret the Constitution based on what the Constitution says, what are you going to use as your guide? Well, some of our friends would talk about a living Constitution or judges knowing better than perhaps the elected representatives of the people. To me, that is just misguided. Judges are not philosopher kings or queens. Judges, as I said at the outset, hold a very important but finite role in our system of government. It is our job as the legislature to make the policy. It is the executive--the President's job--to execute the policy. And if we don't like the law, then it is our job to change it, not to look to the Court to say: I am going to let the Congress off the hook, and we are just going to write an opinion and render a judgment that changes the law under the guise of actually judging, actually engaging in more policymaking. Well, the great thing about somebody like Judge Gorsuch is that the people who admire him also include people who differ from him politically but have seen him in action--people like the former Solicitor General under [[Page S1876]] President Obama, who said he is ``one of the most thoughtful and brilliant judges to have served our nation over the last century,'' and someone who ``has always put aside his personal views to serve the rule of law.'' In other words, Judge Gorsuch is the type of judge that we should all be able to get behind, and he is exactly the kind of nominee we would hope to see from any administration. That is why he was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate 10 years ago when he was nominated to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. He was confirmed by voice vote. For people who may not be familiar with the practices of the Senate, that essentially is by unanimous consent, by unanimous agreement, including the Democratic leader, the Senator from New York, Mr. Schumer. He thought Judge Gorsuch was good enough for the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. I would challenge him to identify a reason why he is not well suited for the United States Supreme Court, unless it is based on some political calculation. As the Judiciary Committee this week considers his nomination, I want to make crystal clear the purpose of the hearing. It is not about pinning the nominee down or asking trick questions or asking the judge to prejudge cases that might come before the Court. We know there have been outside special interest groups who have criticized Judge Gorsuch for failing to rule in favor of one sympathetic constituency or another, but, again, that is not what judges do--or what they are supposed to do. Are they really supposed to find the most sympathetic party to a lawsuit and say: I am going to decide that case for them, and I will figure out the justification for it later. That is not what judges are supposed to do. Judges are supposed to apply the law impartially and fairly and decide the facts and apply the law and render judgments on cases or controversies that become before the court, not write policy at large. So I think some of these attacks are pretty silly, but they also are a reminder of the importance of these hearings because I really believe this is one of those opportunities to help acquaint millions more Americans with our unique founding story and the unique nature of our Constitution and our Nation of laws. I see my friend from Tennessee here. I remember something he told me once about telling his constituents that one of the important functions of the Senate was to remind people what it means to be an American. Well, being an American means believing in the rule of law and equal justice for all. I will close on this because I see my friend from Tennessee here waiting to speak. This is another kind of an interesting statistic I found pretty amazing, and the Presiding Officer, a distinguished lawyer in his own right, can marvel at this as I do. Judge Gorsuch is no radical. He follows the law wherever it leads: sometimes for the police, sometimes for a criminal defendant; sometimes for the government, sometimes against the government. That is the way the rule of law works. He noted that about 97 percent of the thousands of cases he has decided have been unanimously. As the Presiding Officer knows, the circuit court sits in three-judge panels. The idea that 97 percent of the cases he decided were decided unanimously is pretty remarkable, and he sided with the majority 99 percent of the time. This is nobody out of the mainstream. This is a mainstream judge. So let's be honest and open about it. I hope our colleagues across the aisle, after this nominee is voted out of the Judiciary Committee, will allow us to have an up-or-down vote on this nomination. It wasn't until the Presidency of George W. Bush in 2000 that somehow the tradition of allowing an up-or-down vote for nominees went out the window and instead some people got together and decided, well, we are going to come up with a rationale to raise the threshold to 60. In other words, a President won't be able to see his nominee confirmed unless not just a majority votes for it but 60 people vote for it in the Senate because of the Senate's rules on cloture closing off debate. That period of our history during the George W. Bush administration was an aberration, and I would hope no one would want to repeat that--again, politicizing the judicial nomination process. People can vote any way they want, but denying the opportunity for the Senate to vote up or down on a nominee, particularly to the U.S. Supreme Court, is certainly not a road I would hope our colleagues would go down. As they presumably learned this year, after Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, led his conference into the nuclear option, which basically changed the Senate rules by breaking the Senate rules--that is what allowed us to confirm the President's Cabinet with 51 votes, and that is what will allow us to confirm all lower court judicial nominees with 51 votes. So we would think they might have learned the lesson that what goes around comes around and that while you are in the minority one day, you might be in the majority in the not too distant future. What you force the Senate to do in order to do its job may end up biting you in the future. So I hope they seriously consider allowing Judge Gorsuch an up-or-down vote when his nomination comes to the floor sometime around or after April 3. Mr. President, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut. Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, later today the Senate will vote on H.J. Res. 69, and I am here to state as strongly and emphatically as possible my opposition to this misguided and unwise measure. As a Senator who fights to preserve and protect the vast diversity of American wildlife and honor the natural beauty of our Nation's great refuges, I urge my colleagues to reject the effort to revoke a commonsense rule of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This rule of the FWS is designed to prevent the use of cruel, unsporting, and inhumane killing methods on Federal land. It is really that simple, and repeal of it is an outrage. Proponents of H.J. Res. 69 have attempted to frame this debate as an effort by the Federal Government to usurp State power, but that argument is simply absurd. The rule at issue is about Federal management of Federal land, Federal control over land owned by the Federal Government, pure and simple. The rule, which took effect in September, does not restrict subsistence hunting or normal hunting practices. It does not imperil public safety or impede on defense of property. It simply prevents brutal, cruel, barbaric hunting methods that target vulnerable bears, wolves, and coyote from occurring on lands that were intended to provide refuge for these animals. ``Refuge'' is the key word. This resolution subverts the judgment of professional wildlife managers to adopt sensible wildlife management actions that are based on the best available science. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule is undermined, any State would be permitted to allow egregious killing methods on these wildlife refuges, which is the one category of Federal lands specifically set aside to benefit wildlife. That is its singular purpose. I will oppose this legislation because I believe in preserving our Nation's natural ecosystem and the constitutional responsibility of the Federal Government to manage Federal lands for all citizens and prevent the inhumane treatment of our Nation's most iconic wildlife. This rule bans the killing of wolves and their pups at their den sites in springtime when they are most vulnerable. It bans the killing of sleeping black bear mothers and their cubs while they are hibernating in winter--not exactly fair sport and certainly damaging to our environment. The rule also bans the baiting of grizzly bears, which involves the use of toxic, rotting food or grease to lure and acclimate bears to a certain area so that trophy hunters can get a point-blank shot. It prohibits the use of traps such as steel-jawed traps or snares, which cause animals to suffer injury as they fight the trap or even slow and painful death from starvation or exposure. It prohibits using airplanes and helicopters to scout, land, and shoot brown or black bears. These practices are not only cruel and inhumane, they are really unsporting and have no place in a civilized society. This resolution would foreclose our wildlife managers from making Federal wildlife management decisions. It will undoubtedly affect the future of all American wildlife, including regulating [[Page S1877]] inhumane practices on Alaska national wildlife refuges even though those practices may be recognized as cruel and unsustainable. All in all, voiding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife rule would set a dangerous precedent for the management of public lands across the country. Time and time again, our Federal courts have held that the Federal Government has the authority to regulate wildlife on Federal lands and cannot be superseded by initiatives at the State level. This Federal rule explicitly prohibits only these particularly gruesome and egregious methods of hunting or other kinds of practices on national wildlife refuges. It does not apply to hunting in State-owned wilderness or to rural Alaskan practices for residents who hunt for subsistence. Regardless of my colleagues' claims, there is not a Tenth Amendment issue here, and the case law clearly demonstrates it, from the Supreme Court decision in 1976 that held that ``the Property Clause also gives Congress the power to protect wildlife on public lands, state law notwithstanding''; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which followed it; and just last year, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which repeated the Supreme Court's well-established jurisprudence on the supremacy clause and the property clause. Neither the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act nor the Alaska Statehood Act grants any State official the power to overrule these Federal land managers' decisions. Putting aside the legal issues--and there are none that really argue in favor of sabotaging this Fish and Wildlife Service rule--it is the right thing to do for us and for our future. This legislation would essentially reject our authority and our responsibility and our obligation to future generations to promote humane wildlife management practices. It is not only a matter of our law but who we are and what kind of society we believe we should have. I hope my colleagues will join me in opposing this abhorrent and appalling legislation. Mr. President, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee. Nomination of Neil Gorsuch Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, President Trump's nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to be a member of the U.S. Supreme Court is being considered this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Soon, the nomination is likely to move to the floor for debate. Some have suggested that instead of allowing a majority of Senators to decide whether to approve the nomination of Judge Gorsuch, there should be first a cloture vote to determine whether to cut off debate. Cutting off debate requires the approval of 60 Senators, so if 41 of the 46 Democratic Senators vote not to cut off debate, there would never be an up-or-down majority vote to approve Judge Gorsuch. In other words, the 41 Democratic Senators would have filibustered to death the Gorsuch nomination. Filibustering to death the Gorsuch nomination--or any Presidential nomination, for that matter--flies in the face of 230 years of Senate tradition. Throughout the Senate's history, approval of even the most controversial Presidential nominations has required only a majority vote. For example, in 1991 President George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The debate was bitter. The Senate confirmed Judge Thomas narrowly, 52 to 48. Although the Senate rules allowed any Senator to try to filibuster the nomination to death, none did. In fact, Senate rules have always allowed Senators the option to filibuster to death a Presidential nomination; yet it has almost never happened. According to the former Senate Historian, with one possible exception, which I will mention in a minute, the number of Supreme Court Justices in our country's history who have been denied their seat by filibuster is zero. The number of Cabinet members in our country's history who have been denied their seats by filibuster is zero. The number of Federal district judges in our country's history who have been denied their seats by filibuster is zero. And until 2003, the number of Federal circuit judges in our country's history who have been denied their seats by filibuster was zero. Senator Everett Dirksen did not filibuster President Lyndon Johnson's Presidential nominations. Senator Robert Byrd did not filibuster President Reagan's nominees. Senator Howard Baker did not filibuster President Carter's nominees. Senator Bob Dole did not filibuster President Clinton's nominees. During most of the 20th century, when one party controlled the White House and the Senate 70 percent of the time, the minority never filibustered to death a single Presidential nominee. On the other hand, there have been plenty of filibusters on legislation--so many that in 1917, the Senate adopted a cloture rule as a way to end filibusters. The rule was amended in 1949, 1959, 1975, 1979, and 1986--always in response to filibusters on legislation, never on nominations. It was the 1975 change that established the current cloture standard of 60 votes to end debate except on amendments to the standing rules of the Senate. Filibustering a Presidential nomination has always been treated differently than filibustering a legislative matter. The filibuster of legislation is perhaps the Senate's most famous characteristic. It has been called ``democracy's finest show, the right to talk your head off.'' As the actor Jimmy Stewart said in the movie ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,'' ``Wild horses aren't going to drag me off this floor until those people have heard everything I've got to say, even if it takes all winter.'' That was Jimmy Stewart in ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.'' The late Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia described the importance of the legislative filibuster in a different way. He said in his last speech: Our Founding Fathers intended the Senate to be a continuing body that allows for open and unlimited debate and the protection of minority rights. Senators have understood this since the Senate first convened. In fact, the whole idea of the Senate is not to have majority rule on legislation. Throughout Senate history, the purpose of the legislative filibuster has been to force consensus on issues, to force there to be a group of Senators on either side who have to respect one another's views so they work together and produce 60 votes on important matters, as we did on the 21st Century Cures bill and as we did on the bill fixing No Child Left Behind. Nominations have always been treated differently from legislation. For example, under rule XIV, any Senator could bring legislation directly to the calendar bypassing committees. There is no such power for nominations. Senate rules allow debate and therefore the possibility of filibuster on a motion to proceed to legislation. Debate is not allowed on a motion to proceed to nominations. In summary, while Senate rules have always allowed extended debate or filibusters, the filibuster was never used to block a nomination until recently. As I mentioned earlier, it was never used to block a Cabinet nomination, never used to block a Federal district judge, and until 2003, never used to block a circuit judge, and never used to block a Supreme Court Justice in the country's history, with one possible exception. That was in 1968, when President Johnson sought to elevate Associate Justice Abe Fortas to be Chief Justice. When it became clear the Senate majority wouldn't agree, Johnson engineered a 45-to-43 cloture vote so forces could save face and appear to have won something. Fortas then asked the President to withdraw the nomination. Other than the Fortas nomination, the filibuster was never used to block any judicial nomination until 2003 and 2004, when Democrats decided to use the 60-vote cloture requirement to block 10 of President George W. Bush's nominations. This unprecedented action produced a threat by Republicans to change the Senate rules, to make it clear that only a majority vote is required to approve a Presidential nomination. There was a negotiation and eventually five of Bush's nominations were approved, five were blocked and the rules were not changed. Then, in 2011 and 2013, Republicans returned the favor--as often happens around here--by seeking to block 5 of President Obama's nominees for the circuit court by insisting on a 60-vote cloture for [[Page S1878]] each. Republicans alleged that President Obama was trying to pack the circuit court in the District of Columbia with three liberal judges. To overcome Republican objections, Democrats invoked the so-called nuclear option. They broke the Senate rules to change the Senate rules. The new rule eliminated the possibility of 60-vote cloture motions for all Presidential nominees except for the Supreme Court. That is where we stand today. There have been other examples of minority Senators filibustering nominations to death, all of them during the last three administrations and all involving sub-Cabinet nominations. Of course, there have been delays in considering nominations. My own nomination in 1991 as U.S. Education Secretary was delayed 51 days by Democratic Senators. Of course, I thought unnecessarily. President Reagan's nomination of Ed Meese as Attorney General of the United States was delayed a year by a Democratic Senate. No one has ever disputed our right in the Senate, regardless of who is in charge, to use our constitutional duty of advice and consent to delay and examine and sometimes cause nominations to be withdrawn or even to defeat nominees by a majority vote. As we approach a vote on Judge Gorsuch on the floor of the Senate, it is useful to remember that the tradition of the United States Senate, for 230 years, has been to treat legislative matters and nominations differently. Filibuster to death legislation, yes. Filibuster to death Presidential nominations? No. Should the Gorsuch nomination come to the floor soon, as I believe it will, overwhelming Senate tradition requires that whether to approve it should be decided by a majority vote of Senators, and there should be no attempt by the minority to filibuster the nomination to death. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). The Senator from New Jersey. Mr. BOOKER. Mr. President, I rise to join my voice with a growing chorus of citizens, as well as members of the scientific community and colleagues, who are deeply disturbed by this CRA to repeal vital wildlife protections from Federal land in Alaska. Before I speak on this CRA, I would like to be clear that I am not someone who believes all regulations are good. In fact, I don't believe we should be trying to regulate our way out of all of our problems. I am proud of the work I have done, with people on both sides of the aisle, in an effort to make our government work smarter and more efficiently for the benefit of my constituents in New Jersey, as well as all Americans, but today I am profoundly disappointed. Instead of working to create bipartisan policies that will serve all Americans, we are now considering a CRA resolution--unfortunately, one of many ones of this type--that prioritizes special interests above the good of the public, and it is deeply unpopular, in fact, with the public at large. I oppose this CRA that would repeal the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's rule called the non-subsistence take of wildlife on national wildlife refuges in Alaska rule. The rule was finalized by the Fish and Wildlife Service in August of 2016, with the clear goal to forever ban unnecessary and extremely cruel methods of killing bears and wolves and other animals on more than 70 million acres of public land managed under our Federal National Wildlife Refuge System in Alaska. Let's be clear. When it says the word ``take''--that it prevents the ``take'' of wildlife--that means the killing of wildlife. Specifically, the rule prevents inhumane killing of animals on our wildlife refuges. Examples of the rule are: prohibits the killing of mother bears and their cubs. It prevents the killing of wolves and pups in their dens. It prohibits using planes to track and kill bears. It prohibits using snares to strangle and kill bears, steel traps to kill bears, and it prohibits baiting and killing of grizzly bears. Why was this rule issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the first place? Our national wildlife refuges are public lands that exist for the benefit of all Americans. Refuge lands are managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service for the express purpose of conserving natural diversity in wildlife populations. This means that any management activity that favors certain species over others is inconsistent with the goals of the National Wildlife Refuge. It doesn't mean that hunting is not allowed on Federal land. Hunting is one of many permitted practices on wildlife refuges, and this rule does not prevent hunting on any wildlife refuge. What is permitted on refuges under this law is the indiscriminate killing of bears and wolves in an attempt to boost populations of moose and caribou. Unfortunately, this is exactly how Alaska has been managing its wildlife since 1994 on State and private lands, when it adopted an intensive management strategy for its wildlife that is specifically designed to artificially reduce populations of predators so hunters might have more prey, more animals to kill. In Alaska, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the State work together to manage wildlife within the National Wildlife Refuge System. However, when any State's wildlife management approach is in direct conflict with the goals of the refuge system, the Federal Government has the authority--indeed the obligation--to step in and ban certain practices. This is exactly what the Fish and Wildlife did last year when they issued their rule prohibiting this inhumane killing method on 16 Federal national wildlife refuges in Alaska. It is important to note that the predator control practices I have described, some of which are currently allowed on certain State and private lands in Alaska, have never been allowed on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. This rule simply clarifies that these practices-- even those explicitly authorized under State regulations in Alaska--are never to be used on Federal wildlife lands in Alaska, regardless of what is decided to be allowed under this State law. I have heard concerns from my colleagues in Alaska that they believe the Fish and Wildlife Service rule triggers a State sovereignty issue by dictating which practices can and cannot be used on Federal refuge lands in Alaska. However, I don't believe this rule conflicts with any of Alaska's State sovereignty. The Fish and Wildlife Service has clear statutory and constitutional authority to prohibit wildlife management practices that are incompatible with the objectives of national wildlife refuges in Alaska, as well as other States, including New Jersey. I have also heard the concerns of my Alaska colleagues that this rule threatens the many Alaskans who rely on subsistence, hunting of deer, moose, and caribou, to feed themselves and their families. I have sympathy for that concern and believe again that this subsistence hunting is not affected. We know these predator control practices have never been done on Alaskan refuges before. This argument makes no sense. It is not affecting the subsistence hunting of deer and moose and caribou for them to feed their families. It has never been allowed to go on in the first place. How can these practices be necessary to preserve subsistence hunting when they have never been done before on Federal wildlife refuges? I want to be clear about something. Alaska is free to manage its wildlife on State lands and private lands however Alaska chooses. This point is not up for debate, not up for discussion. It is not the subject of the Fish and Wildlife Services rule in question. The rule only applies to federally owned and federally managed wildlife refuge land, which must be managed for the benefit of the American public, including the requirement to manage for national diversity of wildlife. As former Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe announced in a press release in August, ``Whenever possible, we prefer to defer to the State of Alaska on regulation of general hunting and trapping of wildlife on national wildlife refuges unless by doing so we are out of compliance with Federal law and policy. This regulation ensures that we comply with our mandates and obligations.'' Let's move beyond talk of mandates and obligations. The hunting practices banned by this rule are flatout inhumane. They are an anathema to the type of thoughtful, humane wildlife management that should be taking place on national wildlife refuges. In a committee hearing, I asked management experts about this rule last [[Page S1879]] week, and they agree that these practices were not necessary on wildlife refuges. In fact, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Jim Kurth--who was the former manager for many years of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Northern Alaska--testified that the service did not find that the practice prohibited by this rule was in any way necessary. Another witness, Brian Nesvik, Chief Game Warden with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department--again, a Republican-invited witness-- testified that Wyoming has a different perspective on utilizing national wildlife refuges in their State. The practices discussed in this rule, he said, are not used in Wyoming's wildlife refuges, nor did he make an appeal to use these inhumane practices because they are not necessary. Killing a mother bear or mother wolf when she has young cubs virtually guarantees that those cubs will not survive, creating the potential for much broader negative impacts on the overall population. The baiting of grizzly bears, which involves putting piles of food out to attract bears in unusually high numbers at the start of hunting season, is literally akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Bear baiting often occurs when bears are desperately searching for those extra calories to store energy for hibernation. It is an inhumane practice and is recognized so by many experts. The use of aircraft hunting--using a plane to track wild animals and then landing to kill them--violates the principle of fair chase in every sense of the word. In fact, killing wolves from aircraft or on the same day that air travel occurred was already prohibited on refuge lands prior to this new rule being issued. The new rule merely extends that same protection to bears. Finally, the use of snares--these are these choking traps--and steel traps to kill the bear is a practice that is particularly troubling, and I am not alone. A statewide poll of Alaskans themselves shows that nearly 60 percent of Alaskans oppose trapping and snaring bears in their State. Charles Darwin called the leghold trap one of the cruelest devices ever invented by man, stating: Few men could endure to watch for five minutes an animal struggling in a trap with a torn limb. Some who reflect upon this subject for the first time will wonder how such cruelty can have been permitted to continue in these days of civilisation. That was Charles Darwin decades and decades ago in 1863. I echo that again today, more than 150 years later. Such cruelty should not be permitted on Federal wildlife refuges of all places, and the Fish and Wildlife Service was absolutely right to permanently protect bears from such cruelty on Alaska's wildlife refuges. I would like to take a few more moments to talk about the animals that are subject to this rule. Grizzly bears and wolves are the top predators in North America. Predators in any ecosystem play a critical role in maintaining populations and in preventing problems like we have actually seen in New Jersey by the overgrazing and disease that can occur when deer, moose, and caribou grow in high numbers. These charismatic animals also attract huge numbers of tourists to national parks, refuges, and other wild lands in the United States. All across the country, nearly 72 million Americans spend over $50 billion on wildlife watching. In Alaska, wildlife watchers outnumber hunters by nearly five to one, and they also contribute more than four times as much money to the State's economy as hunting does. Put another way, even considering the issue from an economic perspective, these animals are worth far more alive than they are dead, killed by these savage inhumane practices. There are few values as deeply entrenched in the American culture as conservation. This legacy is our American heritage, and the coexistence of people, wildlife, and wild lands remains a key objective for our public lands today. Americans interact with nature in many different ways on public lands, some through consumption uses, like hunting and fishing, and others through more hands-off activities, like camping and wildlife watching. No single use is more important and more valuable than another. So public lands should be managed in a way that minimizes conflict across those different uses while allowing for natural diversity. The Fish and Wildlife Service rule does just that. Our wildlife refuges are not game parks, and they should not be managed as though they are. The cruel practices this rule prohibits--killing mother animals and their babies and the trapping, snaring, baiting, and aerial hunting of bears--are practices that I believe do not align with who we are as a country. They are practices that have no place on our national wildlife refuges in Alaska or any other State. I want to close with something that my friend Senator Heinrich already mentioned. Many people know that Teddy Roosevelt was an avid hunter, a naturalist, a wildlife enthusiast. When he was President, Roosevelt went on a bear hunting trip in Mississippi. Roosevelt's hunting party cornered a Louisiana black bear. They tied it to a willow tree and suggested the President shoot it. Viewing this as an extremely unsportsmanlike way to kill a bear, Roosevelt refused to do it. A political cartoonist heard the story and drew a cartoon that celebrated President Roosevelt's decision. A Brooklyn candy shop owner saw the cartoon and decided to create a stuffed toy bear and dedicated it to the President, who refused to engage in this kind of inhumane hunting of a bear. He called it a ``Teddy bear'' or ``Teddy's bear,'' and little children for generations have been loving them ever since. Teddy Roosevelt knew that using certain methods to kill animals was immoral and wrong. We know this too. With all of the issues going on right now--from healthcare to tax and all of the issues and urgencies, such as infrastructure--why are we about to consider a CRA that would literally, on our Federal lands, allow the cruelest types of killing to go on of bears and wolves and their pups in dens. Why, with all that is going on, would we, as Americans, violate our culture and history by allowing the most inhumane, cruel killing practices to go on? Why, with all that we have to do, are we going to allow this to happen? Well, I will not support it, and I stand against it. Our national wildlife refuges--our refuges for wildlife--have never allowed these cruel practices, and we should not start now. We should not CRA this rule. I stand strong and firm in honor of our traditions and stand against this CRA. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas. Nomination of Neil Gorsuch Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, today I rise to speak in support of the President's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, who, right now, is about two-thirds through his second day of hearings--better described perhaps as a grilling. Simply put, I think the President made an extraordinary selection. Currently, Judge Gorsuch serves on the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which includes my home State of Kansas. Our State has seen firsthand how Judge Gorsuch interprets the law. He has had an outstanding judicial record while serving on the court. What is more, he is highly respected and supported by individuals in the judicial community who align on all sides of the political spectrum-- except, inexplicably, the U.S. Senate. Judge Gorsuch's qualifications are not only noteworthy but extremely impressive. He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He received a doctorate in legal philosophy from Oxford, as a recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholars programs in the country. He has litigation experience from his time as a law partner, and he has clerked for not one but two Supreme Court Justices. Examining his record during his time on the Tenth Circuit gives us some insight into the judge's approach to interpreting the law. When we read his opinions, we know he is a judge who follows the law, applying the text of the Constitution and statutes impartially. Of primordial importance to this body is his critique of the executive branch's tendency to assume the roles of the judicial and legislative branches. [[Page S1880]] No matter which political party controls the executive branch, this body--the Senate of the United States--must protect its ability to legislate and create laws. The Founding Fathers intended for the separation of powers to remain inviolate. Judge Gorsuch understands the role of the judicial branch and the significance of maintaining that balance of power. He has made it absolutely clear that he will not legislate from the bench. I repeat. He has made it clear that he will not legislate from the bench. That might just be the problem for those who would like to vote for a judge who would legislate from the bench. I, along with many of my colleagues here in the Senate today, confirmed Judge Gorsuch over 10 years ago. Judge Gorsuch's record was so noncontroversial, the Senate unanimously supported his nomination. That includes the minority leader, Senator Schumer, and then-Senators Obama, Clinton, and Biden. I repeat. Judge Gorsuch has received support from across the entire political spectrum. His judicial record over the past 10 years has made him even more deserving of the Senate's full support. The American people went to the polls in November, knowing the next President would have the distinct honor of nominating the next Supreme Court Justice. The American people have spoken. As the Senate, it is now our responsibility to see through this nomination and appoint the judge to the High Court. The Wall Street Journal summed up what is happening within its editorial page today in pointing out that Senators want Judge Gorsuch to declare how he would vote in specific areas of the law--questions that every Supreme Court nominee declines to answer. Quoting from the editorial: ``At the 1967 hearings for Thurgood Marshall, then-Senator Edward Kennedy called it a sound legal precedent that any nominee for the Supreme Court would have to defer any comments on any matters which are either before the court or very likely to appear before the court.'' The Journal's editorial went on to say that in the 1993 confirmation hearings, Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasized: ``A judge sworn to decide impartially can offer no forecast, no hints; for that would show not only disregard for the specifics of the particular case, it would also display disdain for the entire judicial process.'' I regret to say that profound advice apparently does not apply today. One of my colleagues serving on the Judiciary Committee pretty well summed up the dilemma we have in the Senate when he said to the judge: ``If you fail to be explicit and forthcoming, the committee would have to assume his views were in line with Mr. Trump's.'' And there is the rub. Judge Gorsuch has written 789 opinions, with only 15 dissents from other judges. The apparent burr in the minority's saddle--the Democrats' saddle--has nothing to do with Judge Gorsuch or his qualifications. The problem is that Mr. Trump is now President Trump. My question is this. All right, we know you feel that way. In every committee hearing that we have, we know you feel that way. When will this end? When will we get back to what is referred to as regular order? That question lies squarely with my colleagues in the minority. I am really disheartened to hear the rhetoric coming from across the aisle in the days since the new President took office. The minority has taken extraordinary lengths to extend the confirmation process of the President's nominees--from shying away from our constitutional responsibilities and not voting on nominees in committee hearings to using unprecedented amounts of time to speak on this floor, disapproving of the President and his nominees, or anything else. These stall tactics are unbefitting of the world's greatest deliberative body. We have fallen from bipartisan deliberation, worthy of public opinion and support, to engaging with poisonous arrows of political procrastination. With the nomination of Judge Gorsuch, we now have an opportunity to fix this sorry state of affairs. This is the opportunity we should seize to restore comity to the Senate. The people of this great Nation deserve nothing else. I am hopeful that the minority will recognize the superlative qualities Judge Neil Gorsuch possesses and provide him with a fair and swift confirmation process. That is not happening as of today. But hope springs eternal, even within the Senate as it now exists. 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. UDALL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. UDALL. Mr. President, we are here to consider another joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. This one, H.J. Res. 69, repeals the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's regulation and would allow extreme and inhumane hunting practices on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. My first concern about this measure is that it is a distraction. It benefits special interests to the detriment of the American people at a time when Congress should be focused on much more pressing issues. Mr. President, 24 million Americans are at risk of losing their healthcare. Clean air and clean water protections are threatened. The President is proposing to cut Meals on Wheels, Head Start, the arts and humanities, and the National Institutes of Health. Each day we learn more details about the President and his team's connections to Russia and about Russia's involvement in our elections. The American people want Congress to work together to rebuild our Nation's infrastructure and boost our economy. Instead, Congress is wasting time and energy using the Congressional Review Act to repeal commonsense rules that protect people, places, and iconic species. These rules have been vetted over months and years through a thorough public process, but if we repeal them using the CRA, these measures will be permanently blocked unless Congress passes a new law directing the government to act. My second concern is just as serious. I support responsible hunting practices. Many New Mexicans hunt for sport and for food, but the vast majority of hunters also recognize that some practices are counterproductive, unsportsmanlike, cruel, and they can even wipe out species and the diversity of wildlife in certain regions. The Fish and Wildlife's rule deals with that issue, and it carries Congress's express direction that the Service protect natural diversity at national wildlife refuges in Alaska. We are talking about national wildlife refuges. These are the country's refuges. The Service bars a few extreme practices for hunting bears, wolves, and coyotes that are totally inappropriate on national wildlife refuge land. These extreme practices include targeting and killing black bears and brown bears and their cubs, and wolves and coyotes and their pups during denning season; baiting Grizzly bears with food so they are easier to kill at point-blank range; trapping brown and black bears with steel-jawed traps that shut on the animal's leg, leaving them to suffer indefinitely; and shooting bears from aircraft or killing them same-day from spotting them with aircraft. Many of these practices violate ``fair chase'' ethical standards established and used by sportsmen across the country. Alaska voters actually oppose these practices. We are not talking about private hunting land. This is Federal refuge land. Fish and Wildlife's rule is based on sound science and appropriate wildlife management standards. The rule doesn't change or restrict the taking of fish or wildlife for subsistence purposes, which some Alaskans count on to feed their families, and it doesn't restrict sport hunting. Fish and Wildlife's rule is not an anti-hunting rule. It is a commonsense guideline that ensures bear and wolf populations, as well as caribou, elk, and moose, are sustained for generations to come. Let me reiterate that. Like the vast majority of New Mexicans, I support hunting and sportsmen's access to public lands consistent with State and Federal law and sound wildlife management practices. Fish and Wildlife's rule [[Page S1881]] doesn't affect these uses at all in any way. Fish and Wildlife's rule carries out Congress's intent in three longstanding pieces of legislation that are now law: the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, or ANILCA; the 1966 National Wildlife Administration Act; and the 1964 Wilderness Act. Importantly, none of these laws prevents reasonable hunting. Together, those acts establish national wildlife refuges and provide for their management, and they establish the 76 million acres of national refuges in Alaska. Alaska accounts for over 85 percent of our National Wildlife Refuge System, so this is not a State or parochial issue. The rule governs the vast majority of refuge lands designated for protection by Congress. Again, none of these laws prevents reasonable hunting on national refuges. National wildlife refuges are established for the benefit of ``present and future generations of Americans'' and for the whole nation. Every American has an ownership stake in and a right to enjoy public lands and the astounding scenic, cultural, and natural qualities that make these places so special. The first listed purpose of ANILCA is to ``conserve fish and wildlife populations and habitats in their natural diversity.'' The words ``natural diversity'' are important to this discussion. My uncle, Congressman Mo Udall, was the floor manager for the House when ANILCA passed in 1980. On the House floor, he said the term natural diversity meant ``protecting and managing all fish and wildlife populations within a particular wildlife refuge system unit in the natural `mix,' not to emphasize management activities favoring one species to the detriment of another.'' He also said that in managing for natural diversity, Congress's intent was to ``direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the best of its ability . . . to manage wildlife refuges to assure that habitat diversity is maintained through natural means, avoiding artificial developments and habitat manipulation programs; to assure that wildlife refuge management fully considers the fact that humans reside permanently within the boundaries of some areas and are dependent . . . on wildlife refuge subsistence resources; and to allow management flexibility in developing new and innovative management programs different from the lower 48 standards, but in the context of maintaining natural diversity of fish and wildlife populations and their dependent habitats for the long-term benefit of all citizens.'' Fish and Wildlife's rule carries out congressional intent by managing the national refuges in Alaska for natural diversity through natural, not artificial means, by continuing to allow for subsistence hunting, and by managing the law for the benefit of all--exactly what Representative Mo Udall said the act was intended to accomplish. Maintaining natural diversity means promoting the health of all fish, wildlife, and plants in the ecosystem, not favoring certain species and harming others, and not interfering with natural ecosystems. Protecting bears and wolves and other apex predators is essential. It helps maintain predator-prey relationships and the health of Alaska's Arctic and sub-Arctic ecosystems. Federal and State laws overlay management of public lands, including national wildlife refuges. State law on fish and wildlife management applies on national refuge land as long as it is consistent with Federal law. The Fish and Wildlife Service in the State of Alaska worked together for years to manage fish and wildlife on Alaskan refuges, and Federal requirements ensured that hunting was balanced with conservation of wildlife and their habitat. Alaska law did not conflict with Federal law until an Alaskan administrative agency, the Alaska Board of Game, adopted rules allowing for extreme hunting practices on national wildlife refuges within Alaska's borders. The Board of Game said it targeted reduction of wolf, black bear, and brown bear to increase the moose, caribou, and deer populations for harvesting. But the indiscriminate killing of bears and wolves to provide more game hunting is contrary to ANILCA. That law directs the preservation of the ``natural diversity'' or ``natural mix'' of wildlife. The Board of Game regulation allowing extreme hunting practices is not consistent with the law. As I said earlier, while the Fish and Wildlife's rule does not allow extreme hunting practices, it does not change the rules for subsistence hunting or sports hunting. It even authorizes a process for predator control to benefit prey species and to meet refuge purposes. The process is based on sound science, an evaluation of alternatives, and an assessment of impacts to subsistence uses and needs. Again, Alaskans don't support overturning the Service's rule to allow indiscriminate killing of apex predators. A February 2016 Remington poll found that Alaska voters oppose the extreme hunting practices banned under the Fish and Wildlife's rule by wide margins. Alaska voters don't want to see unsporting and cruel practices used to kill bears, wolves, and coyotes on National Wildlife Refuges in their State. Wildlife watching is an important part of Alaska's economy. Each year, thousands of tourists visit Alaska's national wildlife refuges to see iconic wildlife. According to a Fish and Wildlife report, wildlife watching on the National Wildlife Refuge System contributed over $2 billion to Alaska's economy in 2011. That same year, hunting contributed approximately $425 million. Congress's repeated use of the Congressional Review Act with no public hearing, no record or evidence, no use of science, and no stakeholder involvement is a bad way to legislate. It makes government opaque and inaccessible, and what people want to see is transparency and openness, which we didn't have here. It caters to special interests behind the scenes and outside of public view. It makes the swamp murkier than ever. Fish and Wildlife's rule carries out what Congress wanted when it established the wildlife refuges--to conserve our wild American land and wildlife for generations to come. The rule prohibits the most extreme of hunting practices--against grizzlies and black bears and their cubs and against wolves and coyotes and their pups--and protects the natural diversity. We should not rush to undermine this important, national, long-term goal for short-term political gain--to benefit select special interests. Mr. President, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana. Honoring Deputy Shawn Anderson Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, this weekend, the city of Baton Rouge was reminded of how precious life is and of the harsh reality of law enforcement officers putting their lives on the line to protect us. On Saturday, March 18, 2017, this past Saturday, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Deputy Shawn Anderson made the ultimate sacrifice while he and a fellow officer were conducting a rape investigation in Baton Rouge. We honor Deputy Anderson's life and recognize him for his 18 years of faithful service to East Baton Rouge Parish, the State of Louisiana, and our Nation for his service and his having been enlisted in the U.S. Army. Deputy Anderson embodied public service--taking action to help those in need. Deputy Anderson repeatedly put his life on the line to protect the lives of others. He spent 12 years as a member of the SWAT team and was recognized in 2014 for serving more than 60 high-risk warrants in the previous year with there having been no injuries or shots fired. Last year, Deputy Anderson added midwifery to his job description after having delivered a child. With baby on the way and the hospital out of reach, a Prairieville, LA, couple turned to Deputy Anderson for help. In stopping before the hospital, with baby emerging, Anderson successfully delivered a healthy child before turning over the situation to arriving EMTs. A Louisiana family asked for his help, and Deputy Anderson answered the call. This is the latest in a string of law enforcement tragedies to inflict our State. Since January 2016, Louisiana has lost 11 officers and one K-9 in the line of duty. I will read their names: Here you see Deputy Anderson. Here we have Police Officer Michael Louviere, of the Westwego Police Department, aged 26; Police Officer Jude Williams Lewis, of the New Orleans Police Department, aged 46; Police Officer Shannon Matthew Brown, of the Fenton Police Department, aged 40; Deputy Sheriff Bradford Allen Garafola, [[Page S1882]] Sr., of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, aged 45; Police Officer Matthew Lane Gerald, of the Baton Rouge Police Department, aged 41; Corporal Montrell Lyle Jackson, of the Baton Rouge Police Department, aged 32; Sergeant David Kyle Elahi, of the Sterlington Police Department, aged 28; Deputy Sheriff David Francis Michel, Jr., of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, aged 50; Police Officer Natasha Maria Hunter, of the New Orleans Police Department, aged 32; Sergeant Derrick Morial Mingo, of the Winnsboro Police Department, aged 35; and K-9 Duke, of the Winnsboro Police Department. Mr. President, thousands of men and women in law enforcement put on the uniform, step into the community, and risk their lives daily to keep us safe. Far too often, the price of this safety falls on these officers and their families. Deputy Anderson represents the best of law enforcement. He and his family deserve our admiration and support. His sacrifice will be remembered. The prayers of a grateful State and Nation are with his wife Rebecca, his daughter Delaney, and his son Breland. I yield to my colleague, Senator Kennedy. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Louisiana. Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, if I make it to Heaven--and I hope I do-- the first question I am going to ask God is why bad things happen to good people. We have had some bad things happen in Louisiana to some really good people, as my colleague from Louisiana just referred to. This past weekend, while most of us slept, Louisiana lost yet another officer in the line of duty. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office Sergeant Shawn Anderson--as shown in this photograph here--was a law enforcement veteran. He was a military veteran, and he was a father. He served high-risk warrants. He had been recognized for doing his job without having resorted to firing his weapon. In short, he was an American hero, and he was a Louisiana hero. On Saturday night, Sergeant Anderson was just doing his job. He went into a barbershop in search of a suspected rapist. Sergeant Anderson lost his life. A line of law enforcement vehicles escorted his body from the scene, and their flashing blue lights lit up the dark night. It has been a tough few months for our law enforcement families in Louisiana. We have buried six officers who were shot and killed simply because they were wearing a badge. In January, Westwego Police Officer Michael Louviere stopped to help at a traffic accident, and he was shot in the back of the head. Michael was not even on duty. He was driving home and saw an accident and immediately stopped his car to help. That is the kind of person he was. The Presiding Officer and all of those listening to me today, no doubt, saw the news footage as to what unfolded along a busy Baton Rouge highway last summer. July will no longer be just about hot dogs and fireworks for us in Louisiana. The shootings that took the lives of three law enforcement officers shattered our summer and broke our hearts. Just a month earlier, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Deputy David Michel was shot three times in the back--not once, not twice, but three times--and he died in Harvey. His killer, apparently, shot him because the killer did not want to return to jail. I would ask all of those who wish to, to join me in saying a prayer for these law enforcement officers and their families. They were sons and they were fathers and they are going to miss out on holidays and birthdays and graduations. They were men who sacrificed their lives so we could sleep a little bit better at night. Let us also, while we are praying for these brave men--and, yes, women too--pray for an end to the violence. We have had enough flashing blue lights light up the dark nights in Louisiana. 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. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at 6 p.m. today, there be 10 minutes of debate, equally divided in the usual form, remaining on H.J. Res. 69; further, that following the use or yielding back of that time, the resolution be read a third time and the Senate vote on the resolution with no intervening action or debate. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. CORNYN. 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. BROWN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 10 minutes as in morning business. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, the five Great Lakes are as vital to our industrial heartlands as the Rockies are to the West or the Atlantic coastline is to New England. Eighty-four percent of America's freshwater is in the Great Lakes--84 percent. Around the globe, only polar ice caps contain more freshwater than do these five Great Lakes. Lake Erie is one of the biggest lakes in the world. From the boats and barges that moved goods along the Ohio River and the Erie Canal to the ships that leave Lake Erie and export grain and steel to the world, my State of Ohio has a rich history of cultivating this vital natural resource. In Ohio, families and businesses rely on Lake Erie. Its waters are critical to farming and to clean energy development and industry and regional economic competitiveness, to fishing and recreation and so much that people do every day in my State. From tourism in Catawba and Put-in-Bay, to fishing at Marblehead, to vacations and family reunions at Maumee Bay State Park, Lake Erie benefits our communities and creates jobs in our State, but for more than a half century, keeping our lake healthy has been a constant struggle. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes. In the Western Basin off the shore of Toledo, it is only 30 feet deep--much shallower in contrast with Lake Superior, which is 600 feet deep on average. I remember how polluted Lake Erie was when I was growing up. As a child, it was obvious the water shouldn't look quite the way it looked. While improvements have been made, today's problems are different and in many ways more urgent. Harmful algal blooms are a constant threat. Because the Western Lake Erie Basin near Toledo is the shallowest part of the lake, it is uniquely vulnerable to these blooms, the same way that much of Lake Erie, 60 or 70 or 80 feet deep, is more vulnerable to pollution. In August 2014, a bloom left 500,000 Ohioans in Lucas County in Northwest Ohio, in the Toledo area, without safe drinking water for nearly 3 days. We know these blooms are caused by excess nutrients in our water. This comes from untreated sewage, it comes from urban runoff, and it comes from farm field runoff. Heavy rains lead to more combined sewage overflows, more nutrient runoff from our fields, and to larger and more harmful algal blooms. Algal blooms leave our lake looking like this. This may be a beautiful painting in your living room or a striking photograph of something, but this color here is more the regular, natural color of Lake Erie, the dark here in the wake of this boat. This green is the algal blooms, and you can see what this has done to pollute one of the greatest bodies of freshwater in the world. Would you want to fish there? Likely not. Would you take your children out on water that looks like this? Of course not. Does this water look like what you want coming out of your faucet when you turn on the faucet in Toledo or in Lorain, where I lived for 10 years, or in Sandusky or Cleveland or Ashtabula or any city along the Great Lakes? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, we [[Page S1883]] know that one effect of climate change in the Great Lakes region has been a 37-percent increase in gully washers, or heavy rain events that contribute to blooms. Hotter summers will only make these blooms worse. The effects of algal blooms like that have profound effects on the entire ecosystem. Protecting our lake is one of the biggest environmental challenges our country faces. We have made progress over the last 8 years, thanks in large part to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. We have continued to clean up Lake Erie and its tributaries, we have increased access to the lake, and we have improved habitats for fish and wildlife in the region. Because it is shallow, this Great Lake, Lake Erie, only one of five Great Lakes and the Great Lake with actually the least water--almost 50 percent of all the fish in the Great Lakes live in this Great Lake. So you can see what these algal blooms do to aquatic life, to our way of life when you have these kinds of algal blooms. We know that the bipartisan Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is working. As we celebrate Water Week this week, we should recommit ourselves to strengthening this program and building on our success. But in President Trump's budget proposal this week, the administration proposed entirely eliminating this important program that has been so successful--entirely eliminating this program that has been so successful. It is basically a surrender to the algal blooms. It is the administration--our country, if he speaks for our country--surrendering and just saying: Give up; we are not going to make the fight. We have cleaned up Lake Erie because of the Federal EPA, because of the State EPA, because of the cities and the counties along the lake, places like Toledo, Lorain, Sandusky, Cleveland, and my wife's hometown of Ashtabula. We have cleaned it up, but it is a constant struggle because so many people live along this very shallow, very vulnerable to pollution Great Lake. That is why we don't give up. We are not just talking about cutting funding for a program; the administration budget completely cuts this program, completely ends it. Taking an axe to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will cost Ohio jobs, jeopardize public health, and will put our drinking water at risk and reverse the progress we have made. It is simply something you don't do in a country like ours. It is unacceptable. I will fight like hell to protect the Great Lakes, I will fight like hell to protect Lake Erie, and I will fight like hell to protect the entire lake ecosystem. The fact is, these five Great Lakes are a natural resource like none other in the world. Here is what is at risk if the administration's budget plan becomes a reality: Forty percent of the funds used to protect the lake from Asian carp would just disappear like that; 1.8 million more pounds of phosphorus would enter the Lake, making algal blooms like this more likely, just like that; and the cleanup of toxic sediment in habitat restorations in some of our most polluted rivers would grind to a halt. Why would they do this? Why would they eliminate this program? Neither party here wants them to do this. Senator Portman stands with me on this. Most of the Republican House Members stand with Democrats like Congresswoman Fudge and Congresswoman Kaptur, who represent much of the area along the Great Lakes. There are projects across Ohio that simply couldn't take place without this program. In Ashtabula, a cleanup project has removed sediment containing 25,000 pounds of toxic material, transforming the lower two-thirds of the Ashtabula River. A $61 million project never would have gotten off the ground without the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Look at the new Lake Erie Bluffs Park in Perry Township-- they used $1.6 million from the initiative to leverage other sources of funding to restore and protect this shoreline. My Ohio colleagues of both parties have made it clear that zeroing out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is not an option and that they will not stand for it. It isn't just this initiative on the chopping block; the budget makes deep cuts in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors these algal blooms. Scientists at Ohio State's Stone Lab play a key role in protecting our lake, and the reported NOAA cuts would nearly eliminate the grant funding that supports Stone Lab's mission. I have been at Stone Lab. I see the work they do. I see the dedicated dozen or so naturalists, not well-paid--Federal employees or State employees not particularly well paid. They love nature, they love Lake Erie, they love our State, they love its natural beauty, and they love all that it does for us. When I was young, people wrote off Lake Erie as a dying lake. It was polluted, it smelled bad, and it looked bad. It was a dying lake. Over the past century, people have had a habit of trying to write off my State. We have proved them wrong time and again. The lake is improving. It is supporting entire industries. It supports jobs. It provides drinking water. It provides recreation. It is beautiful to look at from my home in Lorain when I lived there. It is beautiful to look at anywhere along the coastline of Lake Erie. We cannot allow this President and we cannot allow Washington, DC, to write off Lake Erie and the millions of Americans who rely on it. Mr. President, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will now be 10 minutes of debate equally divided in the usual form. If no one yields time, time will be charged equally to both sides. The Senator from New Mexico. Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, I will close on the issue of the CRA before us today. This CRA will turn back the clock on the management of native wildlife on our Nation's wildlife refuges. Methods of take, like shooting mother grizzlies with cubs, aerial gunning of wolves, killing wolf pups in their dens--these are not 21st-century tools for wildlife management. They are relics of the 19th century, before we truly understood the importance of predators to healthy ecosystems and populations. These practices have no place on our Nation's Federal wildlife refuges. This rule, frankly, doesn't stand up for subsistence hunters or hunters at all; it simply reinforces the politically driven and unscientific turn that the Alaska Board of Game has taken under Governors like Sarah Palin. This isn't about hunting; it is about dogma and dogma driving policy. I urge all of my colleagues tonight to vote for fair chase hunting, to vote for native wildlife, and to vote for our national wildlife refuges. To do that, I ask you to vote against this measure. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska. Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, in spite of what my good friend from New Mexico has been saying about this resolution, I encourage my colleagues to vote in favor of the resolution. I came down here predicting that he was going to come down with a parade of horribles, none of which have happened in Alaska--that is a fact--none of which happened in Alaska. The resolution we have before us is backed by the force of law. The Fish and Wildlife Service did not have the authority to do what they did by passing this regulation, and not one of my colleagues tried to defend this on the basis of legal authority by the Feds because it doesn't exist. So I think that is the starting point. The principle of federalism. We have had a lot of discussion here by colleagues from New Jersey and New Mexico telling Alaskans, who have a tremendous record on the management of fish and game--they are going to tell Alaskans how to do that, Senators from States that don't know anything about my State. That is the whole principle of federalism, and that is another reason we need to support this resolution. This rule is about subsistence. Thousands of Alaskans, particularly Alaskan Natives, rely on subsistence. Again, my colleagues on the other side come down here and say that it is not about subsistence. Come up to Alaska. Ask the people who have to live off the land, who need the food to survive in the winter. Tell them it is not about subsistence. Finally, it is important to recognize just how many other Americans care about what we are doing right now. As I mentioned, literally millions of Americans from every State of the country, represented by groups as diverse as Ducks Unlimited, Boone and [[Page S1884]] Crockett, and the National Rifle Association, are all supportive of this resolution, as are every Fish and Wildlife Service State agency, including from New Mexico, including from New Jersey. They are all supportive of our resolution. To have our colleagues come down here and say ``Those Alaskans don't know what they are doing'' when we have the record of well-managed fish and game, awards every year from the Department of the Interior and others--to have them come down here with very little knowledge of my State is not the humility that I think is needed in this body. So I ask all my colleagues to vote in favor of this resolution. It is backed by law. It is backed by millions of Americans in every State. It is very important to the people of Alaska, particularly those who live a subsistence lifestyle. Mr. President, I yield the floor. Mr. President, I yield back the time. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority time is yielded back. All time is yielded back. The joint resolution was ordered to a third reading and was read the third time. Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There appears to be a sufficient second. The joint resolution having been read the third time, the question is, Shall the joint resolution pass? The clerk will call the roll. The assistant bill clerk called the roll. Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Isakson). The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The result was announced--yeas 52, nays 47, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 92 Leg.] YEAS--52 Alexander Barrasso Blunt Boozman Burr Capito Cassidy Cochran Collins Corker Cornyn Cotton Crapo Cruz Daines Enzi Ernst Fischer Flake Gardner Graham Grassley Hatch Heller Hoeven Inhofe Johnson Kennedy King Lankford Lee McCain McConnell Moran Murkowski Paul Perdue Portman Risch Roberts Rounds Rubio Sasse Scott Shelby Strange Sullivan Thune Tillis Toomey Wicker Young NAYS--47 Baldwin Bennet Blumenthal Booker Brown Cantwell Cardin Carper Casey Coons Cortez Masto Donnelly Duckworth Durbin Feinstein Franken Gillibrand Harris Hassan Heinrich Heitkamp Hirono Kaine Klobuchar Leahy Manchin Markey McCaskill Menendez Merkley Murphy Murray Nelson Peters Reed Sanders Schatz Schumer Shaheen Stabenow Tester Udall Van Hollen Warner Warren Whitehouse Wyden NOT VOTING--1 Isakson The joint resolution (H.J. Res. 69) was agreed to. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska. ____________________