(Senate - March 21, 2017)

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[Pages S1864-S1884]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              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 
  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 
  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 
  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 

       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 
  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 

       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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 

  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 

  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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.


  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 
  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, 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; 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 
  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 
  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 

  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 

[[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 
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I will yield for a question but not for a 
  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 
  I yield for one more question, and then I really need to get to my 
  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 

[[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 

                       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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 

[[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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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. 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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 
  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.]




     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The joint resolution (H.J. Res. 69) was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.