(Senate - March 23, 2017)

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[Pages S1942-S1955]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of S.J. Res. 34, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       A joint resolution (S.J. Res. 34) providing for 
     congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United 
     States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal 
     Communications Commission relating to ``Protecting the 
     Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other 
     Telecommunications Services.''

[[Page S1943]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Strange). If no one yields time, time will 
be charged equally.
  The Senator from Maryland.

                 End Racial and Religious Profiling Act

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about a bill that I 
have introduced. I have introduced it in prior Congresses. But I think 
it is particularly important in this Congress. It is the End Racial and 
Religious Profiling Act of 2017. I am proud to have many of my 
colleagues as cosponsors of this legislation, including Senators 
Baldwin, Blumenthal, Booker, Brown, Cantwell, Coons, Duckworth, Durbin, 
Feinstein, Franken, Gillibrand, Harris, Heinrich, Hirono, Kaine, 
Markey, Menendez, Merkley, Murphy, Murray, Sanders, Stabenow, Udall, 
Van Hollen, Wyden, and Warren.
  In the House of Representatives, the bill's principal sponsor is 
Congressman Conyers. It is needed now more than ever before. I say that 
for many reasons, one of which is that we have seen a large increase in 
hate crimes in our community. Yesterday I was on the phone with a 
father from Harford County, MD, whose son was the victim of a hate 
episode related to that person's religion and ethnic background.
  We have seen in our community a large increase in hate crimes against 
the Jewish community. There have been a lot of bomb threats that have 
been called into Jewish schools and to the Jewish Community Centers. We 
have seen physical attacks and the desecration of cemeteries. So the 
minority community feels threatened.
  That has been escalating as a result of the actions of our President 
and his Executive orders. The Executive orders--he has issued two now 
that are dealing with the immigrant community--do raise the temperature 
in our community and the concern in our community that people are being 
threatened because of their religion, threatened because of their 
ethnic background, threatened because of their status as part of an 
immigrant community.
  All of that has added to the concerns in America today. The 
legislation that I have introduced would make it illegal for 
discriminatory policing--for police to use as an indicator for their 
actions a person's race, religion, or ethnic background.
  Discriminatory policing is against our values. Quite frankly, it is 
not what we stand for as a nation. We don't target people because of 
their religion. I will always remember that shortly after the Trayvon 
episode, I met with community activists in Baltimore. Many told me 
examples of how they were with their parents when the police stopped 
them randomly, for no reason at all, but solely because of the person's 
race and how communities felt threatened as a result of it.
  It is not what we stand for as a nation. It turns communities against 
police, rather than working with the police. It is a waste of 
resources. It does not work. It can be deadly as we have seen in too 
many communities in our Nation. In my own city of Baltimore, we had the 
episode concerning Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.
  I went to Sandtown, where Freddie Gray came from, shortly after that 
episode and met with the community, and I heard comparable stories 
about how good community activists felt like they were betraying their 
community if they worked with the local police, because they said the 
system was just stacked against their community and their race.
  So let me, if I might, quote from the Department of Justice report on 
the Freddie Gray case. Our congressional delegation asked for a pattern 
or practice investigation. In part of that investigation, they came out 
with this finding:

       There is overwhelming statistical evidence of racial 
     disparities in Baltimore Police Department's (BPD's) stops, 
     searches, and arrests. . . . BPD officers subject African-
     Americans to a disproportionate number of pedestrian and 
     vehicles stops on Baltimore streets and search African-
     Americans disproportionately during these stops. . . . The 
     policing practices that cause the racial disparities in BPD's 
     stops, searches, and arrests, along with evidence suggesting 
     intentional discrimination against African-Americans, 
     undermine the community trust that is central to effective 
     policing. . . . Indeed, we heard from many community members 
     who were reluctant to engage with the officers because of 
     their belief that the Department treats African-Americans 
     unfairly. . . . These concerns were acknowledged by BPD 
     leadership and officers, who explained that lack of trust--
     particularly in many of Baltimore's African-American 
     communities--inhibit officers' efforts to build relationships 
     that are a key component of effective policing. . . .

  I say that because racial profiling--discriminatory profiling--is 
ineffective and is counterproductive. It actually makes communities 
less safe. I have the honor of being the Special Representative for 
Anti-Semitism, Racism and Intolerance in the OSCE, or the Organization 
for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Parliamentary Assembly.
  In that capacity, I have identified four major areas of concern 
within the 57 countries that represent the OSCE, including the United 
States. Those priorities are discriminatory actions against the Muslim 
community, the rise of anti-Semitism, the concerns of discrimination 
against the immigrant community, and also the concerns on 
discriminatory policing.
  Discriminatory policing is very much engaged in our concerns about 
the rise of anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance. Now, I want to make 
it clear: The overwhelming majority of people in law enforcement are 
good people. They are professionals. They are trying to do their job. 
They are against racial profiling. But we need to protect the 
professionalism within the police departments and establish a national 
policy against racial profiling.
  My legislation is supported by over 1,150 organizations. Let me just, 
if I might, mention a couple of those, by quoting their leaders. Wade 
Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and 
Human Rights, who supports this legislation said:

       Discriminatory profiling is wrong, fosters distrust between 
     law enforcement and the communities they serve and puts 
     public safety at risk. Racial profiling infringes on civil 
     liberties and squanders resources that should be used instead 
     to catch criminal perpetrators. We urge his colleagues to 
     join Senator Cardin and stand for effective law enforcement 
     by supporting [this legislation].

  Jennifer Bellamy, the ACLU legislative counsel, who also supports 
this legislation, said:

       For centuries, discriminatory profiling practices have 
     harmed communities of color. It is not enough to be `against' 
     racism and racial profiling, we need national leaders to end 
     discriminatory practices. We know that profiling of any kind 
     is ineffective and diverts law enforcement's time, money, and 
     energy away from actual threats. The time is now to end 
     racial profiling once and for all.

  Then, lastly, Hilary Shelton, the director of the NAACP Washington 
Bureau and the senior vice president for policy and advocacy said:

       This important legislation takes concrete steps to put an 
     end to the insidious practice of profiling individuals by 
     federal, state and local levels based on physical attributes 
     or an individual's religion. It is difficult for our faith in 
     the American criminal justice system not to be challenged 
     when we cannot walk down the street, drive down an 
     interstate, go through an airport, or even enter into our own 
     homes without being stopped merely because of the color of 
     our skin, who we are perceived to be, or what we choose to 

  I could mention many of the other groups and many other quotes. This 
legislation is pretty straightforward. It establishes a national 
uniform standard against discriminatory profiling at all levels of law 
enforcement--State, local Federal.
  For example, it tells us that we can't use as descriptors a person's 
race. We can do so when we are using it to describe a particular crime, 
but not as a predictor of future crimes. Let me close by quoting from 
Ron Davis, the former police chief of East Palo Alto, CA, where he 

       [T]here exists no national, standardized definition for 
     racial profiling that prohibits all uses of race, national 
     origin, and religion, except when describing a person. 
     Consequently, many state and local policies define racial 
     profiling as using race as the ``sole'' basis for a stop or 
     any police action. This definition is misleading in that it 
     suggests using race as a factor for anything other than a 
     description is justified, which it is not. Simply put, 
     race is a descriptor not a predictor. To use race along 
     with other salient descriptors when describing someone who 
     just committed a crime is appropriate.

  That is what this legislation does. It establishes a national 
definition. It prohibits it in any form of policing in our country. It 
provides for training. It provides Federal grants for best practices. 
It requires the Attorney General

[[Page S1944]]

to issue reports. It is legislation that is needed in our country.
  Former Attorney General Eric Holder adopted it at the national level, 
and he said:

       In this Nation, security and liberty are--at their best--
     partners, not enemies, in ensuring safety and opportunity for 
     all. . . . In this Nation, the document that sets forth the 
     supreme law of the land--the Constitution--is meant to 
     empower, not exclude. . . . Racial profiling is wrong. It can 
     leave a lasting scar on communities and individuals. And it 
     is, quite simply, bad policing--whatever city, whatever 

  The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees ``equal 
protection of the laws'' to all Americans. Racial and discriminatory 
profiling is abhorrent to those principles, and it should be ended once 
and for all.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be 
permitted to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I want to start by addressing the news 
last night that Republican leaders have decided to try to make their 
awful TrumpCare legislation even worse. TrumpCare wasn't enough of a 
giveaway to insurance companies, and it didn't do enough harm to women, 
seniors, and people with preexisting conditions, so Republican leaders 
decided to double down in efforts to appeal to their extreme 
conservative base.
  They are now claiming that they can take away essential health 
benefits like maternity care, mental health care, and preexisting 
conditions through the reconciliation process, but here are the facts: 
Republican leaders know, just as Democrats do, that measures to take 
away these critically important protections cannot survive the 
reconciliation process and could never get 60 votes in the Senate. They 
are simply trying to sell conservatives a bill of goods today in the 
rush to jam this through, but the more they scramble, the more harmful 
this bill gets for patients and families and the worse it will be for 
any House Republican who will be held accountable for their votes on 
  As we all know, today marks 7 years since the Affordable Care Act was 
signed into law. While some here in Congress may view this as an ideal 
opportunity to ram through a reckless, harmful repeal of the law, I, 
for one, think about today a little differently.
  I remember 7 years ago, standing with a young constituent of mine 
from Seattle, Marci Owens, as we watched President Obama sign the 
Affordable Care Act into law. I had met Marci when she was about 11 
years old, in the midst of some of the most heated moments of the 
healthcare reform debate, and to this day, I will never forget the 
story she told me about her mom, who all of a sudden had become sick, 
was forced to miss work, and because of that, she lost her job and lost 
her health insurance. Ultimately, because she wasn't even able to see a 
doctor or get any care, she died as a result of her illness.
  I took that story with me, along with countless other stories of 
families unable to access care, pay for medication, or see a doctor. I 
used them as motivation as my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to 
pass the Affordable Care Act.
  Just last month, I was proud to have Marci, who is now 18, attend 
President Trump's joint address to Congress as my guest. Today, Marci 
is still sharing her story and advocating for affordable healthcare, as 
well as transgender rights. She, along with millions of others across 
the country, is once again standing up, speaking out, and making it 
clear that we cannot go backward.
  I come to the Senate floor to share some of the stories of families 
in my home State of Washington who are worried, who are afraid, and 
whose lives will be at risk if President Trump and Republicans take us 
down this dangerous path to repeal, people whose voices need to be 
heard more than ever.
  I want to make it very clear why we are here and what is at stake. 
The House Republican TrumpCare bill would have a profoundly negative 
impact on the lives and the well-being and the financial security of 
people across the country, people who are truly terrified about the 
uncertain path forward. Yet, for having such a profound impact, 
Republicans are seemingly doing everything they can to limit public 
discussion on TrumpCare. This bill was rushed through four House 
committees without a single public hearing, no testimony, no expert 
view. House Republicans voted the bill out of two of these committees 
without a CBO score, without knowing how many people would be impacted.
  In the Senate this week, every Senate Democrat on the Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee called on the chairman to 
allow for a hearing to talk about this bill, but he refused. He ignored 
the request, and he held a hearing on other health policy instead. That 
the Health Committee--the Health Committee--has not been allowed to 
hold a single hearing to talk about and debate TrumpCare is appalling 
and shameful.
  Not to be outdone, of course, the majority leader, instead of 
committing to give all Senators time to review and evaluate the bill, 
has now said the bill will go straight to the floor for a vote as soon 
as next week, prompting even Members of his own party to come out 
against this plan.
  In all, these efforts are unprecedented. They are wrong, and they 
speak volumes about the kind of bill they are trying to ram through, 
because we now know many of the facts of the bill.
  This bill will kick 24 million people off their coverage. It will 
cause premiums to skyrocket. Seniors will pay more for their care. It 
will put at risk those who are struggling with mental illness and 
substance use disorders, including opioid addiction. It would end 
Medicaid as we know it.
  Predictively, it attacks women's constitutionally protected 
healthcare and rights. It defunds Planned Parenthood and puts insurance 
companies back in charge of other critical parts of women's healthcare, 
including maternity care, cancer screenings, and contraception. This 
bill undermines women's access to healthcare and women's ability to 
make their own healthcare decisions in virtually every way a piece of 
legislation could.
  I oppose this bill in the strongest terms. I am going to be doing 
everything I can to fight back against it, and I know Senate Democrats 
will as well.
  Families across the country are looking to us, and they have nowhere 
else to turn. Like many of my colleagues, I have constituents coming up 
to me constantly when I am at home, asking me what is going to happen 
if TrumpCare becomes law. They are bravely sharing deeply personal 
stories about their health, their families, and their fears--something 
they should not have to do. They deserve to be heard.
  Erin Zerba from my home State of Washington deserves to be heard. She 
has been a teacher for 19 years and teaches in two rural school 
districts, but because of her part-time standing in both districts, she 
is ineligible for insurance. If it weren't for the Medicaid expansion 
under the Affordable Care Act, she would have no options.
  As Erin puts it, she is ``terrified'' to learn that Medicaid would be 
gutted under TrumpCare. She has multiple disabilities, including autism 
and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. She has had repeated surgeries following a 
difficult pregnancy. The medication she has to take every day is very 
expensive. There is no generic form. She is one of those millions of 
  I have to say that we are going to fight back in every way we can 
because the TrumpCare bill that is being rushed through the House with 
giveaways being given to Senators for their votes is not the way we 
take care of people in this country. I am deeply worried about the 
process of this bill.
  I see the Democratic leader on the floor, and I know how important it 
is for him to speak. I just want to say, as the ranking member on the 
Health Committee, it is appalling to me that we have had no hearings, 
no expert witnesses, no markup. We have not seen this bill, and it is 
being rushed through. It will impact every single American and deserves 
the time of day, not some created chaos and deadline timeline that was 
created simply to fulfill a campaign promise and not to do the right 
thing for the American people.

[[Page S1945]]

  Mr. President, I yield the floor.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.

              Thanking the Senior Senator from Washington

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, first, I would like to thank the senior 
Senator from the State of Washington, the ranking member of the Health 
Committee, for her outstanding work on this issue. She knows this issue 
better than just about anybody in this Chamber. She is passionate and 
also fact-driven about her views and has had great influence on this 
  I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will review what 
she said. To rush through a bill for a campaign promise--a bill that is 
fraught with problems and difficulty, many of which will probably not 
come to light until after the bill comes to the floor--is the wrong 
thing to do. I thank the senior Senator from the State of Washington.

                        Terror Attack in London

  Mr. President, first, I want to just say a few words. My heartfelt 
condolences go to the families of the victims in London.
  Terrorism strikes everywhere. It was so close to the symbol of Great 
Britain--Parliament, Big Ben, a place we have all seen in pictures and 
some of us have had the opportunity to see in person. It reminds us 
that the scourge of terrorism needs to be eradicated in any way we can. 
I am committed to that, and I know the 100 Members of this Senate body 
are as well.
  Our hearts go out to those who were lost.

                       Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

  Mr. President, now I will move on to the subject I wish to speak 
about at length this morning, and that is Judge Gorsuch.
  I have had the opportunity these past 3 days to watch Judge Neil 
Gorsuch in the Judiciary Committee and to review his credentials and 
record on the Tenth Circuit and before that.
  I would particularly like to recognize the outstanding work done by 
every Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee. They were 
outstanding in questioning Judge Gorsuch despite his lack of candor and 
desire to answer. I would like to particularly call out our exceptional 
ranking member, Senator Feinstein, who has done a wonderful job leading 
that committee.
  I have thought long and hard about his nomination and what it means 
for the future of the Supreme Court and for the future of our country. 
What is at stake is considerable. The decisions we make here in the 
Senate over the next few weeks about Judge Gorsuch, as on any Supreme 
Court nominee, will echo through the lifetime tenure of that judge, 
through a generation of Americans.
  Discussions of the Supreme Court can get wonky and technical, with 
invocations of precedent and canons of interpretation. What is at 
stake, however, is not at all abstract; it is real and it is concrete 
for Americans, whose lives, health, happiness, and freedoms are on the 
line at the Supreme Court. Closely divided decisions recently have 
meant the difference between the ability to marry the person you love 
or not, the ability to have your right to vote protected or not, the 
ability to make personal choices about your own healthcare or not. The 
Supreme Court matters a great deal. It matters for workers who want to 
protect both their lives and their jobs, for employees who need to be 
able to seek redress for discrimination, and for parents who want their 
kids to get a fair shake in the education system.
  It is with all this in mind that I have come to a decision about the 
current nominee. After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I 
cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court. 
His nomination will face a cloture vote. He will have to earn 60 votes 
for confirmation. My vote will be no, and I urge my colleagues to do 
the same.
  To my Republican friends who think that if Judge Gorsuch fails to 
reach 60 votes, we ought to change the rules, I say: If this nominee 
cannot earn 60 votes--a bar met by each of President Obama's nominees 
and George Bush's last two nominees--the answer isn't to change the 
rules, it is to change the nominee.
  This morning, I would like to lay out the reasons I will be voting no 
on this nomination.
  First, Judge Gorsuch was unable to sufficiently convince me that he 
would be an independent check on a President who has shown almost no 
restraint from Executive overreach.
  Second, he was unable to convince me that he would be a mainstream 
Justice who could rule free from the biases of politics and ideology. 
His career and judicial record suggest not a neutral legal mind but 
someone with a deep-seated conservative ideology. He was groomed by the 
Federalist Society and has not shown 1 inch of difference between his 
views and theirs.

  Finally, he is someone who almost instinctively favors the powerful 
over the weak, corporations over working Americans. There could not be 
a worse time for someone with those instincts.
  Judge Gorsuch's opportunity to disabuse us of all these objections 
was in the hearing process, but he declined to answer question after 
question after question with any substance. Absent a real description 
of judicial philosophy, all we have to judge the judge on is his 
  First, I want to address the first issue I raised, that of judicial 
independence. It is so clear that at this moment in our history, our 
democracy requires a judge who is willing to rule against this 
President. This administration seems to have little regard for the rule 
of law and is likely to test the Constitution in ways it hasn't been 
challenged in decades. It is absolutely the case that this Supreme 
Court will be tried in ways that few courts have been tested since the 
earliest days of the Republic when constitutional questions abounded.
  The President himself has attacked individual judges and the 
credibility of the judiciary at large. The President has attacked a 
three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit and said if they didn't decide 
with him, they would be responsible for the next terrorist act. I have 
never heard any President in my lifetime or read about any President in 
previous history who dared do that. We are in uncharted territory with 
this President and with judicial independence. It requires a strong 
independent backbone. Judge Gorsuch has shown none. Senators on the 
Judiciary Committee rightly asked Judge Gorsuch direct questions about 
this issue. I did so myself in my meeting with the judge. While the 
judge repeatedly asserted his independence, he could not point to 
anything in his record to guarantee it. Judge Gorsuch offered the 
Judiciary myriad platitudes on this point. ``No man is above the law,'' 
he said. He said he was ``disheartened'' by the President's attacks on 
the judiciary. The President, for his sake, said that Judge Gorsuch 
didn't mean him, and everyone left it at that.
  If Judge Gorsuch had an ounce of courage, had shown a scintilla of an 
ability to be independent, he would have said: No, Mr. President. No, 
President Trump, I did mean you. Instead, he just tells us in general 
that he is demoralized, disheartened. Telling us is not the same as 
showing us. He is asking us to take him at his word, but his record 
suggests that he has long been someone who has advocated extreme 
deference to assertions of broad Presidential power.
  That leads me to my second point; that Judge Gorsuch was unable to 
convince me that he would be a neutral judge, free of ideology and 
bias. The hearings this week were an opportunity for Judge Gorsuch to 
explain his record, to tell us how he thinks and how his judicial 
philosophy does not fundamentally advantage the powerful. Instead, we 
got banalities and platitudes. We didn't get any real answers to any 
real questions about what he thinks about the law and why. He refused 
to answer general questions on dark money in politics, LGBTQ rights, 
the constitutionality of the Muslim ban. I couldn't believe it, when I 
asked him: Is a law that bans Muslims, a law that just said all Muslims 
are banned from the U.S. unconstitutional, he couldn't even answer 
that. He refused to say whether he agreed with Supreme Court decisions 
in seminal cases like Brown v. Board, Roe v. Wade, Griswold v. 
Connecticut, despite the fact that his predecessors, Justices Roberts 
and Alito, said they agreed with those cases.
  He refused to answer questions about the emoluments clause, a section 
of the

[[Page S1946]]

Constitution that prohibits foreign corruption of U.S. officials. 
Instead of an umpire calling balls and strikes in baseball, what we 
really saw was a well-trained expert in dodgeball.
  My friend, the ranking member of the committee, said it best. ``What 
worries me,'' she told the nominee, ``is that you have been very much 
able to avoid any specificity like no one I have ever seen before.''
  Let me repeat. There is no legal standard, rule, or even logic for 
failing to answer questions that don't involve immediate and specific 
cases that are or could come before the Court. It is evasion, just 
evasion, plain and simple, and it belies a deeper truth about this 
  If anyone doubts that Judge Gorsuch doesn't have strong views, that 
thinks he would be a neutral judge calling balls and strikes as Judge 
Roberts once put it, just look at the way he was chosen. He was 
supported and pushed forward by the Heritage Foundation and the 
Federalist Society, and groomed by billionaire conservatives like Mr. 
Anschutz. President Trump simply picked someone from off their list.
  President Trump sought the advice and consent from the Federalist 
Society instead of from the U.S. Senate. Does anyone think the 
Federalist Society would choose someone who just called balls and 
strikes? Does anyone think they would put on their list a neutral, 
moderate judge when they haven't ever supported anyone but judicial 
conservatives, almost all hard-right judicial conservatives in their 
history? The Federalist Society has been dedicated for a generation to 
influence the courts to favor corporations and special interests. If 
anyone doubts that Judge Gorsuch could be an activist judge with views 
eschewing the interests of average people, look at how he was 
selected--by a group that is not neutral, a group that has been 
dedicated to changing the judiciary and placing activist, hard-right 
judges on the bench. Now that he is nominated, look at how much money, 
dark, secret, undisclosed money--it is a good bet from the very 
corporations Judge Gorsuch has been defending his whole career. If he 
were so neutral, would they be spending this money? I doubt it.
  Anyone groomed by the Federalist Society will not call balls and 
strikes. Their views are best foretold by the ideology of the people 
who groomed them. To say Judge Gorsuch has no ideology whatsoever is 
absurd. He just will not admit it to the American people. To say he is 
just neutral in his views is belied by his history since his college 
days and by his own judicial record. He even tried to deny it. In the 
hearings, Judge Gorsuch repeated the hollow assertion that judges don't 
have parties or politics. He said there are no Democratic judges or 
Republican judges, but if that were true, we wouldn't be here, would 
we? If that were true, if the Senate were merely evaluating a nominee 
based on his or her qualifications, Merrick Garland would be seated on 
the Supreme Court right now. Merrick Garland is not a Justice. We all 
know why. We all know my friends across the aisle held the Supreme 
Court seat open for over 1 year in hopes that they would have the 
opportunity to install someone handpicked by the Heritage Foundation 
and the Federalist Society to advance the goal of Big Money interests 
entrenching their power in the Court.

  They don't even mind that this nomination is moving forward under a 
cloud of an FBI investigation of the President's campaign. The 
Republicans held a Supreme Court seat open for a year under a 
Democratic President who was under no investigation but now are rushing 
to fill the seat for a President whose campaign is under investigation. 
It is unseemly and wrong to be moving so fast on a lifetime appointment 
in such circumstances.
  Finally, Judge Gorsuch came into this hearing with a record that 
raises deep concerns about whether he would consider fairly the plight 
of the average citizen before the interests of powerful special 
interests. I examined his record. I saw a judge who repeatedly decided 
with insurance companies that wanted to deny disability benefits to 
employees. I saw a judge who, in unemployment discrimination, sided 
with employers the great majority of the time. I saw a judge who, on 
the issue of money and politics, seems to be in the same company as 
Justices Thomas and Scalia, willing to restrict the most commonsense 
contribution limits.
  In the hearings, Judge Gorsuch did nothing to explain his philosophy, 
did nothing to assuage those concerns. We will just have to go by his 
record, a record that shows time and time again his rulings favor the 
already powerful over ordinary Americans.
  Judge Gorsuch ruled against a teacher, Grace Hwang, who, having been 
through two bouts of cancer, was advised by her doctors not to return 
to the college campus during a flu epidemic lest she put her life at 
risk. She was fired for taking sick leave. Judge Gorsuch, true to form, 
voted to uphold that dismissal. Her daughter Katherine told us last 

       This decision to protect her health cost my mom her job. 
     When Judge Gorsuch issued his ruling, he didn't think about 
     the impact that this had on our family. The law calls for 
     ``reasonable accommodation for those who are disabled.''

  Judge Gorsuch ignored the human cost.
  Judge Gorsuch ruled against a truckdriver, Alfonse Maddin, who had to 
make a similar choice between his employer and his life. I met with 
him. He told me a harrowing story of being stuck in the cab of a 
tractor-trailer with frozen brakes, no heat, temperatures outside 
dipping to 27 below zero. He had a choice, leave the trailer with 
broken brakes and drive the cab to safety or stay in the trailer and 
freeze to death. He radioed his company to explain his predicament. 
They told him that the cargo was the most important thing; he couldn't 
leave it. Rather than risk the lives of other motorists on a freezing 
highway by driving a trailer with frozen brakes, Mr. Maddin struggled 
to unhitch his trailer and drive his cab to safety--returning later for 
it once he was not at risk of dying from the cold. For that, his 
company fired him. He sued. Seven judges heard this case as it went 
through appeal. Only one, Judge Gorsuch, in dissent, ruled against him. 
Judge Gorsuch used an exceptionally technical and illogical reading of 
the statute to reach the absurd conclusion that Mr. Maddin was 
obligated to risk his life to protect his cargo.
  Mr. Maddin said that Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court 
gives him ``pause for concern'' because he ``demonstrated a willingness 
to artfully diminish the humane element that encompassed the issue.''
  Judge Gorsuch also ruled against a parent of a severely autistic 
child, Luke, who sought what the Individuals with Disabilities in 
Education Act guarantees him--the right to an education that met his 
needs. Jeff Perkins, Luke's father, is testifying before the Judiciary 
Committee today. Their story is powerful. Judge Gorsuch ruled that Luke 
was not entitled to attend a specialized school because he was able to 
make more than de minimis progress in the normal educational system.
  Just yesterday, the Supreme Court unanimously--including Justice 
Alito and so many others who are so conservative--rejected Judge 
Gorsuch's interpretation of the IDEA. The Court held that ``when all is 
said and done, a student offered an educational program providing 
`merely more than a de minimis progress from year to year can hardly be 
said to have been offered an education at all.' '' That puts Judge 
Gorsuch's interpretation of the IDEA law to the right of even Justice 
Thomas--a very difficult feat.
  Whom we put on the bench, their basic judgment, matters. While I do 
not think that the personal views and experiences should bear on the 
decisions of day-to-day cases, there is a reason we don't program 
computers to decide cases. We do not want judges with ice water in 
their veins. What we want and need are judges who understand the 
litigants before them and bring a modicum--at least a modicum--of human 
judgment into the courtroom. You can call this trait empathy or mercy. 
I think it falls in the category of common sense. It is common sense 
that necessarily comes from each person's own, unique life experience. 
Even Judge Gorsuch acknowledged this when he told the committee ``I am 
not an algorithm.'' Yet he wouldn't tell us how, as a human--a 
nonalgorithm--he would uniquely approach a case.

  When it comes to the application of the law, that empathy, that 

[[Page S1947]]

that ``humane element'' of common sense--as Alphonse Maddin, the 
truckdriver, put it--is the most important judicial trait of them all 
because ultimately the law is abstract, but the people and situations 
are real. The task of the judge is to apply those abstract legal 
doctrines to very humane and sometimes very messy situations. It is a 
hard thing to do to bring fairness and justice to a world that is too 
short on both.
  I am reminded of the words spoken by Portia, the great lawyer in 
``The Merchant of Venice,'' who spoke of the blessings and necessity of 
mercy in applying the law.
  He said:

     The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
     It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
     Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
     It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
     'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
     The thron-ed monarch better than his crown;
     His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
     The attribute to awe and majesty,
     Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
     But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
     It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
     It is an attribute to God himself.

  Judge Gorsuch told us he is not God, and that is true, but his 
humanity does not excuse him from the attribute of mercy. Instead, his 
humanity should require it.
  Alphonse Maddin sought the mercy of the law. The Hwang family sought 
the mercy of the law. Luke, the autistic child whose school was failing 
him, sought the mercy of the law. The man who had the power to see 
plain sense in their cases, who could rule in their favor and right the 
wrongs that had been done to them as other judges had done in each of 
those cases--Judge Neil Gorsuch--said no.
  I am voting no on Gorsuch for Alphonse Maddin and workers across the 
country, for the Hwang family and others who do not want to choose 
between their health and providing for their children, and for the 
Perkins family, who loves their children just as they are and wants for 
them no fewer than the opportunities afforded to every other child in 
  The American people deserve someone who sees average litigants as 
more than incidental consequences of precedent, when that precedent 
produces an absurd result, whose view of the law is not so cold and so 
arid so as to wring out every last drop of humanity and common sense. 
It requires only the bare minimum of judicial decency to rule the right 
way in the cases I have mentioned, and Judge Gorsuch did not.
  That is all the evidence my colleagues should need to vote no, and I 
urge them and will urge them in the days ahead to do so.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, today, we are truly in a historic fight, a 
fight to protect one of the most treasured and revered American 
values--our right to privacy. Make no mistake, our privacy has never 
been more in danger, and the American public knows it.
  The American public knows its privacy is in danger when a smart TV 
can listen to its most intimate living room conversations--your 
conversations with your children, with your parents, with your spouse.
  The American public knows its privacy is in danger when it seems that 
every day there is a hack on the databases of one of our country's 
largest companies--Yahoo!, Target, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase.
  The American public knows its privacy is in danger when the Russian 
surveillance machine--firing on all cylinders--hacks the U.S. election, 
threatening to undermine our sacred democratic system.
  The American public knows its privacy is in danger when both Chambers 
of Congress hold countless hearings, launch investigations, and receive 
briefings on the rapidly growing cybersecurity threat to our Nation and 
the impact both on our national security and to the public.
  The American public wants us to do more to protect its privacy. The 
American public wants us to do more to protect its sensitive 
information. Yet what do the Republicans in Congress want to do today 
on the Senate floor? They want to make it easier for Americans' 
sensitive information to be used, shared, and sold without their 
  Today, the Republicans are seeking a vote on a Congressional Review 
Act resolution that would allow Comcast, Verizon, Charter, AT&T, and 
other broadband companies to take control away from consumers and 
relentlessly collect and sell their sensitive information without the 
consent of that family.
  That is sensitive information about your health, about your finances, 
even about your children. They want to track your location and draw a 
map of where you shop, where you work, where you eat, where your 
children go to school, and then sell that information to data brokers 
or anyone else who wants to make a profit off of you.
  They want to document how many times you search online for heart 
disease, breast cancer, opioid addiction treatments, or AIDS treatment, 
and then sell that information to your insurance company. They want to 
know what games your teenagers play or shows they watch so they can 
then target ads to your family--and all of this done without your 
  What the Republicans are bringing to the floor today is going to 
basically change the definition of ``ISP''--internet service provider--
to ``information sold for profit.'' It will stand for ``invading 
subscriber privacy.''
  President Trump, himself, is outraged about fake violations of his 
own privacy, but we should all be alarmed by this very real violation 
of privacy that will occur today if the Senate decides to roll back 
these important consumer protections.
  Here on the Senate floor, the Republicans are fighting to make it 
easier for your broadband provider to use and sell that same type of 
information--remarkably detailed and sensitive dossiers of information 
about you, your kids, your parents, your grandparents--320 million 
  The Republicans are trying to rescind the Federal Communications 
Commission's broadband privacy rules, which simply require your cable, 
wireless, or telephone company provider to obtain consumer consent 
before using or sharing subscribers' personal information; promote 
transparency by disclosing what they collect about internet and 
wireless users; and adopt data security protections and notify 
consumers if a breach occurs.
  That is it. That is what this whole debate is all about--whether 
consumers, not the broadband providers, have control over their 
sensitive information.
  The big broadband companies and their Republican allies say we need a 
light touch regulatory framework to protect Americans' broadband 
privacy--a light touch approach, like with the Federal Trade 
Commission, which does not prescribe actual privacy rules. The Federal 
Trade Commission only enforces the privacy policies companies create 
for themselves, and then they bring an enforcement action if a company 
violates its own very low standards, but if Comcast's or AT&T's or 
Verizon's policy is that you have no privacy, there is nothing for 
anyone to enforce. It would be impossible for the internet service 
provider to violate its own nonexistent or very low privacy 
  Let's be clear here. When the broadband behemoths say ``light 
touch,'' they mean ``hands off.'' They mean hands off their ability to 
monetize captive consumers' sensitive information.
  Let's be clear. When the big broadband barons and their Republican 
allies are firing their opening salvo in the war on net neutrality, 
they want broadband privacy protections to be the first victim.
  When Republicans say we need to harmonize regulations, they really 
mean self-regulation. Self-regulation is the ultimate dream of the 
Republicans, who are beholden to those special interests. They really 
want to allow broadband companies to write their own privacy rules.
  Is this really what the American public wants--a harmonized, light-
touch approach to protecting their sensitive information from their 
broadband providers? Does the American public really want us to allow 
our broadband companies to ignore reasonable data security practices, 
making consumers' sensitive information more vulnerable to breaches and 
unauthorized access?
  This resolution does just that. The internet service providers even 

[[Page S1948]]

following reasonable data security practices.
  We should know better. The American public wants us to strengthen our 
privacy protections, not weaken them. The American people do not want 
their sensitive information collected, used, and sold by any third 
party, whether that be your broadband provider or a hacker.
  At its core, this debate is about our values--our values as a people, 
our values as a society. While technology has certainly changed, our 
core values have not changed as a country. For generations, we have 
valued the right to choose whom we let into our homes, whom we 
communicate with, whom we share our most sensitive secrets with, but 
now the Republicans and the broadband industry are telling us that we 
must forgo those rights just because our homes are connected to the 
internet and our phones are connected to the internet.
  With many Americans across the country having only a couple of 
broadband providers, at most, to choose from, they will not have the 
option of changing service providers if their privacy protections are 
not transparent or robust. And throughout it all, while the internet 
service providers monetize your personal information, the monthly bill 
will continue to show up for the service that is siphoning off your 
sensitive information.
  My colleagues, we know the attack on the free and open internet is 
coming. Net neutrality is on the chopping block, and this is the first 
step in ensuring that the few and the powerful control the internet. We 
must stop this today, so I urge my colleagues to join with me.
  The fundamental principle here is that every person should have the 
knowledge that information is being gathered about their families when 
they use the internet; second, that they have notice from the company 
that that information is going to be resold to a third party, to 
someone else, not to the broadband company; and third, that you have 
the right to say no, that you do not want that information about your 
family member to be resold.
  When we were all younger and the salesman came to the front door and 
knocked, your mother told you to tell the salesman that they could not 
come into the house because the privacy of your family did not warrant 
allowing a stranger into your home. The broadband companies now say: 
Well, we are in your home, and we are wired in every room, and we now 
have the right to take all of the information of your family and sell 
it. What sites do your children go on? What sites do you go on to look 
for help for the disease that someone in your family might have?
  Now the broadband companies say they are coming right through the 
front door. They are going into every room in your house. The American 
people have the right to say what they have always said: No, you cannot 
take those secrets of our family. You cannot take how we use that 
  So this vote that we are about to take in the next couple of hours on 
the Senate floor goes right to the heart of who we are.
  We now hear more about the Russians, and we hear more about companies 
whose information has been hacked. Then the Republicans are crying 
their crocodile tears about the compromise of privacy of people in our 
country, and then they come to the floor and take all of the 
information online in the family and allow it to be sold as a product. 
That is just fundamentally wrong. It goes contrary to the values of our 
  I urge very strongly a ``no'' vote from the Members of the Senate. 
Just remember: This is the privacy vote of all time on the Senate 
floor--of all time--because there has never been anything like the 
internet going into our homes. No one should be allowed to take all of 
that information and just sell it without getting their permission.
  Mr. President, I urge a ``no'' vote on this resolution.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, before he leaves the floor, I just want to 
commend my colleague from Massachusetts for an excellent presentation. 
He has really outlined A to Z with respect to what this issue is all 
about. I commend him, and I also commend the ranking member of the 
committee, Senator Nelson, our colleague from Florida, for his 
excellent job.
  Before he leaves the floor, picking up on the remarks of our 
colleague from Massachusetts, I am particularly struck by the fact that 
I have always thought that it is a classic conservative principle to 
empower the individual--to empower the individual to make fundamental 
choices about what would be important to them and their family and 
their wallets and all of the activities that are central to the life of 
a working class family.
  What we have been touching on--very eloquently by my colleague from 
Massachusetts--is we are going to be voting in a little bit to strip 
rights from individuals, to retreat from that classic conservative 
principle of empowering individuals and families to make decisions.
  I think, for all of the reasons that my colleague from Massachusetts 
has talked about and that Senator Nelson has been talking about, this 
idea of stripping from individuals the right to make these fundamental 
decisions and allowing the gatekeepers of the internet to collect, 
share, and profit from personal information of consumers without their 
consent is an extraordinary mistake for our country at this time.
  I serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. I think, for 
many people, these issues have, in effect, converged with respect to 
privacy policy as it relates to the private marketplace, which is what 
this ill-advised proposal that we are going to vote on today is all 
  We are constantly offered up ideas that suggest that you really are 
faced with what amounts to a flawed set of choices. In the intelligence 
area, we are consistently told: Well, you just have to give up a little 
bit of liberty to have security. And the reality is that liberty and 
security are not mutually exclusive. Smart policies give us both. They 
give us security and liberty. Unfortunately, around here, we are coming 
up with policies, like weakening strong encryption, that are reducing 
both--reducing security and reducing liberty. I think what we are 
dealing with here on this ill-advised resolution in the Senate, with 
respect to the FCC rule, is yet another set of false choices--that you 
can either have internet access or privacy. They are not mutually 
exclusive. Just as we can have security and liberty, we can have 
internet access and privacy for all of the reasons that my friend from 
Massachusetts has been outlining.
  Now, the FCC acted on the responsibility given to them by the 
Congress to protect browsing history--arguably the most intimate, 
personal information imaginable. Browsing history makes what the Senate 
did in the past with metadata look like small potatoes. Browsing 
history is really a picture into your personal life. I have appreciated 
the support of my colleagues for making sure that in the intelligence 
field, without court oversight, you couldn't get access to people's 
browsing history.
  The Congress, in effect, told the Federal Communications Commission 
to protect browsing history, favorite applications, and even locations 
of American broadband users, and the FCC acted on it. Before that time, 
there were no rules in place outlining how an internet service 
provider--those are the ISPs that we always hear Senators talking 
about--may use, share, or even sell their customers' private 
information. So, just as the FCC has done for wireline phone customers, 
the FCC said it was going to keep up with the evolution of 
telecommunications networks by ensuring privacy protections would apply 
to broadband internet use. This struck a lot of us as just common 
sense. Again, building on the conservative principle of empowering the 
individual, the judgment was that by creating what are called ``opt-
in'' consent agreements, where the consumer makes an affirmative 
decision about what they want--it is not what government wants, it is 
not what big companies want, it is what the consumer wants. The 
judgment was that by creating this opt-in consent agreement, the 
consumer would get a clear understanding of what the broadband provider 
knows about them from, for example, their computer or from their 

[[Page S1949]]

  The big internet service providers are in a unique position to see 
where information flows over the networks and can see more of 
Americans' data than probably anybody else in what we might call the 
internet ecosystem. The websites we visit, what we look for, what time 
we are online--all of this, even our location--would be considered 
highly personal and highly sensitive information.
  The responsibility of the internet service provider is to protect 
consumer privacy. It is compounded by the fact that the majority of 
broadband consumers have only one option for fast internet service to 
their home. There is only one company offering them service. So it 
seems to me what we are talking about--what Senator Markey has 
outlined--really looks like bad news for folks in rural areas where 
they are only going to have one provider, and, frankly, I think in a 
lot of metropolitan areas, particularly where there are modest-income 
  Without these protections in place, most consumers are left with the 
choice of giving up their browsing history for an internet service 
provider to sell to the highest bidder or to have no internet at all. 
So think about what that means for, say, an older person.
  By the way, under what is being considered in the other body on 
healthcare, people between 50 and 64 aren't going to have a lot of 
extra money laying around. Those are people who are going to get 
clobbered--clobbered--by the healthcare bill that is being considered 
in the House today.
  What is being considered in the House today--talking about the 
wallets of people between 50 and 64--would allow the insurance 
companies to charge people who are pre-Medicare five times as much as 
younger people. So they are already going to be paying thousands of 
dollars more out-of-pocket. Now, given what may happen in this body, we 
would have consumers left with the choice of giving up their browsing 
history for an internet service provider to sell to the highest bidder 
or have no internet at all. So we are socking it to them in terms of 
their healthcare premiums, and then we are socking it to them in terms 
of essential communications as well.
  I just think this is unacceptable and certainly contrary to the whole 
notion of classic conservatism, empowering the individual. And it is 
certainly taking away these rights from folks in rural America--most of 
my towns in Oregon have populations of under 10,000 people. This 
proposal that is being discussed here is going to strip consumers of 
basic rights that are practically a requirement for economic success in 
the 21st century.
  I am going to close by picking up on another point that I think 
Senator Markey said very well, and I believe I heard Senator Nelson, 
our ranking member, touch on as well. It looks to me like a subject 
that should not be in controversy: basic transparency and 
accountability for the individual, and individual empowerment. It 
shouldn't be controversial. It shouldn't be a contentious matter. My 
colleague and I served in the other body for a number of years, and we 
built coalitions of people all across the political spectrum around the 
principles we are advocating today. Providing transparency and 
empowering the individual shouldn't be a contentious issue.
  Under these regulations, internet service providers can still collect 
and use their subscribers' information. The rules simply ensure that 
internet service providers receive consent--receive permission from an 
empowered consumer--that it is OK to reuse or sell their information, 
and the companies would provide the consumers an explanation of how 
their data is collected and where it is shared. These rules are about 
transparency, plain and simple. Customers, especially those, as I have 
indicated, who are captive to one internet service provider, deserve to 
know how their internet service provider is using their data.
  The broadband privacy rules are not some kind of attack on monetizing 
consumer data, but simply a recognition of the importance of consumer 
  I will close by saying that more and more in this area, the American 
people are getting presented false choices. They are being told, as I 
see on the Intelligence Committee, that you have to give up some of 
your liberty to have your security. Those are false choices. They are 
not mutually exclusive. Everyone in America, everyone paying attention 
to this debate ought to know that they have a right to both. Don't 
ever, ever let a politician tell you that you have to give up some of 
your liberty to have your security. You have a right to vote, and it is 
our job, colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to come up with 
policies that do both.

  Today, we ought to make sure that people aren't presented with 
another false choice--that to have Internet access you have to give up 
your privacy rights. You can have both, and the Federal Communications 
Commission has sought to come up with a sensible policy to do that.
  So I join my colleagues, particularly my friend from Massachusetts, 
who knows so much about this field, and our terrific ranking minority 
member, Senator Nelson, in urging colleagues to oppose a harmful 
resolution that, in my view, turns class conservatism on its head and 
strips consumers of their rights in a truly ill-advised manner.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, I oppose the resolution to repeal the 
Federal Communications Commission's rule to protect consumers from 
having their data sold by internet service providers, or ISPs, without 
their permission.
  Passing this resolution of disapproval would represent yet another 
victory for big business and a defeat for hard-working Americans who 
use the internet to do their job, connect with friends, or read the 
  The internet started as a system to facilitate communication among 
academic and military networks. In 1995, less than 1 percent of the 
world used it. Today more than 87 percent of Americans and more than 40 
percent of the world's population use the internet.
  Today the internet has become nearly indispensable. Increasingly, our 
toasters, refrigerators, and cars can connect to the internet, but 
legislation has been slow to keep up with technology. Every website we 
visit and every link we click leaves an unintended trail that tells a 
story about our lives. ISPs can collect information about our location, 
children, sensitive information, family status, financial information, 
Social Security numbers, web browsing history, and even the content of 
communications. ISPs sell this highly sensitive and highly personal 
data to the highest bidder without any consent or knowledge.
  Recognizing that telecommunications companies have little incentive 
to tell consumers what they are doing with their personal data, the FCC 
promulgated a rule to make sure that consumers can protect their 
privacy though transparency, choice, and data security. The rule's name 
explains its purpose: ``Protecting the Privacy of Customers of 
Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services.'' The FCC rule would 
not stop companies from selling consumers' information, but the rule 
would require ISPs to get consumers' consent before using, disclosing, 
or allowing others to access this information.
  As former FCC Chairman Wheeler said, ``It's the consumers' 
information. How it is used should be the consumers' choice.''
  With this resolution, Congressional Republicans are telling 9 out of 
10 Americans that they should not be able to decide how private 
corporations collect, disclose, and sell their personal data. This 
resolution puts the special interests of data users above those of 
consumers. I oppose the resolution.
  Mr. WYDEN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, what is the parliamentary situation? Are we 
in morning business?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate is considering S.J. Res. 34.

          Calling for the Appointment of a Special Prosecutor

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I have been privileged to serve in this 
body for more than 42 years, and I thank my native State of Vermont for 

[[Page S1950]]

  When I joined the Senate, our country was still crawling out of an 
intractable war--a war which came to an end with a vote in the Senate 
Armed Services Committee in April of 1975. Since then, I have seen our 
country slide into new wars. I have seen scandals that have consumed 
this town and our Nation. I have seen horrific terrorist attacks that 
have shaken our country to its core, from Oklahoma City to 9/11, and 
others. All of these events, in different ways, have tested our 
country. But I have never seen a threat to our democratic institutions 
like I see today.
  There is still much we do not know about Russian interference in the 
2016 Presidential election, but what we do know is deeply disturbing. 
Last night, reports indicated that there is evidence that certain Trump 
officials coordinated the release of hacked documents with Russian 
officials. And on Monday the FBI Director confirmed that the FBI has 
been investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and 
Russia since July of last year.
  Already, the Intelligence Community has made public its conclusion 
that Russian President Putin waged a multifaceted influence campaign to 
delegitimize Secretary Clinton and help Donald Trump win the 
Presidency. Worse, he intended to undermine public faith in our 
democratic process. What is even worse is that this interference did 
not end on November 8, election day. It is ongoing. That--whether you 
are a Republican or a Democrat--should concern every American.
  According to the Intelligence Community, President Putin will 
continue using cyber-attacks and propaganda campaigns to undermine our 
future elections. This is nothing less than an attack on our democracy. 
It should outrage all Americans, no matter what their political 
affiliation, and we need to know all the facts.
  Frankly, my experience here tells me we need a thorough, independent 
investigation. We need to send a clear message to President Putin that 
America, our country--the country that the Presiding Officer and I 
revere--will not tolerate future efforts to manipulate our most sacred 
democratic process, our elections.
  All of us here know that President Trump is not going to lead such an 
investigation. He is not going to deliver this message. The President, 
unfortunately, spent much of the 2016 campaign supportive of President 
Putin. Then-Candidate Trump refused to call on Russia to stop meddling 
in our election, saying: ``I'm not going to tell Putin what to do.'' He 
even encouraged Russian hacking on live television, pleading: ``Russia, 
if you're listening, I hope you'll be able to find the 30,000 emails 
that are missing.'' It is unprecedented. No candidate, in my memory, of 
either party has ever called on another country to interfere in our 
elections that way.
  This was occurring as the President was claiming to have had no role 
in weakening the Republican Party's official position on Russia's 
incursion into Ukraine. Of course, we have now learned that this was 
false, and his campaign played a central role in softening his party's 
stance on Russia.
  I do not know why the President is so enthralled with President 
Vladimir Putin, a man who has shown such disregard for personal rights, 
even as he has made himself one of the wealthiest people in the world. 
It may be simply because Russia is heavily invested in the Trump brand. 
Years before the President denied having any financial relationships 
with the Russians, his son admitted that Russians own a 
disproportionate share of Trump assets, saying: ``We see a lot of money 
pouring in from Russia.'' Now, just how invested Moscow is in Trump is 
not known. The President broke with precedent of both Republicans and 
Democrats and did not release his tax returns. But I imagine there 
would be quite a sigh of relief if the only secret in the President's 
full tax returns were that he did not pay his share of taxes and paid 
far less than the average American.
  The President, though, is not the only one in his administration 
incapable of telling the truth when it comes to Russia. His Attorney 
General provided testimony that was not true before the Senate 
Judiciary Committee in response to questions from me and Senator 
Franken about Russian contacts, and we know his first National Security 
Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned after lying to Vice President Pence 
about his conversations with the Russian Ambassador.
  President Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, also 
resigned after questions were raised about his extensive activities in 
Russia and Ukraine. Of course, now it has been reported that Mr. 
Manafort earned $10 million per year for secret work on behalf of 
  Another former adviser, Roger Stone, had early warning of the release 
of hacked documents. He has admitted to having conversations with 
``Guccifer 2.0,'' the Russian-connected hacker responsible for the 
cyber-attack on the Democratic National Committee.
  They say that where there is smoke there is fire. There is so much 
smoke here that it is getting hard to breathe. The President 
unfortunately continues to make matters worse. This week alone, he 
continued his untruth about President Obama personally ordering a 
wiretap of Trump Tower, something everybody knows is not true. I think 
members of his own administration's inner circle are embarrassed every 
time he persists in this.
  On Monday, the President ramped up his own influence campaign to 
undermine the integrity of this investigation, tweeting ``fake news'' 
as the Director of the FBI prepared to testify under oath in the House 
of Representatives.
  Now, I have no reason to doubt the integrity of the FBI's 
investigation thus far, but I have every reason to believe it is 
eventually going to be at risk. That is why we need somebody 
independent--independent of the Congress, independent of the 
administration. We need an independent special prosecutor to lead this 
investigation and to ultimately decide whether there is sufficient 
evidence to prosecute. A special prosecutor would not report to the 
Attorney General, who himself is a witness to this investigation. And a 
special prosecutor, unlike the Attorney General or even the FBI 
Director, cannot be fired by the President.

  I have thought long and hard about this. I went on my experience here 
with administrations beginning with President Gerald Ford straight 
through to today. It takes a lot of thought to call for a special 
prosecutor, but this is one where we need it, where the American people 
have to have somebody they can trust outside Republicans, Democrats, 
and the Congress, and certainly outside the administration.
  Our Nation is at a precipice. We can either confront what happened in 
our election and get to the bottom of it with an independent 
investigation and make sure it never happens again. Or we can just 
pretend this is another Washington scandal and allow it to be filtered 
through a familiar partisan lens. That would be a terrible mistake. In 
all my years here, I have never seen a time when another country--one 
that has shown its animosity toward us--has tried to interfere in our 
elections. If Russia can get away with interfering with our elections, 
what else can they interfere with in our democratic Nation? They do not 
share the ideals we do. They do not allow free elections. They do not 
allow freedom of expression. They do not allow their people to speak 
out. Why would anyone think that they would have America's interests at 
  Today we have a counterintelligence investigation into the campaign 
of a sitting President. There is evidence that this campaign colluded 
with a foreign adversary to impact our Presidential election. This is 
not normal. We must not treat it as such. I would feel this way no 
matter who had won the election--no matter if they were Democrat or 
Republican, because it goes beyond one party.
  President Putin's goal last year was to undermine our democratic 
institutions--to corrode American's trust and faith in government, 
something that has sustained us through two World Wars, through a Civil 
War, through all the other problems this Nation has faced. That trust 
should sustain us long after every one of us in this body are gone.
  This is a responsibility that we as Senators have to our great 
Nation: not to think of ourselves for the moment, but to think where 
this Nation is 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, and 100 years from now. We 
must do that. We owe that to the American people. Republicans and 
Democrats alike, we owe it

[[Page S1951]]

to the American people. We take an oath to uphold our Constitution.
  We come here, all of us--and I have great respect for every Senator 
here in both parties--we come here hoping to do the best for our 
Nation. Our Nation is in peril. All of us would stand together if we 
had an adversary attack us. All of us would stand together if somebody 
declared war on us. We have done that in the past. We did that after 
Pearl Harbor. We did that other times in our Nation's history. Well, 
because this is done quietly behind the scenes, it is a great attack on 
  As I said, President Putin's goal last year was to undermine our 
democratic institutions--to corrode Americans' trust and faith in our 
government, no matter who is President. If we do not get to the bottom 
of Russian interference, he will no doubt be successful. And if anybody 
doubts it, if he is successful, he will try it again.
  That is why we should stand united and call for a truly independent 
investigation. The American people deserve nothing less. We can sit 
here and talk about this bill and that bill, but it is so rare that we 
have something overriding. This is overriding. Let's have an 
independent investigation. This Senator is willing to accept that 
whichever way it goes.
  I see our distinguished majority leader on the floor.
  I will yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.

                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at 12:15 
p.m. today there be 10 minutes of debate, equally divided in the usual 
form, remaining on S.J. Res. 34; further, that following the use or 
yielding back of that time, the joint resolution be read a third time 
and the Senate vote on the resolution with no intervening action or 
debate; finally, notwithstanding rule XXII, following disposition of 
the joint resolution, the Senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture 
on Executive Calendar No. 20, David Friedman to be Ambassador to 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  If no one yields time, the time will be charged equally.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum and ask 
unanimous consent that the time be charged equally.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, the rules that the Federal 
Communications Commission recently promulgated--and when I say 
``recently,'' it was October, only months ago--expanded the concept of 
privacy and consumer protection as applied to broadband. Now we are on 
the verge of rescinding those rules through S.J. Res. 34.
  This resolution is a direct attack on consumer rights, on privacy, on 
rules that afford basic protection against intrusive and illegal 
interference with consumers' use of social media sites, websites, that 
often they take for granted. Many Americans simply don't stop to think 
about how broadband providers, as the carriers of all internet traffic, 
are also able to collect and use consumer data, to put together a 
detailed picture of who they are, what they do, where and when they buy 
things, where they go, what they like to do--all of it an array of data 
that people assume is private, all of it freely available to those 
internet providers.
  Even when data is encrypted, our broadband providers can piece 
together significant amounts of information about us--including private 
information, medical conditions, financial problems--based on online 
activity. It is a mine that can be used--more valuable than a gold 
mine--because that information can be sold and bought and used again so 
that privacy becomes a completely evanescent and illusory feature of 
our lives.
  Consumers wanting to switch broadband providers are often hit with 
hefty termination fees, and they have to experience a lapse in Internet 
service at home--something that most simply don't have the luxury to do 
or endure in today's connected society where internet is accessible. 
They have no meaningful choice about how to safeguard broadband 
privacy. They have one choice if they want speeds above 25 megabits per 
second. That is why I applauded those rules when they were promulgated 
by the FCC back in October, finalizing broadband privacy protections. I 
applauded them because signing up for the internet should not mean you 
sign away your rights to privacy.
  Just as telephone networks must obtain consumer approval before 
selling customer information, broadband providers ought to be required 
to obtain consumers' affirmative consent before selling their sensitive 
browsing or app usage data to advertisers. The FCC rules that this 
resolution would decimate, utterly destroy, essentially seek to protect 
that privacy interest. The only way the FCC's broadband privacy rules 
protect consumers is through an affirmative opt-in consent. That is the 
only real protection that works.

  These rules also prohibit pay-for-privacy schemes that would require 
consumers to waive their privacy protections as a precondition to 
receiving service. They establish data security and breach notification 
standards for broadband providers.
  They also have important national security implications. Just last 
week, the Department of Justice indicted four individuals, including 
Russian spies, for hacking into Yahoo! systems in 2014 and obtaining 
access to at least 500 million Yahoo! accounts. According to the 
indictment, these Russian intelligence officers spied on U.S. 
Government officials and private sector employees of financial 
companies. One defendant also exploited the data for financial gain.
  Without clear rules of the road, broadband subscribers will have no 
certainty or choice about how their private information can be used, no 
protection against abuse, and no assurance that security standards will 
be bolstered against that kind of attack that the Russians and their 
spies launched.
  The FTC doesn't have jurisdiction over the security and privacy 
practices of broadband, cable, and wireless carriers. If the Ninth 
Circuit's recent decision in FTC v. AT&T is upheld, adopting a 
``status-based'' instead of ``activity-based'' interpretation of the 
FTC's common carrier exemption, the FTC's jurisdiction and ability to 
impose privacy and security obligations would be even further 
  Critics also say that the FCC's broadband privacy rules would 
unfairly create a separate regulatory regime for ``edge providers,'' 
websites such as Google or Facebook. If that is their real concern, why 
haven't they focused their efforts on ensuring that the FTC has 
meaningful rulemaking authority so that it can implement privacy and 
data security rules over such websites?
  In closing, I have long supported giving the FTC authority to adopt 
its own rules governing the privacy and security of websites. Giving 
the FTC authority to adopt new rules would help ensure our privacy, 
keep our privacy safe no matter where we go on the internet or how we 
connect. However, I don't see any of our colleagues, in supporting this 
resolution, rushing to accomplish these goals.
  We should all remember that consumers need control over their own 
information and how it is used. This resolution would subvert and 
sabotage that control.
  All too often, Americans take for granted privacy until it is lost. 
Once it is lost, rarely can it be recovered. Once that information 
becomes public, privacy is irreparably damaged.
  Today's vote, if it succeeds, will deprive Americans of important 
baseline privacy standards that they expect and demand the government 
to provide. Few Americans are aware of this vote today. Many will be 
aware of its consequences. It will do extraordinary damage to privacy, 
if it is approved.
  I urge my colleagues to reject it and to help preserve American 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. HARRIS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.

[[Page S1952]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

               Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

  Ms. HARRIS. Mr. President, I rise to celebrate the anniversary of one 
of the most significant legislative achievements in American history, 
the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also 
known as ObamaCare.
  I rise in strong opposition to the American Health Care Act, a 
callous and carelessly written bill that would roll back progress and 
strip health insurance from millions of Americans.
  I rise on behalf of people like Chrystal from my home State of 
California. You see, I know Chrystal. She works in my dentist's office. 
In early 2011, just after I was elected attorney general of California, 
I went in for a checkup. It had been a while since I had seen her. 
Chrystal asked me how I had been, and I asked her how she had been, and 
then she shared with me great news. She was pregnant.
  As a dental hygienist, she was working for a few different dentists 
and wasn't on the payroll of any of them as a full-time employee. This 
was before the ACA was in place, so Chrystal was on private insurance 
with only basic coverage, just enough to cover her annual exams.
  When Chrystal found out she was pregnant, she went to her insurance 
company to apply for prenatal coverage. She was denied. When I asked 
her why, she told me that they said she had a preexisting condition. So 
you can imagine I asked her: Are you OK? What is wrong? What is the 
preexisting condition?
  She told me she was pregnant.
  When she applied to another healthcare company for insurance, again, 
she was denied. Why? Preexisting condition. What was it? She was 
  So this young woman was forced to go into her sixth month of 
pregnancy before she received a sonogram. Instead, thankfully, there 
was a free clinic in San Francisco, so she could get her prenatal care.
  Thank God she had a strong and beautiful baby boy. His name is 
Jackson. They are both doing well today.
  Thank God that situation is no longer the reality for millions of 
  I share Chrystal's story to remind us what America's healthcare 
system looked like only a few years ago.
  We should not forget that before the ACA, 48 million Americans lacked 
health insurance. That is more people than the entire country of 
  Before the ACA, when these people got sick, they had three choices: 
Go without treatment, go to the emergency room, or go broke.
  Before the ACA, 129 million people--almost one out of every two 
Americans--could be denied insurance coverage because of preexisting 
conditions. And the minute you got sick, your insurer could dig up some 
flimsy reason to drop your coverage. You could be denied coverage for 
chemotherapy or insulin if you had cancer or diabetes. You could be 
denied prenatal coverage if you were pregnant, like Chrystal. You could 
even be denied health coverage if you were a victim of domestic 
  Before the ACA, healthcare costs were crushing low-income and middle-
class Americans. Premiums--which, of course, are those monthly bills 
that we all pay for our insurance--were going up and up. Sky-high 
medical bills were the No. 1 reason Americans went broke, causing them 
to sell their homes, their cars, and even pawn their jewelry to pay off 
their debts.
  One of the worst things about facing the healthcare system without 
coverage before the ACA was that it left you feeling utterly alone. 
Most Americans know what I am talking about: that knot in your stomach 
when you know there is something wrong with your health or the health 
of your child or your parent, but you are not sure what it is, whether 
it can be fixed or whether your insurance will cover it, and the 
frustration, the anger as you try to make sense of the fine print and 
codes on the medical bill that has so many zeros.
  How many of us have walked into an emergency room with a loved one 
and felt time just stop? Maybe it was with your child who was running a 
fever or having trouble breathing. Maybe your partner is being rushed 
in with a possible heart attack. All you will know is that something is 
wrong. All you know is that you are overwhelmed and scared, and you 
know that you should not also have to fight on the phone with an 
insurance company or wonder if a doctor will even see you at all. That 
is how millions and millions of Americans experienced our healthcare 
  It was not right or fair. So the ACA set out to make things better, 
and 7 years ago today, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable 
Care Act into law. It finally extended good, affordable health 
insurance to Americans like Chrystal all across the Nation. Vice 
President Biden was absolutely right when, at the time, he said that it 
was a ``big''--and then I will not quote the next word; let's call it 
  It is a shame that people have been playing politics with this law 
and with America's health. The former Speaker of the House said that 
the ACA would be ``Armageddon.'' A Republican Presidential candidate 
who now sits in the Cabinet called the ACA--and these are his actual 
words--``the worst thing that has happened in this nation since 
  Earlier this month, the President of the United States tweeted that 
the ACA is ``a complete and total disaster.'' Well, I say: Tell that to 
the people of California because when a State wants to make the ACA 
work, it works--whether that is California or Kentucky, and real people 
living real lives know it.
  For example, I recently heard from Myra from Sherman Oaks, CA, who 
was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. She wrote:

       Before ObamaCare, my husband and I lived under constant 
     stress due to our lack of good health insurance.

  But, because of the ACA, Myra told me:

       We had a Silver Blue Shield plan that covered . . . well 
     over a million dollars in bills to date. I am happy to report 
     I am now well, but without insurance, I was facing a death 
     sentence. Without the ACA, we would certainly have had to 
     sell our home to pay my bills and try to figure out how to 
     make ends meet.

  She wrote that it covered well over a million dollars. That is what 
the ACA does.
  Here is how Cindy of from Oakley, CA, has experienced real life. She 

       My daughter was diagnosed with an eating disorder at 13 
     years old and I can directly thank the excellent care 
     received at Kaiser Northern California for her good health 
     today at age 17. Without the ACA and the mental health parity 
     it helps provide . . . I would not have had treatment options 
     available to me.

  Again, coverage for mental health treatment--that is what the ACA 
  Honoree, a single mom from Samoa, CA, living with a spinal cord 
injury that has kept her from working for 3\1/2\ years, wrote to me and 

       I wanted to let you know that I love ObamaCare! My 
     healthcare has steadily improved since the ACA was enacted. . 
     . . I can't tell you how AMAZING it felt to get my teeth 
     cleaned and cared for after waiting more than a decade.
       I walked around for weeks saying, ``thanks, ObamaCare!'' 
     whenever I sensed how good my teeth felt.
       I would be saddened to see the ACA get scrapped. It's made 
     a huge difference in our lives. Actually, I'd be more than 
     saddened, I'd be very scared.

  Again, this is testimony about the ACA, in this case about dental 
coverage and improved healthcare. That is what the ACA does.
  I will state that I believe there is a huge disconnect between the 
over-the-top criticism of the ACA and the law's actual impact. There is 
a disconnect between the politics and how people are actually living 
and thriving under the ACA. In fact, in a recent poll, one in three 
Americans didn't even realize that the ACA and ObamaCare were actually 
the same thing, and they are. So, everybody, let's be clear about this. 
The Affordable Care Act is ObamaCare, and ObamaCare is the Affordable 
Care Act.
  We all know, of course, that there are ways to improve the ACA, but 
ending it is not the answer. The truth is that the ACA has largely done 
what it was supposed to do--expand, protect, and reduce--expand 
coverage, protect consumers, and reduce the pace of rising healthcare 
costs. Thanks to the ACA and Medicaid expansion, 20 million

[[Page S1953]]

more Americans have health insurance. That is the population of the 
entire State of New York. Thanks to the ACA, premiums are going up at 
the slowest rate in half a century. Thanks to the ACA, doctors are 
innovating and providing better preventive care, from keeping people 
out of the hospital to delivering healthier babies. Thanks to the ACA, 
insurers cannot set lifetime limits on your care, meaning your 
insurance company won't tell you in the middle of a cancer treatment 
that they have paid all they ever will. Thanks to the ACA, millions of 
underserved Americans in rural towns and in cities and everywhere in 
between have access to care for the first time. Thanks to the ACA, 
young people can stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26. 
Thanks to the ACA, 55 million women have insurance that works--
mammograms, checkups, and birth control with no copays. When you pick 
up your prescription at the pharmacy and see that the bill is zero 
dollars, well, that is the ACA. And thanks to the ACA, you can't be 
discriminated against if you have a preexisting condition, including 
that preexisting condition called being a woman.
  Of course, navigating the healthcare system is still daunting, but 
things are better. There are now some rules of the road to keep 
insurance companies from taking advantage of you during some of life's 
most vulnerable moments. Because of the ACA, because of ObamaCare, you 
can sleep a little easier at night and know that your care will be 
there when you need it.
  Let's fast-forward to today. Today, we mark the seventh anniversary 
of this historic life-changing law. But all that it covers and protects 
could also be ripped away, and that is because of the American Health 
Care Act, the Republican healthcare plan on the House side. That is 
what it will do--rip it all away.
  They have done their best to mislead folks about their plan. They 
have criticized objective news reports, and they even questioned the 
Congressional Budget Office--which, as we know, is, by the way, a 
nonpartisan, independent office which crunched the numbers and found 
that this new plan would cause millions of Americans to lose insurance 
  Before we leap on to this new bill, let's all ask some key questions. 
Let's all take a good look at what this plan really would and would not 
  First, will this bill provide insurance for everybody, as President 
Trump promised? Well, the answer is no. In fact, the independent 
Congressional Budget Office says that under the GOP plan, 24 million 
Americans will lose their health insurance by the end of the decade. 
That is equal to the population of 15 States combined.

  Who are these people? These are middle-class families, our Nation's 
teachers, veterans, truckdrivers, nurses, and farmers. These families 
include those who struggle with opioid addiction, have a child that 
needs support for autism, or have an aging parent who needs a nursing 
home. This bill threatens them all.
  Let's ask: Will the plan help the folks who need care most? The 
answer is no. The House Republican plan's flat tax credits are based 
only on age, with no consideration of income level. So what that means 
is that a 40-year-old cashier making $10,000 gets the exact same amount 
as the 40-year-old banker making $74,000 a year. It doesn't matter 
whether you live in downtown Manhattan or the Cleveland suburbs or 
rural Alaska.
  Let's ask: Will monthly costs go down for low-income and middle-class 
families who are stretched horribly thin right now? The answer is no. 
According to that same independent analysis, the Republican plan will 
immediately increase American families' premiums by 15 to 20 percent, 
with higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs after that. In the next 
decade, a person in their fifties could see their insurance costs go up 
850 percent. Their insurance costs can go up 850 percent.
  Let's ask: What about our seniors--will their monthly costs go down? 
Sadly, the answer is no. The Republican plan lets insurers charge 
seniors five times as much as other Americans, meaning that high 
cholesterol your doctor diagnosed could cost you $3,200 more a month.
  Let's ask: Will all women still have access to affordable family 
planning? The answer is no. This new bill will give Americans choice in 
healthcare, but the women of America will not have choice. The bill 
denies women tax credits if they get a plan that covers abortions. It 
prohibits Planned Parenthood from providing care for millions on 
Medicaid. Some 2.5 million patients choose Planned Parenthood every 
year, including roughly 1 million in California. They should be able to 
see the provider they choose and trust.
  Let's ask: Will this new plan protect Medicaid, as President Trump 
promised? Well, the answer is no. Medicaid covers many people whose 
jobs don't offer healthcare, and it also pays for half of all the 
births in this Nation. It supports people with disabilities and 
children with special needs. Most people don't realize that Medicaid is 
the primary payer for treatment of opioid addiction and substance 
abuse. But this new plan being offered by House Republicans would roll 
back Medicaid coverage and cut nearly $1 trillion in Medicaid benefits 
over the next decade.
  Let's ask: Does the plan put American families ahead of insurance 
companies? The answer, tragically, is no. Under this plan, if you lose 
your job and it takes more than 2 months to find another, you will be 
charged a 30-percent penalty on top of the monthly costs you are 
already paying. That money goes right into the insurance company's 
  So, by now, you are probably wondering: Who exactly does this bill 
help? Well, here is your answer. It gives millionaires a $50,000 
average tax cut every year. It gives the top 0.1 percent in this 
country a $195,000 tax cut every year. It gives insurance companies a 
$145 billion tax break over the next decade. The President and the 
Speaker want you to believe that this plan is good for American 
families, but under their bill, the only thing that gets healthier are 
the insurance companies' bottom line.
  As far as California is concerned, this bill would devastate our 
families. Here are the facts, and, frankly, here is the fight. Over 5 
million Californians have received insurance through the Affordable 
Care Act. I say they are worth fighting for.
  Since the ACA went into effect, California's uninsured population has 
been cut almost in half, from 17 percent to about 7 percent. I say they 
are worth fighting for.
  Medi-Cal went from covering 8.5 million Americans to 13.5 million 
today. One in two children are covered under Medicaid. I say they are 
worth fighting for.
  The community clinics and health centers that so many Californians 
rely on would be cut back or closed. I say they are worth fighting for.
  A UC Berkeley study estimates that repealing the ACA would cost 
California up to 200,000 jobs, everyone from home healthcare aides and 
janitors to workers in retail, restaurants, and accounting. I say they 
are worth fighting for.
  I rise today to emphasize that it is really important that we 
understand the everyday consequences of this bill. We are talking about 
real people. If you are a farmer in the Central Valley on Medicaid, you 
can lose that coverage. If you are a Los Angeles senior with diabetes, 
you may no longer be able to afford coverage on the individual market. 
If you are a family in Shasta County with a child dealing with a 
prescription drug addiction, substance abuse treatment likely will not 
be covered. If you are a couple in Humboldt County with an ailing 
parent, your request for home health services could be denied. These 
are the kinds of Californians and the kinds of Americans who this plan 
would hurt.
  When these folks wake up at 3 a.m. worrying about an ache or pain or 
their next chemo appointment, when they wake up with that concern and 
that thought at 3 a.m., I promise you, they are not thinking about that 
through the lens of being a Republican or a Democrat. They think about 
themselves as fathers, mothers, parents, daughters and sons, and 
grandparents. They worry about their health needs and how their health 
needs will affect not only themselves but their loved ones. These 
concerns are not about politics. These are universal concerns, and we 
have all been there.
  It is because all of us share these concerns and because all of us 
would be badly harmed by this new plan that

[[Page S1954]]

this bill is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American 
Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the American 
Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes 
Association, and the AARP. They are the most respected medical and 
patient advocacy groups in this country, and they know what is at 

  Ultimately, I believe this bill is not just about medicine or math; I 
believe this is about morals. The plan that the House is voting on 
today is a values statement, and it is not a good one. As our former 
President said about the ACA, this is more than just about healthcare; 
it is about the character of our country, and it is about whether or 
not we look out for one another.
  I think we need to take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask: Who 
are we as a country? Are we a country that cuts the deficit by cutting 
care for our most vulnerable?
  Let's look in the mirror and ask: Are we a country that gives tax 
breaks to insurers while giving higher medical bills to patients?
  Are we a country that tells seniors and cancer patients and women 
``You are on your own''?
  Are we a country that sees healthcare as a privilege for a few or a 
right for all?
  I believe that is what we have to decide.
  The ACA is not perfect. It can be strengthened, and I am willing to 
work with anyone who will work in good faith to do that, but it is time 
to stop playing politics with public health.
  Our government has three main functions: public safety, public 
education, and public health. We shouldn't be turning these 
responsibilities into partisan issues. Instead, we should be figuring 
out how to improve the lives of all Americans, whether we are 
Democrats, Republicans, or Independents.
  People are counting on us, people like one of my constituents in Kern 
County--a woman who is suffering from lung disease, who said:

       We are not asking for much . . . decent healthcare. . . . 
     Don't take it away. . . . Make it better.

  I say to my colleagues: Do not take away American people's 
healthcare. Let's make it better.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Fischer). Under the previous order, there 
will now be 10 minutes of debate, equally divided in the usual form, 
prior to a vote on S.J. Res. 34.
  The majority whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, speaking of the vote that we will be 
having in just a few minutes, for the last several weeks, this Chamber 
has worked very hard to undo harmful rules and regulations that had 
been put forward by the Obama administration, at the last moment, as he 
was headed out the door. These are rules that hurt job creators and 
stifle economic growth.
  The FCC privacy rules are just another example of burdensome rules 
that hurt more than they help and serve as another example of the 
government's picking winners and losers. They unnecessarily target 
internet service providers and, ultimately, make our internet ecosystem 
less efficient by adding more redtape.
  The bottom line is that the FCC privacy rules are bad regulations 
that need to be repealed.
  I should also note that this Congressional Review Act vote will not 
change the entire online privacy protections that consumers currently 
enjoy, and it will not change statutory privacy protections under the 
Communications Act. It will repeal something that was done unilaterally 
by President Obama and his administration, as I said, following the 
ending of his term, as they were headed out the door.
  I thank the junior Senator from Arizona, Senator Flake, for his work 
on this CRA and moving it forward.
  I urge all of my colleagues to support this resolution of 
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Mr. SCHATZ. Madam President, today, we will vote on a resolution that 
will take away privacy protections from the American people. By voting 
for this resolution, Congress is ignoring the fact that people want 
more protections online, not fewer.
  In 2016, Pew did a study to determine the state of privacy in the 
United States, and the center found ``Americans express a consistent 
lack of confidence about the security of everyday communication 
channels and the organizations that control them.''
  Pew found that this is especially true when it comes to the internet. 
People no longer trust organizations--public or private--to protect the 
data they collect.
  Today, we are going to make that worse. That is because broadband 
providers know our complete browsing history. Think about that for a 
second. They know everything we do online, everything we search for on 
a daily basis. Think about how personal that information is, how it 
paints a picture of who we are. It is totally reasonable for broadband 
providers to have to ask customers for their consent before they take 
that information--our browsing history, what we do online--and sell it 
to a third party.
  That will no longer be the case after the Republicans vote for this 
bill and it is enacted into law. Broadband providers will be able to 
take your browsing history and sell it without your permission. The FCC 
spent months on this rule, and by using the CRA to get rid of it, 
Congress is taking away the FCC's authority to do anything like it ever 
again. That will mean there is no Federal agency--not the FTC, not the 
FCC--that will even have jurisdiction over the issue of privacy for 
broadband providers.
  What is the solution here? We should work with the private sector, 
the FCC, and the FTC to find a comprehensive solution together.
  At a time when data collection and use is increasing exponentially, 
Republicans should not be rolling back protections for consumers. This 
is yet another repeal without replace.
  Fifty-five years ago this month, President Kennedy gave a seminal 
speech about consumer rights. He spoke about the march of technology--
how it had outpaced old laws and regulations and how fast that progress 
had occurred. That progress is only getting faster. The next massive 
technological change will be the ``internet of things,'' in which we 
will have tens of billions of devices connected to each other and 
interacting with us whether we like it or not.
  As technology marches on, what stays the same is the bedrock 
principle that President Kennedy outlined, which is that consumers have 
a right to be safe, a right to be informed, a right to choose, and a 
right to be heard. Those rights are in jeopardy. The FCC took a small 
but important step, but the Republicans are walking it back.
  Let me be clear. This is the single biggest step backward in online 
privacy in many years. I urge a ``no'' vote.
  I ask unanimous consent all time be yielded back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, all time is yielded back.
  The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading 
and was read the third time.
  Mr. SCHATZ. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  Under the previous order, the joint resolution having been read the 
third time, the question is, Shall the joint resolution pass?
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Georgia (Mr. Isakson) and the Senator from Kentucky (Mr. 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rounds). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 50, nays 48, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 94 Leg.]



[[Page S1955]]



     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The joint resolution (S.J. Res. 34) was passed, as follows:

                              S.J. Res. 34

       Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
     United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress 
     disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications 
     Commission relating to ``Protecting the Privacy of Customers 
     of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services'' (81 Fed. 
     Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no 
     force or effect.