STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS
(Senate - May 25, 2017)

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[Pages S3215-S3223]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. GRASSLEY (for himself and Mr. Franken):
  S. 1237. A bill to amend title 11 of the United States Code to 
clarify the rule allowing discharge as a nonpriority claim of 
governmental claims arising from the disposition of farm assets under 
chapter 12 bankruptcies; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1237

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Family Farmer Bankruptcy 
     Clarification Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. CLARIFICATION OF RULE ALLOWING DISCHARGE TO 
                   GOVERNMENTAL CLAIMS ARISING FROM THE 
                   DISPOSITION OF FARM ASSETS UNDER CHAPTER 12 
                   BANKRUPTCIES.

       (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 12 of title 11, 
     United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the 
     following:

     ``Sec. 1232. Claim by a governmental unit based on the 
       disposition of property used in a farming operation

       ``(a) Any unsecured claim of a governmental unit against 
     the debtor or the estate that arises before the filing of the 
     petition, or that arises after the filing of the petition and 
     before the debtor's discharge under section 1228, as a result 
     of the sale, transfer, exchange, or other disposition of any 
     property used in the debtor's farming operation--
       ``(1) shall be treated as an unsecured claim arising before 
     the date on which the petition is filed;
       ``(2) shall not be entitled to priority under section 507;
       ``(3) shall be provided for under a plan; and
       ``(4) shall be discharged in accordance with section 1228.
       ``(b) For purposes of applying sections 1225(a)(4), 
     1228(b)(2), and 1229(b)(1) to a claim described in subsection 
     (a) of this section, the amount that would be paid on such 
     claim if the estate of the debtor were liquidated in a case 
     under chapter 7 of this title shall be the amount that would 
     be paid by the estate in a chapter 7 case if the claim were 
     an unsecured claim arising before the date on which the 
     petition was filed and were not entitled to priority under 
     section 507.
       ``(c) For purposes of applying sections 523(a), 1228(a)(2), 
     and 1228(c)(2) to a claim described in subsection (a) of this 
     section, the claim shall not be treated as a claim of a kind 
     specified in section 523(a)(1).
       ``(d)(1) A governmental unit may file a proof of claim for 
     a claim described in subsection (a) that arises after the 
     date on which the petition is filed.
       ``(2) If a debtor files a tax return after the filing of 
     the petition for a period in which a claim described in 
     subsection (a) arises, and the claim relates to the tax 
     return, the debtor shall serve notice of the claim on the 
     governmental unit charged with the responsibility for the 
     collection of the tax at the address and in the manner 
     designated in section 505(b)(1). Notice under this paragraph 
     shall state that the debtor has filed a petition under this 
     chapter, state the name and location of the court in which 
     the case under this chapter is pending, state the amount of 
     the claim, and include a copy of the filed tax return and 
     documentation supporting the calculation of the claim.
       ``(3) If notice of a claim has been served on the 
     governmental unit in accordance with paragraph (2), the 
     governmental unit may file a proof of claim not later than 
     180 days after the date on which such notice was served. If 
     the governmental unit has not filed a timely proof of the 
     claim, the debtor or trustee may file proof of the claim that 
     is consistent with the notice served under paragraph (2). If 
     a proof of claim is filed by the debtor or trustee under this 
     paragraph, the governmental unit may not amend the proof of 
     claim.

[[Page S3216]]

       ``(4) A claim filed under this subsection shall be 
     determined and shall be allowed under subsection (a), (b), or 
     (c) of section 502, or disallowed under subsection (d) or (e) 
     of section 502, in the same manner as if the claim had arisen 
     immediately before the date of the filing of the petition.''.
       (b) Technical and Conforming Amendments.--
       (1) In general.--Subchapter II of chapter 12 of title 11, 
     United States Code, is amended--
       (A) in section 1222(a)--
       (i) in paragraph (2), by striking ``unless--'' and all that 
     follows through ``the holder'' and inserting ``unless the 
     holder'';
       (ii) in paragraph (3), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (iii) in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end 
     and inserting ``; and''; and
       (iv) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(5) subject to section 1232, provide for the treatment of 
     any claim by a governmental unit of a kind described in 
     section 1232(a).'';
       (B) in section 1228--
       (i) in subsection (a)--

       (I) in the matter preceding paragraph (1)--

       (aa) by inserting a comma after ``all debts provided for by 
     the plan''; and
       (bb) by inserting a comma after ``allowed under section 503 
     of this title''; and

       (II) in paragraph (2), by striking ``the kind'' and all 
     that follows and inserting ``a kind specified in section 
     523(a) of this title, except as provided in section 
     1232(c).''; and

       (ii) in subsection (c)(2), by inserting ``, except as 
     provided in section 1232(c)'' before the period at the end; 
     and
       (C) in section 1229(a)--
       (i) in paragraph (2), by striking ``or'' at the end;
       (ii) in paragraph (3), by striking the period at the end 
     and inserting ``; or''; and
       (iii) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(4) provide for the payment of a claim described in 
     section 1232(a) that arose after the date on which the 
     petition was filed.''.
       (2) Table of sections.--The table of sections for 
     subchapter II of chapter 12 of title 11, United States Code, 
     is amended by adding at the end the following:

``1232. Claim by a governmental unit based on the disposition of 
              property used in a farming operation.''.
       (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to any bankruptcy case that--
       (1) is pending on the date of enactment of this Act and 
     relating to which an order of discharge under section 1228 of 
     title 11, United States Code, has not been entered; or
       (2) commences on or after the date of enactment of this 
     Act.

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce, along with 
Senator Franken, the Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 
2017. I thank Senator Franken for supporting and working with me, since 
the 112th Congress, on this important bill to help our Nation's family 
farmers.
  This bipartisan bill addresses the 2012 United States Supreme Court 
case Hall v. United States. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled 
a provision that I authored in the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and 
Consumer Protection Act did not accomplish what we in Congress 
intended. The Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 
corrects this unfortunate result and restores Congress's original 
intent. The bill clarifies that bankrupt family farmers reorganizing 
their debts, under chapter 12 of the bankruptcy code, may treat capital 
gains taxes owed to the government, arising from the sale of farm 
assets during the bankruptcy, as general unsecured claims. This bill 
will give family farmers a chance to reorganize successfully and remove 
the Internal Revenue Service's veto power over a plan's confirmation.
  Congress created chapter 12 in 1986 as a temporary measure to provide 
a specialized bankruptcy process for family farmers. In 2005, Congress 
made chapter 12 a permanent part of the bankruptcy code. Between 1986 
and 2005, we learned what worked and did not work for family farmers 
reorganizing under chapter 12. In particular, family farmers faced 
serious problems when they needed to sell land to fund their 
reorganization plan. For example, a family farmer might sell portions 
of the farm in order to generate cash and pay creditors. Unfortunately, 
in most of these cases, the family farmer is selling land with a low 
cost basis, because it has likely been held in the family for a very 
long time. As a result, the family farmer gets hit with a substantial 
capital gains tax, which is owed to the Internal Revenue Service.
  Under the bankruptcy code's priorities structure for claims, taxes 
owed to the IRS must be paid in full, unless the IRS agrees otherwise. 
This creates problems for the family farmer who needs cash to pay 
creditors and reorganize. Since the IRS has the ability to require full 
payment, it essentially holds veto power over the confirmation of a 
family farmer's chapter 12 plan. In many instances, the effect is that 
a family farmer will not be able to have a plan confirmed. This is a 
harsh result and does not make sense if the goal is to give family 
farmers a fresh start. Recognizing this problem, Congress amended the 
bankruptcy code in 2005 to provide that in these limited and particular 
situations, the taxes owed to the IRS would be stripped of their 
priority and treated as general unsecured debt. This removed the 
government's veto power over plan confirmation and paved the way for 
family farmers to reorganize under chapter 12.
  Unfortunately, in Hall v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that 
despite Congress's express goal of helping family farmers, the language 
we used failed to accomplish the intended result. To be clear, the Hall 
case was about statutory interpretation. There is no question about 
what Congress was trying to do; rather, the question is, ``Did Congress 
use the correct language?'' My goal, along with others at the time, was 
to relieve family farmers from having their reorganization plans fail 
because of certain tax liabilities owed to the government. Justice 
Breyer noted this point in his dissent: ``Congress was concerned about 
the effect on the farmer of collecting capital gains tax debts that 
arose during (and were connected with) the Chapter 12 proceedings 
themselves. . . . The majority does not deny the importance of 
Congress' objective. Rather, it feels compelled to hold that Congress 
put the Amendment in the wrong place.'' Hall v. United States, 132 
S.Ct. 1882, 1897 (2012) (Breyer, J., dissenting) (internal citations 
and quotations omitted).
  As a result of the Hall case, family farmers facing bankruptcy now 
find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place. The rules have 
changed and must be corrected in order to provide certainty and clarity 
in the law. The Family Farmer Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 does 
this and provides the help needed for family farmers.
  This bill adds a new section 1232 to the bankruptcy code. This new 
section, along with other conforming changes, gives guidance and 
certainty to debtors, practitioners, and courts as to how these claims 
are to be treated during bankruptcy. I'm pleased that the bill we're 
introducing today will help family farmers who are facing hard times.
  In the wake of the Hall decision, this bill ensures that what 
Congress sought to do in 2005 actually occurs. The Family Farmer 
Bankruptcy Clarification Act of 2017 provides the help that may one day 
be needed for the hard working family farmers across our great Nation.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. COLLINS (for herself, Mr. Cardin, Mr. Schumer, Mr. 
        Blumenthal, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Rounds, and Mr. Merkley):
  S. 1238. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to 
increase and make permanent the exclusion for benefits provided to 
volunteer firefighters and emergency medical responders; to the 
Committee on Finance.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. COLLINS (for herself, Mr. Cardin, and Mr. Schumer):
  S. 1239. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify 
the rules applicable to length of service award plans; to the Committee 
on Finance.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise to introduce two bills that will 
benefit the brave women and men who volunteer at our local firehouses: 
the Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act and the Volunteer 
Firefighters' Length of Service Award Program Cap Adjustment Priority 
Act. I am pleased to be joined by my friend and colleague from 
Maryland, Senator Cardin, in reintroducing this bipartisan legislation.
  Across our nation, volunteer firefighters play a critical role in 
helping to ensure the safety of our communities and the well-being of 
our neighbors. The State of Maine, for example, has approximately 
11,000 firefighters in more than 400 departments. Because Maine is a 
largely rural state, more than 90 percent of those firefighters are 
volunteers.
  Without these public-spirited citizens, many communities would be 
unable to provide emergency services protection at all, while others 
would be forced to raise local taxes to pay salaries and benefits for 
full- or part-time

[[Page S3217]]

staff. Often, communities seek to recruit and retain volunteers by 
offering modest benefits. The bills we are introducing today would 
support these efforts by helping to ensure that nominal benefits to 
volunteers are not treated as regular employee compensation.
  The Volunteer Responder Incentive Protection Act would allow 
communities to provide volunteer firefighters and EMS workers with up 
to $600 per year of property tax reductions or other incentives, 
without those benefits being subject to federal income tax and 
withholding. This would ease the administrative burden that local 
departments sometimes face when they reward their volunteers. We also 
want to help first responders save for retirement. For years, local and 
state governments have provided their volunteer firefighters and EMS 
personnel with different forms of benefits, including Length of Service 
Award Programs, commonly known as LOSAPs. These are pension-like 
benefits for volunteer emergency responders.
  Our second bill, the LOSAP Cap Act, would help communities recruit 
and retain volunteer firefighters by increasing the annual cap on 
contributions to their retirement accounts to $6,000, and allowing for 
adjustments for inflation.
  As we begin the complicated process of reforming our nation's tax 
code, I believe we should take care to protect those who serve this 
country with such bravery. That is why Senator Cardin and I have 
introduced these bills today, and I urge my colleagues to join us in 
supporting them.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DURBIN (for himself, Mr. Whitehouse, Mr. Franken, Mr. 
        Blumenthal, Ms. Hirono, Ms. Warren, Mr. Reed, Mr. Wyden, Ms. 
        Baldwin, Ms. Hassan, Mr. Kaine, and Mr. Murphy):
  S. 1262. A bill to amend title 11, United States Code, with respect 
to certain exceptions to discharge in bankruptcy; to the Committee on 
the Judiciary.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1262

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Fairness for Struggling 
     Students Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. EXCEPTIONS TO DISCHARGE.

       Section 523(a)(8) of title 11, United States Code, is 
     amended by striking ``dependents, for'' and all that follows 
     through the end of subparagraph (B) and inserting 
     ``dependents, for an educational benefit overpayment or loan 
     made, insured, or guaranteed by a governmental unit or made 
     under any program funded in whole or in part by a 
     governmental unit or an obligation to repay funds received 
     from a governmental unit as an educational benefit, 
     scholarship, or stipend;''.

  Mr. DURBIN. Today I am reintroducing the Fairness for Struggling 
Students Act. This bill takes an important step toward addressing the 
student debt crisis in America. It would once again treat private 
student loans like nearly all other forms of private unsecured debt and 
permit these loans to be discharged in bankruptcy.
  Student loan debt has reached an astronomical $1.4 trillion--more 
than double what it was in 2008. Student loan debt is now the second 
largest form of consumer debt in America, after only mortgage debt. The 
balance of student loan debt is larger than credit card and auto loan 
debt. Currently, around 44 million borrowers hold student loan debt, 
with an average balance of roughly $30,000.
  This past weekend, the New York Times published an editorial that 
clearly and concisely describes the student debt crisis that we face. 
The editorial is titled ``Student Debt's Grip on the Economy,'' and I 
ask consent to place it into the Record. As the editorial points out, 
``student debt has become a drag on graduates' hopes and a threat to 
economic growth.''
  This editorial reports that as college costs have continued to 
increase, wages have not kept pace. Students continue to take out 
larger amounts in loans to afford the rising costs of college. This 
crushing student loan debt has forced young people to delay making 
important life decisions like getting married and economic investments 
such as home ownership. We are also seeing an increase in the wealth 
gap between college graduates with student debt and those without 
student debt. The burdens of student debt are threatening the notion 
that being college-educated is enough to get ahead. As the editorial 
notes, ``the fallout from these burdens, afflicting those who are 
supposedly best prepared to face and shape the future, is not only a 
personal financial issue but also a social and economic one.''
  These burdens are even more significant for students who have taken 
out private student loans. Federal student loans have fixed, affordable 
interest rates, and a variety of consumer protections including 
forbearance in times of economic hardship and manageable repayment 
options. Private loans, on the other hand, frequently have high, 
variable interest rates, and they lack the repayment options and 
protections that federal loans offer. In 2013, the Consumer Financial 
Protection Bureau reported that the outstanding private student loan 
debt in America was $165 billion, at least $8 billion of which was then 
in default. As it turns out, many students were steered into costly 
private student loans by for-profit colleges, often when the students 
still had eligibility for lower-cost federal loans.
  One of those students is a woman named Marta, from Chicago, who wrote 
to me about her story and asked me to only use her first name. Marta 
came to the United States from Poland in 1994 with her family, hoping 
for a better life. She is a U.S. citizen now, and has a family of her 
own. As an aspiring designer, Marta wanted to enroll in a college that 
would help launch her career. So after meeting a recruiter at a college 
fair from the now-closing, for-profit Harrington College of Art and 
Design, she enrolled in the fall of 2004. At the urging of the 
recruiter, she signed the enrollment paperwork and began courses. Being 
the first in her family to attend college, she did not know the 
difference between private and federal student loans. The recruiter 
assured her that the paperwork was just part of the normal college 
enrollment process.
  It was only after she graduated that Marta learned that in signing 
the paperwork the recruiter gave her, she had taken out a combination 
of federal student loans and much riskier and more expensive private 
student loans. She now has over $120,000 in student debt, the majority 
of which is in private student loans. The monthly payments are 
overwhelming and Marta worries about what this crushing debt means for 
her family's future. Thanks to high-interest rates, her private loans 
continue to grow despite doing her best to make her payments.
  Marta enrolled in college to get a good career and widen her future 
opportunities. But she has been left with enormous debt from a failed 
for-profit college. And now she is struggling and needs a fair chance 
to get back on her feet. There are stories like Marta's in every corner 
of America. And it's time to do something about it.
  Today I am reintroducing the Fairness for Struggling Students Act. 
This bill would restore the bankruptcy code's pre-2005 treatment of 
private student loans.
  Since 2005, private student loans have enjoyed a privileged status 
under the bankruptcy code: they cannot be discharged in bankruptcy 
except in extremely limited circumstances. Only a few other types of 
private unsecured debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy--criminal 
fines, child support, back taxes and alimony. In contrast, nearly all 
types of private unsecured debt, including credit card and medical 
debt, are dischargeable in bankruptcy.
  Congress had no good reason to make private student loans non-
dischargeable in 2005. It was a provision that was quietly slipped into 
a broader bankruptcy reform bill with little debate and no 
justification. There was no evidence that private student loan 
borrowers had abused the bankruptcy system to avoid repayment before 
2005. But, since the law changed in 2005, lenders have been 
incentivized to extend expensive private student loans to students that 
the students cannot repay and that they can never escape. This is 
overwhelming for students and an impairment on our overall economy.
  The Fairness for Struggling Students Act will make important relief 
available to students being crushed by private student loan debt, and 
will discourage private lenders from extending risky loans.

[[Page S3218]]

  This bill is supported by a large coalition of educational, student, 
civil rights and consumer organizations including the American 
Association of Community Colleges, American Association of State 
Colleges and Universities, American Association of University Women, 
American Council on Education, American Federation of Teachers, 
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Center for 
Responsible Lending, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, 
Consumers Union, Demos, Empire Justice Center, NAACP, National 
Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, National Consumer Law 
Center (on behalf of its low income clients), National Association of 
College Admission Counseling, National Association of Consumer 
Advocates, National Association of Student Financial Aid 
Administrators, National Consumers League, Public Citizen, The 
Institute for College Access and Success, UNCF, and Young Invincibles.
  I want to thank the cosponsors of this bill, Senators Whitehouse, 
Franken, Blumenthal, Hirono, Warren, Reed, Wyden, Baldwin, Hassan, 
Kaine, and Murphy for their support, and I hope more of my colleagues 
will join us.
  This is just one step of what we need to do to get control of the 
student debt crisis in our country. But it is a critical step, and it 
is long overdue. Let's give struggling students a fair chance,
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. COLLINS:
  S. 1264. A bill to amend the Federal Deposit Insurance Act to allow 
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to exempt certain depository 
institutions from certain legal requirements, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I wish to introduce the Community Bank 
Sensible Regulation Act of 2017, a bill that would allow financial 
regulators to exempt community banks from unnecessary and unduly 
burdensome requirements, if doing so is in the public interest. My bill 
would provide this authority to the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller 
of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve and would apply to financial 
institutions with less than $10 billion in assets.
  The aim of my legislation is to allow the financial regulators to 
exempt community banks from highly complex regulations designed to 
protect our financial system from systemic risks that would arise from 
the failure of larger banks. All banks, large and small, should be 
well-capitalized and properly regulated, but that does not mean that 
our financial regulators must impose a ``one size fits all'' regulatory 
regime across the board without regard to the risks posed to the 
financial system by banks with fundamentally different business models 
and of vastly different sizes.
  Some regulations that are appropriate or essential for larger banks 
may make no sense when applied to community banks. For example, current 
law requires community banks to demonstrate that they are in compliance 
with the Volcker Rule--which restricts proprietary trading and hedge 
fund investments by banks--even though community banks rarely engage in 
such trading. Even so, community banks must shoulder the burden of 
complying with this complex regulation. My bill would allow the 
regulators to exempt community banks from the Volcker Rule.
  As the GAO has noted, smaller banks are ``disproportionately affected 
by increased regulation, because they are less able to absorb 
additional costs.'' These costs are significant. According to industry 
representatives, the cost of complying with regulations absorbs 12 
percent of total bank operating expenses, and is two-and-a-half times 
greater for small banks than for large banks.
  The cost of regulation puts community banks at a competitive 
disadvantage vis-a-vis larger banks. Over the past two decades, the 
share of the U.S. banking industry represented by community banks has 
declined from 40 percent to just 18 percent. Over the same period, the 
share of the market represented by the five largest banks has grown 
from roughly 18 percent to 46 percent. I am concerned that unnecessary 
regulation will accelerate these trends, and ironically, contribute to 
the further consolidation of the banking industry into a handful of 
``too big to fail'' banks.
  Community banks play an essential role in meeting the credit needs of 
their customers, particularly small businesses, homeowners, and 
farmers. Although community banks represent just 18 percent of total 
banking assets, they are responsible for half of our nation's small 
business loans. With small business formation at generational lows, it 
is essential that we preserve and protect their access to credit, as 
they are the major driver of job creation in our country. In addition, 
community banks provide three-fourths of our nation's agricultural 
loans, a line of finance that requires highly specialized knowledge of 
farming and a long-term perspective suited to agricultural cycles.
  Regulators should be able to tailor their regulations to take the 
distinctive nature of community banks into account. My bill would allow 
regulators to exempt community banks from unnecessary and burdensome 
regulations where it is in the public interest to do so. I urge my 
colleagues to support it.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DAINES (for himself and Mr. Peters):
  S. 1268. A bill to amend parts B and E of title IV of the Social 
Security Act to allow States to provide foster care maintenance 
payments for children with parents in a licensed residential family-
based treatment facility for substance abuse and to reauthorize grants 
to improve the well-being of families affected by substance abuse; to 
the Committee on Finance.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1268

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Child Protection and Family 
     Support Act of 2017''.

     SEC. 2. FOSTER CARE MAINTENANCE PAYMENTS FOR CHILDREN WITH 
                   PARENTS IN A LICENSED RESIDENTIAL FAMILY-BASED 
                   TREATMENT FACILITY FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE.

       (a) In General.--Section 472 of the Social Security Act (42 
     U.S.C. 672) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)(2)(C), by striking ``or'' and 
     inserting ``, with a parent residing in a licensed 
     residential family-based treatment facility, but only to the 
     extent permitted under subsection (j), or in a''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(j) Children Placed With a Parent Residing in a Licensed 
     Residential Family-Based Treatment Facility for Substance 
     Abuse.--
       ``(1) In general.--Notwithstanding the preceding provisions 
     of this section, a child who is eligible for foster care 
     maintenance payments under this section, or who would be 
     eligible for the payments if the eligibility were determined 
     without regard to paragraphs (1)(B) and (3) of subsection 
     (a), shall be eligible for the payments for a period of not 
     more than 12 months during which the child is placed with a 
     parent who is in a licensed residential family-based 
     treatment facility for substance abuse, but only if--
       ``(A) the recommendation for the placement is specified in 
     the child's case plan before the placement;
       ``(B) the treatment facility provides, as part of the 
     treatment for substance abuse, parenting skills training, 
     parent education, and individual and family counseling; and
       ``(C) the substance abuse treatment, parenting skills 
     training, parent education, and individual and family 
     counseling is provided under an organizational structure and 
     treatment framework that involves understanding, recognizing, 
     and responding to the effects of all types of trauma and in 
     accordance with recognized principles of a trauma-informed 
     approach and trauma-specific interventions to address the 
     consequences of trauma and facilitate healing.
       ``(2) Application.--With respect to children for whom 
     foster care maintenance payments are made under paragraph 
     (1), only the children who satisfy the requirements of 
     paragraphs (1)(B) and (3) of subsection (a) shall be 
     considered to be children with respect to whom foster care 
     maintenance payments are made under this section for purposes 
     of subsection (h) or section 473(b)(3)(B).''.
       (b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 474(a)(1) of the Social 
     Security Act (42 U.S.C. 674(a)(1)) is amended by inserting 
     ``subject to section 472(j),'' before ``an amount equal to 
     the Federal''.

     SEC. 3. ENHANCEMENTS TO GRANTS TO IMPROVE WELL-BEING OF 
                   FAMILIES AFFECTED BY SUBSTANCE ABUSE.

       Section 437(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
     629g(f)) is amended--

[[Page S3219]]

       (1) in the subsection heading, by striking ``Increase the 
     Well-being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, 
     Children Affected by'' and inserting ``Implement IV-E 
     Prevention Services, and Improve the Well-Being of, and 
     Improve Permanency Outcomes for, Children and Families 
     Affected by Methamphetamine, Heroin, Opioids, and Other'';
       (2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
       ``(2) Regional partnership defined.--In this subsection, 
     the term `regional partnership' means a collaborative 
     agreement (which may be established on an interstate, State, 
     or intrastate basis) entered into by the following:
       ``(A) Mandatory partners for all partnership grants.--
       ``(i) The State child welfare agency that is responsible 
     for the administration of the State plan under this part and 
     part E.
       ``(ii) The State agency responsible for administering the 
     substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant provided 
     under subpart II of part B of title XIX of the Public Health 
     Service Act.
       ``(B) Mandatory partners for partnership grants proposing 
     to serve children in out-of-home placements.--If the 
     partnership proposes to serve children in out-of-home 
     placements, the Juvenile Court or Administrative Office of 
     the Court that is most appropriate to oversee the 
     administration of court programs in the region to address the 
     population of families who come to the attention of the court 
     due to child abuse or neglect.
       ``(C) Optional partners.--At the option of the partnership, 
     any of the following:
       ``(i) An Indian tribe or tribal consortium.
       ``(ii) Nonprofit child welfare service providers.
       ``(iii) For-profit child welfare service providers.
       ``(iv) Community health service providers, including 
     substance abuse treatment providers.
       ``(v) Community mental health providers.
       ``(vi) Local law enforcement agencies.
       ``(vii) School personnel.
       ``(viii) Tribal child welfare agencies (or a consortia of 
     the agencies).
       ``(ix) Any other providers, agencies, personnel, officials, 
     or entities that are related to the provision of child and 
     family services under a State plan approved under this 
     subpart.
       ``(D) Exception for regional partnerships where the lead 
     applicant is an indian tribe or tribal consortia.--If an 
     Indian tribe or tribal consortium enters into a regional 
     partnership for purposes of this subsection, the Indian tribe 
     or tribal consortium--
       ``(i) may (but is not required to) include the State child 
     welfare agency as a partner in the collaborative agreement;
       ``(ii) may not enter into a collaborative agreement only 
     with tribal child welfare agencies (or a consortium of the 
     agencies); and
       ``(iii) if the condition described in paragraph (2)(B) 
     applies, may include tribal court organizations in lieu of 
     other judicial partners.'';
       (3) in paragraph (3)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A)--
       (i) by striking ``2012 through 2016'' and inserting ``2018 
     through 2022''; and
       (ii) by striking ``$500,000 and not more than $1,000,000'' 
     and inserting ``$250,000 and not more than $1,000,000'';
       (B) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) in the subparagraph heading, by inserting ``; 
     planning'' after ``approval'';
       (ii) in clause (i), by striking ``clause (ii)'' and 
     inserting ``clauses (ii) and (iii)''; and
       (iii) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(iii) Sufficient planning.--A grant awarded under this 
     subsection shall be disbursed in 2 phases: a planning phase 
     (not to exceed 2 years); and an implementation phase. The 
     total disbursement to a grantee for the planning phase may 
     not exceed $250,000, and may not exceed the total anticipated 
     funding for the implementation phase.''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(D) Limitation on payment for a fiscal year.--No payment 
     shall be made under subparagraph (A) or (C) for a fiscal year 
     until the Secretary determines that the eligible partnership 
     has made sufficient progress in meeting the goals of the 
     grant and that the members of the eligible partnership are 
     coordinating to a reasonable degree with the other members of 
     the eligible partnership.'';
       (4) in paragraph (4)--
       (A) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) in clause (i), by inserting ``, parents, and families'' 
     after ``children'';
       (ii) in clause (ii), by striking ``safety and permanence 
     for such children; and'' and inserting ``safe, permanent 
     caregiving relationships for the children;'';
       (iii) in clause (iii), by striking ``or'' and inserting 
     ``increase reunification rates for children who have been 
     placed in out of home care, or decrease''; and
       (iv) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (v) and 
     inserting after clause (ii) the following:
       ``(iii) improve the substance abuse treatment outcomes for 
     parents including retention in treatment and successful 
     completion of treatment;
       ``(iv) facilitate the implementation, delivery, and 
     effectiveness of prevention services and programs under 
     section 471(e); and'';
       (B) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``where 
     appropriate,''; and
       (C) by striking subparagraphs (E) and (F) and inserting the 
     following:
       ``(E) A description of a plan for sustaining the services 
     provided by or activities funded under the grant after the 
     conclusion of the grant period, including through the use of 
     prevention services and programs under section 471(e) and 
     other funds provided to the State for child welfare and 
     substance abuse prevention and treatment services.
       ``(F) Additional information needed by the Secretary to 
     determine that the proposed activities and implementation 
     will be consistent with research or evaluations showing which 
     practices and approaches are most effective.'';
       (5) in paragraph (5)(A), by striking ``abuse treatment'' 
     and inserting ``use disorder treatment including medication 
     assisted treatment and in-home substance abuse disorder 
     treatment and recovery'';
       (6) in paragraph (7)--
       (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of subparagraph (C); and
       (B) by redesignating subparagraph (D) as subparagraph (E) 
     and inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:
       ``(D) demonstrate a track record of successful 
     collaboration among child welfare, substance abuse disorder 
     treatment and mental health agencies; and'';
       (7) in paragraph (8)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A)--
       (i) by striking ``establish indicators that will be'' and 
     inserting ``review indicators that are''; and
       (ii) by striking ``in using funds made available under such 
     grants to achieve the purpose of this subsection'' and 
     inserting ``and establish a set of core indicators related to 
     child safety, parental recovery, parenting capacity, and 
     family well-being. In developing the core indicators, to the 
     extent possible, indicators shall be made consistent with the 
     outcome measures described in section 471(e)(6)'';
       (B) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) in the matter preceding clause (i), by inserting ``base 
     the performance measures on lessons learned from prior rounds 
     of regional partnership grants under this subsection, and'' 
     before ``consult''; and
       (ii) by striking clauses (iii) and (iv) and inserting the 
     following:
       ``(iii) Other stakeholders or constituencies as determined 
     by the Secretary.'';
       (8) in paragraph (9)(A), by striking clause (i) and 
     inserting the following:
       ``(i) Semiannual reports.--Not later than September 30 of 
     each fiscal year in which a recipient of a grant under this 
     subsection is paid funds under the grant, and every 6 months 
     thereafter, the grant recipient shall submit to the Secretary 
     a report on the services provided and activities carried out 
     during the reporting period, progress made in achieving the 
     goals of the program, the number of children, adults, and 
     families receiving services, and such additional information 
     as the Secretary determines is necessary. The report due not 
     later than September 30 of the last such fiscal year shall 
     include, at a minimum, data on each of the performance 
     indicators included in the evaluation of the regional 
     partnership.''; and
       (9) in paragraph (10), by striking ``2012 through 2016'' 
     and inserting ``2018 through 2022''.

     SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       The amendments made by this Act shall take effect on 
     October 1, 2017.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Mr. Lee, Mr. Blumenthal, and Mr. 
        Cotton):
  S. 1272. A bill to preserve State, local, and tribal authorities and 
private property rights with respect to unmanned aircraft systems, and 
for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Drone 
Federalism Act of 2017. This good government bill provides a clear 
legal framework to the modern day challenges of drone regulation and 
empowers every level of government to issue reasonable restrictions on 
drone operations. I thank Senators Lee, Blumenthal, and Cotton for 
joining me on this bill, and I appreciate their support.


 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  
  On page S3219, May 25, 2017, in the third column, the following 
appears: Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Drone 
Federalism Act of 2017.
  
  The online Record has been corrected to read: Mrs. FEINSTEIN. 
Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the Drone Federalism Act 
of 2017.


 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

  In recent years, small unmanned aircraft have emerged as a 
transformative new technology. These devices--more commonly known as 
drones--are highly capable, commercially available, and operable even 
by novice consumers.
  The way that drones are flown in the daily life of our communities 
and in such great numbers has raised new challenges for safety, 
privacy, and security that demand cooperation between the federal, 
state, and local governments.
  Today, drone operations present an astounding array of challenges. In 
just two years, over 2,500 drone incidents have been reported to the 
Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA. The most recent year of data, 
from October 2015 to October 2016, saw the number of incidents surge 
166% over the prior year. In addition, there have been some

[[Page S3220]]

alarming reports. On February 26th, 2017, a drone crashed through the 
27th floor window of a Manhattan apartment building in New York City. 
The next month, on March 28th, a drone crashed through the 23rd floor 
window of City Hall in Buffalo, New York. Drones have repeatedly 
interfered with medical helicopters. On May 1st, 2016, a medevac 
helicopter trying to land at Florida Hospital East in Orlando was 
forced to abort its initial landing because of a drone. On November 14, 
2015, a helicopter leaving children's hospital in St. Louis, Missouri 
had to take evasive action to avoid a drone, banking 60 degrees. Drones 
also interfere with emergency wild fire fighting. On April 30, 2017, 
multiple drones filming the Opera fire in Riverside, California forced 
firefighting helicopters to suspend operations. This happened eight 
times in 2015, and another eight times in 2016, in California alone. 
Drones have also crashed into the Golden Gate Bridge, including twice 
last month. On April 1st, a drone flown almost two miles beyond line of 
site fell from the sky into a lane of traffic, only a few feet from the 
crowded sidewalk. Again on April 9th, another drone flown beyond line 
of site crashed one of the bridge's towers.
  These incidents are occurring throughout the nation, but each state 
has faced its own challenges. Half of all reported incidents came from 
just five States: California, Florida, New York, Texas, and New Jersey.
  In fact, one-fifth of all drone incidents reported to the FAA 
occurred in California. What works for protecting urban areas will be 
different than what is needed in rural areas.
  The current legal framework for managing the airspace, which evolved 
over a century of manned aviation, is a poor fit for these new 
challenges. Drones bear little resemblance to the manned aircraft that 
came before them.
  First, drones intrude into the everyday life of our communities in a 
way that airplanes do not. Airplanes fly into and out of airports, and 
municipalities can try through zoning to minimize disruptions. Drones, 
on the other hand, can take flight from any location, can hover 
anonymously overhead, and are often used to film whatever aspect of 
public or private life may catch the operator's interest of the 
operator's.
  Second, drones are seldom engaged in interstate commerce once they 
have been purchased. Short communication range and limited battery life 
means that commercially available drones are almost always operated 
locally, and are unlikely to be operated across state lines.
  Third, there are far more drones than there are airplanes. Already, 
more than 750,000 drones have been registered, and the FAA anticipates 
up to 4 million drones by 2020. By contrast, there are little more than 
200,000 manned aircraft registered in the United States.


                           WHAT THE BILL DOES

  The Drone Federalism Act would address the modern challenges of drone 
operations and provide a clear legal framework to regulate drones. The 
bill has three provisions.
  First, the bill preserves the authority of State, Tribal, and local 
governments to issue reasonable restrictions on the time, manner, and 
place of drone operations within 200 feet of the ground or a structure. 
These could include speed limits, local no-fly zones, temporary 
restrictions, and prohibitions on reckless or drunk operators, for 
example.
  There are regulations that the FAA must issue uniformly throughout 
the country to ensure the safety and efficiency of the national 
airspace. This bill does not interfere with that authority. However, 
the bill does require the FAA to consider legitimate state and local 
interests when exercising preemption, and to respect any reasonable 
additional low-altitude restrictions that state and local governments 
choose to impose.
  Second, the bill reaffirms that the federal government will respect 
private property rights to the airspace in the immediate reaches above 
a property, including at least the first 200 feet. Neither Congress nor 
the FAA may authorize drone operations immediately over property 
without the owner's permission.
  Third, the bill promotes cooperation between the levels of government 
by directing the FAA to partner with a diverse group of cities and 
States to test out different approaches and report on best practices.


              STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS REGULATE DRONES

  The Drone Federalism Act is consistent with the recent action taken 
by States to regulate drone operations. In response to drone incidents 
and the concerns of their communities, lawmakers throughout the country 
have identified the need for a variety of new approaches to managing 
drones. Indeed, at least 38 States are considering drone legislation 
this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  These proposals include: definitions of harassment and voyeurism, 
airport protections, penalties for interfering with emergency 
responders, protections against the delivery of contraband at prisons, 
bans on flights over football games, and definitions of aerial 
trespass, among others.
  This exercise of the laboratories of democracy is appropriate. Our 
communities should not have to rely on an already overburdened federal 
agency to craft specific regulatory protections for every local 
context, supply on-the-ground enforcement agents, or pursue complicated 
civil cases in court for every infraction. Local police should be 
empowered to issue citations akin to a traffic violation for clear-cut 
infractions, without having to prove an action meets a vague tort law 
standards of negligence and harm. There should be no question that a 
State has a right to prevent drones from interfering with emergency 
responders or delivering contraband into prisons; to criminalize hit-
and-runs, voyeurism, stalking, or harassment with a drone; to allow 
judges to deny drones to sex offenders.
  Neither should there be any question that a State or municipality has 
a right to restrict the use of drones where it would be hazardous. Just 
as the federal government has banned drone operations over Federal 
Parks, States should have the option to protect State parks. Just as 
the Federal Government banned flights over sensitive areas, like the 
entire Capital region, cities should have the option to protect schools 
or other sensitive areas of their own. Just as the Federal Government 
can impose temporary flight restrictions over major sporting events or 
airshows, a county should have the option to protect its summer 
fairgrounds or holiday parade route.


                               CONCLUSION

  The Drone Federalism Act that I am introducing today, along with 
Senators Lee, Blumenthal, and Cotton, is a proactive, affirmative 
solution. It recognizes the federal interest in protecting the safety 
and efficiency of the national airspace, while also respecting private 
property rights, Tribal sovereignty, the powers reserved to the States 
by the Tenth Amendment, and the general principle of local self-
determination.
  This bill will invite the democratic participation of government at 
every level, avoid the need for years of litigation about the scope of 
preemption, and enable effective local enforcement. It is incumbent on 
Congress to provide clarity and to guarantee all sides an equal voice 
moving forward.
  This bipartisan bill is the way to do that.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Durbin, Mr. 
        Tillis, and Mrs. Ernst):
  S. 1276. A bill to require the Attorney General to make a 
determination as to whether cannabidiol should be a controlled 
substance and listed in a schedule under the Controlled Substances Act 
and to expand research on the potential medical benefits of cannabidiol 
and other marihuana components; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the 
Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act with my colleagues, Senators 
Grassley, Durbin, Tillis, and Ernst.
  Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a nonpsychoactive component of marijuana. In 
many instances parents, after exhausting other treatment options, have 
turned to CBD to as a last resort to treat their children who have 
intractable epilepsy. Anecdotally, CBD has produced positive results.
  However, due to existing barriers and the fact that marijuana is a 
schedule I drug, rigorous research that is needed to better understand 
the long-term

[[Page S3221]]

safety and efficacy of CBD as a medicine, as well as the correct dosing 
and potential interaction with other medications, is lacking.
  The Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act seeks to both reduce these 
barriers and spur additional research to ensure that CBD and other 
marijuana-derived medications are based on the most up to date 
scientific evidence. It also provides a pathway for the manufacture and 
distribution of FDA-approved drugs that are based on this research.
  It does this while maintaining safeguards to protect against illegal 
diversion.
  First, the bill directs the Departments of Justice and Health and 
Human Services to complete a scientific and medical evaluation of CBD 
within 1 year. Based on this evaluation, the legislation directs the 
Department of Justice to make a scheduling recommendation for CBD that 
is independent of marijuana. This may include transferring the schedule 
of CBD to another schedule, or removing it from the list of controlled 
substances altogether. A scheduling recommendation for CBD that is 
independent of marijuana has never been done before.
  Second, without sacrificing appropriate oversight, it streamlines the 
regulatory process for marijuana research. In particular, it improves 
regulations dealing with changes to approved quantities of marijuana 
needed for research and approved research protocols. It also expedites 
the Drug Enforcement Administration registration process for 
researching CBD and marijuana.
  Third, this legislation seeks to increase medical research on CBD, 
while simultaneously reducing the stigma associated with conducting 
research on a schedule I drug. It does so by explicitly authorizing 
medical and osteopathic schools, research universities, practitioners 
and pharmaceutical companies to use a schedule II Drug Enforcement 
Administration registration to conduct authorized medical research on 
CBD.
  Fourth, the bill allows medical schools, research institutions, 
practitioners, and pharmaceutical companies to produce the marijuana 
they need for authorized medical research. This will ensure that 
researchers have access to the material they need to develop proven, 
effective medicines. Once the FDA approves these medications, the bill 
allows pharmaceutical companies to manufacture and distribute them.
  Fifth, the bill allows parents who have children with intractable 
epilepsy, as well as adults with intractable epilepsy, to possess and 
transport CBD or other nonpsychoactive components of marijuana used to 
treat this disease while research is ongoing. To do so, parents and 
adults must provide documentation that they or their child have been 
treated by a board-certified neurologist for at least 6 months. They 
must also have documentation that the neurologist has attested that 
other treatment options have been exhausted and that the potential 
benefits outweigh the harms of using these nonpsychoactive components 
of marijuana. The neurologist must also agree to monitor the patient 
for potential adverse reactions.
  Finally, because existing Federal research is severely lacking, the 
bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to expand, 
intensify, and coordinate research to determine the potential medical 
benefits of CBD or other marijuana-derived medications on serious 
medical conditions.
  The 2016 National Academy of Sciences report, titled ``The Health 
Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and 
Recommendations for Research'' underscored the need to reduce research 
barriers, increase the supply of CBD and marijuana for research 
purposes, and address existing research gaps.
  The Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act seeks to do just this.
  This bill is critical to helping families across the country as they 
seek safe, effective medicines for serious illnesses. I hope my 
colleagues will join me in supporting this important legislation.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. DAINES (for himself and Mr. Tester):
  S. 1282. A bill to redesignate certain clinics of the Department of 
Veterans Affairs located in Montana; to the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, today I would like to recognize the 
commitment to duty and personal courage of three Montanans by 
introducing a bill to redesignate three Department of Veterans Affairs 
facilities in their honor. Through their distinguished service to our 
Nation, the actions of these three gentlemen have earned the respect 
and gratitude of the Treasure State.
  Under this resolution, the Community Based Outpatient Clinic on 
Palmer Street in Missoula will be designated in honor of David J. 
Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher was an outstanding Montanan. The humble 
circumstances of his upbringing in rural, eastern Montana helped him 
develop a strong work ethic. In 1940, with war raging across Europe and 
the clouds of war on the horizon for the United States, he enlisted in 
the U.S. Army Air Corps.
  Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, he volunteered to serve as a 
tail gunner for a high risk mission to attack targets deep within 
Japanese controlled territory. This counterattack would be known to 
history as the Doolittle Raid. After finishing the bombing mission and 
running low on fuel, his aircraft crash landed near the coast of China. 
Mr. Thatcher was instrumental in helping the crew reach safety 
following the crash and for his actions during the Doolittle Raid, he 
was awarded the Silver Star. A few years later, the actor Robert Walker 
portrayed Corporal Thatcher on the silver screen in ``Thirty Seconds 
Over Tokyo.'' After the war, Mr. Thatcher embarked on a career with the 
U.S. Postal Service and married his sweetheart Dawn. Their marriage 
spanned seven decades until he passed away last June at the age of 94.
  In Billings, the Community Based Outpatient Clinic on Spring Creek 
Lane will be designated in honor of Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow. Dr. 
Medicine Crow was an accomplished warrior and esteemed historian. He 
was born on the Crow Indian Reservation in eastern Montana and traveled 
across the U.S. while pursuing his education. In 1939, Dr. Medicine 
Crow earned his master's degree from the University of Southern 
California, becoming the first member of the Crow Tribe to attain that 
credential. In 1943 he joined the United States Army. While serving as 
an Army scout during World War II, Dr. Medicine Crow fulfilled the four 
requirements to become a war chief. While fighting against the German 
forces he led a war party, stole an enemy horse, disarmed an enemy, and 
touched an enemy without killing him. Later in life he served as the 
Crow tribal historian, received multiple honorary doctorate degrees, 
and spoke at venues across the Nation. He was the last Crow war chief, 
and his passing last April, at the age of 102, was a loss to our 
Nation. For his lifetime of service to the Crow Tribe, the State of 
Montana, and to United States, Dr. Medicine Crow was awarded the 
Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  The Billings Community Based Specialty Clinic located on Majestic 
Lane will be designated in honor of Benjamin Charles Steele. Mr. Steele 
is remembered by Montanans as a ranch hand, teacher, artist, and Bataan 
Death March survivor. Born and raised in Montana, he joined the U.S. 
Army Air Corps in 1940. After he was captured by the Japanese, Mr. 
Steele's sturdy fortitude helped him endure a 66-mile trek in the 
Philippines, a prisoner ship, and a forced labor camp. He was a 
prisoner of war in the Pacific Theater of World War II for a total of 
1,244 days. Using charcoal to sketch on concrete, he withstood the 
harsh treatment in captivity and honed his artistic talents. His 
artistic expressions were captured on contraband paper, and some of the 
works he created in captivity were preserved and went on tour through 
the Nation after the war. In August of last year, we lost a warrior-
artist when Mr. Steele passed away at his home in Montana at the age of 
98.
  The World War II generation produced many heroes. In 2016, Montana 
lost three of our greatest heroes when Thatcher, Medicine Crow and 
Steele completed their earthly tours of duty. In 2017 it is fitting 
that we honor their service and their remarkable lives by naming three 
Veterans Affairs facilities in their honor. Each generation of veterans 
using these facilities will help keep their memories alive. Their 
unique stories will inspire the future generation of warriors to defend 
our

[[Page S3222]]

Nation and preserve our cherished individual liberties.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1282

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

     SECTION 1. REDESIGNATION OF CERTAIN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS 
                   AFFAIRS CLINICS IN MONTANA.

       (a) David J. Thatcher Department of Veterans Affairs 
     Clinic.--
       (1) Designation.--The clinic of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs located at 2687 Palmer Street in Missoula, Montana, 
     shall after the date of the enactment of this Act be known 
     and designated as the ``David J. Thatcher Department of 
     Veterans Affairs Clinic''.
       (2) References.--Any reference in any law, regulation, map, 
     document, paper, or other record of the United States to the 
     clinic referred to in paragraph (1) shall be considered to be 
     a reference to the David J. Thatcher Department of Veterans 
     Affairs Clinic.
       (b) Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow Department of Veterans Affairs 
     Clinic.--
       (1) Designation.--The clinic of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs located at 1775 Spring Creek Lane in Billings, 
     Montana, shall after the date of the enactment of this Act be 
     known and designated as the ``Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow 
     Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic''.
       (2) References.--Any reference in any law, regulation, map, 
     document, paper, or other record of the United States to the 
     clinic referred to in paragraph (1) shall be considered to be 
     a reference to the Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow Department of 
     Veterans Affairs Clinic.
       (3) Public display of name.--
       (A) In general.--Any local public display of the name of 
     the clinic referred to in paragraph (1) carried out by the 
     United States or through the use of Federal funds shall 
     include the English name, Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, and the 
     Crow name, Dakaak Baako, of Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow.
       (B) Local display.--For purposes of subparagraph (A), a 
     local public display of the name of the clinic referred to in 
     paragraph (1) includes a display inside the clinic, on the 
     campus of the clinic, and in the community surrounding the 
     clinic, such as signs directing individuals to the clinic.
       (c) Benjamin Charles Steele Department of Veterans Affairs 
     Clinic.--
       (1) Designation.--The clinic of the Department of Veterans 
     Affairs located at 1766 Majestic Lane in Billings, Montana, 
     shall after the date of the enactment of this Act be known 
     and designated as the ``Benjamin Charles Steele Department of 
     Veterans Affairs Clinic''.
       (2) References.--Any reference in any law, regulation, map, 
     document, paper, or other record of the United States to the 
     clinic referred to in paragraph (1) shall be considered to be 
     a reference to the Benjamin Charles Steele Department of 
     Veterans Affairs Clinic.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. FLAKE (for himself, Mr. Leahy, Mr. Moran, Mr. Durbin, Mr. 
        Enzi, Mr. Udall, Mr. Boozman, Mr. Whitehouse, Ms. Collins, Ms. 
        Klobuchar, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Reed, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Murphy, Mr. 
        Coons, Mr. Cardin, Mrs. Feinstein, Mrs. Shaheen, Ms. Heitkamp, 
        Mr. Brown, Ms. Baldwin, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Schatz, Mr. Markey, 
        Mrs. McCaskill, Mr. Paul, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Kaine, Mr. King, Mr. 
        Franken, Ms. Warren, Mr. Bennet, Mr. Heinrich, Mr. Sanders, Mr. 
        Tester, Mr. Warner, Ms. Cantwell, Mr. Blumenthal, Mrs. Murray, 
        Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Gillibrand, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Donnelly, Mr. 
        Cassidy, Mr. Peters, Mr. Carper, Mr. Manchin, Mr. Van Hollen, 
        Ms. Harris, Mr. Casey, Mr. Crapo, Ms. Duckworth, Mr. Daines, 
        Ms. Hassan, and Mr. Heller):
  S. 1287. A bill to allow United States citizens and legal residents 
to travel between the United States and Cuba; to the Committee on 
Foreign Relations.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, today I am very pleased to join my friend, 
the junior Senator from Arizona, in introducing the Freedom for 
Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2017.
  I will have more to say about this bill, and United States policy 
toward Cuba, in the weeks and months ahead. My purpose in speaking 
today is simply to point out that 55 Democratic and Republican members 
of the Senate have cosponsored this bill to allow Americans to travel 
to Cuba in the same way that they can travel to any other country in 
the world. And based on my conversations with other Senators, 
especially Republicans, I have little doubt that if we voted on this 
bill today more than 60 Senators would support it.
  It is indefensible that the Federal government currently restricts 
American citizens and legal resident from traveling to a country 90 
miles away that poses no threat to us, unless they engage in certain 
activities and not others. For example, an American biologist can go to 
Cuba to study threatened species of migratory birds. That same American 
cannot take his family on a trip to visit Cuba's national parks. Why? 
Because one is defined as scientific research and the other is defined 
as tourism.
  At a time when U.S. airlines and cruise ships are flying and sailing 
to Cuba, does anyone here honestly think that preventing Americans from 
traveling is an appropriate role of the Federal government? Why only 
Cuba? Why not Venezuela? Or Russia? Or Iran, or anywhere else? It is a 
vindictive, discriminatory, self-defeating vestige of a time long 
passed. This bill would end these Cold War restrictions on the freedom 
of Americans to travel. It would not do away with the embargo.
  We are told that the Trump Administration is conducting a review of 
U.S. policy toward Cuba. That is to be expected of a new 
administration. We have also heard a rumor, and I hope it is only a 
rumor, that in return for the votes of certain Senators or 
representative on health care legislation, promises may have been made 
by the White House to impose further restrictions on the normalization 
of relations with Cuba. I hope that is not the case. I hope the review 
produces a policy based on what is in the U.S. national security 
interest and on what is in the interests of the American and Cuban 
people, an overwhelming majority of whom want closer relations. And I 
hope the policy reflects the bipartisan majority in Congress that 
supports expanding our engagement with Cuba, as evidenced by the bill 
we are introducing today.
  I and others who have traveled to Cuba many times over the past 20 
years, who have met with Cuban officials, with Cubans who have been 
persecuted for opposing the Castro government, and with many others, 
have requested meetings with top White House officials before the 
review is completed and any final decisions are made.
  Every one of us wants to see an end to political repression in Cuba. 
The arrests and physical mistreatment of dissidents by the Cuban 
government are deplorable, just as they are by other governments 
including some, like Egypt's and Turkey's, whose leaders have been 
feted at the White House, or, in the case of Saudi Arabia, have feted 
President Trump and his family. Americans can travel freely to Egypt, 
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and every other country, except Cuba.
  The issue is how best to support the people of Cuba who struggle to 
make ends meet, and who want to live in a country where freedom of 
expression and association are protected, and where they can choose 
their own leaders in a democratic manner.
  Anyone who thinks that more economic pressure, or ultimatums, will 
force the Cuban authorities to stop arresting political dissidents and 
embrace democracy have learned nothing from history. For more than half 
a century we have tried a policy of unilateral sanctions and isolation, 
and it has achieved neither of those goals. Instead, it has been used 
by the Cuban government as an excuse for repression to protect Cuba's 
sovereignty. It has hurt the Cuban people, not the Cuban government. 
And it has provided an opening for our adversaries and competitors, 
like Russia and China, in this hemisphere.
  Change is coming to Cuba, and we can help support that process. There 
is already visible, tangible evidence that the changes in U.S. policy 
initiated by President Obama are having positive effects for the Cuban 
people and for our security and economic relations with Cuba, even 
though critics, particularly those who have never been to Cuba, prefer 
to deny it.
  But most importantly, the bipartisan bill we are introducing today is 
about the right of Americans, not Cubans, to travel. Any member of 
Congress, especially those who have been to Cuba, should support the 
right of their constituents to do so. American citizens are our best 
Ambassadors to Cuba, and it is wrong for the United States government 
to be imposing restrictions

[[Page S3223]]

that have no place in the law books of a free society.

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