STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 97
(Senate - June 07, 2017)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages S3329-S3338]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




          STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS

      By Mr. FLAKE (for himself and Ms. Heitkamp):
  S. 1305. A bill to provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection with 
adequate flexibility in its employment authorities; to the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I rise to speak in support of the Customs 
and Border Protection Hiring and Retention Act, or CBP HiRe Act.
  In recent years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, has had 
a lot of trouble recruiting, hiring, and retaining personnel to 
adequately staff the border and our ports of entry. Today, CBP is 
nearly 1,000 officers below the mandated staffing levels. The Border 
Patrol, whose duty it is to secure 6,000 miles of borderlands, suffers 
from a shortage of more than 1,800 agents. These shortages persist, 
despite ample backing and funding from Congress and the threat they 
pose to both national security and trade-reliant communities and 
economies, particularly in my State of Arizona. This has been 
frustrating for border communities across the country, but it is 
especially problematic for Arizona, a State that depends on both border 
security and a lot of cross-border trade.
  For example, the Nogales port of entry in Southern Arizona is one of 
the busiest ports in the United States. It processes approximately $2.5 
billion worth of produce each year. Arizona alone does about $15 
billion in trade with Mexico alone, every year. Mexican shoppers spend 
about $8 million in stores in Arizona every day.
  However, the port currently is suffering from a 23-percent shortage 
of CBP officers. Our ports cannot effectively and efficiently 
facilitate the flow of commerce across the border without adequate 
staffing.
  One of the biggest challenges in both retaining and hiring new 
officers and agents for frontline positions has been the remoteness of 
CBP installations. CBP officers and border agents are often stationed 
in geographically remote and isolated locations. This likely 
contributes to the fact that, of those leaving the agency, nearly 30 
percent of Border Patrol agents and over 10 percent of CBP officers are 
lost to other agencies.
  Massive staffing shortages aside, CBP is barely able to hire fast 
enough to fill the jobs left by departing agents and officers. So we 
have great needs that are not being filled, but we also have attrition 
we simply can't replace. In fact, CBP hires only 1 out of every 64 
applicants for officer positions, and 1 out of every 113 applicants for 
Border Patrol agent positions. This means that less than 2 percent of 
applicants manage to get through CBP's hiring process. The situation at 
CBP today is simply unsustainable.
  Congress can't sit idly by as slow hiring rates and accelerating 
attrition threaten the security of our borders and the underpinnings of 
our economy. To that end, I am pleased to introduce my CBP HiRe Act 
with Senator

[[Page S3330]]

Heitkamp from North Dakota. This legislation would streamline the 
hiring process and allow the CBP to finally bring more agents and 
officers into frontline positions.
  Importantly, this bill gives CBP new tools to recruit and retain 
personnel in remote and hard-to-fill locations. This includes special 
salary rates and recruitment, relocation, and retention incentives.
  In addition, the bill will eliminate bureaucratic redtape by giving 
CBP the authority to use direct-hire authority and to expedite the 
hiring of qualified applicants. Right now, the situation is that they 
have to deal with other Federal agencies and get virtually every 
incentive and program they want to approve and need to approve to hire 
more officers. They have to run it up the flagpole so many times with 
Federal agencies that it simply takes too long.
  Lastly, the bill prevents CBP from disclosing an applicant's 
polygraph results with another Federal agency or non-Federal employer. 
Challenges relating to the administering of the polygraph have resulted 
in approximately 65 percent of the individuals failing the test.
  Think about that. People who are in another law enforcement position, 
even those who have taken a polygraph before just a year or two prior--
many of them fear that a false positive on a polygraph exam might 
impact their ability to move to another Federal agency if that is 
disclosed. If you have a polygraph, which can't be used in courts of 
law because it is not perfect or nowhere near perfect, then Federal 
agencies shouldn't be able to forward that to other Federal agencies. 
It acts as a big disincentive for people to apply for these positions 
because a false positive on a polygraph exam might imperil their 
chances to work for another Federal agency or to work in law 
enforcement later in their career. This also creates a disincentive, as 
I mentioned, for individuals to want to be hired by CBP.
  In Arizona, safety and prosperity are inextricably linked to CBP's 
ability to secure the border and facilitate trade. The CBP HiRe Act 
will give CBP the tools and flexibility necessary to accomplish these 
missions.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan solution, and I look 
forward to seeing it move through the Senate without delay.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. LEAHY:
  S. 1306. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to 
establish refundable tax credits for expenses relating to ensuring 
safety and accessibility in historic structures; to the Committee on 
Finance.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, founded more than two centuries ago, 
Vermont boasts a trove of historically preserved buildings, structures, 
and towns. These are part of our heritage, and our State's character. 
Making a priority of managing and preserving our cultural heritage 
makes Vermont a National leader in this field.
  Of course, many of these historic structures do not meet modern fire 
prevention codes and lack basic features such as sprinklers, which can 
drastically reduce the potential for irreparable damage from a fire. 
Today I am reintroducing the Historic Downtown Preservation and Access 
Act, a bill that would create a refundable tax credit for the 
installation of fire suppression systems and elevators in older, multi-
use buildings in historic downtowns. Every year, fires destroy numerous 
historic buildings that often serve as the center of towns and villages 
across the nation. In 2011, the Brooks House in Brattleboro, Vermont, 
burned down after almost 150 years in use as a hotel and later, as a 
multi-use building for residential housing and commercial space. After 
six years of rebuilding and restoring, those who were displaced by this 
fire are finally getting back on their feet.
  The Historic Downtown Preservation and Access Act will establish a 50 
percent refundable tax credit of up to $50,000 that incentivizes the 
installation of sprinkler systems in order to help prevent and minimize 
damage caused by fire, including potential loss of life, extensive 
property damage, and, in some instances, federal funding that is 
reinvested during the restoration process. This bill also includes a 
provision to encourage the installation of elevators in our historic 
buildings, making them accessible to all. This would ensure that upper 
floors for commercial or residential use are accessible to everyone, 
including tenants and their guests. Finally, this bill is updated to 
establish a tax credit for the costs incurred when removing hazardous 
substances from historic buildings, like lead paint, asbestos, and 
radon.
  We should encourage the maintenance of the history and character of 
historic buildings and downtowns, while also ensuring that they remain 
safe and accessible to all. This bill is a responsible step forward in 
those efforts. As we look ahead to comprehensive tax reform, I hope 
that Congress will consider commonsense legislation like this that will 
help preserve our towns' unique histories and legacy features for 
decades to come, while promoting the safety of all Americans.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Ms. Hassan, Ms. Warren, Ms. 
        Harris, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Leahy, and Mrs. Gillibrand):
  S. 1307. A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to expand 
eligibility to receive refundable tax credits for coverage under a 
qualified health plan; to the Committee on Finance.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to introduce the 
Affordable Health Insurance for the Middle Class Act, a common sense 
fix to improve affordability of health insurance on the individual 
market. I am pleased that Senators Hassan, Warren, Harris, Baldwin, and 
Leahy have joined this bill as original cosponsors, and I appreciate 
their support.
  Since its implementation, the Affordable Care Act has helped to 
expand health care and control out-of-pocket costs for millions of 
Americans. Over 20 million people who were previously uninsured now 
have coverage, there are no yearly or lifetime limits on coverage, and 
no one can be denied coverage or charged more based on their gender or 
because of a pre-existing health condition. The Affordable Care Act 
also expanded the individual marketplace, through which 18 million 
people currently get their coverage. Individuals who make between 100 
and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and who do not have 
affordable employer coverage available to them, can receive a tax 
credit subsidy to help pay for insurance on the individual market. This 
credit limits the cost of insurance at 9.69 percent of an individual's 
income.
  However, someone who makes just one dollar above the income threshold 
immediately loses all federal assistance. This `cliff' unfairly impacts 
middle-income Americans who are by no means wealthy, but who make just 
barely too much to qualify for the tax credit. I am particularly 
concerned about my constituents between the ages of 50 to 64, who are 
facing higher premiums as they age and who need access to health 
services but are not yet eligible for Medicare.
  To address this issue, the Affordable Health Insurance for the Middle 
Class Act would eliminate the current cliff, and instead gradually 
phase out federal assistance based on income. Nobody would pay more 
than 9.69 percent of their income for insurance, and once someone's 
premium fell below this threshold, they would no longer receive federal 
assistance.
  For example, in my hometown of San Francisco, a 60-year-old making 
$50,000 currently pays $946 per month for the second-lowest cost Silver 
plan and does not receive federal assistance. Under this bill, their 
premium would be capped at $404, or 9.69 percent of their income, and 
the tax credit subsidy would cover the rest. This bill would create a 
fairer and more predictable system, ensuring that consumers on the 
individual market know just how much their insurance will cost and will 
have affordable options available. The Affordable Care Act has reduced 
costs and expanded benefits for many Americans, and it is critical that 
we build on this progress to further improve the law--not destroy it.
  The bill is supported by a number of organizations, including the 
American Association of Neurological Surgeons, AANS, Child Welfare 
League of America, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, CNS, Families 
USA, Lung Cancer Alliance, and National Farmers Union.
  This legislation is a simple fix that provides relief for middle-
income

[[Page S3331]]

Americans and strengthens affordability protections for coverage 
through the individual market. I urge all of my colleagues to cosponsor 
the Affordable Health Insurance for the Middle Class Act. Thank you Mr. 
President and I yield the floor.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Ms. STABENOW (for herself and Mr. Peters):
  S. 1308. A bill to increase authorized funding for the Soo Locks; to 
the Committee on Environment and Public Works.
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I rise to speak about legislation I am 
introducing with my colleague from Michigan Senator Stabenow to 
authorize funding for a new Soo Lock.
  Since 1855, locks at the St. Mary's River have allowed ships to pass 
between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. In modern times, this waterway 
has allowed large freighters to move coal, iron ore, and agricultural 
products throughout the Great Lakes. The Soo Locks are the most 
important link in a critical supply chain that connects iron ore mines 
in Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula with steel mills and 
manufacturing facilities all across the country.
  During World War II, Congress authorized funding for a new lock 
because it was clear the country's ability to move iron ore to steel 
plants in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania was absolutely critical for 
the war effort. It took less than 2 years to complete that project 
after Congress authorized the funding in 1942.
  President Roosevelt signed an Executive order establishing the 
military district of Sault Saint Marie, and the Army stationed 10,000 
troops there to defend the Soo Locks by land, air, and sea--so great 
was the fear that a German attack would instantly cripple Allied 
efforts to produce steel and weapons.
  Today, there is only one Soo Lock--the Poe Lock--that is large enough 
to accommodate modern freighters, especially the 1,000-foot-long 
vessels that move millions of tons of iron ore each and every year. 
Over 80 percent of the commodities that flow through the Soo Locks must 
pass through the Poe Lock, and each one of those 1,000-foot freighters 
carries the equivalent of 3,000 truckloads of commodities. It is not 
possible to move that amount of iron ore in these 1,000-foot freighters 
by rail or by road, and on top of that, the steel mills are only 
equipped to handle the iron ore supply by water.
  A study conducted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2015 
confirmed that it is the Achilles' heel of our economy. Key findings 
from the Department say: ``A disruption of the Poe Lock likely will 
cause an almost complete shutdown of Great Lake steel production.''
  The report goes on to say: ``A shutdown of Great Lakes steel 
production likely will cause almost all North American appliances, 
automobiles, construction equipment, farm equipment, mining equipment, 
and railcar production to cease within weeks.''
  Within weeks. The Homeland Security report estimates that 11 million 
Americans would lose their jobs if this were to happen.
  Consider the fact that the jobs of millions of American workers 
depend on the ability of large ships to pass, as depicted, from here to 
here on the St. Mary's Falls Canal. Currently, there is only one lock 
that can accommodate this task. If this lock shuts down, steel plants 
in Ohio and Indiana and Kentucky shut down. Auto plants in Texas, 
Tennessee, California, and Michigan shut down. The American economy 
shuts down. The losses would be felt throughout the United States, 
wherever steel is used in the manufacturing process.
  We are taking an unacceptable risk if we do not act swiftly to ensure 
that there is a backup in the case of a lock failure. That is why I am 
joining Senator Stabenow and members of the Michigan congressional 
delegation from both parties to introduce a bill that would authorize 
the funding for constructing another larger Poe-sized lock. The current 
authorization for the project is far below projected cost estimates. 
Our bill, which was introduced today, if enacted, will allow the Army 
Corps to move directly into the design and construction phase. We do 
not have a moment to lose.
  Just last week, I traveled to the Soo Locks for a tour with members 
of the Michigan congressional delegation, and we saw firsthand how the 
dedicated men and women of the Army Corps are working to keep the locks 
functioning. They go to work each and every day with a full 
understanding of how the safety and security of the Nation rests with 
their ability to maintain this critical infrastructure. It is a credit 
to the skill of the Army Corps of Engineers that freighters have been 
able to pass through the St. Mary's on their journeys around the Great 
Lakes almost without interruption. But they are working with equipment 
that has been maintained well beyond its life cycle and in some cases 
beyond two life cycles. When I was there last week, I saw 100-year-old 
water pumps still in use.
  We cannot continue to rely on the infrastructure investments made by 
our grandparents and great-grandparents. It is time to invest in our 
country and the well-being of our economy for future generations and 
pass the Soo Locks Modernization Act.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. CORNYN (for himself, Ms. Klobuchar, Mr. Grassley, Mrs. 
        Feinstein, Mr. Corker, Mr. Brown, Mr. Heller, Mr. Wyden, Mr. 
        Rubio, Mr. Coons, Mr. Hatch, Mr. Burr, and Ms. Heitkamp):
  S. 1311. A bill to provide assistance in abolishing human trafficking 
in the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of 
the bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be 
printed in the Record, as follows:

                                S. 1311

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

       (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Abolish 
     Human Trafficking Act of 2017''.
       (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act 
     is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Preserving Domestic Trafficking Victims' Fund.
Sec. 3. Mandatory restitution for victims of commercial sexual 
              exploitation.
Sec. 4. Victim-witness assistance in sexual exploitation cases.
Sec. 5. Victim protection training for the Department of Homeland 
              Security.
Sec. 6. Implementing a victim-centered approach to human trafficking.
Sec. 7. Direct services for child victims of human trafficking.
Sec. 8. Holistic training for Federal law enforcement officers and 
              prosecutors.
Sec. 9. Best practices in delivering justice for victims of 
              trafficking.
Sec. 10. Training for health professionals.
Sec. 11. Improving the national strategy to combat human trafficking.
Sec. 12. Specialized human trafficking training and technical 
              assistance for service providers.
Sec. 13. Enhanced penalties for human trafficking, child exploitation, 
              and repeat offenders.
Sec. 14. Targeting organized human trafficking perpetrators.
Sec. 15. Investigating complex human trafficking networks.
Sec. 16. Combating sex tourism.
Sec. 17. Human Trafficking Justice Coordinators.
Sec. 18. Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Human 
              Trafficking.
Sec. 19. Additional reporting on crime.
Sec. 20. Making the Presidential Survivor Council permanent.
Sec. 21. Strengthening the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Sec. 22. Ending government partnerships with the commercial sex 
              industry.
Sec. 23. Study of human trafficking victim privilege.
Sec. 24. Understanding the effects of severe forms of trafficking in 
              persons.
Sec. 25. Combating trafficking in persons.
Sec. 26. Grant accountability.

     SEC. 2. PRESERVING DOMESTIC TRAFFICKING VICTIMS' FUND.

       (a) Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that 
     the Domestic Trafficking Victims' Fund established under 
     section 3014 of title 18, United States Code--
       (1) is intended to supplement, and not supplant, any other 
     funding for domestic trafficking victims; and
       (2) has achieved the objective described in paragraph (1) 
     since the establishment of the Fund.
       (b) Ensuring Full Funding.--Section 3014 of title 18, 
     United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a), in the matter preceding paragraph 
     (1), by striking ``September 30, 2019'' and inserting 
     ``September 30, 2023'';

[[Page S3332]]

       (2) in subsection (f), by inserting ``, including the 
     mandatory imposition of civil remedies for satisfaction of an 
     unpaid fine as authorized under section 3613, where 
     appropriate'' after ``criminal cases''; and
       (3) in subsection (h)(3), by inserting ``and child victims 
     of a severe form of trafficking (as defined in section 103 of 
     the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 
     2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102))'' after ``child pornography victims''.

     SEC. 3. MANDATORY RESTITUTION FOR VICTIMS OF COMMERCIAL 
                   SEXUAL EXPLOITATION.

       (a) Amendment.--Chapter 117 of title 18, United States 
     Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

     ``Sec. 2429. Mandatory restitution

       ``(a) In General.--Notwithstanding section 3663 or 3663A, 
     and in addition to any other civil or criminal penalty 
     authorized by law, the court shall order restitution for any 
     offense under this chapter.
       ``(b) Scope and Nature of Order.--
       ``(1) Directions.--An order of restitution under this 
     section shall direct the defendant to pay the victim (through 
     the appropriate court mechanism) the full amount of the 
     victim's losses, as determined by the court under paragraph 
     (3).
       ``(2) Enforcement.--An order of restitution under this 
     section shall be issued and enforced in accordance with 
     section 3664 in the same manner as an order under section 
     3663A.
       ``(3) Full amount of the victim's losses defined.--For 
     purposes of this subsection, the term `full amount of the 
     victim's losses'--
       ``(A) has the meaning given the term in section 2259(b)(3); 
     and
       ``(B) includes the gross income or value to the defendant 
     of the victim's services, if the services constitute 
     commercial sex acts as defined under section 1591.
       ``(4) Forfeiture of property.--The forfeiture of property 
     under this subsection shall be governed by the provisions of 
     section 413 (other than subsection (d) of such section 413) 
     of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 853).
       ``(c) Victim Defined.--
       ``(1) In general.--In this section, the term `victim' means 
     the individual harmed as a result of the commission of a 
     crime under this chapter.
       ``(2) Assumption of crime victim's rights.--In the case of 
     a victim who is under 18 years of age, incompetent, 
     incapacitated, or deceased, the legal guardian of the victim, 
     a representative of the victim's estate, or any other person 
     appointed as suitable by the court may assume the crime 
     victim's rights under this section
       ``(d) Prohibition.--A defendant charged with an offense 
     under this chapter may not be named as a representative or 
     guardian of a victim of the offense.''.
       (b) Table of Sections.--The table of sections for chapter 
     117 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting 
     after the item relating to section 2428 the following:

``2429. Mandatory restitution.''.

     SEC. 4. VICTIM-WITNESS ASSISTANCE IN SEXUAL EXPLOITATION 
                   CASES.

       (a) Availability of DOJ Appropriations.--Section 
     524(c)(1)(B) of title 28, United States Code, is amended by 
     inserting ``, chapter 110 of title 18'' after ``chapter 77 of 
     title 18''.
       (b) Amendment to Title 31.--Section 9705(a)(2)(B)(v) of 
     title 31, United States Code, is amended by inserting ``, 
     chapter 109A of title 18 (relating to sexual abuse), chapter 
     110 of title 18 (relating to child sexual exploitation), or 
     chapter 117 of title 18 (relating to transportation for 
     illegal sexual activity and related crimes)'' after 
     ``(relating to human trafficking)''.

     SEC. 5. VICTIM PROTECTION TRAINING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                   HOMELAND SECURITY.

       (a) In General.--Title IX of the Justice for Victims of 
     Trafficking Act of 2015 (6 U.S.C. 641 et seq.) is amended by 
     adding at the end the following:

     ``SEC. 906. VICTIM PROTECTION TRAINING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF 
                   HOMELAND SECURITY.

       ``(a) Directive to DHS Law Enforcement Officials and Task 
     Forces.--
       ``(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
     of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue a 
     directive to--
       ``(A) all Federal law enforcement officers and relevant 
     personnel employed by the Department who may be involved in 
     the investigation of human trafficking offenses; and
       ``(B) members of all task forces led by the Department that 
     participate in the investigation of human trafficking 
     offenses.
       ``(2) Required instructions.--The directive required to be 
     issued under paragraph (1) shall include instructions on--
       ``(A) the investigation of individuals who patronize or 
     solicit human trafficking victims as being engaged in severe 
     trafficking in persons and how such individuals should be 
     investigated for their roles in severe trafficking in 
     persons; and
       ``(B) how victims of sex or labor trafficking often engage 
     in criminal acts as a direct result of severe trafficking in 
     persons and such individuals are victims of a crime and 
     affirmative measures should be taken to avoid arresting, 
     charging, or prosecuting such individuals for any offense 
     that is the direct result of their victimization.
       ``(b) Victim Screening Protocol.--
       ``(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date 
     of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall issue a 
     screening protocol for use during all anti-trafficking law 
     enforcement operations in which the Department is involved.
       ``(2) Requirements.--The protocol required to be issued 
     under paragraph (1) shall--
       ``(A) require the individual screening of all adults and 
     children who are suspected of engaging in commercial sex 
     acts, child labor that is a violation of law, or work in 
     violation of labor standards to determine whether each 
     individual screened is a victim of human trafficking;
       ``(B) require affirmative measures to avoid arresting, 
     charging, or prosecuting human trafficking victims for any 
     offense that is the direct result of their victimization;
       ``(C) be developed in consultation with relevant 
     interagency partners and nongovernmental organizations that 
     specialize in the prevention of human trafficking or in the 
     identification and support of victims of human trafficking 
     and survivors of human trafficking; and
       ``(D) include--
       ``(i) procedures and practices to ensure that the screening 
     process minimizes trauma or revictimization of the person 
     being screened; and
       ``(ii) guidelines on assisting victims of human trafficking 
     in identifying and receiving restorative services.
       ``(c) Mandatory Training.--The training described in 
     sections 902 and 904 shall include training necessary to 
     implement--
       ``(1) the directive required under subsection (a); and
       ``(2) the protocol required under subsection (b).''.
       (b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The table of contents in 
     section 1(b) of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 
     2015 (Public Law 114-22; 129 Stat. 227) is amended by 
     inserting after the item relating to section 905 the 
     following:

``Sec. 906. Victim protection training for the Department of Homeland 
              Security.''.

     SEC. 6. IMPLEMENTING A VICTIM-CENTERED APPROACH TO HUMAN 
                   TRAFFICKING.

       Section 107(b)(2) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act 
     of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7105(b)(2)) is amended--
       (1) in subparagraph (B)(ii); by striking the period at the 
     end and inserting ``; and''; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(D) Priority.--In selecting recipients of grants under 
     this paragraph that are only available for law enforcement 
     operations or task forces, the Attorney General may give 
     priority to any applicant that files an attestation with the 
     Attorney General stating that--
       ``(i) the grant funds--

       ``(I) will be used to assist in the prevention of severe 
     forms of trafficking in persons in accordance with Federal 
     law;
       ``(II) will be used to strengthen efforts to investigate 
     and prosecute those who knowingly benefit financially from 
     participation in a venture that has engaged in any act of 
     human trafficking;
       ``(III) will be used to take affirmative measures to avoid 
     arresting, charging, or prosecuting victims of human 
     trafficking for any offense that is the direct result of 
     their victimization; and
       ``(IV) will not be used to require a victim of human 
     trafficking to collaborate with law enforcement officers as a 
     condition of access to any shelter or restorative services; 
     and

       ``(ii) the applicant will provide dedicated resources for 
     anti-human trafficking law enforcement for a period that is 
     longer than the duration of the grant received under this 
     paragraph.''.

     SEC. 7. DIRECT SERVICES FOR CHILD VICTIMS OF HUMAN 
                   TRAFFICKING.

       Section 214(b) of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 
     (42 U.S.C. 13002(b)) is amended--
       (1) in the heading by inserting ``Child Victims of a Severe 
     Form of Trafficking in Persons and'' before ``Victims of 
     Child Pornography''; and
       (2) by inserting ``victims of a severe form of trafficking 
     (as defined in section 103 of the Trafficking Victims 
     Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7102(9)(A)) who were under 
     the age of 18 at the time of the offense and'' before 
     ``victims of child pornography''.

     SEC. 8. HOLISTIC TRAINING FOR FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT 
                   OFFICERS AND PROSECUTORS.

       All training required under the Combat Human Trafficking 
     Act of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 14044g) and section 105(c)(4) of the 
     Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 
     7105(c)(4)) shall--
       (1) emphasize that an individual who knowingly solicits or 
     patronizes a commercial sex act from a person who was a minor 
     (consistent with section 1591(c) of title 18, United States 
     Code) or was subject to force, fraud, or coercion is guilty 
     of an offense under chapter 77 of title 18, United States 
     Code, and is a party to a human trafficking offense;
       (2) develop specific curriculum for--
       (A) under appropriate circumstances, arresting and 
     prosecuting buyers of commercial sex, child labor that is a 
     violation of law, or forced labor as a form of primary 
     prevention; and
       (B) investigating and prosecuting individuals who knowingly 
     benefit financially from participation in a venture that has 
     engaged in any act of human trafficking; and
       (3) specify that any comprehensive approach to eliminating 
     human trafficking

[[Page S3333]]

     shall include a demand reduction component.

     SEC. 9. BEST PRACTICES IN DELIVERING JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF 
                   TRAFFICKING.

       Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this 
     Act, the Attorney General shall issue guidance to all offices 
     and components of the Department of Justice--
       (1) emphasizing that an individual who knowingly solicits 
     or patronizes a commercial sex act from a person who was a 
     minor (consistent with section 1591(c) of title 18, United 
     States Code) or was subject to force, fraud, or coercion is 
     guilty of an offense under chapter 77 of title 18, United 
     States Code, and is a party to a severe form of trafficking 
     in persons, as that term is defined in section 103(9) of the 
     Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 
     7102(9));
       (2) recommending and implementing best practices for the 
     collection of special assessments under section 3014 of title 
     18, United States Code, as added by section 101 of the 
     Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (Public Law 
     114-22; 129 Stat. 228), including a directive that civil 
     liens are an authorized collection method and remedy under 
     section 3613 of title 18, United States Code; and
       (3) clarifying that commercial sexual exploitation is a 
     form of gender-based violence.

     SEC. 10. TRAINING FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS.

       Section 107 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 
     2000 (22 U.S.C. 7105(f)) is amended by adding at the end the 
     following:
       ``(h) Training for Health Professionals.--
       ``(1) Definitions.--In this subsection--
       ``(A) the term `pilot program' means the Stop, Observe, 
     Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training pilot 
     program established under paragraph (2); and
       ``(B) the term `Secretary' means the Secretary of Health 
     and Human Services.
       ``(2) Pilot program.--
       ``(A) In general.--The Secretary may continue a pilot 
     program, which shall be known as the `Stop, Observe, Ask, and 
     Respond to Health and Wellness Training pilot program' or the 
     `SOAR to Health and Wellness Training pilot program'.
       ``(B) Grants authorized.--Under the pilot program, the 
     Secretary may award grants to appropriate entities to train 
     health care providers--
       ``(i) to identify potential human trafficking victims;
       ``(ii) to work with law enforcement agencies to report 
     human trafficking and facilitate communication with human 
     trafficking victims, in accordance with all applicable 
     Federal, State, local, and tribal laws, including legal 
     confidentiality requirements for patients and health care 
     providers;
       ``(iii) to refer such victims to appropriate social or 
     victims service agencies or organizations;
       ``(iv) to provide such victims with appropriate patient-
     centered, evidence-based care; and
       ``(v) to foster the practice of interprofessional 
     collaboration, including practices used by organizations 
     other than health care organizations.
       ``(C) Functions.--
       ``(i) In general.--The functions of the pilot program shall 
     include, as appropriate, the functions of the Stop, Observe, 
     Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training program that 
     was operating on the day before the date of the enactment of 
     this subsection and any of the authorized initiatives 
     described in clause (ii).
       ``(ii) Authorized initiatives.--The authorized initiatives 
     of the pilot program shall include--

       ``(I) engaging stakeholders, including victims of human 
     trafficking and Federal, State, local, or tribal partners;
       ``(II) making grants available to support training in 
     health care sites that represent diversity in--

       ``(aa) geography;
       ``(bb) the demographics of the population served;
       ``(cc) the predominate types of human trafficking cases; 
     and
       ``(dd) health care provider profiles; and

       ``(III) providing technical assistance to assist grantees 
     in--

       ``(aa) achieving the objectives described in subparagraph 
     (B); and
       ``(bb) reporting on any best practices they identify.
       ``(D) Termination.--The pilot program shall terminate not 
     later than October 1, 2022.
       ``(3) Data collection and reporting requirements.--
       ``(A) Data collection.--During any of the fiscal years 2018 
     through 2022 in which the Secretary carries out any of the 
     authorized initiatives described in paragraph (2)(C), the 
     Secretary shall collect data and report on--
       ``(i) the total number of entities that received a grant 
     under this subsection--

       ``(I) during the previous fiscal year;
       ``(II) between the previous fiscal year and the date of the 
     enactment of this subsection; and
       ``(III) between the date of the enactment of this 
     subsection and the date of the establishment of the Stop, 
     Observe, Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training 
     program that was operating on the day before the date of the 
     enactment of this subsection; and

       ``(ii) the total number of health care providers and other 
     related providers that participated in training supported by 
     the pilot program--

       ``(I) during the previous fiscal year;
       ``(II) between the previous fiscal year and the date of the 
     enactment of this subsection; and
       ``(III) between the date of the enactment of this 
     subsection and the date of the establishment of the Stop, 
     Observe, Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training 
     program that was operating on the day before the date of the 
     enactment of this subsection.

       ``(B) Reporting.--Not later than 90 days after the first 
     day of each of the fiscal years 2018 through 2022, the 
     Secretary shall prepare and submit to Congress a report on 
     the data collected under subparagraph (A).
       ``(C) Sharing best practices.--The Secretary shall make 
     available, on the website of the Department of Health and 
     Human Services, a description of the evidence-based practices 
     and procedures used by entities that receive a grant under 
     the pilot program for carrying out the activities described 
     in paragraph (2)(B).''.

     SEC. 11. IMPROVING THE NATIONAL STRATEGY TO COMBAT HUMAN 
                   TRAFFICKING.

       Section 606(b) of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking 
     Act of 2015 (42 U.S.C. 14044h(b)) is amended by adding at the 
     end the following:
       ``(6) A national strategy to prevent human trafficking and 
     reduce demand for human trafficking victims.''.

     SEC. 12. SPECIALIZED HUMAN TRAFFICKING TRAINING AND TECHNICAL 
                   ASSISTANCE FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS.

       (a) In General.--Section 111 of the Violence Against Women 
     and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (42 
     U.S.C. 14044f) is amended--
       (1) in the heading, by striking ``LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING 
     PROGRAMS'' and inserting ``SPECIALIZED HUMAN TRAFFICKING 
     TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE'';
       (2) in subsection (a)(2), by striking ``means a State or a 
     local government.'' and inserting the following: ``means--
       ``(A) a State or unit of local government;
       ``(B) a federally recognized Indian tribal government, as 
     determined by the Secretary of the Interior;
       ``(C) a victim service provider;
       ``(D) a nonprofit or for-profit organization (including a 
     tribal nonprofit or for-profit organization);
       ``(E) a national organization; or
       ``(F) an institution of higher education (including tribal 
     institutions of higher education).'';
       (3) by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:
       ``(b) Grants Authorized.--The Attorney General may award 
     grants to eligible entities to--
       ``(1) provide training to identify and protect victims of 
     trafficking;
       ``(2) improve quality and quantity of services offered to 
     trafficking survivors; and
       ``(3) improve victim service providers' partnerships with 
     Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies 
     and other relevant entities.''; and
       (4) in subsection (c)--
       (A) in paragraph (2), by striking ``or'' at the end;
       (B) in paragraph (3), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting a semicolon; and
       (C) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
       ``(4) provide technical assistance on the range of services 
     available to victim service providers who serve trafficking 
     victims;
       ``(5) develop and distribute materials, including materials 
     identifying best practices in accordance with Federal law and 
     policies, to support victim service providers working with 
     human trafficking victims;
       ``(6) identify and disseminate other publically available 
     materials in accordance with Federal law to help build 
     capacity of service providers;
       ``(7) provide training at relevant conferences, through 
     webinars, or through other mechanisms in accordance with 
     Federal law; or
       ``(8) assist service providers in developing additional 
     resources such as partnerships with Federal, State, tribal, 
     and local law enforcement agencies and other relevant 
     entities in order to access a range of available services in 
     accordance with Federal law.''.
       (b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--The table of 
     contents in section 2 of the Violence Against Women and 
     Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 
     109-162; 119 Stat. 2960) is amended by striking the item 
     relating to section 111 and inserting the following:

``Sec. 111. Grants for specialized human trafficking training and 
              technical assistance for service providers.''.

     SEC. 13. ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING, CHILD 
                   EXPLOITATION, AND REPEAT OFFENDERS.

       Part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in chapter 77--
       (A) in section 1583(a), in the flush text following 
     paragraph (3), by striking ``not more than 20 years'' and 
     inserting ``not more than 30 years'';
       (B) in section 1587, by striking ``four years'' and 
     inserting ``10 years''; and
       (C) in section 1591(d), by striking ``20 years'' and 
     inserting ``25 years''; and
       (2) in section 2426--
       (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``twice'' and inserting 
     ``3 times''; and
       (B) in subsection (b)(1)(B) by striking ``paragraph (1)'' 
     and inserting ``subparagraph (A)''.

[[Page S3334]]

  


     SEC. 14. TARGETING ORGANIZED HUMAN TRAFFICKING PERPETRATORS.

       Section 521(c) of title 18, United States Code, is 
     amended--
       (1) in paragraph (2), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4);
       (3) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:
       ``(3) a Federal offense involving human trafficking, sexual 
     abuse, sexual exploitation, or transportation for 
     prostitution or any illegal sexual activity; and''; and
       (4) in paragraph (4), as so redesignated, by striking ``(1) 
     or (2)'' and inserting ``(1), (2), or (3)''.

     SEC. 15. INVESTIGATING COMPLEX HUMAN TRAFFICKING NETWORKS.

       Section 2516 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (1)(c)--
       (A) by inserting ``section 1582 (vessels for slave trade), 
     section 1583 (enticement into slavery),'' after ``section 
     1581 (peonage),''; and
       (B) by inserting ``section 1585 (seizure, detention, 
     transportation or sale of slaves), section 1586 (service on 
     vessels in slave trade), section 1587 (possession of slaves 
     aboard vessel), section 1588 (transportation of slaves from 
     United States),'' after ``section 1584 (involuntary 
     servitude),''; and
       (2) in paragraph (2)--
       (A) by striking ``kidnapping human'' and inserting 
     ``kidnapping, human''; and
       (B) by striking ``production, ,'' and inserting 
     ``production, prostitution,''.

     SEC. 16. COMBATING SEX TOURISM.

       Section 2423 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
       (1) in subsection (b), by striking ``for the purpose'' and 
     inserting ``with a motivating purpose''; and
       (2) in subsection (d), by striking ``for the purpose of 
     engaging'' and inserting ``with a motivating purpose of 
     engaging''.

     SEC. 17. HUMAN TRAFFICKING JUSTICE COORDINATORS.

       (a) Human Trafficking Justice Coordinators.--The Attorney 
     General shall designate in each Federal judicial district not 
     less than 1 Assistant United States Attorney to serve as the 
     Human Trafficking Coordinator for the district who, in 
     addition to any other responsibilities, works with a human 
     trafficking victim-witness specialist and shall be 
     responsible for--
       (1) serving as the legal counsel for the Federal judicial 
     district on matters relating to human trafficking;
       (2) prosecuting, or assisting in the prosecution of, human 
     trafficking cases;
       (3) conducting public outreach and awareness activities 
     relating to human trafficking;
       (4) ensuring the collection of data required to be 
     collected under clause (viii) of section 105(d)(7)(Q) of the 
     Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 
     7103(d)(7)(Q)), as added by section 18 of this Act;
       (5) coordinating with other Federal agencies, State, 
     tribal, and local law enforcement agencies, victim service 
     providers, and other relevant non-governmental organizations 
     to build partnerships on activities relating to human 
     trafficking; and
       (6) ensuring the collection of restitution for victims as 
     required to be ordered under section 1593 of title 18, United 
     States Code, and section 2429 of such title, as added by 
     section 3 of this Act.
       (b) Department of Justice Coordinator.--Not later than 60 
     days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney 
     General shall designate an official who shall coordinate 
     human trafficking efforts within the Department of Justice 
     who, in addition to any other responsibilities, shall be 
     responsible for--
       (1) coordinating, promoting, and supporting the work of the 
     Department of Justice relating to human trafficking, 
     including investigation, prosecution, training, outreach, 
     victim support, grant-making, and policy activities;
       (2) in consultation with survivors of human trafficking, 
     compiling, conducting, and disseminating, including making 
     publicly available when appropriate, replication guides and 
     training materials for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, 
     judges, emergency responders, individuals working in victim 
     services, adult and child protective services, social 
     services, and public safety, medical personnel, mental health 
     personnel, financial services personnel, and any other 
     individuals whose work may bring them in contact with human 
     trafficking regarding how to--
       (A) conduct investigations in human trafficking cases;
       (B) address evidentiary issues and other legal issues; and
       (C) appropriately assess, respond to, and interact with 
     victims and witnesses in human trafficking cases, including 
     in administrative, civil, and criminal judicial proceedings; 
     and
       (3) carrying out such other duties as the Attorney General 
     determines necessary in connection with enhancing the 
     understanding, prevention, and detection of, and response to, 
     human trafficking.

     SEC. 18. INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE TO MONITOR AND COMBAT HUMAN 
                   TRAFFICKING.

       Section 105(d)(7)(Q) of the Trafficking Victims Protection 
     Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7103(d)(7)(Q)) is amended--
       (1) in clause (vi), by striking ``and'' at the end; and
       (2) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(viii) the number of convictions obtained under chapter 
     77 of title 18, United States Code, aggregated separately by 
     the form of offense committed with respect to the victim, 
     including recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, 
     providing, obtaining, advertising, maintaining, patronizing, 
     or soliciting a human trafficking victim; and''.

     SEC. 19. ADDITIONAL REPORTING ON CRIME.

       Section 237(b) of the William Wilberforce Trafficking 
     Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (28 U.S.C. 534 
     note) is amended--
       (1) in paragraph (2), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (2) in paragraph (3), by striking the period at the end and 
     inserting a semicolon; and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(4) incidents of assisting or promoting prostitution, 
     child labor that is a violation of law, or forced labor of an 
     individual under the age of 18 as described in paragraph (1); 
     and
       ``(5) incidents of purchasing or soliciting commercial sex 
     acts, child labor that is a violation of law, or forced labor 
     with an individual under the age of 18 as described in 
     paragraph (2).''.

     SEC. 20. MAKING THE PRESIDENTIAL SURVIVOR COUNCIL PERMANENT.

       Section 115 of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act 
     of 2015 (Public Law 114-22; 129 Stat. 243) is amended by 
     striking subsection (h).

     SEC. 21. STRENGTHENING THE NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING 
                   HOTLINE.

       (a) Reporting Requirement.--Section 105(d)(3) of the 
     Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 
     (22 U.S.C. 7103(d)(3)) is amended--
       (1) by inserting ``and providing an annual report on the 
     case referrals received from the national human trafficking 
     hotline by Federal departments and agencies'' after 
     ``international trafficking''; and
       (2) by inserting ``and reporting requirements'' after ``Any 
     data collection procedures''.
       (b) Hotline Information.--Section 107(b)(1)(B)(ii) of such 
     Act (22 U.S.C. 7105(b)(1)(B)(ii)) is amended by adding at the 
     end the following: ``The number of the national human 
     trafficking hotline described in this clause shall be posted 
     in a visible place in all Federal buildings.''.

     SEC. 22. ENDING GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIPS WITH THE COMMERCIAL 
                   SEX INDUSTRY.

       No Federal funds or resources may be used for the operation 
     of, participation in, or partnership with any program that 
     involves the provision of funding or resources to an 
     organization that--
       (1) has the primary purpose of providing adult 
     entertainment; and
       (2) derives profits from the commercial sex trade.

     SEC. 23. STUDY OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM PRIVILEGE.

       Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this 
     Act, the Judicial Conference of the United States shall--
       (1) conduct a study on the necessity and desirability of 
     amending the Federal Rules of Evidence to establish a Federal 
     evidentiary privilege for confidential communications between 
     a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether the 
     victim of human trafficking is a party to a legal action, and 
     a caseworker assisting the victim of human trafficking; and
       (2) submit to Congress a report on the study conducted 
     under paragraph (1).

     SEC. 24. UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF SEVERE FORMS OF 
                   TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS.

       (a) In General.--Title VI of the Justice for Victims of 
     Trafficking Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-22; 129 Stat. 258) is 
     amended by adding at the end the following:

     ``SEC. 607. UNDERSTANDING THE PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL 
                   EFFECTS OF SEVERE FORMS OF TRAFFICKING IN 
                   PERSONS.

       ``(a) In General.--The National Institute of Justice and 
     the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shall jointly 
     conduct a study on the short-term and long-term physical and 
     psychological effects of serious harm (as that term is 
     defined in section 1589(c)(2) and section 1591(e)(4) of title 
     18, United States Code, as amended by the William Wilberforce 
     Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 
     (Public Law 110-457; 122 Stat. 5044)) in order to determine 
     the most effective types of services for individuals who are 
     identified as victims of these crimes, including victims in 
     cases that were not investigated or prosecuted by any law 
     enforcement agency, and how new or current treatment and 
     programming options should be tailored to address the unique 
     needs and barriers associated with these victims.
       ``(b) Report.--Not later than 3 years after the date of 
     enactment of the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017, the 
     National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease 
     Control and Prevention shall make available to the public the 
     results, including any associated recommendations, of the 
     study conducted under subsection (a).''.
       (b) Table of Contents Amendment.--The table of contents in 
     section 1(b) of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 
     2015 (Public Law 114-22; 129 Stat. 227) is amended by 
     inserting after the item relating to section 606 the 
     following:


[[Page S3335]]


``Sec. 607. Understanding the physical and psychological effects of 
              severe forms of trafficking in persons.''.

     SEC. 25. COMBATING TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS.

       (a) Trafficking Victims Prevention Act of 2000 Programs.--
     Section 113 of the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act of 2000 
     (22 U.S.C. 7110) is amended--
       (1) in subsection (b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``2014 through 2017'' and 
     inserting ``2018 through 2022.''; and
       (B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``2014 through 2017'' and 
     inserting ``2018 through 2022''; and
       (2) in subsection (i), by striking ``2014 through 2017'' 
     and inserting ``2018 through 2022''.
       (b) Reinstatement and Reauthorization of Grants to Combat 
     Child Sex Trafficking.--
       (1) Reinstatement of expired provision.--
       (A) In general.--Section 202 of the Trafficking Victims 
     Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 14044a) is 
     amended to read as such section read on March 6, 2017.
       (B) Conforming amendment.--Section 1241(b) of the Violence 
     Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (42 U.S.C. 14004a 
     note) is repealed.
       (2) Effective date.--The amendments made by paragraph (1) 
     shall take effect as though enacted on March 6, 2017.
       (3) Reauthorization.--Section 202(i) of the Trafficking 
     Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, as amended by 
     paragraph (1), is amended to read as follows:
       ``(i) Funding.--For each of the fiscal years 2018 through 
     2022, the Attorney General is authorized to allocate up to 
     $8,000,000 of the amounts appropriated pursuant to section 
     113(d)(1) of the Trafficking Victims Prevention Act of 2000 
     (22 U.S.C. 7110(d)(1)) to carry out this section.''.

     SEC. 26. GRANT ACCOUNTABILITY.

       (a) Definitions.--In this section--
       (1) the term ``covered agency'' means an agency authorized 
     to award grants under this Act;
       (2) the term ``covered grant'' means a grant authorized to 
     be awarded under this Act; and
       (3) the term ``covered official'' means the head of a 
     covered agency.
       (b) Accountability.--All covered grants shall be subject to 
     the following accountability provisions:
       (1) Audit requirement.--
       (A) Definition.--In this paragraph, the term ``unresolved 
     audit finding'' means a finding in the final audit report of 
     the Inspector General of a covered agency that the audited 
     grantee has utilized funds under a covered grant for an 
     unauthorized expenditure or otherwise unallowable cost that 
     is not closed or resolved within 12 months from the date when 
     the final audit report is issued.
       (B) Audits.--Beginning in the first fiscal year beginning 
     after the date of enactment of this Act, and in each fiscal 
     year thereafter, the Inspector General of a covered agency 
     shall conduct audits of recipients of covered grants to 
     prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of funds by grantees. The 
     Inspector General shall determine the appropriate number of 
     grantees to be audited each year.
       (C) Mandatory exclusion.--A recipient of funds under a 
     covered grant that is found to have an unresolved audit 
     finding shall not be eligible to receive funds under a 
     covered grant during the first 2 fiscal years beginning after 
     the end of the 12-month period described in subparagraph (A).
       (D) Priority.--In awarding covered grants, a covered 
     official shall give priority to eligible applicants that did 
     not have an unresolved audit finding during the 3 fiscal 
     years before submitting an application for the covered grant.
       (E) Reimbursement.--If an entity is awarded funds under a 
     covered grant during the 2-fiscal-year period during which 
     the entity is barred from receiving covered grants under 
     subparagraph (C), a covered official shall--
       (i) deposit an amount equal to the amount of the grant 
     funds that were improperly awarded to the grantee into the 
     General Fund of the Treasury; and
       (ii) seek to recoup the costs of the repayment to the fund 
     from the recipient of the covered grant that was erroneously 
     awarded grant funds.
       (2) Nonprofit organization requirements.--
       (A) Definition.--For purposes of this paragraph and each 
     covered grant program, the term ``nonprofit organization'' 
     means an organization that is described in section 501(c)(3) 
     of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and is exempt from 
     taxation under section 501(a) of such Code.
       (B) Prohibition.--A covered grant may not be awarded to a 
     nonprofit organization that holds money in offshore accounts 
     for the purpose of avoiding paying the tax described in 
     section 511(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
       (C) Disclosure.--Each nonprofit organization that is 
     awarded a covered grant and uses the procedures prescribed in 
     regulations to create a rebuttable presumption of 
     reasonableness for the compensation of its officers, 
     directors, trustees, and key employees, shall disclose to the 
     applicable covered official, in the application for the 
     covered grant, the process for determining such compensation, 
     including the independent persons involved in reviewing and 
     approving such compensation, the comparability data used, and 
     contemporaneous substantiation of the deliberation and 
     decision. Upon request, a covered official shall make the 
     information disclosed under this subparagraph available for 
     public inspection.
       (3) Conference expenditures.--
       (A) Limitation.--No amounts made available to a covered 
     agency to carry out a covered grant program may be used by a 
     covered official, or by any individual or entity awarded 
     discretionary funds through a cooperative agreement under a 
     covered grant program, to host or support any expenditure for 
     conferences that uses more than $20,000 in funds made 
     available by the covered agency, unless the covered official 
     provides prior written authorization that the funds may be 
     expended to host the conference.
       (B) Written approval.--Written approval under subparagraph 
     (A) shall include a written estimate of all costs associated 
     with the conference, including the cost of all food, 
     beverages, audio-visual equipment, honoraria for speakers, 
     and entertainment.
       (C) Report.--
       (i) Department of justice.--The Deputy Attorney General 
     shall submit an annual report to the appropriate committees 
     of Congress on all conference expenditures approved under 
     this paragraph.
       (ii) Department of health and human services.--The Deputy 
     Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit to the 
     appropriate committees of Congress an annual report on all 
     conference expenditures approved under this paragraph.
       (iii) Department of homeland security.--The Deputy 
     Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the 
     appropriate committees of Congress an annual report on all 
     conference expenditures approved under this paragraph.
       (4) Annual certification.--Beginning in the first fiscal 
     year beginning after the date of enactment of this Act, each 
     covered official shall submit to the appropriate committees 
     of Congress an annual certification--
       (A) indicating whether--
       (i) all audits issued by the Office of the Inspector 
     General of the applicable covered agency under paragraph (1) 
     have been completed and reviewed by the appropriate official;
       (ii) all mandatory exclusions required under paragraph 
     (1)(C) have been issued; and
       (iii) all reimbursements required under paragraph (1)(E) 
     have been made; and
       (B) that includes a list of any recipients of a covered 
     grant excluded under paragraph (1) from the previous year.
       (c) Preventing Duplicative Grants.--
       (1) In general.--Before a covered official awards a covered 
     grant, the covered official shall compare potential awards 
     under the covered grant program with other covered grants 
     awarded to determine if duplicate grant awards are awarded 
     for the same purpose.
       (2) Report.--If a covered official awards duplicate covered 
     grants to the same applicant for the same purpose the covered 
     official shall submit to the appropriate committees of 
     Congress a report that includes--
       (A) a list of all duplicate covered grants awarded, 
     including the total dollar amount of any duplicate covered 
     grants awarded; and
       (B) the reason the covered official awarded the duplicate 
     covered grants.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. GRASSLEY (for himself, Mrs. Feinstein, Mr. Cornyn, Ms. 
        Klobuchar, Mr. Corker, and Mr. Rubio):
  S. 1312. A bill to prioritize the fight against human trafficking in 
the United States; to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, this week, I am introducing a bill known 
as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017. I want to thank 
Senators Feinstein, Cornyn, Klobuchar, Corker and Rubio for joining as 
original cosponsors. I also want to thank the many organizations that 
support this bill and worked so closely with us on its development; 
they include Rights4Girls, Polaris, the ATEST Coalition, Shared Hope 
International, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 
the National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators, and the 
National District Attorneys Association.
  As its title implies, our legislation is aimed at combating the 
terrible scourge of human trafficking in the United States. To call 
trafficking victims' suffering a grave violation of our most basic 
human rights would be an understatement. Trafficking is a life-
shattering crime that too-often goes unnoticed, despite the profound 
injury it inflicts on its victims and our society. Traffickers 
typically operate in the shadows, making it hard to identify them as 
well as their victims. That invisibility makes it harder still to 
rescue the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.
  But there are some things we do know about human trafficking, and we 
know them with some certainty. We know, for example, that trafficking 
is happening in rural areas, in cities, and in the suburbs. It is not 
confined to any

[[Page S3336]]

one area, because it has become so profitable. It has become a problem 
of national significance.
  To be sure, we have made some strides in combating this terrible 
crime since the passage of the original Trafficking Victims Protection 
Act, or TVPA, over 15 years ago. The TVPA, last reauthorized in 2013, 
authorizes some very important programs to help victims. The bill I'm 
introducing this week updates and extends a number of these programs, 
which are under the jurisdiction of the Departments of Justice and 
Labor. Senator Cornyn this week is introducing a complementary bill 
that would reauthorize other TVPA programs, including those at the 
Departments of Health and Homeland Security.
  This is not the first time we have collaborated on this subject. Two 
years ago, Senator Cornyn sponsored, and I cosponsored, another 
important measure, known as the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. 
As chair of the Judiciary Committee, I made that 2015 law's passage a 
top priority for our Committee and fought for its enactment. It 
established a new fund to help cover survivors' services and also 
equipped law enforcement with new tools to fight traffickers. The 
services authorized under this 2015 statute are crucial to helping 
survivors rebuild their lives with dignity.
  The bill that I am introducing this week is a critical next step in 
ensuring that human trafficking is prevented, its perpetrators 
prosecuted, and its victims protected. This bill, drafted with 
bipartisan support, would require more training for investigative 
personnel at the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. It also 
extends a grant program by which school personnel can receive training 
to recognize and respond to signs of trafficking in our educational 
system.
  This bill also offers increased assistance to prosecutors and law 
enforcement agencies in their fight against human trafficking. For 
instance, it authorizes the Secret Service to offer investigative and 
forensic assistance to other crime fighting agencies. And it updates 
key provisions of the Missing Children's Assistance Act, which 
authorizes the important work of the National Center for Missing and 
Exploited Children. The Center operates a cyber tipline by which 
internet service providers can report child sexual abuse.
  Additionally, the bill I am introducing signals Congress' continued 
support for services available to trafficking victims who cooperate 
with federal law enforcement in trafficking investigations. 
Specifically, the bill authorizes an Office of Victim Assistance within 
the Department of Homeland Security. This office, which is staffed with 
specially trained victim assistance personnel, plays a crucial role in 
securing victims' cooperation with trafficking investigations.
  Finally, this bill would promote the collection of more data on 
trafficking, and it would promote increased coordination among the 
federal agencies engaged in combating this crime. Meaningful 
partnerships at the federal level can help expand awareness, leverage 
expertise, and facilitate creative solutions.
  In closing, I urge my colleagues to support this important 
legislation. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I am pleased to join Senator Grassley 
in introducing the Trafficking Victims' Protection Act of 2017.
  Last week, I met with a remarkable group of anti-trafficking 
stakeholders in Fresno, California, who reinforced what I have long 
held to be true: stamping out the horrific crime of human trafficking 
must be among our top priorities as lawmakers. At our meeting, Central 
Valley law enforcement, service providers and, most importantly, 
survivors of human trafficking educated me about the nature and 
prevalence of sex and labor trafficking in the Central Valley. I 
learned that counties like Fresno and Tulare serve as key stops along 
major California trafficking circuits, with victims as young as 10-
years-old being shipped to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and beyond. I also 
learned that in 2016 alone, Fresno Police arrested more than 140 sex 
buyers and traffickers. This tells me that the demand for trafficking 
is far too high. Central Valley law enforcement and service providers 
are working together to reduce this demand, crack down on traffickers, 
and better serve victims, through a unique, highly-coordinated and 
victim-centered approach that I believe ought to be emulated 
nationwide.
  Over the past seven years they have teamed up to identify and 
critically to provide comprehensive services to nearly 500 trafficking 
victims. When Central Valley law enforcement took down a trafficking 
ring last year, the ring leader and two of his associates were arrested 
and prosecuted, and approximately 50 victims were rescued, including 23 
children. These victims were all provided with wraparound services, and 
the ring leader was sentenced to 40 years in prison. This is the kind 
of coordinated, victim centered work we need to support and replicate 
nationwide. The Trafficking Victims' Protection Act of 2017 aims to do 
that.
  I have now met with law enforcement, service providers and survivors 
representing Southern, Central and Northern California. All have made 
one thing abundantly clear: lawmakers at all levels of government must 
commit whatever time and resources are needed to thwart this horrendous 
crime.
  Over the past two decades, Congress has taken action to combat human 
trafficking. We passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 
and, 8 years later, passed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims 
Protection Reauthorization Act. And two years ago, Congress passed the 
Justice for Victims of Human Trafficking Act--a landmark piece of 
legislation. The law focuses on reducing demand, rescuing victims, 
educating law enforcement and judges, and making sure that trafficking 
enterprises are put out of business. But it is clear that our work is 
far from done. The human trafficking industry continues to be one of 
the biggest criminal enterprises in the world and it is constantly 
evolving. The use of the internet to sell children for sex has 
escalated dramatically over the past several years.
  In my home State, District Attorney Nancy O'Malley and her pioneering 
anti-trafficking team identified 47,719 internet users looking to 
purchase sex in Alameda County alone during a single month. Many of the 
victims posted on these sites are underage. In one survivor study, a 
staggering 75% of minor sex trafficking victims reported being bought 
or sold online. And last year, the Washington Post reported devastating 
accounts about human trafficking is also committed by Islamic State 
fighters, who sell young girls over platforms such as Facebook.
  The bill that Senator Grassley and I have introduced includes a 
provision that would give to law enforcement an additional tool to 
prevent human traffickers from accessing the internet and other tech 
platforms to sell minors for commercial sex. Under current current law, 
it is a criminal offense to advertise commercial sex acts with a minor. 
This legislation would add civil injunction authority to the criminal 
provision, providing the Department of Justice with a more readily 
accessible tool to deny human traffickers access to tech platforms to 
commit trafficking crimes. The bill also supports and strengthens 
efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to human trafficking crimes.
  It allows school resource officers at schools to train school 
personnel to recognize and respond to signs of child sex trafficking. 
This is important because kids are often recruited at schools. In one 
heartbreaking case in Oakland, California, a 12-year-old student with 
top grades suddenly changed her normal behavior. She stopped completing 
her assignments, became withdrawn, and began wearing provocative 
clothing. Eventually, she stopped going to school altogether. Her 
parents contacted the school looking for her, but no one was able to 
locate her. She was discovered 24 hours later on an online sex 
advertisement based out of Los Angeles. This 12-year-old girl had been 
groomed by a trafficker--but no one was able to recognize the signs of 
exploitation. Teachers and school personnel interact with these kids 
every day. They are critical in recognizing which kids are at risk or 
are about to become exploited. We need to be sure that they are 
familiar with the patterns and practices of human traffickers, and know 
how to identify and respond to suspected victims.
  In addition to working with Chairman Grassley on the reauthorization

[[Page S3337]]

bill, I am also pleased to cosponsor Senator Cornyn and Senator 
Klobuchar's Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017. One of the most 
important provisions of this bill is the mandatory designation of at 
least one Human Trafficking Justice Coordinator in each United States 
Attorney's Office. This is critical to ensure that our judicial system 
treats human trafficking offenses with the seriousness they deserve. 
Among other responsibilities, this Coordinator will be responsible for 
assisting in the prosecution of human trafficking cases. This includes 
the prosecution of those who solicit minors for commercial sex, a 
change in the law that was enacted in the Justice for Victims of 
Trafficking Act.
  In 2015, former United States Attorney Eileen Decker conducted one of 
the first federal prosecutions of a buyer under this new statute. The 
buyer, a 59-year-old man from Torrance, admitted to lying to federal 
prosecutors about his conduct with a 16-year-old girl he met online and 
hired for commercial sex acts. He was sentenced to 57 months in prison. 
Former United States Attorney Decker remarked that this case should 
serve as a warning to adults who engage in this type of criminal 
conduct.
  It is critical that such prosecutions continue. Stemming the abuse 
and exploitation of trafficking requires confronting not only the 
predatory suppliers, but also those who solicit young girls for 
commercial sex. The designation of a Human Trafficking Justice 
Coordinator would ensure that those who violate human trafficking 
offenses, both buyers and sellers, are prosecuted to the fullest extent 
of the law. The Human Justice Trafficking Coordinator would also be 
responsible for ensuring the collection of restitution for victims.
  Restitution for trafficking victims is mandatory under federal law. 
Moreover, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act requires the 
Justice Department to train prosecutors to seek restitution for 
trafficking victims, regardless of whether the victim requests 
restitution. Yet, we continue to see our judicial system failing to do 
right by victims. In a 2015 law review article, the Human Trafficking 
Pro Bono Legal Center reported on the appallingly low rates of 
restitution orders in human trafficking prosecutions. In a study of 
federal human trafficking cases brought over a four period, federal 
courts failed to order restitution in nearly two-thirds of cases 
involving sex trafficking offenses. And shockingly, they found that the 
victims least likely to obtain restitution orders were children 
trafficked in the sex industry. Less than one in three defendants who 
commit sex trafficking offenses against children were ordered to pay 
restitution to their victims. This is unacceptable.
  Furthermore, even if restitution is ordered against a trafficker, 
restitution itself is not being effectively collected. In response the 
requests from the Judiciary Committee, the Attorney General included 
restitution order and collection data in the Department of Justice's 
report on trafficking for fiscal year 2015. Of the $4,268,358 ordered 
in restitution in 2015, only $987 was collected.
  While we may not expect to see full restitution collected in the year 
it is ordered, it is shocking that the total restitution collected is 
less than 1% of what was ordered.
  That is why we have tried to include additional restitution 
provisions in the bill to better support victims. For example, there is 
an additional provision in the bill to update the Combat Human 
Trafficking Act of 2015, a bill that I authored with Senator Portman. 
That bill mandated extensive training on restitution for prosecutors 
and judges. It is our hope that with these updates--and with the recent 
enactment of the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 to make 
sure that prosecutors are held accountable in seeking restitution--
victims will be better supported going forward. I am hopeful that we 
will be able to pass these bipartisan bills this Congress. I urge my 
colleagues in this body to support the passage of this important, 
comprehensive legislation to protect trafficking victims.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. CASSIDY (for himself, Mrs. Gillibrand, and Mrs. Capito):
  S. 1313. A bill to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, 
and for other purposes; to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban 
Affairs.
  Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I thank the senior Senator from 
Louisiana for working with me on the flood insurance bill that we are 
introducing today. This issue is so important to both of our States 
because both of our States have experienced enormous levels of flooding 
every year due to extreme weather.
  In New York, after Superstorm Sandy hit our State, millions of homes 
and businesses were damaged by flooding that occurred. My colleague 
from Louisiana could go on and on and will tell you about flood damage 
his own constituents have had to endure, so it should be clear to 
everyone here that it is not a partisan issue.
  Flooding can happen anywhere, in any State, from the Northeast to the 
gulf coast and everywhere else. Protecting our communities from the 
devastation that comes from flooding should be one of our highest 
priorities in this Chamber.
  Unfortunately, the National Flood Insurance Program has not been 
doing its job very well. Too many families who have had their 
properties damaged in a flood or even destroyed in a flood have paid 
their flood insurance premiums year after year only to find out there 
was some loophole that prevented them from getting the coverage they 
need. We cannot turn our backs and allow this to keep happening.
  The bipartisan bill I have written with the Senator from Louisiana 
would ensure that flood insurance is more affordable for homeowners. It 
would make sure the Flood Insurance Program is no longer riddled with 
loopholes that leave our homeowners stranded and fighting with 
insurance companies on their own, all while trying to recover and 
rebuild from the flood damage. It would finally give homeowners the 
peace of mind that flood insurance rates will actually be affordable so 
that low- and moderate-income homeowners are not priced out of their 
homes because of extreme rate increases.
  Our bill would also fund more projects to protect homes and 
communities from flood risk in the first place. Our bill would more 
than double the amount of funding a homeowner can receive for raising 
the elevation of their home, which is a proven way to protect against 
floods in certain areas, and it would provide more funding for FEMA's 
flood mitigation program. Those funds are used by States and local 
communities to plan and carry out projects that help manage flood risk 
to homes and other structures.
  After Superstorm Sandy hit New York, too many families in my State 
experienced what amounted to a disaster after that disaster. They 
encountered engineering fraud. They had to deal with excessive delays 
and widespread underpayment of claims. This was shameful and totally 
unacceptable, especially for a program specifically designed to help 
people in their greatest time of need. So I am particularly pleased 
that this bill would fix some of the fundamental flaws in the National 
Flood Insurance Program's claims and appeals process that harmed so 
many of my constituents.
  Our bill would prohibit engineering reports from being altered by 
anyone other than the person who inspected the home. That was one of 
the main causes of fraud for many homeowners in my State. It would 
require FEMA to have more direct oversight over the litigation costs 
and engineering costs that are billed to the government. It would 
repeal the onerous earth movement exemption, which too often has been 
used to deny flood claims to families who desperately need the payments 
after a flood.
  Our bill also would ensure that engineers and insurance companies are 
not shielded from legal liability when they do commit fraud, which, 
unfortunately, was much more common than anyone would even think.
  The Flood Insurance Program expires on September 30 of this year, and 
it is absolutely vital that we reauthorize it with strong reforms that 
protect homeowners. We need to do everything we can to ensure that the 
Flood Insurance Program is affordable, sustainable, transparent, and 
accountable. This is our chance to do that now.

[[Page S3338]]

  This is a good bipartisan bill, and I urge all of my colleagues on 
both sides of the aisle to join us in making these important reforms to 
the National Flood Insurance Program.
  I yield the floor now to my colleague from Louisiana.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from New York for 
yielding, as well as for the tremendous work she and our staffs have 
done together on the Flood Insurance Affordability and Sustainability 
Act of 2017.
  There is a capriciousness of flooding which makes the National Flood 
Insurance Program so important. You can have a mountaintop village next 
to a dry gulch. If there is a sudden flash flood, folks who have lived 
there 100 years suddenly find their 100-year-old homes destroyed. The 
NFIP helps rebuild the lives of those who are so affected.
  The Flood Insurance Program is critical, not just to that mountaintop 
village but, by extension, our entire country. The economic impact of 
flooding extends far beyond real estate transactions to the fundamental 
vitality of communities and the workforce that operates our ports, 
develops and refines our domestic energy, and produces our seafood and 
agriculture for global consumption. It just makes sense.
  Most towns started on the coast and on riverways because that is how 
goods were transported, and the history of these waterside communities 
is what makes them, one, economically vital, but, two, also makes them 
susceptible to flooding. I will note that the Presiding Officer's State 
of Pennsylvania, I believe, has among the most incidents of flooding in 
our country--principally because there are so many riverine systems. 
There is a valley with a river. If the water rises quickly, that 
riverside community is flooded. Look at my State of Louisiana. It 
relies on an accessible and affordable flood insurance program, but 
that benefits the country.
  Louisiana is the No. 1 producer of offshore oil and gas, producing 
over 15 percent of our Nation's domestic energy supply. That is 15 
percent of our Nation's domestic energy supply. It is home to the 
second largest refining capacity in petrochemical industry. The Gulf of 
Mexico is home to 11 of the top 20 U.S. ports by cargo volume, and we 
have one of the largest seafood industries in the world. After 
Hurricane Katrina, when our port facilities were affected and the 
farmers in the Upper Missouri suddenly could not get their crop to 
international markets, it shows the importance of our ports for our 
entire economy.
  The National Flood Insurance Program allows folks in my State to 
participate in a working coast that gets that energy inland and gets 
those products in the international market, and this is what provides 
the value-added contribution to our domestic economy. Since the 
creation of the National Flood Insurance Program, people in Louisiana 
paid over $5 billion in flood insurance premiums, but, unfortunately, 
we have suffered some of the greatest losses after Hurricanes Katrina, 
Rita, Gustov, Isaac, and the flooding of the great Louisiana floods of 
last March and August.
  While the NFIP has a deficit of $24 billion--according to FEMA's 
premium and payout data--the NFIP would have had a surplus if we remove 
the 2005 loss year, including the losses incurred after Superstorm 
Sandy. I will also note that New Orleans flooded because federally 
built floodwalls designed to protect those businesses and families were 
constructed in a faulty way. This has been recognized, and their 
failure is what led to the expense. I am not here to say that NFIP 
doesn't need reforms--it needs reforms--but to underscore the fact that 
the program has worked for many years despite its failings. We need to 
reauthorize the NFIP and use the opportunity to improve the program, 
make it more affordable, transferring more risk to the private sector 
at a lower cost, increase investment mitigation, modernizing flood 
mapping to produce greater accuracy, and improve the transparency and 
accountability of all the participants that operate and administer the 
program.
  There are a number of constituencies interested in long-term 
reauthorization of NFIP. Senator Gillibrand and I know that the issue 
of flooding crosses party and geographical lines. We wanted to set the 
right bipartisan tone as Congress begins to debate the issue by 
introducing our bill, the Flood Insurance Affordability and 
Sustainability Act. We hope the legislation will contribute to the 
ongoing discussion and work the committees of jurisdiction are 
conducting as we move toward reauthorization of the NFIP and with the 
needed reforms that enhance affordability and sustainability of the 
program.
  Senator Gillibrand and her staff are passionate advocates for an 
affordable and sustainable flood insurance program. I am glad to work 
with her on this issue. We have listened to many stakeholders: bankers, 
realtors, homebuilders, flood plain managers, insurers, reinsurers, 
mapping experts, local government officials, financial experts and, 
most importantly, homeowners who work on our working coast and who have 
so much invested in making sure they can live and raise their families 
in a way which has protection from the capriciousness of flooding.
  I thank my colleague from New York, as well as Senator Capito, for 
her contribution to this legislation and process.
                                 ______
                                 
      By Mr. KAINE (for himself and Mr. WARNER):
  S. 1314. A bill to amend the Natural Gas Act to bolster fairness and 
transparency in consideration of interstate natural gas pipelines, to 
provide for greater public input opportunities, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President. Today I am introducing a bipartisan bill to 
make the process of siting natural gas pipelines fairer and more 
transparent.
  For some time now, I have been listening to Virginians with 
passionate views on the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley 
Pipelines. For various reasons, many oppose one or both of these 
projects, while others support these projects. The Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, FERC, is tasked with analyzing all the issues--
purpose and need for a project, impacts on 2 'people living on the 
route, potential risks to the environment or property--and deciding 
what course best serves the public interest.
  From listening to all sides, I have concluded that while reasonable 
people may reach different conclusions, FERC's public input process is 
flawed and could be better. Accordingly, this legislation proposes 
several steps to address several shortcomings, all of which were 
originally brought to my attention by Virginia constituents. For 
instance, this bill requires programmatic analysis of pipelines 
proposed around the same time and in the same geographic vicinity so 
that the full impacts of multiple projects can be analyzed. It requires 
a greater number of public comment meetings so that citizens are not 
required to commute long distances to meetings at which they must speed 
through just a few minutes of remarks on these complex topics. And it 
clarifies the circumstances under which eminent domain should and 
should not be used.
  I am pleased to be joined by my colleague Senator Mark Warner on this 
bill, and our Virginia Republican colleague Representative Morgan 
Griffith is preparing a similar bill in the House of Representatives. 
While our views may differ on many aspects of energy policy, we can all 
agree that the public deserves reasonable opportunity to weigh in on 
energy infrastructure projects and that this process can be fairer and 
more transparent without mandating a particular outcome.
  I encourage the Senate to consider this legislation, not to pave the 
way for pipelines nor to throw up insurmountable roadblocks to them--
but to give the public greater certainty that the federal government's 
infrastructure decisions are fair and transparent.

                          ____________________