COUNTERING IRAN'S DESTABILIZING ACTIVITIES ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 101
(Senate - June 14, 2017)

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[Pages S3462-S3484]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
Senate will resume consideration of S. 722, which the clerk will 
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 722) to impose sanctions with respect to Iran in 
     relation to Iran's ballistic missile program, support for 
     acts of international terrorism, and violations of human 
     rights, and for other purposes.


       McConnell (for Crapo) modified amendment No. 232, to impose 
     sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation and to 
     combat terrorism and illicit financing.

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the time 
until 2 p.m. will be equally divided in the usual form.
  The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the Countering 
Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which passed the Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee last month by a vote of 18 to 3.
  I would like to thank the members of our committee and the coauthors 
of this bill for working in a constructive, bipartisan fashion to craft 
this legislation. I think it is a good example of how the Senate can 
still work together to tackle complex and difficult issues.
  I was in the SCIF recently--it is a place where Senators go to read 
classified information--reviewing intelligence. It truly is 
astounding--I know the Acting President pro tempore knows this well--
what Iran continues to do around the world. For a people who are 
capable of so much, their foreign policy is shockingly counter to their 
own interests. We see destabilizing act after destabilizing act, from 
missile launches to arms transfers, to terrorist training, to illicit 
financial activities, to targeting Navy ships and detaining American 
citizens. The list goes on and on, and it is past time for us to take 
steps to protect the interests of the United States and our allies.

  This bill is the first time Congress has come together since the 
JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal, to do just that. For far too long the 
agreement--which I strongly opposed, as did our ranking member, as did 
our Acting President pro tempore--has dictated U.S. policy throughout 
the Middle East.
  It is worth noting that the JCPOA is not unlike the Paris climate 
accord. I don't think many people in our country nor many people in 
this body realize it is a nonbinding political agreement that was 
entered into by one man using Presidential Executive authority and can 
easily be undone by one man using Presidential Executive authority. In 
fact, in many ways it is easier than the Paris accords, considering the 
President doesn't have to take action to exit this agreement. I don't 
think most Americans understand that he doesn't even have to take 
action to exit the agreement. All he has to do is decline to waive 
sanctions. I think that has been missed. I know the Acting President 
pro tempore is very aware of that. I know the ranking member is very 
aware of that. No matter what the President decides, this bill makes it 
clear that Congress intends to remain involved and will hold Iran 
accountable for their nonnuclear destabilizing activities.
  What the nuclear agreement failed to do was allow us to push back 
against terrorism, human rights issues, there are violations of U.N. 
Security Council resolutions relative to ballistic missile testing, and 
to push back against conventional arms purchases which they are not 
supposed to be involved in. As many of us predicted at the time, Iran's 
rogue behavior has only escalated since implementation of the 
agreement, and this bipartisan bill will give the administration tools 
for holding Tehran accountable.
  Let me say this. I don't think there is anybody in this Chamber who 
doesn't believe the Trump administration--and I know there has been a 
lot of disagreements recently about foreign policy issues in the 
administration--but I don't think there is anybody here who believes 
they are not going to do everything they can to push back against these 
destabilizing activities. What we will be doing today and tomorrow with 
passage of this legislation is standing hand in hand with them as they 
do that. It also sends an important signal that the United States will 
no longer look the other way in the face of continued Iran aggression.
  I want to recognize the important work of my colleagues in making 
this legislation possible. Senator Menendez has been a champion for 
holding Iran accountable in this bill but also in decades of work on 
this issue. He is truly an asset to the Senate, and I thank him for his 
commitment to many issues but especially this one. Senators Cotton, 
Rubio, and Cruz all played an important role in crafting this 
legislation as well.
  Finally, let me say this. This would not have been possible without 
the support and tireless effort of the ranking member, Senator Cardin, 
and his great staff. It has truly been a pleasure for me to work with 
him on the Russia bill that we will be voting on today at 2 p.m. but 
also this legislation--we have come from two very different places, 
representing two very different States, and yet are joined by the fact 
that we care deeply about making sure the foreign policy of this 
country is in the national interests of our citizens and that we as a 
Congress and as U.S. Senators are doing everything we can to help write 
positive foreign policy. I thank him for that, and I am proud of the 
strong bipartisan momentum behind this legislation, which his 
leadership has helped to happen, and I look forward to passage of this 
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, let me return the compliment to Senator 
  Senator Corker announced in his opening remarks about the bipartisan 
vote in our committee on the Iran sanctions bill. In the last Congress, 
we were able to get a unanimous vote on the Iran bill. We, under the 
leadership of Senator Corker, fully recognized that particularly on 
foreign policy, our country is much stronger when we speak with a 
united voice, so bringing Democrats and Republicans together is in our 
national interest.
  Senator Corker has listened to different views. He and I do have 
different views on many issues concerning foreign policy, but in almost 
every one of those cases, we have been able to reconcile those 
differences. That is true and it was very clear on the Iran sanctions 
and it is also very true on the Russia sanctions amendment that we will 
be voting on later today.
  To Senator Corker, I just want my colleagues to know we have a leader 
on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who puts America's national 
interests first and has respected the rights of every Senator, not only 
in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but in the U.S. Senate, that 
can add to the richness of our discussions and debate. I think we are 
much stronger today because of that. This is a good example of that, 
and I am very proud to be supportive of all these efforts and 
supportive of how this came about because I think it is important for 
our colleagues and the American people to know about that.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. President, Senator Corker and I both want to express, before we 
start our debate on this issue, our concerns for our colleagues who 
were victimized by the shooting that took place in Virginia--an 
outrageous event--and for our security people as well as the innocent 
bystanders who were struck by the gunfire. Our prayers are with those 
who are recovering. We hope they will have a complete recovery. We are 
committed to making sure we keep our Senate and congressional family 
safe, and we will do everything we can to make sure that takes place. 
We will continue to work to make sure we preserve the democratic ideals 
of this Nation and the free society we live in. We know there are 
rifts, and we know we can do service and stand by those democratic 
commitments but also keep America safe.

[[Page S3463]]

  I think the work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had those 
goals in mind, and Senator Corker, through the Chair, I thank you for 
your attention to those details.
  Mr. President, let me talk for a few minutes about S. 722, the 
Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act. This bill will impose 
new sanctions on Iran for its nonnuclear violations. I want to make 
that clear--nonnuclear violations. Their responsibilities on the 
nuclear side is now judged by the nuclear agreement that was entered 
into. We had a great debate about it last year, and we are not going to 
rehash that debate. I think every Member of this Chamber wants to make 
sure Iran complies with its nuclear obligations, but that is a separate 
  The debate we have here is on the nonnuclear activities of Iran that 
violate international norms and international agreements. We saw, for 
example, ballistic missile tests that violated their U.N. obligations 
that took place in January and in March.
  We have seen a significant increase in illicit arms shipments being 
done by Iran, causing destabilizing activities in many parts of the 
region. We see it in Bahrain. We see it in Yemen. We see it in Iraq. We 
know they are supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon. We see they are 
supporting Hamas in Gaza, and we know about their activities in support 
of the Assad regime in Syria. This all violates international norms.
  Iran today has violated, in an incredible way, human rights issues 
that violate international norms. Yesterday we saw a part of the impact 
of that as we had a debate on the Saudi arms sale, and we can argue the 
Saudi's culpability with what is going on in Yemen, but there is no 
question about Iran's activities supporting the Houthis in Yemen 
causing atrocities in that country. They are clearly very actively 
engaged in violating internationally recognized human rights. We also 
see cyber attacks on the United States that have come from Iran, and 
they are detaining at least five U.S. citizens today illegally.
  There are increased activities in Iran in relation to the nonnuclear 
side of their activities. For that reason, S. 722 looks at 
strengthening the sanctions regime so we can make it clear, yes, we 
will comply with the JCPOA, the nuclear agreement, but we need to have 
better activities--improvement on the nonnuclear side.
  Basically, the bill increases the sanctions menus that are available 
for ballistic missile violations, for support of terrorism, for human 
rights violations, and for violating the arms embargo. Those who 
knowingly do those violations or materially assist will be subject to 
additional sanctions by the United States.
  We codify the IRGC, that was done by Executive order, and we codify 
some of these other Executive orders as it relates to Iran. We 
coordinate. This is done in a way that it coordinates with what Europe 
is doing and making sure it is a consistent approach that we have taken 
in the past.
  We ask the administration to develop a regional strategy so the 
Congress and the American people know our policies in the Middle East. 
That provision was drafted before the Trump administration. This is a 
desire by Congress to have a better articulated regional strategy, 
recognizing the dangers in that region. Iran is a major player in the 
region against U.S. interests, and we need to know what our strategy is 
in confronting those challenges. Quite frankly, with the Trump 
administration, we haven't heard that coordinated strategy, and this 
legislation will require that report be given not just to Congress on a 
regular basis but to the American people.
  I want to underscore how this agreement is totally consistent with 
the nuclear agreement that was entered into 2 years ago--the JCPOA, as 
it is referred to. I want to go through quickly how this came about. 
Senator Corker talked a little bit about it.
  Senator Corker is absolutely correct. Senator Menendez has been a 
leader on Iran sanctions way before this Congress. He was very much 
involved in the original sanctions legislation passed by Congress. That 
led to putting enough pressure on the international community to join 
us, which ultimately led to Iran having no choice but to negotiate. 
Senator Corker and Senator Menendez had introduced legislation that was 
out there, and we had a chance to review it, which is how the process 
should work. As a result of that review, both Senator Corker, Senator 
Menendez, and I--all three of us--reached out to interested groups to 
understand what the Congress has done. Many of the people we talked to 
were involved in the negotiations with Iran who had different views 
than we did on the final outcome of that agreement, but we wanted to 
make sure we weren't violating any of the provisions of the JCPOA so we 
sought their input. As a result, there was revised legislation that was 
offered known as Corker-Menendez-Cardin, which incorporated the ideas 
of all three of us, but really the outside groups working with us, to 
make sure it was totally consistent with the JCPOA and consistent with 
the intent of the original bill. I think that bill was well scrubbed. I 
think it did not violate the JCPOA, but we went through another 
process, another review, another opportunity for those who could 
perhaps see things we don't see quite as clearly when it comes to Iran 
and our European allies. We went through a second scrubbing, and we had 
a managers' amendment that was offered in the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee that tightened the bill up even more dealing with those 
  I think I can state very confidently that there is nothing in the 
underlying bill that violates the U.S. commitment under the JCPOA 
nuclear agreement. It is my intent, and I think the intent of almost 
every member of this committee that the United States should comply 
with the JCPOA. Even though I didn't support it, I think it is 
important we comply with it today.
  The other aspect I wanted to go through is that--and I don't want to 
give the wrong impression. There are people who are involved in the 
negotiations of the nuclear agreement who would state--some would say 
they oppose the bill, some might say it is not helpful, some might say 
Iran might take it the wrong way. Any one of those arguments aside, I 
do not think you will find anyone who says that it violates the JCPOA.

  I want to give a little bit of history here because this was 
anticipated, that we would need this bill, when we acted on the JCPOA, 
by those of us who supported and opposed the nuclear agreement.
  As the chairman will recall, shortly after the failure to reject the 
JCPOA--that action--I filed additional legislation that I thought was 
necessary, along with many of my colleagues, who voted for and voted 
against the JCPOA. I voted against it. Those who voted for it thought 
it was necessary. It included the regional strategy so that we would 
know what the administration was doing. We expedited procedures to deal 
with nonnuclear violations if Iran used the sanction relief they got 
under the nuclear agreement to increase their terrorist activities or 
ballistic missile activities or human rights violations. In fact, they 
have done that, and that is why we filed the bill right after the 
action on the nuclear agreement.
  This is consistent with what we thought would be necessary. Yes, we 
had hoped Iran would change its activities, but we were not naive about 
it. We knew that this was going to be a long road. We knew that Iran 
did not respond to niceties and that we were going to have to keep the 
pressure up for them to be able to take the action that was needed.
  I know many of us were encouraged when we saw the votes a couple of 
weeks ago in Iran whereby the Iranians voted for a more open society, a 
more transparent society. I must say that Iran has a wonderful history 
of very talented people who want democratic principles, and I am sure 
that is true among many of the people in Iran today. It is their 
leaders with whom we have an objection, not with the people of Iran. 
The people of Iran want a more open, democratic society. This 
legislation will help get to that point by making it clear to the 
leaders in Iran that they must change their behavior as it relates to 
terrorism, as it relates to human rights violations, as it relates to 
their other international obligations. That is the reason this bill has 
become so important.
  Let me give one more example on the consistency.
  There are many provisions that we have changed. One is that we all 
acknowledge that the United States and

[[Page S3464]]

our partners are fully at liberty to take action against Iran for 
terrorist activities, which is not part of the nuclear agreement, but 
there is some confusion as to how that is done in relationship to the 
sanctions relief that is provided under the JCPOA. In listening to 
their concerns, we will set up an independent review process within the 
next 5 years that will resolve that issue before we hit the 8-year mark 
so that we are not jeopardizing thwarting a crisis in the future that 
might occur. I really just want to point that out because this bill is 
totally consistent with the obligations of the United States under the 
Iran nuclear agreement.

                     Amendment No. 232, as Modified

  I talked briefly yesterday about the amendment that is pending. I 
want to spend just a moment, if I might, in underscoring some of the 
details of the amendment that is passing.
  I am for S. 722, and I am for the amendment that was crafted in the 
same spirit as was the underlying bill--in a bipartisan agreement. It 
involved not just the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but the Senate 
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee because the jurisdictions 
on sanctions do overlap between the two committees.
  As I said yesterday, I thank Senators Crapo and Brown--and Chairman 
Corker has already mentioned this--as they were extremely helpful in 
making sure that we tailored the financial sanctions in a way that is 
workable and consistent with that of our European partners so that we 
can make sure we have collective strength.
  I am sure the Presiding Officer has been in meetings with our 
European friends and knows how they feel about Russia. He knows how 
they feel--that they are the direct bull's-eye with regard to what 
Russia is doing. They want the United States to be strong, and they 
want the United States to provide leadership, but we need to provide it 
in a manner that is consistent with their security interests. With 
regard to the way this bill has evolved, I think we have a better bill 
that is consistent with those concerns.
  With Russia, we know their activities. We know their cyber activities 
against our democratic institutions. As we have said frequently, all 
countries collect cyber information, but the use of that cyber 
information to attack our democratic institutions is an attack on our 
country. That cannot go unchallenged. We have to protect ourselves and 
take action when we have been attacked. This bill does that.
  We also know, not just recently but historically, that Russia has 
been very aggressive in its interfering with the sovereignty of other 
countries. Today, in Moldova and Georgia, you see the consequences of 
Russia's aggression. Of course, in Ukraine, with the annexation by 
Russia of Crimea and its continued activities in eastern Ukraine, 
Russia has violated every single commitment of the OSE's Helsinki 
Accords and has violated the sovereignty of other countries.
  We also know about Russia's activities in support of the Assad regime 
in Syria and, by the way, in other countries in that region. It has 
assisted in horrible human rights violations--just terrible. We have 
seen some of the videos of the tragedies of innocent children as a 
result of Mr. Putin's support of the Assad regime.
  In January of this year, Senator McCain and I introduced legislation 
that would have imposed new sanctions on Russia because of these 
activities. We wanted to make sure that this was bipartisan, so we had 
18 Senators cosponsor the bill with us--10 Democrats, 10 Republicans--
to make it clear that this was not an attack on one administration but 
that this was America and that we had to be together in a strong 
message against the Putin regime. That bill included sanctions on cyber 
activities. It included sanctions on their Ukrainian activities. It 
included sanctions in regard to their Syrian activities. The 
legislation also incorporated what has been known as the Democracy 
Initiative, which provides ways in which we can provide a more unified 
front with our European allies in defending against the cyber attacks 
we have seen coming from Russia.
  At the same time, Senator Graham filed a bill, with my cosponsorship, 
that would require congressional review before the President could give 
sanction relief to Russia. The review was patterned very similarly to 
the review we had under the Iran nuclear agreement.
  So those two bills were pending, and there has been a lot of debate 
about them.
  We then received a draft bill from Senators Crapo and Brown as it 
related to the sanctions. It was focused--I would not say exclusively 
but primarily--on the financial and energy sectors in order to make 
sure those sanctions were drafted in the proper way, and we went 
through considerable negotiations. Senator Corker, as I pointed out 
before, brought additional text to the discussion in an effort to try 
to bring this together.
  Although I am mentioning Senators' names, we know it is the staff. 
Our staffs have been working around the clock to try to make sure we 
get this done right. So I thank the majority and minority staffs on the 
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee and on the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee.
  There are many parts to the amendment that will be voted on at 2 p.m. 
One part codifies additional sanctions against Russia. I have already 
mentioned Senator Menendez's role in Iran. He was very instrumental as 
it relates to Russia. Senator Durbin has been very active. I must tell 
you that there has been no Member on the Democratic side who has been 
more vocal than Senator Shaheen on the need to take action against 
Russia. There are many Members on our side who were active on this. I 
thank my colleagues for their contribution.
  We do codify the Executive orders that were issued that were related 
to both Ukraine and cyber attacks. With the adoption of this amendment, 
we would be codifying--giving congressional support for what took place 
by President Obama.
  It expands the list of where sanctions can apply to the energy 
projects and foreign financial institutions that facilitate such 
projects. For actors who try to undermine cyber security, it provides 
for their being subject to sanctions, and it provides secondary 
sanctions for those who materially assist those actors in undermining 
our cyber security. It provides sanctions against suppliers of Russian 
arms to Syria. It goes after the actors who are involved in the corrupt 
privatization of Russia's governmental assets. We do not support those 
who are supporting Mr. Putin's corrupt regime. It deals with sanctions 
against Russia's activities on pipelines, the Russia railway, metals, 
mining, and shipping. So it is comprehensive, and most of these 
sanctions are mandatory. It is not ``may''; rather, it is that the 
President ``shall'' in most of these circumstances.
  As is the tradition, the President also has the ability, if there is 
a significant national security issue, to weigh whether that sanction 
should be applied. Yet we use a different standard in most of these 
sanctions that requires the President to certify before he issues those 
waivers that there has been, basically, significant progress made by 
Russia in removing these sanctionable activities. So we have a pretty 
strong hand that we are giving President Trump in his negotiations with 
Mr. Putin.
  In addition, this bill provides for congressional review. We talked 
about that--a bill that was originally introduced by Senator Graham and 
me. As I indicated, it is very similar to the Iran Review Act. I think 
this is very important in that it puts a lot of transparency into the 
negotiations between the Trump administration and the Putin 
  As Senator Corker was talking about earlier as to how one President 
can do something by himself--and I hope that the amendment is adopted 
and that the bill passes the House and becomes law--the President 
cannot by himself remove a sanction until he has given Congress notice 
and an opportunity to review that. We can have congressional hearings. 
We can put a spotlight on it. Then we will have an expedited process 
whereby we could reject the President's decision to give relief, and 
all during that process the sanctions will remain in place.
  It is a very strong congressional review, and it is our 
responsibility to do that, but it also brings in the American people 
and brings in a more transparent process. What we have found is

[[Page S3465]]

that, with that transparency, it is a much stronger hand that President 
Trump has in his negotiations, knowing that he has to go through this 
process at the end of the day in his negotiations with Russia.
  Sometimes we call it the strength of our independent branches of 
government. The executive branch can say ``Look, we would like to move 
faster, but we have to do this with the legislative branch'' or ``We 
would like to do this, but we cannot get it through Congress.'' Use the 
independence of the Congress. We are certainly very strongly against 
what Russia is doing. Use that to increase the pressure on Russia to do 
the right thing. That is what this bill does. This is why it is helpful 
to the President of the United States to have this congressional 
  It would reply to anything from cyber sanctions that had been imposed 
under the Obama executive order to the attempt to return the compounds 
that are located in Maryland and New York. All of that would be subject 
to a congressional review before the action by the President could 
become effective.
  I mentioned earlier that the bill does include the authorization of 
democracy funds, as I call it, that assist our allies in their fight 
against Russia's aggression, particularly in cyber. It authorizes $250 
million, and it applies to our work with the EU member states, the NATO 
member States, as well as with candidate nations. It is a pretty strong 
opportunity for us to work together.
  I have had many meetings with our European colleagues and friends. 
Yes, every country recognizes that it is vulnerable against Russia's 
attacks--believe me, they do--and they are doing everything they can to 
protect themselves. What I find disappointing is that there is not 
enough coordination. We know how they acted in the United States and 
how they acted in France and now how they are likely to act in Germany 
and what they did in Moldova. We know how they are likely to proceed, 
but do we have a common strategy to prevent this type of manipulation 
by Russia of our democratic institutions?
  This authorization and the funding--I thank Senator Graham and 
Senator Leahy for putting money into the fiscal year 2017 budget to 
start this process going forward. We have approved that, and that is 
now in the budget. It allows us to coordinate those efforts among the 
United States and our European friends to protect against what we know 
is going to be continued activity by Russia.
  There are obviously investigations going on. Part of the 
investigation is to understand what Russia is doing, quite frankly, so 
that we can protect ourselves. I think that will be very helpful, this 
information, and the role of the United States in working with our 
European allies to protect against certain continued malicious 
activities by the Russian Federation.
  There is a provision in this bill that deals with Ukraine. We make it 
clear that we will not recognize Crimea's annexation of Ukraine, that 
we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine in regard to their 
sovereignty, and we ask for a plan to reduce Ukraine's dependence on 
Russia energy imports.
  We know that Ukraine is vulnerable because of energy, and we know 
that we have to develop a plan to deal with that. There are many 
Members involved in that, and I wish to acknowledge my friend from 
Ohio, Senator Portman, for his work in regard to the Ukraine 
  There are new counterterrorism financing provisions, which are pretty 
comprehensive, so that we make sure that we have all the tools we need 
in order to track the financing of terrorism activities. That is in 
  So let me just tell my colleague how proud I am to be associated with 
the underlying bill as well as the amendment that we are going to vote 
on at 2 o'clock. Both the underlying bill and the amendment were 
developed in the best of the bipartisan manners of the U.S. Senate.
  I wish to thank, again, all of those who were involved to give us 
this opportunity to speak with a strong, united voice against the 
activities that Iran is doing globally and that are destabilizing so 
many countries through their terrorism and ballistic missiles and human 
rights violations and arms embargo violations, and to make it clear to 
the Russian Federation that we are not going to let them attack our 
country, that we are going to stand up to that and work to be sure to 
keep our allies safe.
  With that, Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 

                         Healthcare Legislation

  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I was in Maine over the weekend, and people 
said: How do you feel about healthcare? What do you think we ought to 
be doing? I said: I like the President's plan. I think President Trump 
has it just right. He says we need healthcare that will cover everyone, 
low premiums and low deductibles, no preexisting conditions. That is 
the right formulation, and I hope that is what we can work toward, and 
that is what we should be working toward.
  He also said yesterday that the bill that passed the House was mean. 
Well, a couple of weeks ago I said it was cruel, but I will accept 
mean; both mean the same thing. It is a terrible blow to literally 
millions of people across this country and thousands in my State of 
  By the way, the problem with the House bill is that it is so bad that 
some kind of compromise has developed here that is halfway, and it is 
still mean or cruel. Now people are talking about a ``soft landing.'' 
That is a euphemism for stretching out the crash. It is not a soft 
landing. Whether we take Medicaid and healthcare coverage away from 
people in 2 years, 4 years, or 7 years, it is still going to happen, 
and it is a crash. It is not a soft landing. That is just stretching it 
out into beyond the next couple of elections, but it doesn't really get 
to the core of the issue, which is taking healthcare and health 
insurance away from millions of people.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. President, before I began, I meant to acknowledge what happened 
this morning to our colleagues across the way at the baseball 
practice--tragic, inexplicable, horrible, and just inexcusable. My 
heart goes out to the Capitol Police who, I understand, were incredibly 
brave and met their responsibilities admirably to Representative 
Scalise and to any others who were injured--a terrible incident and one 
that we hope we never see the likes of again.

                         Healthcare Legislation

  Going back to healthcare, I think it is important for people to 
understand the big picture of what is going on with this issue that is 
now before both the House and the Senate.
  What we are really talking about is a massive tax increase on middle-
class and lower middle-class people and a massive tax cut for the 
wealthiest Americans. It is as simple as that. It is a gigantic 
transfer of wealth--probably one of the greatest in a short time in 
recent American history--where we have millions of people across the 
country who have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and are 
protected under Medicaid and Medicaid expansion, and we are taking that 
away. The Affordable Care Act exchange policies are a tax credit. So 
when you take that away, you are increasing people's taxes; you are 
increasing the taxes of people who are making between $15,000 and 
$45,000, $60,000, $70,000 a year, and you are decreasing taxes in a 
huge way only for people who make more than $200,000 a year.
  The 400 highest taxpayers in the country will get a tax cut of $7 
million apiece. That makes no sense. We are taking resources away from 
the people who need it--the middle class--and we are giving it to the 
people who don't need it. It is Robin Hood in reverse.
  That is the fundamental point of this legislation. It is all about 
that big tax cut for the rich--for the really rich--and I just don't 
understand why we are even thinking about that, because the American 
people need help with the cost of healthcare. If you divide the total 
healthcare bill in this country by the number of people, you come up 
with about $8,500 a year per person, on average, or $35,000 a year for 
a family

[[Page S3466]]

of four. That is the cost of healthcare. That cost has to be paid, and 
I would argue that people who are in the middle income can't afford it. 
They can't afford to pay those costs, and they need some help, and that 
is what the Affordable Care Act does. But, instead, we are talking 
about repealing it--knocking those millions of people off.
  In Maine we have 75,000 people on the exchanges. And then, of course, 
we have hundreds of thousands on Medicaid. We are talking about 
severely constricting their access to healthcare. That is just wrong, 
ethically, morally, and in any other way. We are taking healthcare away 
from people so we can give a massive tax cut to the people who don't 
really need it.
  In Maine, if the House had taken a blank sheet of paper and said 
``How can we design a healthcare plan that would really hammer the 
people of Maine?'' it would have been the AHCA--misnamed the American 
Healthcare Act; it ought to be the anti-healthcare act because that is 
what it is all about--taking healthcare away from people. It could not 
be more tailored to harm people in Maine.
  We are the oldest State in the country. We have more people in the 
older age brackets--50 and up--than any other State in the United 
States as a percentage of our population. We also are a relatively low-
income State. You put those things together, and you really get hurt. 
Also, in Maine, as in the Presiding Officer's home State, we have a lot 
of hazardous occupations--logging, agriculture, fishing, the iconic 
Maine lobsterman.
  This is a guy named David Osgood from Vinalhaven, an incredibly 
beautiful island off the coast of Maine. Lobstering is an essential 
part of the Maine economy. It is a part of our way of life. Vinalhaven, 
where Dave lives, has a population of about 1,200. It is really hard 
work. It is all-weather, and it is dangerous. You have to haul tracks, 
repair them, be out on the water in the wintertime, which is no fun. 
David Osgood has been lobstering since he was 13, like his father and 
grandfather before him.
  As of this spring, all three of David's and Elaine's children have 
finished college. That is amazing. That is a real achievement for any 
family, but fishing is challenging and tough.
  The Osgoods are really thankful for the fact that they can get 
affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Once, they 
weren't covered, and David had a back problem that required surgery. 
Like a lot of people in Maine, he paid it off, month by month by month. 
But the ACA, according to Elaine, has given them some comfort and peace 
of mind.
  I don't think those of us who have pretty much had health insurance 
all of our lives realize the importance of that peace of mind, of not 
being anxious about a health problem that could wipe you out, make you 
lose your house--an illness or an injury. Elaine said: We will be OK.
  The deductibles are a problem. They are too high. I agree. What we 
ought to be working on is how to get the deductibles down, how to work 
on the premiums, how to work on the cost of healthcare.
  All of this debate about the Affordable Care Act and Medicare and 
Medicaid and a public option and single payer--all of that is about who 
pays, when a big part of the problem is how much we are all paying. We 
pay roughly twice as much per person for healthcare than anyone else in 
the industrialized world. That is a real problem that we have to start 
debating. We have to start talking about that because, whoever pays, 
whatever the insurance plan is, if the underlying cost is something 
that people just can't afford, then we are going to be arguing about 
who pays, how much, and what part. We have to get at that $8,500 per 
  People say: Yes, but we have the best healthcare system in the world. 
Yes, we do, for the people who can afford it. But for the millions of 
people who don't have health insurance, who get treated only in 
emergency rooms or more often don't want to get treated at all because 
they don't want to go in because they know they can't pay for it, the 
healthcare system does not deliver for them.
  By all objective measures--longevity, infant mortality--we are not 
first in the world. We are like 20th in the world. We are way below our 
colleagues, and yet we are paying much more. We have to address high 
deductibles, high premiums, and high costs, but also, in the meantime, 
we have to keep people covered.
  Another couple in Maine, Jonathan Edwards and Jennifer Schroth, live 
in Hancock County. It is another coastal county. They are farmers, and 
they raise vegetables.
  Here is a great Maine story. I have known Jen's mother for about 40 
years. I just met Jen at a healthcare forum in Bangor a few weeks ago, 
but I knew her mother way back. Everybody in Maine knows everybody 
else. I suspect it is like in Alaska. We are a big small town with very 
long roads.
  Jonathan and Jennifer own and operate a farm. By the way, this farm 
is in a town called Brooklin, but this is the real Brooklin--Brooklin, 
ME. They grow potatoes, vegetables, strawberries, raspberries, and 
asparagus. They make maple syrup. They could never afford healthcare 
until the ACA came along because they were essentially a small 
business, but they were not a big enough business to have a group plan. 
They didn't have employer-based health insurance. They just didn't have 
  They are both in their fifties, and one of the changes made under the 
Affordable Care Act was that the ratio between the premiums for younger 
people and older people can't be more than three times. It reflects the 
reality that older people have more healthcare needs and cost the 
system more. So there is a reflection. It is allowed to be a three-
times basis. The House bill changes that to five times. That is a huge 
shift directly toward people in their fifties and early sixties.
  When Jen was pregnant with each of their two boys, they had no 
insurance. They paid the hospital. Just like my friend David Osgood, 
they paid the hospital. That is what Maine people do. But what if there 
had been complications? They were pretty straightforward births, but 
what if there had been complications? They would have been wiped out 
because they had no health insurance. Jen says she doesn't feel it is 
responsible to go without health insurance, especially when you have a 
  It is critical to them that the ACA is affordable, and it is because 
of the tax credits. They also appreciate that they have real insurance 
that really covers things. There are no exclusions. People say: Well, I 
have this really cheap insurance policy, but it doesn't cover anything. 
It may not even cover hospitalization or it doesn't cover doctor visits 
or it doesn't cover drugs. It doesn't cover what you really need. That 
is not insurance. That is illusory. But now, Jen says, they have peace 
of mind because they have coverage. She told me that face-to-face not 
long ago.
  Running a small business is tough. It is tough because you generally 
can't get group policies. Sometimes you can join a small business 
association, but generally you can't. This is a way to have coverage 
that people can afford.
  Imagine if somebody came to this body and said: I have a great idea 
for a bill. I am going to raise taxes on the middle class and give a 
great big break to hedge fund managers. We wouldn't even think about 
it. It wouldn't even get out of committee. Yet that is essentially what 
this is all about.
  How much of a tax increase is it on somebody? Well, in Hancock 
County, where these folks live, for a 60-year-old making $40,000 a 
year--these are real numbers from the Kaiser Family Foundation--under 
the Affordable Care Act the premium is $4,080 a year, about 10 percent 
of your income. That is still substantial. But under the bill passed by 
the House, that would go to $17,090 on a $40,000 gross income. It is 
ridiculous to go from $4,000 to $17,000.
  Where does that difference come from? It is going back to the people 
who don't need it. It is going back to the people who make $200,000, 
$400,000, $800,000, $1 million, $5 million a year--a 300-percent 
increase in out-of-pocket costs for healthcare. In Knox County--I think 
David is younger than 60, but if he were 60--his premium goes from 
$4,080 to $10,590, more than doubled.
  This just doesn't make sense to me. This whole discussion doesn't 
make sense to me. I agree that we need to talk about healthcare, and I 
agree that we need to do something about it, but we are doing the wrong 
thing. We are making it worse.

[[Page S3467]]

  There are two problems with healthcare in this country. We can boil 
it down to two issues--cost and access. The Affordable Care Act, 
although it dealt somewhat with cost, was mostly about access--allowing 
people who don't have health insurance to get it, whether through 
Medicaid expansion or through the exchanges.
  Cost is a bigger issue, and it is one that we also have to deal with. 
But that is not what is on the floor now, or will be soon, and it is 
not what is being considered in Congress. But I would argue that we 
really have to pay attention to that issue as well.
  So all of this and taking coverage away from my friend David or Jen 
and John and thousands--we know the number from the House bill, 23 
million people in America--to give a massive tax break so a guy making 
a couple million dollars a year can buy an extra Maserati just doesn't 
pass the straight-face test for good public policy.
  I am the first to agree that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect. 
I think there are things about it that need to be fixed and adjusted, 
and we need to work on how we do the deductibles, how we improve that, 
and how we broaden the coverage and maybe make it more of a sliding 
scale. All of those things are things we can discuss and work on, and I 
am absolutely willing to do it--but the idea of repealing it just to 
check a box to meet a campaign promise and to be so divergent from what 
the President has said over and over in the campaign and since that 
time--that he wants coverage for everyone, no preexisting conditions, 
and lower premiums and deductibles. I am for it. But what we are doing 
is the exact opposite--the exact 180-degree opposite.

  So let's take a breath. There is no deadline here of next week or the 
July 4th recess. Let's take a break and back off and start talking 
about it as Senators and Representatives from all over the country and 
all parties. I think we ought to be able to come to some agreement 
  Now, if there are people who are just hell-bent to provide a tax cut 
to multimillionaires, then, there isn't an agreement to be had. If that 
has to be part of the deal, include me out. But if we can start talking 
reasonably about how we can improve the Affordable Care Act--I don't 
care if we improve it, change it, tinker with it, and call it TrumpCare 
or McConnellCare or RyanCare. Call it what you want, but let's provide 
health insurance, which is so important to the American people.
  I have told this story a couple of times, but I am going to conclude 
with why I am so passionate about this. Forty years ago, I worked here. 
I was a staff member, and I had insurance. For the first time in my 
young life, I think, I had health insurance. Part of the health 
insurance was a provision for preventive care, which is also required 
under the Affordable Care Act. So you could have a free physical. I was 
28, 29 years old and immortal. We all were at that age. But I said: 
What the heck; it is free. I guess I will have a physical.
  So I went in and had a physical. The doctor looked me over, looked at 
my eyes, and down my throat. But he happened to notice that on my black 
I had a black mole. He said: I don't like the looks of that. That ought 
to be taken off.
  I didn't even notice it. I didn't even know it was there. He took it 
off, and it turned out to be something called malignant melanoma, which 
is one of the most virulent and serious forms of cancer. The thing 
about malignant melanoma is that, if you catch it in time, you are 
good. Here I am, 40 years later. If you don't, you are gone. I have had 
friends in Maine and in other parts of the country who have died of 
melanoma. It has always haunted me to this day that the only reason I 
caught it and my life was saved was because I had health insurance, and 
somewhere in this country there was a young man who also had a mole on 
his back or on his arm or on his neck and who didn't have health 
insurance, didn't have preventive care, didn't go to the doctor, and he 
is gone. That is not fair. That is not right. In a country as advanced 
and wealthy as this is, it is not right that that guy died and I am 
  So don't ever tell me that health insurance doesn't save lives 
because it does. There is no doubt that it does. That is why it is so 
important for us to get this right and not just cavalierly and blithely 
rip health insurance away from people--many of whom have gotten it for 
the first time, many of whom are small business people--the very people 
we all talk about wanting to help.
  We can't do it. It is a dereliction of our duty to serve the American 
  We need to figure out how to do it right. We need to figure out how 
to do it effectively and efficiently. In the end, we are here to help 
our fellow citizens. I am here for Maine, and I can't let my people 
suffer under a law that would take something away which they have come 
to depend upon and that has saved lives and means so much to them. We 
can do better. I am sure of it.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SANDERS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). Without objection, it is so 

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. SANDERS. Madam President, I have just been informed that the 
alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice this morning is 
someone who apparently volunteered on my Presidential campaign. I am 
sickened by this despicable act.
  Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable 
in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible 
terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and 
anything else runs counter to our most deeply held American values.
  I know I speak for the entire country in saying that my hopes and 
prayers are that Representative Scalise, congressional staff, and the 
Capitol police officers who were wounded make a quick and full 
recovery. I also want to thank the Capitol Police for their heroic 
actions to prevent further harm.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I understand Senator McCain has come 
to the floor. I will yield to him as the chairman of the Armed Services 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

                     Amendment No. 232, as Modified

  Mr. McCAIN. Madam President, I rise in support of the Countering 
Russian Aggression and Cyber Attacks Act, an amendment to the Iran 
sanctions bill currently under consideration.
  In just the last 3 years under Vladimir Putin, Russia has invaded 
Ukraine, annexed Crimea, threatened NATO allies, and intervened 
militarily in Syria, leaving a trail of death, destruction, and broken 
promises in his wake. And of course, last year, Russia attacked the 
foundations of American democracy with a cyber and information campaign 
to interfere in America's 2016 election.
  It has been 8 months now since the U.S. intelligence community 
publicly concluded that the Russian Government had attempted to 
interfere in our last Presidential election. Since then, the 
intelligence community has concluded that it is confident that the 
Russian Government directed a campaign to compromise emails, American 
individuals, and political organizations; that Vladimir Putin ordered 
an influence campaign to undermine public faith in the democratic 
process; and that Moscow will apply lessons learned from this campaign 
to future influence efforts worldwide, including against U.S. allies 
and their election processes.
  Months of congressional hearings, testimony, and investigative work 
have reinforced these conclusions that Russia deliberately interfered 
in our recent election with cyber attacks and a disinformation campaign 
designed to weaken America and undermine faith in our democracy and our 
values. Vladimir Putin's brazen attack on our democracy is a flagrant 
demonstration of his disdain and disrespect for our Nation. This should 
not just outrage every American; it should, at long last, compel us to 
  In the last 8 months, what price has Russia paid for attacking 
American democracy? Hardly any at all: Modest sanctions against a few 
Russian individuals and entities, some Russian diplomats and spies sent 
home to Russia,

[[Page S3468]]

two spy compounds closed, at least for now--and all of this is 
reversible at the discretion of the President.
  We must take our own side in this fight, not as Republicans, not as 
Democrats, but as Americans. It is time to respond to Russia's attack 
on American democracy with strength, with resolve, with common purpose 
and with action. So I am proud to support this amendment, which would 
begin to do just that.
  This legislation incorporates some of the best ideas from different 
pieces of legislation already introduced in the Senate, ideas that have 
broad bipartisan support. The amendment would impose mandatory 
sanctions on transactions with the Russian defense or intelligence 
sectors, including the FSB and the GRU, the Russian military 
intelligence agency that was primarily responsible for Russia's attack 
on our election.
  The amendment would impose mandatory visa bans and asset freezes on 
any individual who undermines the cyber security of public or private 
infrastructure and democratic institutions, and it would impose 
mandatory sanctions on those who assist or support such activities.
  The amendment would codify existing sanctions on Russia by placing 
into law Executive orders signed by President Obama in response to both 
Russian interference in the 2016 election and its illegal actions in 
Ukraine, and it would take new steps to tighten those sanctions.
  The amendment would target the Russian energy sector, which is 
controlled by Vladimir Putin's cronies, with sanctions on investments 
in Russian petroleum and natural gas development, as well as Russian 
energy pipelines.
  We also need to put additional pressure on the ability of Putin and 
his cronies to move money they have looted from the Russian state. So 
this amendment would mandate that the Secretary of the Treasury 
establish a high-level task force within the Department's financial 
crimes and enforcement network that would focus on tracing, mapping, 
and prosecuting illicit financial flows linked to Russia, if such flows 
interact with the U.S. financial system. The task force would also work 
with liaison officers in key U.S. embassies, especially in Europe, to 
work with local authorities to uncover and prosecute the networks 
responsible for the illicit Russian financial flows.
  Finally, recognizing that Russia seeks to undermine not just American 
democracy but Western democracy altogether, this amendment would 
provide support to the State Department, Global Engagement Center, and 
USAID to help build the resilience of democratic institutions in Europe 
against Russian aggression exerted through corruption, propaganda, and 
other forms of political interference.
  Importantly, the legislation also mandates congressional oversight of 
any decision to provide any relief from these sanctions. 
Administrations cannot waive or lift these sanctions without certifying 
that Russia is making concrete steps toward changing its behavior on 
the international stage. In particular, Russia needs to begin adhering 
to the Minsk Protocol, roll back its occupation of Crimea and 
destabilizing efforts in Ukraine, and cease its cyber operations aimed 
at undermining democracy in the United States and Europe.
  We need a strong Russia sanctions amendment, we need it now, and we 
need it on this piece of legislation. We need this amendment because we 
have no time to waste. The United States of America needs to send a 
strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will 
not tolerate attacks on our democracy. There is no greater threat to 
our freedoms than attacks on our ability to choose our own leaders, 
free from foreign interference, and so we must act accordingly and we 
must act now.
  I would like to thank my friend and colleague on the other side of 
the aisle--one of the really great remaining members of the Communist 
Party--who has allowed me to speak and give this statement.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I appreciate my colleague's sense of 

                   Transparency in Business Ownership

  Madam President, the United States of America has suffered an 
unprecedented intrusion into our American Presidential elections. In 
January, our intelligence agencies disclosed that agents of Russia, on 
the orders of President Vladimir Putin, engaged in a massive election 
influence campaign throughout 2016.
  This effort strikes at the very heart of our representative 
democracy. All Americans should take this attack deadly seriously. 
Congress had to act against such interference decisively. By 
strengthening economic sanctions against the Russian gangster state, we 
hit them where it hurts, right in the oligarch. I am glad to see that 
Republican and Democratic Senators came together to do this.
  Now the question will shift to the White House. Last July, as 
evidence of Russian election meddling began to emerge, then-candidate 
for Vice President Mike Pence said: ``If it is Russia and they are 
interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties in the 
United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.''
  Well, it is Russia, and they were interfering, but there has been 
little sign of consequences so far from the Trump White House.
  Michael Flynn, as adviser to the President-elect, had illicit 
communications with the Russian Ambassador, about which he then lied. 
Trump appointees at the State Department alarmed career officials with 
their rush to craft a pro-Russia program. President Trump held an 
unprecedented, cozy meeting with Russian envoys--all smiles in the Oval 
Office--a meeting for which Putin says he has a transcript. In Europe, 
Trump, dropping the assurances about article 5 protections from his 
NATO speech, gave the Russians joy.
  The Trump administration has been reportedly trying to return two 
compounds used by Russian intelligence to Russian control--compounds 
here in the United States. Former FBI Director James Comey told the 
Senate last week that President Trump never spoke to him, not even 
once, about defending against Russia's acts of aggression.
  Well, the threat from Russia is severe. Chairman Graham and I held 
hearings in our Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, 
exploring the Russian toolbox for interference in democracies across 
the globe--how Russia exploits the dark shadows of other countries' 
political and economic systems.
  One tool is campaign money. Russia is reported to have funneled money 
to French far-right party Presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, for 
instance, as part of a reward for her support of Russia's actions in 
Crimea. Ken Wainstein, Homeland Security Advisor to George W. Bush, 
cited Russia as a threat of that kind of foreign financial infiltration 
here in the United States. ``It is critical that we effectively enforce 
the campaign finance laws that would prevent this type of financial 
influence by foreign actors,'' Wainstein told our subcommittee. But 
that task proves difficult in a system like ours that permits the free 
flow of dark money.
  Since the Citizens United decision, we have seen unprecedented dark 
money flow into our elections from anonymous dark money organizations, 
groups that we allow to hide the identities of their big donors. We 
don't know who is behind that dark money or what they are demanding in 
return. Despite this risk, Congress has been unwilling to push back 
against the tide of dark money. Too many are too in tow to the big 
American dark money emperors, like the Koch brothers, but once you 
permit big money to flow through dark money channels, cash from 
Vladimir Putin is no more traceable than cash from Charles and David 

  ``The Kremlin's Trojan Horses'' is a study of Russian influence in 
Western Europe done by the Atlantic Council. Russia takes advantage of 
nontransparency in campaign financing and financial transactions, the 
report says, to build political alliances with ideologically friendly 
political groups and individuals, as well as to establish pro-Russian 
organizations in civil society, creating a shadowy web of political 
networks which help to propagate the regime's point of view.
  Corruption is the grid on which the electrons of Russian influence 
flow. In

[[Page S3469]]

the foreword to the ``Kremlin's Trojan Horses'' report, Radoslaw 
Sikorski, former Foreign Minister of Poland, who has seen a lot of this 
up close, described what he called ``the financial networks that allow 
authoritarian regimes to export corruption to the West.'' He warns:

       Electoral rules should be amended, so that publically 
     funded political groups, primarily political parties, should 
     at the very least be required to report the sources of their 

  He continues:

       The Kremlin's blatant attempts to influence and disrupt the 
     U.S. Presidential election should serve as an inspiration for 
     a democratic push back.

  Well, we should certainly push back by requiring political entities 
in this country to report their sources of funding.
  Another of our witnesses, Heather Conley at the Center for Strategic 
and International Studies, wrote about ``The Kremlin Playbook.'' The 
CSIS report, ``The Kremlin Playbook,'' calls corruption ``the common 
thread'' among these various drivers of Russian influence. It is, the 
authors write, ``the lubricant on which this system operates.'' She 
testified just today in the Helsinki Commission that ``corruption is a 
systemic weakness within a country that is exploited and influenced by 
adversaries and from which no country is immune, including the United 
  Where Russia can work in darkness, Russian agents systemically 
exploit democratic institutions to acquire influence over politicians 
and political systems using corruption. Russia has done this in the 
former Soviet Union and in Europe for decades, and we should be 
prepared in the United States, Ms. Conley says, for them to keep doing 
it here.
  ``The Kremlin Playbook'' warns that to fight the corruption that 
gives Russia this channel of influence, ``enhancing transparency and 
the effectiveness of the Western democratic tools, instruments, and 
institutions is critical to resilience against Russian influence.''
  Ms. Conley echoed the widespread warnings that the United States is 
particularly susceptible to Russian influence via dark money channels 
in our politics. That is widely agreed.
  She and others have warned of a second vulnerability: lax 
incorporation laws that hide the true owners of shell corporations. In 
the same way that dark money channels can hide the hand of foreign 
influence, so can shell corporations, which obscure the hand of the 
entity behind the corporate screen. Interestingly, USA TODAY just 
reported: ``Since President Trump won the Republican nomination, the 
majority of his companies' real estate sales are to secretive shell 
companies that obscure the buyers' identities.''
  Our lax incorporation laws have made the United States a destination 
for drug traffickers, terrorists, corrupt foreign officials, tax 
cheats, and other criminals from around the world. Former FBI Director 
Comey testified before the Judiciary Committee that the United States 
is becoming the last big haven for shell corporations--sickening but 
true. These crooks come here to America to form shell companies to hide 
assets and obscure illegal activities. For added safety, a foreign 
gangster or a crooked despot or an agent of Putin could put a shell 
corporation behind a shell corporation with another shell corporation 
behind that.
  There are few safeguards in place to prevent foreign actors from 
funneling money into our elections through faceless shell companies. We 
actually already see shell companies used to hide the identities behind 
big political spending. This is not a potential. This is happening now. 
We just don't know whether foreign influence is behind it. Nothing 
prevents agents of Putin from being behind those hidden entities.
  Part of the Kremlin's playbook is to use shell corporations and other 
devices to establish illicit financial relationships with prominent 
local figures. The shell entities allow Russian money to flow 
anonymously into crooked deals. The crooked deals give rise to corrupt 
relationships, and these corrupt relationships give Russia leverage, 
either through the carrot of continued bribery of the prominent local 
figure or the stick of threatened disclosure of the crooked deal 
imperiling the prominent local figure. The prominent local figure in 
the crooked deal is well and truly on the Russian hook. For what it is 
worth, Donald Trump is the very model of the Russian mark in this sort 
of scheme.
  To close this avenue of foreign political influence, Ms. Conley told 
us: ``Building and strengthening financial transparency requirements 
and beneficial ownership will go an extraordinary way to prevent these 
corrupt practices to further Russia's influence.''
  We really ought to be able to agree that we need to prevent these 
corrupt practices to further Russia's influence.
  The answer to the problem of shell corporations is simple: Have each 
state track the actual owners of companies they charter and make that 
information available to Federal, State, and local law enforcement 
agencies through proper process. That is what Ms. Conley means by that 
phrase she used, ``beneficial ownership.'' It is the term of art for a 
simple concept, knowing who the real owner is.
  The True Incorporation Transparency for Law Enforcement, or TITLE, 
Act, which Chairman Grassley and I will reintroduce soon, would require 
States to identify the actual human beings who own the company they 
incorporate. The bill would provide funding to support the maintenance 
and retrieval of this information, which would be available to law 
enforcement officers who present valid, court-ordered subpoenas or 
search warrants. The bill has bipartisan support and has received 
strong endorsement from the law enforcement community, banks, and anti-
trafficking organizations.
  Transparency in business ownership is ever more vital around the 
world. The European Union understands very well the shadow of Russian 
influence that has been cast over it, and every member of the European 
Union has committed to ensuring incorporation transparency. The United 
Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France have already enacted 
incorporation transparency laws. The light of corporate transparency is 
about to shine throughout Europe to help defend them from Russian 
influence. This means that money from those shell companies and schemes 
committed through those shell companies will be looking for new, dark 
homes, likely in American shell corporations. Again, we are supposed to 
be an example to the world. We are supposed to be the ``City upon a 
Hill,'' not the place where the world's most corrupt and criminal 
evildoers come to hide their cash and their assets.
  We know the Russian playbook for election interference exploits 
opaque incorporation laws. We know criminals and even terrorists view 
the United States as a haven to hide illegal activity and its proceeds. 
We even know, weirdly, that lax incorporation laws are affecting our 
real estate market. Some American cities are so loaded with real estate 
held by shell corporations that it is actually driving up the prices 
for real American home buyers. Of course, there are not a lot of people 
in the corner store when the property is held for a foreign owner as 
the safeguard for his illicit gains.
  We must take commonsense steps to stop these activities and bring 
wrongdoers into the light. The measures that we will take against 
Russia are welcome and, as Senator McCain has said, even overdue, but 
we must remember that this is an ongoing battle and we have systemic 
weaknesses that have already been clearly identified to us over and 
over by bipartisan experts in this field and renowned think tanks and 
study groups here in Washington. To quote Ms. Conley again, ``the 
battle of Western democracies to defeat corruption'' must be seen as 
``a matter of national security.''
  Testifying before our Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, former 
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper agreed and urged 
Congress to act. He said:

       I believe [the Russians] are now emboldened to continue 
     such activities in the future both here and around the world, 
     and to do so even more intensely. If there has ever been a 
     clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the 
     very foundation of our democratic political system, this 
     episode is it.
       I hope the American people recognize the severity of this 
     threat and that we collectively counter it before it further 
     erodes the fabric of our democracy.

[[Page S3470]]

  This week the Senate takes strong steps to punish Russia for its 
disruptive meddling in the past, but we must do more. Dark money and 
the shell corporations that allow Russian influence are identified 
known vulnerabilities in the future. Every warning is that the Russians 
are not going away and that future elections will be marked by Russian 
mischief. We have to close both avenues of foreign influence and 
corruption: dark money and shell corporations. They are no good in any 
event. They are no good in any event, and now they bring the added 
contamination of Russian election manipulation. I hope we can work 
together to remedy that contamination.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. LANKFORD. Madam President, there are some days that are noisy in 
DC and in the Nation. It seems as if the disagreements and the 
discourse have paused for just a moment, and we remember again that we 
are all Americans and that there are issues we are facing as a nation.
  Earlier this morning a group of baseball players who are also Members 
of Congress were getting together to practice for a congressional 
baseball game happening tomorrow night. It is a friendly game, a great 
competition for charity, and a few Members, Republicans and Democrats, 
from both the House and the Senate get together and practice and then 
play the game.
  This morning at the Republican practice, a man walked onto the field 
and opened fire on guys just practicing baseball.
  Steve Scalise, who is the majority whip, was hit, two members of his 
detail, Capitol Hill police, were injured, and other individuals who 
were there were injured as well. The Capitol Police saved many lives 
this morning. They were prepared and they returned fire and were able 
to stop the person who was shooting over and over again at everybody he 
could see on that baseball field.
  What has been interesting today--since I have come out this morning, 
as I have walked through the hallways heading back and forth to 
different meetings, I have been interested to see many doors that I 
have walked by, and when those doors were open, I could hear people 
inside praying. There have been at least three organized prayer 
meetings on the Hill today, specifically related just to that, and 
others spontaneously occurring. Just for a moment we have the 
opportunity to be able to reflect and say to God: Thank You so much for 
protecting the people on that field.
  Thank you again to the Capitol Police, who literally put their lives 
on the line to protect the guests and the Members and staff here every 
single day.
  Once again, we remember that we are a nation that solves things by 
conversation. We disagree, and that is OK. We have said for two 
centuries that we can disagree. We don't solve it this way, and we 
  I would like to be able to join what is happening all over this Hill 
for just a moment in this room--for us to be able to pray for a moment, 
as well, for the people who were there and for the people who are going 
through surgery right now and for their families. For every single 
staff member who is here, every single Member who is here, every member 
of the Capitol Hill police, their families are calling them and texting 
them and saying: Are you OK? These families are scattered all over the 
country, and they are worried.
  We can help lead. We can set a tone to tell the Nation that we should 
disagree on things, but we don't ever do this. So I would like to ask 
for us to be able to take a moment of privilege and just be able to 
  Father, thank You for the way that You have protected--for those 
individuals who are in surgery now and recovering now, for the Capitol 
Hill police, Steve Scalise, and for other individuals who were affected 
today, God, we pray that You would bring them healing.
  We pray that You would take care of families who are worried and the 
Nation that is worried. We pray that You would cause something good to 
come out of something that is very evil. Help us to know how we respond 
as a nation.
  I ask this in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

                     Amendment No. 232, as Modified

  Madam President, we have a lot of issues that are moving right now 
and a lot of issues that we are discussing. Currently we are discussing 
sanctions. The sanctions for Russia are entirely appropriate.
  I have no question in my mind that Russia has tried to interfere with 
our elections. I have no question in my mind that Russia did work to 
interfere with the elections across Europe, especially Eastern Europe. 
There are individuals in Russia that mean to do our Nation economic 
harm, political harm, and to cause turmoil. For whatever reason, they 
believe they can strengthen their nation by trying to cause chaos 
everywhere else.
  As Americans, we believe we strengthen our Nation by helping others 
to succeed. For whatever reason, the Russians believe they can 
strengthen their nation by trying to cause others to fall. It reminds 
me a lot of bullies on playgrounds and in middle schools. For whatever 
reason, they do not advance to the level that they find great joy in 
helping others; they find their pleasure in trying to diminish others. 
There is an appropriate response we can make back to that as a Nation; 
that is, to continue sanctions and to be able to press that.
  With the sanctions conversation we have about Russia, we also have an 
ongoing conversation about sanctions on Iran, and that is one of the 
reasons I want to visit with this body today to put this word out. For 
whatever reason, the way sanctions are being organized right now 
against Russia and Iran, there are two different platforms for how to 
unwind those sanctions. The way this bill is currently offered, the 
sanctions against Russia cannot be unwound except by congressional 
action, but it is not so against Iran, and I am trying to figure out 
  This Congress came to this floor just about a year and a half ago 
with a bill called the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which passed 
98 to 1 in this body. It was to be able to take authority back so that 
Congress should be able to vote on sanctions being lifted, in case 
there is ever a time that any President wants to be able to lift 
sanctions. Obviously, that debate was circling around the Iran nuclear 
negotiation at that time, and this body voted 98 to 1 that there should 
be accountability on any President, regardless of who it is, on the 
lifting of sanctions against the largest state sponsor of terrorism in 
the world, which is Iran. So we added in those sanctions, but for 
whatever reason on this particular vote, those aren't there, and I have 
an issue with that.
  I would say to this body: Can we learn our lesson? When Congress 
creates sanctions on nation-states and on individuals, we should also 
have the authority to determine whether they are lifted or not lifted. 
Because of that, I have filed simple language to be able to take the 
bill we have currently and to be able to add in simple language that 
says something very straightforward: The President can, for national 
security reasons, lift sanctions on the nation or on individuals for 
120 days but cannot renew that until it comes back to Congress. If it 
is truly for national security reasons, there will not be any problem 
convincing this Congress, either body, that it is essential to be able 
to do that. But if you can't convince this body that it is for national 
security reasons, you certainly are not convincing the American people 
of that.
  It is simple, straightforward language that I believe we should have 
in all of our sanctions bills. Whether it is North Korea, Iran, Russia, 
or whatever it may be, we should simply say that the American people, 
through their elected Representatives, say that this group of 
individuals should be sanctioned, and no individual can pull that back 
unilaterally without it coming back to the American people again to be 
able to turn it off. That is how we work as a Nation. I believe that is 
how we should work in the days ahead.
  This is not a hostile amendment. This is an amendment saying that we 
have learned our lesson as a body. We should actually apply this. This 
is not a partisan issue. Whether it is a Republican or Democrat 
President is irrelevant in this issue. If Congress creates sanctions, 
Congress should not release the authority to make decisions on and off. 
What we turned on, we should be

[[Page S3471]]

able to turn off. That is the way our system works.
  I look forward to the open debate on this simple issue, and I look 
forward to our determining as a body how we handle sanctions for any 
nation or any group in the days ahead.
  With that, I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that I be able to 
engage in a colloquy with my colleague from Missouri.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. COONS. Madam President, I come to the floor today, along with my 
colleague the Senator from Missouri, as the cochair of the bipartisan 
Law Enforcement Caucus. We have come to express our concern and our 
  This morning our colleagues and our friends, including Congressman 
Steve Scalise from Louisiana, were senselessly attacked while at a 
practice in Alexandria for tomorrow's annual bipartisan congressional 
baseball game.
  Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the members of the Capitol 
Police and Congressman Scalise and everyone who was injured, as well as 
their families.
  While we still don't know all of the details of this morning's event, 
one fact is true. Were it not for the skill, bravery, prompt response, 
and professionalism of the Capitol Police and Alexandria police, this 
tragic event would have been much, much worse.
  For those of us who serve and work every day in Congress at the 
Capitol, we see the men and women of the Capitol Police. They protect 
the Members of Congress, our staffs, and the Capitol itself, but that 
doesn't begin to describe the vital and noble work they do, because the 
Capitol Police don't simply protect the people in the buildings on the 
Capitol campus. They protect, they serve, and they honor our Capitol, 
our country, and our democracy itself. They sacrifice and they risk 
their lives each and every day to ensure that this Capitol is a Capitol 
for the people, a Capitol for every man, woman, and child in the United 
States. It is the Capitol Police, in close and important partnership 
with local police, who ensure that everyone and anyone can come to this 
place to make their voices heard and to take part in our democracy.
  They make these sacrifices and take these risks every day, and this 
morning's events are a sobering reminder of what the men and women of 
law enforcement all across the country--and yes, today, here among the 
Capitol Police--take on each and every day.
  I urge everyone who works and serves here in the Capitol to take a 
moment to pray for and be grateful for the men and women of the Capitol 
Police, the men and women of the Alexandria police, and the men and 
women of law enforcement all across the Nation.
  With that, I yield to my colleague from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Madam President, I thank my colleague for yielding.
  When Senator Coons and I came to the Senate about 6 years ago, it was 
about the time we formed the Law Enforcement Caucus. Over that 6 years, 
we have been continually reminded of how those who run toward danger 
when others run away protect us. They don't know on any given day what 
they may be dealing with that day, and their family doesn't know 
either. They are here to protect those who might be the victims of 
  What we saw today was a horrific and cowardly attack at baseball 
practice--someone who takes a weapon and decides they are going to harm 
people they don't know for whatever cowardly reason that person had.
  Of course, we continue to pray for the swift recovery of those who 
were injured and for the caregivers who are helping them right now.
  Every day, when I come to the Capitol grounds, the first person I see 
is almost always a member of the Capitol Police. No matter how late it 
is when I leave at night, the last person I see is almost always a 
member of the Capitol Police. They have a hard job to do. They do it 
with the highest level of professionalism and dedication. Their 
families see them leave for work at whatever time of the day their 
assignments have them leaving for work and are hopeful that those they 
love will come home. That accounts for all of our law enforcement 
officers all over the country--the law enforcement officers and other 
first responders--who rush into dangerous situations not knowing what 
could be there.
  We were very fortunate today. Our Members of Congress were there--
Members of the House, Members of the Senate--and the people who were 
volunteering to make that game work the way it needs to work in order 
to have a bipartisan annual event to look forward to and to use that 
event to raise money for charity. There were staff who were there, 
supporting. Fortunately for all of them, Steve Scalise, who is the 
majority whip in the House, was there, which meant that there were 
Capitol Police and security people there with him. It is hard to 
imagine what might have happened if they had not been there. The 
Alexandria police would have done a great job and gotten there as 
quickly as they could, but we have these people who are committed to 
providing for the safety of Members of Congress, people who are 
visiting the Capitol, and people who are in the area of the Capitol 
when anything might happen. Over and over again, Senator Coons and I 
and others have seen the Capitol Police have to step forward.
  I hope we will all remember to not only be grateful every day for 
those who are willing to serve but will also continue to pray today for 
the families of the people who were impacted today--the families who 
sent their sons and daughters here to be Members of Congress as well as 
to be staffers in the Congress. The first news they heard this morning 
was of some senseless attack that appeared to be an attack because 
people were Members of Congress.
  No act of violence, no matter how evil or senseless, will ever come 
close to shaking the foundations of our democracy, but in moments like 
this, we are always brought back to the important recognition that we 
are Americans first. That is why our country will always be a beacon of 
  The things we debate every day are not nearly as big or powerful as 
the things that unite us every day, and moments like this bring that 
sense of unity and concern and commitment of maintaining a society that 
is free and secure and bring a greater appreciation for those who spend 
all day, every working day, with that as their principal obligation. We 
owe them a great debt of gratitude.
  Today, we owe the Capitol Police, followed up by the Alexandria 
police, because of the countless lives that might have been taken if 
the Capitol Police had not been there at the instance this cowardly 
attack started.
  Once again, Senator Coons and I are reminded of how important it is 
that the Law Enforcement Caucus really, truly respect those who serve 
and the families of those who serve.
  Senator, I am glad to yield back to you for a final comment.
  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I thank my colleague for the chance to work 
together to lift up in a bipartisan way the men and women of law 
enforcement and to express our prayers and our gratitude for the men 
and women of law enforcement--for the Alexandria police and everyone 
who serves in our entire Nation to help keep it safe and secure.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, this side of the Capitol is obviously 
sending our thoughts and prayers to colleagues in the House of 
Representatives--particularly, to Congressman Scalise--and to the other 
wounded law enforcement individuals and staff. Certainly, our hearts 
and prayers go out to those individuals too.
  These men and women who protect us every day here in the Capitol do 
an outstanding job. We really want to make sure they understand how 
important it is and how much we appreciate their protection of us and 
the security they provide to everyone here in the Capitol.

[[Page S3472]]

  (The remarks of Ms. Cantwell and Ms. Collins pertaining to the 
introduction of S. 1352 are printed in today's Record under 
``Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I would like to express the sentiments of 
all of us who were stunned and saddened to learn first thing this 
morning of the attack on our colleagues and their staff on the House 
side as they practiced for the Republican team for the annual 
Congressional Baseball Game.
  Senator Rand Paul, who was present, told us at lunch about what 
happened. He emphasized time and again the absolutely heroic behavior, 
the extraordinary bravery of the Capitol police officers who were part 
of Representative Scalise's detail. He said that, without these two 
police officers, he has no doubt that many more people would have been 
injured and likely killed.
  So I think it is important for us to pause and express our gratitude 
to the men and women of the Capitol Police Force, and, indeed, to the 
first responders and law enforcement officers everywhere, who, day 
after day, put their lives on the line for our country. Without their 
help today, the terrible attack would have been far, far worse. So I 
thank them.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I am here this afternoon to speak about 
the amendment to address sanctions on Russia, but I want to preface my 
remarks by saying, like all of us here in the Capitol today, that my 
thoughts are with Congressman Scalise and with the staff member, the 
two Capitol police officers, and others who were part of the terrible 
tragedy this morning. In particular, I want to salute the officers 
involved, whose courage and professionalism undoubtedly saved many 
lives, and I join with the entire Senate family in hoping for a full 
recovery for everyone involved.

                     Amendment No. 232, as Modified

  Mr. President, in a few minutes, we will vote on a bipartisan 
amendment to strengthen sanctions on Russia and to mandate rigorous 
congressional review of any effort to loosen the sanctions regime. I am 
pleased to cosponsor this amendment, which has real teeth, including 
provisions that I advocated for to prevent sanctioned individuals from 
using family members to circumvent sanctions.
  I am also pleased that the amendment includes congressional review of 
any decision to restore Russia's access to non-Embassy compounds that 
were seized at the end of last year in the United States. I think this 
is not the time to grant Russia such privileges, especially given that 
it would bolster their intelligence-gathering capabilities.
  I am pleased that this is a bipartisan amendment, thanks to the 
leadership of the chair and ranking member of the Foreign Relations 
Committee, on which I serve, Chair Corker and Ranking Member Cardin, as 
well as the chair and ranking member of the Banking Committee, Senator 
Crapo, who is here, and Ranking Member Brown. They worked very hard to 
come up with a bipartisan agreement.
  I also want to recognize Senators McCain and Graham, whose work on 
the underlying bill gave us a foundation to come up with this 
  Again, on a personal level, I want to especially thank the chair and 
ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Corker had 
made a commitment to get this bill done after we got back from the 
break. He has been good on his word, and we have a bipartisan 
  I think these measures are necessary because the United States has 
been attacked by a hostile foreign power. As a result, we have a 
responsibility to respond in a way that punishes the attacker and that 
strives to prevent a recurrence in the future.
  In January, the Director of National Intelligence released a 
declassified report on Russia's interference in our election. I think 
it is important to reiterate what that report said. It states:

       We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an 
     influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential 
     election. Russia's goals were to undermine faith in the US 
     democratic process.

  While recently we have learned more about the scope of their 
interference, a classified National Security Agency report, prepared 
prior to the November election, concluded that Russian military 
intelligence executed a cyber attack on at least one U.S. voting 
software supplier and sent spear-fishing emails to more than 100 local 
election officials. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Russia's cyber 
attack on the U.S. electoral system included incursions into voter 
databases and software systems in as many as 39 States.
  We are learning more and more about the extent to which Russia 
attacked our voting system and tried to undermine our elections. That 
is exactly why the Senate stands united behind this bipartisan 
amendment to stiffen sanctions. We must not allow this kind of 
interference in our elections to become a normal process.
  What we have heard from experts in the intelligence community--they 
have warned us that if Russia gets a pass on this, that it will 
interfere in future U.S. elections. We have seen it in Europe and other 
Western democracies.
  In testimony last month before the Judiciary Committee, the former 
Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said:

       I believe [the Russians] are now emboldened to continue 
     such activities in the future both here and around the world, 
     and to do so even more intensely.

  He goes on to say:

       I hope the American people recognize the severity of this 
     threat and that we collectively counter it before it further 
     erodes the fabric of our democracy.

  Russia's interference in our electoral process should outrage every 
patriotic American. We need a bolder, more aggressive strategy for 
deterring Russia. This bipartisan agreement to stiffen sanctions is a 
critical step forward.
  In concert with this legislation, we need to be focused on bolstering 
NATO and our European allies, and we need to demonstrate more vigorous 
support for Ukraine's efforts to strengthen its democracy and 
  We need to be more aggressive in countering the Russia propaganda and 
disinformation campaign, including the Russia Today empire.
  Finally, I want to again applaud the leadership of all of our 
committees who were involved in coming up with this bipartisan 
agreement. Also, I applaud the bipartisan leadership of Majority Leader 
McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer because without their 
negotiations, we would not be here today.
  I certainly urge all of my colleagues in both Houses of Congress to 
promptly approve this legislation, and I hope the President will sign 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senator 
from Ohio speak next for 2 minutes, the Senator from Idaho speak after 
that for 5, and I will conclude with 5 minutes. The vote will be held 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I thank the Democratic leader. I thank my 
friend, the chairman of the Banking Committee, and also Senator 
  Hardly a week goes by that we don't learn more about the efforts of 
the Russian Government to sow the seeds of dissent around the world. 
Apart from oil and gas, this seems to be Russia's primary export. One 
administration after another has tried to reason with President Putin, 
but appeals to reason clearly don't work.
  Vladimir Putin needs to know he will pay an increasing price for his 
hostile actions. He needs to know we will stand up for our allies in 
Ukraine and throughout Europe. He needs to know we will not tolerate 
his interference in our democratic process, whether in the last 
election or the next election.
  Instead of providing a firm, clear message that we will not tolerate 
Russia's bad behavior, this administration has been all over the 
diplomatic map--and that is just in its public pronouncements. Frankly, 
we don't know exactly what the Trump administration is doing privately 
with the oligarchs, the oilmen, the Kremlin, or even with President 
Putin himself.
  This amendment sends a firm, clear message we need right now: The 
United States of America will not accept continued Russian aggression. 
We will put tough measures in place to punish past

[[Page S3473]]

actions and to deter future aggressions. We will stand by our allies.
  I commend Senators Graham and Blumenthal for their amendments. I 
thank Chairman Crapo for his leadership. I thank Senator Corker and 
Senator Cardin and all the Senators who have put time and effort into 
this issue.
  On behalf of the Ukrainian community in my State, on behalf of fair 
play, and on behalf of the integrity of the American election system, I 
urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAPO. Mr. President. I rise to speak on behalf of the Crapo-
Brown-Corker-Cardin Countering Russian Aggression and Cyber Attacks Act 
of 2017. This is filed as amendment No. 232 to the pending Iran 
sanctions bill, and as has been indicated, we will vote on it in just a 
few minutes. This amendment is the result of a partnership between the 
Senate Banking Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  Amendment 232 ratchets up pressure against the Russian Federation for 
its illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea, its continuing 
escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, and its malign cyber 
activities against businesses and citizens of the United States. It 
also provides Congress with strong oversight over almost any 
termination or suspension of these sanctions.
  I spoke yesterday about the hard work of Senators Corker, Brown, 
Cardin, and their staffs. I thank them again for their leadership. I 
also thank Senators McCain, Graham, and Shaheen, who contributed to 
these efforts. I recognize our latest cosponsors, Senators Perdue, 
Menendez, Warren, Rubio, Scott, Heitkamp, Reed, and Toomey. I 
appreciate their cosponsorship and support as well. We appreciate the 
leadership of Majority Leader McConnell and Democratic Leader Schumer, 
who helped ensure we could move a good Russia sanctions package. The 
need for this legislation is underlined by the fact that many Americans 
have deep concerns about Russia's behavior over the past few years.
  Since coming to power, Russian President Putin has become 
increasingly belligerent, nationalistic, and autocratic. Americans are 
concerned about Russia's behavior in Ukraine and Syria, and they are 
concerned about Russia's increased cyber intrusions.
  Many of us on both sides of the aisle feel the United States needs to 
be much stronger in its response to Russia. Americans want to see the 
United States stand firm in defense of our long-held values, which 
include respect for territorial integrity, human rights, and liberty.
  The Crapo-Brown-Corker-Cardin amendment signals to the world that the 
United States has unflagging commitment to the sanctity of territorial 
integrity, human rights, and good governance. Our amendment also 
demonstrates our resolve in responding to cyber attacks against 
American citizens and entities and against our allies.
  In summary, the Crapo-Brown-Corker amendment does the following 
things: It escalates and expands the current sanctions regime against 
Russia, it creates new sanctions against Russia, it engages Congress at 
a higher level than before by providing a mechanism for Congress to 
vote before lifting any sanctions on Russia, and it increases the 
Treasury Department's ability to track illicit finance, including 
illicit flows linked to Russia.
  The amendment will result in some very powerful and new sanctions. 
Amendment No. 232 includes Congressional Review Act language to ensure 
Congress exerts proper oversight over the use of these powerful 
sanctions. It also requires the creation of a national strategy for 
combating the financing of terrorism and related forms of illicit 
finance. This strategy ensures that the United States pursues a 
coordinated and effective fight against illicit finance at all levels 
of the Russian Government.
  As we move forward with this amendment, we must engage all of our 
allies and our trading partners. It is important that we work together 
to minimize collateral damage and unintended consequences.
  This is a strong bipartisan measure that, in important respects, 
represents the next step forward. Even though unilateral actions are 
not the best option, America must lead on the issue now and encourage 
others to follow. The times call for clarity of purpose and a correct 
amount of pressure. We have that in this amendment.
  Again, thank you to Senators Corker, Brown, and Cardin for your hard 
work and support, and all of the other Senators I have mentioned. Thank 
you to our cosponsors, and especially to Leader McConnell and 
Democratic Leader Schumer for all of your help and your support. I look 
forward to passing this measure in short order.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, in a few minutes, we will vote on an 
amendment that consists of a package of Russia sanctions. I would like 
to endorse the amendment in the strongest possible terms and hope we 
can get all of our colleagues to vote for it.
  It was negotiated by a bipartisan group of Senators who did a great 
job: Senators Corker and Cardin, Crapo and Brown, with a great deal of 
help from Senators Shaheen, Durbin, Menendez. Leader McConnell and I 
worked extremely well on this issue together, which I hope portends 
future things we can do together in a bipartisan way. This amendment is 
as bipartisan as it gets, and rightly so because this is an issue that 
should unite Members of both parties and concern Americans of all 
political stripes.
  Over the past several years, President Putin and his allies and the 
Russian oligarchy have committed several sanctionable offenses. 
President Putin has violated the sovereignty of its neighbor, Ukraine, 
by annexing Crimea. He is guilty of human rights abuses, including 
propping up the brutal Assad regime in Syria, and stifling political 
dissent and the human rights of his own people. In Mr. Putin's Russia, 
elections are neither fair nor free. The media is controlled by the 
state, and the political opposition is hardly tolerated.
  This is a regime that has routinely flouted international norms and 
agreements; that severely and brutishly pursues its own self-interest 
without regard to legitimate rights of other nations and peoples. For 
that, the U.S. Congress passed a series of economic sanctions to 
squeeze Putin and his allies and show them that the United States 
strongly condemns these actions, and that was before Russia conducted a 
high-level campaign to interfere in the American election.
  The Russia sanctions legislation we are about to vote on would 
address these two critical issues. By codifying existing sanctions and 
creating a process for congressional review of any decision to weaken 
or lift them, we are ensuring that the United States continues to 
punish Putin for his reckless and destabilizing actions. It is 
particularly significant that a bipartisan coalition is seeking to 
reestablish Congress, not the President, as the final arbiter of 
sanctions relief, considering that this administration has been too 
eager--far too eager in my mind--to put sanctions relief on the table. 
These additional sanctions will send a powerful bipartisan statement 
that Russia and any other nation that might try to interfere with our 
elections will be punished.
  There is no process more sacred in our democracy than the guarantee 
of free and fair elections, no principle more enshrined in our system 
of government than the people participating in our noble democratic 
experiment at the ballot box. That bedrock principle, the fundamental 
right was attacked by Mr. Putin. If we did nothing--or we reduce 
sanctions, as the President sometimes has talked about--we would eat at 
the wellspring of our democracy. Foreign powers influencing whom we 
elect is something the Founding Fathers feared, and we are doing 
everything we can in this body to try and stop.
  With the upcoming vote, the U.S. Senate is saying to President Putin: 
You will be held accountable for your actions. Foreign interference in 
our democracy has been a concern since the founding of the Republic. It 
is the origin of the emoluments clause in the Constitution. In 
Federalist 68, Alexander Hamilton writes that ``these most deadly 
adversaries of the republican government [come] chiefly from the desire 
in foreign powers to gain improper ascendant in our councils.'' Every 
``practical obstacle,'' Hamilton

[[Page S3474]]

said, ``should be opposed to [such] cabal, intrigue, and corruption.''
  We cannot let Russia's meddling in our elections go unpunished, lest 
they ever consider such interference again, nor any other nation in the 
world. They must know that if any future attempts are made to degrade 
our democracy, the retribution of the U.S. Congress will be sure and 
will be swift.
  I urge a ``yes'' vote on the amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question occurs 
on agreeing to amendment No. 232, as modified, offered by the Senator 
from Kentucky, Mr. McConnell.
  The yeas and nays have previously been ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Maryland (Mr. Van 
Hollen) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 97, nays 2, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 144 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto



                             NOT VOTING--1

     Van Hollen
  The amendment (No. 232), as modified, was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.

                           Amendment No. 240

  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 240.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Tennessee [Mr. Corker], for Mr. Graham, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 240.

  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To reaffirm the strategic importance of Article 5 of the 
   North Atlantic Treaty to the member nations of the North Atlantic 
   Treaty Organization and its contribution to maintaining stability 
                         throughout the world)

       At the end, add the following:


       (a) Findings.--The Senate makes the following findings:
       (1) The principle of collective defense of the North 
     Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is immortalized in 
     Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty in which members 
     pledge that ``an armed attack against one or more of them in 
     Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against 
     them all''.
       (2) For almost 7 decades, the principle of collective 
     defense has effectively served as a strategic deterrent for 
     the member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
     and provided stability throughout the world, strengthening 
     the security of the United States and all 28 other member 
       (3) Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in 
     New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, the Alliance agreed 
     to invoke Article 5 for the first time, affirming its 
     commitment to collective defense.
       (4) Countries that are members of the North Atlantic Treaty 
     Organization have made historic contributions and sacrifices 
     while combating terrorism in Afghanistan through the 
     International Security Assistance Force and the Resolute 
     Support Mission.
       (5) The recent attacks in the United Kingdom underscore the 
     importance of an international alliance to combat hostile 
     nation states and terrorist groups.
       (6) At the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, the member countries 
     of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization decided that all 
     countries that are members of NATO would spend an amount 
     equal to 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense 
     by 2024.
       (7) Collective defense unites the 29 members of the North 
     Atlantic Treaty Organization, each committing to protecting 
     and supporting one another from external adversaries, which 
     bolsters the North Atlantic Alliance.
       (b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--
       (1) to express the vital importance of Article 5 of the 
     North Atlantic Treaty, the charter of the North Atlantic 
     Treaty Organization, as it continues to serve as a critical 
     deterrent to potential hostile nations and terrorist 
       (2) to remember the first and only invocation of Article 5 
     by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in support of the 
     United States after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 
       (3) to affirm that the United States remains fully 
     committed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and will 
     honor its obligations enshrined in Article 5; and
       (4) to condemn any threat to the sovereignty, territorial 
     integrity, freedom, or democracy of any country that is a 
     member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise to express my deepest sympathy for 
the victims of this morning's shooting, including for my good friend, 
Representative Steve Scalise. I pray that he, the congressional staff, 
and police officers who were injured in this horrific event can recover 
  Today is not a day to reflect on our differences but on our common 
commitment to upholding the Constitution and doing the work of the 
American people. This Chamber is often divided on matters of policy, 
but in the face of tragedy, we are united as one. Today, we are 
together, and together we recognize the local law enforcement officials 
who responded quickly and professionally to this morning's attack.
  Each and every day, police officers across this great Nation risk 
their own well-being to ensure the safety of others, and they do so 
with little fanfare or recognition. In light of today's events, I 
recognize, in particular, the special sacrifice of our U.S. Capitol 
police officers--the selfless men and women--who, each and every day, 
assume significant risk to keep all of us safe.
  I shudder to think of what may have happened this morning had it not 
been for the quick action taken by Representative Scalise's security 
detail. These courageous special agents returned fire to apprehend the 
perpetrator of this senseless and appalling act of violence. Through 
their heroic actions, they prevented a massacre and saved the lives of 
dozens of elected Members of Congress and congressional staff. Today I 
wish to pay special tribute to these humble heroes.
  As far as I am concerned, our Capitol Police officers are the finest 
professionals this Nation has to offer. We wave to them each morning as 
we walk in to work, we say goodbye to them each night as we leave, and 
we interact with them each day. Yet how often do we thank them for 
their service? How often do we reflect on the weight of their work? How 
often do we recognize them for their sacrifices? In my opinion, not 
often enough. Because these police officers are such a common presence 
here on Capitol Hill, I worry that all too often we take them for 
granted, but we should never take for granted the men and women who 
would willingly give up their lives to protect ours.
  This morning's attack reminds us all of the thin line between peace 
and violence, and our Capitol police officers are the first to respond 
when that line is crossed. Today and every day, these selfless men and 
women deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.
  In paying tribute to our Capitol Police, I would be remiss if I were 
to fail to recognize the 23 members of my own

[[Page S3475]]

security detail who work around the clock to keep Elaine and me safe. 
These men and women are like family to me. Over the past 2\1/2\ years, 
I have built a special bond with each of them.
  Today I would like to recognize each of them individually:
  Supervisory Special Agent David Rib, who leads the detail with 
assistance from team leaders Jason Marcello and Shane Powell; in 
addition, Special Agents Eric Boggs, John Britto, Jacqueline French, 
Eric Holzer, Eric Love, Paul Martin, Ronald Munar, Benjamin Odell, 
Richard Philius, Luis Pimentel, Ryan Rayball, Austin Reinshuttle, Henry 
Smith, John Whittle, Micah Harrison, Muhammed Khan, Gideon Maran, 
Arnold Pierre, Robert Schultz, and Charles Snead.
  In all of my years of public service, these are among the most 
honorable men and women I have ever worked with. ``Greater love hath no 
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.''
  The fact that these special agents are willing to put their lives on 
the line to protect all of us speaks to their selflessness, their 
bravery, and their love of this institution and of country. Elaine and 
I love each of these special agents deeply, and we love their families 
  In these photos, you can see one of the team leaders, Jason, hard at 
work. Jason hates this photo, which is why I blew it up for national 
TV. The other photo is of the trip I took to all five of Utah's 
national parks last year. During this trip, my security detail was with 
me every step of the way. These men and women never leave my side.
  Today I wish to thank them with all of my heart for their service and 
their sacrifice. These are really great people, and we have enjoyed 
being together. At least, I have enjoyed being with them. I will put it 
that way.
  As Members of Congress, we stand united in the aftermath of today's 
attack. Thanks to our brave Capitol Police officers, we also stand 
protected from those who would do us harm. Because of them, we can 
confidently carry on the work of the American people.
  These are really great human beings--men and women--who literally 
sacrifice a lot to serve us, back us up, strengthen us, and help us in 
times of need. They are people whom I really, really admire. All I can 
say is, I admire those who stood up this morning for Congressman 
Scalise and the others who were there and especially for those who were 
  This is a wonderful institution, and we have wonderful people working 
with us--heroic people, people who care for this body, people who care 
for our country, people who care for us. I think we ought to all thank 
God every day that we have these good people around us and that we 
ought to all take the time to be kind to them, to show them how much we 
care, and to show them the friendship we truly have for them. I am 
grateful that I know a number of these people--quite a number. I am 
grateful for them and for what they do for all of us.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, let me join my friend, the senior Senator 
from Utah and President pro tempore of the Senate, in his remarks about 
the U.S. Capitol Police.
  All of us who work on Capitol Hill, all of our visitors who come 
here--our constituents from around the country--are in their debt 
because they literally do keep us safe and secure here on Capitol Hill. 
I do think the events this morning give rise to some additional 
concerns of what happens off the Hill, when ordinarily there might not 
be the sort of security measures in place that are necessary.
  I think this is another wake-up call to all of us to be vigilant, to 
be aware of our situations, and to exercise concern for our own safety. 
Of course, we do need to continue to look at what the needs are of the 
Capitol Police, in terms of training and equipment and staffing, to 
make sure they can continue to do the outstanding job they have done 
here, yet again, this morning.
  It is safe to say that without the Capitol Police being present, as a 
result of Congressman Scalise's location there at the Congressional 
Baseball Game practice, the results of this might have been much more 
serious--much more tragic--than they already were.
  Of course, we are continuing to keep Congressman Scalise in our 
prayers. I was looking at the TV screen on the way out. It looks like 
he is out of surgery but is still in critical condition. Of course, we 
continue to think about him and his family and offer them our support 
and our prayers.
  While there is a lot we do not know about this morning's incident, it 
is clear that this is a new environment we are living in, and we need 
to do everything we can to keep our constituents safe when they visit 
us on Capitol Hill as well as to keep safe all of the staff and 
everybody involved.
  Mr. President, at a time when people do not believe anything 
bipartisan happens here in Washington, DC, I know we have seen a 
remarkable vote on these Iran-Russia sanctions with the vote of 97 to 
2. Virtually every Republican Senator and virtually every Democratic 
Senator voted in favor of these sanctions which target two of the most 
aggressive regimes in the world.
  The first is the Iranian regime, the No. 1 state sponsor of 
international terrorism. The second is the Russian regime, which, as we 
all know now, was so aggressively involved in trying to sow discord and 
chaos in the days leading up to the 2016 election.
  It is staggering, really, to see the extent to which Russia has 
raised its game when it comes to disrupting core, democratic 
undertakings like elections. We know they are doing that in the United 
States, and we know they have attempted to do that in France. This is 
the way they operate. This is part of their tradecraft. Through a 
combination of cyber espionage, propaganda, the use of social media, 
and then unfortunately sometimes too gullible a mainstream media, we 
know false stories have somehow been elevated to a level at which 
people actually begin to believe them and cause them to distrust their 
own government. This is a real threat to the United States and to our 
democratic institutions.
  The talk of the Russian collusion that led up to the election is 
fading because, as so many people have said, including distinguished 
Democratic leaders like Senator Feinstein, who served with distinction 
as chair of the Intelligence Committee and who serves on the Judiciary 
Committee and Intelligence Committee now, there is no evidence of there 
having been collusion in the election. What we need to turn to now is 
how we can countermeasure what Russia tried to do when it came to the 
so-called active measures, which was a combination of cyber espionage, 
the use of social media, and propaganda right here in our homeland.
  We are a country that believes in freedom of speech and the First 
Amendment, and sometimes that makes us more vulnerable than perhaps 
others who have state-owned media because we let anybody who has a 
point of view express it freely. That is part of our DNA. It also means 
that aggressive, hostile regimes like Russia can take advantage of our 
open society and our freedoms to try to sow discord and distrust in our 
own country.
  I hope, now that the allegations about collusion are fading, we will 
take a serious look at how to respond appropriately with 
countermeasures to this sort of aggressive action on the part of 
Russia. I am really pleased that with a vote of 97 to 2, we have voted 
to impose sanctions on the rogue nation of Iran and the rogue nation of 

                        PROTECT Our Children Act

  Mr. President, in turning to another topic, earlier this year, with 
the Senator from Connecticut and the Senator from Nevada--Senator 
Blumenthal and Senator Heller--I introduced a bill that was called the 
PROTECT Our Children Act. I am proud to see it is moving through the 
Senate this week.
  This is an important piece of legislation that most people will not 
hear or read much about because it is not particularly controversial, 
but that does not mean it is not important, which is why I want to talk 
about it briefly. This bill helps to stop the exploitation of children 
across the country and over the internet by reauthorizing the Internet 
Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.
  Years ago, when I was attorney general of Texas--from 1999 until the 
time I came to the Senate--we created in the Texas attorney general's 

[[Page S3476]]

something we called, quaintly, the Texas Internet Bureau, which was 
cutting edge for the time. Now it is more of a cyber crimes unit that 
deals with, frankly, a lot of the same subject matter--child 
exploitation, child pornography, and other crimes--which are committed 
using the medium of the internet. I had a chance to see, sadly, how 
vulnerable children can quickly become victimized at the hands of some 
truly despicable individuals as well as the resources it takes to stop 
and to prosecute these predators.
  One of the things we did at the Texas Internet Bureau back in the 
1999 to 2000 timeframe was to link up, of course, with local law 
enforcement officials, but what we learned is that every municipal 
police department or county sheriff's department has the kind of 
expertise and has the sort of equipment they need in order to combat 
this new type of crime.
  Through a national network of 61 coordinated task forces that 
represent 3,500 Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies, we 
have now been able to comprehensively investigate and prosecute child 
predators. These task forces develop victim support programs, and they 
provide training and technical assistance and advanced forensic 
methods, which are very important when trying to track the online 
fingerprints or footsteps of these predators who operate online.

  Through this legislation, these task forces will also help continue 
to facilitate community education, for example, by helping to inform 
parents and legal guardians what they can do to help protect their own 
children or the people for whom they are responsible.
  Tragically, in this day and age, the internet's vast scope provides a 
dark, deep harbor for predators. Without the proper training and 
equipment, it can be difficult for our law enforcement officials to 
track down these child predators. This legislation ensures that they 
will have the resources they need to fight cyber crime and keep our 
communities safe by reauthorizing these important programs until the 
year 2022.
  Last week's passage through the Judiciary Committee was the first key 
step. I am thankful for the work of my colleague from Connecticut, 
Senator Blumenthal, and one of our principal cosponsors, Senator Heller 
from Nevada. I am hopeful we can keep moving forward with this 
legislation so we can get these essential programs reauthorized by 
passing this in the Senate and then moving it on through the House and 
swiftly to the President's desk for signature and enactment.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, today we are shaken and encouraged. My 
prayers remain with my friend Steve Scalise and his family; as well as 
with Zach Barth, the congressional staffer; Matt Mika, who was 
volunteering at the baseball field; and the two brave police officers, 
Crystal Griner and David Bailey.
  I have played on the Republican baseball team. I have practiced on 
that field. I am sure that no one woke up this morning imagining this 
tragedy was possible, not a single player who woke up this morning and 
who wanted to make sure they invested their time and their energy in 
such a way to help nonprofits around the area benefit from drawing a 
crowd together to watch Republicans and Democrats play baseball for the 
express and specific benefit of helping those who cannot help 
  I am also encouraged today. I am encouraged specifically by law 
enforcement and, more specifically, the Capitol Police who, because of 
their swift action, saved lives this morning at the baseball field. 
Thank you to the men and women who put on the uniform to keep others 
safe and, as we can tell by the injuries of Crystal and David, put 
themselves in harm's way.
  I am also encouraged that in the midst of this crisis, we have seen 
our country come together. We have seen this body come together. At 
noon today, we had a prayer vigil led by Senator Coons, a Democrat, and 
Senator Lankford, a Republican. We are no longer in the midst of a 
crisis--Black Americans and White Americans or liberal Americans or 
conservative Americans, Republicans or Democrats. We are not even 
swayed by the current environment of sensationalism. No, sir. We are 
simply Americans, blessed by God to be a part of the American family.
  The polarization that pulls on the fabric of this great country is 
very, very dangerous. Too often, we find ourselves splitting into 
smaller factions. We stop listening to others' points of view. We react 
immediately with hostility, doubting the very intentions of folks who 
do not agree with our perspective. This is very dangerous for our 
future. We seem to have forgotten how to disagree without being 
disagreeable, and today's shooting is one of the manifestations of 
  This weekend marks 2 years since the massacre at Mother Emanuel 
Church in Charleston, SC--my home--where a racist who wanted to start a 
race war decided that he could take advantage of the cracks in our 
foundation, that he could drive to Charleston, SC, and take advantage 
of those cracks. But the families of the victims, understanding and 
appreciating the notion of Matthew 5:44--loving those who seem to be 
our enemies--did not allow their grief and their anger to overpower 
their senses. They believed in the power of love. They believed that 
love is more powerful than hate. They believed in each other. And 
because of their conviction, my city and my State stood together, Black 
South Carolinians and White South Carolinians, and said to the world: 
Not in my place, not in my city, not in my State, and not in my houses 
of worship. We stood together. We did not allow this spirit of 
oppression and division to separate us. We allowed the power of love to 
unite us.
  So whether it is race or politics, whether it is gender or any other 
number of ways that we could be divided, we have to--I implore all of 
us--remember that we are first Americans.
  As I think back to the funerals, to the vigils, I think of my good 
friend from Hawaii. She is not a Christian; she is of another faith. 
She is not a Republican; she is a Democrat. But she flew down to South 
Carolina only a couple of days after the massacre because two of her 
friends--myself and Trey Gowdy--were attending the funerals, attending 
the first major events. She wanted to worship with us. She wanted to be 
there with us. This is a classic example of when and how our Nation 
pulls together, setting aside our differences.
  We must work together, ensuring opportunity for all, not profiting 
from the division in this Nation, not looking for ways to get more 
clicks on our pages. And why is that? It is simple--because America is 
stronger than this. America is better than this. We are the American 
family, and we must let love be the light to show us the way.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I have some remarks to make with respect to 
healthcare that I will offer in a moment.
  First, I want to address the events of this morning. The shooting 
that took place in Alexandria today was a horrendous, despicable act of 
violence. The victims--including Congressman Scalise, two Capitol 
police officers, and two others--are still undergoing treatment. There 
is much that is still not known about what happened.
  There are a few things that are known. First, it is thanks to the 
extraordinary heroics of the Capitol Police and first responders on the 
scene that this shooting did not become a massacre. Each and every one 
of us who comes to work in these buildings every day is profoundly 
grateful for our Capitol Police, our first responders, and the 
incredible service and protection they provide.
  Second, I think all of us know that this violence has visited too 
many of our communities. It has cost and ruined too many lives.
  Finally, we know that the game our colleagues were practicing for--a 
charity game between rival parties that is held to benefit 
disadvantaged kids--is going to go on as planned. The game is

[[Page S3477]]

a show of friendship. It is a show of bipartisanship. It is an 
indication that, as there are strong differences of opinion on the 
policies that we debate on the floor of the Senate, we still come 
together at urgent times like this. The game, which shows our 
commitment to friendship and bipartisanship, has never been needed more 
than it will be tomorrow.
  Our thoughts are now with those who are injured. It seems that 
everyone you run into at the Capitol has said they are praying and they 
are rooting for a full and speedy recovery. It is one of those moments 
when people understand that there is legislation here--their bills, 
their amendments. Sometimes there is a lot of process--an amendment to 
the amendment to the amendment, as my wife calls it. Then there are 
other times like this morning, which are life and death.
  As we reflect on those who did so much to keep it from being even 
worse--a massacre--we have our prayers for those who are injured. Once 
again, it puts into perspective what is so very important.

                         Healthcare Legislation

  Mr. President, to the topic at hand, there have, obviously, been 
dramatic headlines in the news pertaining to ties of the President with 
Russia. I want to be sure that what is happening here in the Senate 
with respect to healthcare doesn't get drowned out.
  The fact is that here in the Senate, behind closed doors, 13 
Senators--all from the same party, all of them men--are updating the 
Republican healthcare plan. The House passed its TrumpCare bill by the 
slimmest of margins just a few weeks ago.
  The public has seen it, and, based on everything I can tell, it has 
gone over about as well as a prolonged root canal surgery. I have heard 
about every imaginable concern about that House bill from Oregonians. I 
have had 46 townhall meetings thus far this year, including 4 over this 
past weekend.
  When the bill came to the Senate, my colleagues on the other side got 
out in the press, tamped down expectations, and claimed that everything 
would be starting over. They are starting from scratch. Now the public 
knows, because it is what Members of the majority party have said, that 
the Senate version isn't going to be all that different from what 
barely made it from the House this spring.
  When the bill is finalized, we know it is going to be rushed to the 
floor, and it will not be long before debate is cut off and final votes 
are cast. It is a plan that relies on speed, forcing a devastating blow 
to American healthcare through the Senate before our citizens can 
actually catch on to what is happening.
  This political process on this bill makes what the House has been up 
to look positively transparent. The basic framework of the Republican 
healthcare plan isn't going to change. Millions and millions of 
Americans will lose their health coverage. It is not my view. It is the 
view of the independent Congressional Budget Office. Costs are going to 
go up, especially for those who are elderly and sicker, and those who 
are the fortunate few are going to get an enormous tax break.
  The basic framework isn't changing, and what that means is that the 
social safety net--led by Medicaid, which is a lifeline for kids and 
seniors and the disabled--is going to be under attack. The public 
health system in America has stood on two twin pillars since 1965. 
Those pillars are Medicare and Medicaid. The Republican majority has a 
plan to knock one of them out beginning this year.
  Today, Medicaid comes with a guarantee that if you are sick, if you 
are injured or if you spend every day walking an economic tightrope, 
you are going to be able to get care when you need it. You will not be 
denied benefits. But TrumpCare ends that guarantee.
  The plan Republicans have on offer would dismantle Medicaid as it is 
known today, putting hard dollar limits on the program. That puts caps 
on care. That is what it means--that there will be caps on care. It is 
a scheme that puts Medicaid in a vise, squeezing its funding year after 
year fix. The plan makes budget targets a bigger priority than real-
world healthcare needs for some of the most vulnerable people in our 
  Seventy-four million Americans have health coverage through Medicaid. 
That includes 37 million children. It provides comprehensive care to 
millions of pregnant women. It is a leader in the fight against the 
opioid epidemic, and there is treatment for those who are dealing with 
mental health and substance abuse disorders.
  Medicaid is a lifeline when it comes to helping kids and adults with 
disabilities. Then there is the nursing home benefit, something I know 
from my years as codirector of the Oregon Gray Panthers. This is a 
benefit that is a bedrock protection, built into Medicaid to help pick 
up the tab for two out of three nursing home beds in America. If you 
roll that benefit back, I don't see how seniors across this country are 
going to avoid living in squalor. Maybe their kids can take them in, 
but the kids of the parents I am talking about have told me they are 
working on an economic tightrope, trying to balance food against the 
fuel cost, the fuel cost against the rent cost.

  So my guess is, if you squeeze the Medicaid Program tighter and 
tighter and States are forced to cut benefits and access to care, as 
will be inevitable under TrumpCare, I just don't see where you can 
ensure that seniors in nursing homes are going to be protected.
  My own view--and this goes back to the days when I worked with 
seniors--the challenges with older people have evolved over the years. 
Back then, you had Part A. That was hospitals. Part B was doctors. That 
is not Medicare any more. Today, more than 90 percent of the spending 
deals with chronic illness--cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes. 
It is a very different program, but we are still going to need nursing 
home care for so many of our older people who have done everything 
right in life. They are our mothers, our fathers, our grandparents, our 
friends. They fought our wars. They started families. They built 
careers. They raised kids. They scrimped. They saved. They never went 
on that special vacation. They never bought the boat they would have 
loved to have, and they did it because they always wanted to pay for 
essentials and see if maybe they could set aside what they could for 
schooling for their kids and retirement for themselves.
  But, as I have said, what I have seen over the years since those Gray 
Panther days is that growing old in America just keeps getting more 
expensive for so many older people. The bills don't stop coming when 
you retire. And most older people still live on a limited, fixed 
income. I saw that with my full-time work at the legal aid office for 
older people and the Gray Panthers, and I saw those seniors having to 
stretch every last penny, and even then, it was a struggle to cover the 
basics. So what happens--and I am afraid we are going to see a lot more 
of it--is seniors eventually spend down their savings. When they face 
challenges, they spend down their funds.
  Today, when it comes time to pay for long-term care like nursing 
homes and home-based care, Medicaid steps up. It is the backstop, a 
guaranteed backstop to protect our senior citizens. I don't want to 
undersell how much that means to people in my State and across the 
land. Medicaid is the barrier that keeps millions of seniors from 
falling into isolation and utter destitution.
  There was a time in our country when seniors were cast aside. They 
were sent to poor farms, what were called almshouses. The wealthiest 
Nation on Earth said goodbye to those poor farms with the creation of 
Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Under the Republican 
healthcare plan, unfortunately, Medicaid would be slashed so deeply, 
States are going to be forced into cutting benefits. Seniors could be 
nickel-and-dimed for basic everyday services. Nursing homes could be 
shuttered. Home-based care that allows seniors to live independently 
could be no more. I think you are going to have lots of seniors living 
in squalor, and some could be out on the street.
  So in my view, the people of our country are owed answers to key 
questions about this Republican plan.
  First, how are families supposed to support their loved ones if they 
lose the guarantee of Medicaid?
  One year in a nursing home costs more than $90,000 on average. That 
is two or three times the cost of a year of college tuition. Are 
families going to be forced into choosing between educating their kids 
and supporting their

[[Page S3478]]

elderly parents? Is it going to be a fact of life for working Americans 
that they have to cram two or three or four generations of one family 
into the same house simply because they can't afford nursing home care?
  Second, what is the backup plan for vulnerable, isolated seniors, 
particularly those who live in rural areas?
  I recently held a series of eight healthcare roundtables in rural 
communities across Oregon just over the last few days, in Pendleton and 
Condon. The message I heard from healthcare providers again this past 
weekend throughout rural Oregon was that TrumpCare cuts could hit 
seniors in rural America especially hard.
  Seniors in rural communities have higher rates of chronic illness, 
like heart disease and diabetes. The healthcare they need requires more 
attention and more services. They count on getting top-notch care in 
nursing homes and from home-based providers. Losing these benefits 
could mean being alone in a home that is unsafe, cut off from the care 
and the connections they need.
  Colleagues, in the last few weeks of this debate, I heard Members 
flatly deny that gutting Medicaid by more than $800 billion will mean 
anybody loses access to healthcare services. That is just untrue. 
Anybody who says that they can slash our healthcare programs by close 
to $1 trillion without having a negative impact on access to healthcare 
services is just plain wrong.
  Furthermore, I think it is time to recognize what the end goal of 
this debate appears to be. My Republican colleagues haven't put forward 
a proposal to protect seniors who can't get the Medicaid nursing home 
care they need or kids with disabilities who lose the services they 
depend on. What Republicans have on offer is not a plan that swaps one 
vision of healthcare for another.
  These massive cuts to Medicaid and other health programs are going to 
pay for equally massive tax breaks for the fortunate few. Members of 
this body are going to have to decide whether it is worth gutting 
Medicaid and endangering essential care, like nursing home care and 
important home-based services, to pay for these big tax breaks for the 
fortunate. In my view, it should be an easy choice.
  My colleagues on the other side ought to drop this partisan 
approach--what is called reconciliation--that it seems the Senate is 
headed toward. At a minimum, the majority party ought to bring this 
process out from behind closed doors and give it a little bit of 
sunlight. There ought to be hearings convened in the Finance Committee 
and the other committees of jurisdiction, as there were again and again 
in 2008 and 2009.
  When you are talking about one-sixth of the American economy and what 
is the premier issue and always will be, which is people and their 
loved ones having their health, I don't see how you make an argument 
for not having a debate out in the open. There has to be a public 
debate. The legislation ought to be written in the light of day, and 
then our people ought to have ample time to review it before it goes up 
for a single vote, either in committee or here on the floor.
  I am going to close with something that I think about especially 
today--the big challenges of our time. You have to deal with them in a 
bipartisan fashion in order to, one, get them right, and two, make them 
sustainable. The Presiding Officer of the Senate knows this. He and I 
spent many months working on key economic issues and recently put 
together a bipartisan bill on infrastructure. Healthcare is 
particularly important because when you are talking about providing 
care for over 300 million Americans, you have to really think through 
what the consequences are. Often, when you take a step over here, it 
ripples over there. That is why it seems to me that it is so important 
that the Republican majority set aside this partisan ``our way or the 
highway'' approach and get back to working together to find common 
  I had a piece of legislation when we were debating healthcare in 2008 
and 2009--eight Democratic Senators and eight Republican Senators. That 
was the first time in the history of this body that we had that. There 
are Republicans and Democrats who continue to serve in this body who 
are cosponsors of that legislation. It is called the Healthy Americans 
  We got some of what we thought was important into the Affordable Care 
Act--in particular, a provision that I think the American people really 
want to think about in the days ahead, and that is, in our bill with 
the 16 Senators, we had airtight, loophole-free protection for those 
with preexisting conditions. There wasn't any way to hit them with 
extra costs or discriminate against them because they had a preexisting 
condition. We said that we wouldn't stand for that because if you allow 
discrimination against those with preexisting conditions, you take 
America back to the days when healthcare was for the healthy and 
wealthy. If you are healthy, you don't have a preexisting condition, 
and if you are wealthy, you can pay for care. We can't go back there. 
But the House bill basically allows States to get waivers so they can 
start unraveling that and punch big holes into that guarantee of 
airtight protection for those with preexisting conditions.
  If the majority will set aside this partisan-only, ``we are doing it 
our way'' kind of approach, what you heard from colleagues on my side 
is that there is very significant interest in working together to deal 
with the key challenges. One of them, obviously, is more competition in 
the insurance markets, particularly as it relates to individual 
insurance. You do that, and you will take the insurers off this roller 
coaster so they have some certainty and predictability. You can 
stabilize the private insurance market.
  We ought to work together on bringing down prescription drug prices. 
Our people tell us every time we are home that these prescription drug 
price increases are hitting them like a wrecking ball. I have 
introduced approaches that I think can get bipartisan support, and 
there are others who have as well. But that is how to do it right. That 
is how you find common ground: You take time to take each other's good 

  Bipartisanship isn't about taking each other's lousy ideas. 
Bipartisanship is about taking each other's good ideas, and there are 
good ideas on both sides of the aisle to stabilize the private 
insurance market, to hold down prescription drug prices. But this idea 
of reconciliation, where we are all just going to do it our way--that 
is the Republican approach, the partisan approach, and featured in that 
approach are devastating cuts to Medicaid. That is a nonstarter.
  So I come to the floor this afternoon, particularly given years of 
interest in trying to find bipartisan common ground on healthcare, to 
urge my colleagues to abandon this approach that is being pursued 
behind closed doors, that nobody knows anything about, and that really 
seems unprecedented in terms of dealing with one-sixth of the economy. 
I urge my colleagues to abandon the partisan approach of reconciliation 
and work with colleagues on this side on a bipartisan basis.
  I will close simply by way of saying that I wanted to come to the 
floor today, and I will try to be back tomorrow to outline other 
challenges ahead in healthcare. I urge the American people across this 
country, in every corner of our Nation, to make their voices heard.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I am here today to urge support for the act 
that counters Iran's devastating and destabilizing activities. I am 
proud to be a cosponsor of the bill. This bill would expand sanctions 
on individuals who are contributing to Iran's ballistic missile 
program, supporting international terrorism, or violating the arms 
embargo against Iran.
  Iran is one of the key principal state sponsors of terrorism in the 
world. In fact, the Obama administration said it was the No. 1 sponsor 
of state terrorism in the world. It is a destabilizing force for its 
neighbors, and it is

[[Page S3479]]

a destabilizing force for a more peaceful world. The Iranians provide 
financial and material support to groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, 
militias in Iraq, and a host of other terrorist groups. They have 
threatened to wipe out our closest ally in the Middle East, Israel. 
They said they would wipe them ``off the map.'' They continue to 
violate international restrictions by advancing their ballistic missile 
  Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, when he 
testified in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 
of 2016, said: ``Iran's ballistic missiles are inherently capable of 
delivering weapons of mass destruction, and Tehran already has the 
largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.''
  By one estimate, Iran may have conducted as many as 14 missile tests 
since the Obama administration's nuclear agreement, also known as the 
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, went into effect. Apparently, the 
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action meant that Iran could take any 
action it wanted, if you look at what Iran is doing today. They have 
violated multiple legally binding arms embargoes established by the 
U.N. Security Council.
  On a trip to Saudi Arabia in April, Defense Secretary James Mattis 
noted that Iran continues to violate multiple arms embargoes, saying: 
``We see Iranian-supplied missiles being fired by the Houthis into 
Saudi Arabia.'' I think that, at one point, Secretary Mattis said that 
anywhere you look in the disrupted Middle East, Iran is there. This 
action and others directly violate what Iran agreed not to do when they 
agreed to the behavior that they said would be their future behavior.
  As to their ongoing support of international terrorist organizations, 
the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, testified in front of 
the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in an open hearing on May 
11, 2017. Just to double down on what his predecessor said, Director 
Coats said: ``Iran continues to be the foremost state sponsor of 
  If Iran is the principal state sponsor of terrorism--the foremost 
sponsor of state terrorism--certainly, we should take some action. This 
bill does that. Whether it is action supporting the rebels in Yemen or 
the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Iran is clearly there and 
clearly a force for bad, not good.
  The legislation the Senate is considering this week would go a long 
way toward holding Iran accountable. The Countering Iran's 
Destabilizing Activities Act codifies sanctions that are directed at 
all three categories of illicit activities and behavior that we should 
condemn from Iran--ballistic missile tests, arms embargo violations, 
and support of terrorism, as well as Iran's own systemic abuse of human 
rights in its own country. There is no way to criticize that government 
without fear of abuse or worse.
  Specifically, the bill directs the President to impose sanctions on 
any person who knowingly engages in any activity that materially 
contributes to the Iranian ballistic missile program activities or to 
any other program for which a system to deliver weapons of mass 
destruction is involved or any person who contributes to the transfer 
of certain arms to or from Iran. The bill also directs the Secretary of 
State to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of 
people the State Department has determined to be responsible for gross 
human rights violations against individuals who seek to promote human 
rights. The bill further provides that the President may block any 
property these human rights abusers have in the United States.
  This measure also addresses Iran's continued support for terrorism. 
Executive order 13224, issued soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 
sanctions entities determined to be supporting international terrorism.
  Let me remind the Presiding Officer that the last two Directors of 
National Intelligence have both said that the No. 1 supporter of 
international terrorism is Iran. Several Iran-related entities have 
already been sanctioned under that order, but not, surprisingly, the 
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. This bill makes a finding that that 
corps is responsible for supporting terrorism and requires that the 
sanctions of the Executive order that I mentioned be applied.
  This bill does not violate the nuclear agreement with Iran. As the 
Obama administration said repeatedly, the nuclear agreement was about 
providing Iran ``relief from nuclear-related sanctions.'' I may come 
back to that later, but this nuclear agreement does not require the 
United States to look the other way as Iran continues to violate 
international norms on ballistic missile testing and violates the arms 
  Let me also say that the Iran nuclear agreement was just an agreement 
between the leaders of the two governments. It isn't a treaty. The 
President never tried to defend it as a treaty. The Congress didn't 
approve it as a treaty. It is no more of a binding treaty than anything 
else that the President on his own would decide they would enter into, 
hoping that the next President would also agree with their decision.
  Secretary of State John Kerry, in the final days of his service as 
Secretary of State said: ``We still have serious differences with the 
Government of Iran, and will continue to push back on its support of 
terrorism, disregard for human rights, and destabilizing regional 
  This bill delivers the pushback that Secretary of State John Kerry 
called for.
  Despite the hopes that the previous administration had for 
moderation--remember that debate about how, once we entered into this 
agreement, it would strengthen the forces of moderation in Iran?--Iran 
has increased its destructive activities since the 2015 Joint 
Comprehensive Plan of Action. Strengthening sanctions on Iran is an 
appropriate response in Iran's continued aggression. Again, because 
these sanctions are directed only at actions outside of the nuclear 
sphere, the legislation in no way violates the letter or spirit of that 
agreement. The Iran sanctions regime is the best tool we have to hold 
Iran accountable and one that we should continue to keep at the 
forefront of our policy.
  In April, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent to Congress, as 
required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, the latest 
certification that Iran is implementing the nuclear agreement. In his 
message, Secretary Tillerson pointed out that ``Iran remains a leading 
state sponsor of terror.''
  How could we ever have put a leading state sponsor of terror on a 
path to having a nuclear weapon? All the things we are concerned about 
in North Korea we have guaranteed in Iran, unless some future 
President--President Trump or some future President--decides that this 
is not the direction in which we can continue.
  Secretary Tillerson also said that President Trump has ordered an 
interagency review to evaluate whether suspension of sanctions related 
to Iran, pursuant to the JCPOA agreement, is vital to the national 
security interests of the United States.
  He concluded by saying that, when this review is complete, ``the 
administration looks forward to working with Congress on this issue.''
  This is a positive step. That review need not constrain the use of 
sanctions to hold Iran accountable for its other bad behavior.
  I would just like to remind everyone that under President Obama's 
nuclear agreement, Iran has already gained access to more than $100 
billion in sanctions relief, some of which is likely to be fueled to 
terrorists aligned with Iran. Remember the delivery of cash to Iran and 
where our government said that some of that cash would likely go--what 
an outrageous thing for us to be a part of.
  The No. 1 sponsor of terrorism in the world deserves to be 
sanctioned. Individuals who are part of those activities deserve to be 
specifically sanctioned. This bill will do that. I urge my colleagues 
to support the bill and the amendment that was voted on today, and look 
forward to that action being taken later this week.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, it has been more than 6 months since a 
major foreign adversary undertook a cyber act of war against our 
  The Russian attack sought to undermine faith in our democratic system 
and favor one candidate over another--

[[Page S3480]]

in this case, one seen as more favorable to the Kremlin's interests.
  This was truly a historic event--one that requires a response of 
equal magnitude--not only to deter any such attacks on our future 
elections and those of our Western allies, but to make sure our 
election infrastructure is secure from any future cyber threats.
  Unfortunately, President Trump has refused to even acknowledge the 
Russian act of cyber war and the Republican-controlled Congress has 
similarly refused to act to retaliate against Russia or strengthen our 
cyber defenses.
  All the while, Russia has predictably continued its belligerent 
military and cyber actions against our NATO allies and Ukraine, as well 
as ongoing cyber attacks on the election of our democratic allies, most 
recently in France.
  This should come as no surprise. We were warned by our own experts 
and our allies about the danger of American inaction.
  For example, last month, former Director of National Intelligence 
James Clapper warned, ``An American citizen should be very concerned 
about a foreign government, particularly our primary adversary, 
interfering with the most important foundational process that we have 
in this country, which is free and fair elections.'' And former FBI 
Director James Comey also recently warned about the Russians ``They're 
coming after America . . . They will be back.''
  I heard the same warnings in Eastern Europe, where our allies starkly 
warned that Russia would feel emboldened to continue its attacks if the 
United States did not even respond to the attack on its own election. 
So I am understandably pleased that, at least this week, we are taking 
action to maintain and toughen sanctions against Russia.
  This bill takes a number of long overdue steps, including codifying 
existing sanctions against Russia put in place by the Obama 
administration, adding new sanctions on Russia, and making it harder 
for President Trump to lift any sanctions on Russia without 
congressional review.
  I think these are important steps we must take to respond to Russia 
and to protect our democracy, but they are not nearly enough.
  We must also pass legislation to help protect against any such future 
attacks on our election and to safeguard our electoral infrastructure.
  We must get to the bottom of questions regarding possible collusion 
between the Trump campaign and the Russians.
  We must be prepared for President Trump to use the waivers and 
designation authority granted to him in this bill to ultimately do 
little to nothing to toughen sanctions against Russia.
  You see, the way we usually write sanctions language is to instruct 
that the ``President shall'' take such action as described and then 
provide a national security waiver.
  Well, this President has spent more time trying to endear himself to 
the Russians than warning them to never attack our Nation again. In 
fact, this President continues to deny that there was a Russian attack 
on our election. What can we expect this President to do with the 
discretion given in this bill dealing with these exact issues?
  I hope he does the right thing to protect our national security and 
democratic system from foreign attack, but I and others will be 
watching to make sure he does and ready with additional measures if he 
does not.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.

                         Healthcare Legislation

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, Republicans continue to come to the 
floor to talk about the urgent need that we have to reform America's 
healthcare system. The reason we continue to do this is because the 
pain of ObamaCare is getting worse.
  We are seeing it all across the country. The healthcare system in 
this country has been devastated by a law known as ObamaCare. Every 
weekend, at home, I hear, as Republicans all around the country hear, 
about the costs that have been spiraling out of control--double on the 
ObamaCare exchange, we hear across the country, but in many States even 
more than that.
  In Wyoming it has gone up 107 percent over the past 4 years. We also 
hear from people at home about their specific premiums on the exchange 
and how they are worried about them going up even higher next year. Not 
only have they doubled, but they are worried about them going up again. 
Just this past week, we have heard stories about numbers that have been 
requested for increases in New Hampshire, New York, and Maine. We are 
hearing it all across the country. I hear it every weekend in Wyoming.
  People are very concerned about the impact that ObamaCare has had on 
their lives personally. Many will tell you that they believe that the 
insurance they bought under ObamaCare has been of less value than they 
would have liked, and many people are not buying because they see that 
the value is not there.
  When we hear about these increasing rates and we hear about the fact 
that it is going to only get worse, people are saying: The cost has 
gone up; maybe we ought to try to shop around, and maybe we can find 
more choices.
  The problem is the choices are going down as well. Insurance 
companies are continuing to drop out of the ObamaCare plan. So people 
around the country are having fewer and fewer choices under ObamaCare.
  Last Friday, a headline in the Wall Street Journal read: ``Another 
Area Loses Last ACA Insurer.'' It is not just that they have fewer 
choices. Now we are looking at places in the country where there are no 
  In Wyoming we had two. One of the companies went out of business. We 
are down to one. That company has lost money. The question is, How long 
will they stay? How much higher will they have to raise rates under 
ObamaCare? Will we be at a point where the counties in our State, 
instead of having one, have none?
  This article in the Wall Street Journal last week says: ``Washington 
state has no insurer willing to offer Affordable Care Act plans next 
year,'' in some of its 39 counties.
  A few days earlier, we heard the news from people in a similar 
situation in Ohio. There are 18 counties in Ohio next year with no 
plans offered. So with ObamaCare you are going to get a subsidy, but 
there is no place to use the subsidy. You have no choices. But we 
warned from the beginning about the ObamaCare death spiral, and we are 
seeing it happen here. For those people living in those counties in 
Ohio and those counties in Washington, the insurance death spiral is 
complete. There is no insurance market. There is no one offering to 
sell insurance because of the damage done by ObamaCare to the insurance 
market in the United States.
  We have millions of people across the country who have been harmed by 
the higher costs and the fewer and fewer choices available under 
ObamaCare. They have lost the coverage they had. Care is not available 
to them in the sense that their insurance is not available to them. The 
options are shrinking all across the country and have completely gone 
away in certain places.
  Now, someone who is living with a preexisting condition is so much of 
the debate, and I hear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who 
come to the floor, talk about preexisting conditions. If you are 
someone in any of these counties and you have a preexisting condition 
and the company you buy your insurance from goes out of business and 
there is no one to sell you insurance in the county in which you live 
and you have a preexisting condition, under ObamaCare, you are out of 
luck. You may get a subsidy, but you cannot buy a policy. Under 
ObamaCare, preexisting conditions are not covered if there is no one 
available to sell a policy, and we are seeing more and more counties 
falling into that situation.
  There was almost a full-page map in the New York Times earlier this 
week of the number of counties across the country in which there are 
only two insurance companies selling or one or none at all. That is the 
problem we have all across the country.
  We predicted this. This disaster of ObamaCare was entirely 
predictable. Republicans came to the floor as it was being debated, as 
it was being discussed, as Democrats were voting on it, and we 
continued to point out that we would be in a situation of free fall, 
and we are now in that situation with ObamaCare.

[[Page S3481]]

  Republicans know what we need to do. We are trying to stabilize the 
market. We want to protect people with preexisting conditions. We want 
to lower the cost of premiums. We do not want the rug to be pulled out 
from anyone, and we are trying to reform Medicaid in a way that 
provides long-term stability to that program.
  Finally, after all of these years of talking about the problems with 
ObamaCare and with so many Democrats having blinders on, wanting to 
just apply a blank check to the problem and say: ``More money. More 
ObamaCare,'' finally, now some Democrats are saying, yes, that there 
are problems with ObamaCare. The problem is that their solution is the 
wrong solution.
  What they want to do is make the problem even bigger, and we have 
seen it in California this past year. Actually, just a week ago, the 
California State Senate--and it is a Democratic-controlled Senate--
after calls from people throughout their political party and at their 
political convention a couple of weeks ago, said that we know what to 
do--single-payer healthcare. That is what they proposed, and it passed 
along party lines.
  Who is that single payer? It is the American taxpayer. The 
Democratic-controlled Senate in California passed a single-payer 
healthcare bill. From cradle to grave, everyone is covered. Anything 
you need, you have it, says California.
  I served in the Wyoming State Legislature--and I served at the 
Presiding Officer's level in the legislature--where we did something 
called a fiscal note. What is something like this going to cost? They 
did the same thing in California. The fiscal note was $400 billion a 
year. Put it in perspective. How does that fit into the State budget? 
The general fund for the State of California for a year, when they have 
just passed a bill for $400 billion, is only $190 billion. The total 
cost of what the State Senate of California passed is twice the entire 
general fund for the State of California. In other places, when they 
have said that they have needed a single-payer plan, as they have done 
in Canada and England, what has happened is that it has led to longer 
lines, waiting periods, and the rationing of care. That is not what the 
American people want, but it is what the Democratic Party is proposing 
and actually voted for in the State of California.
  This was a headline in the New York Times just the other day, ``The 
Single-Payer Party? Democrats Shift Left on Health Care.''
  The article goes on to read in terms of the Democrats:

       Cast out of power in Washington and most State capitals, 
     Democrats and activist leaders seeking political redemption 
     have embraced an unlikely-seeming cause: an actual government 
     takeover of health care.

  This was from the New York Times about what has passed in California 
and what Democrats around the country are proposing.
  In the U.S. House of Representatives, which is right down the hall of 
this building, a majority of the Democrats has cosponsored legislation 
to go to a single-payer healthcare plan--for the majority of the 
Democrats in the House, a single-payer healthcare plan.
  That is not what hard-working Americans want. That is not what 
struggling small business owners want. That is not what the people of 
Wyoming want. The people at home already cannot afford to pay for the 
insurance that has been mandated that they buy under the Obama 
healthcare law. They cannot afford the penalties. They cannot afford 
the insurance, and they want healthcare--care they need from doctors 
they choose at lower costs.
  How in the world is this country going to afford higher taxes to pay 
for the Democrats' single-payer fantasy? Yet that is what they are 
looking at in California. To double the cost of the State's general 
fund, you are talking about raising taxes as well as, probably, 
eliminating some services. Would you have to eliminate teachers, 
firefighters, public safety workers? Those are the things that you have 
to wonder about when they make such an irresponsible decision in the 
California State Senate.
  Ronald Reagan, I think, said it best when he said that you cannot be 
for big government and big taxes and a big bureaucracy and still be for 
the little guy. Ronald Reagan had it right. Now Washington Democrats 
want to ignore that.
  Small business owners know what Democrats in Washington, DC, and in 
California refuse to acknowledge right now. The small business owners 
know it, and the Democrats will not acknowledge it. People around the 
country realize ObamaCare is not working. It is why they elected a 
Republican House, a Republican Senate, a Republican President--because 
of the pain caused to the American people under the Obama healthcare 
law, which mandated that everybody buy a government-approved product. 
The costs have gone up, and the choices have gone down. People have 
been left in a state in which this is not what works for them.
  So here we are. We are on the cusp of coming out with a Republican 
plan. We are trying to do it with our legislation. We are writing a 
reform plan to reduce healthcare costs and improve access to insurance 
without the mandates and the restrictions we have seen under the Obama 
healthcare law.
  I think Democrats should join us in finding the best solutions for 
the American people. The time to act is now because we see that, from 
week to week, more of those who sell insurance are pulling out. People 
with preexisting conditions who lose their coverage will have nowhere 
to turn under ObamaCare. We continue to fight for our patients. As a 
doctor, I know what patients need, and it is the care they need from 
doctors they choose at lower costs.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                Congressional Baseball Practice Shooting

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, like all of us here on Capitol Hill, I am 
still reeling from the attack on our colleagues this morning. My 
thoughts and prayers are with everyone who was injured, and with their 
  My friend and colleague Steve Scalise remains in critical condition 
right now, and I am praying for a full and swift recovery.
  I am grateful to hear that the young congressional staffer who was 
shot--a legislative correspondent for Representative Roger Williams--is 
expected to make a complete recovery.
  Legislative correspondents and the other young staffers who work in 
our offices don't get a lot of media attention, but not one of us could 
do our jobs serving our constituents without them. We are grateful for 
their work and dedication.
  In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: ``Greater love has no man than 
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.''
  Most of us have never been in a situation where we have a need to 
consider such a great sacrifice. But, every day, the men and women of 
the United States Capitol Police, and every police force in this 
country, get up and go about their jobs, knowing that they may have to 
lay down their lives, and they do so willingly. When others run from 
danger, they run into it. When bullets fly, they advance.
  Today, violence threatened, and officers of the Capitol Police 
stepped up to meet it. Had it not been for the efforts of the heroic 
officers who were on site, today's attack could have been much, much 
worse. As it is, their actions have brought many safely home to their 
families tonight.
  Events like today remind us that there is evil in the world, but they 
also remind us that there is good. Around every act of evil and 
violence, 100 acts of good spring up. The officers who risked their 
lives to defend those at the scene, the colleagues who hurried to 
provide medical care to Steve Scalise, the Alexandria police officers 
who came running to help, the Democratic congressional baseball team 
who united in prayer for their colleagues, the injured officer who went 
to check on the Member he was protecting before he thought of seeking 
treatment for himself--these are the things that endure.
  Good endures. Sacrifice endures. Heroism endures. Long after the 
names of evildoers are forgotten, these things remain.

[[Page S3482]]

  Again, my thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with their 
families. And, as always, my gratitude is with the Capitol police 
officers who defend us every single day.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, this morning, an unbalanced individual 
carried out a cowardly attack, not only against Members and staff of 
this Congress but against democratic institutions. This terrorist--and 
he is a terrorist--desired to destroy our democratic institutions. We 
as a country cannot allow this to happen. If anything, this must 
strengthen our resolve to do what is right for our country and for each 
other. We cannot let this shooter defeat good.
  I have known Steve Scalise for decades. I served with Steve in the 
Louisiana Senate, then in the U.S. House of Representatives. I called 
his wife Jennifer and will be available to help his family in any way I 
  Steve is a man of good character. He loves the United States and 
Louisiana, loves the LSU Tigers, which, of course, is our mutual 
affection as well. It is a privilege to serve with someone who cares so 
deeply about the people whom we are both honored to represent. My 
prayers are with Steve, Jennifer, and their children.
  We also think of Zack Barth, Matt Mika, Agent David Bailey, and Agent 
Crystal Griner. We think of them, are gratified that they were able to 
receive medical treatment quickly, and ask that everyone join in 
keeping them and their families in our prayers as well. To all of 
them--we want them to know that we in the United States and in 
Louisiana support them.
  I specifically commend the Capitol Police for all they do, and, 
again, Agents Bailey and Griner for their bravery and quick actions to 
protect those in danger. We are blessed by the service of the Capitol 
Police and fortunate they were there to prevent this attack from being 
even more tragic.
  Where do we go from here? Frankly, we as a country need to come 
together to try and reinject civility into our political rhetoric. We 
can disagree on policy. It is that disagreement and our ability to 
discuss and debate these differences that makes democracies successful.
  The key word here is ``debate.'' There is a difference between debate 
and attacking the motives and good faith of another. Debates are 
healthy, productive, and you respect those in opposition. You discuss 
ideas, not perceived intentions. When respect and good faith in the 
intentions of the other are lost, though, perhaps it does more to hurt 
than to heal.
  We as individuals need to look at how we use rhetoric--rhetoric that 
can cause someone who is unbalanced to commit an act of violence, as we 
saw this morning. Anyone saying things to vilify another or portray 
them as evil, we have to recognize that can drive some, again, to acts 
of violence. Let's do what we can to move this country to the era of 
respectful debate.
  Now let me end where I began. We cannot let political terrorism win. 
We must stand firm in support of our democracy and democratic 
institutions. We must carry on, not letting evil triumph. We do that by 
recognizing that we are all, first, children of God, then all 
Americans. We come together, stand united, doing that which is best for 
our country and for each other.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, Congressman Steve Scalise; Special Agent 
Crystal Griner; Special Agent David Bailey; Zack Barth, a legislative 
aide to Congressman Roger Williams; Matt Mika, who works for Tyson 
Foods--those five individuals were shot today, and I am asking and 
saying to every American who happens to be listening to the Senate at 
this time: If you believe in God, please pray for them as I have and as 
I do. If you don't believe in God, this is America, and that is your 
right. Send positive thoughts their way.
  Like most Americans, I feel awful, I feel sad, and I feel mad.
  I have known Steve Scalise a long time, I don't know, 20, 25 years. 
He is a political friend, but he is also a personal friend. Steve works 
all the time. He loves his family. He will do anything for his 
constituents. I know that is what we always say about each other, but 
it is true with Steve. He loves this place. I have never seen him in a 
bad mood. I know he must be; he is human. But I don't think I have ever 
seen Steve in a bad mood. He is positive; he is can-do. Every time I go 
to a function, Steve is there. I don't think he ever sleeps. He does an 
extraordinarily good job of representing the First Congressional 
District of Louisiana, and this is so unfair. I wish I understood why 
bad things happen to good people.
  My thoughts and prayers, as all of our thoughts and prayers should 
be, are with Jennifer, Steve's lovely wife. Steve and Jennifer have two 
great kids, Madison and Harrison. I can't imagine what his family is 
going through right now. I am just so sorry.
  We are also praying and hoping for a quick recovery for Matt and for 
  I thank Special Agent Griner and Special Agent Bailey. There were 30, 
40, 50 Congressmen and Senators out there today. It was an open field. 
But for the bravery of these two special agents and other members of 
the Capitol Police, it would have been a turkey shoot: no cover. You 
have a person--that is as charitable as I can be right now--a person 
armed with an assault rifle and a handgun. I just want to tell those 
two agents and all the other law enforcement officials who support them 
and who keep us safe every day: Thank you so much for doing your job.
  We have heard--and I hope it is not true--that this was a political 
shooting; that this person who decided to commit these despicable acts 
did it because he didn't like the political persuasion of the people at 
whom he decided to shoot. I hope that is not true. I hope members of 
the media come back tonight after the Secret Service investigates and 
tell us that is not true. Because if it is true, this represents a new 
low for America.
  Reasonable people disagree, and you have the right under our 
Constitution to disagree. This is America. You can believe what you 
want. Within reason, you can say what you want. And most of us--I dare 
say, all of us in Congress--would do anything we could to protect that 
  I guess you have a constitutional right to hate, if you want to. But 
I don't understand people who hate other people just because they don't 
agree with them politically. It is not only nonsensical, it is un-
American. If the reports are true, it breaks my heart that this is what 
we have come to. I think many of us have probably seen that attitude. 
It has not become prevalent in America, but it certainly has become 
more than just a mere occurrence. I will put it that way.
  The internet has been an extraordinary thing for commerce and for the 
quality of life of all of us, but sometimes I read what people write on 
Facebook and I read comments. The worst are the ones where people can 
comment anonymously on newspaper articles. The vitriol, the hatred--I 
would hate to live with that much hate in my heart.
  Our thoughts and prayers are with Steve, Jennifer, Madison, and 
Harrison, and they are with Special Agent Griner, Special Agent Bailey, 
Zack Barth, and Matt Mika. My personal thoughts and prayers are with 
every American today who feels as I do, that this is just a sad, sad 
day for this great country.
  I don't know if there is any good that can come out of this, but if 
there is, I hope the good that does come out of this is that we will 
all stop and think about the things that divide us and understand it is 
OK to disagree. I will say it again: Reasonable people do. But you can 
disagree with somebody without hate.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

[[Page S3483]]


  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, I want to add to the voice of so many 
Senators today who expressed their prayers and concerns for the five 
Americans who were wounded today in a terrible shooting in Alexandria, 
VA: Steve Scalise, a friend of mine from the House of Representatives, 
someone who took a bet on me early in my first campaign, as a 
neighboring State, aspiring young candidate, and with whom I served for 
2 years; Matt Mika, who represents the Tyson Foods, a great Arkansas 
institution, and whom I have known since the beginning of my days of 
politics; Zack Barth, a young House staffer; and Crystal Griner and 
David Bailey, two brave Capitol police officers who were on the scene.
  We don't yet know all of the details of what happened this morning. 
Here is what we do know: If it weren't for the bravery of those Capitol 
police officers--not just Crystal and David but the others present--
there might have been many more killed.
  We all sit here safely engaged in the great debates of American 
democracy--whether we are a Senator or whether we are Americans 
watching it--because there are brave men and women literally standing 
guard at our doors with guns, willing to put their lives on the line to 
defend all of us.
  I want to join so many other Senators today to express my gratitude 
to the Capitol Police, not just for protecting us--535 elected Members 
of Congress--but also for protecting all of the hundreds of thousands 
of Americans who come here every single day of the year to see their 
Congress and their Representatives doing the people's business.

               Honoring Private First Class Larry Roberts

  Mr. President, speaking of men who guard us with guns, I want to turn 
our attention to Arlington National Cemetery. After 74 years, an 
American patriot has finally come home.
  PFC Larry Roberts, of Damascus, AK, was only 18 years old at the time 
of his final mission. It was November 1943--the height of World War II. 
Private Roberts had been assigned to the Special Weapons Group, 2nd 
Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force. U.S. forces were making their 
way across the Pacific, island by island. That month, those marines 
landed on tiny Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. The 
mission? Take the island and advance on to Tokyo and victory. Private 
Roberts and his battle buddies performed brilliantly, but the fighting 
was fierce. One thousand marines and sailors were killed and 2,000 were 
wounded. The Japanese fought to the last man standing. In the end we 
won but at steep cost.
  Private Roberts, like so many others, was killed on November 25, 
1943. In the 2 years after the war, the 604th Quartermaster Graves 
Registration Company tried to recover all of the remains on the 
battlefield, but they never found any sign of Private Roberts. In 1949, 
a military review board declared his remains nonrecoverable.
  Just 2 years ago, the nonprofit History Flight discovered an until-
then unknown burial site on the island and recovered remains of 35 
marines who had died there. It took 2 years, but thanks to the amazing 
work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, we were able to identify 
the remains of Private First Class Roberts. It was heartening news, 
especially to the Roberts family.
  I am happy to say he has been laid to rest on American soil on our 
most hallowed ground--Arlington National Cemetery. I had the honor of 
attending his funeral earlier today. Now he rests amid the rolling 
green hills and the ghostly white crosses of that cemetery. I think it 
is more than fitting because his burial there is a symbol of what this 
one person, this young man so far away from home, did for our country. 
He gave his all-too-brief life in service to something greater than 
himself. He gave his life and service to his country. He gave all his 
tomorrows so you could have today and tomorrow.
  I wanted to recognize him and his service on the Senate floor 
tonight. Standing here, I think of the words of the great British 
Parliamentarian William Gladstone: ``Show me the manner in which a 
nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical 
exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws 
of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.''
  To the men and women of our Armed Forces, I want you to know that if 
you are ever separated, captured, missing, or killed in action, our 
country will spare no expense and will suffer any burden to bring you 
back too.
  PFC Larry Roberts died fighting for that highest ideal, that of 
freedom. He would have been 92 years old this year. It is because of 
him and his bravery and millions of Americans like him that our country 
is still here, still standing, still free, as it has been for 241 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, we are on the Senate floor today, 
yesterday, and tomorrow, and we will be continuing the debate on the 
Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. This is 
actually a very important bill, and I want to commend Senator Cardin, 
Senator Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and 
many others on working hard to put this bill together in the Foreign 
Relations Committee.
  There is a lot of interest in this. I am a cosponsor of the bill, and 
I think it is an important bill.
  Let me just give a quick overview of what its core purpose is. There 
was a lot of discussion last year about the JCPOA--what it was going to 
do and what it wasn't going to do. I think a lot of us, even those who 
supported it--and I certainly did not support it. As a matter of fact, 
I thought it was a very misbegotten agreement that was going to 
undermine American interests and the interests of our allies in the 
region. But a number of us were concerned about what it didn't cover. 
The bill we are debating today does close some of those loopholes. For 
example, the core purpose of S. 722 is to impose sanctions on Iran for 
its ballistic missile program, which continues to violate U.N. Security 
Council resolutions, and its support of terrorism.
  It is still listed by our State Department as the No. 1 state sponsor 
of terrorism in the world. As to its transfer of illicit weapons, which 
it is not supposed to do under U.N. Security Council resolutions, it 
continues to do that, and, of course, there is its continuing and 
widespread abuse of human rights. That is all still happening with 
regard to this Iranian regime, which the previous administration spent 
so much time negotiating with to get this nuclear deal that, I think, 
undermines our interests.
  The bill we are focused on is very bipartisan. It sets to close some 
of these loopholes and impose sanctions for these kinds of violations. 
It does not violate the JCPOA. I think Senators Corker and Cardin 
worked hard to make sure that would not be the case in order to get 
bipartisan buy-in. I think it is an important bill, but it could have 
been stronger. Unfortunately, a number of us had provisions and 
amendments that were meant to strengthen it. Some of us don't sit on 
the Foreign Relations Committee, but we have a lot of interest and 
experience with these issues. What we could have done was to actually 
make this bill stronger by looking at some of the other amendments that 
Members of the Senate brought to the floor on this very bill.
  Let me give you one example. I had an amendment that was a very 
simple amendment. It essentially stated that Iranian banks and 
financial institutions would not be able to use the U.S. financial 
system--our banking system, which is critical to global commerce to 
conduct any business around the world--until Iran was taken off the 
list of countries that sponsor state terrorism--very simple: not using 
the American financial system until you are not a terrorist designated 
by our State Department. This is important. These kinds of sanctions 
are important because Iran and other rogue nations--you see it all the 
time--want access to

[[Page S3484]]

our financial institutions and the dollar, the world's currency. 
Roughly 43 percent of international financial transactions and more 
than 60 percent of total allocated global floor exchange reserves are 
denominated in U.S. dollars.
  We have tremendous leverage over other countries, even if we are 
acting just as the United States, with regard to accessing the U.S. 
financial system. When you have these kinds of sanctions, when other 
countries are not allowed to access our financial system, it puts a 
real strong bite on their economy.
  We wanted to bring this down to the floor. Again, there is bipartisan 
support for this amendment. Unfortunately, not many but just a few of 
my colleagues wouldn't want to accept this. They didn't even want to 
vote on the amendment. They believed, incorrectly, that somehow this 
would undermine the JCPOA. Well, it wouldn't. As a matter of fact, 
former Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew stated that under the JCPOA, 
the Treasury Department was still going to prohibit Iranian banks from 
being able to use U.S. dollars through New York or to hold 
correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions. 
He testified that the JCPOA would continue to bar Iranian financial 
institutions from using our financial system. So that is happening 
right now.
  What we wanted to do with this amendment was to say that we are going 
to make that legislation; we are going to make that a statutory 
prohibition, and the biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world 
shouldn't be able to use our financial system until they are no longer 
a sponsor of terrorism--very simple. But we couldn't get that through 
the Senate. If we voted on it, I believe there would be a strong 
bipartisan majority of Senators who would agree with us, but there are 
a few who don't.
  The JCPOA was sold in many ways as helping to ensure that Iran would 
moderate its behavior, that Iran would become part of the ``community 
of nations'' again.
  Well, of course, despite claims by the former President and the 
former Secretary of State that this is what the agreement would do, 
that hasn't happened. To the contrary, the opposite has happened. Iran 
has undertaken activities to undermine U.S. interests, the interests of 
Israel--our sacred ally in the Middle East--and the interests of our 
gulf Arab allies in the Middle East on almost a daily basis.
  Look at what has happened since that agreement was signed. Moderating 
behavior did not happen; much more aggressive behavior did. It is 
really important for people to remember that this isn't just the 
largest state sponsor of terrorism. This is a country whose activities 
have led to the deaths and wounding of thousands of American soldiers 
and marines. The Iranian regime was supplying very sophisticated IEDs 
to Iraqi Shia militias that were killing, maiming, and wounding our 
troops in Iraq. That is a fact. This is a regime with the blood of U.S. 
soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen on its hands. This is not a 
regime we should trust. This is a regime about which we should do 
everything we have in our power to use our leverage to help undermine 
their nefarious activities around the world that they have been 
conducting for decades.
  So again, my congratulations and I am going to vote for the bill. My 
congratulations go to Senators Corker and Cardin for this important 
bill, but it could be stronger. We need to look at ways to make this 
stronger. This was a missed opportunity, simply bringing an amendment 
like this to the floor for a vote. Let's see where people stand. It 
would be strongly supported by the American people, strongly supported 
by our allies, strongly supported by Members of the Senate on both 
sides of the aisle.
  Unfortunately, there are a few in the Senate who seem more interested 
in protecting the legacy of the JCPOA than in really putting the screws 
to Iran and really limiting their ability to fund terrorism or their 
illicit businesses around the world. That is disappointing. These 
Senators will not say they are doing that, but that is what is going on 
here. The legacy of the JCPOA is not worth safeguarding if it means 
missing the opportunity to further leverage and undermine Iranian 
terrorist activities around the world. So that is a disappointment we 
have seen today.
  I am going to continue to keep pushing to do more to make sure we 
take every action, every bit of leverage that the United States of 
America has to push back against the nefarious activities of the 
biggest sponsor of terrorism in the world--the Iranian regime and its 
leadership. I know that most of my colleagues--Democrats and 
Republicans--are interested in doing so today. We made a good start 
with this bill that hopefully is going to pass the Senate floor, but we 
can do much more. We need to do much more. I am going to continue to 
press my colleagues to do so.
  I yield the floor.
  (Mr. DAINES assumed the Chair.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent, notwithstanding 
rule XXII, to withdraw the cloture motions on the committee-reported 
substitute and S. 722; that the only further amendment in order be the 
Gardner amendment No. 250, as modified with the changes at the desk; 
further, that following leader remarks on Thursday, June 15, the time 
until 11 a.m. be equally divided between the two leaders or their 
designees, and that at 11 a.m. the Senate vote in relation to the 
Gardner amendment No. 250, then vote in relation to the amendment No. 
240; finally, following disposition of that amendment, the committee-
reported substitute amendment, as amended, be agreed to, the bill, as 
amended, be read a third time, and the Senate vote on passage of the 
bill, as amended.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.

                     Amendment No. 250, as Modified

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 250, as modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Colorado [Mr. Gardner] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 250, as modified.

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the reading 
of the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment, as modified, is as follows:

   (Purpose: To provide an exception for activities of the National 
                 Aeronautics and Space Administration)

       In Section 236, at the appropriate place, insert the 


       (a) In General.--This Act and the amendments made by this 
     Act shall not apply with respect to activities of the 
     National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
       (b) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this Act or the 
     amendments made by this Act shall be construed to authorize 
     the imposition of any sanction or other condition, 
     limitation, restriction, or prohibition, that directly or 
     indirectly impedes the supply by any entity of the Russian 
     Federation of any product or service, or the procurement of 
     such product or service by any contractor or subcontractor of 
     the United States or any other entity, relating to or in 
     connection with any space launch conducted for--
       (1) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;
       (2) any other non-Department of Defense customer.