(Senate - September 14, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 149 (Thursday, September 14, 2017)]
[Pages S5731-S5738]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding rule XXII, there be 10 minutes of debate, equally 
divided in the usual form, and that following the use or yielding back 
of that time, the Senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the 
substitute amendment No. 1003, as modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I ask 
unanimous consent to make brief remarks and engage in a colloquy with 
the chairman and ranking member.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, I have filed Baldwin amendment No. 329. 
This deals with the subject matter of ``Buy American'' in the National 
Defense Authorization Act.
  I have long been a strong supporter of our manufacturing sector, of 
our national security, and I believe this amendment strongly supports 
  All week we have been going back and forth about whether we are going 
to vote on amendments to this measure. The Senate is supposed to be an 
institution where we can debate and bring our ideas forward, represent 
our States, represent the hard workers of this Nation, and I reserve 
the right to object to this unanimous consent request because I am 
frustrated, on behalf of those I represent, that we are not going to 
see a vote on this ``Buy American'' amendment.
  I would additionally note the unique status we have--actually, in 
this case, a Statement of Administration Policy indicating strong 
support for the amendment that I have filed. To me, the ultimate test 
will be what is in the final bill that is signed into law. I am going 
to continue to push on, but I am, again, disappointed that this Senate 
is not operating in a fashion where we can offer amendments, debate 
those amendments, and have votes on those amendments.
  I wish to yield to both the chairman and ranking member, as we have 
had discussions on this subject matter during these negotiations.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Wisconsin. I 
thank her for her agreement that we should move forward with this 
important legislation, and I am very proud of the way this legislation 
has proceeded before the Senate most of the way. But now I am not very 
proud because we are now not allowing Senators to have a vote.
  I do not agree with the amendment from the Senator from Wisconsin, 
but I strongly believe she should have the right to have her amendment 
considered, debated, and voted on.
  I am very proud of the fact that we have approved and agreed to 103 
amendments. We still have three or four amendments that have caused us 
to be where we are today. It will be a conference item, the amendment 
of the Senator from Wisconsin, and although I do not agree with it, I 
will certainly make sure that it is part of the conference.
  But I want to remind my colleagues again that one of the reasons we 
had 107 votes for and 0 against is that we went through a process of 
days, weeks, and months of hearings, study, debate, discussion, and 
bringing it to the floor. That is the way the Senate should work.
  I thank the Senator from Wisconsin, and I want to tell her and the 
Senator from New York, Mrs. Gillibrand, that I will continue to do 
everything I can to make sure they are given the rights that they 
earned by being elected in the States they represent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, the Senator from Wisconsin has pointed out 
one of the shortcomings in this process, which is that we have not had 
a series of amendments on the floor to vote on.
  Through the chairman's leadership, we have, as he has indicated, 
cleared 103 amendments on a bipartisan basis. We think we have 
legislation that is important for the Nation, particularly for our men 
and women in uniform.
  Senator Baldwin raises an extremely important question. ``Buy 
American'' is not only for the people we represent all across the 
country but for the quality of goods and services that our men and 
women in uniform will receive. I thank her, and I join with her in the 
frustration of not having a vote, despite the progress we have made in 
so many other areas. This is something that both the chairman and I 
would like to see remedied in the next national defense debate on the 
  As the chairman pointed out, this will be an issue at conference. I 
know Senator Baldwin will not cease her efforts. She has been 
incredibly tenacious in pushing forward this ``Buy American'' provision 
on behalf of her constituents and all of our constituents. I do, in 
fact, support this provision, and I will work to my utmost to see that 
we can move this issue forward. I appreciate very much the fact that it 
will be considered in conference.
  Again, I think we have done a lot over the last several days with the 
leadership of Chairman McCain. I regret that we can't wrap up this 
legislation with several votes on issues, which each side would like to 
see, but I commit myself to work with the Senator from Wisconsin to see 
if we can move this ``Buy American'' provision forward.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, I had reserved the right to object, but I 
will not object to proceeding to the vote to move the NDAA forward. I 
would note that this amendment is germane

[[Page S5732]]

postcloture, and I still would like to see the Senate operate in a 
manner where Senators can bring forth their amendments, can debate 
them, and can get votes.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the Senator's request?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  There are now 10 minutes of debate, equally divided.
  Mr. McCAIN. Mr. President, I have no further use of the time.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I yield back the time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.

                             Cloture Motion

  Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending 
cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on Senate amendment 
     No. 1003, as modified, to Calendar No. 175, H.R. 2810, an act 
     to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2018 for military 
     activities of the Department of Defense, for military 
     construction, and for defense activities of the Department of 
     Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such 
     fiscal year, and for other purposes.
         John McCain, Mitch McConnell, John Thune, Thom Tillis, 
           Pat Roberts, Mike Crapo, Richard Burr, Michael B. Enzi, 
           Orrin G. Hatch, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, Dan Sullivan, 
           Roy Blunt, Cory Gardner, Tim Scott, Shelley Moore 
           Capito, David Perdue.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on 
amendment No. 1003, as modified, offered by the Senator from Arizona, 
Mr. McCain, to H.R. 2810, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Burr), the Senator from Georgia (Mr. 
Isakson), the Senator from Florida (Mr. Rubio), and the Senator from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Toomey).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Florida (Mr. Rubio) 
would have voted ``yea'' and the Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. Toomey) 
would have voted ``yea''.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Leahy), the 
Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Menendez), and the Senator from Florida 
(Mr. Nelson) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Graham). Are there any other Senators in 
the chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 84, nays 9, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 197 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen



                             NOT VOTING--7

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). On this vote, the yeas are 84, 
the nays are 9.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on the Defense 
authorization bill.
  Congress has passed this bipartisan legislation every year for the 
past 55 years. Once again, this year, the Senate is debating this 
critical legislation to provide our men and women in uniform with the 
resources they need to keep America safe.
  This is a bipartisan bill. It represents the combined efforts of 
Members from both sides of the aisle. It was approved unanimously by 
the Senate Armed Services Committee. All 27 of our members voted for 
it. That is more than a quarter of this body.
  The distinguished chairman, the senior Senator from Arizona, spoke on 
the Senate floor on Monday about the geopolitical challenges we are 
facing and the need for this legislation. He is absolutely right.
  The number and the complexity of the threats we face today are 
unprecedented. North Korea is relentlessly pursuing long-range 
ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads to our shores. 
Americans are informed about the sobering threat from the Kim regime 
because it has dominated much of the recent news, but it is by no means 
the only significant challenge we face. We remain a nation at war, with 
thousands of men and women in uniform still deployed to the Middle East 
and Afghanistan. Russia and China continue to undermine rules-based 
international order by developing advanced military capabilities 
designed specifically to counter U.S. defense systems. Iran continues 
to pursue regional dominance and regularly harasses U.S. ships and 
planes operating in that region.
  These are needlessly provocative acts that carry risks of an accident 
or a miscalculation that could spiral into serious confrontation. 
Additional low-intensity conflicts continue to smolder across the 
globe, particularly in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Arabian 
Peninsula, and each one has the potential to impact U.S. national 
  The global turmoil of today highlights why the bill before us is so 
very important. It will provide the resources necessary to defend our 
Nation in the face of those challenges. But the NDAA is about more than 
just answering these threats; it is about helping us here at home as 
  Last Friday, I visited Naval Station Norfolk and had an opportunity 
to meet with some of our Nation's best--the sailors and officers of the 
U.S. Navy. As we stood on the pier, we watched the USS Abraham Lincoln 
aircraft carrier depart and head out into the Atlantic and join other 
U.S. Navy ships responding to the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.
  Fighting and winning wars is the primary mission of our military, but 
the American people depend on it for so much more. The destruction and 
the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have 
brought this point home.
  This bill authorizes the resources our men and women in uniform need 
to respond to these crises and to do the job the Nation asks of them. 
It also begins to address the readiness gaps that have emerged in 
recent years as the Department has been asked to do more with less.
  Upon returning to the Department of Defense 4 years after retiring 
from military service, Secretary Mattis testified before the Senate 
Armed Services Committee about this very issue. He said: ``I have been 
shocked by what I have seen about our readiness to fight.'' Additional 
testimony from other military leaders has borne this assessment out as 
  Only 3 of the Army's 58 brigade combat teams are ready to ``fight 
tonight.'' Sixty-two percent of the Navy's F-18 fighters cannot fly. 
Approximately 80 percent of our Marine aviation units lack the minimum 
number of ready basic aircraft for training, and flight-hour averages 
are below the minimum standards required to achieve and to maintain 
adequate levels of readiness.
  Following the direction by President Trump to rebuild the military 
and prioritization by Secretary Mattis to improve readiness, this bill 
authorizes $30 billion to address unmet requirements identified by the 
military services and our combatant commanders, and it provides 
additional resources to address emerging threats.
  In the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, which I chair, we provided

[[Page S5733]]

over $500 million in additional funding for cooperative missile defense 
programs with Israel to fully meet the needs of our ally.
  We also authorized an additional $200 million to approve the Ground-
based Midcourse Defense, or the GMD, system. These increases include 
funds for the development of more capable boosters and funds to improve 
what our military calls ``discrimination,'' or the ability of the 
system to distinguish between hostile warheads and decoys and other 
debris in space. The GMD is our only missile defense system capable of 
defending the homeland from intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 
the smart, targeted increases made by the subcommittee have only become 
more necessary as North Korea continues to demonstrate increased 
  The subcommittee's mark also fully supports the modernization of our 
nuclear forces and the Department of Energy's nuclear enterprise and 
the sustainment activities. As part of this effort, the subcommittee 
added almost $200 million to help address the backlog of deferred 
maintenance activities at our nuclear facilities. More than half of 
these facilities are over 40 years old, and roughly 30 percent date 
back to the era of the Manhattan Project. Dilapidated structures at 
these facilities pose safety risks to our workers and jeopardize 
essential operations.
  This additional funding will enhance the administration's efforts to 
address the highest priority requirements and begin reducing the 
immense maintenance backlog, but more work will be required in future 
years to resolve this very longstanding issue.
  The jurisdiction of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee also includes 
outer space. In the subcommittee's mark, we added over $700 million to 
address unfunded needs for space operations. This includes over $100 
million to expand the development and testing of advanced prototypes in 
response to the urgent operational needs of our warfighters and an 
additional $35 million to expedite the development of advanced jam-
resistant GPS receivers.
  Our forces rely heavily on the capabilities provided by our 
satellites, and our adversaries know it. They are developing 
capabilities to target our space assets, and these investments are 
critical if we want to ensure our forces never have to face a day 
without space.
  I am proud of the strong provisions the Strategic Forces Subcommittee 
contributed to the bill before us today. In addition to the steps taken 
in this bill to address current threats, it makes important investments 
in advanced technologies to stay ahead of the challenges we might face 
tomorrow. For example, the bill authorizes over $500 million in 
additional funding to support the Department's Third Offset Strategy 
and improve the U.S. military's technological superiority. It also 
prioritizes cyber security--an area of growing risk and opportunity as 
technology becomes more and more sophisticated.
  I serve on the Cybersecurity Subcommittee, and last Congress I served 
as chairman of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, 
which then had jurisdiction over our cyber capabilities. In this year's 
bill, we are adding to those efforts that I worked on in past years to 
improve how we man, train, and equip our military's cyber forces. The 
committee added over $700 million for cyber-related requirements and 
included a number of policy provisions in this area, such as a 
requirement for the Department of Defense to undertake the first-ever 
cyber posture review, which will evaluate the military's policy and 
capabilities in the cyber domain.
  Before concluding my remarks, I would like to reply to an argument 
that was made earlier today by the Senator from Massachusetts against a 
provision in this bill responding to Russia's violation of the INF 
  The bill before us today authorizes $65 million for researching a 
ground-launched cruise missile system. The committee's report on the 
bill explains this in greater detail, but I would like to make a few 
quick points, if I may.
  First, the senior Senator from Massachusetts described this provision 
as a ``knee-jerk reaction.'' I would like to remind my colleagues that 
Russia's violation of the INF Treaty reportedly began in 2008. That was 
almost a decade ago. The United States formally raised it with Russian 
officials in May of 2013--4\1/2\ years ago.
  This issue has been with us for some time and the provisions of this 
bill are anything but a knee-jerk reaction, which leads to my second 
point. The Senator argues that further study is needed and has proposed 
an amendment preventing any action from being taken before a report is 
  In the last three Defense authorization bills, Congress has required 
some sort of study on this issue. The solution to this problem is not 
to require further studies. Costs must be imposed on Russia for 
violation, and that is what this provision does.
  Finally, there was some discussion of the views of our military 
leaders, and the Senator quoted heavily from Gen. Paul Selva, the Vice 
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The General and I have discussed 
this issue, and we have discussed it when he appeared before the Senate 
Armed Services Committee in July. He specifically identified using 
research and development programs, within the limits of the treaty, to 
increase pressure on the Russians.
  That is exactly what this provision does. It does not violate the INF 
Treaty. It takes the first step to impose costs on Russia for its 
violation of this agreement.
  Years have gone by, no action has been taken, and Russia has only 
increased its violation of the treaty. Waiting for more studies to be 
complete only ensures that Russia's actions will continue to go 
unanswered. Failing to hold Russia accountable risks undermining this 
agreement and our broader nonproliferation agenda.
  In the words of President Obama:

       Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words 
     must mean something.

  In closing, I want to express my thanks to the bill's managers for 
their hard work. I have truly appreciated all they have done to bring 
this bill to the floor. This legislation upholds the bipartisan 
tradition that has characterized the National Defense Authorization 
Act, which has enabled it to pass for 55 years in a row. This is a 
strong bill that will strengthen our military. It will help ensure the 
military can protect our Nation in a world full of challenges. From 
North Korea's belligerence to severe storms damaging our coasts, our 
military has a tough job to do. They must be prepared to do it. I hope 
my colleagues will join me in swiftly passing this bill.
  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. CASSIDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blunt). Without objection, it is so 


  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, the Presiding Officer has been presiding 
on many occasions when I have risen to speak about the need to repeal 
and replace ObamaCare, and although we did not succeed in our last 
effort in the beginning of August, I, personally, along with Senators 
Graham, Johnson and Heller, am making one more try, and folks ask why.
  The simple answer I can give is, there is a fellow back home by the 
name of Moon Griffon. He is a conservative talk show host who speaks 
with passion about the Affordable Care Act. Why does he speak with 
passion? Moon Griffon is very open. He has a special needs child, and 
he has to buy insurance. His premium per year is over $40,000--$40,000, 
with a $5,000 deductible and an additional deductible for his 
pharmaceutical costs. He has to pay $50,000 a year for insurance, 
deductible, and pharmaceutical deductible. The mortgage payment for a 
$500,000 home is what he puts up because he has to buy insurance. He 
has a child with special needs.
  Now, there are many Moon Griffons across our Nation. Someone said, 
kind of as a wag, but I think there is a ring of truth to it, that 
ObamaCare, the individual exchange, only works if you don't because if 
you do work and you don't qualify for a subsidy, then you cannot afford 
  By the way, I think there is bipartisan agreement on this. Senator 
Bernie Sanders is now putting forward what we would call BernieCare, a 
single-payer proposal. He would not be putting that forward if he 
thought the

[[Page S5734]]

status quo is working. He is putting it forward because he realizes it 
is not. He has 16 cosponsors, if you will. Cosponsors are a testament 
to the fact that the status quo is not working. Well, I can tell you, 
since Medicare is going bankrupt in 17 years, the seniors who are on it 
will have their benefits threatened by adding another 150 million more 
Americans to the program. Those who have employer-sponsored insurance, 
I don't think they will want to give up their employer-sponsored 
insurance and trust in BernieCare.
  So our last hope, we think, is relieving folks from the burdens of 
the Affordable Care Act in a way that preserves President Trump's goals 
of caring for all, taking care of those with preexisting conditions, 
covering all, lowering premiums, and eliminating mandates.
  We have the basis of an approach. This past week, the HELP Committee 
has been having hearings, as well as the Finance Committee. Both 
Democratic and Republican Governors, insurance commissioners, 
stakeholders of other sorts, Medicaid directors, and all, whether 
Democratic or Republican, Governor or Medicaid director or insurance 
Commissioner, have said that if we give the States the flexibility to 
come up with their own solutions, they will find solutions that work 
better for their State than the Affordable Care Act--and it makes total 
sense. Clearly, Alaska is different than Rhode Island. Louisiana is 
different than Missouri. If we can come up with solutions specific for 
each State, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all that comes out of 
Washington, DC, these Governors, Medicaid directors, and insurance 
commissioners of both parties think we can do a better job.
  We have a model of this. The Children's Health Insurance Program, 
also known as the CHIP program, has been very successful. It works on a 
block grant that comes down to States. States pull down the dollars. 
They can roll over money for 2 years, and they provide a policy for the 
children in their State. There are certain criteria and safeguards 
regarding what that policy must look like.
  In fact, Senator Ron Wyden, last night, finished up his remarks 
praising the CHIP program, that it was reauthorized and what a victory 
for the health of children because this is a program that will work. 
There is a little irony there, as Senator Wyden had just finished 
criticizing the Graham-Cassidy-Heller amendment, which is patterned 
after the CHIP program. The irony, of course, is that he says our 
amendment will not work, and then he goes on to praise the program 
through which the money will flow and after which it is patterned.
  What we do through the program is take the dollars going to States 
currently through the Affordable Care Act, and we pool them together 
and deliver them to States in a block grant, very similar and, indeed, 
through the CHIP program. Along that way, we equalize how much each 
American receives toward her care, irrespective of where she lives.
  Why do I say that? Right now, 37 percent of the revenue from the 
Affordable Care Act goes to Americans in four States--37 percent of the 
revenue goes to those who live within four States. That is frankly not 
fair. I have nothing against those four States, but I don't see why a 
lower income American in Mississippi should receive so much less than a 
lower income American in Massachusetts or why someone in Arizona should 
be treated differently than someone in New York. I think we should 
equalize that treatment. Americans think that is fair. We do that with 
Medicare and Social Security and other popular programs. It is 
something we should do, as well, as we attempt to provide insurance for 
all to achieve President Trump's goals.
  One example of this, by the way--Pennsylvania has twice the 
population of Massachusetts. Both of those States expanded Medicaid. 
Massachusetts gets 58 percent more money than does Pennsylvania. Again, 
Pennsylvania has twice the population of Massachusetts, but 
Massachusetts gets 58 percent more money. Both Northeastern States have 
cities with a high cost of living, but somehow Massachusetts does that 
much better.
  Our goal, though, is through this grant that goes through the CHIP 
program--which Senators like Senator Wyden have praised, and rightfully 
so, as being an effective program for improving health, with safeguards 
needed to make sure the money is used wisely and that all States and 
all residents within those States will receive about the same amount of 
money toward their healthcare. This would be, if you will, not a 
Democratic plan, not a Republican plan but an American plan, in which 
Senators vote to trust the people in their State over a Washington 
  We have critics who don't understand our bill. It is a partisan bill, 
we are told.
  No. If you look at the residents of the States who do better under 
our plan, it includes States represented by Democratic Senators. 
Virginia does far better because they will get the dollars they 
currently do not--as do Floridians, represented by a Democratic 
Senator; Missouri does, represented by the Presiding Officer now but 
also by a Democratic Senator; and others that are represented by 
Democratic Senators, but the lower income Americans in those States 
actually have resources they currently do not have. Indeed, I implore 
those Senators not to vote a party line but rather to vote for those 
lower income Americans in their States so they can have the resources 
needed for their better health.
  I will conclude by saying one more time: We have one more chance. On 
the Democratic and Republican sides, we recognize that the Affordable 
Care Act is unsustainable. On the Republican side, we want to give 
power back to the patients, back to the States, fulfilling the wish of 
those Democratic and Republican Governors, insurance commissioners, and 
Medicaid directors to give them the flexibility to do what they wish to 
  The Democratic vision, BernieCare, if you will, of which he has 16 
cosponsors, is to consolidate every decision in Washington, DC. As for 
me, I will vote with the States, I will vote with the people, and I 
will vote with the wisdom of the average American as opposed to the 
benign ``we know better than you'' attitude of Washington, DC.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, is this a partisan approach to healthcare? 
I don't think so, if Missouri does better. There is a Democrat 
representing Missouri. There is a Republican representing Missouri. 
Here is the good news. We got the Republican on board. We appreciate 
the Republican.
  Let me tell you how this works.
  I like Massachusetts, I like Maryland, I like New York, I like 
California, but I don't like them that much to give them a bunch of 
money that the rest of us will not get.
  If you live in Massachusetts, you don't get twice the Social Security 
or 50 percent more than if you live in Pennsylvania. How can this 
happen? ObamaCare, for whatever reason, favors four blue States against 
the rest of us.
  Now, our friends in Mississippi, like South Carolina--we have a 31-
percent African-American population in South Carolina--I think the 
highest in the country is Mississippi. Under this block grant approach, 
our friends in Mississippi get a 900-percent increase. How can that be? 
Well, that is money that was going someplace else other than 
  So what have we learned about ObamaCare? Rural poor, particularly 
African Americans, don't do so well. These four States--New York, 
California, Massachusetts, and Maryland, they have a lot of high wage 
  We have some rural poor States. Missouri is a very wonderful State, 
with big cities and rural areas. How do you get more money? Well, under 
this formula, you are getting money that would have gone to the four 
other States. So 50 to 138 percent of poverty, and there are 45 million 
people in America who fall in that demographic. We can figure out how 
many live in Missouri. We use that as the basis for the formula. You 
are not limited to spending the money on 50 to 138 percent of poverty, 
but that seems to be a fair way to redistribute the money. By 2026, the 
goal is, no matter where you live, Missouri, South Carolina, or 
California, you are going to get the same basic contribution from the 
Federal Government, regardless of where you

[[Page S5735]]

live. What a novel idea. That means places like Missouri and South 
Carolina do better.
  To our friends in New York and California, we are giving you a long 
time to come down. To our friends in Massachusetts--and we have a great 
Republican Governor--I don't know how to explain the system where you 
get that much more money than everybody else. The goal is for you to 
have time to adjust, become more efficient, and Charlie Baker can do 
  Is it unfair for people like me, and Louisiana and Missouri, to say: 
No four States should get twice the amount of money for their 
population. I am trying to fix the problem in ObamaCare.
  Who should get the money is another question. Should some bureaucrat 
you will never meet in Washington be in charge of your healthcare or 
should somebody you actually know and vote for be in charge of your 
  The block grant has a beautiful concept to it. The people we empower, 
you actually live with them, and you vote for them. If you don't like 
ObamaCare and, God knows, if you don't like BernieCare, whom do you 
complain to?
  You can tell me: I don't like ObamaCare. My premiums have gone up. My 
deductibles are going through the roof. You can complain to me all day 
long, and I will call somebody up who could care less what I think.
  Now, if you have South Carolina responsible for the money instead of 
some bureaucrat in Washington, let me tell you what would happen. You 
would call me up, say: Hey, listen, this is not working for my family. 
I will find out who the statehouse person is, and we will call them 
together, and I guarantee you the Governor will listen to you because 
the Governor wants you to vote for him or her.
  The bottom line is, the concept of who should be in charge of your 
healthcare is what this is all about.
  Our friends on the other side deserve a great compliment. You know 
where you are going on healthcare. You have a plan to get there. I just 
don't agree with your plan, and I don't agree with where you are taking 
the country. But I will say this for you: You have a plan. I will say 
this to my Democratic colleagues: When it comes to your ideas, you 
fight like tigers.

  I remember voting on ObamaCare on Christmas Eve, for God's sake, and 
we would have been here on Christmas Day if that is what it would have 
taken for Harry Reid to have passed ObamaCare.
  Now, on our side, have we done everything we can to repeal ObamaCare? 
They did everything they could to pass it.
  President Trump is now behind this bill.
  Thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate it very much. Without your 
voice, we cannot succeed. With your voice, we will be successful, but 
it is going to take more than a letter. Get on the phone. Start calling 
people. Obama did.
  Senator McConnell was very good today at lunch, saying that this is a 
good idea and that we need to get behind it.
  A CBO score is necessary. I am sure there are a lot of good people at 
the CBO, but if I had one place to go before I died, it would be at the 
CBO because you live a long time. We need to get the CBO to score 
things in a timely fashion.
  To my friends at the CBO, this is a block grant. We are going to 
spend $1.2 trillion in the next decade--not more, not less. I didn't do 
that well in math, but I can figure out how much we are going to spend. 
I don't mean to be super critical, but we have not had scores on the 
Portman language or on the Cruz language in 8 weeks.
  Let me tell my Republican friends, if you are upset about our not 
successfully repealing and replacing ObamaCare after 7 years, count me 
in. We tried, and we were one vote short. We have 17 days left. What 
would the Democrats have done? They would have been fighting. There 
would have been no August break. We would have been right here on this 
floor. We would have been arguing about their view of healthcare.
  So I am encouraged that our leadership is going to push the CBO and 
get behind this bill. I am encouraged that the President came out for 
the bill. The Vice President, above all others in the administration, 
has been on the phone, calling Governors. We have over 15 Governors now 
on the Republican side who are saying: Give me the money. Give me the 
power. I can do a better job than some bureaucrat in Washington.
  To the other Republican Governors, check it out for your States, but 
here is what I would ask you to consider. The money that you are 
getting from ObamaCare is unsustainable. It is a false promise. It is 
going to collapse. We can never match that system because that system 
is unsustainable, and it is going to fail.
  What have I learned about Republican Governors? Most of them practice 
what they preach, and some of them have been hard to get on board. It 
is almost like crack cocaine, in terms of ObamaCare dollars.
  I am telling you right now, Republican Governors and Democratic 
Governors, that this system is going to collapse in Washington. There 
is not enough money to keep it afloat, and I am not going to spend good 
money after bad. This is a chance for you, at the State level, to have 
control over funds and for us to be as flexible as we possibly can be 
in our designing systems that make sense for your States. If California 
wants to go to single-payer healthcare, it can. If it wants to reimpose 
the employer mandate and the individual mandate, it can. We will repeal 
the individual mandate and the employer mandate for the country at 
large, but if you want to put it back in place, you can.
  Here is the good news. California cannot take the rest of us down the 
tubes with them, and we will have the debate in California about what 
works and what does not.
  Give South Carolina, Louisiana, and Missouri the space they need to 
design healthcare based on their individual demographics. You cannot 
spend the money on football stadiums. You have to spend it on 
healthcare. You have to take care of people who are sick. There are 
guardrails around this block grant, but innovation will flourish.
  Under ObamaCare, where is the incentive to be innovative? All you 
need to do is print more money. Under BernieCare, there is zero 
incentive to be creative. Just tax the rich. This is what happens. We 
go from four States getting 30-something percent of the money and 
representing 20 percent of the population to where, basically, 
everybody gets the same.
  Let's talk about Medicaid. Bernie Sanders, who is a good man with a 
good heart, is an avowed socialist. He is the most honest guy in this 
building. If you left it up to Bernie, we would have a rowboat for a 
Navy, a gun for the Army, a prop plane for the Air Force, and 
everything else would be spent on entitlements. Most of us are not in 
that camp.
  As to Medicaid, it is a program for low-income Americans to help them 
with their healthcare. There is a State match. Right now, we are 
spending almost $400 billion on Medicaid. By 2027, we are going to be 
spending over $650 billion. That is more than we spend on the military 
right now--with no end in sight.
  So we do two things in this bill. We tell the States that we are 
going to give them more flexibility. This is what we spend on the 
military--$549 billion under sequestration. I hope that number goes up, 
but, by 2027, we are going to spend more money on Medicaid, let alone 
Medicare, than we do on the military. That is just unsustainable.
  So what do we do?
  We keep Medicaid in place as it is today. We try to give more 
flexibility because Indiana was a good example of what can happen if 
you give States the flexibility to help poor people. The one thing 
about Medicaid that I do not like is that, if you get a headache, you 
can ride to the emergency room, and we will pay a big Medicaid bill. I 
want to put Medicaid people into managed care. I want them to have some 
ownership over their healthcare. If you smoke, then that is something 
that ought to be considered in terms of cost. I like copayments. I want 
to treat fairly the people who are low-income and poor, but all of us 
need to be responsible for our healthcare.
  Rather than having a Medicaid Program that just writes checks no 
matter what the outcomes are, we are going to, in year 8, begin to slow 
down the growth of Medicaid. It grows faster than medical inflation. 
Medical inflation is what it costs for you and your

[[Page S5736]]

family. Medicaid is way beyond that. Why? Because it is inefficient. We 
have proven at the State level that you can get a better bang for your 
buck from Medicaid.
  The bottom line is that the first block grant begins to slow the 
growth of Medicaid to make it affordable for the rest of us and 
incentivize innovation in year 8.
  If we do not do that, here is what will happen to the country. By 
2038, all of the tax money that you send to Washington will go to pay 
the interest on the debt, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. 
There will not be one penny for the Department of Education or the 
Department of Defense. That is how quickly these programs are growing.
  So we do two good things. We put Medicaid on a more sustainable path 
because it is an important program, and we allow flexibility in order 
to get better outcomes for the taxpayer and the patient. What a novel 
  The second block grant is money that would have been spent by a 
bureaucrat in Washington. Under the first Republican proposal, you 
would get a refundable tax credit to go out and try to buy insurance 
somewhere, and we would give insurance companies money so that they 
would not collapse on the ObamaCare exchanges.
  Instead of giving a refundable tax credit to an individual to buy a 
product that is going to go away because ObamaCare will not work and 
instead of giving a bunch of money to the insurance companies to prop 
them up, we are going to take that same amount of money and give it 
back to the States so that, by 2026, they will all get the same basic 
  Now, what did we do?
  We repealed the individual mandate and the employer mandate. That is 
$250 billion in savings. The States can reimpose it if they would like. 
That is up to the States. We repealed the medical device tax because 
that hurts innovation. We left the other ObamaCare taxes in place. 
There is no more taking from the poor and giving to the rich. I wish 
that we would not have to do that, but we need the money to transition 
in a fair and sound way to a State-centric system.
  To my friends on the other side, we leave the taxes in place. We just 
give the money to somebody else. It is called State control, local 
control, not Washington-based healthcare. We do it in a way in which, 
basically, everybody gets the same contribution from the Federal 
Government. What a novel idea.
  Now, to President Trump, without you, we cannot do this. Your pen 
will be the one that signs the law if we can ever get it to your desk. 
You said today that you would veto BernieCare.
  Let me tell everybody in America not to worry. Single-payer 
healthcare will never get through the Republican-controlled House, and 
we have the majority in the Senate.
  Mr. President, we are not going to need you to veto single-payer 
healthcare. What we need you to do is to put in place a new system to 
stop the march toward single-payer healthcare because, if we do not 
change where we are going, the Federal Government is going to own it 
all from cradle to grave. On your watch, you can stop that.
  Once we get the money and the power out of Washington, that will be 
the end of single-payer healthcare. Once people know that they have 
somebody to respond to their needs at the State level versus some 
bureaucrat they will never meet, there will be no going back to 
Washington-based healthcare.
  President Trump, you have the chance in your first term to set us on 
a new path: healthcare that is closer to the patient, money based not 
on where you live but parity, and innovation versus bureaucracy. What a 
legacy it would be. For that to happen--and I know you are busy with 
hurricanes and North Korea--you are going to have to get on the phone, 
and you are going to have to help us sell this. I believe you will, and 
I know you can, and I am asking you to do it.
  To Senator McConnell, thank you for what you said today. Thank you 
for being willing to push this forward.
  To my colleagues on this side, there are three options left for 
America: propping up ObamaCare, which will never work; BernieCare, 
which is full-blown single-payer healthcare; or this block grant 
  I ask this question: Who are we, and what do we believe as 
Republicans? Our Democratic friends are pretty clear on who they are 
and what they believe when it comes to healthcare.
  Here is what I believe. Send the money home. Send the money back to 
where the patient lives. Put it in the hands of doctors and hospitals 
in the communities and make sure that the people in the State are 
responsive to the needs of the individuals in that State. Replace a 
bureaucrat with an elected official. You will improve quality, and 
outcomes will be better, and it will be more fiscally sustainable.
  At the end of the day, that Governor, whoever he or she might be, who 
can figure out quality healthcare in a sustainable fashion, will not 
only get reelected, but other people will copy what he does. If we 
leave the money and power here, there is never going to be any 
innovation. It is always going to be more money. Single-payer 
healthcare only works with a printing press--with unlimited dollars. 
Just keep printing the money. A block grant will bring out the best in 
America. It will create better outcomes for patients, and it will take 
us off the path of becoming Greece, because this is where we are 
  Senator Cassidy was a doctor in a low-income, nonprofit hospital. He 
knows more about this than I could ever hope to learn. There is a 
reason that I did not go to medical school. I could not get in. I just 
cannot tell you how impressed I have been with Bill Cassidy's 
understanding of how healthcare works for average, everyday working 
people. He has dedicated his life to that segment of the population.
  Rick Santorum. There would be no Graham, Cassidy, Heller, Johnson 
without Rick. Rick said: Lindsey, we did this with welfare reform. They 
said that we could not do it, but we block-granted the money and 
unleashed innovation at the State level, and not one dime of extra 
spending has occurred since 1996 because we were generous in the 
beginning. The Governors figured it out. It was a better way of dealing 
with the welfare population.
  I had a bill to opt out of ObamaCare, and Rick said: Why don't you 
just do a block grant like we did with welfare reform. So, when you 
look at it, it is such an elegant, fair, commonsense solution to a 
complicated problem.
  Dean Heller. Dean Heller is in the fight of his political life. A lot 
of people around here--and I understand it; I am included sometimes--
just wish hard problems would go away. This is a tough business to be 
in. Dean was told by all of the experts--and he said this today--to 
just lay low. Do not get your fingerprints on this healthcare debate. 
There are no winners. Healthcare is too complicated. Just stay away 
from this fight. Lay low.
  Dean told us today in the conference: I didn't get elected to lay 
low. If we don't now get healthcare right, all of us are going to pay 
later. So Dean Heller, who is in one of the most competitive seats in 
the country, said: Sign me up.
  Nevada gets 30 percent more money under this formula. It gets more 
control than ObamaCare would ever give them. Dean Heller believes that 
Medicaid is worth saving and that this is a way to save it. With the 
second block grant, 20 percent can be used to help traditional 
  The bottom line is that Dean Heller stood up today and said: Nobody 
in this conference has a tougher race than I do. Count me in because 
this is the right thing to do.
  Ron Johnson. If there were ever a ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,'' 
it is Ron Johnson. This is his last term. If you want to have an 
interesting evening, do not go to dinner with Ron Johnson and Bill 
Cassidy. They are wonderful people, but they know numbers, and they 
love to talk about details and how systems work. Ron Johnson has 
brought energy and a can-do attitude to this debate. He is the closest 
thing that I have seen in a long time to ``Mr. Smith Goes to 
Washington.'' He is not going to run again. He is doing what he thinks 
is best for Wisconsin and the Nation.
  Scott Walker. If it were not for Scott Walker, we would not be here 
today. Scott Walker said: I have been talking about federalism all of 
my political life, and this is the first time that I have seen somebody 
in Washington try

[[Page S5737]]

to empower me here since welfare reform.
  Scott Walker has been the moving force on the Governors' side.
  As for the Governor of Utah, Mike, you should be proud of him. He is 
a really great guy. Mike, thank you for working with us to make this as 
flexible as possible.
  Senator Lee has really driven this very hard in order to give as much 
flexibility to the State level as possible.
  Thank you. Your Governor has been just absolutely awesome.
  Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas stepped up. Our good friend Governor 
Bryant in Mississippi is all in. I could go on and on and on.
  I know John McCain likes the concept of the block grant. John McCain 
wants to reform healthcare. He knows what happens to Arizona under 
ObamaCare, and this is our last, best chance to stop what I think is a 
march toward single-payer healthcare. I hope we can find a way to get 
our friends in Arizona at the State level on board because ObamaCare is 
failing your State. If we don't find a replacement--and I think this is 
a great replacement for the people of Arizona--everything is going to 
  So to all of those on the staff who have spent hours and hours and 
hours listening to us change our minds, do it one way, do it another: 
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
  I have been in politics now--I came in a little bit before the 
Presiding Officer in the Senate. I have worked on a lot of things. I 
have had a lot of fun, a lot of disappointments. I don't think I have 
worked on anything more important than this. It has been fun. It has 
been frustrating.
  I believe this is our last, best chance to get healthcare on a 
sustainable footing and to stop the march toward single-payer 
healthcare, which I believe with all my heart will reduce quality and 
explode costs, and that doesn't have to be the choice.
  To my Republican friends: They know what they are for. Do we know 
what we are for? They are committed to their causes. Are we equally 
committed to ours? I hope the answer is yes. And if we can get 50 of us 
here, I will make a prediction. A few of them over there are going to 
sign on because their State does so well. There are some Democratic 
Senators who are my dear friends who are going to have to turn down 
more money and more power for their State to keep the status quo.
  I can tell my colleagues this about bipartisanship. I am a pretty big 
believer in bipartisanship. I have taken my fair share of beatings--
working on immigration; I believe climate change is real. I have done 
deals, and I understand that you have to work together. But our friends 
on the other side are never going to vote for anything that 
fundamentally repeals and replaces ObamaCare. They just can't do it. 
They are not bad people; they are just locked into a different way. And 
their way is that the government makes these decisions, not the private 
sector. My belief is that healthcare closer to the patient, like 
government, is better healthcare.
  This is the last, best chance we will have to stop the march toward 
single-payer healthcare.
  Mr. President, we need you. We need the weight of your office and the 
strength of your voice.
  Senator McConnell, thank you for what you said today, but all hands 
on deck. Our friends on the other side moved Heaven and Earth to pass 
ObamaCare. I am going to do everything I can to repeal ObamaCare and 
replace it with something that is not good for Republicans but is good 
for Americans, because many Democratic States, including Illinois, do 
far better under this approach than under ObamaCare, and all of us will 
do better than BernieCare. If we don't stop this now, single-payer 
healthcare is the fate of the Nation.
  To all who have been involved, thank you very much. We can do this. 
We have the time. Do we have the will?
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I wish to speak for a few minutes about an 
amendment I have offered to the National Defense Authorization Act. The 
name of this amendment is the Due Process Guarantee Act.
  Alexander Hamilton, writing in Federalist No. 84, called arbitrary 
imprisonment one of the ``favorite and most formidable instruments of 
tyrants.'' The Constitution includes safeguards against this form of 
tyranny, including the right of habeas corpus and the guarantee that 
American citizens will not be deprived of life, liberty, or property by 
the government without due process of law. Our commitment to these 
rights is tested from time to time. It is most tested in times of 
crisis. We have not always passed these tests.
  During the Second World War, President Franklin D. Roosevelt 
unilaterally authorized the internment of over 100,000 Japanese 
Americans for fear they would spy against the United States. The 
government presented no evidence that these Americans posed any threat 
to their country because the government had no evidence. Most of the 
detainees were themselves native-born citizens of the United States of 
America. Many had never even visited Japan during their entire lives. 
That episode in our Nation's history is sadly personal to the State I 
represent. The U.S. Government unjustly detained thousands of Japanese 
Americans in Utah at the Topaz War Relocation Center.
  Japanese-American internment is the most dramatic and shameful 
instance of detention in our Nation's history, but it is far from the 
only instance. In 1950, in a climate of intense fear about Communist 
infiltration of government, Congress enacted the McCarran Internal 
Security Act over the veto of President Harry Truman. That law 
contained an emergency provision allowing the President to detain any 
person he felt might spy on the United States.
  More recently than that, in the post-9/11 era, there has been renewed 
pressure to diminish our constitutional protections in the name of 
security. Lawmakers from both parties have authorized the detention of 
Americans suspected of terrorism without charge, without trial, and 
without meeting the evidentiary standard required for every other 
crime--potentially for life. In the National Defense Authorization Act 
for Fiscal Year 2012, Congress authorized the indefinite military 
detention of suspected terrorists, including American citizens arrested 
on American soil.
  These episodes--Japanese-American internment, the McCarran Internal 
Security Act, and the NDAA for 2012--are teachable moments, if you 
will. In all three cases, the United States faced real threats from 
totalitarian foes--foes hostile to our very core values and ideals as a 
nation. But instead of defying our foes by holding fast to our core 
values, we jettisoned them in a panic. Fear and secrecy won out. The 
Constitution and constitutional values lost.
  Thankfully, that isn't the whole story, for there have also been 
times when Americans have stood up for the Constitution in the face of 
threats, thus sending a strong message to the totalitarian forces 
arrayed against us. For instance, in 1971 Congress passed the Non-
Detention Act, stating that ``[n]o citizen shall be imprisoned or 
otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of 
  Congress can make another stand for the Constitution by allowing a 
vote on the bipartisan Due Process Guarantee Act, by correcting the 
mistake--the very same mistake--it made in the NDAA for Fiscal Year 
2012 and protecting Americans from indefinite detention by government.
  What, one might ask, is the Due Process Guarantee Act? In short, the 
amendment would raise the bar that the government has to clear in order 
to indefinitely detain American citizens and lawful permanent residents 
who are apprehended on U.S. soil. It would forbid the government from 
justifying such detentions using general authorizations for the use of 
military force, such as the 2001 AUMF against the 9/11 plotters. 
Instead, the government would have to obtain explicit, written approval 
from Congress before taking such action with regard to Americans if 
they are detained within the United States.
  The Due Process Guarantee Act is based on a simple premise: If the 
government wants to take the extraordinary step of apprehending 
Americans on U.S. soil without charge or trial, it has to get 
extraordinary permission and should, at a bare minimum, require

[[Page S5738]]

an express act of Congress authorizing such extraordinary action. And 
if my colleagues want to grant the government this power over their 
constituents, they should authorize it themselves; they shouldn't hide 
behind vague authorizations so the voting public doesn't know what they 
are doing.
  This begs the question whether we would ever want to do this--whether 
we should ever do it. It is difficult for many of us to imagine any 
circumstance in which anyone would want to authorize such extraordinary 
action, but that is exactly the point--the point contemplated by the 
suspension clause in the U.S. Constitution. If something like that is 
going to be done, Congress needs to do it and needs to do it expressly 
and identify exactly what the threat, the war, the insurrection is that 
is being addressed.
  I am offering this amendment because of my faith in our law 
enforcement officers and judges. And I have great faith in those people 
who fill those roles in our country, who have successfully apprehended 
and prosecuted many homegrown terrorists. Their example to us proves 
that our security is not dependent on a supercharged government and a 
weakened constitution.
  Moreover, we must remember that our security and our privacy are not 
necessarily at odds with each other. Indeed, our privacy is part of our 
security. It is part of what makes us secure. We can secure the 
homeland without using the formidable instruments of tyrants.
  It is with this objective in mind that I propose to my colleagues and 
request the support of my colleagues for the Due Process Guarantee Act, 
which should be adopted so as to make sure we are both free and safe, 
while remaining secure.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. 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. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent, 
notwithstanding rule XXII, that at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, September 18, 
the McCain amendment No. 545 be withdrawn, the Senate adopt the McCain 
substitute amendment No. 1003, as modified, and the Senate vote on the 
motion to invoke cloture on H.R. 2810; further, that if cloture is 
invoked, all postcloture time be considered expired and the Senate vote 
on passage of the bill, as amended.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.