(Senate - February 15, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 27 (Wednesday, February 15, 2017)]
[Pages S1170-S1175]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the nomination.
  The bill clerk read the nomination of Mick Mulvaney, of South 
Carolina, to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I rise today as the Senate considers the 
nomination of Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina to be the Director of the 
White House Office of Management and Budget. That is OMB. We are long 
overdue in confirming Mr. Mulvaney to this key post because our Nation 
has so many pressing budgetary issues requiring the attention of this 
new administration. First among them is the staggering $20 trillion 
debt burden we are now faced with after 8 years of anemic economic 
policy and growth--and growing at the rate of half a trillion dollars a 
year. Confirming an OMB Director we can work with will put America on a 
more responsible fiscal path.
  With their unprecedented attempts to delay the new Cabinet, Senate 
Democrats have ensured that the President has now been without an OMB 
Director longer than any other President in the past 40 years. That is 
how long the Budget Act has been in place. According to Senate records, 
from President Jimmy Carter to President Obama, the longest it has ever 
taken to approve a first budget director for a new President was 1 
week--1 week. We are now in week 4, with little or no movement. As 
Majority Leader McConnell said last week, this is the slowest time for 
a new Cabinet to be up and running since President George Washington--
and that was last week. It is even slower than that, and we are still 
not done.

  It is vital that we fill this position as soon as possible because 
the Director of the Office of Management and Budget will help set the 
President's budget priorities and play an important role in working 
with Congress on setting the appropriate spending levels for the 
Nation. This position is crucial to helping the Federal Government 
function in what is shaping up to be a very challenging fiscal 
environment that requires all of our attention.
  Some may wonder why Democrats are opposed to Mr. Mulvaney. It could 
be because he has been a vigilant budget hawk during his 6 years in 
Congress, focused on the question of how we ultimately stop the Federal 
Government from overspending while continuing to fund the country's 
core priorities and responsibilities. They could be worried that the 
White House Budget Director will be a prominent voice, arguing for 
fiscal restraint, for responsible budgets, and for honest budgeting 
that avoids the use of gimmicks, such as emergency funding designations 
for nonemergencies.
  I am hopeful Mr. Mulvaney and the OMB will ensure the taxes the hard-
working Americans send to Washington are spent in the most efficient 
and effective way. The Federal Government has not been currently 
focused on making sure hard-working taxpayers get the best deal for 
their money. A new OMB Director focused on responsible budgeting can 
help ensure that when duplication in government programs and agencies 
is discovered, it is addressed. This will help make the Federal 
Government more accountable and effective.
  The Government Accountability Office, GAO, every year outlines tens 
of billions of dollars in savings that can be achieved through various 
efficiency measures. OMB can play an important role in ensuring that 
spending programs do not duplicate each other while protecting hard-
working taxpayers. Additionally, reforming and consolidating these 
programs can ensure that they focus on real needs and be managed with 
an eye on real results.
  The Federal Government has grown so large and so complex that no one 
seems to know how many Federal programs exist. Even the executive 
branch can't tell us how many programs it administers. I have directed 
a lot of questions to the past administration, trying to find out 
exactly that. Of course, I would like to not only know how many 
programs they administer, I would like to know how many dollars are 
involved, I would like to know how many people it employs and how many 
customers they serve. There ought to be some kind of relationship there 
that means we are making a difference, but nobody is looking at it.
  Several years ago, Congress even passed a law requiring the 
administration to publish a list of all Federal programs on a central 
governmentwide website, along with related budget and performance 
information--some of what I was just talking about. Unfortunately, when 
the program lists were put online, GAO reviewed the information and 
discovered that the inventory, in their words--listen to this 
carefully--was ``not a useful tool for decision making.'' What were 
they afraid of? But even if the government can't answer that question, 
we can find strong evidence that the number is on the rise, and Mr. 
Mulvaney will be able to play a crucial role in taming the unchecked 
growth of the Federal Government.
  I also look forward to working with him on the urgent need to reform 
the broken budget process, which has contributed to the budgetary 
stalemate and recurrent continuing resolutions to which Congress now 
routinely resorts in order to postpone hard decisions about spending 
and debt, which delays agencies from being able to plan.
  There is an urgent need for important reforms to the process, such as 
implementing biennial budgeting so they can plan 2 years at a time, and 
the overhaul of outdated budget accounting concepts that have outlived 
their usefulness. Ultimately, my goal is to have Congress work with 
this new administration to produce comprehensive and lasting budget 
reform that can put our Nation on a better fiscal path. The Budget 
Committee has been working on that for a year in a very bipartisan way. 
It is time for us to put some of those into place.
  Despite its significance, the preparation of the President's annual 
budget submission is only one of the responsibilities of OMB. As an 
entity within the Executive Office of the President, OMB has numerous 
governmentwide management responsibilities, in addition to budgeting 
and spending, that

[[Page S1171]]

concern various activities carried out by Federal agencies. These 
include agency rulemaking, agency contracting, agency grants 
management, agency financial management, information technology, 
program assessment, personnel policy, property management. We don't 
even have a list of what property we have, let alone when it is 
probably going to outlive its usefulness and when it needs to be 
replaced. That would be capital budgeting. I hope we can do that at 
some point.
  It is for these reasons and more that I encourage the Senate to 
exercise its constitutional duties to provide their advice and consent 
on this key Cabinet-level position and confirm Representative Mick 
Mulvaney of South Carolina to be Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget.
  I have talked to him extensively. I have known him for a long time, 
and I know he will do a spectacular job with this at providing good 
advice to the President so we can do whatever we can do and bring as 
many people together in meeting the responsibilities of this 
government. I hope the people will join me in support of this 
outstanding nominee.
  I yield the floor.
  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. NELSON. 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. NELSON. Mr. President, we are moving forward now on the 
consideration of Congressman Mick Mulvaney, the President's nominee to 
head the Office of Management and Budget, which is an enormous 
responsibility and which often directs the traffic of what is going to 
happen in all of the agencies and directs traffic as to what 
legislation the White House is going to be working on and working with 
the Congress on. This is an enormous responsibility and a very powerful 
  When looking for someone to lead this agency, we have to carefully 
consider the person's record. The Presiding Officer is someone who is 
practical, who is a military officer, and who understands a lot about 
human nature, as I hope this Senator from Florida does, and what I 
suspect that both of us have found is that you can often tell where a 
fellow is going by where he has been.
  Let's look at Congressman Mulvaney's record on everything from things 
like Social Security and Medicare. Let's look at what his record is on 
climate change and sea level rise, and, oh, by the way, of particular 
note to the gentleman presiding in the Chair, what is his record on 
defense spending. Office of Management and Budget is going to have a 
great deal to say about what is in the budget with regard to any kind 
of spending, but let's see what he has said with regard to defense 
  Congressman Mulvaney has advocated for raising the retirement age for 
Social Security to 70. He has also said he wants to raise the Medicare 
eligibility age from 65 to 67, both of which would require senior 
citizens to work longer, even though they have worked a long time and 
have paid into these programs in good faith.
  Take, for example, Medicare. People have tried to provide for health 
insurance, if they have enough money, or otherwise through the ACA, 
getting subsidies to afford health insurance or, if they don't have 
enough money, having Medicaid, and they are waiting for the day they 
turn 65 to be eligible for Medicare.
  It is the same thing with Social Security. Social Security over time 
has been raised from 65 to 67, but Congressman Mulvaney has talked 
about raising the eligibility for Social Security to age 70. I don't 
think this is going to go over too well with a population of senior 
citizens who have paid into Social Security, who have paid in to 
finance Medicare and now are being told they are going to have to wait 
until later.
  I know how you can dress it up. You can say: Oh, it is not going to 
affect anybody who is currently eligible, but what about all the young 
people who are paying in? Well, time flies, and suddenly they find they 
are approaching that age in their midsixties. I don't think people are 
going to take very well to Congressman Mulvaney's position.
  Let's see what else he has said. He called Social Security a Ponzi 
scheme. He further has said he supports turning Medicare into a voucher 
system. That, under any independent economist's examination, would lead 
to big cuts for seniors, many of our senior citizens who have no other 
options for health coverage.
  When the President was running for office--remember, he said exactly 
the opposite. Then-Candidate Trump said he promised there would be no 
cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Yet the White House has nominated 
somebody who has taken positions contrary to that because it is clear 
from Congressman Mulvaney's past positions, that we can't rely on him 
to keep this promise that the President made.
  Again, I remind our listeners that the head of the OMB is like a 
chief air traffic controller. He is directing a lot of the traffic of 
what the White House will bless, and it is a position--need I remind 
you--that is also considered a member of the President's Cabinet. Well, 
the positions Mulvaney has taken are opposite to those stated by 
Candidate Trump.
  Let's look at something else. You know the Nation has debt. In fact, 
U.S. bonds are the strongest investment in the world because they are 
backed up by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, the 
strongest government in the world. So any kind of U.S. debt, backed by 
the full faith and credit, is the strongest investment in the world, 
but Congressman Mulvaney has taken an alarming position on our Nation's 
debt, advocating for shutting down the government and defaulting on the 
debt--all a part of a political game to gain leverage in budget 
  Anybody who takes a position that you want our government to go into 
default on its financial obligations--that is a pretty extreme 
position. So this Senator would merely say we can't have somebody in 
charge of our budget as the Director of the Office of Management and 
Budget who is willing to risk a default on our government to meet a 
personal ideological agenda.

  Let's look at something else. The Presiding Officer is in one area of 
the United States outside of the continental United States, and yours 
truly is in another part of the United States. One is near the Arctic, 
and the other is near southern climes. Our State, and specifically 
South Florida, is ground zero for sea level rise.
  I think most people are familiar with the photographs on television 
showing seawater washing through the streets during the seasonal high 
tides of Miami Beach. Most people have heard that in some of the 
coastal cities they had to relocate well fields further west because of 
sea level rise and the intrusion of salt water, which is heavier than 
freshwater, into the interior. Florida sits on top of a honeycomb of 
limestone that is filled with water. That is what is happening in the 
southern part of the United States.
  A NASA scientist testified to the Commerce Committee that--these are 
measurements, not forecasts or projections but measurements over the 
last 4 years--the sea has risen in South Florida 5 to 8 inches. Of 
course, we have heard the projections. This is something we are getting 
ready for. The city of Miami Beach is spending millions of dollars on 
very expensive pumps. Other governments in South Florida are planning 
to do the same. It is not a forecast. It is happening.
  Three-quarters of our State's population in Florida lives on the 
coast. Look at the population in the United States. A lot of people 
live on the coast, and those populations are going to bear the brunt of 
sea level rise from the flooded streets to tainted drinking water. But 
during his confirmation hearing, the fellow being considered to be head 
of the OMB, Congressman Mulvaney, questioned the scientific fact of 
climate change.
  We can't muzzle scientists. We can't muzzle science. It is not going 
to go away. You can attempt to muzzle the scientists as some Governors 
in the South have done, and alarmingly, as I have found in the last few 
weeks, some agencies of government are having implied threats that they 
stop using the words ``climate change.'' You can't muzzle this when the 
effects of scientifically proven climate change are

[[Page S1172]]

posing a real threat to a lot of our people.
  I specifically made it a point to question the fellow whom we will 
vote on next week--a really good person, Wilbur Ross, who is going to 
be the Secretary of Commerce. He came out of our Commerce Committee 
with an overwhelming vote. I specifically said, and it is on the 
record: What do you think about climate change science?
  I said: Mr. Ross, Wilbur Ross, do you know you have three Nobel 
laureates as scientists who are employed in the Department of Commerce? 
Do you know that you have not only NOAA and all the intricate 
measurements that are so important for us to protect ourselves, to read 
in-bound hurricanes, tornadoes, the amount of rain that is going to 
fall for our agriculture industry, all the rest, but also we have 
scientists over there in the Department of Commerce, I reminded him, 
who are doing the delicate measurements of science, of standards and 
technology that are kneading science to sniff the atmosphere for 
nuclear explosions by potential enemies. We don't want to muzzle these 
scientists. We want them to bring forth the best that they can come up 
with in modern-day techniques.
  I would ask the Presiding Officer to look at the bill we have filed 
with a number of our fellow Members of the Commerce Committee, the 
Scientific Integrity Act, which would ensure that Federal scientists 
can freely communicate their findings with the public and with 
Congress. It requires Federal agencies to implement and enforce 
scientific integrity policies and to ensure that adequate procedures 
are in place to report when those integrity policies are violated. That 
ought to be common sense. That ought to be the normal course of 
business around here. Let people speak their minds, speak their 
expertise. That is what we want. That bill requires Federal agencies to 
implement and enforce those policies.
  Let's get to defense spending. The nominee for Office of Management 
and Budget--Congressman Mulvaney's--record on military spending is 
concerning. In 2011, in an interview on ABC's ``Top Line,'' Congressman 
Mulvaney said:

       Defense has to be cut--it has to be on the table, no 
     question. There is a group of Republicans--myself included--
     who think that we should be cutting defense. There's a large 
     portion of folks in our own party who know that you can cut 
     defense and not impact the ability of our troops in the field 
     to be defending us.

  Why don't we ask the people in Ukraine who are fighting for their 
lives against the projected arm of Vladimir Putin trying to take over 
their territory, just like he already did in taking over Crimea? Why 
don't we ask our NATO allies? Why don't we ask our troops in the hot, 
sandy regions of Iraq and Syria right now? Yes, our U.S. troops are in 
Syria--the Special Operations forces advising the combined forces over 
there fighting ISIS. Why don't we ask them if they want defense cuts? 
As we see the continuous projection of the ability of Russia to move on 
to three Baltic States which are our NATO partners, why don't we ask 
them if they would like our defense budget cut? Why don't we ask our 
allies in the Pacific region that are so concerned about the testing of 
these increasingly longer range, intermediate range ballistic missiles 
by North Korea--why don't we ask them if they want us to cut back on 
the assets that we have in the region to be able to protect them from 
the North Koreans if that child dictator suddenly goes off on some 
crazy tangent and pushes the button?
  So I will just summarize and state that Congressman Mulvaney has 
repeatedly demonstrated an unwillingness to face domestic and global 
realities, and for this Senator, that raises serious concerns as to 
whether he can be trusted to responsibly oversee our Nation's budget 
process. For these reasons and others, I will be voting no on 
Congressman Mulvaney's nomination.
  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. KAINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. KAINE. Thank you, Mr. President.
  I rise to speak on the nomination of Representative Mulvaney to be 
Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the matter currently 
pending before us.
  I will vote against the nomination because of Representative 
Mulvaney's opposition to bipartisan budget accords, targeting of 
Federal employees, and his willingness to use the full faith and credit 
of the United States as negotiating leverage.
  Background. This is a really important position and I am on the 
Budget Committee that oversees OMB and its opportunities. The OMB 
Director is a primary adviser to the President on budgetary matters. 
The OMB Director is in charge of preparing the annual budget submission 
to Congress, and the management function of the OMB is a very important 
one in terms of management of the Federal workforce and the work of the 
  We have seen OMB Directors in the past deeply involved in fiscal 
negotiations of national importance, most notably in the time I have 
been here on deals to address the across-the-board sequester cuts and 
even the shutdown of government in October of 2013. So it is very 
important that in this position the Director have a proven record of 
public service. One side or the other is fine, but there has to be a 
recognition of the value of bipartisan compromise, putting the country 
first, putting pragmatism ahead of ideology, and a commitment that is 
rock solid to maintaining the fiscal credibility and integrity of the 
country. I worry about Representative Mulvaney in each of these areas.

  With respect to bipartisan compromise on budget matters, I was a 
budget conferee in 2013 after the government shutdown. The Senate and 
House each had a budget. There was a refusal to sit down to do a budget 
conference. That led to the absence of a budget and the shutdown of the 
government for 16 days--the greatest government on Earth.
  As we came out of that, there was a recognition and an agreement that 
we would sit down and try to hammer out a budget compromise. People 
didn't give us a lot of odds that we would do it, but because of the 
leadership of then-Budget chairs, now the current Speaker of the House, 
Paul Ryan, and Patty Murray, the Budget chairs enabled us to reach a 
compromise that was for the good of the country by the end of calendar 
year 2013.
  At that point, the nominee was a Member of Congress and played a very 
active role in opposing the budget compromise. He voted against the 
deal we needed to get following the shutdown of the government, and his 
quote was:

       It seems, yet again, that Washington cannot wean itself 
     from its spending addiction. Indeed, what we saw today is 
     another example of how we got $17 trillion in debt: we can 
     have lots of bipartisanship, as long as we spend more money.

  The unwillingness to embrace a bipartisan compromise, even after the 
Government of the United States shut down, troubles me significantly.
  I worry about his pragmatism on these matters. He has supported using 
government shutdown and the threat of government shutdown as a lever--
as a lever to defund Planned Parenthood, as a lever on other matters 
that he thinks are important, and that is fine, but to use those as a 
lever--to use the shutdown of the Federal Government--that government 
that Abraham Lincoln said was a government by, of, and for the people 
and it should not perish from the face of the Earth--I view that as we 
shouldn't shut the Federal Government of the United States down--but he 
has used debt ceiling and shutdown as a leverage to gain his way on 
points of lesser importance than whether the government stays open.
  He has continued to support the sequester, which I believe is bad 
policy for the United States: ``We want to keep the sequester in place 
and then take the cuts we can get.''
  There is also a significant issue that matters to me in my State. I 
asked him about it during the hearing that demonstrates an ideology 
over pragmatism, which is, Does he accept the science behind climate 
change? Why does that matter for an OMB Director?
  Well, we are investing money in storm relief. We are investing money 

[[Page S1173]]

emergency relief. We are investing money when we rewrite the flood 
insurance program.
  In Hampton Roads, Virginia, in the State where I live, 1.6 million 
people--the biggest center of naval power in the country--deeply 
affected by sea level rise. If you are a Budget Director, some of what 
you do is make recommendations for how to spend money on things like 
resilience to sea level rise, but if you do not believe that humans are 
affecting climate change, then your budgets are not going to show that 
you think that is a priority. In questions before the committee, 
Representative Mulvaney challenged the notion that humans are affecting 
climate change.
  Finally, I worry about his effect on the Federal workforce. There are 
more than 170,000 Federal employees in Virginia, a large part of my 
constituency. They do a great job. There is going to be some 
challenging employees in any entity, whether it is in the Senate or 
whether it is in a private entity. On balance, our Federal employees 
are people who deserve our thanks for the job they do.
  The House took an action at the beginning of January--the Senate did 
not take this action, but the House took an action that reinstated 
something called the Holman rule. The Holman rule is a longstanding, 
but for a long while unused, doctrine that allows the House, in an 
appropriations bill, to target an individual employee and reduce their 
salary to as low as $1 a year. They couldn't fire someone without 
violating civil service rules, but the House voted to be able to target 
individual employees and reduce their salaries to $1 a year. This, 
together with a Federal hiring freeze and other actions, is causing a 
great deal of angst among the Federal workforce. Congressman Mulvaney 
supported the notion of bringing back the Holman rule so individual 
employees could be targeted. I asked him about that when we visited in 
the office, and he did not have an answer that I found convincing or 
  Finally, the debt ceiling. We are going to confront within a few 
months the debt ceiling of the United States--our willingness to honor 
the obligations of the debt that has previously been incurred. The full 
faith and credit of the United States shall not be questioned is 
something that is very important. I think it is in the 14th amendment 
to the Constitution. Certainly, that has been our example that we have 
set around the world; that we have strong credit and no one can ever 
question whether the United States will stand behind its debts.
  Congressman Mulvaney has often taken the position that the United 
States could default on debt and then prioritize which debts it would 
pay. That happens in the commercial space sometimes. Sometimes it is an 
intentional tool and sometimes it is an accidental tool and we have 
bankruptcy laws to allow the prioritization of debt. The United States 
does not repudiate its debts, and we should not flirt with something 
like a debt ceiling and suggest that we are going to repudiate our 
  In closing, I am troubled by the nominee's opposition of bipartisan 
budget efforts. I am troubled by an ideological position that says we 
could potentially default on our debts or flirt with shutting down the 
government to achieve my way on this or that issue. For those reasons, 
I would oppose him.
  His public service in Congress is something I respect, and I respect 
the fact that he has been returned to the body multiple times by his 
voters. That should be worthy of respect as well, but in terms of being 
the chief budget official for the United States, I do not think he has 
demonstrated the ability to do that and to keep America's fiscal policy 
and reputation sound.
  For those reasons, I will oppose him.
  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. ROUNDS. 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. ROUNDS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business for 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                       Remembering Clint Roberts

  Mr. ROUNDS. Mr. President, I rise today to commemorate the life and 
legacy of Clint Roberts, who passed away in the early morning hours of 
February 13 at the age of 82.
  Clint is a former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, the 
South Dakota State Senate, and a former South Dakota secretary of 
agriculture. He helped give birth to the Conservation Reserve and the 
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which have been extremely 
beneficial to farmers, ranchers, and landowners, not only in South 
Dakota but across the country. These programs helped increase farm and 
ranch family incomes at a time of great economic turmoil.
  But more importantly, Clint was a mentor and a hero to me and to many 
others and, I am proud to say, a lifelong friend to me and Jean. I have 
always looked up to Clint and sought him out for advice.
  I first met Clint when I was an intern in the South Dakota State 
Senate in 1976. He was serving in a leadership position. He taught me 
many valuable lessons over the years about politics, policy, family, 
and public service, just to name a few. He also is credited with 
introducing me to that exquisite combination of water and Scotch over 
40 years ago at the Kings Inn in Pierre.
  Clint grew up on a ranch near Presho, SD, in Lyman County, and never 
let go of his cowboy roots, his hat, or his boots. He was an iconic 
symbol of a cowboy and of the Wild West, so much so that he was one of 
the finalists to be the ``Marlboro Man'' in the mid-1970s. He also 
appeared in minor roles in films and even in a Super Bowl commercial.
  But even off camera, he was a cowboy through and through. He was down 
to earth, a straight shooter, and a practical conservative who believed 
in freedom and helping those in need. He was also a problem-solver who 
fixed what was wrong instead of just talking about it.
  He was one of the true conservationists in South Dakota, promoting 
wildlife and conservation on his operating farm and ranch. He taught 
many the importance of the CRP, or the Conservation Reserve Program, 
and preserving our natural resources. During pheasant hunting season, 
he always opened his ranch to hunters, and loved making his secret 
recipe for chili for all to enjoy. But most of all, he understood the 
importance of family. He was a great husband to Bev, a father, 
grandfather, and great-grandfather, and he was a great friend to all 
who knew him. He had a tremendously positive impact on the many 
thousands of people whom he met and touched with his kindness, 
selflessness, and generosity. South Dakota is truly a better State, and 
we are a better people because of his hard work and dedication to 
making things better.
  With this, I welcome the opportunity to recognize and commemorate the 
life of this public servant and my friend, Clint Roberts. We will 
treasure his legacy for years to come.
  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. MORAN. 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. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I have the 
opportunity to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be able to 
express my entire remarks during this period of time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Remembering Ladd Seaberg

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, Ladd Seaberg, a Kansas resident whose home 
was in Atchison, KS, passed away on Kansas' 156th birthday. My State 
lost an individual who epitomizes all that it means to be a Kansan.
  Throughout his life, Ladd was dedicated to serving his family, his 
friends, his colleagues, and his hometown of Atchison.

[[Page S1174]]

  Atchison is along the Missouri River, the Kansas River, and right on 
the border with the neighboring State. They have a long history in that 
community, and he and his family have had a long opportunity, which 
they have taken advantage of, to benefit the citizens of that 
community. He fought a courageous fight with a terrible, progressive 
neurodegenerative disease, and he was laid to rest last week.
  As a stalwart figure of Northeast Kansas who worked at MGP 
Ingredients for 40 years, he will long be remembered for his character 
and his leadership. Most everything good in Atchison involved Ladd and 
his family.
  Ladd was not born a Kansan. He was born in West Texas and graduated 
from Texas Tech University, where he met his wife Karen Cray during a 
national science fair put on by the U.S. Air Force. Naturally, they 
both won first place awards at the fair, and later moved to Karen's 
hometown of Atchison, where they made their life and raised their 
  With a degree in chemical engineering and the mind of a true 
engineer, he had a passion for understanding the way things work on a 
mechanical level. His love of tinkering led him to a longtime hobby as 
an avid amateur radio operator.
  Upon moving to Atchison, he began working at MGP as a distillery 
production manager. During his first 11 years there, Ladd rose to 
become the company's president and later CEO and, then, chairman of the 
board. He had an integral role in bringing the company public, when it 
became listed on Nasdaq's exchange.
  Ladd and his beloved wife Karen, who now serves as MGP's board 
chairwoman, were blessed with two daughters and six grandchildren, who 
still live in Kansas today.
  Beyond his leadership at the company MGP, where his intelligence and 
encouraging management style will long be remembered, Ladd contributed 
on numerous boards and to even more organizations that improve the 
lives of those who live in the community and around the State. To name 
but just a few, he was a founding member of the International Wheat 
Gluten Association, separately represented the U.S. grain community at 
the World Trade Organization meetings, and was a board member of the 
Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
  He was also one of the original founders of the Atchison Area 
Economic Development Council, a longtime member of the Historical 
Society, and a former chairman of the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce 
  Ladd's leadership was indispensable on the Amelia Earhart Memorial 
Bridge committee to construct a new bridge in 2012 across the Missouri 
River named for a fellow pilot and fellow Kansan, Amelia Earhart, one 
of our State's proudest daughters.
  He cared deeply about education in his community, as evidenced by the 
recognition he and his wife received from Benedictine College, the 
Cross of the Order of St. Benedict, the institution's highest honor. 
His faith also played a significant role in his life, having served as 
an elder and deacon of the First Presbyterian Church of Atchison.
  One can hardly overstate what he meant to northeast Kansas, as Ladd 
always sought opportunities to serve his fellow Kansans. He was a 
mentor to many and gave of himself to all who were fortunate enough to 
pass his way.
  I appreciate his contributions to our State, and my prayers have been 
with his wife and family, father and grandfather. It is sad that Ladd 
was laid to rest, but may he rest in peace.

                         Appropriations Process

  Mr. President, there is a lot going on in the Senate, and I am 
grateful for that. I hope we can resolve our differences and begin to 
work on policy. Personnel do matter. But what I want to highlight, as 
we look at the agenda for the Senate, when we look at an agenda for 
this Congress and the Federal Government, is the appropriations 
  One of my goals as a Member of the Senate--I didn't expect this when 
I was elected; I didn't expect there to be a problem--what I want to 
see is the Senate function. All 100 U.S. Senators, whether they are 
Republican or Democratic, ought to take a great deal of responsibility 
for seeing that this place, the U.S. Senate, gives each Senator the 
opportunity to present his or her ideas, to represent his or her 
constituents, and to make a difference on their behalf. One of the ways 
we can do this is in the way that we appropriate money.
  The appropriations process is important. At the moment, we are 
operating under a continuing resolution that expires in a few months. 
We have had lots of conversations about the first 200 days of this 
Congress, the first 100 or 200 days of the administration. We have 
talked about the importance of confirming Executive nominations. We 
have talked about the importance of dealing with the consequences of 
the Affordable Care Act. We have talked about the need and the desire 
to repeal regulations that are onerous and damaging to our ability to 
create jobs. We certainly have talked about the need to do an overhaul 
in a comprehensive way of the U.S. Tax Code.
  I want to raise to my colleagues' attention and hopefully generate 
awareness about one of the things that seem to be missing in that 
discussion about what our agenda is or should be, which is the 
necessity of doing appropriations bills.
  The way this place is supposed to work is that by law, by April 15, 
we are to have passed a budget, and then 12 separate appropriations 
bills march their way through the Appropriations Committee and come to 
the Senate floor, where they are available for amendment, discussion, 
and debate by every Member of the Senate. We ultimately pass each of 
those 12 appropriations bills and send them to the House or vice versa. 
Those 12 appropriations bills fill in the blanks.
  Unfortunately, what has happened way too often is we have gotten in 
the habit of passing something we call a continuing resolution. 
Continuing resolution means that we are going to fund the Federal 
Government, its agencies and departments, at the same level of spending 
next year as we did this year. That suggests that there is no ability 
to prioritize how we should spend money. That is poor government. In 
fact, if you have had continuing resolutions year after year, the 
priorities of spending that were in place 2, 3, 4 years ago have become 
the priority of spending next year.
  In my view, it would be a terrible mistake for us to reach the 
conclusion that we can do no better than a continuing resolution in the 
appropriations process this year that takes us to the end of the fiscal 
year. It is not just about priorities; we need to get spending under 
control. In fact, the appropriations process has generally done that. 
There is a reasonably flat line in the growth of government spending on 
the discretionary side, the things that the Appropriations Committee 
deals with, the things that we as Senators deal with on an annual 
  In addition to determining priorities and levels of spending, another 
reason this is important is that it is our opportunity to influence 
decisions made by various agencies, departments, and bureaus of the 
Federal Government.
  In my view, the Constitution of the United States created the 
Congress--the congressional branch, the legislative branch--for reasons 
of trying to restrain Executive power. When we do a continuing 
resolution, we leave so much discretion, so much power in the executive 
branch. It doesn't matter whether it is a Republican President or a 
Democratic President, Congress is here to protect the American people 
from an ever-encroaching desire on any administration to garner more 
power and to make more influence in the Nation. Congress has the 
ability, if we will use that ability, to restrain Executive action. We 
are going through a series of Congressional Review Act procedures in 
which we are rejecting regulations made in the final days of the past 
  A more effective long-term approach to dealing with the expansive 
nature of the bureaus, departments, and agencies is to have an 
appropriations process in which the agency head, the Cabinet Secretary, 
or the bureau chief knows that his or her relationship with Congress 
may determine how much money he or she has to spend within that agency. 
If we do a continuing resolution, there is little reason for an agency 
head, a Cabinet Secretary, or a bureau chief to pay attention to 
Congress, and that is contrary to the constitutional provisions giving 
us the responsibility to appropriate money, and

[[Page S1175]]

it continues the practice of an administration expanding their role in 
the lives of Americans and its businesses.
  We need an appropriations process different from just a continuing 
resolution. We need to have the opportunity for agency heads to know 
that the appropriations process is going to matter to them. It causes 
them to have conversations and discussions with us, gives us the 
ability to tell an executive branch official: This doesn't work in my 
State. This is very damaging. This rule or regulation you are proposing 
is harmful. Can you go back and do it in a different way? Do you 
understand what this means in this circumstance?
  Again, our leverage to have those conversations is often whether or 
not we are going to appropriate money and what that level of spending 
will be for that agency.
  The other aspect of this is that in the absence of that dialogue and 
change of heart by that agency head, we then have the ability to say as 
a Congress that no money can be spent to implement this idea, this 
regulation, this rule.
  While we focused attention--rightfully so--on the Congressional 
Review Act and its ability to limit and in this case repeal and reject 
regulations, the long-term ability to rein in any administration that 
exceeds its authority and operates in a way that develops regulations 
that lack common sense or an appreciation of how they might affect 
everyday Americans is through the appropriations process, and a 
continuing resolution will once again take away the constitutionally 
mandated, the constitutional responsibility we have in doing our jobs 
to protect the freedoms and liberties of the American people.
  We have had a lot of conversations about what we are going to try to 
accomplish. One of the things that I want to make sure is on the agenda 
is, when the time comes, which is now, the conversation is--I hope the 
conversation is not ``Well, we have run out of time. We are just going 
to do another continuing resolution and fund the Federal Government for 
the next few months at the same level as we did last year.'' We need to 
exert our authorities to make sure the American people are out of 
harm's way from what government can do. The Constitution was created to 
protect Americans from an ever-expansive government, and it only works 
when Congress works.
  The time is short. We hear that the administration is going to offer 
supplementals or amended requests for additional spending, especially 
in the defense arena. We need to get our appropriations work completed 
so that they have an opportunity to supplement, to make suggestions to 
Congress about what that appropriations bill should finally look like. 
We are close to failing in our responsibility to do that. Congress 
needs to do its work.
  All 100 Members of the U.S. Senate can have their opportunity to have 
input in how money is spent. We can defend and protect the taxpayer; we 
can defend and protect the consumer; we can defend and protect the job 
creator; we can defend and protect the employee--but not if we don't do 
our work, not if we don't do appropriations bills and we rely once 
again on this technique of shrugging our shoulders, throwing our hands 
in the air, and saying that the best we can do is tell an agency that 
their spending authorities will be the same next year as they were last 
  We need to do our work. We need attention. The appropriations process 
should begin. And I ask my colleagues to give serious thought to 
helping accomplish that.
  I yield the floor.