(Senate - February 09, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 23 (Thursday, February 9, 2017)]
[Pages S976-S999]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the nomination 
of Thomas Price, of Georgia, to be Secretary of Health and Human 
Services, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Thomas 
Price, of Georgia, to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. HATCH. I will be happy to yield.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I thank my colleague.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.

Congratulating Senator Hatch: The Longest Serving Republican Senator in 
                            American History

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, before our great friend from Utah gets 
up, I have other remarks; I will let the Senator from Utah speak before 
those. But I want to join my distinguished friend the majority leader 
in recognizing the Senator from Utah, who has become the longest 
serving Republican Senator in history.
  We have been friends for a long time. He has given me guidance. He 
keeps telling me he is going to straighten me out one of these days--a 
work in progress, I guess we would think--but he is a terrific guy. He 
is a decent man. He is a caring man. He is an honorable man.
  He has been a great partisan when he has to be, but he has shown 
tremendous independence on many different occasions. In fact, probably 
my mentor around here, Senator Kennedy, loved working with Senator 
Hatch, and they accomplished great things for America.
  Even just recently, on an issue like Puerto Rico, there was not much 
gain for him personally. I don't think there is a large Puerto Rican 
population in Provo or Ogden. But he cared and he knew there was a 
problem. We spent late nights trying to figure out what to do, and 
while the solution may not have been as good as some of us would have 
wanted, it was a solution, and it wouldn't have happened without 
Senator Hatch. So we can say that on issue after issue after issue, he 
has risen to the occasion and has been the best of the Senate.
  It is a fitting honor that he is here. Last time around, when he was 
not thinking of running, I think in the hearts of most Democrats there 
was hope that he would run again, and that was because we so esteem 
  I want to join the majority leader in congratulating Senator Hatch 
and wish him many, many more years of success both personally--I know 
he has a large and wonderful family, and we

[[Page S977]]

have talked about our religious faith quite often--as well as a 
successful career.
  With that, I will yield the floor and resume after Senator Hatch has 
had a few words to say.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

               Thanking the Majority and Minority Leaders

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I want to thank the distinguished majority 
leader and the minority leader. I didn't expect this today; I was just 
happy to be in the Chair. But it was certainly nice of them to say such 
nice things. That means a lot to me, and I am sure it will mean a lot 
to my wife Elaine and our family.
  I have a great deal of respect for both leaders. Senator McConnell is 
a very close friend and a wonderful leader. I don't think we have had a 
better leader than he in my time in the Senate.
  I will not go on and on, but Senator Schumer and I have been friends 
for a long time, and I believe he is one of the great Senators here. I 
hope we will be able to work together on a lot of things in the future. 
I hope we can get out of this rut we are in right now so we can work 
together, so we can feel good about being here, and so we can help this 
  I thank both the majority leader and the minority leader for their 
kind remarks. I didn't expect those, and I was a little shocked that 
they would say these things this morning, but I am very grateful to 
both of them. I want to thank both of them for being my friends.
  I yield back to the minority leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I thank my friend for his kind words and, 
most importantly, his distinguished service to his country. Now on to 
other subjects.

      The President, the Travel Ban, and an Independent Judiciary

  Mr. President, I rise on a few topics. First, our President has shown 
a deeply troubling lack of regard for an independent judiciary. He 
criticizes individual judges in the court system in general. He has 
gone so far as to preemptively blame future terrorist attacks on the 
judiciary for putting a stay on his Executive order. I have not heard a 
President--I can't recall a President in history doing something like 
that, certainly not in my lifetime.
  Let's look at the facts.
  Our President all too often seems fact averse. I have experienced 
that personally, but much more importantly, in general. Not one 
terrorist attack has been perpetrated on U.S. soil by a refugee from 
one of these countries--not one.
  Since 1975, 3,024 Americans have been killed on U.S. soil in 
terrorist attacks. I know that painfully because some of them are 
people I knew who died on 9/11 in that awful, vicious, horrible attack 
that still stays with me every day I wear the flag, this flag on my 
lapel in memory of those who were lost, and have since 9/12/2001. So I 
am aware of the danger of terrorists. But of those 3,024 Americans 
killed, zero of these deaths were the result of an attack by a person 
from one of the countries listed in the ban. Do you know where I got 
that information? Not from some liberal publication but from the 
libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. I hope the President is not going 
to attack them now.
  What are the threats of terrorism? The great threats, if you ask the 
experts, are two things above all: the lone wolves and the visa waiver 
program. The lone wolves caused the terror recently in both San 
Bernardino and Orlando. They were American citizens importuned by the 
evil ISIS--American citizens who were probably disturbed or off base in 
a lot of ways. ISIS propaganda got to them, and they acted. Nothing in 
the President's proposed law would have stopped them, even if it were 
in effect.
  The visa waiver program is the gaping hole. The visa waiver program 
tells 29 countries that they can send people here without going through 
extensive checks and background checks. They are mainly countries that 
are friendly, such as the countries of the EU. But what has happened 
recently is that those countries have become a place of refuge for 
terrorists. People trained by ISIS, Belgian citizens, French citizens 
perpetrated the horrible attacks in those countries. One of those 
terrorists could, God forbid, get on a plane, come to America with few 
questions asked. The President's proposal does nothing to stop that. 
The President's proposal, if anything, encourages lone wolves because 
it makes them even more outcast. Those are not my words; they are 
Senator John McCain's words, and he is one of the greatest experts in 
this body and in this country on terrorism.
  If the President wants to do something on terrorism, instead of these 
back-of-the-envelope, quickly and shabbily put together proposals, he 
ought to study it, talk to the experts, and certainly close these two 
loopholes or greatly decrease the danger of terrorism from these two 
  To blame judges for future attacks because they didn't pass this law 
when not a single American has died because of people coming from these 
countries and to leave open these other two gaping loopholes--I want to 
work to close them right now. I will work with the President. I will 
work with Senator McCain. I will work with our Republican colleagues; 
we all will on this side of the aisle. But the President put together 
something that didn't seem to have much thought, didn't seem to have 
much coordination. Despite the fact that the admirable General Kelly 
took the lance and said ``I'll take the blame''--we all know that 
didn't happen. He was not consulted at length nor was his Department.
  The President seems to preemptively say: Well, if there is terrorism, 
blame the judge. It is dangerous for him to say this. It is dangerous 
because it diverts us from going after the big gaping loopholes of 
terrorism--lone wolves and the visa waiver program.
  It also underscores the fact that we need judges who are going to be 
independent of this President. If this President can attack the 
judiciary the way he does, if this President has so little respect for 
the rule of law or for separation of powers, our last and best refuge 
is the courts.
  So in my opinion, this new nominee to the Supreme Court has to pass a 
special test: true independence from the President. I worry that he 
doesn't have it. His answers to my questions--I won't go into them 
today--were disappointing in terms of that independence. You can't just 
assert ``I am an independent person,'' which he did. You have to show 
examples. I await them.
  When I met him, he said: Well, I am disheartened. He said it to me, 
he said it to Senator Blumenthal, he said it to Senator Sasse. To 
whisper in a closed room, behind closed doors to a Senator ``I am 
disheartened,'' and not condemn what the President has done to the 
judiciary and not do it publicly--what he did does not show 
independence; it shows his ability to desire an appearance of having 
independence without actually asserting it. There is even more reason 
to do it now because the President--I don't know how; I don't know who 
told him about those meetings, but the President tweeted that Judge 
Gorsuch didn't say those things, as mild as they were and, at least in 
my opinion, as insufficient as they are to showing independence. To 
whisper to a Senator but to refuse to say anything publicly is not 
close to a good enough showing of independence.
  From my view, it is not a good start for Judge Gorsuch--not a good 
start. I haven't made up my mind completely. I am willing to--there is 
going to be a process. There are going to be papers filed; there are 
going to be hearings. Judge Gorsuch may go further, but right now it is 
an uphill fight to get my support.
  While this President is attacking everyone under the sun, most of it 
with no basis in fact, just assertions--and by the way, I will talk 
about this more later, but if we become a nation where facts don't mean 
anything, the sun will set on this great country.
  We have always been a fact-based country. The Founding Fathers had 
different views, but they never disagreed on the facts as they debated 
issues in Philadelphia, for the Declaration, for the Constitution. In 
this Chamber, where we have had great Senators--the Clays, the 
Websters, the Calhouns--they never disputed the real facts. Neither, in 
my opinion, has any President, Democrat, Republican, liberal, 
conservative, until this one, and he just seems to make it up as it 
  Today he attacked not only my colleague Senator Blumenthal in what I 
thought was a cheap way, but he attacked John McCain, one of the most 
respected voices on national security.

[[Page S978]]

  John McCain voiced his views on what happened in Yemen. Most of the 
independent reports corroborate what John McCain said. The President, 
of course, said it was a great success. I don't know if anyone 
believes--he is saying so many things that are not fact-based that I 
don't know if anyone believes him anymore. It would be amusing, except 
it is not; it is sad, very sad.
  It is not the first time he has impugned a Republican Senator. He has 
had harsh words for the Senator from Nebraska, Ben Sasse. Ben is one of 
the most independent, thoughtful Senators who I have ever come across 
on either side of the aisle. I really respect that man. We have spent 
some time together. We see each other in the gym.
  He has attacked the Senator from South Carolina, my friend Lindsey 
Graham. He has attacked the Senator from Florida. He has attacked the 
Senator from Kentucky, the junior Senator from Arizona, and so many 
  I would ask my colleagues, who I know care about this Chamber--and 
the Senator from Utah's heartfelt plea that we can get over these bumps 
in the road and start working together is one I feel we share--but are 
we going to let this new President, who seems to have so little respect 
for other institutions and people, other than himself, oftentimes; are 
we going to let him force us to change the rules of this great 
body? Are we going to let him force us to change the rules of this 
great body? He immediately demanded a changing of the rules on the 
Supreme Court. I hope not.

  In conclusion, I hope these attacks on an independent judiciary are 
restrained. I hope my colleagues will join some of us in voicing 
discontent with those attacks and asking the President to cease and 
desist. I hope the President himself will stop attacking Senators 
personally, whether it be the Democratic Senator from Connecticut or 
the Republican Senator from Arizona--which just happened this morning. 
I hope we will not let the President intimidate us into changing the 
way this body works and instead try to come together, not let him 
divide us.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

            The President and Working Together in the Senate

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, this has been a nice morning for me. To 
have both the majority leader and the minority leader say such nice 
things means a lot to me.
  Having said that, let me just say I am concerned about this body and 
how it is going. I am also concerned about the President. I personally 
wish he would choose his words a little more carefully because 
everybody in the world pays attention to the President of the United 
  On the other hand, I kind of find it refreshing that he doesn't take 
any guff from anybody. I like that. He is a person who speaks his mind, 
but I have also seen him change his mind after saying he was for 
something and change it when he got more facts.
  He is a brand new President coming right out of the private sector. 
He is picking excellent people for his Cabinet. I don't know that I 
have ever seen any President pick better Cabinet members than he has, 
not the least of whom will be the two who should go through before the 
end of this week. Congressman Price is a tremendous choice. As both 
leaders had indicated, he probably has as much knowledge about our 
health care system as anyone on Earth.
  Steve Mnuchin--I didn't even know Steve Mnuchin, but I spent hours 
with him. I have to say he is brilliant. I said to him: You know, 
Steven, you are going to lose a lot of money by taking this job. He 
said: I don't care. I want to serve my country.
  I was refreshed by this attitude to the point that I am going to help 
him every way I can to become the greatest Treasury Secretary we have 
ever had. I will tell you one thing, he does understand a lot about 
money. He understands a lot about Wall Street. He understands a lot 
about business acquisitions and business matters. He is a practical 
person, as is our President.
  I don't know that we should be so sensitive sometimes because he 
oftentimes repeals what he said afterward, and I find that refreshing 
too. I happen to like this President. I think he is a refreshing new 
leader for this country. He is not going to play these same old games 
that almost everybody who has been President has played.
  He reminds me a lot of President Reagan in that regard. Of course, 
Reagan had been a Governor before he came here and a good Governor, but 
he didn't take himself too seriously, and he would say some things that 
got him in trouble from time to time too. They all have, haven't they? 
I guess, being President, every word you say is being carefully 
  This President is going to have to realize that as well. I think he 
will. He is a very bright man. I think we are lucky that we would have 
somebody come out of the private sector into the White House, with all 
the flaws, and flaws that people are finding with Donald Trump, and be 
willing to take the criticisms and fight back sometimes. Is he perfect? 
No. Is he ever going to be perfect? No, he is not, but neither will any 
of us ever be perfect.

  I will say this. A lot of us have more experience than he has. On the 
other hand, in my eyes, isn't it wonderful to have someone who has been 
immensely successful in the private sector--who has had some very tough 
realities in the private sector, who has had his ups and downs in the 
private sector, who understands pain, who understands exhilaration--
isn't it wonderful to have someone like that who just may be able to 
pull this country out of the stinking mess it is in, a mess caused by a 
superabundance of bureaucracy, by arrogant Members of Congress, and by 
very liberal States that are dependent upon the Federal Government 
rather than upon themselves? I could go on and on and on.
  Let us give this President a little bit of a chance. Above all, let 
us give him his Cabinet and let us quit playing these games. I know 
some on the Democratic side must feel they are making headway by 
playing these silly games, knowing that these Cabinet officials are 
going to go through while they stopped them from being able to do the 
job that needs to be done. They have made it more difficult than any 
President I recall in my time in the U.S. Senate. They are treating 
this President in a very belligerent, awful way. So I think we ought to 
give a little bit of leeway for him to make some verbal mistakes from 
time to time--even though we all wish he wouldn't.
  I will say I think it is time for this body to start working and, 
more importantly, start working together. There is nothing we cannot do 
if we work together. We can save this country if we work together. We 
could have a better attitude in this country if we will work together. 
We can be an exemplar for the rest of the world if we work together.
  Look, there is no excuse for these two big fights that are going on. 
I like big fights on the floor. I like big fights in committees. 
Sometimes out of those fights comes very good legislation or very good 
approaches to government. It is good for us to go at each other from 
time to time. But to make it impossible for a President to have his 
Cabinet early on? There is something wrong with this approach.
  Some people are using this particular situation to enhance their 
ability to run for President.
  I will say it would be wonderful if, once again, we could get 
Democrats and Republicans to work together. I remember in the early 
days, when I became one of the youngest committee chairmen of a major 
committee in history, when I became chairman of the Labor and Human 
Resources Committee--which is now the Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions Committee--there were nine Republicans.
  Senator Kennedy came over from the Judiciary Committee, which he had 
chaired, to become my ranking member. There were seven Democrats, 
including Senator Kennedy, but two of our Republicans from the 
Northeast were from States that were quite liberal then. I couldn't 
blame them, but I knew that Kennedy had the 9-to-7 ideological edge. I 
was going to be chairman, and I could determine some things, but I 
wasn't going to be able to get much done unless I had some help from 
Senator Kennedy.
  Senator Kennedy was not known for being cooperative up to that time. 
He was not known as a person who really aligned with Republicans to try 
to get things done. He was known as a bomb

[[Page S979]]

thrower and as somebody who really was one of the most articulate, 
liberal Democrats in this body.
  In his own way, he was a very interesting and good Senator, but he 
was not known for bipartisan work at that time. When he came over and 
said: I will work with you, there are some things I can't do--meaning 
the unions, the feminists, et cetera--but I will help you, that is how 
the Hatch-Kennedy relationship began and began to bear fruit.
  It could not have happened, except for two tough people with 
differing principles who were willing to get together and set aside 
their differences and do some things that were not only important to 
the country but beneficial to the country. We were known as the odd 
couple. He would laugh about that in public and say: We are known as 
the odd couple. I would always point to him and say: We all know who 
the odd one is, don't we.
  He would laugh. He was a fun guy to be with. When he was serious 
about something, he could be a formidable challenger, but he earned the 
right to be that. He didn't just pop off because he wanted to be 
President. He earned the right, he earned our respect, and he earned my 
respect. From that time forth--he was considered a very great Senator 
at that time, but he was not considered a great legislator. He went on 
from there and became a great legislator. I know because we worked 
together on things that are law today and good laws today. He had to 
learn to be able to compromise to be able to get this type of work 
done--and so did I.
  We have to earn respect here. It isn't just by popping off on the 
Senate floor, it is by working as hard as we can to do the best we can 
for our constituents, for the people in this country of both parties--
of all parties--in the interest of everybody.
  I wish we could get more of that back. I miss Senator Kennedy. I 
could talk to him. I could pull him off his liberal perch. I could get 
him to do things that nobody could get him to do up until that time, 
and he could get me to do some things I wasn't inclined to do at the 
beginning. But as we worked them out, we found out that some of the 
things we both agreed on--by pulling each other together--became some 
of the most important bills in history.
  I would like to see more of that here. I wish to see us all start 
working together. A good way to do that would be to give the President 
the Cabinet he needs and wants. Maybe that is one reason why he is 
saying some things that those on the other side are finding fault with 
and maybe on my side are finding fault with. He doesn't have his 
Cabinet. As President, he doesn't have the advisers he needs. We are 
not helping him here--as President. We are not helping him get the 
people around him whom he needs. We are delaying, obfuscating, and 
fighting against people whom we shouldn't be fighting against.
  In terms of Congressman Price and Steven Mnuchin, these are two 
extremely important men for two extremely important positions who are 
left floundering because we are unwilling to get the job done. If there 
were real arguments against them, that is another matter, but some of 
the phony arguments that have been brought up are just pathetic.
  I remember when one of the Democrats wanted to be Treasurer of the 
United States. He had some real flaws. He even hadn't paid taxes in 
some ways, but he was a good person and wanted to serve his country. We 
worked out the difficulties, and he was able to serve as Secretary of 
the Treasury. I can name a number of others. If we want perfection 
here, we are crazy. Nobody is perfect, and everybody has some things 
that they wish they didn't have in their biography.

  But I can say this: I was very disappointed in this body for holding 
up Jeff Sessions, who is a really good person. I haven't always agreed 
with Jeff Sessions, but I knew one thing: He was honest in his beliefs, 
and he was courteous in making his arguments. He did a lot of things 
that really were right. Frankly, the fact that we differed was kind of 
irrelevant because he was worthy of his position. I could go through a 
number of others.
  Let me just say that I happen to be one of the people who really like 
the minority leader in this body. I think he could become one of the 
great leaders of this Senate. He is smart; we all know that. He is 
aggressive; we all know that. He has had some degree of success around 
here; we all know that. He represents a huge constituency; we all know 
that. He is a good man; we all know that. And he has a good family; we 
all know that. Let's get rid of some of the picayune fights around 
here, and let's start working together.
  The majority leader, Senator McConnell, in my opinion, is the best 
majority leader we have had here in a long, long time. He is smart. He 
understands the system. He loves the Senate. He is a very honest and 
good man. He is tough as nails. I am sure he has flaws, just like all 
the rest of us.
  But these are two really potentially great leaders who could not only 
bring us together but could help us to save this country at a time when 
it needs saving, where we have $100 billion in unfunded liabilities--I 
mean trillion dollars; not billion, trillion dollars--where we are 
deeply in debt. We are now $20 trillion in debt.
  These two gentlemen could bring us together and could help solve 
these problems if we would put the politics aside, for the most part. 
We have to have some politics here, or this would be an uninteresting 
body, but we don't have to have it on everything. If these two 
gentlemen could get together--they are both bright, they are both 
smart, and they both have given a lot of time to the U.S. Senate. I 
like both of them. I could say I love both of them. If they would 
really start working together, we could turn this country around. But 
to do that, the distinguished Senator from New York is going to have to 
be concerned about the national debt and the annual deficit, and the 
distinguished Senator from Kentucky is going to have to worry a lot 
about what motivates the Democrats and what we can do to find common 
ground with the Democrats.
  I believe these two men can do that, and I am hoping with all my 
heart they will, and I am praying for them every day, that they might 
get together and that we might put aside party politics in favor of 
bringing this country out of the mess it is in. I believe they can do 
that, and I believe we can help them do that. I would like to see it 
done because we can't keep going the way we are going.
  I actually believe the President will grow into becoming a great 
President, too, if we will help him a little bit rather than just fight 
everything he does or everything he says or try to criticize him every 
time he opens his mouth. I would like to see us show some respect for 
the President too.
  I have a lot of respect for these two leaders. They are great men. 
But I would like to see them be greater so that they will work 
together. You will notice I am just saying ``work together.'' I would 
like it to be this way, all the way together, but I will take this, if 
we could just get people to work together around here.
  I have said enough. I just want these two leaders to know that I am 
pulling for both of them, and I am hoping we can still have our fights 
and still have our arguments and still have the enjoyable aspects 
around here of comradeship and working with each other. But I am hoping 
we can set aside some of these animosities and give the President his 
Cabinet and his leaders so that he has at least a shot at pulling this 
country out of the mess it is in. It is going to take a President 
Trump. It is not going to take another one of those--I believe 
President Trump is the person who is right for this time. I believe he 
will do a terrific job if we will help him. We will have differences, 
but I believe he will pay more attention, and I believe we will get 
better people to come into the government to help him to do this work 
and his job.
  I may be a little bit naive in thinking that we can do all of this, 
but I think we can. And that is said by somebody who was told: You 
don't want to work with Senator Kennedy because he is a rock-ribbed 
liberal who doesn't really care about what Republicans like. Well, I 
found that by working with him and he found that by working with me we 
were able to do things that helped our country. It was partly because 
he was a prestigious Senator, no question, and partly because I am an 
active, hard-working, fighting Senator who kind of appealed to him 
because he knew he had somebody who would help fight these things 
through, and I was smart enough to be able to help him to get things 
done in better ways than they would have been done.

[[Page S980]]

  Well, I have said enough. I just love this body. I personally have 
been very moved by the kindness of the two leaders, and I just hope we 
can get together and do these things the right way. We are not going to 
go anywhere with constant bickering and fighting and the constant 
running for President that we have around here. I don't mind that. I 
mean, I think there is something to that, but it can't be every time a 
person opens his or her mouth.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. SCOTT. Mr. President, I rise today to say thank you. Republicans 
and Democrats have been talking for a long time this week, and perhaps 
that is productive. But without any question, from what we have seen, I 
think both sides would agree that the support cast has made this 
possible. I think it is important for us to pause for just a moment and 
say thank you.
  We have pages who are juniors in high school here with us around the 
clock, and we want to say thank you to the pages. I think about the 
fact that we have law enforcement guarding this place so we can be here 
safely, all night long. We have Parliamentarians and clerks who have 
been at their places on and off over the last 4 days, nearly around the 
clock. I want to say on behalf of our side and the Democrats, I believe 
we all are very thankful and appreciative for your long hours and the 
time you have served us. Thank you for helping us represent the 
American people.
  I would also like to point out a few people by name because these 
folks have been here for up to 57 hours straight--57 consecutive hours 
of doing their jobs. Captioning services: Sandra Schumm, Brenda 
Jameson, Doreen Chendorian, Jennifer Smolka, and Laurie Harris.
  Official Reporters of Debates, 57 consecutive hours of work: Patrick 
Renzi, Susie Nguyen, Julia Jones, Mary Carpenter, Patrice Boyd, Octavio 
Colominas, Alice Haddow, Andrea Huston, Carole Darche, Desirae Jura, 
Megan McKenzie, Wendy Caswell, Diane Dorhamer, Mark Stuart, and Julie 
  On behalf of a thankful Senate, we appreciate your time and your 
dedication to the American people, allowing us to do what we have been 
  God bless.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. Mr. President, let me first of all say I echo the 
comments of my colleague from South Carolina. Thank you to all of you 
who have been working so hard.
  I rise to yield the remainder of my postcloture time to Senator 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has that right.
  The Senator from Illinois.
  Ms. DUCKWORTH. Mr. President, I rise to yield the remainder of my 
postcloture time to Senator Schumer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). The Senator has that right.
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I appreciate your flexibility during 
Senator Hatch's speech. I thank Senator Duckworth and Senator Cortez 
Masto for their evolving leadership and for their passion about these 

                      Nomination of Steven Mnuchin

  Mr. President, I listened to Senator Hatch for many moments not so 
many moments ago, and I was pretty struck by his analysis of these two 
nominees who are about to come forward, Mr. Mnuchin and Congressman 
Price. I was struck by Senator Hatch's suggestions of their high ethics 
and honesty and ability to serve in these two exalted--he is right 
about that part--exalted Cabinet posts, the Secretary of Health and 
Human Services, Congressman Price, and the Secretary of Treasury, Mr. 
  What struck me is that I was sitting in the same committee room as 
our respected chairman, Senator Hatch, and I heard these two nominees 
lie to the committee--lie to the committee; not sort of a Trumpian lie, 
not kind of at the edges, misspeaking or confusing things, but outright 
  Mr. Mnuchin forgot that he had a $100 million investment, I believe 
somewhere in the Caribbean. I don't know if too many staff here or even 
too many of my fellow Members who are better off than most of the 
country financially--I don't know too many people who would forget they 
had a $100 million investment somewhere. He forgot to tell the 
committee that. That was pretty bad, but then he told the committee, in 
an answer to a question from me, that his bank, OneWest, where he was 
the CEO for a period of years, that they didn't do any robo-signings. 
Robo-signings are a way that his bank staff signed document after 
document after document, very quickly, without looking at those 
documents, and then ended up causing foreclosures in my State. Hundreds 
of people in my State lost their homes because of OneWest robo-
signings, and he told the committee that he didn't do robo-signings 
until later.
  The Columbus Dispatch, the most conservative newspaper in my State--a 
newspaper that almost never endorses a Democrat and a newspaper that 
has generally supported President Trump on most issues; sort of like 
when one bird flies off a telephone wire, they all do--and they talked 
about how Mr. Mnuchin lied to the Finance Committee.
  So Senator Hatch talks about their integrity and what great public 
servants they are, except they lied to his committee.
  My wife and I live in ZIP Code 44105, Cleveland, OH. That doesn't 
mean much to people listening, but my ZIP Code 10 years ago--my ZIP 
Code, in the first half of 2007, had more foreclosures than any ZIP 
Code in the United States of America. So I take that personally when 
somebody comes in front of me and in front of a U.S. Senate committee 
and in front of the American people and lies about something he did 
that turned hundreds, if not thousands, in Ohio--we still don't have 
enough information about it--turned their lives upside down.
  Imagine when you are foreclosed on--you probably can't if it hasn't 
happened to you. It hasn't happened to me, but I have heard people tell 
their stories. You go to your children and you say: We are going to 
have to move, honey. You are going to have to move school districts. I 
don't know where we are going to live. I don't know where your friends 
are going to be; you are going to be far from your friends. We have to 
move because our house has been foreclosed on. I was paying the 
mortgage, but this bank called OneWest did this to us.
  So that is No. 1.
  Then Congressman Price kind of didn't tell the committee the truth, 
either. You could say ``lie'' or you could use whatever term you want 
to use.
  ``Rep. Tom Price got a privileged offer to buy a biomedical stock at 
a discount, the company's official said, contrary to his congressional 
  This is sort of Wall Street Journal language for ``lie'' because he 
said this, and it said contrary to his testimony. In Cleveland, OH, or 
in Garfield Heights or in Cincinnati, we would say lie. They want to 
dress it up because they wouldn't want one of their people to be 
accused of something.
  Congressman Price--I am pretty amazed. I know President Trump, 
Candidate Trump talked about draining the swamp. Draining the swamp--he 
says that, but it really does look like the White House is an executive 
retreat for Goldman Sachs, a retreat for Goldman Sachs executives and 
the people he has hired in the White House.
  To hire two people who have these kinds of ethics--Congressman Price 
as a Member of Congress, a prominent Member of Congress in the House, 
as a Congressman working on health care issues, he bought and sold 
health care stocks profiting from it. In one case he got this special 
privileged offer that most people didn't get, and then he lied to the 
committee about it. That is bad enough, but look what he wants to be 
the Secretary of. He wants to be the Secretary of Health and Human 
Services. Why does that matter? Here is why it matters.
  He has these views on Medicare that are so out of step with the 
country. For instance, he said in July 30, 2009, ``Nothing has had a 
greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal 
government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare.'' That sounds 
like the John Birch Society, 1965, when Medicare passed, overwhelmingly 
in the end because everybody saw how good it was, but they opposed it 
because it was socialism or some such term they used to describe 

[[Page S981]]

  I don't know too many people who actually receive Medicare--unless 
they are Members of Congress who really think that Medicare is 
socialism. Medicare has worked for--back in 1965--Senator Durbin 
doesn't remember this as a Member of the Senate, but he remembers this 
figure I am going to give. In 1965, when LBJ signed Medicare, 50 
percent of Americans 65 and older had no health insurance. Today that 
50 percent has shrunk to less than 1 percent of Americans that age 
don't have health insurance. Think about that progress and what this 
  Congressman Price wants to be the head of Medicare. He wants to be 
the head of Medicaid. He wants to be the head of the agency that is 
going implement the Affordable Care Act if he can't repeal it. Think 
about this. He wants to privatize Medicare. He wants to voucherize it. 
He has voted consistently for Republican budgets in the House to do 
  Do you know what else he wants to do that is particularly offensive 
to me? It is offensive because we sit here and we dress well and we 
have good titles and we get paid well and we have insurance funded by 
taxpayers. He wants to raise the eligibility age for Medicare.
  Look around my State. The Presiding Officer grew up not far from 
where I live in Cleveland, OH. He knows his adopted State way better, 
but he knows my State still, and he knows what this means. If you are a 
barber in Garfield Heights, you have to wait until 67, or even 70, 
according to Congressman Price, before you are eligible to draw 
Medicare. If you are a carpenter in Westlake, OH, you have to wait 
until you are 67 or 70 to draw Medicare. If you are working 
construction in Lima, OH, or if you are working a manufacturing plant 
in Mansfield, OH, if you are working retail in Cincinnati, OH, if you 
live in Zanesville and you wait tables in a diner, you are going to 
wait until you are 67 or 70 until you can draw Medicare.
  That is what Congressman Price wants to do. Not only are his ethics 
challenged--that should be reason enough he should step aside. Buying 
and selling stocks, health care stocks as a Member of Congress while 
you are voting and helping those companies, that is bad enough, but 
what he wants to do to maybe the greatest program in American history, 
Medicare, is much, much worse because that affects people in those 
towns I mentioned--in Garfield Heights, Westlake, Zanesville, 
Cincinnati, and Mansfield, all over.
  I hope I am healthy enough to continue working and continue serving 
in the Senate. The voters, obviously, would have to say that between 
now and then. I hope I can work until I am 67 or 70 in this job. I know 
a lot of people who work outside who are on their feet all day, who 
work with their arms and shoulders. They can't work until they are 67 
or 70. It is immoral for Members of this body to support a candidate, 
to support somebody or to vote for something like this that will raise 
the Medicare eligibility age.
  I will close with this. I was in Youngstown one day at a townhall. A 
woman stood up. She was clearly in her early sixties. It turns out I 
could calculate her age from what she said. She put her hand up, she 
stood up, and I called on her. There were about 200 people there. She 
said: I work two jobs. I don't make a lot of money. I am getting by 
with two jobs. Neither of my jobs has health insurance. She said: I am 
63. My goal in life--think about this. The pages, they are not thinking 
a lot about Medicare, but my colleagues think about this. She said: I 
am 63. My goal in life is to live 18 months more so I can get Medicare.
  Think about that. Her life is such that her goal in life isn't to get 
to know her grandchildren better or help her kids out or maybe take a 
trip to New York City or even Cleveland, her goal in life is to live 
long enough to have Medicare.
  I would like Congressman Price to meet her and Congressman Price to 
say: Well, lady, you know, your goal in life needs to be you can live 
3\1/2\ more years so you can be 67 or 70 to get this. Think about the 
morality of this.
  Congressman Price, I know him. I don't know him well. He is a nice 
enough guy. Voting for somebody who wants to raise the Medicare 
eligibility age, that to me is immoral. It shows how out of touch--I am 
guessing that most of my colleagues who will vote for Congressman Price 
have never sat down with somebody who would think it is a really bad 
idea, not to mention immoral, to raise the Medicare eligibility age.
  I plan to join a lot of my colleagues in voting no on Congressman 
Price. I think it is the wrong move for our country. I think it is the 
wrong move for particularly seniors in this country who depend on 
Medicare and on Medicaid, people of all ages. It is clearly the wrong 
move for our country.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

                       Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, as I did last week, I rise again to support 
the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court. As 
we know, he is an accomplished, mainstream jurist, and he is a worthy 
successor to Justice Antonin Scalia. I look forward to seeing him 
receive an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. I truly hope that 
  After meeting with Judge Gorsuch and learning more about his judicial 
philosophy, I continue to be impressed by his humble respect for the 
law and his commitment to service. Before the hearings in the Judiciary 
Committee, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight one aspect of 
his jurisprudence that I find particularly important: the separation of 
  To hear some of our friends on the other side of the aisle, Judge 
Gorsuch represents two equal yet opposing dangers to the country. 
First, they warn that he will lack any independence of thought or 
commitment to the Constitution. They allege that he would serve merely 
as a rubberstamp for President Trump and his agenda.
  In the same breath, though, they claim he would engage in 
unprecedented judicial oversight of the Federal executive agencies. In 
other words, our colleagues on the other side of the aisle assert that 
Judge Gorsuch would be both too deferential to Federal agencies and not 
deferential enough.
  The truth is, these warnings and accusations are entirely unfounded, 
and they appear to be grounded more in political calculations than in 
honest concern. For my part, I am excited about the prospect of 
confirming a Justice who not only represents the separation of powers 
but reveres it as one of the central principles of the Constitution.
  A commitment to our constitutional separation of powers could not 
come at a more crucial time, as executive branch agencies have 
increasingly accumulated power and autonomy over the years. Both the 
Congress and the Federal judiciary bear responsibility for this.
  Legislatively, Congress simply cedes too much of its own lawmaking 
power to the executive branch. We have been doing that for years. These 
agencies have been legislating through Federal regulation. In turn, 
Congress has allowed unelected bureaucrats to create law and determine 
how that law should be implemented.
  We have to stop this erosion of our article I power. Congress needs 
to take ownership of its lawmaking authority and reverse this dangerous 
trend toward governance by executive fiat. That is only part of the 
equation. The Federal judiciary needs to use its constitutional 
prerogative to rein in the executive branch.
  Ever since the 1980s, Federal courts have grown far too deferential 
to executive agencies. Under a doctrine known as Chevron deference, the 
courts defer to agency decisions if it makes ``reasonable'' regulations 
based on ``vague'' statutes.
  In fact, this means that when the Federal courts consider an agency 
decision, the judges have a new catchphrase: ``The agency is always 
right.'' This should concern my colleagues on the other side of the 
aisle who voiced strong concerns about rubberstamping.
  I don't think the Founders ever intended for two constitutional 
branches of our Federal Government to voluntarily cede the power to the 
third. Importantly, neither does Judge Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch has 
written extensively both about delegation and deference in his role as 
judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  He addressed the issue of delegation in a recent case called Caring 
Hearts Personal Home Services, Inc. v. Burwell. In it, he noted:

       Executive agencies today are permitted not only to enforce 
     legislation, but to revise

[[Page S982]]

     and reshape it through exercise of so-called ``delegated'' 
     legislative authority.

  He continued:

       The number of formal rules these agencies have issued, 
     thanks to their delegated legislative authority, has grown so 
     exuberantly, it's hard to keep up. The Code of Federal 
     Regulations now clocks in at over 175,000 pages.

  He noted that delegation presents both separation of powers problems 
and due process problems. The reason is simple. The executive is doing 
the work of the legislature.
  In terms of due process, Judge Gorsuch wondered ``whether and how 
people can be fairly expected to keep pace with and conform their 
conduct to all this churning and changing `law.' ''
  He further questioned: ``What happens if we reach the point where 
even these legitimate legislating agencies don't know what their own 
`law' is?''
  Judge Gorsuch could not be more correct. With tens of thousands of 
pages published in the Federal Register every year, it is fair to 
wonder how any agency can be certain of the legal effect of its own 
rules. If the agencies that write these laws can't keep track of them, 
how can a small business owner in Arizona be expected to comply with 
the litany of ever-changing rules written by unelected bureaucrats?
  Judge Gorsuch has also discussed the problem of deference and 
explained the proper relationship between Federal agencies and the 
judiciary. In his concurring opinion, in Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, 
Judge Gorsuch explained:

       In enlightenment theory and hard won experience under a 
     tyrannical king, the founders found proof of the wisdom of a 
     government of separated powers.

  He continued:

       The founders considered the separation of powers a vital 
     guard against governmental encroachment on the people's 
     liberties, including all those later enumerated in the Bill 
     of Rights.

  Judge Gorsuch found Chevron deference inconsistent with this 
constitutional framework, which he called ``no less than a judge-made 
doctrine for the abdication of the judicial duty.''
  He concluded:

       We managed to live with the administrative state before 
     Chevron. We could do it again. Put simply, it seems to me 
     that in a world without Chevron, very little would change--
     except perhaps the most important things.

  The separation of powers is the most important feature of our 
constitutional system of government. When each branch of government 
serves as a check on the other, it fosters a more deliberative, 
judicious, and limited form of governance. As someone who embraces 
limited government, it is a privilege to support and confirm a judge 
like Neil Gorsuch who supports this philosophy.
  As I have said before, and I will say again, Judge Gorsuch deserves 
fair consideration by those who serve in this body, and he deserves an 
up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. When he receives that vote, he 
will be confirmed overwhelmingly.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, those following the proceedings of the 
Senate may be wondering what we are doing. Technically, we are 
considering the nomination of Congressman Tom Price of Georgia to serve 
as Secretary of Health and Human Services--a position he has been 
nominated for by President Trump. Other Members have come to the floor 
and discussed other nominees, as the junior Senator from Arizona just 
discussed the Supreme Court nominee, but I wanted to make sure I came 
to the floor for a few minutes to put my thoughts on the record about 
the nomination of Congressman Tom Price to be Secretary of Health and 
Human Services.
  It almost seems like a natural fit. He is an orthopedic surgeon. This 
man obviously is gifted and talented and educated and skilled when it 
comes to the healing arts, and he made a living before his election to 
Congress dealing with complex surgeries. On that alone, he needs to 
have honest consideration from all Members of the Senate as we advise 
and consent to his nomination to Secretary of Health and Human 
Services. But he will not be entering surgery when he goes to the 
Health and Human Services Department, at least not the kind of surgery 
experience he has had in the past; he is going to be in charge of the 
most important health care programs in the United States of America. 
They are programs that literally tens of millions of Americans count 
on; 50 or 60 million Americans count on Medicare.
  Medicare is that program created in the 1970s under President Lyndon 
Johnson that said: You don't have to reach a point in life where you 
are so old that you can't work anymore and therefore can't qualify for 
health insurance at your employment. We are going to create a program 
that is available for people who are 65 years of age called Medicare. 
You are going to be able to have health insurance coverage at age 65.
  It was a dramatic change in the way we looked at health care in 
America, and it was controversial. The medical professions opposed 
Medicare. They argued that creating this health insurance plan for 
senior citizens--and later it was expanded to the disabled--meant 
socialized medicine, which meant that the government was going to make 
the decision about your health care--no longer you and your doctor; it 
would be the government making these critical decisions. So the 
American Medical Association and many others opposed the creation of 
  Despite that opposition, the bill went forward and passed and became 
law. I would go out on a limb today as a politician and say it may be 
the most popular single political program, perhaps only second to 
Social Security, in the history of the United States. Overnight, it 
changed the treatment of our parents and grandparents. There was a 
time--and there aren't many left who can remember it--when it reached 
the point where Grandma had to come and live with you because there was 
no place for her to go. She perhaps worked in life and perhaps hadn't. 
She had a limited amount of retirement. She had very modest, if any, 
Social Security. She was in and out of the doctor's office and 
hospital. And she was in the spare bedroom. I can remember that growing 
up as a kid. That was considered somewhat normal at the time.
  In the 1970s, that started to change. It changed, obviously, with 
Social Security but also with Medicare. Now your grandmother had access 
to a doctor and a hospital, and it didn't cost her life savings. What a 
big change it meant. As we learned when Medicare was created, almost 
half of the seniors in America had no health insurance. Now that number 
is 1 or 2 percent.
  Medicare has worked, and it has worked to give people longer lives. 
That is the real proof. I can brag about it all I care to, but the 
bottom line is that senior citizens, starting with the creation of 
Medicare, started living longer, more independent lives. Isn't that 
what every senior wants--decent, good health and independence in the 
way they live? Medicare has been the key to that.
  It is hard to imagine that here in 2017 we are going to initiate 
another debate about whether America should have Medicare. Fifty years 
later, we are going to go through this debate all over again? 
Apparently so, because the nominee of President Donald Trump to be the 
head of the Health and Human Services Department, Congressman Tom Price 
of Georgia, has said some troubling things about Medicare.
  In Politico, he said: ``Nothing has had a greater negative effect on 
the delivery of health care than the Federal government's intrusion 
into medicine through Medicare.'' What was he thinking? He obviously 
never looked at it from the perspective of someone of limited means who 
finally had a chance for the protection of health insurance at age 65. 
I met those people. One of them is a friend of mine. Her name is Judy. 
Judy lives in Southern Illinois. I met her because she is a sweet lady 
who is head of hospitality at a motel where I stay in Southern 
Illinois. She is a happy person with a big smile, and I have gotten to 
know her over the years. We became friends.

  I came to learn one day that Judy has spent most of her life in jobs 
just like that. She is not a lazy person at all, but she is lucky to 
get part-time jobs. And when I met her at age 63, Judy told me, 
whispered to me once, ``Senator, I have never had health insurance in 
my life.'' That is a heartbreaking statement when you think about it, 
isn't it? This lady lived 63 years never once having health insurance. 
Then a couple of things happened. She asked me about the Affordable 
Care Act, ObamaCare. Was it good

[[Page S983]]

for her or not? I told her that because her income was at a certain 
level, she was going to qualify for health insurance under the 
Affordable Care Act with no premium. She was brought into the Medicare 
Program at age 63. For the first time in her life, she had health 
insurance through the Affordable Care Act--a low-income wage earner, 
eligible for Medicaid at no expense to her.
  And it didn't come a moment too soon. On one of my next trips down 
South, I saw Judy. She didn't look as healthy as she once looked. Turns 
out she had been diagnosed with diabetes. And at age 64, she was in 
need--desperate need of ongoing medical care or complications were 
likely to set in. It was shortly after that she qualified for Medicare. 
So Judy has coverage. Judy has a doctor. Judy has people who care about 
her in her life.
  That is why I wonder what Congressman Price, who wants to be 
Secretary of Health and Human Services, is thinking. What is he 
thinking about people just like her?
  Let's take a look at what we have before us with his nomination. This 
Department touches the lives of virtually every American, Health and 
Human Services. I talked about Medicare and Medicaid, but this is the 
Department that is responsible for medical research too--the National 
Institutes of Health, for example. This is the Department that oversees 
the Centers for Disease Control, and that is the agency which had to 
fight the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. This is the Department that 
is in charge of promoting healthy births of babies in America and, of 
course, caring for our seniors I have spoken about.
  On many of these issues I have just outlined, Congressman Tom Price 
of Georgia has made his views very clear. His legislative record and 
his core values as a Republican Congressman from Georgia are in 
contrast with the missions of the very Department President Trump has 
asked him to lead. Let's take a look.
  New York Times said Congressman Price's views on the role of 
government in health care can ``be summed up in one word: Less.''
  Congressman Price has spent his political career opposing many of the 
basic Federal health programs he is now being asked for permission to 
oversee. He has repeatedly voted against the Children's Health 
Insurance Program, which is a program that provides health insurance to 
8 million kids in America. Even before passing the Affordable Care Act, 
we decided we were going to extend health insurance coverage to 
children, making a real commitment at the Federal level on a bipartisan 
basis to do it. Eight million kids are covered nationwide, 300,000 in 
  Congressman Price has spent the last 6 years in a desperate attempt 
to repeal the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare. If he were successful in 
that effort, it would eliminate health insurance for 30 million 
Americans and lead to dramatic premium increases for those with health 
insurance. Last year, it was Congressman Price of Georgia who authored 
the repeal and retreat reconciliation bill that, thank goodness, was 
vetoed by President Obama. Bound and determined Congressman Price was 
to eliminate ObamaCare. And for 6 years, Republicans have never had a 
replacement. That is why they are changing their rhetoric. It went from 
repeal, to repeal and replace, and now it is repair. I can't keep up 
with them. But I will tell you, starting with repeal is inviting a 
disaster in health care in America and calling into question the health 
insurance coverage of 30 million people in our country. So if 
Congressman Price had his way, it would mean less funding, fewer 
services, and fewer people covered.
  In addition to wanting to repeal our health care law, Congressman 
Price wants to fundamentally and negatively change Medicare and 
Medicaid. Those two programs together serve about one-third of the 
people living in America, 120 million. He wants to eliminate the 
Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid.
  Remember Judy? Her income was too low. She couldn't pay any health 
insurance premiums. But because her income was so low, she qualified to 
be brought into the rolls of Medicaid in Illinois. Over 600,000 people 
just like her were brought into protection of health insurance for the 
first time in their lives. This is one of our best tools for primary 
care for people who are in low-income situations--Medicaid.
  Because we included in the Affordable Care Act a guarantee that 
health insurance would cover mental illness and substance abuse 
treatment, in some parts of my State where opioid addiction and heroin 
deaths are so prevalent, people with health insurance have access to 
substance abuse treatment. Congressman Price, who would repeal 
ObamaCare, would eliminate that guarantee in health insurance.
  Repealing the Medicaid expansion that I mentioned earlier would put 
650,000 Illinoisans out of insurance, and our State would lose $37 
billion in Federal funding over the next decade.
  What impact does it have if a person shows up at an emergency room 
sick, with no insurance? In America, that person still receives care, 
but who pays for it? Everybody else. People with health insurance end 
up paying for those who receive care and don't pay for it. Medicaid 
makes sure that hospital receives a payment. So when Congressman Price 
wants to eliminate the coverage of Medicaid under the Affordable Care 
Act, it means less money coming into the hospitals across America. Some 
hospitals are big and prosperous, and they can take it; others cannot. 
In downstate Illinois, where I hail from, smalltown America, hospitals 
in those communities losing Medicaid, which Congressman Price would 
eliminate, are going to have a tough time staying open.
  The Illinois Hospital Association tells us we will lose 90,000 jobs 
if Congressman Price's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act goes 
forward--90,000 in Illinois. I need not tell you they are the best 
paying jobs in downstate communities. So it is a job-killer, and sadly 
it endangers the health of the people who count on these hospitals.
  What is he thinking? He is a doctor. He should be thinking in terms 
of what it means when you don't protect people with basic health 
insurance. Right now, if you qualify for Medicaid, you are guaranteed 
to get health care. Under Congressman Price's plan--the man who wants 
to be head of Health and Human Services--the guarantee is gone. 
Illinois would have lost $14 billion in Medicaid funding if Congressman 
Price had his way.
  Faced with far less Federal funding, the States would have to be 
forced to find ways to save money, even worse than what we currently 
have in our State. They might start Medicaid waiting lists or work 
requirements or cut benefits. Think about it. A person nominated to 
lead the Nation's premier health agency supports proposals that would 
take health care away from people.
  It gets worse. Congressman Price wants to privatize Medicare. Be 
careful when you hear a politician stand up and say: I want to 
guarantee your access to health insurance. Well, I have access to a lot 
of things. I can walk onto the showroom floor of people who are selling 
$85,000, $95,000 cars. I mean, I have access to those showrooms. Can I 
buy one of them? No. I can't afford it. Most people couldn't. But I 
have access to it. So when they say you have access to health 
insurance, the obvious next question is, What kind of health insurance? 
And how am I going to pay for it? Watch out for that word ``access.'' 
It is a loaded political word.

  Just the other night my colleague Bernie Sanders was debating Senator 
Ted Cruz of Texas, and darned if Senator Cruz didn't come up with that 
word, saying we have to make sure every American has access to health 
insurance. No, we have to make sure every American has health 
insurance. How about that? Health insurance they can afford that is 
worth buying.
  Congressman Price wants to privatize Medicare. So instead of having a 
government-run program for tens of millions of Americans, he wants to 
put seniors and the disabled in America back in the loving arms of 
health insurance companies. How about that? Do you remember a time when 
you or your family was on the phone with somebody, begging them for 
health insurance coverage, waiting and waiting and waiting for your 
turn? That is what he thinks is access, and that is what he believes is 
good health insurance. I don't. Ending the guarantee of Medicare for 
hardworking American seniors and handing them a voucher

[[Page S984]]

and wishing them good luck on finding their own insurance--that may be 
access, but it is not protection.
  The point of voucherizing Medicare is to save the government money by 
forcing seniors to pay more out of their own pockets. That is 
Congressman Price's approach, and now he wants to head up the agency in 
charge of Medicare. Don't take my word for it. He said: ``Nothing has 
had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the 
federal government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare.''
  Since 1965, when we created Medicare, listen to what has happened. 
Before Medicare, 51 percent of Americans 65 or older had health care 
coverage and nearly 30 percent lived in poverty. That is before 1965. 
Today, 98 percent of seniors have health care coverage, primarily 
because of Medicare. Fewer than 10 percent live below the poverty line. 
It has made a dramatic difference in their quality of life, the length 
of their lives, and the independence they enjoy in their lives.
  In addition, by ensuring access to care for more people, Medicare has 
contributed to life expectancy--5 years higher today than it was in 
1965. So Medicare has helped ensure more seniors have health insurance, 
fewer seniors are living in poverty, and people are living longer. Is 
that what Congressman Price considers a ``negative effect on the 
delivery of health care''?
  There are so many different issues where Congressman Price has taken 
what I consider to be radical and extreme views, particularly when it 
comes to health care. I won't go through the long list, but I will say 
this. We debated the future of Medicare when I was a member of the 
Simpson-Bowles Commission. We were looking at the deficit situation 
facing our country and looking, as we should, at entitlements. Many of 
us said at the time: Be careful about raising the eligibility age for 
Medicare. For a Congressman or a Senator, a couple more years at a desk 
before you qualify for Medicare is not a big ask. But if you happen to 
be a waitress on her feet every day, suffering from arthritis or some 
other issues, 2 more years in the workplace literally are backbreakers. 
If you happen to be driving a truck, making deliveries, changing the 
Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 or 70 is where you are going to 
get in trouble. That is where people actually are going to face a 
  Sadly, Congressman Tom Price of Georgia doesn't get it. He doesn't 
understand that part of it. Because he doesn't, I am going to be 
opposing his nomination and watching carefully and closely.
  There is going to be a battle royal on the floor of the House and the 
Senate about funding important programs in America. The Department of 
Defense, as important as it is for America's security, wants all the 
money it can get its hands on, and I want to make sure we always spend 
enough to keep us safe. But the battle is going to be between defense 
and nondefense. Nondefense includes health care. Nondefense includes 
medical research. Nondefense includes education.
  Now we are going to have someone here at the Department of Health and 
Human Services who, sadly, is not committed to the basics of Medicare 
and Medicaid. That is not good news for seniors and disabled people 
across the America. That is why I am going to oppose Congressman Price.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I rise to agree, briefly, with the remarks 
of my friend, the senior Senator from Illinois, and to comment that the 
nomination of Congressman Tom Price of Georgia to be Secretary of 
Health and Human Services is concerning, even alarming, to all of us 
who have reviewed his record--his record, his public statements, his 
work--that threatens to privatize Social Security, that threatens to 
restructure and fundamentally change the promise of Medicare, and that 
offers the promise of repealing the Affordable Care Act without any 
plan to replace.
  I could not agree more with the words of the Senator from Illinois 
that we should all be cautious about being promised access without any 
pathway toward the ability to actually afford quality health care.
  Mr. President, I yield the remainder of my postcloture debate time to 
Senator Wyden.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has that right.
  The majority whip.


  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I appreciate, as always, the courtesy of 
our colleagues.
  Earlier this week, we confirmed Mrs. Betsy DeVos as the next 
Education Secretary, and last night--finally, at long last--we 
confirmed Senator Jeff Sessions to be the Attorney General of the 
United States. That represents the eighth nominee to the President's 
Cabinet who has been confirmed. At this point in the Obama 
administration, there were 24 Cabinet members confirmed. So, obviously, 
we are way behind in terms of giving the President the team he needs in 
place in order to start his administration and advance the country's 
  We will move after today to the Department of Health and Human 
Services Secretary, Dr. Tom Price, and then to the Treasury Secretary, 
Mr. Mnuchin. The handwriting of course is on the wall. We all know each 
of these nominees will be confirmed. How do we know that? Because, 
thanks to the former Democratic leader, who invoked the nuclear option 
changing the Senate rules, only 51 votes are necessary to confirm a 
nominee since there is no filibuster, strictly speaking, no 60-vote 
requirement for nominees. So my question is this: What purpose is to be 
served by dragging all of this out?
  Unfortunately, what this does is it uses floor time, which is a 
valuable and limited resource here in the Senate. It prevents us from 
turning to bipartisan legislation that would actually help the American 
people. That is a real shame. Of course, beyond our political parties, 
beyond our differences in philosophy and opinions on various policy 
matters, we are here to work for the American people. That is the job 
we were sent here to do. In fact, I think, more than anything, the 
election on November 8 was a mandate for change.
  I think the American people had become pretty--well, I think we had 
used up all their patience in both political parties in our inability 
to actually get things done. So just slowing down the confirmation 
process for the purpose of delay I think ignores the mandate we 
received on November 8 from the American people when they voted for 
  Looking back through recent history, we will see that bipartisanship 
has characterized a peaceful transition of power from one 
administration to the next. President Obama, to his credit, did believe 
in a peaceful transition of power and worked with the incoming Trump 
administration to make that possible. But it takes more than one 
President working with the next President. It takes Congress working 
together on a cooperative basis to make sure that, yes, questions have 
to be answered and, yes, nominees have to be vetted. But after all the 
questions have been asked and all the vetting has taken place, I think 
just delay for delay's sake serves no useful purpose and undermines the 
tradition that we have had in this country--that once the election is 
over, we then move, not to an election mode, but to a governing mode. 
Then, of course, we gear up for the next election in 2018. But now is 
the time for governing, not a time for electioneering. The American 
people need to accept the results of the election, and I think the 
American people by and large have. Now, activists clearly have not. But 
I don't think dragging this out in order to increase the level of 
separation and polarization in the country by not coming together and 
providing the President's Cabinet serves the public interest. Maybe it 
serves the interests of some narrow part of a political base, but 
certainly not the American people.
  Many have pointed out that since President Carter, who had eight of 
his nominees confirmed on his first day in office, the nominations 
process has been fairly uneventful. President Reagan, for example, had 
a dozen confirmed in his first 2 days of office. President Clinton had 
13 within 24 hours. President Obama had seven confirmed on day 1, and 
so did George W. Bush, when he was President.
  The obstruction and slow-walking of the President's Cabinet choices 
is unprecedented. In fact, this is the longest

[[Page S985]]

it has taken to confirm a majority of a new President's Cabinet since 
George Washington in 1789. This goes back to the origins of the 
country. That is pretty shocking.
  For our colleagues to keep the President from his advisers is not 
only a rejection of the verdict of the American people on November 8 
but to this institution and to the stability of the government and that 
peaceful transition of power that President Obama said he believed in 
and I think demonstrated by his actions.
  We need adults to stand up and say we are not going to cater to the 
extremes in either political party, but we are going to seek common 
ground for the common good of our country. That is a position many of 
our Democratic colleagues have agreed with until today.
  The day before the election last November, the Democratic leader 
indicated a willingness to work with his Republican counterparts to 
reach across the aisle in order to do so for what was right for the 
American people. Senator Schumer, our colleague from New York, said on 
November 16:

       We have a moral obligation, even beyond the economy and 
     politics, to avoid gridlock and get the country to work 
     again. . . . We have to get things done.

  I bet at the time Senator Schumer said that, he expected Hillary 
Clinton to be President. But now President Trump has won the election, 
and I think the same obligation applies to a Trump Presidency that he 
felt should apply to a Clinton presidency.
  Now, the Democratic leader is singing a different tune, and we know 
what the results are. I actually don't envy our friend from New York, 
the Democratic leader. He has perhaps one of the toughest jobs in 
Washington, DC. He has allowed a narrow political base full of people 
who want him to block, stall, and obstruct this President at every 
turn. But I have worked with the Senator from New York before. He and I 
see the world through a different lens, but we have found ways to come 
together and work in practical ways that benefit our constituents and 
the country.

  But I can tell he is being pulled in directions that he is not 
particularly comfortable with. But what he is doing is allowing that 
loud narrow base of his political party to lead his conference and his 
party. I think he knows what is good for the country and for the people 
we all work for, and that would be to resist the urge to feed the 
radical elements and to work together for the interests of the American 
  Just last week, President Trump announced the nomination of an 
incredibly well-qualified judge for the next Supreme Court Justice. As 
of today, several Senate Democrats have indicated they want an up-or-
down vote on that nomination. I think that is positive. I hope those 
are representative of the cooler heads that will prevail on the other 
side of the aisle when it comes to taking up the nomination of this 
incredibly qualified judge for the U.S. Supreme Court.
  People on the right and on the left alike have acknowledged that 
Judge Gorsuch is an incredibly qualified nominee, a mainstream 
candidate, and widely recognized as such by liberals and conservatives 
alike. Some of our friends on the other side are grasping at straws, 
searching for ways to call his background or qualifications into 
question, basically using the nomination as a way to continue to 
contest and deny our new President the mandate he received from his 
election on November 8.
  The Democratic leader even suggested that because Judge Gorsuch would 
not answer all of his questions in a private meeting, he was somehow 
hiding something. Well, our friend across the aisle knows--he is a 
smart Senator. He is a good lawyer, and he understands. Judges are not 
supposed to answer before they get on the bench how they would decide 
cases once they are on the bench.
  Judges are not politicians, wearing black robes, unelected, life-time 
tenured super legislators. So it would be completely inappropriate for 
any nominee for the Court to come, either in a private meeting or in a 
public setting, and say: Well, if I am elected, I will decide this case 
or this issue in this way. That is completely contrary to the 
responsibility of a judge, and I think mistakes the important 
distinction between how judges and legislators ought to act.
  Judges are not politicians. We don't want them as politicians. We 
want them as an independent judiciary that can interpret the 
Constitution and laws as written. This is an important difference 
between some of our friends on the left and those of us who believe in 
a traditional judiciary. I believe that because judges are life-tenured 
and they are unelected, they are ill-suited to become policymakers for 
our country.
  Indeed, as to Justice Scalia, I thought this was one of his life's 
work. He said:

       A judge's job is to interpret the written word, either the 
     Constitution or the statutes written by the elected 
     representatives of the people. It is not to pursue a separate 
     and independent policy agenda or personal agenda just because 
     you have the power to do so as a lifetime tenured judge.

  So the fact that Judge Gorsuch does not answer questions about how he 
would decide cases once confirmed, I think, means he is being true to 
his responsibilities as a judge. If someone were willing to make those 
sort of campaign promises before they were confirmed, I think they 
would be disqualified from serving. Take the example of Justice Ruth 
Bader Ginsburg during her confirmation hearings in 1993. She said she 
did not want to give any hints or previews about how she might vote on 
an issue before her. So she politely declined to answer those 
  Nominees have since followed her example so much that it has now 
become known as the Ginsburg rule. So I hope our friends across the 
aisle don't now take the position that Judge Gorsuch would be 
disqualified because he invokes the Ginsburg rule, which all 
responsible judges or nominees to the Supreme Court should invoke. It 
has been a consistent theme throughout.
  So let's drop the excuses, and let's get to work. I hope that at some 
point the fever will break and our friends across the aisle will decide 
to quit the foot dragging, quit the slow walking for delay's sake 
alone. I don't know who benefits from that--certainly, not the American 
  When it comes to nominees like Judge Gorsuch, I hope our colleagues 
will apply the same standard that was applied when a Democratic 
President nominated somebody for the Supreme Court like Justice 
Ginsburg. I hope they will not have a double standard but will agree 
that the standard should be the Ginsburg rule and give this good judge, 
an outstanding nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, the up-or-down vote 
he deserves.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I come to speak on the nomination of 
Congressman Price to lead the Health and Human Services Department. But 
I have to respond to my colleague from Texas on his remarks. He wanted 
to know why Members of our side of the aisle wanted to have information 
about nominees or why it might take so long.
  There are a record number of billionaires in this Cabinet. There is 
nothing wrong with people making money. But when you have conflicts of 
interest, clearly people on this side of the aisle feel like we should 
do our job and find out about those conflicts of interest. Even in 
record time, these nominees have moved through this body, coming to 
votes in committee without our even having all of this information that 
we wanted to have on their conflicts of interest.
  For one nominee, the Commerce Secretary, we were negotiating even the 
day of the vote to clarify whether he was going to recuse himself if 
any of his transport vessels ever entered U.S. waters and would have a 
conflict on the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.
  So there is the notion that somehow we have been dragging our feet on 
a Cabinet, when a billionaire Cabinet has been nominated by this 
President, who seems to want to tweet against commerce. The conflicts 
are here, and we want them cleared up.
  As to Mr. Price, there are issues here that even the committee was 
not given the chance for a second hearing to get information about his 
conflicts of interest. So for my colleague--who thinks for a party that 
railroaded Zoe Baird because of a housekeeping issue, and yet there are 
nominees that we have moved forward on who have the

[[Page S986]]

same issue--now to say to us that we don't have the right to find out 
what these conflicts of interest are, I would say that you are wrong.
  On this issue for Mr. Price, my issue is the issue of our health care 
delivery system, which was very hard to pin him down on as it relates 
to the Affordable Care Act. My view is that this vote is the first vote 
in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Why? Because Mr. Price held 
nothing but his own views about this before coming to our committee.
  When we asked repeatedly what would he endorse as it related to the 
reforms in the Affordable Care Act that are saving Americans money, 
that are clearly working for Americans, he failed to make a commitment. 
So my newspaper in Washington State, the Seattle Times, has said: 
``President-elect Donald Trump and his nominee for U.S. Secretary of 
Health and Human Services have doubled down on Republican promises to 
scuttle the Affordable Care Act (ACA).''
  So that is not what I want. That is not what I am going to vote for 
in the nomination of Mr. Price. If Mr. Price had given us a little bit 
of an inkling of his desire to work across the aisle on what is working 
in the Affordable Care Act, what is working in Medicaid expansion, what 
is working to help save Americans dollars on their health care, it 
would be a different discussion here. But Mr. Price has put forth a 
budget in the House of Representatives that would cut Medicaid by one-
third within 10 years. His budget cuts $1 trillion from States over a 
10-year period of time.
  So this philosophy has raised a lot of concerns by my colleagues 
here. We had no other choice but to look at his record since he would 
not give us any answers on these programs. His record clearly shows 
that he has actively and aggressively worked to cap Medicaid with a 
block-grant program; trade away Medicare's guarantees with a voucher, 
instead; defund Planned Parenthood; and switch guaranteed benefits for 
a fixed tax credit that would steadily buy less and less and less and 
become more of a standard of actually giving Americans less health 
  Why is this so important? The reality is that 7 percent of Americans 
get their health insurance through the individual health insurance 
market, and that while people talk about the exchanges, the expansion 
of Medicaid, which so many States took advantage of, is a critical 
program. Nationally, nearly half of pregnant women depend on Medicaid 
for prenatal and postnatal care to ensure healthy pregnancies.
  Medicaid covers 64 percent of nursing home residents and is the 
largest payer for long-term care. Many Americans in the United States 
are now going into nursing homes because they can't afford to save for 
retirement. Medicaid is critically important. In hospitals across the 
Nation, one in two births are financed by Medicaid. Medicaid insurance 
actually costs less than private insurance. So, it is a very efficient 
way to cover a population.
  I know a lot of my colleagues are going to come out here and talk 
about Medicare. I am sure seniors in America will be very anxious about 
Mr. Price's statements on Medicare. But I am speaking here now about a 
program that is keeping people off of uncompensated care, keeping them 
from flooding our hospitals, and putting them on a system that is 
working for our Nation to cover people who need to have an option.
  Now, I say ``option.'' Why? Because Medicaid itself is an optional 
program. States don't have to participate. But guess what. Every State 
in this country does participate. In fact, in Washington State, we know 
that Medicaid reduces, as I said, infant mortality. It helps with long-
term health care, and it is helping us make sure we are becoming more 
efficient in our delivery system.
  So in Washington, we expanded Medicaid and covered 600,000 additional 
Washingtonians, most of whom were previously insured. It helped us 
reduce our uninsured rate by 60 percent, to less than 6 percent; that 
is, 6 percent of Washingtonians are now not with a health insurance 
  So why am I so concerned about this? Because in the Affordable Care 
Act, reforms are working. We would like a nominee who would at least 
address and agree that those things are working. For example, as I just 
mentioned, because the Medicaid population and long-term care costs are 
rising, and the number of people are living longer, they are going to 
drive a huge balloon into our Medicaid budget. So we came up with an 
idea of saying: You should ``rebalance'' from nursing home care to 
community-based care.
  Why? Because people would like to live in their homes longer, because 
we can deliver more affordable care that way. It is better for the 
patient, and it is better for our health care delivery system. So what 
did we do? We put incentives into the Affordable Care Act to give the 
patients a cheaper, more affordable way to stay in their homes and get 
long-term care.
  It is really amazing to me how many States in our Union took up the 
opportunity to participate in this program: Arkansas, Connecticut, 
Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, 
Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Illinois, Maine, 
Ohio, Nevada, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania.
  All of those States decided to use this part of the Affordable Care 
Act because they agreed in philosophy that taking this population and 
rebalancing would save dollars in Medicaid, give people better health 
care choices, and save us money overall. In fact, the State of Georgia 
received $57 million from the Affordable Care Act to do this and has 
been able to shift 10 percent of its long-term care costs from nursing 
home care to community-based care with the help of this program. So it 
is a winning strategy.
  Yet we could not get a commitment or an awareness by Mr. Price about 
this program, what it does, why it is so successful, or the concept 
that having people get care in their homes would be appropriate for so 
many Americans over the very expensive nursing home care that so many 
States are burdened with and so much of our Federal dollars are going 
to be burdened with in the future.
  We also tried to discuss with him another incredible idea from the 
Affordable Care Act; that is, the Basic Health Plan: the idea that 
customers should be able to buy in bulk. I call it the Costco plan, 
because everybody knows that when you buy in bulk, you are going to get 
a discount.
  But beyond the Medicaid eligibility level, so much of what Americans 
have not been able to do is to buy in bulk. So part of the Affordable 
Care Act said that you could buy in bulk as a State and give a benefit.

  What is the outcome of that? Well, the State of New York is using the 
Basic Health Plan and has signed up more than a half million people 
under that plan.
  Right now, a family of four in New York making about $37,000 a year, 
if they were buying just on the exchange, might have to pay $1,500 in 
annual premiums, with tax credits. Because of the Basic Health Plan, 
they are paying about $250 per year in premiums. That is a savings of 
over $1,000 per year for those families. This is an important program. 
Why? Because those in the delivery system have certainty that they are 
going to see those patients, just as Costco, when they buy in bulk for 
so many Americans across the country, knows that Americans are going to 
shop there and take advantage of the discount that they were able to 
negotiate, and it works for everyone. The producers know they will have 
volume, the customer knows they will get the best price, and more 
people are covered.
  The fact that New York has used the Basic Health Plan, as well as 
Minnesota, has shown us that these kinds of expansions of Medicaid--and 
programs like the Basic Health Plan that exist just above the Medicaid 
eligibility rate--work successfully for us and are the types of things 
we wish Mr. Price would endorse. But, again, he failed to endorse these 
kinds of things.
  What he has said, instead, is that he wants to cap these programs, 
which is not an improvement to the system but almost a truncating of 
the cost. In my mind, it is like a surgeon going into surgery but 
instead of taking a scalpel, he is taking an ax.
  Given what the people of Washington State have done successfully in 
driving down health care costs and improving outcomes, I am not willing 
to take a risk on somebody who will not take a risk and say that these 
programs are working successfully.

[[Page S987]]

  I hope our colleagues will listen to these concerns. This is the 
first vote in the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act. It is the 
first opportunity we have to say: Either tell us what is working or 
tell us what you are for.
  But on Mr. Price, all we have is his record. And I hate to say, his 
record, by capping and desiring to cut Medicaid and Medicare, is not 
the direction our country needs to go.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The President pro tempore.

                       Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise to speak about two of President 
Trump's nominees. I will first address Nominee Gorsuch to the Supreme 
Court. Then I will discuss the nomination of Tom Price to be Secretary 
of Health and Human Services, which is currently pending before the 
  Last week, President Trump nominated U.S. Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch 
to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin 
Scalia. I want to address both the process and the substance of what 
lies ahead for the Senate.
  The Constitution gives to the President the power to nominate and, 
subject to the Senate's advice and consent, the power to appoint 
judges. The first step in the Senate exercising its power of advice and 
consent is to decide the best way to handle a nomination made by the 
  The Constitution does not mandate a one-size-fits-all process. In 
fact, the Senate has handled the Supreme Court nominations in at least 
a dozen different ways.
  Nearly 1 year ago, shortly after Justice Scalia's death, I explained 
on the Senate floor the two reasons the next President should choose 
his replacement. First, the circumstances and timing of the Scalia 
vacancy supported separating the confirmation process from the 
Presidential election season, which was a hard-fought Presidential 
  When he chaired the Judiciary Committee in 1992, then-Senator Joe 
Biden urged the Senate not to consider a Supreme Court nomination in 
that Presidential election year. Each of his four reasons applied, with 
even greater force, to the circumstances we faced last year.
  Second, I said that elections have consequences. The American people 
were increasingly concerned about the illegal and unconstitutional 
actions of the Obama administration, actions that the courts struck 
down dozens of times.
  The two Presidential candidates last year represented very different 
ideas about the power and proper role of judges in our system of 
government. The American people, therefore, had a unique opportunity to 
address the future course of the judiciary in general and the Supreme 
Court in particular.
  Not surprisingly, the percentage of American voters who said that the 
Supreme Court was a very important issue tripled between 2008 and 2016. 
The issue was always when, not whether, the Senate would consider a 
nominee to fill the Scalia vacancy.
  Plunging into a divisive, ideological confirmation battle in the 
middle of a confrontational and ugly Presidential campaign would have 
done more harm than good to the judiciary, the Senate, and the country. 
We were right to avoid such damage and, as a result, today we can focus 
properly on the appointment of Justice Scalia's successor.
  Democrats and their left-leaning allies, however, sound as though 
they exist in some kind of parallel universe. In editorials since the 
election, for example, the New York Times claims that Republicans stole 
this Supreme Court seat from President Obama.
  I am sure they are in denial about the election results, and some 
observers have called this bizarre fiction sour grapes. I think that 
gives sour grapes a bad name, between you and me.
  No judicial position, including the Supreme Court seat occupied by 
Justice Scalia, belongs to any President. President Obama exercised the 
power that the Constitution gives him by nominating someone to that 
vacancy. The Senate exercised the power that the Constitution 
separately gives us by not granting consent to that nomination.
  I have news for my Democratic colleagues: Not getting your way does 
not mean that anyone stole anything; it just means that you did not get 
your way.
  When Chairman Biden refused to give a hearing to more than 50 
judicial nominees during the 103rd Congress--a record, by the way, that 
still stands--the New York Times never said that those seats were being 
stolen from President Bush.
  When Democrats blocked a confirmation vote 20 times during the 108th 
Congress, the Times never accused Democrats of theft but was right 
there egging them on.
  Republicans last year decided to defer the confirmation process 
without knowing who would win the election. Democrats this year are 
objecting because of who won the election, even though at the time, it 
looked as though Hillary Clinton was a sure winner.
  I think we should stop the nonsense and act like grownups because we 
have work to do.
  Turning to that work, the task before us is to determine whether 
Judge Neil Gorsuch is qualified to serve as an Associate Justice of the 
Supreme Court. Qualifications for judicial service include both legal 
experience and judicial philosophy, and I believe we should look at a 
nominee's entire record for evidence of these qualifications.
  Judge Gorsuch's legal experience is well documented and widely 
acknowledged. Judge Gorsuch clerked for two Supreme Court Justices, 
spent a decade in private practice, and then served as Acting Associate 
Attorney General. His qualifications for the U.S. Court of Appeals were 
so obvious that the Senate confirmed him in 2006 without even a roll 
call vote.
  Let me put that into perspective. During the 4 years that Republicans 
were back in the majority, 2003 to 2006, the Senate took roll call 
votes on 86 percent of judicial nominations. Democrats were demanding 
roll call votes even when, as happened 82 percent of the time, the 
nominations were unopposed. In other words, it was a very rare 
exception for a judicial nomination to be confirmed without a roll call 
vote at all. That is how self-evidently qualified this nominee was for 
the appeals court.
  In 11 years on the appellate bench, he has authored hundreds of 
majority or separate opinions, many of which have been widely praised. 
There is no question that Judge Gorsuch has the legal experience to 
serve on the Supreme Court.
  As I have said many times, the conflict over judicial appointments is 
really a conflict over judicial power. The more important qualification 
for judicial service, therefore, is a nominee's judicial philosophy, or 
his or her understanding of the power and proper role of judges in our 
system of government--in other words, the kind of Justice he will be.
  Federal judges have two basic tasks. They can perform those tasks in 
two basic ways. Their tasks are to interpret and apply the law to 
decide cases. They can perform those tasks impartially or politically.
  An impartial judge interprets statutes and the Constitution to mean 
what they already mean, while the political judge interprets them to 
mean what he wants them to mean. When an impartial judge applies the 
law, he deliberately excludes his own views and does not put his thumb 
on the scale to make sure the results of the case benefit a particular 
party or group.
  The political judge accepts, and even embraces, that his background 
and biases shape his decisions and considers how individual decisions 
will affect other parties, groups, or issues.
  Our system of government, and the liberty it makes possible, requires 
impartial judges in all cases.
  In his farewell address in 1796, President George Washington said 
that the heart of our system of government is the right of the people 
to control the Constitution. One of his original Supreme Court 
Justices, James Wilson, described our system of government by saying 
that here, the people are masters of the government. Our liberty can be 
secure only if the people control the Constitution, only if the people 
remain masters of the government. That cannot happen if judges control 
the Constitution because then, government will be the master of the 
people. That is why the kind of judge Presidents appoint is so 
important. Impartial judges

[[Page S988]]

let the people govern; they let the people govern themselves. Political 
judges do it for them.
  The best way to tell which kind of Justice the nominee before us will 
be is to assess the kind of judge he already is. One of the most 
obvious places to look is in the opinions he has been writing for more 
than a decade. Last year, for example, the Tenth Circuit had to decide 
whether to use the Constitution to create new categories of lawsuits 
against law enforcement officers. Judge Gorsuch agreed that the courts 
should resist doing so and wrote:

       Ours is the job of interpreting the Constitution. And that 
     document isn't some inkblot on which litigants may project 
     their hopes and dreams . . . but a carefully drafted text 
     judges are charged with applying according to its original 
     public meaning.

  In other words, the Constitution is not a blank check a judge may 
write to whomever, and for whatever amount, they like. It is not a 
shape-shifting blob that judges can manipulate into whatever they want 
it to be.
  In this view, Judge Gorsuch was merely echoing America's Founders. 
Thomas Jefferson, for example, argued that if the Constitution means 
whatever judges say it means, the Constitution will become ``a mere 
thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and 
shape into any form they please.''
  He was right. The Constitution, after all, is the primary way the 
people set rules for government, including for the judiciary. If the 
people are to remain masters of the government, they must remain 
masters of the Constitution, and that includes not only what it says 
but also what the Constitution means.
  Impartial judges take statutes and the Constitution as they are, not 
for what they say but also for what they mean.
  Political judges act as if the people and their elected 
representatives established a Constitution or enacted statutes that are 
merely collections of words with no meaning until judges fill in those 
blanks. Judge Gorsuch is an impartial judge. Anybody looking at the 
record has to know that. He knows that he is to interpret but cannot 
make the law. He knows that the Constitution must control judges, not 
the other way around.

  Last year, Judge Gorsuch delivered a lecture about Justice Scalia's 
legacy at Case Western University School of Law. In that lecture, Judge 
Gorsuch embraced a defined judicial philosophy and made clear the kind 
of judge that he is.
  I referred to this lecture in my remarks last week, and this week I 
sent it to each of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. I truly 
hope each and every Member of this body will read it carefully because 
it helps answer the most important question before us in exercising our 
power of advice and consent: What kind of Justice will this nominee be?
  In his lecture, Judge Gorsuch said--and I will refer to the chart 
again--``Judges should be in the business of declaring what the law is 
using the traditional methods of interpretation, rather than 
pronouncing the law as they might wish it to be in light of their own 
political views, always with an eye on the outcome.''
  Some Senators and liberal groups have already stated that they oppose 
this nomination. Perhaps they think judges should be in the business of 
pronouncing the law as they might wish it to be in light of their own 
political views.
  Judge Gorsuch said in his lecture that the task of a judge is to 
interpret and apply the law rather than, as he put it, ``to amend or 
revise the law in some novel way.'' Perhaps his critics believe the 
opposite, that judges actually do have the power to amend and revise 
the law in novel ways.
  Last year, Judge Gorsuch echoed America's Founders in saying that the 
power of the legislative branch to make law and the power of the 
judicial branch to interpret law should be kept separate and distinct. 
Confusing them, he said, would be a grave threat to our values of 
personal liberty and equal protection. Perhaps his critics believe it 
does not matter whether judges make or interpret the law.
  Last year, Judge Gorsuch said that judges must ``assiduously seek to 
avoid the temptation to secure results they prefer.'' What the law 
demands, he said, is more important than the judge's policy 
preferences. Perhaps his critics think judges should give in to that 
temptation, putting their preferred results ahead of what the law 
  The more we find out about Judge Gorsuch and his judicial philosophy, 
the more we should ask what his opponents and critics really find so 
objectionable. If Democrats and their leftwing allies believe that 
judges, rather than the people, should control the Constitution, they 
should come right out and say so. If they believe that the political 
ends justify the judicial means, that judges may manipulate the law to 
produce politically correct results, then they should be honest about 
it and defend that radical idea to the American people.
  As I close, I want to offer some wisdom from Daniel Webster, who 
served in the House and Senate and twice as Secretary of State under 
three different Presidents. In a speech on March 15, 1837, he said:

       Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption 
     of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the 
     Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers 
     of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to 
     govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good 
     masters, but they mean to be masters.

  Well, there are also judges who mean to be good masters, but they do 
indeed mean to be masters. They mean to govern well, but they do mean 
to govern. That kind of judge compromises the heart of our political 
system and undermines the liberty that it makes possible.
  Judge Neil Gorsuch has no intention of governing, of being any kind 
of master of the Constitution or of the people. He is, instead, an 
impartial judge, the kind who follows rather than controls the law. He 
will be the kind of Justice that America needs on the Supreme Court.
  Mr. HATCH. I thank you, Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Fischer). The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mr. SASSE. Madam President, I would like to thank the Senator from 
Washington State and the Senator from Michigan for allowing me to sneak 
in here quickly.
  I thank the Senator from Utah for his comments.
  Mr. HATCH. I still have one more speech to give.
  Mr. SASSE. I yield to the chairman of the committee.
  Mr. HATCH. I will try to make this very brief.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The President pro tempore.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I would like to turn to the business 
currently before the Senate and express my support for the nomination 
of Representative Tom Price to be the Secretary of Health and Human 
Services at this critical juncture.
  HHS encompasses an extremely large and diverse set of agencies, 
including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, 
and the Food and Drug Administration, just to name a few. All told, its 
annual budget is more than $1 trillion--that is trillion with a ``t.''
  The various programs and agencies that fall under HHS's purview have 
an enormous impact on our Nation's fiscal and economic outlook. I am 
not exaggerating when I say that HHS affects the daily lives of more 
American taxpayers than any other part of the Federal Government.
  Management of all these agencies is not for the faint of heart. Once 
confirmed, Dr. Price will have his work cut out for him, but I believe 
he is more than up to the challenge. He has proven that over the years.
  Dr. Price has extensive insight into our Nation's health care system, 
having practiced medicine for two decades in a variety of settings. 
That experience has informed his years of service in the House of 
Representatives, which included a tenure as chairman of the House 
Budget Committee and in the leadership in the Ways and Means Committee.
  While many who come to Washington are content to sit back and talk 
about our Nation's problems, Dr. Price has always sought to find 
solutions. At a time when our health care system is in distress, I 
believe Dr. Price will put his

[[Page S989]]

vast experience to good use and be decisive in not only working with 
Congress to find solutions but implementing them as well.
  My view on his qualifications is shared by a great number of people, 
including many who see the problems in our health care system up close. 
For example, former HHS Secretaries Mike Leavitt and Tommie Thompson 
enthusiastically support his nomination. Major stakeholder 
organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American 
Hospital Association, most surgical specialty groups, and others, also 
support him. In their letter of support, the Health Care Leadership 
Council, which represents a wide range of health care providers, said 
that ``it is difficult to imagine anyone more capable of serving his 
nation as the Secretary of HHS than Congressman Tom Price.'' I couldn't 
have said it better myself.
  Of course, none of this seems to matter to some of my colleagues on 
the other side. They aren't coming to the floor to criticize Dr. 
Price's abilities or qualifications; instead, most of what we have 
heard for weeks now is focused on a vague patchwork of allegations of 
ethical impropriety on the part of the nominee.
  I have participated in quite a few confirmation debates during my 
time in the Senate, and even over this agency. One thing I have learned 
is that if the opponents of a particular nomination keep moving their 
focus from one set of allegations to another, more often than not, they 
don't have a leg to stand on. That is very much the case with regard to 
the attacks that have been hurled at Dr. Price.
  First, we heard about supposed conflicts of interest in his finances, 
until it was pretty clear that Dr. Price had followed all the required 
ethical guidelines and disclosure requirements of the House.
  After that, he was accused of lying to the Senate Finance Committee 
during our vetting process because he had to file an amended disclosure 
to include some mistaken omissions. Of course, this is not altogether 
an uncommon occurrence, particularly given the fact that the Finance 
Committee's vetting process is uniquely exhaustive. It happens in 
almost every case where you have people who have had a complicated life 
or work life. Furthermore, he was asked about this during his 
confirmation hearing, and his answers were reasonable, and I haven't 
heard anyone credibly argue that he was intentionally trying to mislead 
the committee.
  I will set aside the fact that the particulars of Dr. Price's 
disclosures to the Finance Committee--information which is typically 
kept private among members and staff--were apparently managed and 
embellished in order to create and reinforce a partisan narrative with 
the media. Instead, I will simply say that the Finance Committee's 
bipartisan vetting process for nominees has historically operated on an 
assumption of good faith, both on the part of the nominee and the 
members of the committee. The fact that my colleagues on the committee, 
in many respects, have decided to cast all that aside in recent weeks 
is not evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Dr. Price.
  When the overblown claims about his disclosures failed to gain 
traction, my colleagues on the other side turned their focus to a 
particular investment in an Australian biomed company in 2015. Their 
claim: Dr. Price received a ``sweetheart deal'' from the company which 
allowed him to purchase stock at a discounted price. They also argue 
that he lied during his confirmation hearing when he said he paid the 
same price for the stock as everyone else at that time.
  Now, my colleagues would have everyone believe that private placement 
investment arrangements are inherently shady and nefarious. Let's just 
get that out of the way right now. Private placements are a commonplace 
and appropriate means for companies to raise--
  Madam President, let me yield the floor to Senator Scott.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. SCOTT. Madam President, I yield 30 minutes of my time during the 
debate of Congressman Price to Senator Hatch.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has that right.
  Mr. HATCH. I sure appreciate my colleague because I have run out of 
time here and I still have things to say.
  Mr. SCOTT. Yes, sir.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The President pro tempore.
  Mr. HATCH. Well, let me just go back.
  Let's just get that out of the way right now. Private placements are 
a commonplace and appropriate means for companies to raise additional 
capital from a small number of investors. I know because I used to 
practice law and I did a number of private placements in my experience.
  The facts in this matter are relatively simple: The Australian 
company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, had a relatively small number of 
U.S. investors at the time. It is my understanding that all of the 
investors who had participated in a previous share offering were 
offered an opportunity to purchase additional stock as part of a 
private placement arrangement. Dr. Price purchased additional stock at 
the price that was offered to all the investors in that group.
  Once again, private placements are commonplace investments, not 
nefarious conspiracies that some of our colleagues would have us 
believe. And I can certainly testify to that. According to all the 
available details, this particular investment was in compliance with 
all of the laws and regulations that govern those types of deals. In 
fact, as private placement investments go, this one appears to be 
fairly unremarkable, unless, of course, you just assume without 
evidence that there simply had to be something fishy going on--an 
assumption that I don't think could be made.
  Put simply, this investment arrangement was a perfectly normal, 
commonplace affair. There is certainly no evidence to suggest that 
there was any insider trading, as some of my colleagues have alleged.
  On top of that, Dr. Price's statements before the Finance Committee, 
despite many claims to the contrary, appear to be truthful unless you 
simply want to assume without evidence that he has to be lying. What a 
situation that our colleagues try to put this good man in. It is 
disreputable, in my opinion.

  By all accounts, Dr. Price purchased the Innate stock at the same 
price offered to all other participants in the private placement which, 
by the way, also included a few thousand investors from Australia and 
New Zealand. That is what he told the committee and that, by all 
appearances, is the truth. We certainly haven't seen any evidence to 
the contrary. Sure, my colleagues on the other side have thrown a lot 
of dots on the wall, apparently hoping they can create a cloudy 
impression that something nefarious just had to be going on with this 
investment, even though they haven't come close to connecting any of 
the dots. They have parsed words, they have divined alternative 
meanings behind the nominee's statements. But let me be clear, no one 
has produced any credible evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Dr. 
Price. Those of us who know him know that he never did any wrongdoing 
and, frankly, never intended to do anything that was wrong.
  That being the case, it is utterly shameful that my colleagues would 
go to such elaborate lengths in order to malign not only a nominee for 
a Cabinet position but a sitting Member of the U.S. Congress. There 
ought to be some courtesy here, and I am kind of shocked that there 
isn't. Of course, we went through a fairly ugly episode the other night 
about the same issue, though that one hit a little closer to home as 
the nominee under attack was a fellow Senator.
  I don't want to rehash that argument here today. Instead, I will say 
this. I know some people like to fight around here. For some, it seems 
the fighting is half the reason they are here to begin with, and 
neither party is blameless in that regard. Do you know what? If my 
colleagues wanted to have a fierce and lively debate about this 
nominee's qualifications or his views on policy, I welcome that debate. 
He is a tremendous human being, a tremendous doctor, with all kinds of 
experience, and has been a wonderful Member of the House of 
Representatives for both parties--as a Republican. If they want to 
fairly debate his record as a legislator

[[Page S990]]

and a public servant, I am game. I will be glad to do it with them, but 
to throw accusations at a congressional colleague, and even go so far 
to accuse him--without evidence--of criminal wrongdoing is, in my view, 
beneath the dignity of the Senate.
  That is precisely what has happened to Dr. Price. Ultimately, my 
colleagues' specious arguments and their desperate attempt to block Dr. 
Price's confirmation would all seem far more sincere if he were the one 
nominee or even one in a small handful of nominees they deemed unfit to 
serve, but that is not what is happening.
  My colleagues on the other side have appeared to be apoplectic about 
almost every single nominee we have had before us. The confirmation of 
any of President Trump's Cabinet nominees, it seems, will bring about 
untold destruction, the likes of which America has never seen.
  With so many of these nominations, the entire process has been 
wrought with fever-pitched arguments, accusations, and apocalyptic 
visions of a future world gone mad. We hear it in committee. We are 
hearing it on the floor. Then the Senate votes, the nominees are 
confirmed, and my colleagues immediately switch gears to do the very 
same thing with the next nomination. Some of them even switch gears and 
come up to the nominee with smiles on their faces and congratulate him 
or her.
  One can only wonder how so many Senators can keep their outrage 
settings turned to 11 without getting completely exhausted around here. 
I expect they are able to do so because their outrage is more show than 
anything else. Indeed, I suspect that the outrage that has been on 
display has less to do with the particular nominees and more to do with 
a longer term political agenda. In service of that partisan agenda, my 
colleagues appear to be more than willing to cast aside the traditions, 
respect, and assumptions of good faith that have long been the hallmark 
of the Senate confirmation process and of the Senate itself.
  I am very concerned with the way this has gone on here. I am 
concerned with the way my colleagues are treating another respected 
colleague from the House. We have seen it in committee. We are seeing 
it on the floor. In my view, it is a tragic shame.
  The bottom line is, Dr. Price is, by any reasonable objective 
standard, qualified to serve as HHS Secretary. Some people would say he 
is qualified just because he has made it all the way to Congress and he 
ought to be treated with equal respect, but I will not even go that 
far. I will just say, by any reasonable and objective standard, he is 
qualified to serve as HHS Secretary. There is nothing in his past 
record or statements that disqualifies him to serve in that capacity. 
In a better world, he would be confirmed already. People would be 
shouting hooray that this good man will take the time and spend the 
effort to take this very thankless, very difficult job--and to leave 
Congress in the process. I suspect he will be confirmed in short order.
  Once again, I do urge my colleagues to vote with me to confirm 
Representative Price. I really believe we ought to get past this is 
picayune stuff that has been going on, on the floor. We ought to get 
past that and truly, truly support a good man from the other body who 
we all know is honest and decent and allow him to see what he can do to 
straighten out this tremendously complex Department of Health and Human 
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. PETERS. Madam President, I rise in defense of Michigan seniors 
and working families and to speak on the nomination of Representative 
Tom Price to be Secretary of Health and Human Services. As a Member of 
this body, it is my duty to only support a nominee for this position if 
I trust that he or she will put the health and wellness of American 
families first.
  Representative Price has failed to convince me that he will do this. 
As a doctor, he should be familiar with the Hippocratic Oath. Reciting 
this oath is a rite of passage for our physicians and our Nation and 
across the globe. While it is known most widely for its overarching 
message of ``do no harm,'' I wish to recite a passage from the modern 
version of the Hippocratic Oath that should resonate with all of us. It 

       I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart--a 
     cancerous growth--but a sick human being--whose illness may 
     affect the person's family and economic stability. My 
     responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to 
     care adequately for the sick.

  We should all heed these words. Health care is deeply personal. Some 
of the most important decisions Americans will ever make will be with 
the advice of their loved ones and their doctor.
  Health care affects our families and the economic stability of our 
families. Quality, affordable health care can literally be the 
difference between life and death. A Medicare system that works for 
seniors can be the difference between a retirement with dignity and 
having to spend their golden years in poverty.
  When it comes to our Nation's seniors, Congressman Price has crafted 
extremely dangerous proposals that would end Medicare as we know it. He 
has introduced legislation that would turn Medicare into a voucher 
system, increase the eligibility age for seniors to enroll in the 
program, and lead to increased drug costs.
  Our Nation's seniors worked hard their entire lives and they deserve 
a dignified retirement--not higher drug costs or a voucher that could 
be worth less each and every year, putting a significant strain on 
their fixed budget. We must honor our promises to current and future 
retirees by refusing to confirm any HHS nominee who is not fully 
committed to protecting our seniors and ensuring they have the health 
care they need. We need a Secretary who wakes up every morning thinking 
about how to provide the best care possible to as many Americans as 
possible and as affordably as possible.
  I am concerned that Representative Price sees our health care system 
as a profit center, a profit center for special interests and a profit 
center for himself. He has proposed dangerous plans to end critical 
investments that make our health care system better so he can give 
large tax breaks to some of his wealthy friends.
  The American people should be confident that the men and women 
leading Federal agencies are thinking about the bottom line of 
taxpayers and not themselves. We must be faithful stewards of taxpayer 
dollars. I wish to remind my colleagues that Medicare and Medicaid 
spend far less on overhead and operations than private insurance.
  I would also like to remind my colleagues that the Republican budget 
plan that includes repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase our 
national debt by upward of $9 trillion over the next decade. Yes, that 
is trillion with a ``t.'' We must continue efforts to cut waste and 
inefficiencies across the Federal Government, especially in health 
care. Increasing efficiencies allows us to invest in what works.
  Medicare and Social Security are two of the most popular Federal 
programs ever created, and they are popular for a reason. They work. 
They work for seniors, they work for the disabled, they work for 
orphans, and we should too.
  When I hear from Representative Price that he wants to fundamentally 
change Medicare and Medicaid and implement health care reforms that 
will limit care for American families, this is something I cannot and 
will never support.
  Representative Price has introduced proposals to cut over $1 trillion 
from Medicaid that will jeopardize care for millions of low-income 
working Americans, senior citizens that require long-term care in 
nursing homes and individuals with disabilities. This is not a vision 
of America that I see, and it is not one I can possibly support.
  We need to find a bipartisan path forward. We need to invest in 
prevention, increased efficiencies, embrace technologies like 
telemedicine, and capture the full potential of promising medical 
research, like precision medicine, to yield better care and at lower 
costs. We need to make it easier for small business owners who want to 
do right by their employees to provide them with coverage. We can 
strengthen our health care system without cutting the quality of care 
by investing in commonsense changes to save money. For example, 
Medicare spends $1 out of every $3 on diabetes treatment. While the 
total economic cost of diabetes is estimated to be $245 billion per 
year, I have

[[Page S991]]

introduced bipartisan legislation that allows Medicare to enroll 
individuals at risk for developing diabetes into medical nutrition 
therapy services proven to decrease the likelihood they will develop 
  I have also introduced bipartisan legislation that expands Medicare's 
use of telemedicine, increasing access for patients in rural and 
underserved communities, and bringing down future health care costs by 
ensuring patients get the preventive care they need to stay healthy.
  Instead of focusing on these critical challenges or sensible 
solutions, Representative Price wants to move us backward and push 
policies that could leave 30 million Americans without health 
  We can't look at this as simple budgetary math, we are talking about 
30 million of our friends, family members, and neighbors, including 
over 800,000 Michiganders--Michiganders who could once again face 
bankruptcy and loss of their economic security just because they get 
  We live in a nation where historically the No. 1 cause of personal 
bankruptcy has been medical debt. That is simply unacceptable in this 
great country of ours. Whether we are policymakers or physicians, we 
should adhere to the central tenet of the Hippocratic Oath of ``do no 
  Our Nation's seniors, children, and all hard-working Americans 
deserve a Secretary of Health and Human Services who will, at the very 
least, do no harm. Representative Price is not that person.
  It is for this reason that I have decided I will vote against his 
nomination for the Secretary of Health and Human Services. I urge all 
of my colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Mrs. SHAHEEN. Madam President, I come to the floor this afternoon to 
announce I will be voting against Congressman Price to be the Secretary 
of the Department of Health and Human Services. Despite some of the 
remarks people have expressed, I feel passionately about the fact that 
he is the wrong person to serve in that job. I have heard from a 
remarkable number of my constituents who also believe he is the wrong 
person for the job.
  Congressman Price is an outspoken advocate for repealing the 
Affordable Care Act, which would cause up to 30 million Americans to 
lose their health insurance and put at risk the lives of thousands of 
people in New Hampshire and across America who rely on the Affordable 
Care Act--or ObamaCare--for treatment of substance abuse disorders. He 
is a rampant supporter of defunding Planned Parenthood and denying 
women our reproductive rights. If he defunds Planned Parenthood, it 
would mean that women would lose access to contraceptive services and 
cancer screenings.

  In New Hampshire we have thousands of women who rely on Planned 
Parenthood as their only source of health care. Congressman Price is 
determined to make billions of dollars in cuts to the Medicaid program, 
which would jeopardize the health of some of our most vulnerable 
citizens, including millions of children living in poverty and millions 
of seniors living in nursing home care.
  I am especially troubled by the threat that Representative Price 
poses to women's health. I urge my colleagues to listen to the millions 
of women across America who marched last month in opposition to the 
policies of the Trump administration and Congressman Price. Those of us 
who marched on that day had a simple and powerful message: We will not 
be dragged backward. We will not allow the Trump administration to take 
away our constitutional rights and to interfere with our deeply 
personal health care choices. Yet Dr. Price's extreme policies would do 
exactly that. They would drastically undermine women's access to health 
care, and they would turn back the clock on women's reproductive health 
and rights.
  Representative Price has spent his entire congressional career 
authoring, sponsoring, and voting for legislation that would put 
women's health at risk. He cosponsored and voted 10 times--10--to 
defund Planned Parenthood, repeatedly championing slashing funding and 
access for family planning services. If we want to cut down on 
unintended pregnancies and abortions in this country, we need to give 
families access to family planning services.
  If Congressman Price succeeds in making good on this threat as 
Secretary of Health and Human Services, it would result in 1.5 million 
Medicaid patients losing the ability to see the family planning 
provider of their choice.
  As Senator Peters said, Congressman Price does not support the 
Affordable Care Act and the requirement in the Affordable Care Act that 
women have access to FDA-approved methods of contraception with no out-
of-pocket costs. Indeed, he rejects the very idea that women should 
obtain birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. He said:

       Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me one. 
     There's not one.

  Well, that statement is not only wrong, but it is arrogant, and it is 
gravely out of touch with reality.
  Throughout his career in Congress, Dr. Price has been a zealous 
advocate of restricting women's access to contraception and abolishing 
our constitutionally protected reproductive rights. He has cosponsored 
an ``extreme personhood'' bill--so-called--that would establish that 
life begins at conception, and he supported a bill to ban abortion 
after 20 weeks, despite the Supreme Court's rulings that similar bills 
are unconstitutional. He even voted for a bill that would alter the 
recommended medical training for obstetrics and gynecology by 
preventing grant funding from being used to train medical students on 
how to safely perform the abortion procedure.
  The policies advocated by Representative Price would have profoundly 
negative impacts on the health and well-being of the people in my State 
of New Hampshire. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have 
devastating effects on people in New Hampshire. Some 120,000 Granite 
Staters--nearly 1 in 10 people in New Hampshire--have enrolled in 
health care coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act, thanks to 
ObamaCare. That is an enormous step forward for the health and well-
being of the people of my State. Yet Dr. Price is determined to destroy 
that progress. Indeed, he seems to have no higher priority than to 
terminate health coverage for millions of people across this country.
  Make no mistake. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would destroy much 
of the progress we have made in New Hampshire and in other States to 
fight the heroin and opioid epidemic. Across this country, more people 
are now killed by drug overdoses than by traffic accidents. There were 
more than 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015. But statistics can't fully 
capture the profound human toll. It is not only the thousands of 
individual lives that have been destroyed. Entire communities are being 
  In dozens of visits to New Hampshire during his campaign, President 
Trump pledged aggressive action to combat the opioid crisis. Keeping 
that promise is a matter of life and death. Make no mistake. 
Representative Price's determination to repeal the Affordable Care Act 
has put millions of Americans at risk.
  I am especially concerned that repeal would abruptly end treatment 
for thousands of Granite Staters fighting addiction. The Affordable 
Care Act, and Medicaid expansion in particular--what we call in New 
Hampshire our New Hampshire Health Protection Plan--which has 
bipartisan support from then-Governor, now-Senator Maggie Hassan and 
the Republican legislature, has been a critical tool in combating the 
opioid epidemic. More than 48,000 Medicaid claims were submitted in New 
Hampshire for substance use disorder services in 2015.
  Having traveled across our State in the past year, visiting treatment 
centers and meeting with individuals struggling with substance use 
disorders, I am convinced that Tom Price's plan to repeal the 
Affordable Care Act would mean that thousands of Granite Staters would 
lose access to treatment, with devastating consequences because right 
now, even as we are beginning to ramp up treatment, we have the second 
highest overdose rate in the country.
  We need a Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services

[[Page S992]]

who will respect women's health care choices and our constitutional 
rights and who will defend the enormous progress we have made, thanks 
to the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid. 
Representative Price is the wrong person for this critically important 
position in our Federal Government, and I will vote against his 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, before I begin, I wish to note my 
disappointment about how rushed the consideration of this nominee has 
been. Calls for a thorough investigation into Congressman Price's 
ethically questionable and potentially illegal health trades have been 
  Hundreds of questions HELP Committee Democrats asked Congressman 
Price as part of the official committee process have gone unanswered, 
and the vote to advance Congressman Price's nomination to the floor 
took place without Democrats getting any notice--a clear break from 
long-standing committee rules. Unfortunately, those are just a few of 
the examples.
  It is clear that Senate Republicans are doing everything they can to 
protect President Trump's nominees from tough questions, which is only 
helping him rig his Cabinet against workers and families. That is 
really concerning, especially on issues as critical as our families' 
health and well-being.
  As I have said before, when I evaluate a nominee for Secretary of 
Health and Human Services, I am interested in whether that person has a 
record of putting people first--not politics, partisanship, or those at 
the top. I want to know they put science first--not ideology. 
Critically, I consider whether their plans for health care in our 
country will help more families lead healthy, fulfilling, and secure 
lives, or take us backwards.
  Unfortunately, I am very concerned that Congressman Price falls far 
short in these categories and that his nomination sends another clear 
signal: President Trump is setting up his Cabinet to run our country in 
a way that benefits those at the top and their allies, but it really 
hurts the workers and families we all serve.
  I will start with women's health and reproductive rights. I believe 
that when women have access to quality, affordable health care, when 
they can afford contraception and exercise their constitutionally 
protected rights to make their own choices about their own bodies, our 
country is stronger for it. That is because access to health care, 
which includes reproductive health care, is fundamental to women's 
economic independence and opportunity. When women have more resources, 
more freedom, and more ability to give back in whatever way they 
choose, we move forward as a country.
  Congressman Price has a long record of fighting to take women's 
health care in the wrong direction. He has advocated for defunding 
Planned Parenthood, our country's largest provider of women's health 
care, time and again. He has been determined, since the start, to 
dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which has really helped millions of 
women gain coverage and essential benefits. Especially given his 
background in medicine, he has displayed a shocking lack of 
understanding when it comes to the need for continued work to help 
women access birth control. He even suggested there ``was not one'' 
woman who couldn't afford contraception.
  Well, I have certainly heard the opposite. I know for a fact now that 
Congressman Price has, too, because I made sure to tell him about my 
constituent Shannon in our hearing.
  Shannon has endometriosis and would have struggled to afford 
contraception, which is often used to treat that condition, were it not 
for Planned Parenthood. How can a Secretary of Health and Human 
Services, who won't listen to stories like Shannon's and who can't 
understand their need to access basic health care, possibly be trusted 
to work for all of our communities?
  Unfortunately, there is more. While President Trump has magically 
promised now insurance for everybody that is both lower cost and higher 
quality, Congressman Price's plans would do the exact opposite. From 
the start, he has led the fight for repealing the Affordable Care Act, 
even though Republicans cannot agree on what they as a party would do 
to replace it.
  Congressman Price's own proposals, however, would cause millions of 
people to lose coverage, increase the cost of care, and leave people 
with preexisting conditions vulnerable to insurance companies rejecting 
them or charging them more.
  I am hearing constantly from the families who are scared about what 
the future holds for their health care, given Republicans' rush to rip 
apart our health care system, and plans like Congressman Price's, which 
would leave so many so vulnerable, are simply not the answer.
  Donald Trump campaigned on promises to protect Medicare and Medicaid, 
but Congressman Price said that he wants to voucherize Medicare in the 
first 6 to 8 months of the administration, ending the guarantee of full 
coverage so many seniors and people with disabilities rely on. He has 
put forward policies that would shift $1 trillion in Medicaid costs to 
our States, squeezing their budgets and taking coverage away from 
struggling children and workers, and people with disabilities, and 
  While President-Elect Trump has said that Medicare should be able to 
negotiate lower drug prices for seniors, Congressman Price has 
repeatedly opposed efforts to do so. He even went so far as to call 
legislation to address high drug prices ``a solution in search of a 
  Well, I couldn't disagree more.
  In addition, I am deeply concerned about Congressman Price's extreme 
approach to key public health challenges, including his history of 
opposing regulations to keep tobacco companies from luring children 
into addiction.
  In fact, it is hard to imagine who in America would be better off 
under Congressman Price's leadership at HHS--certainly not women who 
can no longer be charged more than men for the same health care; 
children or their families who get peace of mind from having coverage 
through the exchanges or Medicaid; workers who know they can still get 
coverage, even if they find themselves between jobs; communities that 
count on public health protection; or seniors who shouldn't have to pay 
more for prescription drugs or worry about what the future holds for 
  All in all, Congressman Price's vision for our health care system is, 
to me, disturbingly at odds with the needs of families I hear from 
every day. But what makes this nomination even more troubling are the 
serious ethics questions that have not been resolved as it has been 
jammed through the Senate. I would hope that any Member of Congress--
Republican or Democrat--would take seriously the need to ensure that 
incoming Cabinet Secretaries are free from conflicts of interest, fully 
prepared to put the public interest first, and have demonstrated a 
commitment to service for the sake of service, rather than a pattern of 
mixing personal financial gain with public office. Unfortunately, when 
it comes to this nomination, Senate Republicans have avoided those 
questions at every turn.
  When reports first came out that Congressman Price had traded more 
than $300,000 in medical stocks while working on legislation that could 
impact companies whose stocks he had purchased--including one whose 
largest shareholder, Representative Chris Collins, encouraged Price to 
invest in--Democrats called for an investigation before this nomination 
could move forward. Senate Republicans refused to join us. When outside 
consumer advocacy groups and an ethics counsel raised concerns, Senate 
Republicans went ahead with the hearings. The day before a vote on his 
nomination in committee, when a story broke indicating that Congressman 
Price misled members of our HELP and Finance Committees in responding 
to their questions about his investments, Senate Republicans met 
secretly to jam his nomination through in a closed-door vote.

  Congressman Price and Republicans have insisted that everything 
Congressman Price did was above board and legal. I certainly hope that 
is the case, but we shouldn't have to take their word for it, and 
neither should the families and communities we serve. I am deeply 
disappointed that so many of my Republican colleagues appear to be 
willing to overlook the need for a thorough independent investigation.

[[Page S993]]

  Congressman Price's backward views on women's health, his harmful 
vision for our health care in our country, and the ethical questions 
that remain unresolved even as this nomination is headed to a vote, I 
will be voting against Congressman Price for Secretary of Health and 
Human Services.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Madam President, I rise to urge my colleagues to join me 
in opposing the confirmation of Congressman Tom Price to be Secretary 
of the Department of Health and Human Services.
  Congressman Price has a long political record in Washington of siding 
with Big Business and not American families. He has led efforts that 
would force families to lose their health care coverage, that would end 
Medicare as we know it, and increase costs for our seniors, and that 
would let politicians choose what health care is best for women and 
their doctors. Perhaps most troubling, though, are recent revelations 
about Congressman Price's deep and ethically questionable financial 
ties to health companies that are looking to turn a profit.
  The people of Wisconsin elected me to the United States Senate to 
stand up to powerful interests, to stand up for the working people of 
my State. They surely did not send me to the Senate to take away 
people's health care. That is why I simply cannot vote for a nominee 
whose financial activities with health companies raise such serious 
ethical questions and who has repeatedly opposed measures that would 
improve the health of our hard-working middle-class families in 
  During his time in Congress, reports show that Congressman Price 
traded more than $300,000 in shares of health companies while he was 
advancing health-related legislation which could directly impact these 
companies' profitability. Congressman Price's financial disclosures 
show that he has purchased stock in medical device companies, leading 
pharmaceutical companies, and medical equipment companies. He also led 
a number of legislative efforts to restrict or delay implementation of 
several Medicare programs that would have impacted reimbursement for 
these very industries.
  I don't know who Congressman Price is working for. Is he working for 
the American people or is he working for the powerful corporations to 
help advance his financial interests and his investments in them? This 
ethically questionable activity raises too many unanswered questions 
about his professional judgment and his ability to fairly lead a 
department that is charged with protecting the health of all Americans.
  Even more troubling are reports that he had access to a special 
private deal to buy discounted stock in an Australian biomedical firm, 
Innate Immunotherapeutics. Reports show he received this special deal 
from his colleague in the House, Congressman Chris Collins, who sits on 
the company's board and is their largest investor. I sent a letter 
asking Congressman Price to explain his relationship, his involvement 
with Innate Immuno, and how his relationship with Congressman Collins 
influenced those purchasing decisions, but he hasn't responded. His 
financial dealings raise serious concerns about potential STOCK Act and 
insider trading law violations. That is why I have called on the U.S. 
Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate his stock market 
trading activities. These questions must be answered and his stock 
trading should be fully investigated before the Senate is able to 
adequately consider his nomination. Yet we are probably hours from the 
vote without all the information.
  While there are so many unanswered questions about Congressman 
Price's ethical judgment, there is a lot we do know about his record as 
a politician that is deeply concerning.
  We know Congressman Price wants to end Medicare as we know it and 
raise costs for our senior citizens. Medicare is a promise, a promise 
to current and future generations that guaranteed health care will be 
there for them when they need it. Congressman Price wants to break that 
promise, that promise to millions of seniors across this country. He 
has spearheaded proposals that would convert Medicare into a voucher 
system, essentially privatizing Medicare. He also supports raising the 
eligibility age for participation in Medicare, forcing hard-working 
Americans to wait to receive the benefits they have already earned. His 
dangerous proposals would force seniors to pay more and would 
jeopardize guaranteed access to the Medicare benefits they have today, 
but we don't need to take my word for it. Listen to the thousands of 
Wisconsinites who have written to me just since the start of this year, 
urging me to oppose Congressman Price's confirmation and to fight 
against any efforts that would take away their Medicare benefits.
  Richard from Fond du Lac, WI, is just one of those Wisconsinites. 
Richard and his wife are now retired and on Medicare. He wrote to say:

       We both spent decades in teaching and while we knew we 
     would never get rich, we believed we were doing important 
     work with our students.
       Both of us felt secure in knowing that Medicare would be 
     there for us when we left the profession and moved on to our 
     retirement years.

  Richard cannot understand why politicians like Congressman Price are 
proposing to fundamentally change a system that has worked well for 
decades. He told me: ``Now we feel as if our world is being turned 
upside down.''
  Congressman Price's views are not only out of touch with America's 
seniors, but they are also, interestingly, in conflict with President 
Trump's promise not to cut Medicare. Price's legislative record also 
conflicts with President Trump's public commitments to improve this 
program by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices for our 
seniors. Just this week, the White House confirmed the President's 
support for this proposal again. Yet, during his hearing before the 
Senate Health Committee, Congressman Price refused to answer my 
questions when I repeatedly asked him if he would commit to standing 
with the President and with American seniors by supporting Medicare 
negotiation of better prescription drug prices. We don't know where he 
stands on this issue, but we do know Congressman Price does not stand 
with seniors, and he does not stand for protecting the guarantee of 
Medicare coverage that our families rely on.
  We also know that Congressman Price does not stand for the millions 
of Americans who rely on the health care coverage and protections 
available under the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Price almost 
personifies the Republican agenda and battle to repeal the Affordable 
Care Act and all of its benefits and protections, which would force 30 
million Americans to lose their current insurance through participation 
in the program. He has led the effort in the House to take away 
guaranteed health care coverage and has championed dangerous measures 
that would put insurance companies back in charge of health care and 
lead to higher costs and more uncertainty for American families. 
Congressman Price's agenda is putting the health care coverage of over 
200,000 Wisconsinites at risk.
  I wish to share the story of Sheila from Neenah, WI. She is a small 
business owner and relies on the premium tax credits that helped her 
purchase her health plan through the marketplace. She wrote:

       I just wanted to let you know how devastating it would be 
     for my family if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. To take 
     away the subsidies would pretty much turn the plan into the 
     Unaffordable Care Act.

  Sheila said that premium tax credits under the law have made it 
possible for her to buy decent insurance for the first time in her 
whole career.
  I am listening to Chelsea from Shelby, WI. Her daughter Zoe was born 
with a congenital heart defect. At just 5 days old, Zoe needed to have 
open heart surgery. Chelsea said:

       The Affordable Health Care Act protects my daughter. . . . 
     I'm pleading to you as a mother to fight for that and follow 
     through on that promise. There are so many kids in Wisconsin 
     with heart defects (as well as other kids with pre-existing 
     conditions) that are counting on you to protect that right.

  I am listening to Maggie, who attends college in DePere, WI. Maggie 
was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 
she was able to stay on her parents' health insurance, which covered 
most of her

[[Page S994]]

care. The Affordable Care Act also ensured that Maggie did not face 
lifetime limits on coverage for her multiple rounds of chemotherapy and 
radiation. Thankfully, Maggie is now cancer-free, but Maggie is 
terrified--terrified that if the law's benefits are repealed, she could 
face a situation where her chemo isn't covered if she ever needs it 
again. She also fears being denied coverage because of her preexisting 
condition or not being able to stay on her parents' plan.
  During my time serving in the House of Representatives, I championed 
the provision in the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults like 
Maggie to remain on their parents' health care plan until age 
26. Congressman Price would take that away, as well as other 
protections that Maggie relies on, and instead go back to letting the 
insurance companies decide what to do.

  During his HELP Committee hearing, I asked him directly if he 
supports the current requirement that insurance companies cover young 
adults until age 26. Essentially, he refused to answer my question but 
instead said that he trusts insurance companies to do this on their 
own. He said: ``I think it's baked into insurance programs.''
  Our future leaders like Maggie can't afford to take his word for it 
that insurance companies will choose to protect their care. The stakes 
are too high when it comes to accessing the lifesaving health care for 
cancer or other serious conditions.
  As I travel my State, I listen and I hear the voices of people who 
are struggling. Too many people feel that Washington is broken and it 
isn't working for them. People are scared because they can't make ends 
meet and provide a better future for their children. We need to change 
that. Our work here should be focused on making a difference in 
people's everyday lives.
  I am concerned that if confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human 
Services, Congressman Price would make it harder for people to get 
ahead. I am concerned that he will work with special interests who 
already have too much power here in Washington instead of working for 
the Wisconsin families I was sent here to serve.
  For all these reasons, Congressman Price is not the right choice for 
Secretary of Health and Human Services, and I urge my colleagues to 
oppose his confirmation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Nebraska.

                       Nomination of Neil Gorsuch

  Mr. SASSE. Mr. President, I say thank you to my colleague for 
yielding to me a little bit out of line.
  I think one thing we don't do nearly a good enough job at around 
here--and not just in Washington, DC, but in schools across America--is 
reflect on the basic civics we have inherited and the constitutional 
structure of checks and balances and why we have a limited government. 
I think Judge Gorsuch's nomination to the Supreme Court and, frankly, 
more narrowly, the media cycles of today, give us a special opportunity 
to pause and to do a little bit of civics again.
  Judge Gorsuch is tough, smart, fairminded, independent, and he is a 
person who has taken an oath of office to a Constitution of limits. 
That is exactly the sort of thing we should be affirming and 
celebrating around here. I think that everyone on both sides of the 
aisle in this body should be celebrating Judge Gorsuch and what he 
believes about a constitutional system that has limits. And defending 
your own branch--the Founders envisioned a world where these three 
branches would be jealous of their own prerogatives--defending your own 
branch is not to attack another branch.
  As I read the media reports this morning of who said what to whom and 
who shouted at whom and who argued about what, what if we just paused 
and reflected again on what it means to believe in a constitution that 
has three separate but equal branches that are supposed to check and 
balance one another?
  After seeing some media reports this morning, I looked and I happened 
to have on my desk the breast-pocket card that was in my suit 2 days 
ago when I met with the judge, and I asked him about the comments 
coming from the White House criticizing a so-called judge. I wish to 
share with this body some of the comments the judge made to me when I 
asked him what he thought about the criticism of the so-called judge, 
because we don't have so-called judges, we don't have so-called 
Presidents, and we don't have so-called Senators; we have people from 
three branches who have taken an oath to a constitution.
  So here is some of what the judge told me when I asked him what he 
thought about those comments. He got a little bit emotional, and he 
said that any attack or any criticism of his brothers and sisters of 
the robe is an attack or a criticism on everybody wearing the robe as a 
  I think that is something this body should be pretty excited to hear 
someone who has been nominated to the High Court say.
  He said that it is incredibly disheartening to hear things that might 
undermine the credibility and the independence of the judiciary. He 
said that it is completely legitimate for all of us to vigorously 
debate individual opinions. We should argue about opinions. We can 
argue as citizens about cases. We can argue in this legislative branch 
or the executive branch can argue about the merits of particular 
opinions and yet we want to affirm the three branches.
  So he said it is disheartening for us to do anything that would 
undermine that.
  He then pointed me back to his comments at the White House the night 
he was nominated, and so I went back and looked at his comments, and 
the very first people he thanked when he had been nominated to the 
Court were--he said: I want to celebrate the judges of America who are 
the ``unsung heroes of the rule of law'' in this country. He called the 
judges ``unsung heroes of the rule of law.''
  He said: An independent judiciary has got to be tough. It is not my 
job as a nominee to the Court and it is not the job of any other judge 
to comment on particular cases, and it is not the job of judges to play 
politics or to hold press conferences talking about politics, but we 
can recognize that historically the other two branches are often wary 
of times when the Court asserts its prerogatives.
  He said: For instance, Thomas Jefferson didn't like Marbury v. 
Madison, and it was completely legitimate for President Jefferson to 
criticize and argue about the merits of the Marbury v. Madison decision 
even as we do the important civics work of reaffirming these three 
separate but equal branches.
  Frankly, I think that everybody in this body ought to be celebrating 
the nomination of a guy who is out there affirming three separate but 
equal branches and the independence of the judiciary. We should want to 
see the executive branch checked, and, frankly, if we really love 
America, as I know people in this body do, we should want to see our 
own powers limited because it is fundamentally American to be skeptical 
of the consolidation of power.
  Our Founders divided power and checked and balanced each of the other 
branches because they were skeptical of what people in power might 
ultimately do.
  Sadly, there are some on the other side of the aisle today--and I 
think many are going to give him a fair shake, but there are some on 
the other side of the aisle who decided they want to reflexively attack 
Judge Gorsuch. So it is like the Keystone Kops trying to run around and 
figure out which story you want to label him with. I hear some people 
saying: Well, Gorsuch was nominated by this President and a bunch of 
people don't like this President; therefore, he couldn't possibly be 
independent, he would be a puppet. There are other people saying in 
these private meetings allegedly Gorsuch has rented a plane and taken 
out a skywriting script and he is out there saying ``I hate Donald 
Trump. I hate Donald Trump.'' That is nonsense. Neither of those things 
is true. He is not a puppet, and he is not out there attacking the 
President of the United States. He is meeting with us, trying to 
explain his view of an independent judiciary. He is trying to affirm 
the same constitutional oath of office that all of us in this body have 
  I think it is high-time in this body that we get beyond reflexive 
partisanship of ``Republicans are for Republicans if they have the same 
label'' and ``Democrats are against Republicans''

[[Page S995]]

and vice versa. Our job fundamentally in this body is an oath that we 
have taken to three separate but equal branches. I think what we are 
hearing in these private meetings with Judge Gorsuch and what I am sure 
he is going to say when he speaks for himself publicly before the 
Judiciary Committee--what we are hearing from him is a guy who believes 
in three separate but equal branches and is skeptical of the 
consolidation of power because he understands why America has limited 
government. That is the kind of person we should be celebrating having 
been nominated to the Court.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I am here to speak about Mr. Price, but I 
want to respond to my friend the Senator from Nebraska.
  I appreciate very much the independence the Senator has shown in his 
tenure in the Senate. My hope would be that his comments about civics, 
his comments about our three branches of government--I hope we will 
take that speech and actually send it down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue 
because I concur with him. I concur with him about the basic civics 
lessons he laid out. I concur with him about three equal branches of 
government. I concur with him about the fact that I look forward to 
hearing from Judge Gorsuch and having my chance to view him.
  But I would also think that in any kind of objective analysis of what 
our country is going through right now, we have currently a President 
of the United States who--I have real questions whether he has read 
that document, the Constitution, whether he understands the basic 
tenets of three coequal branches.
  We saw his activities during a campaign where he called out a judge 
because of his ethnic heritage and somehow impugned that judge's 
independence. At some point, he walked that back, and perhaps those of 
us who were kind of scratching our heads thought, well, that is just 
during the campaign, and candidates do strange things during the 
  Then we saw the President get elected, and we saw throughout a 
transition period decrees by twitter that are, again, unprecedented in 
modern activity. I know the President wants to be a disrupter, but 
there is some level of comity and some level of civics and some level 
of recognition of coequal branches that--candidly, when the President 
of the United States attacks a judge because he doesn't like the ruling 
in a way that calls into substance not the substance of the ruling but 
the very nature of the judiciary, I think all of us--and I know the 
Senator from Nebraska would agree with this--all of us need to sit up 
and say this is not what the Founders intended.
  I look forward to giving Judge Gorsuch and everyone else the 
President might nominate a fair look, a fair appeal, and then making a 
judgment on whether I think one of the most important positions--a 
lifetime position of serving on our Nation's highest Court--whether he 
is appropriate or not. But this President makes that case harder for 
his nominee when he shows such blatant disregard of the fundamental 
basics of our Constitution.
  I would be more than happy and glad if we would all dial it back a 
bit, but we are in uncharted territory in a way that, as somebody who 
believes every bit as much in the Constitution as the Presiding Officer 
does, it makes me very concerned about making sure we maintain those 
basic liberties, making sure we have a government that can live within 
its means, making sure we maintain the independence of the judiciary, 
the independence of our legislative body, and an Executive who knows 
there are limits on Presidential powers.
  I appreciate his comments and particularly appreciate the fact that 
through his tenure in the Senate, he has shown a level of independence. 
I have taken some hits from my own team for showing similar levels of 
independence. I commend his words, but I do hope that those words would 
actually make their way down to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I am curious 
to see what the President's tweeting response to that speech would be.
  Mr. President, I did come here, though, today to rise and talk about 
a need that Virginians and, for that matter, Americans have, about a 
health care system that is affordable and accessible and provides high-
quality health care.
  I voted for the Affordable Care Act back in 2010, and I have 
acknowledged, I think along with many of us, that just like every major 
reform--just like Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid--Congress 
never gets it 100 percent right the first time and that Congress needed 
to revisit and improve certain aspects of the ACA.
  As anybody who serves in the legislative body knows, you have to have 
partners in order to get to yes. Unfortunately, that is what we have 
heard from folks on the other side for the last 7 years. We have heard 
all the critiques, we have heard the screech of repeal, but we have not 
heard any kind of plan on what you replace.
  The fact is, like it or not, ACA has played a critical role in 
driving health care innovation, protecting consumers, and reducing 
overall health care spending. Those are just facts--not alternative 
facts, not alt acts; those are just facts. The increased coverage to 
more people now makes it all the more difficult to find some way to 
repeal and maintain all the things that people liked, yet replace it 
with a plan that is actually more cost-effective.
  So today we consider a candidate for Secretary of Health and Human 
Services, the lead Cabinet member who will oversee our critical health 
care programs. Congressman Price has advocated for dismantling the ACA, 
and he has made it clear that, as Secretary of HHS, he would seek to 
implement policies that, I believe, will make health care more 
expensive and less accessible to Virginians.
  Today, after a great deal of reflection, I join my colleagues in 
opposing Congressman Price's nomination to be Secretary of HHS. And 
rather than going through the statistics and facts--I know I have other 
colleagues who want to speak--I want to reflect briefly on a couple of 
stories I have heard from Virginians.
  One of the things that was a benefit but I don't think folks have 
focused on enough is that the ACA, with all its challenges, did allow 
people freedom from the trap of being caught in a dead-end job that 
they couldn't move from because of the fear of losing their health care 
benefits. This was the first move toward an affordable benefits system, 
something I think we are going to have to move beyond health care to 
retirement and other aspects, as well, as more and more workers work 
not in traditional full-time and long-term employment, but more and 
more--one-third of the workforce today already is in some form of 
contingent work: part-time work, independent contractors, gig work. 
They have no benefits, other than the fact that through the ACA they 
are able to maintain health care. The ACA has actually reduced this 
phenomenon of ``job lock.''
  A couple of weeks ago, I met Andrea in Richmond. She always dreamed 
of opening a software business, but she and her business partner were 
considered uninsurable because of preexisting conditions. The ACA 
changed everything. After obtaining insurance through the exchanges, 
Andrea and her business partner were able to take that risk. Today, 
that successful company has a staff of 12. As Andrea said: ``Simply 
put, my business would not exist without the security the Affordable 
Care Act provided.''
  The coverage gains we have seen are remarkable. That is clear from 
hundreds of Virginians who have contacted me with stories like 
Andrea's. In fact, never before in our Nation's history has the rate of 
uninsured dropped below 10 percent. In Virginia, a State where our 
legislature unfortunately would not expand Medicaid, we have still seen 
an uninsured rate drop from 15 percent to 9 percent, and 327,000 
Virginians got additional coverage. This is especially true in rural 
  Nationwide, the ACA lowered the percentage of uninsured by eight 
points in rural communities. Rural communities often struggle with 
hospitals that, without ACA, would be on the brink of financial 
  Here is another quick example from Janet in Mosely, a rural area 
south of Richmond, who grows and sells organic vegetables to support 
her family, which includes four children. She said:

       We went through various attempts to manage the cost of 
     health insurance and health care in our finances before the 
     ACA--with no

[[Page S996]]

     good results. [Because of ACA], we have been able to have an 
     appropriate plan, with a realistic deductible, access to 
     quality doctors, and be able to go to preventative care 
     annual appointments. We are quite fearful about what life and 
     business may be like without the ACA, or an improved-upon 
     version of the ACA. A repeal would be disastrous.

  Unfortunately, not only has Congressman Price strongly opposed the 
ACA, but his plan--or what framework of a plan you see--and other 
proposals dramatically scale back the individual market reforms that 
allow people like Andrea and Janet to obtain meaningful coverage. As 
our workforce becomes more mobile than ever, Congressman Price has said 
people should have access to care, but access to care without 
affordable care isn't true access.
  For example, if you got rid of the ACA with no plan to replace it, we 
would see the reinstatement of lifetime and annual limits on coverage. 
They are what turned getting sick into a financial calamity for so many 
people. Plans would be required to cover far less in terms of 
conditions, moving away from the ACA's promise that insurance is worth 
more than the paper it is written on.
  As I mentioned already, the close to one-third of the workforce that 
is already in some level of nontraditional work and doesn't work full 
time in a long-term employment facility would lose that flexibility to 
move from job to job.
  We have also heard from Congressman Price plans to block-grant, for 
example, Medicare. We in Virginia have a very trim Medicaid program. We 
have also not expanded Medicare, which I think was a grave mistake of 
the legislature. The Governor and I agreed we should expand it. Putting 
a Block Grant Program in place for Virginia would be a disaster in 
terms of Medicaid. As well, Congressman Price has voted against the 
Children's Health Insurance Program, the CHIP program, one of the 
things I was proud to expand in Virginia, where we ended up signing up 
98 percent of all eligible children. Congressman Price called the CHIP 
program ``government-run socialized medicine.'' What he didn't say is 
what he would say to the 200,000-plus kids in Virginia who get their 
health care coverage through CHIP.
  So I believe that Congressman Price's approach--whether it is on 
Medicaid block-granting, whether it is on the ACA, whether it is on the 
CHIP program, whether it is his failure to come up with a sufficient 
plan to provide access and affordability--means that if we go forward 
with his nomination, the kind of chaos that would be created if you 
repeal the ACA without a replacement plan in place will not only affect 
the 20 million-plus Americans who got health care coverage through the 
ACA but literally everyone else because it will absolutely pull the 
bottom out of the overall insurance market. These are chances that we 
can't take.
  I have a series of other stories, but I see my friend the Senator 
from Connecticut, who spent a great deal of time on this issue back 
when there weren't that many people coming to the floor to defend the 
ACA. I guess it is better to be early and right, but Congressman Murphy 
has been a great leader on this issue. He was here, as I mentioned, on 
the floor, when many of us were active in other activities, an absolute 
native of the ACA, when we went through the bad rollout. But what we 
have seen in America, as we get closer now to the reality of the new 
administration, is that the new majority wants to actually repeal this 
program without fixing it--simply repeal. I think his forewarnings 
about what would happen are all coming to pass.
  I will personally be opposing the nomination of Congressman Price to 
be Secretary of HHS. I hope my colleagues will join me.
  I do want to yield the floor to the Senator from Connecticut, who has 
been such a great leader on this issue.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, I am going to be brief. I want to build on 
some of the comments Senator Warner made. It is unclear what President 
Trump's position is on repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care 
Act. He has made all sorts of commitments all over the map, suggesting 
that he wants to deconstruct the act in full, suggesting that he wants 
to keep some elements of it, making promises that whatever comes next 
will be just as good, will be better than what consumers have today.
  I think what you are going to hear consistently from our side is a 
willingness, a desire, an enthusiasm to engage in a conversation with 
Republicans about how to strengthen our health care system, how to 
repair the parts of the Affordable Care Act that are broken, but keep 
the majority of that legislation, which is delivering lifesaving care 
to people as we speak, and not descend into health care chaos by 
repealing this legislation with no plan for what comes next.
  The genesis of our opposition, of my opposition, to Tom Price's 
nomination to be the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human 
Services is that he has been, in the House of Representatives, the face 
of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act with 
absolutely no plan for what comes next.
  There were many other choices that could have been made for 
selections to head the Department and lead the conversation about the 
Affordable Care Act and its future that could have signaled that we 
were going to have an ability to come together. But when I was a Member 
of the House of Representatives, I watched my colleague, Tom Price, be 
the leader, the face of the campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 
with absolutely no replacement, which would descend our entire health 
care marketplace into chaos.
  That is chiefly why I stand here in opposition to his nomination 
today. He did offer a token plan to replace it, but it had nothing of 
value to the people of Connecticut. It would have repealed Medicaid 
expansion with no plan for what came next. It would have repealed the 
insurance protections for people who are sick with a $3 billion high-
risk pool that would never have met the needs of those who have serious 
illness and disease and who cannot find insurance.
  Our worry is that we are on the precipice of repealing an act which 
has saved thousands of lives, which has insured 20 million people, and 
the results will be health care chaos for everyone, whether they are on 
the Affordable Care Act or not.
  Tom Price has been the face of the repeal effort in the House of 
Representatives. He has been the face of the irresponsible position of 
getting rid of this law with nothing that comes next. And it simply 
doesn't give us confidence that there is going to be a rational 
bipartisan conversation about how to improve our health care system.
  This isn't politics. I just want to underscore the point that Senator 
Warner made. This isn't about scoring political points. This isn't 
simply about numbers. This is about human lives that are affected if 
Tom Price gets what he has been asking for during the last 6 years, 
which is a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act without any plan for 
what comes next.
  This is a picture of Mark and his family from Westbrook. This is a 
picture of his daughter Dominique. Dominique has a profound 
intellectual disability. She also has cerebral palsy. She doesn't have 
the use of her left arm. She walks with an unsteady gait. She also 
cannot chew food, so she takes liquid nutrition. But she has an amazing 
spirit. She loves school. She loves music. She loves singing to Disney 
movies. She plays soccer, buddy baseball, and rides a horse for 
therapy, but Mark and his wife used to spend $40,000 a year out of 
their own pocket for her care. The Affordable Care Act saved this 
family from potential bankruptcy. The Affordable Care Act now, through 
Medicaid expansion, allows Dominique to get care that is socially 
insured. And Mark asks:

       After all, who are we as a people and a country if we 
     cannot take care of those who for no fault of their own 
     cannot take care of themselves? Dominique didn't do anything 
     wrong, she was born this way and deserves to have a 
     fulfilling life.

  That is the whole concept of insurance: The idea that we should 
socialize the cost of caring for kids and adults who, through no fault 
of their own, get sick. But without the Affordable Care Act, this 
family bears the burden of caring for Dominique by themselves. And 
there is no replacement. There is no plan on the table today--certainly 
not Tom Price's reputed replacement plan in the House of 
Representatives--that offers any help to this family if the Affordable 
Care Act goes away.
  Let me introduce you to one more family. This is a picture of Angela. 

[[Page S997]]

is hiding here--Angela from New Canaan. Angela is 49 years old. She was 
diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2015. The good news is that 
Angela is winning the fight against breast cancer, but she would face 
the inability to get health care insurance if not for the Affordable 
Care Act because if this family ever lost continuous care, they would 
be uninsurable. So the protections built into the law allow them to pay 
reasonable prices. She says:

       Would President Trump or any member of Congress who voted 
     to repeal the ACA be willing to write to my 12 and 9 year old 
     boys, and explain to them why they let their Mommy die? I 
     doubt they even give a damn.

  I don't think she is right on that. I think that everybody in this 
Chamber cares about this family, but it is a reminder that there are 
really personal consequences for millions of Americans if Tom Price, as 
the leader of the Department of Health and Human Services, leads a 
campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act without any replacement.
  We talked about the damage that will be done to these families, but 
for the entire marketplace, there is nothing but chaos if Tom Price 
gets his way. I opposed his nomination right from the start because I 
knew who he was in the House of Representatives. I knew that he had led 
this campaign of health care destruction for families like those that I 
just described.
  Frankly, his hearing just compounded my worries. These ethical lapses 
that have been raised over and over again just draw even more question 
as to whether he is going to use this position as the head of the 
Department of Health and Human Services to protect and advance the 
health care of my constituents or he is going to use that position to 
enrich himself and his family.
  Those are serious accusations. I get it, but these were serious 
ethical lapses that were uncovered, not by us but by an independent 
journalist raised as part of these hearings. I would hope this body 
would consider rejecting Tom Price's nomination so we can find someone 
to lead that agency and lead our conversation on the floor of the 
Senate about the future of health care, so that instead of continuing 
what has been a bitterly divisive issue over the last 6 years, we can 
finally find a way to come together and answer Angela's concerns that 
Donald Trump and the Republicans who support him don't care about her 
and her family, are willing to let her die.
  I don't think that is true, but by putting someone in this position 
as the head of the Department who has campaigned on repealing this act, 
taking away from Angela the protections that allow her to succeed and 
to live and to continue to beat cancer, without any idea for what comes 
next, it suggests that the division will continue and catastrophe will 
be in line for families like hers.
  I will oppose this nomination. I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, as I said before, we should not be holding 
up any of the President's nominees. There is far too much work to be 
done, but I think that is especially true for the man whose nomination 
is before us today, the next Secretary of Health and Human Services, 
Dr. Tom Price, who I am happy to say has my full support.
  It is especially important that we confirm Dr. Price because, as we 
all know, our health care has undergone some serious turmoil as of 
late. This was undoubtedly caused, at least in part, by the rolling 
calamity of ObamaCare. You can step back and you survey the wreckage, 
and it is sobering to see what that law has left in its wake: double-
digit premium hikes, very high deductibles, and millions of canceled 
  For all the fanfare over the law's passage, and all the arguments 
that followed, it seems we have forgotten the person who matters the 
most, the patient. That is what the next HHS Secretary is facing, a 
Herculean or perhaps you might say a Humpty-Dumpty-like task of picking 
up the pieces and rebuilding our health care system from the ground up.
  So as we consider this nomination, I think it is appropriate to ask 
ourselves: If we need someone who will focus on the needs of patients, 
why not pick a doctor? Dr. Price was an orthopedic surgeon in private 
practice for nearly 20 years. He taught and trained young doctors 
personally. So when he hears the phrase ``quality, affordable, 
personalized care,'' it is not an abstract notion to him. It is not 
something he dreamed up in the Halls of Congress because he himself has 
provided just that kind of care to real people.
  When we repeal and replace ObamaCare, we have to avoid the kind of 
thinking that gave rise to it. We need someone with on-the-ground 
understanding of what it takes to care for patients, someone who knows 
what it is like to stand at a bedside with a patient comforting her in 
a confusing and frightful moment.
  Dr. Tom Price is that man. Tom Price is also my friend. We served 
together in the House of Representatives. He is a good man. That is 
why, during his time in public service, he has earned the respect of 
his colleagues as he has worked his way up the ranks: chairman of the 
Republican study committee, chairman of the House Republican policy 
committee, and, most recently, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
  He has studied our health care system from top to bottom, and he is 
no stranger to the health care battles the last 8 years. You could say 
his chief qualification for the job of replacing ObamaCare is he had 
the good sense to oppose it in the first place, but Tom Price did not 
just vote no.
  Contrary to what you have heard from the Democrats, he also offered 
his own alternative, the Empowering Patients First Act. You may or may 
not like that bill, but I think you have to admire that he was willing 
to make a serious proposal. That is the kind of leadership we need at 
the Department of Health and Human Services.
  I want to express my support for Tom Price's nomination to be the 
next Secretary of Health and Human Services. I urge all Senators to 
vote for his confirmation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I also rise to speak about the nomination 
of Congressman Price as HHS Secretary. I will oppose his nomination, 
principally because he has been an opponent of virtually every program 
that provides health care access to people with modest means in this 
country: Medicare, Medicaid, the S-CHIP program--which he called 
socialism--Planned Parenthood, which is the primary health care 
provider of choice for millions of women, and the Affordable Care Act.
  There is much to talk about, but I am going to focus my comments 
today on his repeated promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 
Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be very unwise. It would be 
heartless, and it would be economically foolish. The Virginia stats are 
instructive. In Virginia, 179,000 Virginians have been able to enroll 
in Medicaid since the ACA was passed--an additional 179,000--and nearly 
380,000 Virginians have been able to get coverage through the 
  We have not done the Medicaid expansion program. If we did, another 
400,000 could receive care through the ACA. Nearly 4 million Virginians 
have protection against discrimination on the grounds of preexisting 
health conditions. They have such conditions, and they could be turned 
away from insurance companies, as they have been in the past, as my own 
family has been.
  Before the ACA, only those with employer coverage got tax benefits to 
help pay for health insurance. Now, 320,000 moderate- and low-income 
Virginians get tax credits averaging $275 a month to help. In addition, 
there are nearly 5 million Virginians with employer-sponsored 
insurance, and over 800,000 Virginians would lose access to free 
preventive care under Medicare if the ACA were to be repealed.
  Nationally, a repeal of the ACA--under an estimate of the Urban 
Institute--would cause 30 million people to lose their health 
insurance. That is the combined population of 19 States.
  We had a hearing last week in the Senate HELP Committee about the 
Affordable Care Act. It was called, by the majority, ``ObamaCare 
Emergency.'' I asked the witnesses, Democratic, Republican, and of no 
political identification--I asked them: Would a repeal of the 
Affordable Care Act with no replacement be an emergency? All of the

[[Page S998]]

witnesses agreed that it would. One of the witnesses said it is more 
than an emergency, it would be a catastrophe.
  So then I asked those witnesses--again, bipartisan witnesses: OK. We 
shouldn't repeal it. That means we should fix it or repair it or reform 
it or improve it. Should we do a fix or improvement hastily, 
carelessly, and secretly or should we do it openly, publicly, 
carefully, and deliberately?
  They all said: Of course, we should not rush. We should get this 
right. That is why many colleagues on our side have asked Republicans 
to sit down with us and let's make improvements, but don't push people 
off of health insurance.
  It would also lead to a significant economic catastrophe for 
hospitals, for providers, to have a repeal and not know what comes 
next. Remember that health care is one-sixth of the American economy. 
If you inject uncertainty into that, you have consequences that we 
could not now predict that would be negative.
  The real story is not any of these statistics, and I will pick up on 
what my friend, the Senator from Arkansas, said. The real story is 
about individuals, patients, and what happens. Three weeks ago, I put 
on my Web site a little section, kaine.senate.gov/acastory. I asked 
people to submit what it would mean to have a repeal of the Affordable 
Care Act.
  To date, I have had 1,654 submissions of what it would mean to them. 
We have been able to follow up on some of them and get permission from 
some so I could read their stories on the floor. So during the 
remainder of my speech, I am just going to tell you what a repeal of 
the ACA would mean to people all over my Commonwealth.
  Michael Dunkley lives in Alexandria VA.

       I was diagnosed with advanced Stage 4 non-Hodgkin's 
     lymphoma cancer in October of 2013 and was put immediately on 
     an extremely powerful 5-component chemotherapy treatment 
     program that would conclude in late January, 2014. My medical 
     insurance coverage at the time of my diagnosis was under the 
     terms of COBRA, and my monthly premium was $875, with a 
     $7,500 deductible and a $15,000 out-of-pocket limit.
       My COBRA coverage expired at midnight on December 31, 2013, 
     and was immediately [able to be] replaced [because of a] plan 
     that I had been issued through the provisions of the . . . 
     Affordable Care Act. Because of the new law, I could not be 
     denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition (advanced 
     cancer), and I was issued a new plan that was far superior in 
     coverage and cost me only $575 a month, with zero deductible 
     and an $1,850 out-of-pocket limit. 3 days after receiving my 
     new health insurance coverage, I was infused with my 5th-
     round of chemotherapy, for which I was charged $35,000. 
     Near the end of January, 2014, I received a 6th-dose of 
     chemotherapy and was billed another $35,000. . . . I was 
     given a PET-CT nuclear scan that cost $5,000, and 1 week 
     after that, on February 14, 2014, my wife and I were told 
     by my oncologist that my advanced cancer [was now in] 
     complete remission. As I am the sole caregiver for my 
     wife, who has advanced Multiple Sclerosis, the news of the 
     cancer's remission was a life-saver for her as well as 
       Had it not been for the Patient Protection and Affordable 
     Care Act, I would not have been able to purchase [my] health-
     care insurance, for any price, due to my pre-existing 
     condition of having cancer. Had it not been for the income 
     subsidy, I would have not been able to afford to pay the 
     premium for a superior plan, a plan which saved my life. 
     Thank you, President Obama, and thanks to every member of 
     Congress that voted in favor of the lifesaving Patient 
     Protection and Affordable Care Act.

  Patricia Mills, Virginia Beach.

       My daughter, who has Lupus, and her husband, who has 
     juvenile diabetes have been struggling for the last six years 
     to keep their conditions under control. They have a gifted 
     seventeen year old daughter who has been in the IB academy in 
     Virginia Beach, and have had to sell their home to pay off 
     debts due to complications from their illnesses. My husband 
     and myself have made our home their home, but their struggles 
     have continued because of the enormity of their medical 
       Since they have been able to enter the Affordable Care Act 
     for their insurance, they have been able to stabilize their 
     lives financially. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, I 
     don't know what will happen to them. Insulin is extremely 
     expensive and so are the supplies to inject and check blood 
     sugar to keep my son in law alive. There is NO option for a 
     diabetic to turn to to get life saving insulin a diabetic 
     individual needs who works hard every day, but falls above 
     the Medicare threshold. We are living in terror at the 
     thought of a repeal.

  Justine Jackson, Radford:

       As I type this, I am currently sitting in the office of the 
     Community Health Center of the New River Valley. I am 25 
     years old and the last doctor I had seen until today was my 
     pediatrician. Like many struggling Americans, I cannot afford 
     insurance and rely on low income/free clinics to receive 
     preventive care. The ACA helped programs like the one at the 
     Community Health Center [clinic] with funding.
       We cannot afford to lose clinics like this one with cuts to 
     funding public health. Americans should not be denied health 
     care. We should not have to file for bankruptcy for becoming 
     sick or avoiding a doctor all together because it costs too 
     much. The Affordable Care Act should be revised, not 
     repealed. If Congress repeals the ACA, 20 million Americans 
     risk losing insurance. That's 20 million Americans that may 
     stop going to doctors because they can't afford it. I plead 
     to Congress to care about your fellow Americans and give us 
     health coverage that is affordable or, better yet free. 
     Seeing the doctor should not revolve around a choice between 
     going hungry or not.

  Gabriella Falco, Alexandria, VA:

       Senator Kaine, my name is Gabriella, I'm a 26-year old 
     full-time student studying what she loves. I work part-time 
     in my field of study and make some money to live on, but my 
     school expenses are all covered by student loans. When I was 
     22, fresh out of college and unemployed, I was diagnosed with 
     hyperparathyroidism and many severe kidney stones. To prevent 
     kidney failure or worse, I required multiple surgeries, all 
     of which were covered by my parents' insurance through the 
     Affordable Care Act. Ever since, I have had twice yearly 
     check-ups and ultrasounds, as well as some scares with my 
     kidneys. There is no explanation for my medical history. All 
     the doctors can do is monitor and treat it when troubles 
       When I turned 26, I chose my own healthcare plan through 
     the ACA. As I am a student, I have no way of working full 
     time for benefits. The ACA has allowed me to live and safely 
     and affordably monitor and treat my kidneys while finishing 
     my master's degree. Were it not for the ACA, I fear my health 
     would become a choice between death or bankruptcy. I don't 
     know what I'll do if I lose my health care. I could not 
     afford it without the ACA. I will fight for you, Senator 
     Kaine, and please fight for me and my health in Washington.

  Corwin Hammond, Williamsburg, VA:

       Senator Kaine, Before the ACA, my wife and I did not have 
     nor could we afford medical insurance. My wife is a business 
     owner and I'm a pastor of a small church in Toano, Virginia. 
     I left my . . . state job that provided full benefits, 
     because the ministry needs in my community were so great. I 
     am grateful for this legislation that has allowed us to have 
     peace of mind in knowing that we are covered and able to 
     visit the doctor without going bankrupt. Why not just fix the 
     components that need repairing; instead of throwing millions 
     of hard-working Americans to the wolves. We deserve 
     better. How about the congress and senate repealing their 
     health care and leaving ours alone? Thank You, Corwin 

  Sarah Mullins-Spears, Prospect, VA:

       Senator Kaine, I have one perfectly imperfect child. He has 
     not one but two ``pre-existing'' conditions. . . . He was 
     diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome . . . and he was also born 
     with a unicameral bone cyst, a hollow bone. . . .

  That affects one in four children.

       This year we were able to purchase our lifelong dream. . . 
     . A family farm. . . . 18 PERFECT acres of peace and promise. 
     This summer we endured a medical ordeal we could have NEVER 
     imagined. . . . My son broke his arm, due to the cyst, for 
     the 4th time in less than 3 years. . . . And we were finally 
     approved for surgery to place a titanium rod through the cyst 
     that would prevent any further breaks. On July 26th the 
     surgery was successfully completed and the next day we were 
     released with instructions on pain management and to not 
     remove the surgical bandages for 3 days. On July 30th we 
     removed the bandages to find a hot, swollen, bright red 
     nightmare. We were readmitted to the hospital. . . . I wasn't 
     truly afraid until I saw the face of the same nurse that 
     discharged us that night. . . . she was fighting back tears. 
     . . . Over the next 3 days there were 2 additional surgeries 
     including a PICC line, and after 6 days we were released to 
     home health care. . . . Suddenly I was a health care 
     provider, every 8 hours a dose of antibiotics had to be 
     attached to the PICC line, it took approximately 90 minutes 
     to administer, and then the line had to be cleaned and 
     prepped. There was NEVER a 6 hour window that I could be away 
     from my child. . . . Which meant I was not able to work the 6 
     hour schedule at my part time job. Which means after the 
     second week I was let go, told I could reapply when I was 
     ready to come back to work. . . . On August 26th my son slept 
     for almost 20 straight hours and then woke up vomiting and 
     with a fever. . . . So by lunch we were readmitted to the 
     hospital again. . . . The next day while in the hospital he 
     broke out in a mystery rash from head to toe, and had a white 
     blood cell count of a chemo patient. For me this was the 
     worst, because no one, not even the consult from UVA 
     infectious diseases, knew why. After 3 days, with the WBC 
     count trending up and more research, the leap of faith was 
     decided to end all antibiotics and see if they were the cause 
     for the reactions. They were and by October my child was 
     declared healed and eligible to start school. . . . Almost 5

[[Page S999]]

     weeks after he should have started his first day of middle 
     school. . . . By then the bills had also begun to arrive . . 
     . Daily. The first bill from the hospital was $105,547.12 
     before insurance and over $12,000 with benefits. We are still 
     receiving bills and our pre insurance totals are well over 
     $750,000 before insurance. . . . BUT because of ACA we were 
     capped at $7,500 out of pocket. This means $231 a month for 
     24 months which has an impact on our family but it also means 
     we can still afford our mortgage. I wake up every morning 
     thankful for my healthy child and amazed that we live on this 
     tiny piece of heaven. ACA made that possible for us. I have 
     kept all bills, x rays, and documents related to our journey.

  Sasha Baskin, Richmond:

       When I was seventeen I discovered I had a rare and highly 
     aggressive tumor in my jaw. It took three experimental 
     surgeries to remove and replace the tumor with a metal 
     implant and bone graft. I was fortunate enough to be 
     dependent on my parents' insurance when this medical event 
     first took place. With the Affordable Care Act I have been 
     able to stay on my parents' insurance into college and 
     graduate school and maintain my health status through regular 
     doctors' visits. I require a yearly check-up to make sure 
     that the medical implant is intact and that the bone graft is 
     growing successfully. Within the next 5-10 years I will need 
     another surgery to replace the metal implant with new 
     technology. If the implant breaks or I have any kind of 
     accident that injures my jaw I will require emergency surgery 
     and most likely to have my jaw wired shut. I will turn 26 in 
     October and no longer be eligible to be on my parents' 
     insurance. Thanks to the affordable care act I can rely on 
     being able to maintain affordable insurance and feel 
     comfortable about my health. I can trust that I will not be 
     turned away due to my pre-existing condition of a metal jaw 
     and history of aggressive tumors. I can be sure that I will 
     not reach a lifetime limit of coverage when I need another 
     surgery, (or if the worst happens and I need to have 
     emergency surgery). When the doctors first found this tumor 
     when I was seventeen, they told me not to go to college 
     because I needed so many surgeries. I was planning to attend 
     art school in Maryland, my parents lived in Connecticut and 
     my doctors were in Boston. I was determined not to let a 
     medical problem control my life. I went to and graduated from 
     college in Maryland and am now enrolled in graduate school 
     pursuing masters of fine arts in Richmond Virginia. I rely on 
     the affordable care act for safe and reliable access to 
     doctors all over the country. I have been able to live my 
     life independently because of the freedoms and access to 
     healthcare it has provided. I am a recent Virginia citizen, 
     but I love it here. I am proud of my representation and I 
     hope that my story will help you work towards saving health 
     care in our country.

  The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator will suspend.
  Mr. KAINE. I will suspend and return following the swearing in.