RAPID DNA ACT OF 2017; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 9
(Senate - January 16, 2018)

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[Pages S174-S185]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         RAPID DNA ACT OF 2017

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the House message to accompany S. 139, which 
the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       House message to accompany S. 139, a bill to implement the 
     use of Rapid DNA instruments to inform decisions about 
     pretrial release or detention and their conditions, to solve 
     and prevent violent crimes and other crimes, to exonerate the 
     innocent, to prevent DNA analysis backlogs, and for other 


       McConnell motion to concur in the amendment of the House to 
     the bill.
       McConnell motion to concur in the amendment of the House to 
     the bill, with McConnell amendment No. 1870 (to the House 
     amendment to the bill), to change the enactment date.
       McConnell amendment No. 1871 (to amendment No. 1870), of a 
     perfecting nature.
       McConnell motion to refer the message of the House on the 
     bill to the Committee on the Judiciary, with instructions, 
     McConnell amendment No. 1872, to change the enactment date.
       McConnell amendment No. 1873 (to (the instructions) 
     amendment No. 1872), of a perfecting nature.
       McConnell amendment No. 1874 (to amendment No. 1873), of a 
     perfecting nature.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.

                             Net Neutrality

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, first, on the topic of net neutrality, 
since the administration's FCC voted to end net neutrality in December, 
Democrats have been working hard to round up enough Senators to 
overrule the FCC's decision, which places control of the internet in 
the hands of the biggest corporations.
  Today we reached a milestone: 50 Senators will support Senator 
Markey's resolution of disapproval. All 49 Democrats have signed on to 
cosponsor, and my friend from Maine, Senator Collins, has also said she 
will support it.
  With our full caucus supporting the measure, it is clear that 
Democrats want to keep the internet from becoming a Wild West where 
ISPs are free to offer premium service to the wealthiest customers 
while average consumers are left with far inferior options.
  When we force a vote on this bill, Republicans in Congress will, for 
the first time, have the opportunity to right the administration's 
wrong and show the American people whose side they are on. Are they on 
the side of big internet service providers and corporations, or are 
they on the side of consumers, entrepreneurs, startups, and small 
business owners?
  I applaud Senator Collins for supporting this effort and hope 
sincerely that more of her colleagues will do the same. Given how 
quickly this measure has earned the support of 50 Senators, I believe 
we have a real chance of success in restoring net neutrality and 
keeping the internet open and free for all Americans.
  Mr. President, another pressing issue before us this week is FISA and 
the 702 program. The majority leader is pressing forward on a 6-year 
bill to reauthorize the 702 FISA Court program. This is a significant 
bill, but right now the majority leader is pushing for its passage 
without debate or amendments. That is the wrong approach.
  Many of my colleagues would like to offer amendments on this 
legislation and, frankly, they deserve that right. Personally, I 
believe that while the bill makes some improvements to the 702 FISA 
program, it should go somewhat further. We could do a better job 
balancing the crucial national security imperatives of the program with 
legitimate concerns about privacy and protecting the rights of American 
  Clearly, the bill on the calendar is better than the status quo, and 
it is certainly better than no bill at all, but that is not the choice 
before us. The majority leader can open up the bill for limited debate 
and a few amendments, not to delay but so we can have some amendments 
and try to improve it.

  For that reason, I will be voting no on the upcoming cloture motion. 
If cloture is not invoked, we can move quickly to an amendment process 
where Senators from both parties could offer ideas to improve the bill. 
That is what we ought to do, especially on a bill on the most sensitive 
area of the government, where security and liberty meet, and that will 
stand for 6 years. That is too quick for too much. We ought to have 
some amendments and some discussion.


  Mr. President, the fate of the Dreamers has been the subject of 
months of intense bipartisan, bicameral negotiations. Last week, a 
bipartisan group of Senators went to the White House with an agreement 
that represents the best path forward. Senators Graham and Durbin, 
alongside Senators Gardner, Menendez, Flake, and Bennet, worked out a 
compromise that fits squarely inside the four corners President Trump 
outlined as the parameters of a deal in a televised meeting last 
Tuesday. In exchange for passing DACA protections, the Gang of 6 deal 
includes President Trump's full budget request for border security, 
including funding to build barriers along the southern border. It deals 
with family reunification within the scope of the negotiations--
foreclosing the possibility of Dreamers sponsoring their parents for 
citizenship. The deal would also curb the diversity lobbying system--
another item President Trump requested. The full details of the 
proposal will be announced tomorrow, but those are the broad strokes, 
as I understand them.
  The concessions in the bill are tough pills to swallow for Democrats. 
It is not the bill we would have written if we were in charge, but that 
is not the situation we find ourselves in. To make this body work--to 
avoid a shutdown--we must compromise. So Democrats tried, in good 
faith, to meet the President and our Republican colleagues halfway--to 
find a deal that neither

[[Page S175]]

side loved but both sides could live with, and that is what a 
bipartisan group of Senators achieved.
  The deal they produced is right down the middle. It addresses the 
precise issues the President identified as part of a deal. Yet, at the 
pivotal White House meeting last Thursday, President Trump turned his 
back on this bipartisan solution and proceeded to use foul and vulgar 
language to demean African and Caribbean countries.
  His well-reported comments were certainly unbefitting the Presidency 
of the United States. They were beneath the dignity of his office. They 
went against the very idea of America--which holds up as an 
unassailable truth that all men are created equal, no matter their 
station or country of origin, but just as distressing, President 
Trump's comments reveal an intransigence about coming to a deal for the 
Dreamers. It seems the President has only two ways of negotiating: 
Either he commits to a deal one day and then betrays his word the 
next--which is what happened last year after Leader Pelosi and I met 
President Trump on DACA--or he even dismisses the possibility of 
compromise and says a bipartisan deal is that he gets everything he 
  Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance. Funding for our 
men and women in uniform hangs in the balance. President Trump needs to 
step up. He can't just bluster. He can't just play a game of 
brinksmanship. He can't just be obstinate and say: My way or the 
highway. He needs to be willing to take yes for an answer.
  A very fair bipartisan deal remains on the table. It is the only game 
in town, and we are making steady progress on building additional 
support in both Houses of Congress. If it were put on the floor of the 
House or Senate, I predict it would get a majority vote in either one. 
There is a deal to be had this week. The only person blocking it is 
President Trump.
  So I have a challenge for President Trump. Everyone is talking about 
how bigoted your comments were last week. Well, actions speak louder 
than words. If you want to begin the long road back to prove you are 
not prejudiced or bigoted, support the bipartisan compromise that three 
Democrats and three Republicans have put before you--one that was aimed 
at meeting the concerns you voiced. Give the Dreamers safety here in 
America and bolster border security at the same time. This may be the 
last train leaving the station. President Trump needs to get on board.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I find myself in strong agreement with the 
comments of the senior Senator from New York State.
  He talked about 702. Let me refer to that a bit. Section 702 is in S. 
139, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. We are going to 
vote very soon on whether to cut off debate and block any amendments on 
a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation that fails to reform one of 
our most important surveillance tools.
  Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act was intended to provide for 
vast and powerful surveillance of foreigners overseas who might do harm 
to us, and it does, but the fact that it is an effective surveillance 
tool used against foreigners abroad is not the concern you will hear 
about today.
  Today, you are going to hear concern that Section 702 has also become 
an unexpected and powerful domestic surveillance tool--not one directed 
at those abroad who might do us harm, but potentially directed at every 
single American in this room and throughout this country, allowing the 
government to search for Americans' emails and other substantive 
communications without a warrant--the so-called backdoor loophole.
  If we put through here legislation saying- this legislation will 
allow our government to search all our emails without a warrant, 
Republicans and Democrats will be jumping up saying: Wait a minute. 
That violates the Fourth Amendment.
  Well, the legislation we are voting on today--authored by the 
Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes--contains 
what his supporters portray as a fig leaf of reform, but, in fact, the 
legislation makes a bad problem even worse.
  I will oppose cutting off debate on this bill, and I strongly urge my 
fellow Senators to do the same--not to kill the bill but to afford us, 
on such a critical surveillance tool, the opportunity to debate the 
constitutional implications and offer amendments to improve the bill 
and to protect Americans in every single State in this country. The 
Majority Leader has provided no such opportunity. He doesn't want us to 
offer any amendments--even amendments we know could pass with a 
bipartisan majority.
  Senator Lee and I are filing several amendments to improve this bill, 
including our USA Liberty Act. That is a Senate companion to a bill 
that was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee in a strong and 
very bipartisan vote. Our amendment offers a sensible compromise. It 
would protect national security--something we all want to do--but it 
also protects American civil liberties, which I would hope we also want 
to do.
  I strongly support a warrant requirement based on Senator Feinstein's 
amendment in the Senate Intelligence Committee that would close the 
backdoor loophole. These amendments, and others offered by Senators 
Paul and Wyden and others, deserve a vote. And that is what I am asking 
for today. Senator Lee and Senator Paul have spoken so strongly on the 
problems in this. They ought to be heard. They ought to have a chance 
to offer amendments.
  Instead, the only bill we are voting on today is the House bill, 
which fails to comply with the fundamental constitutional imperative. I 
think we can do better in the Senate than to accept a flawed House 
bill. Do not be deceived by the sham warrant contained in the Nunes 
bill. Again, that is why we should have a Senate bill that speaks to 
those things we know as Senators and not the flawed warrant in the 
Nunes bill.
  Its exemptions are so large as to render it meaningless. The bill 
would require a warrant only during the final stage of a criminal 
investigation and only when the government believes national security 
or risk to life or bodily harm are not implicated at some undefined 
point in time. In all other cases, and at previous points in an 
investigation, the government can search for an American's information 
in the Section 702 database just as frequently and casually as we might 
look up football scores on Google.
  Yet, even if it is completely ineffectual, the Nunes bill has a 
warrant requirement. That means the sponsors of this flawed legislation 
acknowledge that some sort of warrant is required to protect Americans' 
privacy. They recognize that a search through a vast database of 
Americans' communications can trigger Fourth Amendment protections, at 
least when it is convenient to the government.
  The problem is, the Constitution doesn't say: We protect Americans' 
rights only if it is convenient to the government. The reason they 
wrote the Constitution is to make sure every one of us has protections 
against the government.
  When a Fourth Amendment interest is implicated, the government can 
easily obtain a warrant. They are going to come search your home. They 
are going to come search your files. They are going to come and search 
your papers. They should have to have a warrant. The Fourth Amendment 
either applies or it does not. If it does not, then let's have a 
constitutional amendment and do away with it. Nobody here would vote 
for that.
  Even the sponsors of the Nunes bill now agree the Fourth Amendment 
applies. The only question is whether we have a real warrant 
requirement or a warrant in name only. Simply calling something a 
warrant doesn't make it that.
  I firmly believe a real warrant requirement doesn't have to put our 
national security at risk. The reform proposals I support contain well-
tried exemptions for exigent circumstances to allow for emergencies. 
For these reasons and others, I strongly support a warrant requirement 
to close the backdoor loophole. I think my fellow Senators, Republicans 
and Democrats, ought to be allowed to at least have a vote on it. If 
they don't, I would urge my colleagues of the Senate to vote no on 
invoking cloture on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act.

[[Page S176]]

  Section 702 authorities can be temporarily extended as they were in 
December. In fact, the FISA Court's statutorily authorized 
certifications that permit 702 surveillance don't expire until the end 
of April. There is no emergency now. We still have the time and the 
ability to get this right.
  Let's protect the Constitution. Let's protect Americans. The Majority 
Leader should do his part and allow members of both sides of the aisle 
who care deeply about this issue to offer amendments before any long-
term authorization. I agree Section 702 is an important tool, but this 
issue is too important to rush through without adequate debate. I 
firmly believe we can both protect our national security and the civil 
liberties of law-abiding Americans. This bill clearly falls short, and 
I will be voting no.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I want to thank Chairman Leahy for his 
excellent remarks.
  Let me simply say, to move forward without amendments surrenders the 
constitutional obligations Senators have to the American people. This 
issue is important, it is complicated, and the American people deserve 
to have an opportunity for some real amendments to make sure that, at 
the end of the day, we have policies that keep our people safe and 
protect our liberties.
  I see my friend from Kentucky. He is joined by his colleague from 
Utah Senator Lee, Senator Leahy, and me.
  Our bipartisan coalition is dedicated to essentially one mission: We 
think the country deserves a Senate that is very tough on terrorists. 
We don't take a backseat to anybody in terms of fighting terrorists. 
What we are opposed to is an end run on our sacred Constitution.
  Right now, with the changes in communication systems around the world 
and communication systems increasingly becoming globally 
interconnected, we have more and more law-abiding Americans swept up in 
searches under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. We want to 
fight terrorists, but the law allows the government to target 
foreigners to acquire foreign intelligence information, which basically 
means anything related to the conduct of foreign affairs.
  So let's talk about who could get swept up in these searches and who 
the people are whom Senator Paul, Senator Lee, Senator Leahy, myself, 
and colleagues on both sides of the aisle sought to protect as law-
abiding Americans--we think they ought to have their constitutional 
rights. The kinds of people who could be swept up in these 
communications and have their emails or texts or their data searched 
without a warrant--it could be American businesspeople talking to 
foreign contacts. It could be first-, second-, or third-generation 
American immigrants talking to family and friends who are still 
overseas; American journalists covering foreign stories; U.S. 
servicemembers talking to foreign friends they made while they were 
deployed; American teachers and researchers seeking information from 
  How many Americans get swept up? We don't know. And we don't know--
not because of a lack of effort. We have been trying for 6 years to get 
the government to provide even an estimate. On a number of these 
issues, my concern is to ensure that we have both safety and liberty, 
but we have actually gone backward.
  In an open hearing of the Intelligence Committee, when the Director 
of National Intelligence, Dan Coats--our former colleague--was asked 
about whether the government could collect, in effect, wholly domestic, 
personal data here in the United States, we couldn't even get a 
straight answer with respect to whether the government, under the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, could collect wholly domestic 
communications. We couldn't even get a straight answer to that.
  What we need is the opportunity to have a real debate. We have a 
number of amendments that go right to the heart of what these issues 
are all about, particularly the government conducting repeated, 
warrantless searches of Americans, even if those Americans aren't the 
subject of any investigation, and the government then can read those 
private communications.
  Finally, I want to put this whole issue in context. Every year, the 
CIA and the NSA conduct thousands of warrantless searches of 702 data 
on Americans, and that is just for content. They conduct tens of 
thousands of warrantless searches for communication records. The FBI is 
conducting these searches so frequently that they don't even count. But 
this bill might have some marginal effect on only one of those 
searches. So the House bill is not just fake reform; it is a setback.
  The last point I would make is that we finally made some headway with 
respect to collection of communications that are neither to nor from a 
foreign target but are simply about a foreign target. I went after this 
issue for years, this question of abuse of what is called ``abouts'' 
collection. Finally, the government realized it was going too far, and 
they put limits on it. Now it looks as though they want to get back in 
the business, and the other body--the House--basically creates a path 
to going back to ``abouts'' collection, which even the government has 
admitted has been abused.
  There is an opportunity, if we vote, to allow some amendments, to 
come up with policies that will allow Americans to look at the Senate 
and say: We didn't go backward. We went forward. We protected law-
abiding Americans, but we made it clear that we were going to be 
relentless in our search for terrorists.
  I know I have a little bit more time, but I see my colleague and 
partner Senator Paul on the floor.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to the government 
listening to your phone calls, reading your emails, or reading your 
text messages without a warrant. It doesn't mean the government will 
never do this, but it means they would have to ask a judge. They would 
have to ask a judge if they have probable cause that you committed a 
crime. They would have to name you. They would have to name the 
information they want. It is called the Fourth Amendment. All Americans 
deserve the protection of the Fourth Amendment.
  In fact, I believe it was John Adams who said that James Otis's 
argument against blanket warrants, against generalized warrants that 
they called writs of assistance--he said that the argument James Otis 
made in the 1760s was the spark that led to the American Revolution.
  Lincoln is said to have written that any man can stand adversity, but 
if you want to challenge a man or a woman, give them power.
  Over almost 1,000 years, the history of Western civilization has been 
the struggle to contain the power of the monarch, the struggle to 
contain and maintain the power of the government in every form. From 
Magna Carta on, it has been the people trying to take power back from 
either the monarchy or a despotic government. We get to the formation 
of our government, and Jefferson wrote that the Constitution would be 
the change, that the government would be bound up in the change.
  Patrick Henry wrote that the Constitution is meant to restrain the 
government, not the people. It is about trying to restrain government 
from abusing the power to take our rights. You have a fundamental right 
to be left alone. Justice Brandeis put it this way. He said that the 
right most cherished among civilized men and women is the right to be 
left alone.
  But we know also that the history of those who grab the reins of 
power, the history of those who take up the mantle of power is a 
history of abuse.
  In World War I, President Wilson arrested 10,000 Americans because of 
their objection to the war.
  FDR had an enemies' list that he actually was very vocal about and 
published in newspapers. There were 77 people who were his enemies, and 
he used the IRS to go after them.
  LBJ illegally spied on Martin Luther King. We just had Martin Luther 
King Day yesterday. LBJ spied on him illegally in all manners and in 
all forms. They spied on Vietnam war veterans.
  Nixon had an enemies' list.
  You name it--President after President has abused this power.
  President Obama had a fight with the tea party groups. It turns out 
that if

[[Page S177]]

you registered as a tea party group, you were given extra scrutiny. And 
people were denied being allowed to form as a charitable group or 
political activist group under President Obama because they disagreed 
with President Obama.
  We now have a current administration where there have been 
accusations of people in the FBI having a personal animus against this 
President and conspiring and discussing how they could block him. We 
have had members of the Department of Justice who were married to 
people doing opposition research on President Trump, paid for by the 
opposition candidate, by Hillary Clinton.
  Without question, that power has been abused and will always be 
abused. It was Lord Acton who said that ``power tends to corrupt, and 
absolute power corrupts absolutely.'' The history of our country is 
about trying to restrain the power of government.
  Realize that we have the ability to collect all of the phone calls in 
Italy in 1 month. There was a story saying that we did it, that we 
collected every phone call from Italy. Who gets trapped in that? If you 
collect everyone's phone call in Germany or everyone's phone call in 
Jordan, who gets caught in that? Many, many innocent, legitimate 
Americans get caught up in the other end of phone calls because it is 
not just the phone calls of terrorists, it is everybody's phone calls. 
They are all being vacuumed up, and innocent Americans are caught up in 
  Senator Wyden has been a leader in asking tough questions on the 
Intelligence Committee. Are there communications that are purely 
between two people in America that somehow get caught up in this 
database? He has been given a variety of answers on this, but we 
suspect that Americans talking to Americans in this country are caught 
up in this database. Should the government be allowed to search this 
database to prosecute you for not paying your taxes or for a minor 
marijuana violation? Absolutely not. Why? Because this information is 
gathered without a warrant. It is gathered without any constitutional 
  As others have said, we actually are OK with a lower standard for 
gathering foreign intelligence. We acknowledge that the Constitution 
doesn't apply to everybody in the world. But if Americans get caught up 
in that, Americans deserve the protection of the Constitution.
  Some on the other side have started saying: Well, it is lawfully 
gathered, so it could be used for any lawful purpose. That is the most 
ridiculous argument I have ever heard. It is gathered lawfully for 
foreigners, and we made the standard zero. There is no constitutional 
protection. We never said that we are going to gather foreigners' 
information, put it in a big pool, mix it up with Americans' 
information, and then type your name in--John Smith--and then find out 
whom you have been talking to.
  Realize that they could listen to your conversation, then they could 
bring you in for an interview with the FBI, and if you say anything in 
the interview that contradicts what they eavesdropped on in your 
conversation, you have now committed a felony. Do you really want all 
of your phone calls recorded and then the government to have the 
ability to bring you in and ask you questions about your phone calls? 
And if you are not perfectly accurate in recalling your phone calls, 
you could go to prison.
  All we are asking is that, for Americans, the Constitution should be 
in order. We should not get rid of the Constitution. We shouldn't throw 
it out. The Constitution should protect us all.
  We take an oath of office to defend the Constitution. Our soldiers 
take the same oath of office. Wouldn't it be sad if our soldiers came 
home from fighting and defending the Constitution to learn that we gave 
up on it while they were gone?
  The sad state of affairs here is that the majority doesn't want any 
debate. They want to ram this through with no amendments. Senator Wyden 
and I have worked for months on amendments and on an alternative bill 
which actually reauthorizes the program. Senators Leahy and Lee have 
another bill that is similar that replaces the program. None of us are 
for ending the program. All we are saying is that if you want to look 
at an American's information, you have to get a warrant.
  People say it will slow us down. All of our bills have an emergency 
exception. If they declare an emergency, they can look at the 
information and get the warrant the next day. We hope that would be 
extraordinary and not the norm.
  The thing is, we want the program to work, but we don't want 
Americans caught up in it. I hope Senators will think this through. 
This will not kill the program.
  They are going to scare you to death and say: Tomorrow, we are all 
going to die. The world is going to be taken over by terrorists if we 
don't have this.
  If we win this vote tonight, they will be negotiating within an hour 
and will come to a compromise that allows the Constitution to protect 
Americans. That was our oath of office. That is what we should do.
  I urge a vote against the bill in its current fashion.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I stand today in support of S. 139, the 
FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act.
  As we know, the first responsibility of the U.S. Government is to 
protect our citizens. To do so, we must make sure that those who 
protect us have the tools to keep us safe. This bill does exactly that. 
It provides the intelligence community and law enforcement with the 
right tools, but it also minds the civil liberties and the privacy 
protections that our Constitution requires, especially given the ever-
changing technological landscape.

  The importance of our country's safety and security has been 
highlighted in several events from just the past 2 years. We often get 
lost in the constant news cycle, but let's not forget that New York 
City suffered three significant terrorist attacks in the last 15 months 
  In September 2016, a terrorist detonated a pressure-cooker bomb in 
New York's Chelsea neighborhood. A second pressure-cooker bomb was 
found a few blocks away but didn't detonate. Earlier that day, a bomb 
went off near the start of a Marine Corps charity race.
  This past October, Sayfullo Saipov drove a rented truck onto the bike 
lane and pedestrian walkway on the West Side Highway. He mowed down 
numerous civilians, killing eight and injuring 12 others.
  And this past December, Akayed Ullah detonated a bomb in New York 
City's subway tunnel to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, injuring 
several people near him. He told investigators that he did it in the 
name of ISIS.
  In June 2016, Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 and injured 53 others in 
Orlando, also an act in the name of ISIS.
  In September 2016, a terrorist stabbed 10 people at a mall in St. 
Cloud, MN.
  In November 2016, a terrorist injured 13 after driving into and 
trying to stab students and teachers at Ohio State.
  And in December 2015, we had the San Bernardino shooting, where 
terrorists killed 14 and injured 22.
  We have also seen terrorist incidents evolving around the world, 
especially impacting our friends in Europe.
  In the United Kingdom alone, there have been at least a half dozen 
terrorist attacks in the past year, including a subway bombing in 
London, injuring 30 people; a van plowing down pedestrians on London 
Bridge, injuring 48 and killing 8 people; the Manchester concert 
bombing, in which 22 people were killed; and the attack on the British 
Parliament in London, killing 4, including a person from Utah.
  All of these attacks and more show that the threats are real, and we 
must protect our country by lawful constitutional means. Congress has 
done so by providing lawful authority such as section 702. The section 
702 program has been called ``the most significant tool'' in the NSA 
arsenal for the detection and disruption of terrorist threats. The NSA 
Director has said publicly that ``there is no alternative way'' to 
replicate section 702 collection. Some estimate that over 25 percent of 
all current U.S. intelligence is based upon section 702 collection.
  There are some key examples. Hajji Iman rose from a high school 
teacher to become the second in command of ISIS. He was a main focus of 
NSA's counterterrorism efforts. The U.S. Government offered a $7 
million reward for information leading to his capture. We spent over 2 
years looking for him. He

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was ultimately captured based almost exclusively on intelligence 
information from section 702.
  Najibullah Zazi is in prison for planning an attack of the New York 
City subway system with explosives in 2009. He received explosive 
training in Pakistan from al-Qaida. He was discovered after he 
corresponded with an email address used by an al-Qaida courier in 
Pakistan, seeking advice on how to build explosives. The section 702 
program uncovered the correspondence. Without that discovery, the 
subway bombing plot might have succeeded.
  In October 2013, the FBI began investigating Shawn Parson, a 
foreigner from Trinidad and Tobago, after Parson began posting comments 
online expressing a desire to commit an attack against Western 
interests. Information collected through section 702 revealed Parson's 
efforts and was instrumental in identifying additional members of 
Parson's network.
  Through the section 702 program, the FBI assisted foreign partners to 
identify the individual who committed the 2016 New Year's Eve terrorist 
attack at a night club in Turkey. During that attack, 38 people were 
killed or seriously injured, including an American citizen.
  Those are just the unclassified examples.
  It is important to remind my colleagues of the purpose behind section 
702. It provides the government the authority to collect the electronic 
communications of foreigners located outside of the United States. 
Under section 702, it is against the law to target anyone in the United 
States or any American citizen, wherever that citizen is in the world.
  The program is targeted. It is not a bulk collection system. 
Furthermore, the FISA Court must approve targeting procedures to ensure 
that only appropriate individuals are subject to surveillance. 
Minimization procedures limit the handling and use of information that 
is collected. All three branches of government have a hand in 
overseeing the program to protect the constitutional rights of the 
American people.
  It is also important to remind my colleagues that this legislation 
was first signed into law in 2008. When we took up consideration in 
2012 and debated the law, we authorized this legislation with no 
changes. The 2012 clean reauthorization had the full support of 
President Obama.
  Some of our Senate colleagues oppose this bill. Their first, and most 
consistent, claim is that section 702 violates the Fourth Amendment. 
Our colleagues claim that it is an ``end-run'' around the Constitution. 
Others call it a ``legal loophole,'' a ``backdoor,'' or ``warrantless 
  Nothing could be further from the truth. Section 702 is fully 
consistent with the Constitution. Every Federal court to review section 
702--even including the very liberal Ninth Circuit--has upheld the law. 
The Supreme Court's recent decision to deny review of the Ninth Circuit 
case lets stand that court's decision. These courts consistently 
determined that a warrant is not required to collect or query section 
702 information.
  Moreover, the independent PCLOB review board has reviewed the entire 
legal framework of section 702 and has also found it to be 
  The other main claim against this bill is that it provides ``new'' 
powers to the government. Again, this is not true.
  Nevertheless, this bill does include some significant reforms. First, 
the bill requires the FBI to get a warrant in some criminal cases. In 
other words, we have added a warrant where courts have held that none 
are necessary. The bill also provides protection for whistleblowers and 
requires an inspector general's report.
  In short, this bill provides our government the tools it needs to 
protect our national security while providing some much needed 
transparency measures and increased privacy and civil liberties 
  My colleagues can tell that I am very strongly in support of this 
legislation. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this very 
important national security protection legislation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I thank the chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee for his support and for his very indepth analysis of how this 
works and why it is constitutional.
  I ask unanimous consent that Senator Warner and I be permitted to 
conclude our remarks prior to the cloture vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I yield to the vice chairman of the 
Intelligence Committee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I thank my friend, the chairman of our 
committee, the Senator from North Carolina, for his work on this 
important piece of legislation.
  I obviously rise today in support of passage of S. 139, the FISA 
Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017. This bill would provide 
significant reforms that enhance the civil liberties and privacy 
protections of individuals, while preserving an authority critical to 
our national security for an additional 6 years.
  As vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I 
have long advocated for reforms to surveillance authorities that 
balance the imperatives of national security and counterterrorism with 
the privacy rights and civil liberties of Americans.
  Section 702 stands among the most important of our intelligence 
programs. To illustrate, I wish to highlight very briefly one recently 
declassified success story involving a terrorist by the name of Hajji 
  Hajji Iman was the second in command of ISIS based in Syria. NSA 
spent more than 2 years looking for him. This search was ultimately 
successful, primarily because of FISA section 702.
  NSA used collection permitted and authorized under section 702 to 
collect intelligence on the close associates and the network supporting 
Mr. Iman, including their location in Syria. Between section 702 and 
other intelligence that was developed, the IC was able to track down 
the movements of Mr. Iman and ultimately resulted in taking him off the 
  This is but one of numerous examples in which information obtained 
pursuant to section 702 has proven critical to addressing threats to 
Americans both domestically and abroad.
  For much of the past year and a half, I have worked closely with 
Chairman Burr and a bipartisan group of Senators to pass legislation to 
reauthorize section 702 for an extended period while incorporating 
substantive reforms. In October our Senate Intelligence Committee 
passed, in a bipartisan way, with a vote of 12 to 3, comprehensive 
reauthorization legislation.
  Since that time, we have worked with our counterparts in the House, 
as well as representatives of the executive branch, to ensure that the 
final bill that we will be voting on tonight and tomorrow garners 
widespread bipartisan support and includes enhancements to civil 
liberties and privacy protections.
  The bill before us here today is the product of extensive bipartisan, 
bicameral negotiations. Now, this bill is not perfect. Rarely have I 
worked on or voted on a bill anywhere that is perfect, but I believe 
this measure represents a significant compromise and preserves the 
operational flexibility of section 702, while instituting key reforms 
to further protect U.S. personal privacy.
  Let me take a moment to identify a few key items in this legislation 
that I believe bear mentioning.
  First--and I have seen my friend from Oregon, who has argued long and 
hard in committee for a provision like this, and he would like to see 
it broader, but it does include a warrant requirement--for the first 
time in section 702, the government would be required to obtain a court 
order before FBI criminal investigators are permitted to view 
communications collected pursuant to section 702 concerning a known 
U.S. person. Such a court order, based on probable cause, would apply 
in the context of criminal investigations opened by the FBI that do not 
relate to national security.
  This bill also mandates that a study be conducted by the inspector 
general of the Department of Justice of the FBI's querying practices 1 
year following the enactment of this legislation, making sure that such 

[[Page S179]]

have been approved by the FISA Court and implemented appropriately by 
the executive branch. This is an important provision in ensuring 
  It includes an assessment of the interpretations of the FBI and the 
DOJ of querying procedures. It includes the handling by the FBI of 
individuals whose citizen status is unknown at the time the query is 
conducted, and it includes the scope of access by the FBI's Criminal 
Division to section 702 information.
  While this will not answer all of the questions asked by my good 
friend from Oregon, it will finally put the FBI on record answering 
questions that I deserve to know and that I believe he and other 
Members deserve to know.
  In addition, in terms of querying procedures, S. 139 includes a 
section mandating a new series of procedures to be drafted and approved 
by the court and implemented by executive branch agencies.
  The legislation also requires new public reporting of statistics 
about activities conducted under FISA.
  As has been mentioned by the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, S. 
139, for the first time, extends whistleblower protections to 
contractors in the intelligence community. This addition is essential 
to ensure that those in the IC have an avenue to report abuses.
  Congress must not further delay consideration of a long-term 
reauthorization. We have been debating this issue for the past 18 
months. Indeed, Congress has known about this deadline since the prior 
reauthorization occurred in 2012. Numerous committees have had 
extensive hearings on this important issue, including in our committee, 
both open and closed hearings.

  I believe this bill will strengthen and protect Americans. I urge my 
colleagues to vote in favor of this legislation. I thank the Presiding 
Officer, and I again want to thank my friend, the chairman of this 
committee, the Senator from North Carolina, and look forward to his 
  I yield the floor and yield back to the chairman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I thank the vice chairman of the committee, 
and I say to those who are opposed to this, I have great affection for 
all of you. They have passion which really displays their belief that 
the American people need to be protected from government.
  Let me just say from the start, this is the single most reviewed 
program that exists in the Federal Government. This is reviewed 
congressionally--it is reviewed by the courts, it is reviewed by the 
DNI, it is reviewed by the inspector general and the Department of 
Justice--because, on the committee, we realize this requires not just 
the stamp of approval from Congress but the assurance by the 
Intelligence Committee and by every branch of government that it lives 
within the parameters we set.
  I am not sure everybody could have heard a more thorough description 
than what Senator Warner just gave and a more overwhelming voice of 
support than what the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator 
Grassley, gave, but let me take head-on a couple of issues that have 
come up and claims that have been made on this floor this afternoon.
  One is, this is unconstitutional. Well, let me just be clear. This 
has been tested in the courts, and the courts have ruled this program 
is lawful, and it is constitutional. So any claim outside of that is 
not a claim from the Judiciary, which we trust, it is a claim from an 
individual, and I believe we should, in this case, trust the courts.
  Let me say, Congress recognized the constitutionality of section 702 
when it reauthorized the bill in 2012. Further, Federal courts have 
consistently upheld the constitutionality of 702. For example, in the 
United States v. Mohamud, the Ninth Circuit, December 5, 2016, the 
court unanimously held that no warrant is required for a search 
targeted at a foreign person abroad who lacks Fourth Amendment rights, 
even though some U.S. persons' communications are incidentally acquired 
in that collection.
  The court found that section 702 collection was reasonable under the 
Fourth Amendment, the reasonableness balancing test, and the targeting 
and minimization of procedures sufficiently protected the defendant's 
privacy issues. It is contrary to things you heard on this floor in the 
last hour, but this is the Ninth Circuit, December 5, 2016, making a 
ruling based upon this incidental collection that applies to U.S. 
  What the vice chairman just shared with you is, we went a step 
further. We didn't leave it just with the court to determine 
constitutionality and the lack of a Fourth Amendment protection. We put 
into the bill that if it didn't have a national security implication--
if it was a criminal act, and it was going to be prosecuted in the 
courts that way, before they could look at the content of that 
communication, it required them to go to the court and seek and get a 
warrant before, in fact, they could look at content.
  So not only do we have the courts on our side saying there is no 
Fourth Amendment protection, we have gone a step further and said: In 
the case of U.S. citizens, if, in fact, they were incidentally 
collected and if, in fact, the information that was in the database is 
going to be used for a criminal case--Senator Paul talked about 
marijuana--they would have to actually go to a court and get a warrant 
from a judge to look at that content, which means you are going to have 
an FBI agent who is going to make a determination whether the content 
of that message is valuable enough to go to the courts and seek a 
warrant. This is a protection for the American people. It is not a 
requirement for the Fourth Amendment or for the constitutionality of 
  Now, let me just say to my colleagues, if there are any on the fence 
post, the Director of National Intelligence is off the floor in the 
Vice President's Room. If you need one of the guys who has to oversee 
this program, who understands the importance of it, he is here. He is 
ready to talk to any Member. Why? Because 702 is the single most 
important national security tool we have in the United States.
  If you ask me to sum up what is this bill for, this is to allow 
government to keep the American people safe. This bill does more to 
allow law enforcement, intelligence, the Congress of the United States, 
and the executive branch to assure the American people of their safety. 
That is at the heart of what Congress is established for. Spending and 
all these things come after that, but the defense of the country, 
defense of each individual American is what is at the root of our 
responsibilities, and 702, as it relates to this age of terrorism, is 
the single most effective tool we have to assure the American people we 
are doing everything we can to provide for their safety.
  I might add to that, from a standpoint of the international 
collection and the international cadre of terrorists, we are able to 
share with other countries in a way nobody else can when their country 
is in jeopardy of a terrorist attack, and we have multiple examples 
where we have shared with our partners around the world--and, I might 
add, we don't necessarily require them to be a partner of ours to share 
this with them. We take countries we have no relationship with, maybe 
that we don't like too much--but America is unique. If we see a 
terrorist attack that is imminent, we will share that with any country 
in the world, even our hardest enemies. So let me put aside for any 
question that section 702 is lawful and it is constitutional.
  Let me go to the rigorous oversight that I think the vice chairman 
described: It is overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Service Court. It 
is overseen by the Department of Justice and the IG. It is overseen by 
the Congressional Intelligence Committee. It is required to be 
evaluated on an annual basis by the Justice Department and by the 
Bureau for procedures they have to follow.
  I can't stress enough that the committee--your committee--your 
colleagues in Congress are the ones who you should feel most confident 
after reviewing and providing proper oversight for this program. You 
see, it is those individuals who reach the clarity that is needed for 
this body and for the Congress to look at the American people and say: 
We haven't crossed the line. We have stayed within the legal box that 
was created.
  Don't leave it to me. Let's use the Privacy and Civil Liberties 
Oversight Board or, as we like to refer to it, the

[[Page S180]]

PCLOB. In 2014, following an extensive review, PCLOB specifically noted 
in that review, to date, there are no known instances in which 
government personnel deliberately violated the statute, targeting 
procedures, or minimization procedures.
  Let me say that again. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight 
Board--which many here created--came out and in their report said: To 
date, there are no known instances in which government personnel 
deliberately violated the statute targeting procedures or minimization.
  At the same time, in that report, PCLOB made a number of 
recommendations to the government intended to enhance the safeguards 
for privacy and civil liberties in section 702. In February 2016, the 
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board reported that all of its 
recommendations had been implemented, in full or in part, by the 
  Let me say that again. In February 2016, every recommendation that 
the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board made about this 
program, the PCLOB certified that those had, in full or in part, been 
adopted by the Federal Government.
  If you only go on what you heard over the last half an hour or an 
hour, you would think this is riddled with questions of 
constitutionality and that there are massive abuses. The fact is, there 
have not been any, and the courts have ruled that it is constitutional, 
it is legal, and it does not infringe on the Fourth Amendment at all.
  Let me say to my colleagues, I expected we would be here. We had a 
heated debate in the committee. The Presiding Officer remembers that 
well because he is on the committee. We considered a lot of amendments, 
and at the end of the day, we came out with a bill that is very similar 
to what we have today. A 12-to-3 vote shows tremendous bipartisan 
  Now, if Senator Warner had written it by himself, it would probably 
look different. If I had written it by myself, it would probably look 
different. What we are asked to vote on today is a bill that looks 
different than what we passed out. It is a little bit stronger from the 
standpoint of the protection of privacy because it does institute this 
warrant requirement if, in fact, you want to see the content of any 
collection out of 702 dealing with a criminal process.
  If it is national security, we are doing exactly what I think the 
American people want us to do. We are using the data we have to find 
the people who want to commit these acts and stop them before they do. 
If that is not the intent of this, then this probably shouldn't exist. 
If anybody believes terrorists have quit, and we are no longer a 
target, then eliminate this.
  I am closer to the line than I ever thought I would be before I got 
to the U.S. Senate and certainly before I became chairman of the 
Intelligence Committee, but I do understand responsibilities. 
Responsibilities make sure those individuals whom we charge with 
protecting the American people have the tools they need to accomplish 
it. It is the reason we are debating, on this floor and at the other 
end of the Capitol, the funding of our military. It is to make sure our 
military has the tools they need to go out and do the mission they have 
been asked to do.
  Well, from the Bureau to the intelligence community, we have asked 
them to do everything they can to make sure Americans stay safe, and 
this has been the most effective tool, with no abuses to date--and that 
is the determination of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight 
Board, not a right-leaning institution--and the fact is, the government 
has lived exactly within the letters of the law that we have described.
  So I urge my colleagues to vote for cloture. Let's move on to the 30 
hours on this bill, if that is what, in fact, everybody demands. We 
have already extended it temporarily. That is not a sign of confidence 
to those who work in the trenches and we ask to keep us safe.
  Let's do the bold thing. Let's finish this. This is a bicameral, 
bipartisan, negotiated bill--both sides of the aisle and both ends of 
the Capitol. It is time we do our business. I urge my colleagues to 
vote yes for cloture.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for up to 
2 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I thank my colleagues. I will be very 
  Colleagues, what we are debating is whether the Senate will be the 
Senate. If you vote in favor of this, you are voting for cloture, there 
will be no amendments then. We would have the opportunity, if we vote 
against cloture, for improving this bill.
  I want to emphasize that if we take a short time to improve this 
bill, as Senator Lee, Senator Leahy, and Senator Paul want to do, this 
program continues to operate. It is not in any way going to harm our 
ability to fight terrorism. This program would stand.
  I urge my colleagues to vote to carry out our constitutional 
obligation as Senators, to have real debate and vote against cloture.
  I yield.

                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair 
lays before the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will 
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     concur in the House amendment to S. 139, an act to implement 
     the use of Rapid DNA instruments to inform decisions about 
     pretrial release or detention and their conditions, to solve 
     and prevent violent crimes and other crimes, to exonerate the 
     innocent, to prevent DNA analysis backlogs, and for other 
         Mitch McConnell, James M. Inhofe, Roy Blunt, Shelley 
           Moore Capito, Marco Rubio, Johnny Isakson, Deb Fischer, 
           John Boozman, Thom Tillis, Richard Burr, Pat Roberts, 
           Orrin G. Hatch, Roger F. Wicker, John Cornyn, John 
           Hoeven, John Thune, Mike Rounds.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to concur in the House amendment to S. 139 shall be brought to a 
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) and the Senator from Alaska (Mr. 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 60, nays 38, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 11 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto


     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). On this vote, the yeas are 60, 
the nays are 38.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  Cloture having been invoked, the motion to refer with an amendment 
and the amendments pending thereto fall.
  The Senator from Ohio.

[[Page S181]]


                            Butch Lewis Act

  Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Thanks to Senator Schumer and my colleagues, who will join us in the 
course of the evening, for coming to the floor tonight to shine a light 
on the more than 1 million workers and retirees all over this country 
who are on the verge of facing massive cuts to the pensions they have 
earned. This crisis affects thousands of Ohioans--perhaps more than 
60,000 is our count. It affects the massive Central States Teamsters 
Pension Plan, the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Ironworkers 
Local 17 Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan, the 
Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan, and others. It has an impact on 
workers, retirees, and businesses in every single State in the United 
  It is bad enough that Wall Street squandered workers' money; it is 
worse that the government--that this body, that the House--hasn't yet 
stepped up. The government is supposed to look out for these folks and 
is so far turning a blind eye to the promise made to these workers.
  The Senate found the time to pass a massive tax giveaway for 
corporations that shipped jobs overseas. We know that the tax bill made 
it even more likely for manufacturing companies to shut down in 
Mansfield or Limerick or Chillicothe or Portsmouth or Springfield, OH, 
and move overseas. They shut down production here and move overseas, 
set up production there, and sell their products back into the United 
States. The Senate's bill does that, but it did nothing for hard-
working Americans who worked their whole lives to earn their 
retirement. It is disgraceful, and time is running short to make these 
pensions whole.
  I urge my colleagues in this body--colleagues with healthcare and 
retirement plans paid for by taxpayers--to remember that. My 
colleagues--all of us have our healthcare and pensions paid by 
taxpayers. I urge my colleagues of this body to think about these 
retired workers and the stress they are facing. It is an expensive time 
of year for people with fixed incomes. Their heating bills go up. They 
try to scrape together what they can for the holidays for grandkids. 
They have loved ones who are sick, and some of them are sick 
  Remember, this is about more than just these retirees and their 
families; hundreds of thousands of workers give up money from each and 
every paycheck to fund a pension they expect to be there when they 
retire. Think about that. Those who haven't really looked at what 
happens in union negotiations, where workers sit at the bargaining 
table, and they give up income today to put money aside for the future 
for their pensions--that is what they did. They gave up income 10 years 
ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, even 40 years ago, put it aside--often 
matched by employers. That money then comes back to them in the form of 
a pension when they retire.
  If we don't protect those pensions, how do any workers know their 
retirement is safe? How do you plan for your kids? How do you plan for 
your family's future? How do you do that when this kind of uncertainty 
hangs over your head? These Americans have done everything right. They 
have worked their whole lives to earn these pensions. They have put in 
long hours to support their families. They did it so they would be able 
to spend their retirement years enjoying time with their grandchildren, 
not worrying every day about how to make ends meet. The reason they 
thought it wasn't just blind hope was because of the legally binding 
contracts they negotiated in good faith.
  When I first started in public service, when the legislature wasn't 
in session, I used to spend hours at the United Steelworkers Local 169 
in Mansfield, OH, listening to workers talk about their dreams. We 
talked about a lot of things. I would talk about their kids, whom I had 
gone to high school with at Mansfield Junior High or Johnny Appleseed 
Junior High or Brinkerhoff Grade School. But one thing I heard over and 
over is how workers, as I said earlier, gave up pay today at the 
bargaining table for the promise of a pension to be there when they 
retired. It is pretty simple. They sat at the negotiating table. They 
earned their pensions. They gave up pay raises to do it. But now their 
government has allowed Wall Street to blow it, and tough luck for them. 
Not on our watch, Mr. President.
  Before the holidays, I stood in this building with many of my 
colleagues and with Rita Lewis, the widow of Butch Lewis, who had 
worked 40 years as an Ohio teamster. Butch died of a heart attack on 
New Year's Eve a couple of years ago. If he were here today, Butch 
would tell you that he didn't work those 40 years to get just 40 
percent of his pension. Sadly, Butch passed away far too soon after 
fighting for the retirement he and these workers earned. It is my honor 
to name our Senate bill the ``Butch Lewis Act'' after him.
  This isn't a partisan issue. It affects communities we all represent. 
It affects Teamsters in Michigan and in Ohio. It affects workers in 
Montana, the Presiding Officer's State. It affects mine workers in the 
majority leader's State. It affects teamsters, truckdrivers, in the 
Democratic leader's State.
  My colleagues on both sides of the aisle have voiced support and the 
desire to work together in good faith to keep this promise. Now we just 
need to sit down together, put politics aside, and get it done. A 
number of Republican Senators have been in negotiations with Democratic 
Senators that we have led to make sure this can get done. But 
fundamentally it is about whose side you are on. It is about who we 
work for. Many of my colleagues made it pretty clear in December with 
their tax vote that they work for Wall Street and the corporations that 
send job overseas, but I say we work for these truckdrivers, 
ironworkers, carpenters, confectionary workers, and teamsters. They are 
not asking for a handout; they are asking for what they earned over a 
lifetime of work. It is time for us to do the job the taxpayers sent us 
here to do and save those pensions before it is too late.
  I am joined on the Senate floor today by the senior Senator from 
Michigan and the senior Senator from Indiana, Senator Stabenow and 
Senator Donnelly, who have been very active on this issue. I know 
Senator Casey is going to join us, and others who have been very 
active, standing up for these retirees, understanding that the teamster 
retirees and mine workers and ironworkers and others gave up money 
today, gave up raises at the bargaining table, to put money aside for 
retirement. We owe that to them. It is time the Senate does its job.
  I yield the floor to Senator Stabenow.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, first of all, I wish to thank my friend 
from Ohio. Senator Brown has been a real champion. It is wonderful to 
partner with him and with the senior Senator from Indiana, Mr. 
  All of us believe strongly--and the Democratic caucus together 
believes strongly--that a pension is a promise, period. A pension is a 
promise. Too many people right now are finding themselves in a 
situation where they are being told that promise is not going to be 
  For generations, millions of working men and women have built better 
lives for themselves in Michigan and across the country, and better 
lives for their families, with jobs that provided more than a paycheck. 
That is part of the American dream.
  These folks have worked hard, and we know that the people of Michigan 
can outbuild and outwork and outimagine anyone. I will take on my 
friends from Indiana and Ohio on that one because we know that in 
Michigan we have bright, hard-working folks.
  In exchange for a job well done, workers knew that they could count 
on basic benefits, including quality healthcare and a secure 
retirement, a pension. Jobs like these didn't just build families. We 
know that those jobs have built the middle class of our country--making 
things, growing things, creating things, and building things. That is 
what has created our middle class and our way of life.
  Unfortunately, though, we know that jobs that provide this kind of 
security and stability are becoming increasingly hard to find. Even 
worse, some workers have discovered that the benefits they earned over 
years of hard

[[Page S182]]

work have proven to be less than dependable. That is why we are here, 
because we believe a pension is a promise, and too many people are 
being told that promise isn't going to be kept. That is wrong.
  Imagine what it is like to be one of these workers. Perhaps you spent 
your career behind the wheel of a truck, hauling freight. The work is 
dangerous. The hours are long. You are separated from your family, but 
you keep on driving because the pay and the benefits are good, you are 
taking care of your family, and you are planning for the future. You 
know that after driving literally millions of safe miles, you will be 
able to retire with dignity. You will be able to have that cottage up 
north in Michigan, the snowmobile, and the boat, and to send your kids 
to college, thanks to the pension you worked so hard and so long for.
  After decades of work, you decide it is time to park the truck one 
last time. You say goodbye to your coworkers and hello to a new stage 
in your life. You plan in your retirement to spend more time at the 
lake, maybe even teach your grandkids to fish. You can make these plans 
because you know you have the security of that pension you have worked 
all your life for.
  Then, one day, everything changes. You learn that for a variety of 
reasons, the fund providing your pension is running out of money--not 
because of your fault. In fact, you might receive little, if any, of 
the benefits you were counting on. What do you do? What do you do? Do 
you swallow your pride, sell your home, and move in with one of your 
kids? Would you go back to work? Would you be able to get a job?
  A lot of Michigan workers don't have to imagine what they would do 
because they are living it right now. This is very serious.
  Again, I have always believed that a pension is a promise. Shame on 
our country, shame on our government if we don't make sure that promise 
is kept.
  People who worked hard to earn their retirement benefits should not 
have to worry about paying the power bill or putting food on the table 
or keeping their homes. Unfortunately, we know that a number of multi-
employer pension funds, including ones in Michigan that Michigan 
workers depend on, face serious challenges due to the financial crisis 
and other factors. I remember back in 2008 and 2009, when there was a 
bailout that was passed for Wall Street banks, but what about the 
pensions that were invested? What happened to the middle-class families 
depending on that? We know what happened in terms of people losing 
their homes, and what about the other piece, which is the pensions, 
that lost money?
  This isn't the fault of the workers, like Kenneth of Sterling 
Heights, MI. He is a retired teamster. He wrote to me about his fears 
of being able to pay his bills and cover the basics, including food, 
medicine, and everyday expenses. He worked hard all of his life. He 
doesn't want to end his life in poverty, nor should he have to.
  He told me: ``We are not the people who made the bad investments of 
our hard-earned money and lost billions of dollars.''
  Kenneth is absolutely right. This isn't the fault of the workers, and 
they shouldn't pay the price. They should know that the promise made to 
them after a lifetime of hard work will be kept.
  That is why I am so pleased to be cosponsoring the Butch Lewis Act of 
2017 with my colleagues who are here this evening. The bill would 
create a new office within Treasury called the Pension Rehabilitation 
Administration. The new office would give troubled pension plans the 
opportunity to become solid again through loans and assistance from the 
Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. With this bill, these plans would 
be able to pay workers all of the promised benefits with no cuts--no 
cuts. The plans would be required to demonstrate the ability to repay 
the loans at the end of the term.
  Think about how Wall Street banks got loans. Shouldn't middle-class, 
working men and women--retirees who worked all of their lives and 
believed in our country, and believed that, in fact, our country would 
have their back--also have the same kind of opportunity to be able to 
protect their pensions?
  Let me just say again that this is an incredibly important piece of 
legislation that affects millions of middle-class Americans who have 
worked their entire lives--people who are retired now or are near 
retirement or are still working hard and paying in and trust that, in 
fact, their pension will be there, and it is incredibly important that 
our country keep its promise to them.

  Let me also say in conclusion that I will be reintroducing 
legislation that I introduced last session to address something else 
that I think is a matter of fairness: to prevent raises and reduce 
salaries of top pension fund executives if retiree benefits are cut. I 
understand how devastating pension cuts would be to retirees and their 
families, and the people making decisions--the people in power making 
decisions about funds--should actually be able to know that by feeling 
the same pain of cuts.
  There is no question we need long-term solutions to the pension 
crisis facing our country. People who are retired right now and face 
losing that pension and going into poverty or people who are about to 
retire don't have time to wait. There is a tremendous sense of urgency 
about this.
  Cutting benefits would place a terrible burden on retirees who have 
worked hard all of their lives to earn some dignity, some comfort, some 
security. It is people like Keith and Mary. They are both in their 
seventies and depend on Keith's pension and Social Security to meet 
their basic needs. They told me:

       We try to save, but it is difficult. We are hoping that the 
     pension will last more than 10 years, but who knows.

  Keith and Mary have the right to know. They have the right to know 
that their country has their backs and that they can count on their 
pension being there.
  I urge my colleagues to help keep that promise for Ken and Keith and 
Mary and hard-working people all across Michigan and America.
  I see our leader on the floor. I want to thank him for making this a 
top priority as we are negotiating the priorities of this country, the 
priorities of the budget for next year. Making sure hard-working 
Americans have the promise kept of their pension is something that I 
know is at the top of his list, and I am proud to join him in this 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I thank Senator Stabenow and my colleague 
from Indiana and my colleague from Ohio. Senators Brown, Stabenow, 
Donnelly, Klobuchar, Heitkamp, Casey, and Baldwin have been such 
stalwart voices for working men and women in their States--namely, 
teamsters and food workers--as well as Senator Manchin, for the miners 
in West Virginia, and so many others across the country.
  We come to the floor tonight to urge our Republican colleagues to 
join us in doing something to shore up pension plans for over 1 million 
Americans. Millions of middle-class workers in this country--teamsters, 
miners, carpenters, and steel workers--have put their money into plans 
year after year. They knew they wouldn't be rich when they retired, but 
they thought they could live a life of decency and dignity. They often 
forewent salary increases. They said: Don't give me a raise at this 
percent; give me a lower raise, but put money in that pension. These 
people earned these pensions. They are the backbone of America.
  But now, after all of their hard work and all of their savings, 
several multiyear pension plans are at risk of failure, through no 
fault of the workers. Families in my State and across the country could 
see their retirement savings slashed. Teamsters, miners, carpenters, 
and food service workers are at risk of losing security through no 
fault of their own. They weren't responsible for the stock market 
crash, and they weren't involved in offshore swaps in London or 
somewhere, but that diminished the value of these plans. They are 
certainly not responsible for Congress twiddling its thumbs and doing 
nothing in the face of these shortfalls. Teamsters in my State, for 
instance, are facing a 30-percent reduction in their retirement 
benefits. They feel the impact of the cuts every day.
  So in conclusion, we have to get something done. Our Republican 
friends spent most of 2017 pressing legislation to help the wealthiest 
corporations and biggest corporations to get

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big tax breaks, but what about the middle-class worker? What about the 
middle-class worker? Let 2018 be different. Let it be the year when we 
fix these plans, and let's do it in the upcoming budget deal.
  I know that Senators Brown, Stabenow, Donnelly and so many others 
will continue to fight for hard-working pensioners until we fix the 
  So again, I want to thank my good friend, the Senator from Ohio, Mr. 
Brown, for organizing an outstanding group of Senators to speak this 
evening on a crucial topic: pensions.
  Senators Brown, Stabenow, Klobuchar, Heitkamp, Donnelly, Casey and 
Baldwin have always been such stalwart voices for the working men and 
women of their States.
  We all come to the floor tonight to urge our Republican colleagues to 
join us in doing something to shore up pension plans for over a million 
  Millions of middle-class workers in this country--teamsters and 
miners and carpenters and steel workers--put money into pension plans 
year after year, forgoing large salary increases or other benefits. Do 
you know why? Because they said: I am going to work hard my whole life, 
but when I retire I want to retire with some degree of dignity. And 
that is what they did.
  But several multiemployer pension plans are at a real risk of 
failure. Families in my State and across the country could see their 
retirement savings slashed. Teamsters and miners and carpenters and 
food service workers are at risk of losing that security through no 
fault of their own.
  They weren't responsible for the market crash in 2009, which 
diminished the value of so many of these plans. And they certainly 
aren't responsible for Congress twiddling its thumbs, doing nothing to 
fix the looming shortfalls in the many years since.
  And yet, Teamsters in my State are facing a 30-percent reduction in 
their retirement benefits. They feel the impact of those cuts every 
  These are funds that workers contributed to, and they earned every 
penny. They won't allow the families of my State to buy riches or 
luxuries. These pension plans won't fund the purchase of yachts or 
beach homes. What they will do is guarantee hard-working men and women 
the peace of mind that comes with a secure retirement.
  We have an obligation to see that the promise made to these workers 
is upheld. And we ought to do it soon. If we don't, it is going to cost 
taxpayers more in the long run. And all throughout the meantime, 
hardworking American families will be denied the benefits they rightly 
  Republicans spent most of 2017 pressing legislation that helped the 
wealthiest corporations and the biggest corporations to the detriment 
of the middle class. Let 2018 be different. Let 2018 be a year when we 
finally fix these pension plans. And let's do it in the upcoming budget 
  This will be another test of the Republican majority. Will they again 
ignore the pressing needs of working Americans across the country? Will 
President Trump again talk about helping the working men and women of 
this country but then turn his back on them? We will see.
  What I know is that Senator Brown, and this group of Democratic 
Senators, will continue to fight for the hardworking pensioners of this 
country until we fix this problem.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. President, my colleagues and I are on the Senate 
floor tonight on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose 
pensions are at serious risk.
  For generations, there has been an expectation in our country that if 
you worked hard and earned a pension, that pension would be there in 
retirement. Unfortunately, that promise is now in question.
  Due to corporate bankruptcies, the financial crisis, and 
underfunding, among other reasons, some of the largest pension funds in 
this country are at risk of insolvency, potentially leaving retirees 
with pennies on the dollar. I know firsthand the value of a pension. My 
late father-in-law was a teamster. His pension allowed him to help 
support his family and it provided him with the dignity of a decent 
  Hundreds of thousands of Americans will go to sleep tonight uncertain 
about their financial security. I have met these retirees. I have stood 
with them at rallies. I have attended their meetings.
  Just 10 days ago, back home in Indiana, I joined roughly 300 
teamsters, both active and retired, from all corners of Indiana. They 
met in Indianapolis to try to learn what the future would hold. They 
simply want the pensions they worked so hard for and spent so many 
hours laboring for--and that they earned. They simply want what was 
promised to them and what their hard work earned for them.
  Unless Congress acts soon, in Indiana alone, 22,000 teamsters and 
2,700 mine workers are at risk of significant pension cuts. That is why 
I cosponsored the Butch Lewis Act and the American Miners Pension Act. 
These bipartisan bills would ensure retirees receive their pensions. 
Both bills create a loan program that extends the solvency of at-risk 
pension plans.
  I also continue to work with Senators in both parties to build 
support and to find a solution. Conversations need to turn into that 
solution before the pension shortfall grows even worse. If we don't 
act, the solution becomes more costly every day.
  The Department of Labor lists 144 multi-employer plans as being in 
critical or endangered status. The at-risk plans include ironworkers, 
roofers, machinists, fishermen, plumbers, bricklayers, and carpenters, 
among others.

  We need to shore up our pension system before the problem grows 
worse. The failure of these plans would not just devastate the impacted 
retirees, it could be economically damaging to impacted communities and 
could lead to the insolvency of the Pension Benefit Guaranty 
Corporation--the PBGC--which provides pension insurance.
  Last year, we similarly stood on this Senate floor together--not as 
Republicans, not as Democrats, but as Americans--to fight for health 
benefits for the retired mineworkers. We solved that issue. We reached 
a compromise by working together, Republicans and Democrats together, 
and passed a permanent solution that was signed into law. Let's do it 
again here.
  We have an opportunity to do the right thing--to ensure hundreds of 
thousands of Americans have the financial support they expected, that 
they worked nonstop for, and that they receive the pensions they 
earned. A solution is right here in our grasp. We have to get this 
done, and I urge the Senate to act immediately.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleagues in our fight 
to keep a promise made to workers and retirees across this country. I 
will start with where we were, where we are now, and what Washington 
needs to do to keep these promises.
  A little over 2 years ago, Central States pension had an application 
before the Treasury Department, which had it been approved would have 
meant deep cuts to pensions that had already been earned over a 
lifetime of hard work.
  Retirees in my home State of Wisconsin began to receive letters 
notifying them that their pensions could be cut by 30, 50, and, in some 
cases, as much as 70 percent. Treasury made the right decision and 
rejected these pension cuts. That was an important victory, but we have 
always known there is more work to be done, that we have to find a 
long-term solution that keeps these promises.
  I am talking about a promise made to Bernie in Franklin, WI, who 
would have lost about one-third of his pension if the Central States 
application had actually gone through. I am talking about a promise 
made to Kenny from Menomonee Falls, WI, who spent most of his career in 
trucking, paying into a pension fund to safeguard his family's future. 
He got a letter notifying him that his pension might be cut by 55 
percent. I am talking about promises made to 25,000 retirees and 
workers in the State of Wisconsin. They have been living with the fear 
and uncertainty of not knowing whether the retirement security they 
saved for and sacrificed for, and that their families depend upon, will 
be there when they need it.
  If Washington does not act, these workers and retirees will face 

[[Page S184]]

cuts to their pensions earned over decades of work.
  I have been proud to work side by side with Wisconsin retirees and 
with Senator Sherrod Brown to introduce the Butch Lewis Act. The bill 
will put failing pension plans, including Central States, back on solid 
ground to ensure they can meet their commitments to retirees today and 
workers in decades to come, and it does so without cutting a single 
cent from the benefits retirees have earned.
  In the time since Central States submitted its application to the 
Treasury Department, I have met with retirees in Milwaukee, Green Bay, 
and Endeavor, WI--last week, I was in Brookfield, WI, with many more 
than 200 retirees and workers--who are counting on Washington to pass 
this bill.
  Washington needs to act. We need to pass the Butch Lewis Act, and we 
need to do it soon.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleagues in calling 
for action--action to protect the hard-earned benefits of pensioners, 
hard-working people all across my State. I thank my colleague Senator 
Brown for organizing these speeches and my neighbor to the east, 
Senator Baldwin from Wisconsin, for her eloquent words on behalf of the 
workers in her State.
  I know how important benefits are to workers firsthand. My grandpa 
was one of many children, growing up in the Iron Range of Minnesota. He 
loved school, but he had to quit at age 15 to help support his family. 
First, he got a job as a teamster, pulling a cart, and then at a very 
young age, he went to work in the iron ore mines in Ely, MN.
  He had wanted to be in the Navy. He had wanted to sail the world. 
Instead, he spent his entire life to support his eight brothers and 
sisters and then, later, my dad and my uncle. He spent his entire life 
working 1,500 feet underground, and he would go down the mine shaft 
every single day with his black lunch bucket, and I often thought: What 
did he think of when he went down that mine shaft? Did he think of that 
life at sea, of school, of other things? He felt he had an obligation, 
and that obligation was not only important to our family, which somehow 
ended up with me in the U.S. Senate, but it was also an obligation that 
was so important to our country, because when you go back as far as 
World War II, it was the iron ore that was made into the steel that 
built our country--our factories, our skyscrapers, and our ships and 
tanks that won that war. That is what my grandpa did, and it was 
dangerous back then.
  My grandma would always tell me how you would hear this whistle go 
off, and it meant someone was either very hurt or killed in the mines, 
and all of the wives would go and stand outside that mine to see what 
miner was going to be brought up injured or worse. My dad remembers 
seeing the coffins in the church in Ely lined up of miners who had been 
killed. This wasn't that long ago.
  When someone does something like that for their family and for their 
country, promises that were made to them should be kept. Because my 
grandpa stayed in that job--over time, the safety requirements got 
better, the benefits got better--he was able to get healthcare, he was 
able to save money in a coffee can in the basement of their little 
house so he could send my dad and his brother to college. That all 
  So when he got sick, he should be able to have healthcare, right? 
Well, he did. He had cancer, but he was able to have healthcare. When 
my grandma got older and lived into her late eighties, she was able to 
stay at assisted living. That all happened because promises made to 
those workers were kept.
  The promise made to the workers in multiemployer pension plans is 
simple; that the pension they have earned through their decades of hard 
work will be there when they retire.
  Saving for retirement is often described as the three-legged stool: 
Social Security, a pension, and personal savings. A stable and secure 
retirement relies on all three legs being strong, but some 
multiemployer pension plans are facing funding challenges that could 
weaken one of those legs. Over 10 million Americans participate in a 
multiemployer pension plan and rely on these benefits for a safe and 
secure retirement.
  The Central States Pension Plan is such a plan. It was established in 
1955 to help truckers save for retirement. That was while my grandpa 
was still in the mines. Today, the Central States Pension Plan includes 
workers from the carhaul, tankhaul, pipeline, warehouse, construction, 
clerical, food processing, dairy, and trucking industries.
  In my State, there are over 21,000 workers and retirees in the plan--
and this affects workers and retirees from all over the Midwest. I 
guess that is why it is called the Central States plan: Nearly 48,000 
workers and retirees in Ohio, over 47,000 in Michigan, over 32,000 in 
Missouri, nearly 25,000 in Wisconsin, and over 2,000 in North Dakota.
  In fact, when this issue first came up, and this was rushed over from 
the House--and we really didn't know the impact it would have in our 
States because there hadn't been a lot of thought in how this thing was 
done when it was part of a bigger bill--I voted against that bill 
because if this thing is called Central States, and I have a bunch of 
people calling me, I probably have a lot of people who are impacted. 
Unfortunately, that thing was rushed through, and people didn't have 
their say. In fact, 7 of the top 10 States in the Central States 
Pension Plan are Midwestern States.
  In September of 2015, the Central States submitted a proposal to the 
Treasury to reduce pension benefits for workers and retirees under the 
Multiemployer Pension Relief Act of 2014.
  Treasury reviewed the proposal, which would have resulted in benefits 
cut for over 270,000 Central State retirees and workers. Some of these 
pension cuts were as high as 50, 60, and even 70 percent. Imagine 
someone who has spent their life driving a truck, saving money, and 
then suddenly one day they find out they are going to lose 70 percent 
of their pension.
  I heard from people all over my State how devastating these proposed 
cuts would have been. People were concerned that they would not be able 
to afford their medication or that they might have to sell their house. 
Many are in their sixties, seventies, or even eighties and are not able 
to go back to work.
  I stood up with many of my colleagues and fought against that 
proposal for a very simple reason: It was the right thing to do. We 
raised significant concerns about the plan, and the Treasury 
Department--in a move that I think surprised some of us, pleasantly, 
but not those who are on the frontlines every day, whom I am looking up 
at in the Gallery--rejected that proposal.
  While we temporarily averted a very bad plan going into effect, this 
issue is not going away. The Central States Pension Plan still faces 
insolvency by 2025, and more than 70,000 Minnesotans are in 
multiemployer pension plans that are facing funding shortfalls. More 
than 100 of these pension plans are facing funding challenges and do 
not have sufficient plan assets
  Pensioners across our State and our country depend on their pensions. 
People like Sherman from my State, in Northern Minnesota--exactly the 
area I just talked about my dad being from, where my grandpa worked in 
the mines. Sherman has been working tirelessly on this issue and 
raising it at a national level, and workers and retirees whom I 
continue to meet are asking us and looking for us to take action.
  That is why I have joined with my colleagues to cosponsor the Butch 
Lewis Act, and I thank Senator Brown for his leadership on this 
legislation. This bill is a win-win for employers, employees, retirees, 
and Americans.
  The bill would put the pension plan back on solid footing and ensure 
that the plans could meet their obligations to retirees and workers for 
decades to come. This would happen without cutting a single cent from 
the benefits our workers and retirees have earned, worked hard for, 
paid into the pension plan for, and built their retirement around.
  The introduction of the Butch Lewis Act has been an important step 
forward in elevating the need for action. So as congressional leaders 
work to negotiate a deal to raise the budget spending caps, the pension 
crisis should

[[Page S185]]

be a funding priority. It should be included in any comprehensive 
budget deal.
  Somehow, in this very Chamber, people found a way to do a bunch of 
tax cuts. Some of them were there for the middle class, but a lot of 
them helped the wealthy. Somehow they found their way to that. Well, 
they had better find their way to include this because this is about 
working people.
  We owe it to all Americans who played by the rules and worked hard 
throughout their lives secure pensions.
  I stand today ready to work with our colleagues on the floor and 
across the aisle on a bipartisan solution. We all know that delay only 
makes the solution more costly. The time is here. We can't put it off 
any longer. We must move forward now to get this done for our workers, 
for our businesses, and for our country.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise to speak as well about the issue of 
pensions, as many of my colleagues have been speaking about tonight. 
First of all, I want to outline a series of what I believe to be 
promises that the Senate and the House must keep with large segments of 
the American people.
  Last year at this time, we were in a long debate, which had 
transpired over months, and the main issue there was healthcare for 
retired coal miners and their families. This was a promise made to coal 
miners across the country--thousands of them across the country and 
thousands in Pennsylvania alone--who were promised they would have 
healthcare in their retirement. That promise went unfulfilled despite 
the fact that we got a bill through the Senate Finance Committee, as we 
were instructed to do, to follow so-called regular order--have a 
hearing, have a vote, get it through the committee--but it was held up 
month after month, really from the fall of 2016 until April of 2017. 
That promise almost went unfulfilled, and it took far too long, but 
eventually we got it done.
  At that time, we made another promise to those same coal miners that 
we would work on the pension issue for them. That was the second half 
of the original legislation.
  When it comes to promises, we have promises to keep to those 
Americans who worked so hard in the most difficult job in the world.
  We also have some promises that must be fulfilled. I would hope that 
the Republican leadership and Republican Members of the House and the 
Senate, along with the administration--one party in charge of two 
branches of government--would keep their promise to 9 million American 
children. The Children's Health Insurance Program is more than 100 days 
overdue from being reauthorized. Everyone says they are for it, but it 
is not done. It was set aside to get a tax bill done, which, in my 
judgment, was a giveaway to the superrich and big corporations. Even if 
you wanted to support the tax bill, why couldn't you carve out some 
time by the end of the year, I asked the majority, to get the 
Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorized? Nine million kids; 
one hundred eighty thousand in Pennsylvania. Why couldn't you get it 
  Here we are now in the middle of January facing yet another deadline, 
and the Children's Health Insurance Program is not yet reauthorized. 
That is a promise. We will see by the end of the week whether the 
majority keeps its promise to those 9 million children.
  The pension issue is the one I am going to talk about tonight, but 
there is also a promise that was made to approximately 800,000 young 
people, the individuals in the so-called DACA Program, the Dreamers. 
That is another promise.
  The promise we are talking about tonight, at least on this side of 
the aisle in the Senate, is the promise of pensions. Why do so many 
pension plans face the obstacles, the burdens, and the crisis they face 
right now? The two main reasons are, first and foremost, the financial 
crisis, which wiped out stock holdings just as these members were 
retiring, and, of course, the second reason is substantial job loss in 
the industries that are affected by these pension plans.
  While Wall Street and the gross domestic product have recovered from 
the horrific financial crisis that the country has now recovered from, 
but some people are still being hurt by it, and as the wealthier are 
doing better than ever--the number that was cited a couple of months 
ago was that since 1980, the share of national income--if you took all 
the income in the country, the share of national income held by the top 
1 percent was 11 percent in 1980. That is a pretty high number for 1 
percent. They had 11 percent of the national income. What was it in 
2014? It had almost doubled to 20 percent. So when I say that the very 
wealthy, the top 1 percent, have done quite well--I have even used the 
word ``bonanza''--they have done very well since 1980--I can back it up 
with a number, and that is the number. So even as they are doing 
better, and those other indicators might seem better, wages and 
opportunities for the middle class have stagnated, and our pensions 
have paid the price.

  Workers across the country--including tens of thousands of coal 
miners, teamsters, and bakery and confectionary workers in 
Pennsylvania--are living with the worry that their pensions may not 
remain solvent. They played by the rules. They paid their dues. They 
put in their time for their companies. They and their children paid the 
price during the financial crisis with their jobs and their wages. They 
should not have to continue to pay the price in retirement through 
reductions in promised pension benefits.
  It is inexcusable and insulting for Americans to live with this type 
of worry, wondering whether they will have the quality of life in 
retirement they planned for and depended upon throughout their 
careers--careers of hard work and sacrifice, careers of giving so much 
to their companies and in many cases, so much to their country as well. 
Yet we have that uncertainty facing those individuals and their 
families. They are wondering whether, after decades of working in jobs 
that took a toll, in many cases, on their own bodies, they will need to 
go back to work so they can afford the heating bills or the cost of 
medication. That is insulting.
  We must take action now to shore up our pension system, to keep the 
promise to the Americans who made our country what it is today--the 
greatest in the world, for sure. We know where Democrats stand on this 
issue. We are with workers. The question now is whether Republicans 
will work with us to get this done.
  As I said before, Republicans have all the votes they need to get 
this done. They didn't flinch in December when it was a question of 
whether they would give $13 billion in tax windfalls to the Nation's 
largest banks. All of that, of course, was unpaid for. We know where 
Republicans stand when it comes to giving away billions of dollars in 
borrowed money to large, profitable corporations. That was the tax bill 
that I mentioned before. We will soon find out whether they stand with 
workers when it comes to their pensions.
  The Republican Congress needs to act now to make sure that we pass 
what is called the Butch Lewis Act to give retirees in Pennsylvania and 
others across the country the peace of mind that comes with knowing 
their retirement is secure. It is fundamental. This is a promise. It is 
either going to be kept, or it is going to be violated. This is the 
week to ensure that it is kept for those Americans who have worked so 
hard. They deserve these pensions. They have earned them. We need to 
keep our promise. The majority needs to keep its promise.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ROUNDS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.