EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 92
(Senate - June 05, 2018)

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[Pages S2974-S2978]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following 
nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Robert 
Earl Wier, of Kentucky, to be United States District Judge for the 
Eastern District of Kentucky.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The Democratic leader is recognized.


                          Russia Investigation

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, over the past few weeks, we have all 
endured the increasingly novel legal theories dreamt up by the 
President and his lawyers regarding the special counsel's investigation 
into the Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  Over the weekend, we learned the President's lawyers wrote a memo 
that asserted unfettered authority over all Federal investigations. 
Rudy Giuliani actually suggested that the President could have ``shot 
James Comey'' and not been indicted or prosecuted because, according to 
him, ``in no case can [the President] be subpoenaed or indicted.'' Is 
that incredible?
  The President himself tweeted yesterday that he had the absolute 
right to pardon himself and that the appointment of the special counsel 
was unconstitutional, despite the fact that he regularly called for a 
special counsel to look into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. 
The two-facedness, the hypocrisy of saying Hillary should have it but, 
no, it is unconstitutional now that it applies to him--how can the 
American people tolerate that kind of thinking in a President? This 
morning, again, President Trump faulted Attorney General Sessions for 
recusing himself from the probe instead of helping to end it.
  The President's tweet regarding Attorney General Sessions this 
morning is part of a pattern where the President admits out loud and 
shamelessly that he was trying to take steps to end the Russia probe. 
First, in a television interview, the President admitted that stopping 
the Russia probe was his motivation for firing Director Comey. Now he 
says he would never have hired Sessions if he had known he was going to 
recuse himself, even though recusal was required by Department of 
Justice rules.
  This latest stunning admission is just more evidence that the 
President may have something to hide. If he did nothing wrong, 
President Trump should welcome a thorough investigation to exonerate 
him.
  Each of the claims that I have mentioned has the same theme: That the 
President believes he is above the law. Of course, we know the idea 
that anyone in America is above the law is antithetical to the very 
idea of America, antithetical to the very idea of democracy, and 
antithetical to what millions of Americans have fought for and hundreds 
of thousands--millions--have died for in the course of our history. We 
don't have a King. We have a President, bound by the same Constitution 
and the same laws that govern the average American citizen.
  The Founding Fathers didn't set out to create a monarchy; they set 
out to construct a system of government entirely distinct from the 
monarchies of their time. That is why they installed checks and 
balances and devolved power between three branches to ensure the 
liberty of the people and guard against the encroachment of tyranny. 
That was their great gift to us, and their ideas have kept American 
democracy alive for two and one-half centuries and the admiration of 
the world for an equal period of time. Trump is besmirching all of that 
with his recent activities.
  So despite what the President and his allies may feel about his 
authority or his absolution from legal repercussions, the Constitution 
and the founding principles of our country tell us he is dead wrong. 
President Trump: We are not a monarchy. You are not a King. We are a 
constitutional democracy, so act like it.


                          Judicial Nominations

  Madam President, on another matter, this week the Senate is 
processing a number of judges. Some of these judges are 
noncontroversial. As I have said in the past, Democrats are committed 
to working with the majority to process these noncontroversial 
nominees, but there are several highly controversial nominees after 
this slate that bear attention.
  Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination 
of David Porter for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, despite the 
fact that Senator Casey has not returned a blue slip on Mr. Porter, who 
was nominated by the White House over the home State Senator's repeated 
objections. Mr. Porter, like so many of the nominees submitted by this 
President,

[[Page S2975]]

is far outside the judicial mainstream. Throughout his career, he has 
maintained affiliations with anti-LGBT organizations and expressed 
personal views that are contrary to the interests of American workers--
the very people President Trump defends: the American working people. 
He appoints judges who undo their rights, their opportunities, their 
ladders up. This is an example. Unfortunately, the majority is, once 
again, bucking a century-old tradition of respecting the opposition of 
home State Senators and moving forward with the consideration of yet 
another hard-right, anti-working class ideologue.
  On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee will consider the nomination of 
Ryan Bounds for a circuit court seat in Oregon, although neither 
Senator Wyden nor Senator Merkley, the two Senators from Oregon, have 
returned a blue slip on his nomination. Recently, we learned that Mr. 
Bounds had some rather offensive writings that he failed to disclose to 
the bipartisan Federal Judicial Selection Advisory Committee 
established by the two Oregon Senators to recommend potential nominees. 
Nonetheless, of course, the Republican majority, prodded on by the 
hard-right ideologues, is moving ahead with his nomination, over the 
tradition of the blue slips, over these recent revelations.
  Next week, the Senate will likely move to the pending nomination of 
Thomas Farr to the Eastern District of North Carolina, currently the 
longest vacancy in the United States. Part of the reason the State seat 
has remained open for so long is because Republican Senators blocked an 
Obama nominee, Jennifer May-Parker, for nearly 3 years. With Mr. Farr's 
nomination, we have another example of a vacancy that only exists 
because Democrats recognized and respected the blue-slip tradition--a 
tradition the Republicans have so unceremoniously discarded.
  Not only has Mr. Farr spent his long legal career working against the 
rights of unions and the rights of workers to organize, Farr has 
demonstrated himself to be a partisan.
  After challenging multiple congressional maps drawn by North 
Carolina's Democrats, Mr. Farr vigorously defended the most recent maps 
drawn by North Carolina's Republicans which, in fact, were overturned 
by the Supreme Court for discrimination. Mr. Farr also defended North 
Carolina's restrictive voter ID law passed by the Republicans, arguing 
that voter ID was a ``minor inconvenience'' for voters. Might I remind 
my colleagues, this is the same voter ID law that the Fourth Circuit 
Court of Appeals determined was passed with ``discriminatory intent'' 
and which ``targeted African Americans with almost surgical 
precision.'' Those are the Fourth Circuit's words, not mine. That is 
whom we are putting on the bench--people who support laws that 
blatantly discriminate against people of color. What are we coming to 
in this country? Where are our ideals when it comes to picking people 
for the bench? I am sure they can find conservative folks who don't 
have these kinds of egregious pieces of behavior.
  I have long argued that we should judge our judges on three metrics: 
excellence, moderation, and diversity. By dint of his legal career in 
defense of partisan Republican issues, Mr. Farr clearly lacks 
moderation and is even willing to defend the most strident attempts by 
North Carolina Republicans to game the congressional maps and make it 
more difficult for minorities to vote.
  I will strongly--strongly--oppose his nomination, and I urge my 
colleagues to do the same.


                              The Economy

  Finally, Madam President, on the economy, during the 8 years of 
President Obama's term, Democrats worked to turn the economy around, to 
dig our country out of the recession, and get back to growing the 
economy and the middle class. Now that Republicans are in charge, their 
policies are almost the reverse.
  Instead of focusing on the middle class and those struggling to get 
there, Republicans have elected to turn over the keys to big 
corporations and the superwealthy--their benefactors. Instead of trying 
to bring down the cost of everyday items, Republican economic policies 
have driven up the costs of things like healthcare and gasoline. By 
sabotaging our current healthcare system, President Trump and 
Republicans have caused insurance rates to increase by double digits 
across several States. Yesterday, insurers in the States of Washington 
and New York both announced an average rate increase of about 20 
percent, similar to double-digit increases in Virginia and Maryland. 
Americans were already struggling with the high cost of healthcare 
before these increases. Republican policies have only made these 
problems worse.
  What about gas prices? By pulling out of the Iran deal and failing to 
get tough with OPEC, President Trump has contributed to the increase in 
gas prices. He hangs out and seems to be friendly with the Crown 
Prince, head of the UAE, even President Putin. Why isn't he jawboning 
them, his so-called friends, to help the average American family not 
have to pay increases in the high price of gas?
  President Trump was quick to blame President Obama when gas prices 
went up. Well, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. 
American families are now paying over $3 for a gallon of gas in many 
places, and prices are expected to continue to rise over the summer.
  Meanwhile, as costs go up for the middle class, in many, many cases 
far outweighing any break they got on the tax bill, corporations and 
the rich are reaping a windfall from the Republican tax bill. Listen to 
this. So far, in 2018, corporations have announced plans to spend more 
than $450 billion in corporate stock buybacks, a maneuver that directs 
profits into the pockets of wealthy executives and shareholders but 
does little for workers. Even Republican Senator Marco Rubio has said 
that ``'there's no evidence whatsoever' that the corporate tax cut 
Republicans passed last year is overwhelmingly benefiting workers.''
  In a nutshell, this is the new Republican economy: a bonanza for the 
corporations and the rich, higher costs for everybody else. In 
November, the American people will get to decide if they want a 
government that works on their behalf or more of the same top-down, 
trickle-down policies that have failed time and again--and are failing 
once again.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.


             Accomplishments of the Republican-Led Congress

  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I want to take just a few minutes to 
talk about the last 18 months and what a Republican-led Congress has 
done during the first 500 days of the Trump administration.
  I heard my friend the Democratic leader call this a Republican 
economy, and I am proud to embrace that for the reasons I will mention 
here in just a moment and contrast that to life in America 
postrecession, in 2008, where slow economic growth, high unemployment, 
and a disproportionate number of people not even seeking work were 
accepted as the new norm.
  The American people understand they don't have to accept that as the 
new normal--that we can aspire to better, and we can do better, and 
that is exactly what we have seen manifested in the American economy. 
The rank-and-file American worker, every American family, and everybody 
in this country--regardless of race, ethnicity, whatever identity you 
might want to talk about--have benefited.
  There have been many accomplishments, but perhaps the greatest, as I 
said, is the new energized state of the economy. There is a sense of 
hope and optimism once again. We can see that reflected in people's 
retirement accounts mainly invested in the stock market. The stock 
market has boomed since the Trump election, and that is not just for 
the big corporations. That is for the teachers, the pension funds, the 
firefighters, the first responders--for average Americans who invest 
their retirement savings in mutual funds or in the stock market--and 
they have benefited.
  The unemployment rate has reached a 48-year low--a 48-year low--and 
14 States have hit record low unemployment as well.
  My friend from New York talked about gasoline prices. Oil output 
jumped to the highest on record in March, including a 4-percent 
increase in production in my home State. In

[[Page S2976]]

other words, we are depending less and less on imported oil from Saudi 
Arabia and Middle East countries, which have been the focus of our 
geopolitics for so many years because they have been the main source of 
the energy that drives the world economy, and now we are producing more 
of that here in America. That means more jobs and more national 
security right here at home.
  Consumer confidence is at a 17-year high. People are feeling 
optimistic and hopeful about the future. Nearly 3 million jobs have 
been created since President Trump took office, including 304,000 in 
the manufacturing sector, 337,000 in construction, and 223,000 in May 
alone.
  What I hear time and again when I go back to Texas is employers 
saying: We are having a hard time finding the workers we need because 
there is so much demand for workers, for laborers, that now employers 
are having to compete for the workforce they need in order to perform 
the jobs they have now, as a result of the growing economy. What does 
that mean? It means that paychecks go up as there are labor shortages, 
and employers have to compete more for that workforce. Sixty-seven 
percent of Americans believe that now is a good time to find a quality 
job.
  The biggest challenge we have, given the rapidly evolving nature of 
our global economy and of technology and the jobs that are being 
created, is to train and equip the workforce of tomorrow for the jobs 
that will be available. That is why we have invested so much money in 
our community colleges and workforce training, in partnerships with 
industry--to make sure that more and more people can qualify for those 
good, well-paying jobs.
  I am thinking about a single mom, a Hispanic woman in Amarillo, TX, 
who worked as a jail guard--until she went to Amarillo community 
college and learned how to be an aircraft mechanic. Today, she works on 
the production line for the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, one of the 
most advanced air platforms in the world. My recollection is that she 
is making $18 an hour now. That is a real solution for a real problem, 
and I bet every Member of this Chamber could talk about similar 
stories.
  In Houston, as a result of the natural gas renaissance in this 
country--thanks to the science, thanks to the creativity and innovation 
of the American energy companies--we are now seeing a huge influx of 
petrochemical companies reestablishing themselves in places where they 
can get access to low-cost feedstock fuel. What that is doing is 
creating even more jobs.
  In the Pasadena Unified School District and around the Houston area, 
they are working with San Jacinto community college to help people who 
don't yet have the skills they need get the certificates they need in 
order to qualify for those good, well-paying jobs. Not everybody needs 
to go to a 4-year liberal arts college. If they want to, I am all for 
it. But many people want to get a good job, enjoying the solid middle 
class, and do jobs that need to be done. They need access to training 
in order to get the qualifications they need. That, to me, is one of 
the big challenges that confront us, particularly as the economy 
changes so quickly because of technology.
  Another big reason the economy has taken off like a rocket is the tax 
reform package we passed last summer. That has been perhaps the biggest 
game changer. The problem my friend the Democratic leader has is that 
every single Democrat voted against it. Remember, Nancy Pelosi called 
the benefits of that ``crumbs.'' What it has done is open doors and new 
opportunities for American families.
  According to the White House, American families will receive $3.2 
trillion in gross tax cuts, and they have seen the child tax credit 
double. The top corporate rate was lowered from 35 to 21 percent so 
that American businesses could be more productive.
  When President Obama talked about the need for America to be more 
competitive by lowering that corporate rate, he talked about our need 
to compete in the global economy. When we debated the Tax Cuts and Jobs 
Act, Democrats called it a corporate giveaway. That is absolutely 
indefensible.
  The results of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have been profound, indeed. 
More than 500 companies have used these tax savings to benefit their 
employees. They have announced pay raises, 401(k) match increases. 
There have been cuts to utility rates for seniors and people on fixed 
incomes because investor-owned utilities have had to lower their 
charges in order to comply with the law, which allows them a reasonable 
rate of return. They can't charge what the market will bear; they need 
to comply with their local laws. So what we have seen is that many 
investor-owned utilities have lowered utility rates for seniors and 
people on fixed incomes.
  We have seen other businesses offer substantial bonuses and other 
benefits. A recent survey by the National Association of Manufacturers 
showed that 77 percent of manufacturers in America intend to increase 
hiring, and 93 percent of them have a positive outlook.
  One of the things President Trump talked about during his campaign 
was that so much of our manufacturing had moved overseas. But what 
these numbers indicate is that the manufacturing sector is alive and 
well here in the United States when given the opportunity to compete on 
a level playing field.
  This is the kind of optimism I am hearing when I visit places like 
College Station, Austin, and Amarillo, home of the Big Texan 72-ounce 
steak. If you can eat it in an hour, along with a baked potato, you can 
get the meal for free. I didn't try that, but some people do, and some 
people get the free meal--but not a lot of people, would be my guess.
  In Austin, I visited with one of the owners of Wally's Burgers and 
met with other small businesses--pest control companies and the like--
and they talked about the benefits they are seeing in their small 
businesses from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The stories just go on and 
on and on.
  I have also had constituents write to my office, explaining how the 
boost in their monthly paychecks is making a big difference when it 
comes to buying groceries, paying bills, and starting long-delayed 
projects. Maybe no Democrat voter lives paycheck to paycheck, but I can 
tell you, some of my constituents do, and they appreciate the 
additional money in their paycheck as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs 
Act.
  I think what happened, when our Democratic colleagues unanimously 
voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, they were making a big bet 
that we would fail to deliver that bill, and it would somehow be an 
embarrassment and setback for this side of the aisle. Well, they bet 
against the American people, and they bet against our commitment to 
make sure the benefits of this bill would be delivered to the average 
American family.
  In one recent piece of news, Costco, which has ten locations in 
Texas, announced they would be increasing wages for 130,000 employees, 
not because the government mandated it but because they need to do that 
in order to be competitive, and they are passing the benefits on to 
their employees. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
  Amidst all of this good news, we also need to remember that there are 
two specific targeted measures that are often overlooked. It repealed 
ObamaCare's burdensome tax on the middle class, who refused to purchase 
Washington-mandated health insurance. This is the so-called ObamaCare 
mandate. It basically was a tax on poor and middle-income people who 
couldn't afford to buy the high-price ObamaCare policies.
  We also opened up something that has been a point of contention for 
many, many years--the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy 
exploration.
  Senator Scott from South Carolina talked about his Opportunity Zone 
provision, which provides tax benefits to businesses that start a 
business and grow a business in poor and blighted areas. Senator 
Fischer from Nebraska talked about her tax provision, which provides 
encouragement to employers to provide family leave when families need 
that in order to deal with a family illness or a newborn child or 
whatever the case may be.
  Those are real and tangible benefits to the people we serve. And our 
colleagues want to talk about corporate giveaways? That is pure 
demagoguery, short and simple. What else do you have when you have made 
a bet and you lost that bet by betting against the benefits from this 
bill?

[[Page S2977]]

  It is not just the economy that deserves mention; another important 
accomplishment has been the confirmation of judges who will interpret 
the Constitution faithfully and say what the law is, not what, because 
of their personal policy preferences, they wish it might be.
  In a former life, I served on the bench--the State bench, not the 
Federal bench--for 13 years at the trial court level and on the Texas 
Supreme Court. I believe very strongly in the importance of having 
judges--that third branch of government--who will understand and 
appreciate their role in the U.S. Government. In other words, the 
reason we don't elect judges is because we don't expect them to gauge 
public opinion. The reason we don't expect them to campaign on an 
agenda--we expect them to interpret the law, including the Constitution 
of the United States, the fundamental law, not to promote policies 
based on their preference or based on some ideology. To me, that is the 
opposite of what we want judges to do.
  The Trump administration has seen confirmed 21 circuit court judges. 
These are the intermediate appeals court judges who essentially are the 
court of last resort for most cases since the U.S. Supreme Court now 
only hears about 80 cases a year. They provide the guidance in the most 
difficult cases, where the circuit courts are divided.
  This now means that one in eight appeals court judges has been 
appointed by President Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. These 
are people who will serve not just 4 years, not just 6 years, not just 
8 years, but perhaps 20 years or 30 years or longer--a lifetime tenure. 
These circuit courts will hear appeals from district courts that set 
binding precedent for those lower courts on a wide range of issues.
  It is worth pointing out that President Obama's 21st circuit court 
nominee was not confirmed until 33 months into his administration. So 
it is not just that we are confirming good judges; we are doing it at a 
very good clip, comparatively speaking.
  The President has appointed and we have confirmed two judges to the 
Fifth Circuit who serve the State of Texas--Don Willett, a former 
justice on the Texas Supreme Court, and Jim Ho, the former Texas 
solicitor general. We have one in the queue who has been voted out of 
committee, Andy Oldham, the counsel to our Governor, who has been 
nominated to the Fifth Circuit. And that is not to mention some very 
talented district judges, the people who are at the ground level of our 
civil justice system, people like Karen Scholer and David Counts. We 
hope to have one more Federal district judge confirmed before the end 
of this week--Fernando Rodriguez, whom Senator Cruz and I recommended 
to the President and he has nominated.
  The other major accomplishment of this administration over the last 
18 months is repealing burdensome overregulation from the previous 
administration. Many of these regulations were passed by the Obama 
administration as they were heading out the door, without a real 
opportunity for public input and review. We have repealed a historic 
number--16 of them--using the Congressional Review Act. Previously, 
there had been only one example where Congress had repealed a 
regulation using the Congressional Review Act.
  Thanks to the junior Senator from Pennsylvania, we have also repealed 
something that was a bullying tactic by the Federal Government. This 
was a scheme by the previous administration to use guidance from 
Federal agencies where they didn't pass a rule, where they were 
required under the law to gain input as part of that rulemaking 
process. So what they would do is they would issue guidance. You can 
imagine how that was treated by people in the private sector. They 
didn't want to have to defend a lawsuit, so they grudgingly complied 
with the guidance even though there wasn't any process and input from 
the public on what that guidance should be. Thanks again to our 
colleague Senator Toomey, we have successfully repealed those sorts of 
quasi-regulations, as well, using the Congressional Review Act.
  Our use of the Congressional Review Act has been referred to as the 
most ambitious regulatory rollback since Ronald Reagan.
  As I talk to people, the job creators in our country, they tell me 
that not only has it been the tax cuts, but it has been the regulatory 
rollback and it has been the signal that Washington is sending that 
businesses small and large will have more freedom to pursue their ends, 
their dreams, without the wet blanket of government regulation.
  President Trump has also used his executive branch pen to issue 22 
deregulatory actions for every new regulatory one. These are big wins, 
including for our farmers and energy producers.
  On top of that, when it comes to ObamaCare, one of the aspects of 
ObamaCare was something called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. 
We repealed that in our budget agreement earlier this year, which will 
allow seniors and their families to take greater control of their 
healthcare decisions without being subjected to the whims of unelected 
bureaucrats.
  What ``unelected bureaucrats'' translates into is ``unaccountable 
bureaucrats.'' In other words, if you don't like what the bureaucrat is 
doing, you have almost no recourse, and that is by design in this 
Independent Payment Advisory Board. When it comes to your healthcare, 
you want to maintain your ability to petition your representatives if 
you feel the government is not treating you correctly, which this 
Independent Payment Advisory Board eliminated.
  A fourth major accomplishment is providing relief to our community 
and midsized financial institutions, which have been hit hardest by 
some of the one-size-fits-all rulemaking approaches under Dodd-Frank. 
We all remember that Dodd-Frank was a response to the financial crisis 
of 2008, followed by the great recession. Congress, as it often does, 
went too far. The pendulum swung too far and affected our community 
banks and credit unions. I tell my community bankers in Texas: You 
weren't the target, perhaps, but you were the collateral damage.
  We want small businesses and working families to succeed. We want 
them to get access to credit, the credit they need in order to succeed. 
Regulating community banks out of business is not the answer.
  This bill was sponsored by the senior Senator from Idaho, Mr. Crapo, 
and was passed on a bipartisan basis. This bill, which just passed the 
House, is a big win for smaller financial institutions, and it will 
make it easier for them to serve their communities by approving 
mortgages, providing credit, and lending to small businesses. This 
isn't mainly a win for the small banks; this is a win for their 
customers, for the small businesses and individuals who need access to 
the credit they could not get under the status quo.
  Another thing that we have done recently which I think bears note--
unfortunately, so much happens in Washington, and it seems like every 
15 minutes there is breaking news, and sometimes we overlook and don't 
celebrate these great victories, in this case on behalf of our 
veterans. We have been accomplishing a lot for our servicemembers and 
veterans. Last year, we helped restore America's defense with the 
greatest investment in our military in 15 years and largest troop pay 
increase in 8 years.
  We have a bad habit here in Congress: After we have fought a war, we 
begin to think we can cash the peace dividend. We start to think, OK, 
now the world is safe, and now we can roll back our money spent on 
national security. Unfortunately, the world continues to be a dangerous 
place, and the world needs American leadership. Unfortunately, that is 
expensive, but there really is no option because if we don't have 
peace, if we don't have stability, none of the other benefits of life--
liberty and the pursuit of happiness--can exist.
  Getting back to our veterans, we passed the VA MISSION Act in the 
last couple of weeks, which will make significant reforms to the 
Department of Veterans Affairs, strengthening the healthcare and 
community care options that are available to American veterans. This 
bill provided $5.2 billion for the Veterans Choice Program. For 
example, if you are a veteran and you call to make an appointment and 
they say ``Well, come see us in August'' and you can't wait, or if you 
have to drive 100 or 200 miles--and in the Rio Grande Valley in South 
Texas, if you really need to go to the veterans hospital, you have to 
drive all the way to San

[[Page S2978]]

Antonio to get your healthcare--what the act did and what we passed on 
a bipartisan basis allows veterans a choice. You can go see a local 
healthcare provider, and you can go to a local hospital if they can 
provide that service quicker and more efficiently.
  We also provided for expanded caregiver assistance. This is a big 
deal. The times I have been to Walter Reed visiting Texans who were 
injured in Afghanistan or Iraq, frequently that injured servicemember 
had a spouse or family member who basically would have to give up their 
job in order to take care of their injured spouse. It is only right and 
it is only just that we provide expanded caregiver assistance to those 
individuals who do that.
  Finally, we have seen a crackdown on imported illegal drugs. As of 
April, the Border Patrol had seized 284 pounds of fentanyl--already 
greatly surpassing the total amount seized in fiscal year 2017. I don't 
have to repeat what a devastating impact the opioid crisis--
prescription drugs or the alternatives, which are heroin and fentanyl--
has had on our communities.
  These are just a handful of ways we are doing what the American 
people elected us to do. We put money back in their pockets. We rolled 
back regulations. We strengthened our military. We have given 
healthcare flexibility to our veterans. We protected our communities 
from harm. The best part of this story is, we are just getting started.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, all postcloture time 
is expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Wier 
nomination?
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Delaware (Mr. Coons), 
the Senator from Illinois (Ms. Duckworth), the Senator from New Mexico 
(Mr. Heinrich), and the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Menendez) are 
necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Young). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 95, nays 0, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 113 Ex.]

                                YEAS--95

     Alexander
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Booker
     Boozman
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Capito
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cortez Masto
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Gillibrand
     Graham
     Grassley
     Harris
     Hassan
     Hatch
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Jones
     Kaine
     Kennedy
     King
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Leahy
     Lee
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Merkley
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Paul
     Perdue
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sanders
     Sasse
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden
     Young

                             NOT VOTING--5

     Coons
     Duckworth
     Heinrich
     McCain
     Menendez
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the President 
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.

                          ____________________