June 11, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 96 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 96
(Senate - June 11, 2018)
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[Pages S3395-S3403] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 5515, which the clerk will report. The bill clerk read as follows: Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 442, H.R. 5515, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes. Recognition of the Majority Leader The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized. Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, later this afternoon, the Senate will move to begin considering the John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. Our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee have spent months engaged in thorough work and in bipartisan collaboration. Now the whole Senate will take up their legislation and vote on a plan to deliver on the most pressing needs of our Armed Forces. Congress has passed Defense Authorization Acts for 57 consecutive years--57 consecutive years. In doing so, we have taken steps to fulfill one of our most fundamental constitutional responsibilities: authorizing the funds that our men and women in uniform require to keep us safe. This year's NDAA arrives as our Nation faces significant challenges-- challenges like an emboldened Iranian regime and its continued support of destabilizing forces in the Middle East and a new era of great power competition as Russia and China expand their capabilities. Building on a time-honored process, this year's Defense authorization will help our Nation rise to meet these challenges with cutting-edge tools, top-notch training, and revitalized readiness. It is one of our most important jobs here in Congress. The 2019 Defense authorization is the top item on our to-do list, and we will tackle it this week. Appropriations Meanwhile, other important work is underway at the committee level. Chairman Shelby and our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee are laying the foundation for a productive summer. Last week, they reported out appropriations bills to fund the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, as well as important military construction projects. This week, they will proceed to finalize measures for Interior and Environment, Commerce-Justice- Science, and the legislative branch. I look forward to taking up these appropriations bills right out here on the Senate floor. Tax and Regulatory Reform Now, on another matter, Mr. President, today marks another important [[Page S3396]] milestone in our efforts to cut back the forest of redtape the Obama administration left behind. Effective today, thanks to the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC has rolled back meddlesome and unnecessary regulations that Democrats imposed on the internet back in 2015. Let's put this whole effort into perspective. The Federal Register is the government's legal newspaper. Among other documents, it prints the regulations that Federal agencies enforce and the proposed rules on deck. In 2016, under President Obama, it had to print nearly 39,000 pages of rules--an alltime high--and another 21,000 pages of proposed rules. That is 39,000 pages of rules and 21,000 pages of proposed rules in 2016. It is hard to wrap your mind around that--60,000 pages of rules and proposed rules to pile on American workers and job creators. We slashed those numbers in 2017. In that first year of our Republican government, the total number of Federal Register pages devoted to rules and proposed rules plummeted by more than 50 percent-- 50 percent less in 2017 than in 2016. That is a significant slowdown in the Federal Government's redtape factory just in our first year. This is part of what we were elected to do--get Washington, DC's, foot off the brake and let hard-working Americans and small businesses spend less and less time and energy hurdling obstacles put up by the Federal Government. The regulatory reform comes on top of the historic tax reform legislation we passed last December. We overhauled our Nation's Tax Code and rewrote it so that businesses can expand, invest, and create jobs more easily and middle-class families can keep more of what they earn. This 180-degree policy turnaround is helping the U.S. economy rise to its highest heights in recent memory. Today, thanks in large part to tax reform and regulatory reform, more small businesses are saying that it is a better time to expand operations than at any point in the last 44 years--44 years. More businesses are saying that it is a better time to expand operations than at any point in the last 44 years. That represents a 25- percentage-point leap in the number of Americans who say now is a good time to find a quality job. We have 3.8-percent unemployment--the lowest nationwide level in 18 years. The real roots of this good news aren't here in Washington. The Republicans understand that government does not create prosperity, but public policy plays a big part in determining whether the wind is blowing in the faces of the job creators or whether it is at their backs. On that front, the results of this Republican-opportunity agenda are literally speaking for themselves. 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. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, this week the Senate continues its consideration of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. Among important provisions related to our military readiness and operations abroad, the NDAA presents crucial opportunities to address other matters of national security. In addition to the critical improvements to CFIUS we must make in this bill, one of the most concerning issues is the decision by the Trump administration last week to reduce the harsh penalties previously imposed and then to provide relief to the Chinese telecom giant ZTE, lifting restrictions on the company and allowing it to continue to sell its products in the United States. ZTE was guilty of evading U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea and then lying to U.S. officials about it afterward. Asked about the decision to relax penalties, President Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said: ``It's going to be three strikes you're out on ZTE.'' Why are we giving ZTE three strikes? If you purposely evade U.S. sanctions and then lie about it, that is reason enough to bring the hammer down and leave it there. I have another expression for the Trump Administration: ``Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.'' It seems the administration was outmaneuvered by the Chinese on ZTE once again. Congress should reverse what the administration has done by reinstituting the hard penalties on ZTE, and we should do it on the NDAA bill that will be on the floor this week. You might ask: Why is this related to defense? This is the Defense bill. It is precisely related. Cyber security experts, national security experts, principal government agencies, the Republican-led FCC, the Republican-led FBI, and the Republican-led Pentagon have all deemed the sale of ZTE products in the United States a national security threat. Even if they hadn't violated sanctions and even if they hadn't lied about it, they shouldn't be here. This gives the Chinese Government-- which in many ways takes advantage of the United States militarily and economically and is spying on us by cyber warfare--a great opportunity to get right inside all of our communications. This is what Director Christopher Wray, appointed by President Trump, had to say: We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments . . . to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks. That provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information. And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage. ``Undetected espionage,'' the head of the FBI says, is what allowing ZTE in America will do. That is the Nation's chief law enforcement official--a Republican, appointed by President Trump--testifying that ZTE's technology is an espionage risk. What the heck are we doing cutting a deal with China--which is no friend of ours on economics and is stealing our jobs, stealing our intellectual property--letting them into the United States so they can have a window on hearing what our companies, our Defense Department, and everyone else are doing? Does that make any sense? I don't think so. That is why we have had bipartisan support and concern. I want to salute Senator Cornyn, Senator Rubio, and Senator Cotton. Their views and mine are not the same on a whole lot of issues, but on America's security and letting China spy on us, we are the same. I urge the Republican leader and the leaders of the bill to include a bipartisan amendment, offered by Senators Cotton and Van Hollen, to reverse the agreement made by the administration and prevent it from being able to provide ZTE relief for at least a year. We have to do this. God forbid that this country declines, and if they write a book on it, this will be one of the key points. We have a chance to stand up to China, to protect our national security, and to tell the Chinese that they can't keep taking advantage of us, and we are going to back off, for no stated good reason, because, clearly, Secretary Ross has said the deal he has put in is a good one. Forget about it. It is as weak as a wet noodle--fining them $1 billion. They don't care. They are backed by the Chinese Government. Putting some outside observers on the board--come on. They will not know what is going on because the Chinese Government controls just about all the big companies in China. So I hope we will stop this. Nominations of Thomas Farr and Ryan Bounds Mr. President, alongside the consideration of the NDAA, we are told that the majority intends to see the confirmation of more judicial nominations during this work period. In the next few weeks, the Senate is likely to take up two highly controversial nominees: Thomas Farr, for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Ryan Bounds, for a Ninth Circuit seat in Oregon. Thomas Farr has spent a lengthy legal career defending the interests of corporations against workers. That seems to be a trademark of so many of the nominees of this administration and this Republican Senate. He has not once but twice defended the gerrymandering of congressional districts by North Carolina's Republicans, and probably worst of all, he defended North Carolina's restrictive voter ID law, which ``targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision.'' That is not some politician's words. Those are the judges of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, a rather conservative court. For somebody to target African- Americans and say, ``let's make [[Page S3397]] it less likely they vote and give them less power,'' is such a grand step backward in this country, no matter what State you come from-- North Carolina, New York, Oregon. And we are going put this guy on the bench? Shame on us. Shame on us. By the way, the only reason Farr can be considered for this nomination is that an Obama nominee, Jennifer May-Parker, was blocked for nearly 3 years via the blue slip. Our Republican friends used the blue slip and kept this seat vacant, and now they have undone the blue slip in an act of partisanship, narrowness, and enmity in this country, and now they are going to fill it with someone like Mr. Farr--again, shame. Like Mr. Farr, Mr. Bounds is also controversial. Recently, we learned that Mr. Bounds had some rather offensive writings that he failed to disclose to the bipartisan Judicial Advisory Committee established by Senators Wyden and Merkley. That certainly validates their decision to withhold the blue slip. Despite the opposition of both home State Senators, the majority is moving forward. In doing so, they will further erode the century-old blue slip tradition that they themselves used to block an unprecedented number of nominees when Obama was President. Net Neutrality Mr. President, on another matter, the Republican-led FCC's repeal of net neutrality goes into effect today. The rules enacted by the Obama administration to bar large internet service providers from charging customers more for certain content are gone. The rules to bar large internet providers from slowing down certain websites are gone. The rules ensuring an open and free internet with a level playing field for small businesses, public schools, rural Americans, people without a lot of money, and communities of color are gone. Democrats tried to forestall this day by writing and then passing a CRA Act resolution through the Senate. It is bipartisan; some Republicans helped us. It couldn't have passed without them. Then, as a unified Senate caucus, Democrats sent a letter last week urging Speaker Ryan to schedule a vote, which I believe would have passed had it been put on the floor of the House of Representatives. Ryan refused to bring up the companion legislation to restore net neutrality. Once again, our Republican friends in the Senate, the House, and the administration have done it over and over, siding with the big, powerful special interests--in this case, internet service providers--over the average person, who is sort of powerless. How many of us rail against our cable bills? How many of us feel helpless when it comes to getting that cable bill? This increases the power of the same people. Do our Republican friends really want to do that? I guess so. Let me put it this way. By refusing to bring up the Senate-passed resolution to restore net neutrality, House Republican leaders gave a green light to the big internet service providers to charge middle-class Americans, small business owners, schools, rural Americans, poorer people, and communities of color more than they did before. With the exception of three brave Republicans in the Senate, it should be crystal clear to the American people that Republicans in Congress chose to protect special interests. Healthcare Mr. President, finally, I wish to address a bit of news on healthcare. On Thursday evening, the Trump Administration made a startling announcement: It would no longer defend the constitutionality of protection for Americans with preexisting conditions. This decision is a shameful capstone in the Trump administration's yearlong sabotaging our Nation's healthcare system. It is the most dangerous, most potent example of sabotage to date, even as premium increases hit double digits in State after State because of Republican actions. If the Trump administration gets its way, our entire healthcare system will be thrown into chaos. A mom goes to a health insurance company: My daughter has cancer. We are not going to fund you. She goes to another one. We are not going to fund you. The mother suffered. The family suffered. Their child is agonizing, dying of cancer, and they can't get insurance now because the Trump administration is no longer saying that we are going to protect people who apply with preexisting conditions. What is going on here? What is going on? And our Republican friends do nothing. The one thing I can tell you is that healthcare is going to be the biggest issue in 2018. It is far more important to the vast majority of Americans than any other issue. It is far more important than the tax cut they get, because for most Americans whatever they got back in tax cuts--for many, many Americans, and my guess is most--is a lot less than the amount their premiums are increasing. It is a killer for small businesses and others who want to insure their workers. President Trump, when he ran, explicitly and repeatedly said that he was going to protect folks with preexisting conditions. He has once again undone what he has promised. He has dropped the ball on healthcare, letting middle-class Americans, average Americans, and working families pay an awful price. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. (Mrs. ERNST). The Senator from Massachusetts. Net Neutrality Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, I wish to follow up on what the Democratic leader was making reference to with regard to net neutrality. Today is the day when net neutrality rules are gone, even though there is a way in which we, the Congress, can put them right back on the books. That is what happened in the Senate 3 weeks ago, when we voted 52 to 47 to put the net neutrality protections back on the books to ensure that they would be there for every American. As Senator Schumer was just pointing out, the ball is in the court of the House of Representatives--the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. We passed net neutrality in the Senate on a bipartisan basis. Senator Murkowski, Senator Collins, and Senator Kennedy of Louisiana voted for net neutrality. We know, as Senator Schumer just said, that if the vote was taken right now on net neutrality in the House of Representatives, it would win. We would be able to put those protections back on the books. Millions of people rose up throughout the last 6 months of last year, with 22 million of them contacting the FCC. Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC, ignored those 22 million people, and by a 3-to-2 vote on the Federal Communications Commission, they took net neutrality off of the books. In other words, they officially stripped consumers of the protections that have allowed our economy and our democracy to flourish. Now Americans will have to blindly trust their cable companies, their broadband companies, and their internet providers to protect them against discrimination. It is Big Cable's dream come true. They have already won at the FCC, but now the counterrevolution is underway. In the Senate, it has already happened. What we need to do now is to have the same level of energy with those millions of Americans who are targeting the House of Representatives and telling them that they want net neutrality, that they want nondiscrimination principles, that they want equal protection for the smallest voices, the smallest companies to be the law of the land--net neutrality. We need entrepreneurs; we need job creators, we need small businesses, which are the lifeblood of the American economy, to be protected against the natural tendency of the biggest corporations to pump up profits at the expense of the little guy. Yet you don't have to take my word for it. In looking back over recent history, before net neutrality protections were codified, in 2007, an Associated Press investigation found that Comcast was blocking or severely slowing down BitTorrent--a website that allowed consumers to share video, music, and video game files. From 2007 to 2009, AT&T forced Apple to block Skype and other competing services from using AT&T's wireless network in order to encourage users to purchase more voice minutes. In 2011, Verizon blocked Google Wallet to protect a competing service that it had a financial stake in developing and promoting. We all know it is just a matter of time before these big companies will [[Page S3398]] start to exercise their unfettered right to begin discriminating. Historically, these powerful corporations protect themselves, and they neglect consumer issues; they prioritize profits; they disregard service; they pocket their profits, and everyday Americans lose. There will be no eulogy for net neutrality here on the floor of the Senate today. The FCC will not have the last word when it comes to net neutrality, but the American people will. We are going to have a tsunami of Americans who will contact their Members of the House of Representatives to demand that it have a vote on net neutrality in the same way we had that vote here on the Senate floor. We know that when that vote takes place that the American people are going to win, that net neutrality is going to win, that the principles of nondiscrimination are going to win. Too many people today think that this whole idea of discrimination is back in vogue--that you can start talking about it in a way that has not been a part of our culture for a generation. Yet it is back. In a lot of ways, net neutrality is part of that whole discussion of whether or not the American people get protected against discrimination. We have an enhanced urgency because the FCC's rules are now final, and net neutrality is no longer the law of the land. That is what happened today. The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, is taking his victory lap today. He is so proud of what has happened--that net neutrality has been taken off the books--despite 22 million Americans saying they wanted it to stay on the books. Here is what we know. Consumers don't trust their cable and internet companies to do the right thing unless strict rules are in place to protect everyone in our country. We know that when you take a democratized platform with endless opportunity for communication and you add American ingenuity, you get economic growth; you get innovation; you get democracy online. That is what this fight is all about, and this fight is far from over. We are going to intensify our efforts to ensure that there is going to be a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. Conventional wisdom thought that it was all over last December, that once the FCC voted 3 to 2, it was over. The FCC didn't in any way anticipate the 52-to-47 vote here on the Senate floor to reinstitute net neutrality just 3 weeks ago, and it is dramatically underestimating the response of Americans all across our country who are descending electronically on the House of Representatives--on the part of Congress that has yet to vote on these issues. We are going to see millions of teachers, students, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and activists mobilize to protect the internet. They have demonstrated on the streets. They have written letters. They have made calls. They have signed petitions. They have posted on social media. That is what we are going to continue to see. Already, 170 Members of the House of Representatives have signed the discharge petition, which is a technical term for saying: Call for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives to vote on net neutrality. The momentum is building. They need 218. They have 170 right now. They are 48 Members of the House of Representatives short of winning over there. The pressure is going to intensify every single day, especially since net neutrality has now been, as of this moment, taken off the books. By the way, this fight is being waged at the State level as well. In California, just 2 weeks ago, the State senate voted 25 to 12 to reinstitute net neutrality, and in New York, in Massachusetts, in Oregon, and in Washington--in State after State--they are rising. They are saying: If the Federal Government will not protect us, then we will protect ourselves. We know that influential lobbyists aren't going to go away, but the American people aren't going to go away either. This is their government. This is the place at which they expect their will to be respected. When net neutrality is taken off the books--an issue that polls at 86 percent of all Americans--the will of the American people is not being respected. There is nothing more powerful than the collective voices of millions of Americans who are working together with a common mission, and that is to restore net neutrality to the books. The campaign to restore the internet, to save the internet, enters a new phase today. The urgency has never been higher, but the intensity level across this country has never been higher. Today is not the day for a eulogy for net neutrality. The fight has just begun. We thank every Senator who has already voted for net neutrality, and we thank every American who has worked toward that goal. Now let us redouble our efforts, because we have to turn this into a campaign issue in 2018 that matches all of the other issues that are driving the agenda of our country. I thank the Presiding Officer. I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. NELSON. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Effort Mr. NELSON. Madam President, a recent study from Harvard suggested that the actual death toll in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria could be as much as 70 times higher than what was previously reported. In fact, the study, which was released 2 weeks ago, suggests that the death toll could actually have been in a range from 800 all the way up to close to 8,000 deaths, and that is compared to the official FEMA count of 64. Recently, I was with the former Governor and now father of the present Governor, Pedro Rosello. He shared with me that a George Washington University study is underway to more accurately count the deaths resulting from the hurricane, but there is no reason why there should be such a discrepancy among U.S. citizens in these reports. The latest findings are just another stain on the Federal Government's overall response to the ongoing disaster in Puerto Rico, which has not been too stellar. The people of Puerto Rico are our fellow American citizens. They have a right to know exactly what happened on the island as a result of not just one massive storm but the second one which hit as well. They have a right to know exactly how many of their friends and neighbors lost their lives as a result of this disaster and exactly what the Federal Government is doing to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. That is why Senator Harris of California and I have introduced a bill to create a better way to track the number of deaths caused by a disaster. The legislation would require FEMA to work with the National Academy of Medicine to develop a new uniform system for local, State, and Federal officials across the country to more quickly and accurately determine the number of deaths by a disaster like Hurricane Maria. Not only will this bill help to provide some semblance of closure to the families affected by devastating events, but it will also ensure that the areas that are hardest hit by these disasters are getting all of the disaster assistance they are entitled to, including funeral assistance, which can help uninsured families afford the cost of burying their loved ones. This legislation that Senator Harris and I have filed is just one more step in our overall effort to help folks recover from the storms from last summer. I am urging my colleagues to work with us to get it done. The people of Puerto Rico aren't the only ones still working to recover from last year's storms. While we are now officially already in June in the midst of this year's hurricane season, there are still too many communities in Florida that have not received the hurricane recovery funds that Congress passed this past February--the hurricane disaster assistance appropriations. It is June and we passed it last February and it is still not out the door of the agencies. That is 122 days ago, about 4 months. Folks are hurting. They would like to have the disaster assistance money we appropriated. For these communities, this is unbelievable. They are not just waiting for money from Hurricane Irma from last year, they are waiting for funds from [[Page S3399]] Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew from 2 years ago. This Senator has repeatedly called on the administration to do more to expedite these funds for those who need it most by getting the funds to them. However, our calls and our requests go unheeded. We have fishermen and farmers whose livelihoods are being threatened, and their assistance is being slow-walked. Some may have to close up their businesses if they don't see relief soon. Specifically, communities in the Florida Keys were especially devastated. The eye of the hurricane went over about 19 miles up the chain from Key West. Those on the northeast quadrant of the storm got it the worst--around Big Pine Key. They are still waiting for some of their assistance that was due for that hurricane last year. There are homes that are still not repaired, and there are canals that are still full of debris. According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, only $600,000 in FEMA reimbursements has been deposited so far to Monroe County, which is in the Florida Keys. That is unacceptable. How are these communities expected to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season if they don't have the funds they were due from a year ago? I am again urging the Trump administration to see this as the emergency it truly is and finally release the funds to those who so desperately need them. These communities can't wait any longer. Congress has acted, and now it is time for the administration to do its part. Madam President, I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. Nomination of Miki Bowman Mr. MORAN. Madam President, in my time in the Senate, I have tried hard to make certain that rural America--rural Kansas in particular but all of rural America--has an advocate and that we work hard to make certain that colleagues from across the country understand the important issues we face in small towns across Kansas and around the country. Today, I want to talk about an opportunity we have that I think will be most beneficial to those of us who come from places like the Presiding Officer and I do. I rise today to speak in support of Miki Bowman. She was nominated recently--she had a hearing in front of our Banking Committee--to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Tomorrow, our Banking Committee will consider her nomination. I want to make certain that my colleagues on the committee and certainly my colleagues here in the Senate understand how valuable Miki will be as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Board and understand her qualifications. She is a native of a small town in Kansas. She is a native of Morris County in a beautiful part of our State. She received a degree from the University of Kansas as an undergrad and a law degree from Washburn University in Topeka. She is a rural American. Her talents brought her to Washington, DC. She served at the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and on the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee as a staffer, as well as in the office of Senator Bob Dole, one of my predecessors in the Senate. Like many of the Kansans I have known who have come here to Washington, DC, to work over the years, she found her way back home to Kansas when she returned to her hometown and became the vice president of the Farmers & Drovers Bank in 2010. In 2017, Ms. Bowman became the State bank commissioner for our State, where she is currently responsible for overseeing hundreds of State chartered banks, trust companies, money transmitters, and other nondepository entities. Ms. Bowman is precisely the kind of person I envision to fill the community bank representative position on the Board of Governors. The Federal Reserve Act now requires--and we worked hard to make sure this was the case--that the President ``appoint at least one member with demonstrated primary experience working in or supervising community banks having less than $10 billion in total assets.'' Well, the Farmers & Drovers Bank in Council Grove, KS, is a $175 million bank--well below that $10 billion threshold. So Ms. Bowman not only qualifies by the criteria of the statute--she is a banker--but she is also a supervisor, as exemplified by her role now as our State banking commissioner. If those qualifications aren't enough, I have come to know Miki Bowman as a forthright, intelligent, quality individual with a demonstrated record of service to her State, her country, and to her community. Those of us who know what I call relationship bankers know how important their role is in a small town in Kansas and across the country. The perspective she brings to the table as a banker, as a regulator, as a public servant, as a mother, and as a community leader is exactly the kind of perspective I think our country and our economy need at the Federal Reserve Board. I look forward to voting to advance Ms. Bowman's nomination tomorrow morning in the Banking Committee. I urge all my colleagues to support her confirmation when she is considered by the full Senate in the near future. Madam President, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado. Mr. GARDNER. Madam President, as the eyes of the world are fixed on Singapore, I rise today to discuss another important development in our Nation's diplomatic efforts in the Indo-Pacific. Tomorrow, we will open a new chapter in the relationship between the United States and our longstanding friend and ally Taiwan by opening the new complex of the American Institute in Taiwan, or AIT, which serves as a de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan. You can see the ``Strong Foundation, Bright Future''--this incredible new facility in Taiwan to replace the existing facility we have. I am pleased that Marie Royce, the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, will attend the ceremony on behalf of the United States. Along with my colleagues, Senators Rubio, Inhofe, and Cornyn, I sent a letter and called for a Cabinet-level official to attend the ceremony as well. There are a lot of things going on in Asia on June 12. The opening of this state-of-the-art complex comes at a most opportune time as a demonstration of strong U.S. support for the people of Taiwan. I join my colleagues in Congress in welcoming this new facility and thanking the men and women of our Foreign Service in Taipei and around the world for their service to our Nation. The new AIT facility will cultivate the relationship between the United States and Taiwan and further demonstrate the commitment of the United States to bolster its friendship and commercial and defensive partnership with Taiwan. Today, I also announce that I will be introducing a resolution welcoming the new AIT complex. I encourage my colleagues to cosponsor this resolution to express our support and excitement for this new facility. Taiwan is a free, democratic, and prosperous nation of 23 million people and an important contributor to peace and stability around the world. In many ways, Taiwan should serve as the model for a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which governs our unofficial relations with Taiwan, calls ``to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.'' The Taiwan Relations Act also unequivocally states that it is the policy of the United States ``to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.'' Since the election of President Tsai in 2016, Taiwan has been under unrelenting pressure from Beijing in a shameful and dangerous effort to deprive Taiwan of international legitimacy and to undermine the fragile status quo between Beijing and Taipei. In the last month alone, Taiwan lost [[Page S3400]] two diplomatic allies--the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso. Taipei has also once again been shut out of the World Health Assembly due to pressure from Beijing. Despite this decision, despite this treatment, Taiwan has nevertheless made a very generous donation of $1 million to the World Health Organization for Ebola-related relief efforts. It is time for the United States to aggressively push back against Beijing's effort to undermine a free Taiwan. Two weeks ago, I had an opportunity to visit Taipei and meet with President Tsai and personally thank her for her friendship and Taiwan's valuable contributions to global peace and stability. I think that friendship can be seen in this new AIT facility. I have also introduced two bipartisan bills in the Senate that will enhance U.S. relations with Taiwan and send a very strong message to Beijing that the United States will never--the United States will never--abandon our friends in Taipei. The first bill is the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, or ARIA, which is a bill that presents a new, comprehensive policy framework for U.S. policy toward the Indo-Pacific. We introduced ARIA on April 24, 2018, with a group of bipartisan cosponsors, including Senators Markey, Cardin, Rubio, and Young. Senators Sullivan and Perdue, with whom I traveled to the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore last week, have also joined in this effort. ARIA recognizes that Taiwan should be front and center in our Indo- Pacific strategy. ARIA states that it is the policy of the United States to faithfully enforce all existing U.S. commitments to Taiwan, as enshrined in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and the six assurances offered by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. ARIA also authorizes the sale of advanced weapons, weapon parts, and upgrades to Taiwan, consistent with U.S. law, and urges the President to regularize the arms sales consultation process with Congress. Finally, it authorizes high-level military and diplomatic contacts with Taipei, consistent with the Taiwan Travel Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 16, 2018. Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial board endorsed ARIA, including writing that the bill ``notably encourages regular weapons sales to Taipei.'' I ask unanimous consent that the Wall Street Journal editorial, titled ``China's Military Escalation,'' dated June 4, 2018, be printed in the Record. There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: [From The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2018] China's Military Escalation (By The Editorial Board) While President Trump focuses on trade and North Korea, China is aggressively building military outposts beyond its borders in the South China Sea. Beijing wants to push Washington out of the Indo-Pacific, and the Trump Administration and Congress may finally be developing a serious strategy to respond. Trillions of dollars of trade annually float through the Indo-Pacific, which stretches from East Africa through East Asia. In recent years China has built military bases on artificial islands hundreds of miles from its shores, ignoring international law and a 2016 ruling by a United Nations tribunal. The buildup has accelerated in recent weeks, as China has deployed antiship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers on the Spratly islands and even nuclear- capable bombers on nearby Woody Island. This violates an explicit promise that Chinese President Xi Jinping made to Barack Obama in 2015 that ``China does not intend to pursue militarization'' on the Spratlys. The next step could be deployed forces. At that point ``China will be able to extend its influence thousands of miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania,'' Admiral Philip Davidson, who leads the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said in April. In the face of China's buildup, the U.S. has shown uneven commitment. Mr. Obama limited freedom-of-navigation patrols to avoid a confrontation and never committed the resources to make his ``pivot to Asia'' a reality. China saw Mr. Obama's hesitation and kept advancing. The growing concern is that China will begin to dictate the terms of navigation to the world and coerce weaker neighboring countries to agree to its foreign policy and trading goals. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lately has been putting this concern front and center. He recently rescinded an invitation to the Chinese navy to participate in the multinational Rimpac exercises off Hawaii this summer. And at the annual Shangri-La security dialogue in Singapore this weekend, Mr. Mattis said that ``the placement of these weapons systems is tied directly to military use for the purposes of intimidation and coercion.'' He pointed to the Rimpac cancellation as a ``small consequence'' of this behavior and said there could be ``larger consequences,'' albeit unspecified, in the future. One such consequence could be more frequent and regular freedom-of-navigation operations inside the 12-mile territorial waters claimed by China. Joint operations with allies would have an even greater deterrent effect, and the U.S. should encourage others to join. Beijing will try to punish any country that sails with the U.S., but that will underscore the coercive nature of its plans. Believe it or not, Congress is also trying to help with the bipartisan Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA). The Senate bill affirms core American alliances with Australia, Japan and South Korea, while calling for deeper military and economic ties with India and Taiwan. It notably encourages regular weapons sales to Taipei. The bill authorizes $1.5 billion a year over five years to fund regular military exercises and improve defenses throughout the region. It also funds the fight against Southeast Asian terror groups, including Islamic State. This will help, but more will be needed. This year's $61 billion military spending increase was more backfill than buildup, and China recently boosted its defense budget 8.1%. ARIA also tries to address Mr. Trump's major strategic blunder of withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which didn't include China. The Senate bill grants the President power to negotiate new bilateral and multilateral trade deals. It also calls for the export of liquefied natural gas to the Indo-Pacific and authorizes the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate a deal with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). If the U.S. had a trade rep who believed in trade, this could strengthen the U.S. relationship with Vietnam and the Philippines--countries at odds with China over its territorial claims and militarism. The bill is backed by Republicans Cory Gardner and Marco Rubio and Democrats Ben Cardin and Ed Markey, which is a wide ideological net. China's rise, and Mr. Xi's determination to make China the dominant power in the Indo-Pacific, is a generational challenge that will require an enduring, bipartisan strategy and commitment. A firmer stand to deter Chinese military expansionism is an essential start. Mr. GARDNER. On May 24, 2018, I also filed the Taiwan International Participation Act, or TIPA, with Senator Markey. This bipartisan effort establishes that it should be the policy of the United States to support Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations, to instruct U.S. representatives in international organizations to use the voice and vote of the United States to support Taiwan's inclusion in appropriate international organizations around the globe, and to direct the President and his representatives to raise Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations during relevant bilateral engagements with the government of the PRC. I call on my colleagues to support both of these important pieces of legislation, which are efforts to show our strong support for the people of Taiwan. There is much more we can do and we should do to enhance our relationship with Taiwan, and I call on the administration to undertake all efforts allowable under U.S. law to enhance our relationship with Taipei. The opening of this new facility tomorrow, this new AIT complex--in fact, just a few hours from now--is a great sign of friendship and commitment from the United States, and I congratulate all those who have made this possible. I know Senator Rubio is on the floor today to talk about this and the important support the United States continues to show for Taiwan, but I will finish on this before I yield the floor. In my conversation with President Tsai, I talked about how Taiwan is really a great leader from whom we should learn and recognize and value their leadership around the globe. I think the million-dollar contribution they made to combat Ebola issues is just one small signal that they have an important role to play on the world stage, and I hope our allies around the globe will continue to engage Taiwan, as appropriate, and make sure they have that strong international voice that they sometimes feel to be lacking today. I encourage my colleagues to stand up to support Taiwan. I congratulate AIT on this new facility and certainly look forward to engaging Taiwan even more as we move forward. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida. [[Page S3401]] Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I want to start by thanking the Senator from Colorado, who has shown real leadership on the subcommittee that involves all of these matters regarding the Indo-Pacific region, and he is here on the floor to talk about a series of other measures that are in place. None of us here will be in Taipei tomorrow to attend the ceremony, but we all want to take this opportunity to applaud the opening of the American Institute in Taiwan and its new compound. This building will be so much more than just new office space. It will serve as a tangible symbol of the strong and enduring friendship between the United States and Taiwan, which is a democracy and is a strong ally of this country. Taiwan is not just an important economic and security partner. As I have said already, it is a very vibrant democracy. It has a prosperous free enterprise economy. Frankly, it is a shining example of what we hope the rest of the Indo-Pacific region will become and continue to be. The opening of this new office comes at a critical time when both the United States and Taiwan face major challenges that are posed by the Communist Party of China, which governs that country. Under the Communist Party, Beijing has increased its efforts to undermine and erode U.S. interests, even as it moves to isolate Taiwan on the international stage. For example, the Chinese Government has successfully blocked Taiwan's meaningful participation in many international organizations, such as the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, here in our own hemisphere, they have been successful in pressuring certain nations to cut their diplomatic ties with Taiwan and, instead, create new ones with Beijing. By the way, that is not Taiwan's position, but it is Beijing that makes you choose. You can either have relations with them or Taiwan-- but not with both. The latest, by the way, is the Dominican Republic, not far from our coast, where, in exchange for billions of dollars of assurances, they made that change. They will deny it, but you will see the billions coming in. These billions of dollars sound like a really good deal until you realize they bring their workers from China, and it is all a one-way street. It is all there to benefit China. Look around the world at all of the countries that have taken all of this money, 5 years, 3 years later; they are terrible deals with terrible terms that are good for China but bad for the country that took the money. But in this particular case, they were successful, and they are going to continue to chip away at those countries. About a year before, Panama had cut their ties with Taiwan. What China has made very clear is that their intention is to continue to both pressure and entice--I say ``entice,'' but probably the right word is ``bribe''--additional countries to do the exact same thing. And they do it, as I said, with the promise of investments and loans. I encourage these countries and everyone who is listening and cares about these issues to go and look at the history of these loans, these enticements, and these investments. You will see how bad they ultimately are for the country that helps them. They all come with troubling strings attached. The Chinese Government, by the way, has even been successful in bullying American companies when it comes to Taiwan--or other topics, for that matter, that they deem too sensitive for the Communist Party. Perhaps the most recent, outrageous example is an American, working in America--not in China, in America--for an American company, Marriott Hotels, was fired from his job because he accidentally liked a tweet that said something about Taiwan and Tibet being independent of China. Imagine that you work for a company, and you go online. You accidentally retweet something--or like it--and you get fired because China goes to Marriott and says: We will cut you off from doing business if you don't get rid of this guy. They fired an American, in the United States. If you think the things China is doing are things that are happening halfway around the world with Taiwan--they are happening to Americans right here. A few weeks ago, one of the clothing stores put out a T-shirt, and on this T-shirt it had a map of China, but it didn't include Taiwan. They had to apologize for that and call back all of the T-shirts or they were going to get kicked out. An American airline, United Airlines, was told that unless they changed their website so that it no longer referred to Taiwan as an independent country, they would be punished. They are intimidating American businesses in the United States because of Taiwan and other issues the Communist Party finds unacceptable. For far too long this aggression has gone unchecked. China must not be allowed to continue to interfere any further in Taiwan's relations or standing with the rest of the world. Earlier this year, I, along with numerous colleagues, passed a law that the President has signed. It is called the Taiwan Travel Act. It encourages high-level visits between American officials and their Taiwanese counterparts. I hope the administration will move quickly to begin implementing this and send high-level officials, including Cabinet-level officials, to Taipei to meet with their counterparts there. Our friendship with Taiwan is based on our shared ideals and the common vision of an Asia that is prosperous, peaceful, and free. The United States must, should, and, I hope, will continue to stand by Taiwan, irrespective of any pressure that others, including the Communist Party of China, may bring to bear on this relationship. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma. Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, first of all, the comments that were made by my friend from Florida are right on target. I recall--actually, it was 30 years ago--a book that was written by Anthony Kubek called, ``Modernizing China.'' Everything he said at that time that was going to happen in the future has now happened with the leaders and the freedoms that China has never known. Then, when you go and see what is happening all around the world right now with China and in the South China Sea--they are building all of these islands down there. Our allies believe they are preparing for World War III, so that is really serious stuff. Anyway, we are going to be voting in a few minutes on moving forward on the bill that every year, arguably, is the most significant bill of the year. It has passed now for 57 consecutive years. We are anxious to get to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. It is our hope, as we consider the bill this week, that we can have an open amendment process, just as we did in the committee markup, where we considered 300 bipartisan amendments. I am joined here by Senator Reed, who is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. We are all in agreement on a lot of things, one being an open amendment process. We want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to offer their amendments. Unfortunately, with the rules of the Senate, it is sometimes difficult because people can object to anything, and then everything stops. But on this bill, I can't imagine it is going to happen because of the significance of this bill. We can't overstate the significance of the NDAA legislation, which prioritizes modernizing our forces. There is widespread agreement that we need this legislation. Just look at some of the headlines. This weekend, the Washington Post had an article about how the Pentagon fears we aren't keeping pace with China and Russia in the area of hypersonic weapons. Hypersonic weapons are weapons that move at five times the speed of sound. We are actually behind both China and Russia in developing that capability. We could say the same thing about the triad nuclear progress. We have done virtually nothing in the last 10 years while we have watched China and Russia go beyond this. Of course, these are the things we are addressing. On Memorial Day, the Oklahoman discussed how China and Russia have artillery capabilities. Artillery capabilities are generally looked at in terms of rapid fire and range, and they are ahead of us in both of these areas. This idea that America has the best of everything is something that most [[Page S3402]] people believe, but we have fallen behind. We need not be critical of how we got behind. That is not important now. We know where we are, and we know we can start with this bill, and we are going to be having a motion to advance the bill. Let me say this. During the consideration of this bill in committee, we had well-attended meetings. We actually considered 300 amendments during the course of consideration in conference to bring it to the floor out of committee, and it passed unanimously, so it is something we worked on very closely together. Senator Jack Reed and I worked very closely, and we had very few disagreements. I think we both agree on this: We have to get the bill done, and we want to have an open amendment process. If, for some reason, there is a lot of objection to that, we will express ourselves, and, hopefully, we will be successful. With that, I thank Senator Reed not only for the cooperation we have had--not just from Senator Reed--but also for his leadership in the committee so that we could come to the point where we are today. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island. Mr. REED. Thank you, Mr. President. Let me also extend my thanks to the Senator from Oklahoma for his cooperation and leadership. As he indicated very accurately, on a bipartisan basis, we considered numerous amendments. We were virtually unanimous at the conclusion of the committee deliberations in terms of bringing this bill to the floor. His staff and the Democratic staff were working all weekend to prepare a package of amendments, which we think can be accepted unanimously as an initial step in the process, the managers' package. Then, like Senator Inhofe, I would like to see a process where we have a series of amendments from both sides, adequate time to debate the amendment, and then a vote on the amendment as we move forward. Then we are hoping to be able to do so in a very deliberate and thoughtful way, and reach, we hope, in a timely manner, a point where we have discussed the major concerns of all of our colleagues, voted on many of them, and then ask for final passage of a bill that is worthy of passage. Each year we have done so. This will begin to set us on a path to conference with the House of Representatives and then a final conference report here. Once again, I thank the Senator from Oklahoma and concur that we would like to see--and so far, his cooperation and his leadership has engendered cooperation so we can have a series of amendments on the floor. With that, I yield the floor. Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, let me make one more comment because it is not very often we come with a really significant piece of legislation that everyone agrees on; that everyone agrees we have to have. There is no question about that. I would say this also has the support of not just me and Senator Reed but also the leadership in the minority and the majority in the Senate. The one thing everyone agrees on is an open amendment process. It is frustrating, and I ask my friend from Rhode Island if he agrees with this; that under the Senate rules, one person can really make it very difficult--in fact, one person can preclude us from having any votes on amendments just because that is the way the Senate works. Last week, we experienced that on Thursday. We wanted to advance the bill at that time and bring it forward, but we couldn't because of just one individual making a demand that his amendment be heard. So I am hoping we discourage people from doing that. I think Senator Reed would join me in encouraging our Members to bring their amendments down to start moving this forward before something happens that obstructs the progress we anticipate we are going to be enjoying. Mr. REED. Mr. President, I couldn't concur more with the Senator from Oklahoma. We have both, in our careers in the Senate, seen debates on the floor on the NDAA that were very open, that proceeded over the course of several days, and that produced very sound legislation. Then we have seen situations in which, frankly, no amendments could be offered because almost immediately we were in a position of deadlock. The majority leader, Republican or Democratic, filed the final cloture motion and suddenly we were on final passage without amendments. I think the bill is good. I think there are many important issues we can debate. We might disagree on the outcome of the vote, but that debate and that vote is very critical to the national security of the United States. So I do, in fact, concur with the Senator from Oklahoma. Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, there are some issues where we are going to have a partisan difference. We already pretty much know where they are. There are going to be some controversial votes, and that is fine. That is the way this is supposed to be, and this is a good way to settle it. I recently came back from Afghanistan, Kuwait, and a lot of places where we have our troops. Let me say that if we don't go ahead and get this done--because we have already announced the bill being done as we speak--we have an awful lot of troops out there who are going to really wonder: Are we really supportive, offering our support to them, these guys and gals who are out risking their lives and doing the heavy lifting? So we are anxious to get started, and we will have the vote shortly. We will get on the bill. I would like to go ahead and start in on amendments so, hopefully, that will take place. With that, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee. Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, through the Presiding Officer, I would like to talk to both of our leaders and thank them for the work they have done. I, too, look forward to having numbers of amendments. I think many people here are aware that I have an amendment that deals with the 232 tariff issue, and I know there is a lot of interest in that amendment. We actually have strong bipartisan support from a range of very respected Senators. There has been a blue slip issued that has been erased. I was asked by Senator Inhofe, as well as by Senator McConnell, to solve the blue- slip issue. I just wanted Members to know we have talked to the Parliamentarian, and I plan to ask unanimous consent, after we vote to move to the bill, for a very short paragraph to be consented to that would then solve the blue-slip issue and then cause my amendment to be able to be heard without, in any way, tainting the bill should it move across the Senate floor to the House. I have given that language to the well. I know they are going to talk to Laura Dove and Gary a little bit about it. I just wanted to make you aware, as a courtesy, that I do plan, after we move to the bill, to ask unanimous consent on something that should be totally unobjectionable and that in no way prejudices my amendment in a favorable way; it just allows us to move to it without having the blue-slip issue that has been raised. Mr. INHOFE. Let me make one comment about this. First of all, I would say to the Senator from Tennessee how much I appreciate the courtesy he has expressed and the way he has dealt with it and talked about his interest. I think he and I actually had a disagreement on the content of one of his interests, but, nonetheless, we talked it over, and we had a chance to iron those things out. I do want to publicly thank you for not running in and objecting and making it difficult for us to get our jobs done. Mr. CORKER. Thank you. Mr. REED. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. All time has expired. The question now occurs on agreeing to the motion to proceed. Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second? There is a sufficient second. The clerk will call the roll. The legislative clerk called the roll. Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator from Missouri (Mr. Blunt) and the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain). [[Page S3403]] Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Maryland (Mr. Cardin), the Senator from Illinois (Ms. Duckworth), and the Senator from New York (Mrs. Gillibrand) are necessarily absent. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote? The result was announced--yeas 91, nays 4, as follows: [Rollcall Vote No. 120 Leg.] YEAS--91 Alexander Baldwin Barrasso Bennet Blumenthal Booker Boozman Brown Burr Cantwell Capito Carper Casey Cassidy Collins Coons Corker Cornyn Cortez Masto Cotton Crapo Cruz Daines Donnelly Durbin Enzi Ernst Feinstein Fischer Flake Gardner Graham Grassley Harris Hassan Hatch Heinrich Heitkamp Heller Hirono Hoeven Hyde-Smith Inhofe Isakson Johnson Jones Kaine Kennedy King Klobuchar Lankford Leahy Lee Manchin Markey McCaskill McConnell Menendez Moran Murkowski Murphy Murray Nelson Perdue Peters Portman Reed Risch Roberts Rounds Rubio Sasse Schatz Schumer Scott Shaheen Shelby Smith Stabenow Sullivan Tester Thune Tillis Toomey Udall Van Hollen Warner Warren Whitehouse Wicker Young NAYS--4 Merkley Paul Sanders Wyden NOT VOTING--5 Blunt Cardin Duckworth Gillibrand McCain The motion was agreed to. ____________________