MOTION TO DISCHARGE--H.R. 3; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 103
(Senate - June 20, 2018)

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[Pages S4257-S4261]
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                      MOTION TO DISCHARGE--H.R. 3

  Mr. LEE. Madam President, pursuant to title X of the Congressional 
Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, I have a discharge petition 
at the desk and move to discharge from the Senate Committees on 
Appropriations and Budget H.R. 3, to rescind certain budget authority 
proposed to be rescinded in special messages transmitted to the 
Congress by the President on May 8, 2018.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to section 1017(b) of the 
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, there will 
now be up to 1 hour of debate on the motion to discharge, equally 
divided between the two leaders or their designees.
  Who yields time?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Madam President, over the next 10 years, our national debt 
is set to balloon from $21.16 trillion today to more than $33.9 
trillion in 2028.
  With interest rates set to increase, the payments on the debt will 
also likely double over the next 10 years as a percentage of total 
economic output. Consider for a moment the fact we are paying a little 
more than $300 billion a year to service our debt. It is not that much 
more than we were paying a couple of decades ago when our national debt 
was roughly one-fifth, one-sixth of its current size. The only reason 
our debt service payments are as low as they are today is that our 
interest rates are at all-time historic lows. Our Treasury yield rates 
are artificially, historically, aberrationally, severely low. The 
situation gets a lot worse if our artificially, historically low 
interest rates increase or start to return to their historical averages 
at a pace quicker than has been projected, as is easily possible. For 
example, if interest

[[Page S4258]]

rates were to return just to historical norms--I am not talking about a 
rebound above the historical average, just a rebound to historical 
norms--taxpayers would soon be drowning in trillion-dollar annual 
interest payments just for the interest on our debt, which means just 
the difference between what we are paying in our debt service payment 
now and what we would be paying then, possibly a few short years from 
now. It is more than we spend on the Department of Defense. This is 
really frightening, and this is why it is such welcome news that there 
is some movement on this front.
  That is why it is such welcome news that on May 8 President Trump 
sent to Congress a request to rescind $15.4 billion worth of extraneous 
spending. This is something Congress used to do all the time. This is 
something that in decades past would occur dozens, even scores of 
times, during a single Presidential administration, and it was a 
bipartisan matter, of course. Returning unused taxpayer money isn't 
just good government; in a republic, it should be expected, and it 
should be the norm. In 1981, President Reagan and a divided Congress 
rescinded more than $15 billion in Federal spending and another $16 
billion in 1985 and 1986. President Clinton made three rescission 
requests in 2000, totaling $128 million.
  Now we have the chance to take up the mantle again. President Trump's 
specific proposals draw back unused funds from expired programs, 
obsolete programs, and accounts that the Congressional Budget Office 
says are wildly, needlessly overfunded. In fact, according to CBO, none 
of the funds in the requested rescissions would alter current Federal 
programs in any way. For instance, CBO has certified that the $7 
billion CHIP rescission would not affect either outlays or the number 
of Americans with health insurance. And I should note that Congress has 
rescinded CHIP funding in every enacted Labor-HHS appropriations bill 
since 2011, more than $50 billion in total during that time period.
  The spending targeted for rescission is either expired or rendered 
unattainable by current eligibility requirements. The $15 billion is 
just sitting, unused, in agency accounts. So how does it help to cut 
spending if this money is just sitting there? This is the real sticking 
point, for Congress has this cute little habit of paying for new 
spending by raiding these unused funds. It is a budgetary trick, a 
gimmick, if you will. The money may not be used this year, but it can 
be recycled into budget gimmicks in future years. Rescinding it now 
takes the $15 billion out of circulation for those kinds of shenanigans 
in the not-too-distant future, and, of course, that is the real reason 
why it will not pass unanimously.

  Now, to its credit, the House of Representatives has stepped up. On 
June 7, the House of Representatives passed its own $14.8 billion 
rescissions package. Now it is our chance. Now we have the opportunity 
to do the same. This is the Senate's chance to show the American people 
that we retain some modicum of attention and of seriousness when it 
comes to the spending habits of the Federal Government and when it 
comes to fiscal restraint in Washington, DC.
  Cutting spending that isn't actually going to be spent may not be a 
profile in courage, but it is at least a sign of a pulse, and in 
Washington that is something. That is something important that we can 
and we should show today. It is a step toward fiscal responsibility and 
away from the cynicism and the waste that has turned this city into 
what is known as ``the swamp.''
  In Congress we face a lot of difficult decisions--gut-wrenching, 
heart-wrenching decisions--but this is not one of them. President 
Trump's request is as reasonable as can be imagined. Now, $15 billion 
may be a drop in the bucket compared to $15 trillion or $21 trillion, 
but that is a reason to support this legislation, not to oppose it. 
Congress needs to retrain its atrophied muscles in preparation for the 
far larger tasks that lie ahead.
  If we do not find the will--if we can't somehow muster the willpower 
necessary to reduce Federal spending ourselves now, long before the 
laws of mathematics and economics force us to do so--we will regret it. 
If we wait until those laws catch up with us, it will be a whole lot 
more painful later than it will be if we start making more modest 
adjustments now.
  Every day that passes without action represents more of our national 
debt being thrown onto our children's backs--another line item on the 
fiscal indictment that we are writing, however unwittingly or 
unknowingly, against ourselves.
  We have to change course. This bill provides us with a good chance to 
take one small step toward sanity.
  I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the motion to discharge.

                       Discharge Petition--H.R. 3

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with title 10 
     of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Act of 1974, 
     hereby direct that the Senate Committees on Appropriations 
     and Budget be discharged from further consideration of H.R. 
     3, a bill to rescind certain budget authority proposed to be 
     rescinded in special messages transmitted to the Congress by 
     the President on May 8, 2018, in accordance with title X of 
     the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act 1974.
         Mike Lee, Patick J. Toomey, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, David 
           Perdue, Jeff Flake, Joni Ernst, Ron Johnson, John 
           Kennedy, Marco Rubio, Thom Tillis, Steve Daines, Mike 
           Rounds, John Cornyn, Ben Sasse, James Lankford, Tom 
           Cotton, John Barrasso, Mike Crapo, James Risch.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I have been in the Senate long enough to 
think that maybe the Senate can start to go back to being the Senate. A 
Senate that votes on things and debates things and reflects the will of 
the people--not what is dictated from the White House. Perhaps that was 
wishful thinking on my part, because in just the latest example of the 
``cut first and ask questions later'' policies of the Trump 
administration, we are now going to vote on a bill that will claw back 
billions of dollars from children's health insurance, affordable 
housing investments, infrastructure, rural development, and innovative 
energy programs. This is the same White House that just forced through 
Congress a $1.9 trillion--not billion, but trillion--tax giveaway, most 
of which goes to billionaires and corporations. Then, they say we have 
to cut children's health insurance because we have to reduce the 
deficit. We can give billionaires and corporations $1.9 trillion, but 
this might increase the deficit. So we have to cut children's health 
insurance, affordable housing investments, infrastructure, rural 
development, and innovative energy programs. That goes beyond 
laughable. It is unconscionable.
  President Trump is seeking to cut $7 billion from funding for 
children's health insurance. If you strip this funding from the 
Children's Health Insurance Program, we leave children unprotected from 
unforeseen events like a flu outbreak or a natural disaster.
  This takes away the ability of Congress should be able to make 
critical investments in healthcare and education. Even if the money can 
no longer be dedicated to CHIP, we should reinvest it in other 
important programs as we have done in the past--programs that support 
our Nation's children and families. I don't think there is any Member 
of this body who, when they are campaigning, doesn't talk about how 
important children and their families are to them. I hope those same 
families will ask them: How much money did you take out from children 
and families?
  Earlier this year, the Congress did what they were supposed to. 
Republicans and Democrats came together to direct this funding to the 
Federal response to the opioid epidemic, the childcare and development 
block grants, Head Start, and the National Institutes of Health. These 
are investments in our country. They are not tax giveaways. They are 
investments in our country. If you strip this funding, it is penny wise 
and pound foolish.
  President Trump wants to claw back billions of dollars from 
infrastructure programs. I see so many of these photo ops he does, 
speaking about how we want to have better infrastructure. However, we 
don't want to pay for it so we will take the money back.
  Let's look at what the money is that he wants to take away. It is 
programs to do everything from supporting loans to helping factories 
produce more efficient vehicles to building bridges in small 
communities. These are programs that directly support American jobs. 
They are not jobs overseas. They

[[Page S4259]]

are jobs right here, and now they want to take the money out.
  For an administration that is perpetually in ``infrastructure week,'' 
it doesn't make sense if you are trying to cut funding for 
infrastructure. How do we put ``America first'' when you strip funds 
that support Americans jobs?
  In a continued push to leave rural America behind, Mr. Trump's 
rescission package would cut millions of dollars from rural development 
programs. Every single Senator in this body has rural areas in their 
State, and they know that these programs help to ensure that the same 
basic services are offered in rural areas that we see in urban areas--
things that we rely on, like schools or healthcare, for instance, or 
police stations. Are we saying that only urban areas can have that but 
rural areas can't?
  In the Appropriations Committee, Senator Shelby and I have been 
focused on moving forward through the fiscal year 2019 process. We are 
trying to return the committee to regular order--something that most 
Republicans and Democrats in this body say they want. We have 
successfully kept poison pill riders and controversial authorizing 
language out of the appropriations bills, whichever side of the aisle 
they came from, and we passed, by an overwhelming margin, seven 
bipartisan bills out of our committee.
  It has been years since we have seen that happen. Here we have seven 
bipartisan appropriations bills come out of committee, and almost all 
Republicans and all Democrats voted for them. Even with the Interior 
appropriations bill--that is a bill that has been historically bogged 
down with poison pill riders and usually forced into a massive omnibus 
appropriations bill because we could not reach an agreement. In the 
past we had to put it in an omnibus bill because we couldn't agree on 
it--guess what happened. We passed it out of committee unanimously. I 
don't recall that happening in nearly a decade.
  Now, if we go forward with this rescission package, it is going to 
derail the process.
  The rescission bill undermines the bipartisan budget deal that 
Republicans and Democrats struck just four months ago.
  If we go forward with this package, another will fall, and another, 
and another, even further undermining the agreement.
  I will remind everybody that if they haven't gotten around to reading 
the Constitution, it does grant Congress the power of the purse, not 
the executive branch. Congress decides spending priorities, not the 
President. We ought to actually do our job. We should exercise our 
right. We should reject this rescissions package. We should uphold the 
bicameral, bipartisan budget agreement.
  So I urge all Senators to reject this rescissions package and to 
oppose the motion to discharge.
  Madam President, I don't see any other Senator seeking the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum and ask unanimous consent that the 
time be equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                               Tax Reform

  Mr. HATCH. Madam President, I rise in celebration of the 6-month 
anniversary of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I know there were 
a lot of remarks about the benefits of tax cuts right out of the gate, 
but many of the benefits from the reform of the old, broken, and 
outdated Tax Code will accumulate over the long run.
  I rise to talk about some of the benefits from the new Tax Code that 
can be witnessed by hard-working families right now. For example, the 
typical family of four making the median family income of around 
$75,000 a year is right in the middle of the first year of our cuts. 
Those typical families are going to see their taxes cut by more than 
  We also doubled the child tax credit and expanded its refundability 
to benefit more working families. The Tax Code also makes filing taxes 
easier and more straightforward for the typical middle-class family. 
That is because the standard deduction was nearly doubled.
  Taken all together, provisions like these are the reason the 
nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation found that the overall 
distribution of the new tax bill is directed toward the middle class. 
This is happening everywhere.
  Take my home State of Utah, for example. According to some recent 
numbers from the Tax Foundation, citizens of Utah can expect, on 
average, a tax cut of nearly $1,500, or 2.4 percent of their income.
  Take advantage of those hundreds of dollars and start paying off your 
car a little sooner. Maybe go out to see a baseball game or take your 
family on a road trip to see some of the beautiful national parks 
around our country and especially throughout the State of Utah. All of 
those things are now that much more possible because of our tax reform.
  Those direct tax cuts are just a part of the larger picture ushered 
in by tax reform. More broadly, tax reform has provided a shot in the 
arm to a long-ailing economy. After cutting the corporate tax rate from 
35 percent to 21 percent, businesses have been able to reinvest, build 
new facilities, hire new workers, and start innovating now more than 
  Recent polls by the National Association of Manufacturers, the 
Business Roundtable, Gallup, and the National Federation of Businesses 
show that optimism, and plans to expand hiring and growth for 
businesses of all sorts and sizes are at alltime highs. This optimism, 
along with lower costs of increasing investments and doing business, 
has already started to result in real changes for the middle class.
  Take, for example, the list of more than 100 different utility 
companies that have cut their rates across the country. According to 
one compilation, the American people are on track to pocket more than 
$2.8 billion just this year off those savings.
  Some might also argue that this is a normal period of expansion and 
growth in the economy. As one journalist recently noted, tax reform has 
poured ``jet fuel'' on a growing economy.
  According to the most recent reports in June, the total number of 
workers receiving unemployment benefits is running at the lowest levels 
in 44 years, and that is just in terms of numbers of people drawing 
unemployment benefits, not even taking into account the massive 
population growth since December 1973.
  For the first time since record-keeping began in 2000, the number of 
available positions exceeded the number of job seekers, according to 
the information from the Department of Labor. This is just the initial 
boost. I tend to think positive economic outcomes are most often 
created by hard work and good policy, like our tax reform package.
  That is why activity in the labor market has been especially robust, 
with more than 1 million jobs already created in this year alone. That 
is why wage growth has been trending upward, and that is why business 
investment has been robust. More Americans now have access to more of 
their own hard-earned money. As Republicans predicted, we are already 
seeing the middle class and the economy generally benefit.
  Mark my words, there is a lot more growth we should anticipate coming 
down the pike as more and more people start to realize how much tax 
reform actually does, and will, affect their families, their 
businesses, their communities, and our country as a whole.
  As business investment and productivity pick up due to higher 
expected aftertax returns from investment, wage growth, too, will 
continue to pick up. All told, these changes are creating a paradigm 
shift. More than ever before, Americans can expect things to be better 
tomorrow than they are today.
  Personally, I am more excited than ever for my great-grandchildren, 
my grandchildren, and my children. I am grateful to everyone who has 
made this possible. After all, major tax reform like this is truly a 
once-in-a-generation opportunity for all of us.
  Just 6 months in, we have seen so many positive results from the tax 
reform that the list is too long to cover in just one speech. Make no 
mistake, the list of positives from tax reform for

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American families and businesses will continue to grow larger and 
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.


  Mr. CORKER. Madam President, I rise to talk about the abuse of 
authority that is taking place with the administration's use of section 
232 of the Trade Act to implement taxes on the American people. Let me 
say this one more time. The President, and the administration, abusing 
section 232 of the Trade Act, have decided on their own accord to tax 
the American people. They have put in place a 25-percent tariff on 
steel and aluminum and are getting ready to do so on some other 
products. Yet, this is Congress's responsibility--Congress's 
responsibility--to generate tariffs or deal with taxes.
  The administration, by citing section 232--a national security 
issue--is taxing goods coming into America from Canada, from Europe, 
and our allies on a national security basis.
  Today I wrote a letter to Secretary Ross, our Secretary of Commerce, 
because it is my understanding--actually, today, in a hearing with the 
Finance Committee, he said there were 22,506 requests from companies in 
the United States asking for exclusions--exclusions--from being taxed 
for goods that come in to support their companies.
  I will say to my friends here, on what basis do we think these 
exclusions might be granted? We have already had an abuse of authority 
in using 232. I guess my question to Secretary Ross is, on what basis 
is he going to be granting these exclusions? Are they going to be 
friends of the administration who get exclusions? Are they going to 
deny exclusions to opponents of the administration or are they going to 
use the national security reason, if you will, to grant exclusions?
  I want to say, again, I think this is our responsibility. I realize 
that when additional tariffs go in place in July--when these other 
countries retaliate, which is their plan on July 1--my guess is this 
issue may become more ripe for action, not unlike what is happening at 
the border right now where people are seeing what is occurring and 
action is being promoted to solve the problem. I think, once the 
tariffs by these other companies kick in against us on July 1--because 
we, in a most unusual way, the administration citing national security 
against Canada, Mexico, many of our NATO allies and the European 
Union--I think this issue is going to become ripe. I think it is going 
to become ripe for Senate action and House action.
  Again, I will ask people in this room, knowing they cited 232, which 
again is an abuse of that authority, are we comfortable with the 
criteria that the administration is going to be using on the 22,000--
actually, let me see here. Maybe that is a low number. It is 26,977 
issues that have been dealt with, but 22,506 exclusions have been asked 
for. In other words, we have companies that are coming to the 
administration which is abusing its authority. We have companies that 
are going to the administration, asking that they not be impacted by 
the taxes that are being placed on their companies, unilaterally by 
this administration, with no congressional input.
  I say to my colleagues, do we not want to know on what basis they 
unilaterally are going to decide not to tax certain companies? In other 
words, most companies are being taxed 25 percent. They just decided to 
do that themselves. Yet they are going to grant exclusions.
  I think this issue is going to wreak havoc on our country. It already 
is wreaking havoc on our relationships with friends that have been with 
us for many years in defense that have to come our aid, and we have 
come to their aid. We have had alliances.
  Again, I challenge the Senate to take action on this. There is an 
amendment that is broadly supported by people on both sides of the 
aisle, with a wide range of ideology, that would say, if we are going 
to invoke 232, a national security section, we would vote on that. My 
sense is, as this moves along, people are going to want to vote on 
that, and I look forward to that day occurring.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. CASEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Forced Family Separation

  Mr. CASEY. Madam President, I rise to address the issue that I know 
folks in both parties of both Houses, and, of course, across the 
country, are concerned about; that is, the issue of child separation at 
the border.
  This is, unfortunately, an issue that because there is so much 
outrage, there is, in fact, substantial unity against the policy that 
is in place right now. I am, like a lot of Americans, vehemently 
opposed to the policy of what, in essence, amounts to ripping children 
away from their parents. I, like a lot of Americans, have demanded that 
the President and his administration end this cruel policy immediately.
  We are hearing some reports that there may be an action taken. I 
don't know what that action will be, but I hope it is an action that 
will end the policy. Until we know that, we have to continue to urge 
the President to do the right thing.
  Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security released data 
showing that between May 5 and June 9--just a little more than a 
month--2,342 children were taken from their parents at the border. That 
is about 70 children per day taken from their parents.
  I have received thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls from 
concerned Pennsylvanians who are demanding an immediate end to the 
policy. I never imagined that I would have to stand here today, nor 
should anyone, to talk about a scenario where the U.S. Government is 
separating children from their parents at the border. That seems 
incomprehensible that would ever happen, but it has.
  I am reading part of a statement that reads as follows:

       Our government is forcibly separating children--including 
     toddlers--from their parents and sending them to detention 
     facilities as a means of sending a message and influencing 

  That was a statement not made by a Democratic Senator or a Democratic 
House Member or a Republican or any politician; that was part of a 
larger statement made by Thomas Donahue, the president and CEO of the 
U.S. Chamber of Commerce--not someone who is very often lined up on the 
same side as Democratic Senators. I think that is an understatement.
  To say this policy is cruel, inhumane, and an insult to the values of 
our Nation is to utter an understatement. This is a policy that is 
straight from the pit of hell, and there is probably worse that we 
could say about it. It is hard to comprehend that any administration at 
any time would propose, let alone implement, a policy that would result 
in children being separated from their parents.
  Unlike what the administration has tried to argue, this is not about 
following the law or securing the border. Neither of those statements 
is relevant here. This is a conscious decision by this administration, 
which is contrary to the decisions by the last two administrations--one 
a Republican administration, the other a Democratic administration--
that decided not to separate children from their parents. 
Unfortunately, this administration decided to do just that.
  Many people have heard the statements attributed to the American 
Academy of Pediatrics. There were several different folks who were 
quoted on this, depending on which medical organizations they belonged 
  One of the most compelling statements was by Dr. Colleen Kraft, the 
president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is obviously an 
expert about children and is from an expert organization. Dr. Kraft 
visited a children's immigration detention facility in Texas earlier 
this month. She called what she saw there, in the systemic separation 
of children from their parents, ``a form of child abuse.'' According to 
Dr. Kraft, once young children are separated from their caregivers or 
parents, they are likely to develop toxic stress in their brains. The 
toxic stress disrupts children's brain development and increases levels 
of flight-or-fight hormones in their bodies. This kind of emotional 
trauma could eventually lead to children having health problems, such 
as heart disease and substance abuse disorders.

[[Page S4261]]

  There is well-documented scientific evidence of the long-lasting harm 
that policies like this have on children. In the Washington Post 
yesterday, in an article entitled ``What Separation from Parents Does 
to Children,'' a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Dr. 
Charles Nelson, said:

       The effect is catastrophic. There's so much research on 
     this that if people paid attention at all to the science, 
     they would never do this.

  It goes on and on and on. I could quote more detail for a long time 
about what he has said and about what other experts have said, but we 
don't have time today. Suffice it to say the research that shows the 
damage that is done to children when they are forcibly separated from 
their parents explains why more than 9,000 mental health professionals 
and 172 organizations signed a petition to urge the President to end 
the policy of separating families. In this petition, the mental health 
professionals wrote:

       From decades of research and direct clinical experience, we 
     know that the impact of disrupted attachment manifests not 
     only in overwhelming fear and panic at the time of 
     separation, but that there is a strong likelihood that these 
     children's behavioral, psychological, interpersonal, and 
     cognitive trajectories will also be affected. The National 
     Child Traumatic Stress Network notes that children may 
     develop post traumatic responses following separation from 
     their parents and specifically lists immigration and parental 
     deportation as situations of potentially traumatic 
     separation. To pretend that separated children do not grow up 
     with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in 
     their minds is to disregard everything we know about child 
     development, the brain, and trauma.

  That is from the petition that was signed by mental health 
professionals across the country--9,000 of them. Those professionals 
and the professionals at the American Academy of Pediatrics, the 
American College of Physicians, and the American Psychiatric 
Association have also issued statements against the policy. Together, 
these organizations represent more than 250,000 doctors across the 
country. To support this policy, you would have to assert that a 
quarter of a million doctors in the United States of America are 
somehow wrong and that you know better.
  If we were to ask the administration, ``Before you put this policy in 
place, did you talk to the American Academy of Pediatrics? Did you talk 
to child psychologists? Did you talk to the American College of 
Physicians or other professionals who know something about children and 
trauma and long-term damage to their brains and to their development?'' 
I am afraid the answer to that question would be no. Yet I await the 
answer from the administration. I hope the answer will be yes.
  I have more here, but I know we have to go, so I will not use all of 
it. Over the next couple of hours and days, we have to keep insisting 
that the administration take action to end this policy today, which it 
could--which the President could, which the Attorney General could. I 
realize that sometimes here in Washington, people say: Do something 
right now. Take action today. Take action this week or this month. Yet, 
in this case, today matters; hours matter; days matter in the lives of 
those children--more than 2,300 or more, and the projections are just 
going through the roof about what will happen over the next couple of 
weeks and month.
  Ending the policy today and reuniting child and parent matters a lot 
because every day that goes by makes it worse for that child. 
Unfortunately, for some children, it might be too late. That traumatic 
event and the aftereffects--the hours and the days and even weeks now 
that they have been separated--might result in permanent damage. I hope 
I am wrong about this, but days matter here, and even hours matter.
  We are hoping that the administration will reverse course on a 
policy--I will say again and keep saying--that is straight from the pit 
of hell. It should end today.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Madam President, our national debt stands at about $21 
trillion. The interest costs on this alone are more than $300 billion 
every single year. That is money that can't go toward shoring up our 
national defense or shoring up Social Security or Medicare or some 
other Federal program. That is money that goes to our creditors. Now, 
it has to, but the scary part is that that is just a drop in the bucket 
compared to what it could be just a few years from now. The only reason 
it is even this low is that our Treasury yield rates--the rates at 
which we pay interest on our national debt--are at an alltime, historic 
low. As soon as they return to their historic averages, we will see 
that interest payment increase manyfold. If we wait until that moment 
arrives, this will be a very difficult process not just for the Federal 
Government, not just for Congress, but for the entire country.
  It is time for us to start taking gradual steps in the right 
direction now. This opportunity--this rescissions package that has been 
proposed by the President--provides us with a meaningful step in that 
direction. I applaud President Trump for proposing these rescissions. 
It is time for Congress to get back in the practice of taking these 
things up, of considering them, and of passing them.
  I respectfully urge all of my colleagues to vote for this measure.
  Mr. President, I yield back all time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion to discharge.
  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 New Hampshire (Mrs. 
Shaheen) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 48, nays 50, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 134 Leg.]




     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The motion was rejected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mrs. GILLIBRAND. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.