(Senate - January 10, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 6 (Wednesday, January 10, 2018)]
[Pages S125-S135]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the nomination.
  The bill clerk read the nomination of Michael Lawrence Brown, of 
Georgia, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District 
of Georgia.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.

                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, the Trump administration has come up 
with a name for its energy policy. The energy policy amounts to, 
basically, a big, fat cascade of gifts and special favors for oil, gas, 
and coal companies, which, in turn, make big political contributions. 
Trump officials call the policy ``energy dominance.'' More accurately, 
its name would probably be ``fossil fuel industry political dominance'' 
or one might actually call it ``ignorance dominance'' since the 
administration willfully ignores scientific understanding, basic 
economics, market theory, and even the warnings of our national 
security community.
  The situation is not pretty from an environmental point of view. EPA 
Administrator Scott Pruitt is busily trying to roll back rules that 
limit, for instance, emissions of methane, which is a more powerful 
greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. He is considering walking back fuel 
efficiency standards that save drivers money at the pump. President 
Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris climate accord and was 
promptly ignored by every other nation on Earth.
  Last month, on the Interior Secretary's recommendation, Trump took 
big areas of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National 
Monuments, in Utah, away from the public and opened them, instead, to 
big mining and oil and gas interests. Zinke has even proposed to open 
almost all U.S. coastlines to drilling by oil and gas companies. That 
includes drilling in protected areas in the Arctic, drilling up and 
down the Atlantic coast, expanded drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and 
drilling along the Pacific coastline. The plan even includes Georges 
Bank and other crucial fishing grounds for New England.
  This drilling scheme is likely dead on arrival. Republican Governors 
in New Jersey, Maryland, and Florida have all denounced the plan, as 
have Florida's Democratic and Republican Senators. It even runs into 
objections from the Pentagon. When President Obama considered opening 
the southern Atlantic coast to drilling 2 years ago, the Defense 
Department told the Obama administration that offshore energy 
development could interfere with military readiness and missile 
  Given the dominance of fossil fuel political interests in this 
administration, the whole Trump energy dominance scheme, of course, 
neglects the warnings of our national security experts about climate 
change--climate change as an accelerant of global instability and 
conflict and climate change as a direct hazard to military 
installations and infrastructure, from the Naval Station Norfolk to 
faraway facilities like Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
  In 2008, the National Intelligence Council reported more than 30 U.S. 
military installations facing risk from rising sea levels. A 
vulnerability assessment directed by the ``2010 Quadrennial Defense 
Review'' found that at around 3 feet of sea level rise, 128 military 
installations are at risk. Naturally, many of those belong to the 
Navy--indeed, 56 out of those 128. It is a significant share of the 
Navy's global footprint, totaling around $100 billion in value.
  In 2011, the National Academy of Sciences report, ``National Security 
Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces,'' recommended the 
continued review of how sea level rise and changes in storm frequency 
and intensity would affect coastal installations.
  The National Defense Authorization Act, which we just passed, directs 
the Department of Defense to study how climate change will affect our 
most vulnerable military bases over the next 20 years, including ``the 
effects of rising sea tides, increased flooding, drought, 
desertification, wildfires, thawing permafrost,'' as well as how 
climate change may drive new requirements for combatant commanders.
  The law includes a sense of Congress statement that ``climate change 
is a direct threat to the national security of the United States and is 
impacting stability in areas of the world both where the United States 
Armed Forces are operating today, and where strategic implications for 
future conflict exist.''
  That is a sense-of-Congress statement that has passed this 
Republican-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House and 
was signed into law by this administration. Thank you to the author of 
this language, my friend and fellow Rhode Islander, Congressman Jim 
  Even the U.S. Government Accountability Office has engaged. The 
independent oversight agency issued a report titled, ``Climate Change 
Adaptation: DoD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation into Planning 
and Collaboration at Overseas Installations.''
  I think that title gives away the punch line. Surveying our bases and 
installations across the world, GAO found that weather and climate 
change pose operational and budgetary risks to infrastructure. GAO 
recommended that DOD's climate planning efforts be expanded and 
increased; specifically, that the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and 
Air Force require defense installations to ``systematically track the 
costs associated with extreme weather events and climate change'' and 
that DOD better coordinate addressing climate change risks across 
different DOD installations.
  This picture in the GAO report shows an unnamed military facility in 
the Pacific that has at times been cut off by flooding from access 
points to its munitions storage complex. If you have a military 
facility that can't get access to its munitions storage, you have a 
  This is the picture of the flooded entryway, and this is the picture 
of the similar entryway under normal circumstances, able to be 
  A 2014 typhoon caused flash flooding here that trapped and imperiled 
American personnel. The point is, when climate change effects inhibit 
military base operations, defense preparedness requires climate 
  Naval Station Norfolk, the largest Navy base in the world, is a 
poster child for the devastation that awaits our coastal military bases 
if we continue to pump out the greenhouse gas emissions that are 
driving sea level rise. A tide gauge operated at the base since 1927 
has shown nearly 15 inches of vertical sea level rise so far. In the 
broader Hampton Roads metro area, home not only to the Navy but also to 
facilities of the Air Force, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, NASA, 
and NOAA, high tides are already regularly forcing seawater back 
through storm drains and flooding roadways.
  DOD's own environmental research program, the Strategic Environmental 
Research and Development Program, used Norfolk as its case study for 
sea level rise and extreme storm risks to coastal DOD installations. 
The study found a ``tipping point'' of about a half meter, 1.6 feet, of 
sea level rise, at which point ``the probabilities of damage to 
infrastructure and losses in mission performance increased 
dramatically.'' This is mapping of the flood hazard around Naval 
Station Norfolk.
  This tipping point at which the mission performance losses increase 
dramatically is only a few decades away. Retired RADM David Titley, a 
former oceanographer and navigator of the Navy and leader of its 
Climate Change Task Force, said Norfolk has about 10 to 15 years to get 
serious about sea level rise in the region before ``we're really 
cutting it close.''
  In 2017, CAPT Dean Vanderley, who leads infrastructure engineering at 
the Norfolk Naval base, admitted that sea level rise is ``something 
where I don't know that we've fully defined the problem. And we have 
definitely not fully defined the solution.''
  Retired CAPT Joe Bouchard, a former base commander, told 
InsideClimate News that Naval Station Norfolk would need significant 
improvements to nearly every piece of infrastructure, from electrical 
and drainage systems to pier improvements, not to mention a seawall. He 
estimated this work could cost more than $1 billion and take as long as 
a decade to complete. That is just one base with $1 billion and a 
decade's worth of work. The DOD has identified over 128 bases that 
would be at significant risk with 3 feet of sea level rise. I think 
NOAA's current estimate is for 6 feet of global sea rise by the end of 
the century.

[[Page S126]]

  Even though our President is clueless about the basics of climate 
change, his Secretary of Defense understands and acknowledges the 
risks. In response to congressional questioning last year, Secretary 
Mattis said, ``Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the 
world where our troops are operating today. . . . It is appropriate for 
the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that 
impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.''
  Well, for political reasons, the White House can't acknowledge the 
problem so the recently published ``National Security Strategy'' 
totally disregards all of these recommendations. It will not even 
mention the forbidden words. We know these words are forbidden in the 
Trump administration because over and over again the memos leak out 
about people being told don't say the words ``climate change.''
  Instead, with all these warnings from GAO, from senior military 
officials, from the National Intelligence Council, from a decade of 
Quadrennial Defense Reviews, and the testimony of Secretary Mattis--
instead of listening to that, Trump parrots climate change denial 
talking points that come from the phony fossil fuel front groups. It is 
pathetic. Calling this deliberate ignorance ``energy dominance'' may be 
a fine fossil fuel flourish, but it is completely disconnected from 
actual safety, security, and military readiness--and don't get me 
started on what the fossil fuel industry's systematic corruption of our 
democracy means for America's fabled status as that ``city on a hill.''
  I yield the floor.
  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. REED. 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. REED. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss my thoughts on 
recent protests in Iran and the important upcoming decisions by the 
President with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or 
the JCPOA.
  While I am mindful that we have limited visibility into Iran and 
continue to learn more about the circumstances and motivations of the 
recent protests, one thing is clear: A significant portion of the 
Iranian people are not satisfied with their government and are 
increasingly willing to make their dissatisfaction heard. It is 
important that we support their right to peacefully express their views 
and demand that the Iranian Government respond with constructive 
dialogue, rather than force.
  It was notable that Iranian President Ruhani implicitly recognized 
the validity of the protests earlier this week when he reportedly said:

       It would be a misrepresentation and also an insult to 
     Iranian people to say they only had economic demands. . . . 
     People had economic, political and social demands

  That is according to President Ruhani.
  Acknowledging the need for reform, Ruhani continued:

       We cannot pick a lifestyle and tell two generations after 
     us to live like that. It is impossible. The views of the 
     young generation about life and the world is different than 

  Now is the time to support the Iranian people in their quest for a 
government that is more representative and supportive of their 
interests. Unfortunately, some have suggested that our response should 
be to withdraw from the JCPOA, an action that I believe would only 
serve to embolden the hardliners in Iran and leave the United States 
more isolated from our allies. Withdrawing from the JCPOA and 
reimposing nuclear-related sanctions on Iran would immediately change 
the narrative inside of Iran, uniting reformists and hardliners alike 
in their opposition to what they view as a hostile United States.
  While some would argue that the recent protests in Iran are 
symptomatic of what they view as a flawed JCPOA, I would suggest 
otherwise. In reality, the nuclear deal exposed one of the Iranian 
regime's central vulnerabilities--namely, that the regime can no longer 
simply blame sanctions imposed by the United States and the 
international community for its economic woes at home. It is becoming 
clearer to the Iranian people that it is actually the regime's 
corruption, financial mismanagement, funding of malign activities, and 
hegemonic ambitions that are at the root of their government's 
inability to enable job creation and to ensure that necessities like 
food and gasoline remain affordable.
  In the coming days, the President has several important decisions to 
make with respect to the JCPOA. In October, President Trump 
acknowledged that Iran is meeting its commitments under the JCPOA, but 
he chose not to certify that continued sanctions relief is 
``appropriate and proportionate'' to the actions taken by Iran with 
respect to terminating its illicit nuclear program. By the end of this 
week, President Trump is again required to decide whether to issue such 
a certification. I expect he will again choose not to do so.
  The more consequential decision for the President this week will be 
whether to continue waivers of nuclear-related sanctions, as he is 
required to do under the JCPOA. Choosing not to continue such waivers 
would immediately snap back U.S. nuclear-related sanctions, thereby 
putting the United States in violation of the JCPOA. Let me be clear. 
This would be a unilateral action on behalf of the United States that 
would put us in violation of an international agreement, not just with 
Iran but with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, 
as well.
  By all accounts, the JCPOA is working as intended, and Iran is 
verifiably meeting its commitments under the deal. It is important to 
remember what the JCPOA was designed to do and what it is now 
achieving. The JCPOA commits Iran to never seeking to develop or 
acquire a nuclear weapon; effectively cuts off all pathways for Iran to 
achieve a nuclear weapon during the period covered by the agreement; 
and increases the time it would take for Iran to acquire enough 
material for one nuclear bomb from 2 to 3 months to at least 1 year. 
When this agreement was signed, they were within months of having that 
capability. It dramatically reduces Iran's stockpile of enriched 
uranium and the number of installed centrifuges. It has prevented Iran 
from producing weapons-grade plutonium and has subjected Iran to robust 
monitoring by the IAEA to verify its compliance.
  Withdrawing from the JCPOA at this point would provide no benefit and 
would actually leave us more isolated and less able to deal with the 
various challenges posed by Iran. The crippling sanctions regime that 
brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place only worked 
because the international community was united in its determination to 
keep Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon. If we withdraw from the 
JCPOA unilaterally--and in the absence of a clear violation of the deal 
by Iran--there is no reason to believe that our partners in the P5+1 
would join us. In fact, French President Macron has said that there is 
``no alternative'' to the JCPOA and told the U.N. General Assembly that 
``renouncing it would be a grave error.''
  General Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the 
Armed Services Committee last year:

       I believe that the U.S. would incur damage vis-a-vis our 
     allies if we unilaterally withdraw from the JCPOA. Our allies 
     will be less likely to cooperate with us on future military 
     action to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and 
     less likely to cooperate with us on countering other 
     destabilizing aspects of Iranian behavior that threaten our 
     collective interests.

  Our sanctions may snap back but not those imposed by the rest of the 
world, many of whom have begun building economic ties to Iran since the 
JCPOA was signed. Our international partners would then blame us, not 
Iran, for the failure of the deal.
  Some, including President Trump, have argued that we can and should 
dissolve the JCPOA and renegotiate a better deal. This is a highly 
unrealistic proposal. We were only able to achieve the JCPOA after 
years of sustained multilateral diplomatic efforts and the imposition 
of aggressive international sanctions in concert with our partners. It 
will likely be impossible to replicate those conditions if the United 
States unilaterally withdraws from the JCPOA.
  Contrary to President Trump's belief, threatening to walk away from 

[[Page S127]]

deal actually weakens our ability to address the JCPOA's perceived 
flaws by alienating our partners. Instead, we should remain committed 
to the JCPOA and lead the international community in imposing 
additional sanctions, where necessary, to change other Iranian 
behaviors--namely, their respect for human rights, ballistic missile 
development efforts, and other malign activities.
  We must also seek to help enable the Iranian people to make their 
choices heard, including by encouraging the adoption of social media 
and other means of communication. We could start by building upon 
general licenses issued by the Obama administration designed to 
encourage the export of communications technology to Iran.
  Secretary Mattis told the Armed Services Committee at his 
confirmation hearing: ``When America gives her word, we have to live up 
to it and work with our allies.''
  If the President decides this week not to continue nuclear-related 
sanctions relief for Iran, he will be effectively choosing to restart 
the Iranian nuclear program, thereby making military conflict with Iran 
more likely.
  Withdrawing from the deal would also be a devastating blow to our 
efforts toward diplomacy with North Korea--and for that matter, any 
future diplomatic efforts to constrain aggressive behavior by our 
adversaries. Why would any nation engage with us in serious dialogue to 
resolve differences if they fear we will later withdraw unilaterally, 
even when the other parties are complying with the agreement?
  Regardless of whether you supported the JCPOA before it was signed, 
the truth is that it has removed the greatest threat we faced from Iran 
while also preserving all other means to address Iran's malign 
activities. Let there be no doubt--Iran continues to be a state sponsor 
of terrorism and an abuser of human rights. Iran continues to 
destabilize the region through its development of ballistic missiles 
and support of proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and elsewhere. 
If Iran behaves this way without a nuclear weapon, imagine how much 
worse a nuclear-armed Iran would be.

  Fortunately, our nonnuclear sanctions on Iran remain in place and are 
unaffected by the JCPOA. In fact, Congress authorized additional 
sanctions in July to help deal with these issues. The administration 
should work with our international partners and use all tools at its 
disposal, including by ramping up nonnuclear sanctions, where 
necessary, to counter Iran's unacceptable behavior in these other 
  Abrogating the JCPOA only invites another nuclear crisis like the one 
we are currently facing with North Korea--a concern echoed by General 
Dunford when he appeared before the Armed Services Committee and said: 
``It makes sense to me that our holding up agreements that we have 
signed, unless there's a material breach, would have impact on others' 
willingness to sign agreements.''
  Many have criticized the JCPOA as a ``flawed deal.'' For example, 
concerns have been raised that certain provisions sunset after a period 
of years, thereby delaying rather than permanently preventing Iran from 
achieving a nuclear weapon. If the concern is that Iran may seek to 
resume nuclear weapons development activities after these sunsets--a 
concern that I share--the appropriate course of action is not to throw 
out the deal but to work with our international partners to ensure that 
necessary restrictions on the JCPOA are appropriately extended or 
  As I noted before, Iran has committed in perpetuity not to develop or 
seek to acquire nuclear weapons. We should not take them at their word; 
we should verify their adherence to this commitment, just as we are 
doing under the JCPOA. If at any point in the future we have evidence 
to suggest Iran is taking steps that would indicate a violation of that 
commitment, we should use that information to rally the P5+1 and other 
international partners to take a unified stand against such efforts. 
Unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA would seriously damage our 
ability to exert such leadership in the future.
  Again, according to General Dunford, in the absence of the JCPOA, 
Iran would likely resume its nuclear weapons program and ``a nuclear-
armed Iran would likely be more aggressive in its actions and more 
dangerous in its consequences.'' General Dunford also told the 
committee that ``the intel community assessment is, in fact, that Iran 
is in compliance right now [with the JCPOA], and therefore, I think we 
should focus on addressing the other challenges: the missile threat 
they pose, the maritime threat they pose, the support of proxies, 
terrorists, and the cyber threat they pose.'' I wholeheartedly agree 
with General Dunford's assessment.
  Our troops in Iraq and Syria are operating in close proximity to 
Iranian-aligned militias, including those who previously targeted 
American troops. Unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA could embolden 
these hardline militias and possibly result in Iran giving them a green 
light to begin targeting U.S. forces once more.
  Furthermore, while I have full confidence in our military's ability 
to fight and win wars when necessary, we cannot escape the reality that 
military contingencies to respond to both a nuclear-armed North Korea 
and Iran would result in massive loss of life and national treasure and 
greatly stress our military's capacity and capabilities.
  In conclusion, I will return to where I began. Now is not the time to 
impose a self-inflicted wound upon our foreign policy and standing in 
the world. Unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA would empower 
Iranian hardliners and dramatically undermine the reform-minded 
protests we should be seeking to empower. Worse still, it would leave 
us more isolated in the international community and, by extension, less 
able to address the range of national security challenges posed by 
Iran, North Korea, and our other potential adversaries.
  We must not abdicate the JCPOA or American leadership on these 
issues. Therefore, I urge the President to stay the course with respect 
to the JCPOA, while also rallying the international community to take 
effective actions intended to change other unacceptable behaviors by 
the Iranian regime to suppress dissent at home and sow instability 
abroad. We must not squander this opportunity by making the story about 
the United States rather than the courageous Iranians who at great risk 
to themselves have taken to the streets to demand a better future.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at 12 noon 
tomorrow, all postcloture time on the Brown nomination be considered 
expired and the Senate vote on confirmation of the Brown nomination 
with no intervening action or debate; further, that if cloture is 
invoked on the Counts nomination, all postcloture time be considered 
expired at 1:45 p.m. tomorrow and the Senate vote on confirmation of 
the Counts nomination with no intervening action or debate; finally, 
that if confirmed, the motions to reconsider with respect to the Brown 
and Counts nominations be considered made and laid upon the table and 
the President be immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Oklahoma.

                            Missile Defense

  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, for about 20 years now, I have viewed the 
development and deployment of a layered ballistic missile defense 
shield as probably singularly the most vital thing we could be doing 
around here. People are aware of that now. Adversaries, like North 
Korea and others, have ballistic missiles, and they are increasing 
their range capability. Iran is getting almost everything. One of the 
problems you have is that you get countries like North Korea developing 
missile capabilities, and if they have it, then other adversaries have 
it. I am talking about Yemen and all the rest of them.
  It is important for us to communicate to the American people that the

[[Page S128]]

threat we face is probably the most imminent threat we have had in the 
history of this country. Today, it is the greatest threat we have had 
certainly in my lifetime.
  I have come to the floor and spoken on this issue in 2001, 2009, 
2012, and this will be the fourth time this year. Over the last 30 
years, we have witnessed the missile defense programs go through 
dramatic investment periods, followed by extreme starvation and 
cancellations--I am talking about in the United States--depending on 
who happens to be President at the time.
  Remember, of course, when Reagan came in and people made fun of him 
with ``Star Wars'' and tried to defame him in any way they could. Yet 
he was able to be persistent and start a program, and we should be very 
thankful we have it today. That was followed in 1989 by President Bush. 
He continued that program.
  However, in 1993, when President Clinton was in office, the first 
thing he did was to cut $2.5 billion out of the Bush missile defense 
budget request for fiscal year 1994. He also terminated the Reagan-Bush 
Strategic Defense Initiative and downgraded the National Missile 
Defense Program to a research and development program. He cut 5-year 
missile defense funding by 54 percent, from $39 billion to $18 billion.
  I say this because these times are changing. Continuing with his 
administration in 1996, he cut the funding and slowed down the 
development of THAAD and the Navy Theater Wide Systems. To remind 
ourselves of how important that was at that time and the cuts he made 
to that and how critical that was, THAAD right now is the only thing we 
have to join forces with South Korea to be able to knock down something 
coming from North Korea to South Korea. The Aegis system is a defensive 
system that we could share with Japan. Without these systems, they 
would be wide open. That was 1996.
  In 1999, the last of the Clinton years, he delayed by at least 2 
years the Space Based Infrared System, which is a very complicated 
system that knocks down incoming missiles. Then, in 2000, Bush came in. 
By the end of 2008, President Bush had succeeded in fielding a missile 
defense system capable of defending all 50 States. One of the things he 
did that was most significant--and this is in the final years of his 
administration--was to recognize the fact that we have had ground-based 
interceptors in our country for a number of years. In fact, there are 
44 ground-based interceptor systems. Unfortunately, they are all on the 
west coast because that is where we thought the threat would be. We 
discovered at that time, during the Bush administration, that the 
threat was from both sides because we recognized that Iran was 
developing the capabilities, as well as North Korea and others. So in 
order to protect Eastern United States as well as Central Europe, we 
had the system that was set up. It was kind of funny because I remember 
being there with one of our strongest allies. The system they set up 
was one where they had a radar system in the Czech Republic, and they 
had a rocket system--a ground-based interceptor--in Poland, right next 
door. I remember when Vaclav Klaus was the President of the Czech 
Republic, one of our strongest supporters, and he said to me at that 
time: Now, if we go ahead and put our system in the Czech Republic and 
in Poland, can you assure me that if we incur the wrath of Russia, we 
are not going to end up being embarrassed and have the rug pulled out 
from under us?
  I said: There is not a chance in the world that would happen.
  Well, that did happen. In fact, it was a total of 44 ground-based 
interceptors that were fielded. That was in Alaska and California, on 
the west coast. We went through this where they pulled the rug out from 
under Poland, as well as the Czech Republic. Then, in April, came our 
first Obama defense cuts, which began disarming America and dismantling 
our layered missile defense system. This is critical because we put 
this in for the reason that we perceived the threat to be coming in 
from the east as opposed to the west coast, and the very system that 
would have protected us was taken down by President Obama.
  I would say, due to his overall reduced budget requests in defense, 
there were not enough Aegis ships. I already mentioned how we are using 
those today in defense of many of our allies, including Japan. Since 
Kim Jong Un took power in 2009, he has already conducted more than 80 
ballistic missile tests. That is far more than his father and his 
grandfather conducted.

  North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests of increasingly powerful 
weapons. The latest test was in September of last year. The major test 
actually came after that, and that was on November 28. On November 28, 
he demonstrated that he had the range of the United States and the 
central part of our country. In other words, it was stated by others 
who observed that he now has the capability of reaching any target in 
mainland United States.
  There were some scientists who did an analysis of what they did on 
November 28. They made it very clear. David Wright, an analyst for the 
Union of Concerned Scientists, wrote that--this is something that 
happened on November 29--that yesterday's test indicates that North 
Korea can now hold the United States well within missile range. He 
said: ``Such a missile would have been more than enough range to reach 
Washington, DC, and in fact any other part of the continental United 
  Here is the scary part of this. Those who are not wanting to believe 
that the threat is real and the threat is there are saying: Well, we 
don't know that the missile he demonstrated on November 28 could have 
reached that range if it had a full payload, a load of a nuclear 
  We don't know if they had one or not, but that doesn't give me much 
comfort. They also questioned whether or not it could sustain the 
reentry back into the atmosphere.
  The point is that they now have that capability, and that is 
something we have to keep in mind as we are making decisions, because 
we have decisions to make, and that is what we are doing right now in 
trying to decide how we are going to keep the government from shutting 
down and develop some kind of a budget plan that is going to serve us 

                               Tax Reform

  Mr. President, let me mention something else that I think is very 
significant because I heard today a lot of people criticizing and not 
really understanding what happened with the tax plan that was passed. 
We are already getting the results of it. It is kind of exciting. I 
don't recall anything in my career where we got the results as quickly 
as we got and we are getting right now. We heard Minority Leader 
Schumer call the tax plan ``a punch in the gut to the middle class.'' 
In an op-ed piece in the New York Times, Senator Elizabeth Warren and 
Senator Bernie Sanders said: ``The Republican agenda on health care and 
taxes is . . . widely disliked by the American people'' and a ``tax 
giveaway to the wealthy.''
  I think it is important that people understand that not only is 
middle-class America going to benefit from this, but they already have. 
One million Americans are counting on receiving raises and bonuses from 
this tax reform. In my State of Oklahoma, thousands of employees will 
be receiving and have already received large compensation increases, 
bonuses--Express Employment Professionals in Oklahoma City, American 
Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and AT&T. In fact, Senator Roy Blunt was 
coming back on a plane, the same one I was on, and the flight attendant 
was talking about how she had already received a $1,000 bonus. Then, 
the rest of them chimed in and said: We have too.
  That is already happening. Right now we have a list of 123 major 
corporations that have already given an average of $1,000 for every 
employee they have, predicated on the assumption that the tax plan is 
going to increase the economy, and that is exactly what is going to 
  I am confident that this is actually happening today. I have to say 
this, though, because more people still try to say: Well, we can't give 
tax reductions to people and still increase revenue to do all of these 
things we need to do with our national defense and with our 
infrastructure programs.
  That is not true.
  I am going to repeat one that I have done before on this, but people 
seem to not understand. It is easy to say: Well, if you reduce taxes, 
you are going to reduce revenue.

[[Page S129]]

  That is not the way it works. I remember very well what happened. I 
was not in this position, of course, but in 1991, when Ronald Reagan 
was President, at that time he had the most far-reaching reduction in 
taxes. Remember, the top rate was reduced from 70 percent to 30 
percent, and the other brackets came down proportionately. Yet at the 
time he did that, in 1981, the total amount of revenue coming into the 
United States was $469 billion. As a result of that, it increased 
revenue to $750 billion. That is huge, and it shows that it really 
happens. The reason it happens is that for each 1-percent increase in 
the economy, it produces increased revenue of some $3 trillion. That is 
what happened then, and that is what is going to happen now. People are 
rejoicing today.

  I ask unanimous consent that a sheet that outlines all of these 
companies that are giving large bonuses as a result of the tax bill be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

               companies increasing compensation, so far

       1. AAON
       2. AT&T
       3. AccuWeather
       4. Advance Financial
       5. Aflac
       6. Alaska Air Group
       7. American Airlines
       8. American Bank
       9. American Savings Bank
       10. Americollect
       11. Aquesta Financial Holdings
       12. Associated Bank
       13. Atlas Air Worldwide
       14. Ball Ventures
       15. Bancorp South
       16. Bank of America
       17. Bank of Colorado
       18. Bank of Hawaii
       19. Bank of the James
       20. Bank of the Ozarks
       21. Berkshire Hills Bancorp
       22. BB&T
       23. Carl Black Automotive Group
       24. Central Bancompany, Inc.
       25. Central Pacific Bank
       26. Charlie Bravo Aviation
       27. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry
       28. Citizens Financial Group
       29. Colling Pest Solutions
       30. Comcast
       31. Comerica Bank
       32. Commerce Bank
       33. Community Trust Bancorp
       34. Copperleaf Assisted Living
       35. Cornerstone Holdings
       36. Dayton T. Brown Inc.
       37. Delaware Supermarkets Inc.
       38. DePatco, Inc.
       39. Dime Community Bancshares
       40. Eagle Ridge Ranch
       41. EastIdahoNews.com
       42. Elite Roofing Systems (Idaho)
       43. Elite Clinical Trials, Inc.
       44. Emkay, Inc.
       45. Ennis, Inc.
       46. Express Employment Prof.
       47. Fifth Third Bancorp
       48. FirstCapital Bank of Texas
       49. First Farmers Bank & Trust
       50. First Financial Northwest, Inc.
       51. First Hawaiian Bank
       52. First Horizon National Corp.
       53. Flemington Car & Truck
       54. Fort Ranch
       55. Gardner Company
       56. Gate City Bank
       57. GetFoundFirst.com
       58. Great Southern Bancorp
       59. HarborOne Bank
       60. Hartford Financial Services
       61. Hawaii National Bank
       62. IAT Insurance Group
       63. INB Bank
       64. InUnison Inc.
       65. JetBlue
       66. Jordan Winery
       67. Kansas City Southern
       68. Kauai Cattle
       69. Melaleuca
       70. Mid-AM Metal Forming
       71. Move It Or Lose It Moving
       72. National Bank Holdings Corp.
       73. Nationwide Insurance
       74. National Guardian
       75. Navient
       76. Nelnet
       77. Nephron Pharmaceuticals
       78. Northpoint Apartments
       79. OceanFirst Financial
       80. Ohnward Bancshares
       81. Old Dominion Freight Line
       82. Pinnacle Bank
       83. Pioneer Credit Recovery
       84. PNC Financial Services
       85. Regions Financial
       86. Renasant Bank
       87. Resident Construction
       88. Riverbend Communications
       89. Riverbend Management, Inc.
       90. Riverbend Ranch
       91. Riverbend Services
       92. Rush Enterprises
       93. Sheffer Corporation
       94. Sinclair Broadcast Group
       95. Smith Chevrolet
       96. Smith Honda
       97. Smith RV
       98. South Point Casino
       99. Southwest Airlines
       100. Steel Design
       101. Stifel Financial Corp.
       102. Summit State Bank
       103. SunTrust Banks, Inc.
       104. TCF Financial Corp.
       105. The Flood Insurance Agency
       106. The Travelers Companies
       107. Territorial Savings Bank
       108. Texas Capital Bank
       109. Tokio Marine HCC
       110. Total System Services
       111. Turning Point Brands
       112. Unity Bank
       113. U.S. Bancorp
       114. Visa
       115. Washington Federal
       116. Webster Financial
       117. Wells Fargo
       118. Western Alliance Bancorp
       119. Western & Southern Financial
       120. Willow Creek Woodworks
       121. Windsor Federal Savings
       122. Yancey Bros.
       123. Zions Bancorp

                    tax relief pays american workers

       Almost immediately after Congress passed the Tax Cuts and 
     Jobs Act, American workers at dozens of firms began to see 
     the effects in the form of bonuses and raises. For supporters 
     of tax relief this was good news, though not altogether a 
     surprise. During debate over the law, economists cited 
     research that workers bear most of the burden of the 
     corporate income tax via reduced wages. The remainder is 
     borne by consumers and investors. A significant cut in the 
     corporate rate would provide real benefits to workers.
       One study by scholars at the American Enterprise Institute 
     concluded that a 1 percent increase in the corporate tax rate 
     is associated with a 0.5 percent decrease in real wages. A 
     2007 Treasury Department survey of economic studies found 
     that workers ``bear a substantial burden'' of the corporate 
     income tax. The Congressional Budget Office concluded in 2006 
     that workers pay more than 70 percent of the cost of 
     corporate taxes.
       Opponents of tax relief countered that a corporate rate cut 
     would help only the wealthy--a claim being knocked down more 
     each day. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that ``history 
     shows tax cuts like these benefit the wealthy and the 
     powerful to the exclusion of the middle class.'' As a wave of 
     companies across the country began announcing bonuses and 
     giving raises to workers, it became clear that tax relief is 
     putting more money in the pockets of the hard-working 
     Americans who Republicans said would win because of the law.
       The same day the House and Senate passed the bill, December 
     20, AT&T Inc. issued a press release saying: ``Once tax 
     reform is signed into law, AT&T plans to invest an additional 
     $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special 
     $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees--all 
     union-represented, non-management and front-line managers. If 
     the President signs the bill before Christmas, employees will 
     receive the bonus over the holidays.''
       So far, at least 123 companies have announced they are 
     giving employees bonuses or otherwise increasing compensation 
     due to the tax cut legislation. Notable examples include:
       American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and JetBlue 
     announced $1,000 bonuses for their employees (a total of more 
     than 200,000 people). American's bonuses will exclude 
     officers; Southwest's and JetBlue's include all employees. 
     American said it would pay bonuses ``in light of this new tax 
     structure.'' JetBlue said that ``our Crewmembers should be 
     the first to benefit.'' Southwest said it would put the 
     savings from tax relief ``to work . . . to reward our hard-
     working Employees.''
       AT&T announced $1,000 bonuses to its 200,000 employees. It 
     also said that it will increase capital expenditures by $1 
     billion in 2018.
       Comcast announced a $1,000 bonus for more than 100,000 
     employees. In addition, it plans to invest $50 billion in its 
     infrastructure in the next five years. Comcast said the 
     bonuses are ``[b]ased on the passage of tax reform and the 
     FCC's action on broadband.''
       Nationwide Insurance announced a $1,000 bonus for 29,000 
     employees and increased 401(k) matching. The company told its 
     employees: ``The combination of the new tax legislation, 
     including a reduced corporate tax rate, and our associates' 
     ongoing commitment to our members, community and On Your Side 
     promise are the reasons we're making this investment that 
     further enhances the already robust benefits we offer to 
     attract and retain the best talent.''
       PNC Financial Services announced $1,000 bonuses for 47,500 
     employees as well as $1,500 to be added to existing pension 
     accounts. The company also will raise its base pay rate to 
     $15 per hour. PNC's CEO said: ``The tax reform law creates an 
     opportunity to reward our employees who are working hard each 
     day to serve our customers, build strong relationships in our 
     communities and create long-term value for our 
       U.S. Bank announced a $1,000 bonus for nearly 60,000 
     employees and enhanced health care offerings in the 2019 
     enrollment period. It will also raise base pay rate to $15 
     per hour. The bank said that these decisions were ``a result 
     of the tax reform package.''

  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

[[Page S130]]

  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, every Member of this body is only a few 
generations removed from the immigrant experience. At some point in the 
recent past, each of our ancestors made the courageous decision to 
leave his home in search of a better life in America. Each of them took 
a risk. They didn't know what awaited them in this country, but they 
believed that through their own hard work and determination, they could 
  My mother took a huge risk when she brought my brothers and me to 
this country. Leaving her entire family behind, she packed our 
belongings into one suitcase, and we set sail for Hawaii. We grew up 
poor, but Mom worked so hard every day to build a life for us in this 
country. She worked minimum-wage jobs with no health insurance. We 
moved apartments and schools every few years. Eventually, we were able 
to bring my grandparents to Hawaii from Japan. So I understand as an 
immigrant how important family unification is to immigrant families.
  I share my story not because I think it is particularly extraordinary 
but because it is a story that millions of families in our country 
share. The same hopes that drove my mom to risk everything to bring us 
to America are reflected in the stories of millions of immigrant 
families across the country, and they are reflected in the lives of 
Dreamers, whose futures are now at risk because of the President's 
decision to end the DACA Program.
  More than 15,000 young people have already lost their protection from 
deportation as a result of the President's decision, and 122 more will 
lose DACA protection every single day. It was with this sense of 
urgency in mind that I joined a bipartisan group of my colleagues at 
the White House yesterday to find a path forward to protect the 
Dreamers. The President took great pains to appear reasonable and eager 
to make a deal, but we left yesterday's meeting without much clarity 
about where he stood.
  Only a few days ago, the President threatened to hold Dreamers 
hostage until he got $18 billion to build the wall. I would call that 
his vanity project. In response to my question at yesterday's meeting, 
the President appeared to demonstrate some flexibility on this issue, 
but after the Freedom Caucus spent yesterday afternoon warning of a 
potential betrayal on so-called ``amnesty,'' the President reaffirmed 
in a tweet his hard-line position that funding for the wall must be 
part of any deal on Dreamers.
  Between insisting on building an unnecessary wall, demonizing family 
reunification, and peddling misinformation about the diversity visa 
lottery, the President lost track of what is really at stake here--the 
inspiring young people whose lives he has left hanging in the balance.
  Before the holidays, it was heartening to see so many Dreamers from 
all across the country taking direct action in the halls of Congress to 
fight for their futures. I spoke with a number of these young people, 
like Victor from Houston, who traveled for days to make his voice heard 
in Congress.
  Victor's parents were seasonal farmworkers who traveled to the 
strawberry fields of Florida every year. They settled down in Houston 
and saved money for a car and an apartment. They sent for Victor and 
his sister when he was only 4 years old.
  Victor spent most of his childhood not even knowing his immigration 
status. It wasn't until he came home one day with a permission slip to 
join his middle school class on a trip to Spain that his mom told him 
that he was undocumented. Learning what it meant to be undocumented--
that if he traveled to Spain he couldn't come home--was really hard for 
Victor, but he tried to put it from his mind.
  As the years passed, it got harder for Victor to grapple with his 
status. He loved going to school, but he knew as an undocumented 
immigrant that his options after he graduated from high school were 
limited. He developed depression, and his grades suffered. But a few 
months after graduation, President Obama created the DACA Program, and 
Victor successfully applied for it.
  Victor told me that even though he had DACA, he was still too afraid 
to talk about his status with anyone. During the 2016 election, this 
changed. He confronted his friends who voted for Donald Trump and 
shared what losing DACA would mean for him.
  On September 5, Victor knew there would be an announcement about his 
future. He put his phone away and started cleaning his house to 
distract him from what was about to happen. Eventually he ran out of 
distractions and sat down to watch Attorney General Jeff Sessions' DACA 
announcement. Victor began to cry. In the days that followed, Victor 
started having panic attacks--sometimes as many as five to seven per 
day. He was afraid to get in the car because he didn't want to hurt 
anyone if he got a panic attack while driving. A few weeks later, 
Victor showed up for his first United We Dream event in Houston. There 
he met fellow Dreamers and allies committed to fighting for him. He 
told me that it was amazing to see so many people show up in support 
and solidarity.
  Victor made himself a promise that once the Dream Act passes, he is 
going to go back to school to study psychology so that he can help LGBT 
youth like him. Before he left, Victor said something really 
insightful. He said that it is really important for people to come out 
of the shadows to tell their stories because once you tell your story, 
then they can no longer demonize you.
  I couldn't agree more.
  Fighting to protect Dreamers is about much more than the law. It is 
about compassion and basic human decency. Late last night, Dreamers won 
a temporary reprieve when a district court judge in San Francisco 
issued a preliminary injunction to reinstate the DACA Program for 
existing enrollees. The judge said that ending DACA in the way the 
administration ended it was arbitrary and capricious. This was an 
important victory, for now. It is just a temporary injunction, a 
temporary reprieve. So I agree with my Democratic leader that we cannot 
allow this decision to make us think that we are out of the woods, not 
at all. It cannot dim our resolve to pass the Dream Act. The fight 
  I yield the floor.
  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. KAINE. 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. KAINE. Thank you, Mr. President.
  I rise as many of my colleagues have this afternoon, and I have risen 
on the same topic often to talk about our Dreamers.
  Usually, when I have risen in the past, I have told stories about 
Virginia Dreamers. We have about 13,000 Dreamers in Virginia. I have 
highlighted stories of Dreamers from Latin America, Africa, Sweden, and 
Asia. One of the students I talked about, Gloria Oduyoye, just 
graduated from William & Mary Law School within the last month and thus 
became the first Dreamer to be a law school graduate in Virginia and 
one of the few Dreamers who attained a law degree in the United States. 
I talked about her story.
  Today I decided not to talk about stories of individuals again but to 
try to put it in context, with the message really being that the time 
is now to make a decision. We don't need more information. We just need 
the will to act and do what I think is the right and the fair thing to 
do because we have been at this discussion now--it is hard to believe 
we have been at this discussion for 16 years.
  The American public--Democrats, Republicans, and Independents--
overwhelmingly support a permanent solution for Dreamers. It is not 
that we need to know anything more to solve this. We have been talking 
about it for a very long time.
  I want to encourage Members of this body and in the House who are 
involved in the negotiation to come to an agreement and provide 
permanent protection for the Dreamers before next Friday so that we can 
protect this community, which is frightened because

[[Page S131]]

they are so worried about being deported or losing their ability to 
work, to go to school, losing the ability to protect their families. 
But it is more than just protecting people because they are frightened; 
it is protecting them because, as I have seen in Virginia and in every 
State, they so enrich this country.
  The first version of the DREAM Act, it is hard to believe, was 
introduced in 2001. The Senator from Illinois, Mr. Durbin, who has been 
a champion of this and has my deepest admiration for his persistence in 
this endeavor, introduced the first version of the DREAM Act together 
with the senior Senator from Utah, Mr. Hatch.
  The bill has evolved since then. It wasn't exactly the same as we are 
contemplating now, but it was the first version of the bill. It sought 
to repeal a provision of the 1996 immigration reform that prohibited 
undocumented immigrants from eligibility for higher education. Instead, 
what the bill, in its original version, did 17 years ago was to grant 
permanent resident status to young, undocumented immigrants with a high 
school degree or equivalent GED who fulfilled certain residence 
requirements and did not have criminal records. That was the start of 
this discussion. We are still looking for the permanent answer.
  The DREAM Act first almost passed in 2007. It attained more than a 
majority vote in the Senate, but it didn't get to the 60-vote 
threshold, so that was insufficient for passage. In 2010, the House 
passed the DREAM Act, but the Senate again failed to approve it with a 
60-vote threshold.
  In 2013, just a few months after I came to the Senate, we 
contemplated, debated, discussed, voted upon comprehensive immigration 
reform in June. I was kind of proud then. I was a young Senator, had 
been here a couple of months and stood in my chair and offered a speech 
on the floor of the Senate in Spanish to describe what was in the bill 
for the 45 million Americans who get their news every day in the 
Spanish language. After I was finished describing it, people came up to 
me and said: Has anybody ever done that before? And I said: Frankly, I 
don't know.
  It turned out that it was the first time in the history of the body 
that a speech had been given in a language other than English. But what 
was important about that moment in June of 2013 was not the speech; it 
was the vote. The package was comprehensive. It included not just the 
DREAM Act but border security, assistance for employers to determine 
the immigration bona fides of those applying for work. These are 
reforms--an approval for people here on temporary protected status from 
El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, and Haiti to become 
permanent residents and then convert that into a path to citizenship. 
That comprehensive immigration reform bill, in my view, represents the 
Senate working at its best: a bipartisan working group, coming through 
committee, coming to the floor with amendments. It passed this body 
with 68 votes in favor.
  It was evidence of the naivete of a young Senator at the time that I 
assumed, of course, something was going to happen because it passed 
here with 68 votes. I knew the House wouldn't do exactly what we did, 
but I thought they would do something, and we would be conferencing it. 
But alas, I was naive; that was not to happen.
  We are now in a different place, and we have the ability to act.
  I supported President Obama's actions in June of 2012 to protect 
Dreamers--the DACA Program; and then later, the DAPA Program. I felt 
that those actions were completely in accord with earlier Executive 
actions Presidents had taken in the area of immigration.
  Since June of 2012, 800,000 young people have achieved Dreamer 
status. Some of them aren't so young anymore. I sometimes refer to them 
as students and kids, but they are in the military, they are parents, 
they are teachers, and they are active in their communities. As I said, 
there are 13,000 in my State. DACA has allowed them to continue their 
education, to work legally, and to remain in the only country they have 
ever known.
  I will say I was disappointed when President Trump in September 
announced that he would terminate the program in 6 months--in March. I 
felt like it was the breaking of a promise to these young people 
because he had said, even as a candidate and then as President, that 
Dreamers were good kids and that they wouldn't have anything to worry 
about from him.
  I will say there was one aspect of what the President said--I can't 
just be critical without pointing out that there was one thing about 
what he said that I thought was right. He said: And Congress should fix 
it. I agreed with President Trump on that. I wish he hadn't terminated 
the program, but he was right that this is something for Congress to 
fix because anything done by Executive action, even fully within the 
power of a President to take it, is subject to being changed by another 
Executive. The lives and futures of these young people are such that we 
shouldn't be scaring them about whether they are protected or maybe 
back to being protected depending upon who was the occupant of the 
White House.
  That Presidential announcement in March, although I was disappointed, 
on that core piece of it, that Congress should fix it, I think 
President Trump was right and I think he is right. I think this is 
something that Congress must fix, should fix, can fix, and we have all 
the information about it to fix it right now.
  It has been difficult and a little bit heartbreaking to talk to these 
young people and their families about the fears they have. I don't live 
under the fear of deportation. I don't live under the fear of my job 
being taken away because of my status. I don't live under the fear of 
my kids not being able to get instate tuition and instead having to pay 
out-of-state or not being able to afford it at all. It is not a fear I 
walk around with every day. It is hard to put yourself in somebody 
else's shoes and experience the fear and even terror they are feeling 
when you yourself don't have that same exposure.
  I have spent a lot of time listening to these young people and their 
parents in Northern Virginia and Richmond, especially, where I live, 
and the fear they feel is very palpable, and the panic they feel is 
very palpable, and I understand why. I think part of our job should not 
be to increase anxiety and fear; part of our job should be--when we 
can, when it is the right thing to do, when it is within our grasp--to 
take action and provide clarity and certainty so people will know what 
their status is. I think the time for that is now after 16 years.
  Maybe the most important thing I am saying is that this is not a new 
issue. It is not that we need another week or another month or another 
year to figure out the answer. The first bill was introduced in 2001, 
and I think January 19, 2018, is ample time for us to now get this 
right and make it either part of the spending bills that we will do at 
year-end or part of a stand-alone bill that we could embrace as a body.
  I was heartened by some of the comments by the President, as reported 
yesterday, during the meeting with bipartisan leadership at the White 
House about this. We can do it, and the time is right to do it now. So 
I would ask my colleagues and especially urge all those in the 
negotiations to make this decision and provide these wonderful young 
people with certainty about their future.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I join my colleague from Virginia, as 
well as Senator Durbin, who has been working so hard to get this done, 
to stand up for the Dreamers. I give my strong support once again for 
taking action on the Dream Act. We need to take up this bill.
  As Senator Kaine just noted, I was also heartened, after the meeting 
at the White House, by the fact that this President understands--he 
said he understands that we can't wait until March to get this done, 
that we need to get this done soon. For me, the easiest way to do this 
is by passing the Dream Act.
  The Federal court decision in California yesterday will provide some 
temporary relief, as every single day more and more kids fall out of 
status. That sounds like a legal term, but for them, it changes their 
whole life. These are kids who literally believed our government. They 
were told: You register. You sign up. We are going to allow you to 

[[Page S132]]

  And then, in one little moment and with a signature, that all 
changed. Their lives changed. So it is now our obligation in the Senate 
to get this done.
  We have already seen the harmful effects of the administration's 
decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, and 
the situation will continue to get worse until we take action. This is 
not just a small thing. I have met these kids. Ninety-seven percent of 
them either work or are in school. The average age they were when they 
were brought to this country is 6\1/2\ years old.
  A few months back, I stood in front of a Catholic church with our 
archbishop of the Twin Cities, Archbishop Hebda, and a number of his 
parishioners and a number of the priests from that church to talk about 
what this meant in people's lives--kids brought over through no fault 
of their own.
  My favorite example of a Dreamer, Senator Kaine and Mr. President, is 
Joseph Medina. He was brought over--and he didn't know this at the 
time--as a baby. His parents had died, and he was brought over to 
Sleepy Eye, MN, where he was raised. This was a long time ago. When he 
got to be the right age, he decided that he wanted to serve our 
country, and he signed up to serve in World War II.
  Well, back then, he went to the military, to the Army, and said: I 
want to sign up.
  They said: Well, it turns out--I don't know what term they used back 
then, but he was undocumented. And when I first met him at the young 
age of 99, as he explained to me, back then, all you did was you went 
to Canada for a day, with our country's OK, and slept in a hotel for a 
night, which is what he did, and then came back. Then he was made 
legal, and the Army signed him up, and he ended up going over and 
serving in the Pacific. He came back to this country, met his wife, got 
married, had a son, and that son served in the Vietnam war.
  A few years ago, when he was 99, I got to bring him to Washington, 
and we stood in front of the World War II Memorial. There he stood. He 
had never seen it before, and he would never go again. He just died at 
the age of 103. He stood there with two Dreamers, suburban high school 
kids from Minnesota who wanted to join the Air Force, but they couldn't 
do it. They didn't have that right status. They were Dreamers too. They 
had been brought over as young kids.
  To me, that just brought it all home. This is a war hero, someone who 
served our country, and this is the kind of person we are talking about 
when we talk about the Dreamers. His last act of patriotism in the last 
few years of his life was to continue to push so that other kids could 
serve their country just as he had and just as his son had.
  While we have not reached an agreement yet on this bill, the reports 
on the bipartisan meeting are hopeful. But time is ticking by. Time is 
ticking. The American public is with us. This is not one of these 
issues where the public says: What are they doing? This makes no sense. 
No. A recent poll found that 86 percent of Americans support action to 
allow the Dreamers to stay here in the United States. So I am very 
hopeful that we can come together on a bipartisan agreement.
  The Dream Act was based on one simple principle, and that is that you 
should have the opportunity--this set of people, 800,000 people who 
came over here through no fault of their own, should have that 
opportunity to call this country home, as they have been doing for so 
many years.
  Passing the Dream Act isn't just the morally right thing to do, it is 
the economically right thing to do. One recent study estimated that 
ending deferred action for childhood arrivals would cost the country 
over $400 billion over the next 10 years. It would cost my State more 
than $376 million in annual revenue. We are proud to be the home of 
more than 6,000 Dreamers.
  Since it was established in 2012, it has helped, as I have noted, 
nearly 800,000 young people who have lived in the United States since 
childhood to have better lives. Think about that--800,000 people. As I 
mentioned, 97 percent of them are in school or in the workforce, and 72 
percent of them are currently in school pursuing a bachelor's degree or 
higher. More than 100 students applied to medical school last year. 
Nearly 100 of them are currently enrolled in medical school at a time 
when we need more doctors, particularly in rural areas. Those are the 
  I note that at the meeting at the White House, the President actually 
said that when this got done, he wanted to pursue comprehensive 
immigration reform. It is something that we have done before on a 
bipartisan basis in the Senate, and I believe that is where we need to 
turn now.
  We talk about the economic sense of the Dreamers. Look at our country 
overall. Seventy of our Fortune 500 companies are headed by immigrants. 
Twenty-five percent of our U.S. Nobel Laureates were born in other 
countries. Immigrants have been an economic engine for this country.
  Everyone in this Chamber came from somewhere. Their relatives came 
from somewhere. My grandparents on my mom's side came from Switzerland, 
and on my dad's side my great-grandparents came from Slovenia. They 
worked in the mines. They worked so hard just to send my dad to 
college. They saved money in a coffee can in a basement. I am here 
today with great-grandparents who came straight from Slovenia, a 
grandfather who worked in a mine, a dad who grew up there and was the 
first one in the family to go to college and get a 2-year degree and 
then a 4-year degree, and I literally stand here on the shoulders of 
these immigrants.
  On my mom's side, the Swiss side, my grandpa came over and ended up 
at Ellis Island when he was 18 years old, and they had reached the cap 
on Swiss immigrants. That might sound amusing, but that was the case. 
He then somehow got himself to Canada--I think he said he was going to 
live there--came back through--because he wanted to be in our country--
came back through, ended up in Wisconsin, like all good Swiss, with my 
other relatives on my grandma's side, worked at a cheese factory, and 
was an alien for 20 years. He finally applied for citizenship when 
World War II was breaking out, and that is when they found out that, in 
fact, he maybe had come into the country two different ways. But back 
then, they listened to his story, and they gave him citizenship. 
Otherwise, he would have been deported--I think it was 3 weeks before 
the U.S. joined World War II--as a Swiss German. Instead, he married my 
grandma back then, they had my mom and my mom's brother, and here I am.
  I am on the shoulders of those immigrants. So when I see these 
Dreamers, I see my own family, and I hope everyone in this Chamber sees 
the same thing--the American dream. That is why, Mr. President, I stand 
with the Senator from Virginia, Mr. Kaine, with Senator Durbin, and so 
many of my colleagues who have been working on this for so long on both 
sides of the aisle. There has been leadership on both sides of the 
aisle. So let's get this done, let's pass the Dream Act, and let's 
never forget that we all come from somewhere.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, a number of us are here today with a 
very simple, straightforward demand. We must act now to pass a Dream 
Act. Very simply, the honor and integrity of this Chamber are at stake.
  The young people who would be covered under the Dream Act are 
Americans in all but name. They came here as children. They grew up as 
Americans. They go to our schools, serve in our military, and support 
our economy. They work hard and they give back and they believe in the 
American dream. Deporting Dreamers would be cruel and irrational, 
inhumane, and, very simply, repugnant to basic American values.
  Just think of Jonathan Gonzalez-Cruz. He is a college student at 
Southern Connecticut State University. I had the privilege of meeting 
him in December. His story has stuck with me. His story haunts me when 
I think of the moral imperative of this Nation to pass the Dream Act.
  Jonathan was born in Mexico. He came to this country when he was just 
4 years old. The United States is home for him. It is the only country 
he has ever known. He received a full scholarship to attend Southern 

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State University, and he is set to graduate this spring with an honors 
degree in economics and math.
  His dream is to attend law school, but due to the uncertainty 
surrounding DACA, he has decided to delay applying, knowing he will be 
unable to receive scholarships without his DACA status. He could 
attend, but he can't pay for it with scholarships unless he has that 
DACA status.
  Jonathan first became compelled to speak up and tell his story after 
his father was deported, and they were unable to even say goodbye. 
Despite his own struggles, Jonathan is a passionate advocate for his 
community, and he actively works for Connecticut Students for a Dream. 
That organization, Connecticut Students for a Dream, is a group of 
students who help empower and advocate on behalf of other undocumented 
students. In fact, today, Jonathan is in DC to help ensure that the 
voices of students are, in fact, heard. Jonathan is a volunteer peer 
mentor through that organization because he is so passionate about 
raising graduation rates and ensuring that all students like himself 
have the support they need to succeed.
  During his senior year, Jonathan has been interning at an immigration 
law firm, and he is glad to be helping others gain legal status in this 
country. The irony is not lost on him--and should not be lost on us--
that he, himself, could face deportation this year. If Jonathan is not 
permitted to stay--if Congress does not act and he loses his DACA 
protection--Connecticut and this Nation will be the losers. Connecticut 
and this Nation will lose an educated and compassionate public service-
minded individual who gives back to his community, to his fellow 
students, and to our State. He is just one example of the estimated 
10,000 like him in Connecticut--and at least 700,000 around the 
country--who could lose their status in March if Congress fails to act 
  Very simply, we have an obligation to do our job and provide 
permanent status and a path to citizenship for the Dreamers. The 
hopeful news is, there is broad bipartisan support for affording the 
Dreamers protection against mass, draconian deportation. Our challenge 
is to make sure that what we do here reflects that broad bipartisan 
support in this Chamber and around the country because America knows it 
has made a promise. It made a promise to those Dreamers, and great 
countries do not break promises.
  Last night, a Federal district court issued a preliminary injunction 
ordering DHS--the Department of Homeland Security--to resume accepting 
renewal applications. Once again, the courts have served as a bulwark 
for basic rights under rule of law, but this reprieve is no final 
remedy. We must redouble our determination to protect these young 
people from draconian, mass deportation--a continuing threat as long as 
President Trump refuses to reverse his cruel, unconscionable policy.
  A Federal judge has struck down President Trump's order as 
unconstitutional, but a Dream Act is no less necessary today than it 
was yesterday. Congress should waste no time in swiftly passing clean 
legislation--a clean Dream Act to protect these young people.
  When DACA was adopted in 2012, it changed the lives of young people 
like Jonathan. It opened new vistas. It provided Dreamers with the 
opportunity to get driver's licenses, to attend college, to become 
productive members of our economy.

  Importantly, when DACA was adopted, we made that promise to these 
young people. We promised that if they came forward and provided the 
United States of America with information, some of the most personal 
information any of us have--information about their addresses, 
employment, dates of birth, their families--we would not use that 
information against them. They had a place here under DACA. They had 
rights--moral, if not legal. That promise is now about to be broken.
  Great countries keep those promises. The United States is the 
greatest country in the history of the world. It should not be breaking 
promises to innocent young men and women who know only this country, 
who believe in the American dream, who believe in America's promises, 
who believed those promises when they offered that information and now 
are relying on the good faith of America. The rescission of DACA 
threatens to tear apart families, destroy lives, create disarray, and 
derail futures. We are a country that is better than this rescission. 
We are a country that keeps promises, and Congress must now act to 
protect these young people.
  DACA protections are set to expire in 2 months. Already, tens of 
thousands of DACA recipients are estimated to have lost their 
protection from removal. The longer Congress takes to act, the longer 
these young people, who were promised the American dream, continue with 
anguish, with targets on their backs.
  Continued waiting means instability to the job market because 
companies are forced to hire replacements for DACA recipients and train 
new workers in anticipation of the March deadline. It could mean a 
massive ejection of qualified, hard-working people vital to our 
  This kind of massive deportation by plane, by boat, by car, by foot 
would be unprecedented. We have never seen anything like it before. As 
I have said repeatedly, this kind of mass, draconian deportation would 
be a humanitarian nightmare, a betrayal of America.
  If Congress fails to pass the Dream Act, we will lose nearly $500 
billion over the next 10 years. Let me repeat. We will lose $500 
billion over the next 10 years. We will lose $25 billion in Medicare 
and Social Security taxes alone. In my home State of Connecticut, we 
stand to lose $300 million in economic benefits a year.
  Now is the time to abandon the myth that the Dreamers work on the 
sidelines of American society. They are part of the fabric of this 
Nation. Their lives are woven into the great tapestry of America. They 
drive our economy. They give back to our communities.
  The administration has thrown a ticking time bomb into their lives, 
but it is also a ticking time bomb in this Chamber. We have the power 
to defuse it. In doing so, we can give hope to hundreds of thousands of 
members of our society and reaffirm the greatness of our country. At 
stake is nothing less than the character of our country, and that is 
why there is such bipartisan support for the Dream Act, as evidenced 
yesterday in the Cabinet Room when the President met with Members of 
the Congress on both sides of the aisle.
  In the Dreamers, we see ourselves. We see relatives who came to this 
country years ago, many of them as teenagers. My father fled Germany at 
17 years old with nothing more than the shirt on his back, speaking no 
English, knowing virtually no one here. Like him, they believe in 
America's promise, America's dream, and we should believe in the 
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. 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. DURBIN. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to speak about 
the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, known as DACA. That 
was an Executive order of President Obama's which provided temporary 
legal status to immigrant students and young people if they registered 
with the government, paid a fee, and passed a criminal and national 
security background check. It was for 2 years and renewable.
  Young people who are protected by DACA are known by some as Dreamers. 
They came to the United States as children. They grew up singing the 
``Star Spangled Banner'' and pledging allegiance to our flag. They 
believed that they were Americans, but legally, they are not. The 
average DACA recipient came to the United States at the age of 6 and 
has been here for approximately 20 years.
  It was 7 years ago that I sent a letter to President Obama. I was 
joined in that letter, incidentally, by Senator Dick Lugar, a 
Republican from Indiana. In that letter, I asked President Obama: Can 
you find a way to protect these young people?

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  We passed the Dream Act on the floor of the House. We passed it on 
the floor of the Senate. We have never managed to pass it in both 
Chambers in the same year. And the President created the DACA Program.
  The DACA Program has been a success. Approximately 800,000 Dreamers 
have come forward and received DACA protection. Let's allow them to be 
part of America as teachers, as nurses, as engineers, as first 
responders, and even serving in the U.S. military.
  But on September 5 of this last year, 2017, Attorney General Jeff 
Sessions announced that the Trump administration was setting out to 
repeal DACA, to put an end to it. That same day, President Trump called 
on Congress to come up with a solution to legalize DACA. He challenged 
us. He said to the U.S. Senate and House: Pass a law. If this is a good 
idea, pass a law.
  It has been more than 4 months since the President issued that 
challenge. The Republican leadership of Congress has not proposed any 
legislation to legalize DACA as the President asked.
  The deportation clock is ticking for these young people who are 
protected. Already, 15,000 have lost their DACA status. Beginning on 
March 5--the deadline that initially was imposed by President Trump--
every day for the next 2 years, 1,000 DACA young people will lose their 
ability to work legally in the United States and will be subject to 
being deported from this country.
  Who are they? Some 20,000 of them are teachers in our schools who 
would lose the right to work legally and have to leave their 
classrooms. Nurses would leave their patients. First responders would 
leave their posts. And 900 soldiers would lose their ability to 
volunteer to risk their lives for America's future.
  This isn't just a looming humanitarian crisis; it is an economic 
crisis. More than 91 percent of DACA Dreamers are gainfully employed 
and paying taxes. Many of them are students; yet they are still 
gainfully employed because they don't qualify for Federal assistance 
for higher education, so they have to work jobs, sometimes many jobs.
  The nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reports 
that DACA-eligible individuals contribute an estimated $2 billion a 
year in State and local taxes. The Cato Institute, a conservative 
operation in Washington, estimates that ending DACA and deporting DACA 
recipients will cost the economy $60 billion and result in a $280 
billion reduction in economic growth over the next decade.
  Poll after poll shows overwhelming bipartisan support for the 
Dreamers. FOX News found that 79 percent of Americans support a path to 
citizenship for Dreamers, including 63 percent of Trump voters.
  The answer is clear. It was 16 years ago that I first introduced the 
DREAM Act--bipartisan legislation to give these young people a path to 
citizenship. In July of last year, I introduced the most recent version 
with my colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. We need to 
pass the Dream Act, and we need to do it now, before January 19.
  Over the years, I have come to the floor to tell the story of the 
Dreamers. I can give a pretty nice speech here, but these stories tell 
the story of this issue more than anything I can add to them. These 
stories show what is at stake when we consider the fate of DACA and the 
Dream Act.
  Today, I want to tell you about this young lady. Her name is Evelyn 
Valdez-Ward. This is the 107th Dreamer story I have told on the floor. 
Evelyn was 6 months old when her family brought her from Mexico to 
Houston, TX. She was quite a good student. She graduated 11th in her 
high school class of 650. She took all advanced placement classes and 
was a member of the National Honor Society. She was a member of the 
color guard in the marching band and regularly volunteered at homeless 
shelters and animal shelters.
  It wasn't until she began to apply for college that she finally 
learned her immigration status. She wasn't like the other students with 
whom she had grown up and shared classrooms and experiences. Evelyn is 
undocumented, but it didn't stop her--she was going to pursue college.
  One of her teachers believed in her because she was such a bright 
student and wrote her a letter of recommendation to go to college. She 
was accepted into the University of Houston. She received multiple 
awards while in college, including the Excellence in SI Leadership and 
Mentoring Award, the American Society of Plant Biology Award for 
Outstanding Research, and the Outstanding Biology Leadership Award.
  The summer after her freshman year, she was offered a great research 
opportunity through the National Science Foundation. Because of DACA, 
she was allowed to work legally in the United States, and she was able 
to pursue this important research. That opportunity was in plant water 
transport research in California. This is where Evelyn fell in love 
with ecology and plants.
  She graduated magna cum laude in 2016 with a bachelor of science in 
biology. Today, she is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of 
California, Irvine, in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary 
Biology. She is researching the effects of climate change on the 
interactions between plants and soil. Evelyn's dream is to continue her 
research as a scientist and to become an advocate for strategies to 
mitigate climate change.
  In September, the American Association for the Advancement of Science 
wrote a letter opposing the White House decision to rescind DACA. Here 
is what they said:

       Many DACA students make significant contributions to the 
     scientific and engineering enterprise in the United States . 
     . . high-achieving young people in DACA contribute in many 
     ways to our nation. Many are studying to become scientists, 
     engineers, medical doctors and entrepreneurs. Given the 
     administration's decision, we urge Congress to craft 
     legislation that provides long-term protection for these 
     young people who seek to continue their education and 
     contribute to society. . . . Our nation needs an immigration 
     policy that advances U.S. innovation and prosperity, and 
     stays true to foundational American goals that seek 
     contributions to society from all.

  The Presiding Officer and I had a unique invitation yesterday. I 
would just say that as a Member of the House and of the Senate, I have 
never been invited to a meeting quite like the one we had yesterday 
with the President in the Cabinet Room of the White House. It was the 
President's idea. I don't know if it was a spur-of-the-moment idea, but 
it is one that came together very quickly in a few days.
  I think there were almost 26 of us--Democrats, Republicans, House and 
Senate Members--who were called together by President Trump. I was kind 
of surprised, but there I was sitting right next to the President of 
the United States. It was only the third time we had ever spoken. The 
other two times, incidentally, were about DACA and the Dream Act, as 
you can probably guess. He invited me to sit next to him as we talked 
about this issue.
  Then he did something that was really unusual. I have been to some 
meetings with the President in the Cabinet Room with President Obama 
and President George W. Bush. Usually, what happens is, the cameras 
come in, the President says a few words, then the staff tells them to 
leave, and they reluctantly pull out and leave. Yesterday was quite 
different. The President told the press they could stay, and they did, 
for almost an hour. The conversations between the President of the 
United States and Members of Congress were shared with the American 
people. I had never seen anything quite like it.
  I kind of liked it, to be honest with you. I think there was a lot of 
candor in the room. People were expressing their points of view, and 
there were many different points of view, but I think I came away from 
that meeting with more hope than ever that we can do something about 
DACA and the Dream Act. The President told us he would like to see it 
done. He added, though, there were things he wanted to be a part of it. 
One of them dealt with border security, which has been a priority for 
all of us from the beginning.
  We want to establish--both political parties want to establish that 
we are committed to border security, and we are. How you define it, 
what it costs, and how it is implemented--some of these things we can 
define in our agreement; others will be left to future efforts by 
Congress and the President.
  Then he talked about the family unification, and that is an issue 
that is very delicate. It is one that, as my colleagues can imagine, 
really hits home.

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It is very personal as to whether a member of a family can bring 
someone they love--some relative in their family--to the United States. 
Even if they decide to bring them--incidentally, they may be waiting 30 
years, in the case of those who are seeking entry into the United 
States through family visas; 80 years, from China; 160 years from 
Mexico. Some of these things are unrealistic and will never happen, but 
to talk about family unification really strikes home with a lot of 
  I want to hear the President's point of view, but I want to deal with 
this in the most sensitive and sincere way. We don't want to flood the 
United States with people who are any danger to us, No. 1, or 
nonproductive citizens, but we certainly want to see families unified.
  There is a question about diversity visas. I will not go into it 
because it is a long story--the creation of this program, where it is 
today, and where it might be in the future.
  Here is what I do believe after yesterday's meeting. I believe 
President Donald Trump called for that meeting because he wanted to let 
the American people know he was serious. He wanted to show them he 
could be a President presiding over a table with 24, 25 Members of 
Congress from both political parties and tackle a sensitive, delicate, 
challenging issue. He wants to show the American people he can lead. I 
want to help him lead if the goal is to make sure DACA and the Dreamers 
ultimately have their chance to be part of America's future.
  I am willing to work in good faith with the President to compromise, 
whatever it takes, to bring this forward. There are so many lives 
hanging in the balance, and this is one of them--this wonderful, 
brilliant young woman who wants to make not only the world a better 
place but America a better place. She simply wants the chance to be 
here and be part of America's future. We can give her no less.
  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. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.