EXECUTIVE SESSION
(Senate - January 09, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 5 (Tuesday, January 9, 2018)]
[Pages S85-S88]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Under the previous order, the 
Senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the 
following nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of William 
L. Campbell, Jr., of Tennessee, to be United States District Judge for 
the Middle District of Tennessee.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                   Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, every day in America--the greatest 
Nation in the history of the world--children, young women, and 
teenagers are sold for sex. That is not a proud fact about America, but 
it is the stark reality. Every day in America, young women, children, 
and teenagers are trafficked, in large part because they are advertised 
now on the internet, in the open, visibly, and obviously. Even though 
code words may be used and sometimes doctored photographs, they are 
sold for sex because the traffickers are able to do so using the 
internet. We are here to stop it. We are here today to stop the 
trafficking and, most importantly, to stop the advertising.
  In support of a measure, known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers 
Act, SESTA, we have a strong bipartisan coalition. This bill is about 
as bipartisan as any bill is. I have worked on this legislation 
together with my colleague and friend, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, 
from the very beginning. We have been joined in this effort by two 
Democrats and two Republicans--Senators McCaskill, Heitkamp, Cornyn, 
and McCain. We are passionate about this effort, and so are our 
colleagues who have joined us, because it is about those victims--those 
children, teenagers, and young women--who are sold for sex, who are 
trafficked on the internet. We want to give those victims a voice and a 
day in court, a right of action, a defense against this absolutely 
heinous, atrocious, inhumane crime. It is a crime and it can be 
prosecuted, but the victims deserve a day in court and a voice as well. 
That is the fundamental, core purpose of this legislation. It is about 
the victims.
  We have been joined in this effort by advocates for those victims--
sex trafficking survivors themselves and a diligent, bipartisan 
coalition of colleagues. In fact, more than 60 of our colleagues have 
joined this as cosponsors. We are now at a critical milestone for this 
bill. We have reached a point of momentum that makes this bill 
unstoppable if those survivors are to be heard and heeded, and I urge 
my colleagues to do exactly that. SESTA is really the product of 
stakeholder consensus. It has the support of every major human 
trafficking organization, of law enforcement, and of all of the major 
tech companies.
  In essence, SESTA would clarify that section 230 of the 
Communications Decency Act was never intended to protect websites that 
facilitate sex trafficking, and it would ensure that those survivors 
get their day in court. It stands in stark contrast to a measure in the 
House of Representatives that has been approved by the relevant 
committee there, which would fail in that effort. Websites that 
knowingly facilitate sex trafficking should be afforded no protection 
under the Communications Decency Act. They should be given no harbor or 
implicit approval, which is what the legislation now does. The House 
bill, unfortunately, would fail to give those survivors and victims 
their day in court and the voice that they so desperately need.
  Senator Portman and I--and I am proud to be joined with him today on 
the floor--have championed this cause as a result of what we have seen 
and heard. In fact, in going back almost a decade, when I was attorney 
general for the State of Connecticut, I saw firsthand the way that 
websites can knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. I saw firsthand how 
challenging it was for law enforcement to develop cases against sex 
traffickers and employ anti-trafficking laws given the constraints on 
their resources, especially when those sex traffickers were able to use 
the internet to reach their customers. My experience in combating sex 
trafficking as attorney general at the State level led me, in my 
working with Senator Portman, to co-launch and co-chair the Senate 
Caucus to End Human Trafficking so as to help find solutions to this 
problem and others around the world whereby children and teenagers and 
others are sex-trafficked and victimized.
  As the State attorney general, I concluded that facilitating sex 
trafficking must face repercussions. I was joined by the National 
Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which reported and has since 
reported the numbers. For example, there has been an 846-percent 
increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking from 2010 to 
2015--a spike it found to be ``directly correlated to the increased use 
of the internet to sell children for sex.'' We have heard of some of 
those instances, of some of the histories and the stories of these 
young people.
  In 2012, a 15-year-old girl ran away from home. Over the next 2 
years, pimps trafficked her for sex through these ads. As a result, she 
was raped over 1,000 times while she was moved from one site to another 
with the aid of the internet. In 2010, another 15-year-old girl ran 
away from a residential program. A pimp began to traffic her for sex by 
posting online ads. As a result, she was raped 900 times over the next 
2 years.
  These two young women and a third mustered the courage to tell their 
stories and to bring a lawsuit against backpage.com, which is the 
website that has profited most prominently from these online ads. These 
advertisements graphically emphasized the survivors' and victims' youth 
and other characteristics in trafficking them for sex. Yet the courts, 
understandably and perhaps rightly, have held that backpage.com and 
these internet sites generally have no legal responsibility. The First 
Circuit Court of Appeals found that backpage.com was immune from civil 
liability because of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
  Websites that facilitate sex trafficking unconscionably and 
intolerably are now immune from legal action by survivors. That is 
unacceptable in America. No matter how terrible the harm they cause, no 
matter how horrific the consequences to these young people, they are 
protected by a shield from moral and legal responsibility. In a sense, 
these women were victimized as much by backpage.com and the internet as 
they were by the pimps who more directly sold them.
  Senator Portman and I, through SESTA, would implement three key 
reforms: No. 1, allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice 
against websites that knowingly facilitate their victimization; No. 2, 
clarify that it is illegal to knowingly facilitate a violation of the 
Federal sex trafficking laws; and No. 3, enable State law enforcement 
officials, not just the Federal Department of Justice, to take action 
against individuals or businesses that violate Federal sex trafficking 
laws.
  If websites are not knowingly facilitating sex trafficking, they 
should have nothing to fear from the law. If

[[Page S86]]

websites are doing their best to avoid facilitating sex trafficking, 
they have no worry about their liability. Yet, if they knowingly 
facilitate, they ought to face survivors and victims in court, and they 
ought to acknowledge and recognize their legal and moral 
responsibilities.
  I want to be very blunt with my colleagues here about the House bill 
because my feeling is that we owe it to those survivors and victims to 
give them not just nice words and rhetoric but real rights. Congress 
must not only pass an online sex trafficking law; it must pass real sex 
trafficking internet protection. Unfortunately, the House Judiciary 
Committee recently passed legislation that fails to accomplish that 
goal.
  My colleagues should not be fooled--the House bill is in no way an 
adequate alternative to SESTA. It is, unfortunately, completely 
insufficient in protecting survivors and victims and giving them that 
day in court and that voice they now lack. The difference between the 
House and Senate bills is stark and clear, like night and day. The 
Senate bill gives victims of trafficking their day in court. The House 
bill does not give a single survivor or victim access to justice. It 
fails to open the courthouse doors; it leaves them shut. In fact, it 
may even deny victims and survivors their right to file legal action. 
The Senate bill has the support of every major human trafficking 
organization, as well as of all of the major stakeholders. The House 
bill is supported by none--zero--no major group. In fact, 47 
organizations and more than a dozen survivors and family members 
recently sent a letter that calls for the House bill, as it is 
presently written, to be rejected.
  I strongly urge my colleagues to join this bipartisan group of more 
than 60 of us who are supporting SESTA to help pass this essential 
legislation as soon as possible. We owe it to those survivors and 
victims. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to America.
  I am proud to yield to my friend and colleague who has joined in this 
effort and has been such a steadfast champion, Senator Portman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I want to thank my friend and colleague, 
Senator Blumenthal, for his commitment to this issue. We started this 
caucus to end trafficking 6 years ago, and during that time period 
there has been some significant progress made here in the Senate and 
the House. We have been able to pass legislation to help crack down on 
trafficking.
  Unbelievably, in this century in this country, sex trafficking is 
increasing, not decreasing, despite our good efforts. We have increased 
the penalties on those who purchase sex from underage children. We have 
changed the dynamic of how the Federal Government and HHS look at this 
issue and these girls who get engaged in trafficking and get trapped 
into the system and to treat them like the victims they are rather than 
as criminals.
  We have done more to increase awareness of this issue. We have 
required for missing kids, which are probably the most vulnerable of 
all, that there be a photograph or another identifier, which, 
unbelievably, for the most part there was not prior to that. We have 
made some progress.
  Senator Blumenthal and I have written legislation with regard to 
Government contractors who overseas engage in human trafficking--and 
our tax dollars go for that. So we have made some progress, but it is 
still increasing.
  Why? Senator Blumenthal talked about it. The experts are unified on 
this. The main reason we see an uptick is because of the dark side of 
the internet. The Senator quoted the statistic earlier about an 850-
percent increase in reports of sex trafficking over the last several 
years prior to 2015. The reason that was true was because we saw the 
emergence of these companies like backpage.com, which probably has 
about 75 percent of the commercial sex traffic on one site, and the 
ruthless efficiency of the internet getting engaged on this issue. So 
we have to address this issue.
  Here is the tragic part of this. Not only are more and more lives 
being ruined and there are more and more heartbreaking stories, but it 
is because of a Federal law that provides immunity to these websites. 
So it comes right back here, right to these desks, right to this 
Congress, right to us as legislators to fix this problem, not to try to 
smooth it over but to actually fix the problem, which is that some of 
these online trafficking sites are immune from prosecution because of a 
Federal law. It was a well-intended law that was written 21 years ago, 
I think. It is the Communications Decency Act. Ironically, it was put 
in place to make it a crime to send pornography to kids online, but it 
has been twisted and used by these trafficking sites to provide them 
the ability to say: You can't touch us; you can't go after us. That is 
so because part of what the law says in trying to promote the internet 
is that if you post somebody else's material on your site, you are not 
liable. All we are saying is that if you know this involved 
trafficking--and Senator Blumenthal talked about his experience as a 
prosecutor; this is a high bar, a known standard--then you can't get 
away with this. The standard we use, by the way, for Federal 
trafficking is the Federal law. So we allow victims to have their day 
in court, but they can't get it now.
  The stories are really sad. Let me tell you one. We spent 18 months 
investigating this in the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and 
what we learned was truly tragic. You had girls who were trafficked on 
these sites. In one case a mom testified that her daughter had gone 
missing for about 10 weeks, as I recall--missing. This is a 14-year-old 
girl. What would you do as a parent if your daughter was missing for 10 
weeks? You would go crazy. She tried everything, and someone finally 
told her: There is this website called backpage.com; you might want to 
check it out.
  She did, and she was aghast at what she saw, but she was relieved by 
one thing. She saw a photograph of her daughter, knowing, then, that 
she was still alive. So she picked up the phone and called backpage.com 
and said: I just saw my daughter. She has been missing for 10 weeks. I 
saw her on your website. Thank you for taking down that ad that is 
trying to sell my daughter for sex online. This is my daughter. She is 
underage.
  Do you know what the backpage operator said at the other end of the 
line, according to this mom? They said: Did you pay for the ad, ma'am? 
She said: No, I didn't pay for the ad. This is my daughter. They said: 
Well, we can't take down the ad. We can't take down the ad.
  What kind of evil is behind that kind of a business practice? Well, 
what we learned, as we increasingly dug into this issue, is that it is 
all about profit, and you can imagine this is a very profitable 
business. Profits came first, to the point that people would place ads 
with backpage that indicated that it was for an underage girl, and 
backpage would then get to the purchaser of the ad and say: You know 
what, we need to change your ad a little bit. You need to edit out this 
word ``schoolgirl'' or ``cheerleader'' or ``Lolita,'' referring to a 
novel about an underage girl. So they knew these ads were being run by 
people who were advertising underage girls, and they not only ran the 
ads but they sanitized the ads first.
  That just shouldn't happen in this country. It shouldn't happen 
anywhere in the world, but certainly not with a Federal law providing 
protections for organizations like that.
  That is all we are saying. We want Congress to pass a law that says 
that if you engage knowingly in facilitating this kind of activity, you 
are subject to liability. You have to be held to account. Is that too 
much to ask?
  Senator Blumenthal talked about it as a former prosecutor. We allow 
State prosecutors to go after these sites, which they cannot now. They 
have to use the Federal standard. So we are not trying to create a 
whole new area of law. It is a Federal standard that has been passed by 
this body.

  When these victims go to court, they are rebuffed: Sorry, ma'am. In 
one court last August, a Sacramento judge basically invited our 
legislation. He said to Congress: The way that law reads, even somebody 
who exploits women and children online has immunity. Congress, this is 
your job.
  So that is all this legislation does.
  Senator Blumenthal talked about the House legislation. There was 
strong House legislation that was introduced

[[Page S87]]

that still bears that same H.R. number. Then it was changed in the 
Judiciary Committee. Look, I am glad that there is more awareness and 
consciousness about this issue and that both the House and Senate want 
to act, but let's not water this legislation down. Let's not take away 
this core element of our legislation that simply says that under the 
Communications Decency Act, we should have the opportunity to allow 
people to sue and allow prosecutors to go after these evil websites.
  We can set up new causes of action. That is fine. We can do more 
things as we have done in this body. As I said, over the last 5 or 6 
years, we passed a number of important bills to try to raise the 
consciousness and to try to help on this issue, but if we don't deal 
with this internet part, we will continue to see an increase, which is 
a stain on our national character--that at this time in our Nation's 
history, we are seeing an increase in people being sold for sex online, 
often underage.
  Another story came not from testimony before the permanent 
subcommittee where we spent 18 months studying this, but it came before 
the Commerce Committee, and Senator Blumenthal was there for part of 
this. This woman came forward. By the way, you could have heard a pin 
drop in that room when she talked about her 16-year-old daughter who 
was sold on backpage.com and was sold to a man who murdered her on 
Christmas Eve of 2016. This is what this mom said: My daughter never 
should have been on that site; that should never be allowed. She is 
right. It should never be allowed. How can we allow that to happen?
  So Senator Blumenthal and I introduced this legislation. We had 24 
cosponsors almost right away, and it was bipartisan from the start. 
This is not a political or partisan issue. As of yesterday, I think we 
had 64 cosponsors. These are thoughtful Members, including the 
Presiding Officer today, who looked at this legislation. They have 
heard the arguments from both sides. The other side of the argument is 
from the tech community, some of whom are supporting our legislation, 
some of whom are not. But for the people in technology who are 
concerned about this, I just have to state: I don't get it. This is 
very narrowly crafted for this issue. We are not trying to affect the 
freedom of the internet--just the opposite.
  If you don't start cracking down on this obvious crime against 
humanity, which is what I believe trafficking is, I think we are going 
to see much broader legislation to deal with the internet. This just 
says: If you are violating a Federal law on trafficking and you are 
doing it knowingly, you are facilitating it, you are assisting it, then 
you have to be held liable and held to account.
  In fact, we keep in the law a Good Samaritan provision that says if a 
website wants to clean up its site, it is protected. The good guys 
should be protected. We want them to clean up their site. We want to be 
sure that we continue to have freedom of the internet, but we don't 
want to allow--nor do I think it was ever intended in this law to 
allow--criminal activity to occur that affects our children and our 
constituents over the internet without any sense of accountability or 
responsibility. It is narrowly crafted. It is focused on a real issue 
that affects real people.
  On Friday I was back home in Ohio, and I was at a drug treatment 
center. I had an opportunity to meet some of those who are recovering 
addicts. As often happens when I am in those kinds of settings, it 
turns to what kind of treatment options are out there for trauma. Why? 
Because there is a link between opioids--particularly heroin and 
fentanyl--and trafficking. This is what has been told to me many times 
by some of these women, sometimes underage: Senator, trafficking has 
moved from the street corner to the iPhone, from the street corner to 
the cell phone. That is a reality.
  I met a woman on Friday who was going through treatment, and part of 
it is to treat the trauma that is associated with this. Drug treatment 
is one thing, but the trauma associated with sex trafficking, repeated 
rapes is a course that is a deeper and even more difficult road to 
recovery. I believe she will recover. She has a great attitude. She 
gets it. She is going to have to focus on it and dedicate herself to 
it.
  I will just tell you that this is a real issue in our communities 
today. It is affecting every single State in this body, and we cannot 
continue to ignore the reality that while the internet has brought a 
lot of good things to us and the internet has helped our economy to 
grow, there is a dark side and this dark side of the internet is why we 
think it is so important for us to address this issue and address it 
now so that the next mom who is out there right now wondering, ``Where 
is my daughter? She has gone missing,'' will not find that she has been 
advertised online to multiple men, that her life is forever changed, 
and that she will never achieve her God-given potential in life because 
of the trauma she has experienced. That is happening right now today.
  We have to pass this legislation. It will help. I am convinced it 
will help. It will help to avoid the reality today, which is that these 
websites in your communities don't care and they are not going to care 
until we make them accountable.
  This month is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention 
Month--January. President Trump just wrote a beautiful proclamation 
about it. It was a call to action. President Obama did previously. 
Thursday is the day in which a lot of the advocates will be here in 
town talking about this issue. I just urge my colleagues and their 
staff, if they are listening today, please sign up on this legislation 
if you haven't already. To our leadership, let's get this to the floor 
for a vote. This should not be an issue that we drag out. Let's deal 
with it. We spent years studying this. We know what the issue is. We 
know what the problem is. Then, to my House colleagues, let's work 
together to actually solve this problem.

  For those in the tech community who continue to oppose this 
legislation, I ask you to look into your hearts and think about the 
impact this is having on families all across the country. Yes, we all 
want a better world, and that is part of what many of these internet 
companies are professing to want, and many of them, by the way, have 
spent considerable resources in fighting trafficking. But if you don't 
get at this issue--it has moved from the street corner to the 
smartphone. If you don't get at this issue, I don't believe we will see 
the progress that all of us desire.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The Senator from South Dakota.


                           National Security

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, the beginning of a new session of Congress 
provides a good moment to look back at the previous year and take stock 
of the challenges ahead, and today what I would like to do is just take 
a few minutes to talk about the national security challenges facing our 
country and the importance of equipping our military to meet them.
  By the end of the Obama administration, our military was facing a 
serious readiness shortfall. The Obama administration's failure to 
prioritize defense had left our armed services with manpower deficits 
and delayed the acquisition of 21st century weapons and 
equipment. Military effectiveness had been compromised by a culture of 
micromanagement in the Obama administration that seriously hampered the 
ability of troops and commanders to respond to conditions on the ground 
in a timely fashion, but within days of his inauguration, President 
Trump made clear that all this was going to change.

  You can look at the situation we faced in the Middle East. The 
timeframe I am referring to right here, the mound of ground that is 
held by ISIS, that is in January of 2017.
  Well, just a week after his inauguration, President Trump issued a 
Presidential memorandum on rebuilding the military. He directed a 
review of our military's readiness, and he set out an action plan to 
address manpower shortfalls, maintenance backlogs, acquisition costs 
and delays, and other drains on our military capabilities. President 
Trump also acted to free up military commanders to make decisions and 
to respond to conditions on the ground.
  The fruits of his commitment to rebuilding our military and trusting 
our military leaders are already evident, most notably in the 
significant gains made against ISIS in 2017.

[[Page S88]]

  If you look at the chart I just showed, in January of 2017, and then 
you look at December of 2017, in terms of territory held, ISIS has been 
routed. In the first 11 months of the Trump administration, over 15,000 
square miles were liberated from ISIS control, exceeding the total area 
freed in the preceding 2\1/2\ years. ISIS has lost over 98 percent of 
the territory it once held, and it hasn't gained any back.
  Just a month ago, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi declared his country 
``fully liberated'' from ISIS. In Syria, ISIS has lost control of its 
strongholds and now only remains in small pockets of the country.
  All told, in the last year, more than 5.3 million people have been 
freed from the brutal grip of ISIS--more than double the previous 
gains. Families who have spent years fearing for their lives are seeing 
a chance for stability, peace, and order. If this year has shown us 
anything, it is that we can trust our military to do its job and 
deliver results.
  President Trump delegated tactical authority and permitted our 
military to take action when action was needed, and military leaders 
credit this tactical authority for significant gains made on the 
ground.
  The swift rise of ISIS was enabled, in part, by the Obama 
administration's shortsighted desire to withdraw from the fight against 
terrorism in the Middle East. The withdrawal of U.S. troops--on a 
timeline the Obama administration announced to our enemies--left a 
power vacuum in the region, and ISIS stepped in to fill the void. This 
is a mistake we cannot repeat.
  While we have made tremendous strides against ISIS in the last year, 
we cannot simply take these wins and let our guard down. We know ISIS 
and other dark actors can operate in the shadows of the internet and 
social media, using their extensive networks to recruit and influence 
other would-be attackers in the United States and around the world.
  As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which shares 
jurisdiction over some of these matters, I am committed to looking at 
what steps we can take to thwart terrorist recruitment and planning 
efforts and to keep America safe. Next week, I am holding a Commerce 
Committee hearing on what social media companies can do in this fight.
  While we focus on combating terrorism, we cannot forget the 
conventional threats faced by our Nation and our allies. I mentioned 
gains against ISIS and Syria, but there remains the alarming challenge 
of growing Iranian influence there. Syria provides a convenient land 
bridge to connect Iran with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is well on its 
way to being a proxy for the Iranian Army.
  Of course, we continue to see the deadly consequences of Iran's 
continued smuggling of arms to Houthi rebels. Iran is a serious threat 
to stability in the Middle East and to our allies there, and we need to 
keep that in mind as we consider the failed Iran nuclear deal and the 
ongoing protests in Iran.
  We also have to stay focused on the threat posed by North Korea. 
South and North Korea reestablished communications and just met to 
discuss the upcoming winter Olympics in South Korea. They announced, in 
addition to North Korea sending a delegation to the winter games, the 
two countries have agreed to hold military talks, but North Korea said 
it will not discuss its nuclear program at this time.
  I think North Korea's nuclear program has to be addressed as a 
condition of any lasting peace, and the United States should lead its 
allies in making that crystal clear. While the talks are a notable 
development after 2 years of no communication between the two 
countries, we obviously need to be wary of North Korea's motives. We 
will have to see what actions follow and if the talks lead to any 
substantive steps by North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.
  President Trump and Ambassador Haley have made it clear that North 
Korea must abandon its dangerous ambitions, and increased sanctions are 
providing additional pressure. We should make no concessions without 
fundamental progress. Of course, this will require cooperation from 
China to help exert pressure on North Korea and uphold U.N. 
resolutions.
  China has sought to tip the regional balance in its favor by 
objecting to the installation of missile defense platforms that would 
defend the United States and our allies against North Korean missiles. 
Meanwhile, it has been simultaneously expanding its own military, 
continuing to develop islands in international waters and exercising 
economic coercion.
  President Trump's national security strategy correctly acknowledges 
both China and Russia as challengers to American influence, interests, 
security, and prosperity.
  I have spoken on the Senate floor more than once to denounce Russia's 
continued annexation of Crimea, its subversion of Ukrainian 
sovereignty, and its efforts to undermine NATO, not to mention its 
continued denial of attempting to meddle with our election. Both the 
conventional challenges that our Nation continues to face and the 
persistent threat of radical terrorism underscore the perennial need to 
ensure that our military is the best prepared and the best equipped 
fighting force in the world.
  I have said it before, and I will say it again. If we don't get 
national security right, the rest of what we do here is just 
conversation. We have to be able to defend our country and our allies.
  Yes, investing in our national security and restoring our military, 
especially after years of neglect, will come at a cost, but as Army 
Chief of Staff GEN Mark Milley has said, ``The only thing more 
expensive than deterrence is actually fighting a war, and the only 
thing more expensive than fighting a war is fighting one and losing 
one.''
  In the next few weeks, the Senate will have a chance to vote to 
increase funding for our troops and to take real steps to restore our 
military readiness. I hope my colleagues across the aisle will work 
with us. If there is any issue--any issue--in this Chamber that should 
be bipartisan, it is this one. It is not an exaggeration to say the 
security of our Nation, our ability to live as a free people, depends 
upon the strength of our military. It is time to make sure our military 
men and women have the resources they need to defend our Nation.

                          ____________________