(Senate - January 09, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 5 (Tuesday, January 9, 2018)]
[Pages S89-S101]
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 senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Thomas 
Lee Robinson Parker, of Tennessee, to be United States District Judge 
for the Western District of Tennessee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                       Tribute to Chris Campbell

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise to pay tribute to a trio of 
excellent staffers, all of whom served with distinction on the Senate 
Finance Committee for a number of years and who recently left the 
committee to pursue other ventures.
  First, Mr. President, I would like to say a few words about Chris 
Campbell, a longtime friend and trusted adviser, who until recently 
served as the Republican staff director on the committee. Last summer, 
he was nominated and confirmed to serve as Assistant Secretary of the 
Treasury for Financial Institutions.
  I have known Chris for more than 17 years, and I cannot overstate his 
importance and contributions to my years of work here in the Senate. 
Chris joined my campaign for President back in 2000, where I 
immediately recognized his talent and leadership abilities and 
appointed him to be my national field director, although he was 
relatively young and inexperienced at the time. Needless to say, I 
don't blame Chris for how that particular campaign turned out. In fact, 
that same year, I asked him to serve as director for my Senate 
reelection campaign, which thankfully met with much better results. 
After that, he came to Washington to serve on my staff on the Senate 
Judiciary Committee.

[[Page S90]]

  I have long urged my staffers to get as much education as possible to 
enhance their understanding and gain new perspectives. I nagged Chris 
about this during my Presidential campaign. Eventually, after working 
on my staff for a few years, he wanted to upgrade his bachelor's degree 
in political science from the University of California at Santa Barbara 
with an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
  A short time after receiving his MBA and a brief stint in the private 
sector, Chris desired to return to public service, and when he returned 
to Washington, I hired him back without hesitation and asked him to 
serve as my legislative director, a post he held until 2011 when I took 
over as the lead Republican on the Finance Committee and appointed him 
to be the staff director.
  During his time on the committee staff, Chris quarterbacked every 
major effort we undertook. This includes successes like the approval of 
free-trade agreements, the bipartisan renewal of trade promotion 
authority and the modernization of U.S. trade laws, the repeal and 
replacement of the Medicare sustainable growth rate, and the long-term 
funding of the Federal highway trust fund, just to name a few.
  Of course, his work on the long-term tax reform effort was 
invaluable. We began our work on tax reform right out of the gate in 
2011 and worked with Chairman Baucus and others to drive it forward. 
Chris was a key part of all of the work we did over the years to 
advance tax reform. While his move to Treasury came just before the 
final stages of that effort, I was fortunately able to benefit from his 
continued advice and counsel as we moved closer to and eventually 
crossed the finish line.
  Chris is a shrewd but effective negotiator and a brilliant 
legislative strategist. Congressional Quarterly named him one of the 
seven most influential non-elected people working in Congress, and Roll 
Call put him on its list of the 50 most influential staffers on Capitol 
Hill for 7 straight years. Clearly, I am not the only one who 
recognizes his abilities. I know the other members of the Finance 
Committee--on both sides of the aisle--have also acknowledged and 
benefited from his years of work.
  Still, even with all of his accomplishments, what stands out most to 
me about Chris Campbell is his life story. He is a great example of how 
hard work and education can help a person become much more than what 
some statistician might predict. Chris grew up in Hemet, CA, as one of 
six children who struggled--and that is putting it lightly--to make 
ends meet. He didn't grow up with family connections or powerful 
benefactors, but thanks to his diligence and determination and no 
shortage of natural ability, he became one of the most effective and 
influential staffers on Capitol Hill, and he now serves in a key 
leadership role in the administration.
  While it pained me to see him head off to Treasury, I have been 
comforted to know that the President knows how to pick the best people 
and that the Department of the Treasury is being well served.
  I personally want to thank Chris for his years in working with me, 
for his candid and thoughtful advice, and for his commitment to public 
service. I wish him all the best in his future endeavors, which I am 
quite sure will be just as successful as his time here.

                         Tribute to Becky Shipp

  Mr. President, I would like to say a few words about another former 
staffer, Becky Shipp, who also left the Finance Committee staff a few 
months ago to pursue another venture.
  While I have known Becky for more years than either she or I would 
like to count, I can tell you that she served tirelessly on the Senate 
Finance Committee for more than 10 years. She saw chairmen come and go 
and was an institution here in her own right.
  In my time on the Hill, I have come to know many different staffers, 
all of whom got involved in the government for all types of well-
meaning and patriotic reasons. They each have some expertise, some 
interest, and some motivation that helps them get through the hard 
times that staff encounter with the stressful conditions and the below-
market pay.
  I have long said that Senators and staff take on sacred obligations 
when we come to work here, and I cannot think of many who have taken 
that sacred obligation to heart more than Becky Shipp. She spent her 
time in Congress working on welfare and human resource issues. Her 
dedication and zealousness in defending the less fortunate should serve 
as an example to all of us.
  While issues surrounding child welfare, child and family services, 
and foster care programs are often overlooked, anyone in Washington who 
knows anything about these issues knows that Becky has played a 
singular role in the creation and preservation of the safety net we now 
have in place. Too often, welfare issues become bitterly partisan, but 
during Becky's time here, she always strove to find common ground no 
matter the personal sacrifice.
  Her time on the Hill was extremely productive and impacted far more 
children and families than most any of us could probably ever count. 
Still, it was not without moments that, when looking back, seemed 
pretty lighthearted. One such moment came just a few years ago after 
many in Congress had become aware of the fact that welfare funds 
distributed through electronic bank transfers had been used by some to 
purchase alcohol, food, or other illicit items from strip clubs and 
other less than savory establishments. Becky quietly began developing a 
proposal to prevent this type of abuse. Eventually, her idea gained 
more traction than she thought it would initially.
  Once members of the Finance Committee and in the House began to 
realize the nature of this problem, her proposal caught on like 
wildfire. The problem was that the Social Security Act did not have a 
definition for these establishments. After quite a bit of wrangling and 
putting herself in the shoes of some of the more seedy clientele and 
business owners, Becky developed a definition, more or less, from 
scratch. Specifically, the bill, now a Federal statute, prohibited the 
distribution of Federal welfare funds at ``any retail establishment 
which provides adult-oriented entertainment in which performers disrobe 
or perform in an unclothed state for entertainment.'' Now, many have 
chuckled at the specificity of that definition and at the fact that 
someone, somewhere had to come up with and write down that type of 
legal terminology, but Becky was not playing a joke or trying to be 
facetious; she was addressing a legitimate concern. That story, to me, 
epitomizes the type of person Becky Shipp is and the type of 
congressional staffer she was when she worked in the Senate.
  I am quite certain that, even in her new endeavors, Becky will remain 
committed to promoting the same type of no-nonsense, proper governance, 
with an equal eye toward helping those in need to find meaningful work, 
care, and assistance. While Becky's work ethic, persistence, and 
friendliness have already been missed on the Finance Committee, I am 
quite certain that she will continue to do many great things and help 
many more people.
  I personally thank Becky for her years of service and for all that 
she has done for me, for others in the Senate, and for those in our 
country who have been in need of a helping hand.

                      Tribute to Preston Rutledge

  Finally, Mr. President, I want to say a few words about Preston 
Rutledge, my former tax counsel who was recently nominated and 
confirmed to serve as Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Employee 
Benefits Security Administration.
  Preston began his career in public service as a teenager when he 
worked in the national forests. Later, he served honorably as an 
officer in the U.S. Navy. After graduating from law school, he was a 
law clerk on the Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals and spent 
more than a decade working at the IRS, focusing on tax-exempt 
organizations and employee benefits.
  He came to the Finance Committee about 7 years ago. During that time, 
he worked on a number of issues that many people, quite frankly, 
consider to be tedious or mundane, but Preston is an expert on these 
issues, and he has always taken great pleasure in the issues and work 
before him.
  As a staffer, Preston was, more than anything, committed to advancing 
reforms to our Nation's pension and savings programs in order to ensure 
a stable and reliable retirement savings system. Toward that end, he 
was a lead

[[Page S91]]

staffer in the drafting and passage of key pieces of pension and 
savings legislation, including the Retirement Enhancement and Savings 
Act, which provided a number of key reforms to our Nation's retirement 
savings system, and the ABLE Act, which provided savings enhancements 
for children with disabilities and their families.
  Preston's knowledge of tax policy and ERISA issues is unsurpassed. I 
was not the only one to benefit from and rely upon his expertise. 
Indeed, the entire Finance Committee relied on Preston whenever these 
types of issues came up because, once again, there just aren't many 
people in Washington with that particular focus and expertise.
  I wish Preston good luck in his new position at the Labor Department 
and thank him for the work he performed on the committee. I am 
confident his expertise, as well as his open-minded and inclusive 
approach, will help improve the situations of workers and families 
across the country. I can think of no one more capable to serve in this 
important capacity.
  As you can see, I have been fortunate to have worked with some 
excellent staffers in recent years--well, really throughout my whole 
service in the Senate. That has been true of my entire time at the 
  Of course, I have many great staffers still working in the Senate, 
both in the Finance Committee and in my personal office. I am grateful 
for each of them as well. I am very fortunate to have them with me as 
we have some important work ahead of us.
  The Finance Committee's current workload is, quite honestly, mind-
boggling. There is much to do over the next several months. I will have 
more to say on that in the coming days. For now, I will simply say, I 
look forward to working with my colleagues and staff on the vitally 
important tasks that lie ahead.
  With that, 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. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Flake). Without objection, it is so 


  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, I rise today to speak on behalf of nearly 
800,000 Dreamers, young people who were brought to this country as 
children who today are living in fear and uncertainty. As a result of 
the Trump administration's decision to end the DACA Program, these 
young people are at risk of losing their legal status and, in fact, 
face deportation from the only home that most of them have ever known, 
and that home is the United States of America.
  This is one of the great moral issues of our time, and it is an issue 
that must be dealt with now as part of the budget negotiations. It 
cannot be kicked down the road any longer. We must pass the Dream Act 
now as part of the current budget negotiations.
  In the last 6 years since the DACA Program was established, these 
young people--again, people who were brought to this country as 
infants, in many cases--were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. 
For the first time in their lives, they could walk the streets of this 
country without fear, without worrying about being arrested, without 
worrying about being deported. Think about what it means to live in 
this country every single day knowing that, at any moment, you could be 
arrested or deported. What DACA finally did is to give these 800,000 
young people a legal status and a protection so they could go out and 
work, so they could go to school, and so they could serve in the U.S. 
military without fear.
  As we all know, tragically, on September 5, 2017, President Trump 
announced the end of the DACA Program through Executive order. 
President Obama had established it through Executive order, and 
President Trump ended it through Executive order. In his announcement, 
President Trump noted:

       I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats in 
     Congress to finally address all of these issues. As I have 
     said before, we will resolve the DACA issue with heart and 
     compassion, but through the lawful democratic process. It is 
     now time for Congress to act.

  That is Donald Trump.
  The President was right. It is time for Congress to act. It is time 
for Congress to not kick the can down the road.
  Our Republican President, Mr. Trump, told the Republican-led Congress 
to get to work on a DACA fix, and I say today to the Republican 
leadership: Let's do it. Let's do it now. That is what President Trump 
asked you to do. Listen to him, and let's do it--not next month, not in 
March, but right now--as part of the budget agreement.
  People are working on this issue now. We can come to a consensus. We 
can pass the Dream Act if there is a political will to do it.
  Let us also be very clear. Despite what some have said, this is an 
urgent matter that must be addressed now. Since President Trump 
rescinded the DACA Program in September, more than 15,000 Dreamers have 
already lost their DACA status and are now subject to deportation. Each 
day the Congress does not act, 122 people lose their DACA protections, 
and 851 people each and every week. This is a matter of urgency, and we 
have to act accordingly.
  But I want to assure my Republican colleagues that not only is this 
the right thing to do from a moral perspective and from an economic 
perspective, but it is also exactly what the American people want. 
Nobody here is asking anybody in the Senate to rise up and to be 
extraordinarily brave and courageous. Why don't you just do what the 
American people want us to do? No profiles in courage are needed now. 
Poll after poll has shown that the overwhelming majority of the 
American people want to provide legal status to the Dreamers and to 
protect them from deportation. From a political perspective, this is 
not a difficult decision.
  A Washington Post-ABC poll from September 2017, a few months ago, 
found that 86 percent of Americans support allowing Dreamers to stay in 
the United States. So 86 percent of the American people support 
providing legal status to Dreamers. This is not a tough political 
  Another recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac found that 77 percent of 
voters and 65 percent of Republicans support legislation to protect 
Dreamers and provide them an opportunity to work, to go to school, and 
to pursue a pathway to citizenship.
  Another poll conducted by CNN last month found that by an 83-percent 
to 13-percent margin, Americans support efforts to allow Dreamers to 
remain in the United States instead of facing potential deportation. 
Only 15 percent believed that Dreamers should be deported.
  Passing the Dream Act is also in our national security interests. 
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently noted:

       The United States faces extraordinary security challenges 
     that are placing growing pressure on our Armed Forces. That 
     is why we need legislation that will provide a pathway to 
     citizenship for those immigrants who, among other attributes, 
     are serving or have served in the military, whether they are 
     in America legally or were brought here illegally as 

  That is former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
  In addition, just last week three former Secretaries of Homeland 
Security wrote to House and Senate leadership expressing both their 
strong support for a DACA fix and for the urgency of acting now. 
Secretaries Chertoff, Napolitano, and Johnson warned of the need for 
Congress to act immediately and emphasized how the agency needs time to 
implement a new program. Without it, they caution that the delay will 
sow uncertainty in the business community and drive undocumented 
individuals further into the shadows, with immediate deportation 
looming for tens of thousands every single month.
  Let us be very clear that when we talk about the DACA Program and 
when we talk about these young people receiving legal status, these 
young people are vetted, they pay a fee, and the vast majority of them 
are now at jobs important to our economy. They are in school or they 
are in the military. In order to get DACA status, they could not be 
convicted of a felony or a significant misdemeanor or pose a threat to 
national security or public safety. As almost everybody recognizes, 

[[Page S92]]

are fine young people whom we should be very proud of and should not be 
talking about deporting them.
  DACA gave these young people a shot at the American dream, and having 
been given that opportunity, they seized it and they are excelling and 
contributing to our country--to their country--in so many ways. With 91 
percent of DACA recipients in the workforce, they play an important 
role in our economy. Many hundreds of Dreamers have taken up the call 
to serve in our Armed Forces. Can my colleagues imagine a young Dreamer 
now serving in the Armed Forces, putting his or her life on the line to 
defend this country, and then reading about Members of Congress who 
think we should deport them? How outrageous is that?
  Furthermore, there are some 20,000 DACA recipients who are currently 
teaching in our schools. We desperately need good teachers, and 20,000 
DACA recipients are doing just that.
  Yet, because of President Trump's cruel decision to rescind the DACA 
Program, as well as the Republican-controlled Congress's failure to 
act, these young people's lives and livelihoods have been thrown into 
chaos and uncertainty.
  It is our job to enact a legislative fix now. The President has 
called for a fix. The vast majority of the people of this country want 
to see a fix. A fix is important to our national security. It is the 
right thing to do. Let us do it.
  I am, however, very concerned that President Trump is using the 
800,000 Dreamers as a bargaining chip to force the taxpayers of this 
country to pay for an $18 billion wall. Now, some may remember that 
during his campaign for President, Donald Trump told the American 
people that it was the Mexican Government that would be paying for the 
wall. Well, it turns out that it didn't quite work out that way, and 
now it is the taxpayers of this country who are supposed to pay for a 
  Let me be as clear as I can be. We cannot and we must not hold the 
lives of 800,000 young Dreamers hostage in order to fund a wall that 
the vast majority of the American people oppose. We cannot and we must 
not allow Donald Trump to shut down the government to fund this wall, 
but that, it appears, may very well be--for whatever reason--what 
Donald Trump wants.
  Let me remind my colleagues what Donald Trump said last August at a 
rally in Arizona, the Presiding Officer's home State: ``Believe me, if 
we have to close down our government, we're building that wall.'' 
August 22, 2017, Donald J. Trump.
  Now, I do not know why Donald Trump may be pushing for a government 
shutdown. Maybe he thinks it will work well for him or work well for 
the Republican Party politically. I have no idea, but I do know that 
the idea of a government shutdown is a very bad idea. Maybe Republicans 
will gain from it, maybe Democrats will politically gain from it. I do 
not have a clue. What I do know is, the American people will lose from 
a government shutdown, and, in a bipartisan manner, we must do 
everything we can to prevent that shutdown.
  A shutdown would harm tens of millions of Americans who would be 
unable to access vital government services; it would disrupt the lives 
of hundreds of thousands, or more, Federal employees who depend upon a 
check to provide for their families; and, in fact, it would endanger 
members of the U.S. military who are putting their lives on the line to 
defend our country.
  The U.S. Congress has a responsibility to the American people to 
prevent a government shutdown and to work in a bipartisan manner to 
reach a budget agreement that is fair and that addresses the very 
serious problems facing not only DACA recipients but the working people 
of our country.
  So I say to my Republican colleagues, you control the White House, 
you control the U.S. House, and you control the U.S. Senate. You have a 
responsibility to govern.
  For President Trump and the Republican leadership to allow DACA to 
expire without a new program in place is not only a failure to govern, 
it is an act of extraordinary cruelty.
  We know President Trump wants to build a wall, I guess somewhat like 
the Great Wall of China. The problem is, building walls may have made 
sense in the 14th century, but I would inform the President that 
technology has somewhat changed since then, and our job is to provide 
strong border security in the most cost-effective way we can, and that 
way is not building a wall. Ironically, while the President wants to 
spend $18 billion to build a wall, he is taking money away from other 
far more important and effective border security measures.
  Let me quote from an article that appeared in today's New York Times:

       The Trump administration would cut or delay funding for 
     border surveillance, radar technology, patrol boats and 
     customs agents in its upcoming spending plan to curb illegal 
     immigration--all proven security measures that officials and 
     experts have said are more effective than building a wall 
     along the Mexican border.
       The wall also has become a bargaining chip in negotiations 
     with Congress as lawmakers seek to prevent nearly 800,000 
     young undocumented immigrants from being deported.
       But security experts said the president's focus on a border 
     wall ignores the constantly evolving nature of terrorism 
     immigration and drug trafficking.

  In other words, if we want strong border security, if we want to keep 
people out of this country who should not be coming into this country, 
if we want to keep drugs out of this country, building a wall is not 
the most cost-effective way. It may have been a great idea in the 14th 
century in China when they built their Great Wall, but it is not a 
great idea in 2018, in the United States of America.
  So let me just conclude by saying, we are at a very important moment 
in history. If we do not do the right thing, if we do not do the moral 
thing, if we allow some 800,000 young people--people who have spent 
virtually their entire lives in this country, who know no other 
country, who see the United States of America as their home--if we 
betray them, if we take away their legal status, if we allow them to be 
deported, this will be a moral stain on this country that will never 
ever be wiped out.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.


  Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. President, for the past decade, health policy, 
unfortunately, has proven to be one of the most bitterly partisan 
issues. It doesn't have to be this way.
  I want to take a few minutes to discuss some health-related issues 
that Congress left unfinished before the holidays: providing relief 
from the medical device tax, reauthorizing the Children's Health 
Insurance Program, funding for community health centers, and doing more 
to address the opioid crisis. Each has strong bipartisan support and 
could provide help to our constituents now.
  First, many of us, on both sides of the aisle, agree on the need to 
provide relief from the medical device tax, which went back into effect 
on January 1. The medical device tax is one of these issues that leaves 
most Hoosiers scratching their heads. First adopted as part of the 
Affordable Care Act, the device tax was one of the few issues 
Republicans and Democrats agreed needed to be fixed, and in 2015, with 
bipartisan support, President Obama enacted a 2-year suspension of the 
  The argument was really pretty simple. The medical device tax was 
making it harder for innovative companies to invest in the research and 
development of new technologies, and, in the process, we were stifling 
job creation. If there was a question as to whether this was the case, 
the last 2 years provided evidence. When we agreed to suspend the tax 
in 2016 and 2017, manufacturers used that additional money to hire new 
workers, invest in research and technologies, and continue producing 
innovative, lifesaving products in the United States.
  For example, Zimmer Biomet, headquartered in Warsaw, IN, my home 
State, used the money from the device tax suspension to invest in new 
innovation to improve musculoskeletal health across the world. They 
were also able to upgrade their manufacturing equipment and facilities. 
Perhaps more importantly, these investments not only supported existing 
jobs, but they also helped to create new jobs--new, good-paying jobs.
  Yet, despite this evidence, despite this strong bipartisan support 
for repeal, and despite a wide-ranging package of changes to the Tax 
Code becoming law in recent days, Congress has failed to address the 
medical device

[[Page S93]]

tax, which went back into place on January 1.
  As we again discuss the policy priorities that were left unaddressed 
in 2017, I strongly urge my colleagues to work with me to quickly and 
meaningfully address the medical device tax. This would allow these 
innovative companies to make the long-term investments that not only 
lead to life-changing technologies but support thousands of high-paying 
jobs across the country, including in my home State of Indiana.
  Another issue that has garnered bipartisan support is a healthcare 
program that covers millions of our children. We must reauthorize the 
Children's Health Insurance Program--also known as CHIP--that expired 
in September.
  I have long supported the CHIP program. It provides health coverage 
for millions of kids, including nearly 115,000 children from Indiana. I 
am not alone in my support for this program. The fact is, CHIP has had 
strong bipartisan support for the past 20 years, and Democrats and 
Republicans in both the Senate and the House have shown they support a 
5-year reauthorization of the program. That gives States the certainty 
they need to plan their budgets and provide high-quality care to these 
  Despite this shared commitment for the program and agreement on the 
need for a long-term reauthorization, we were only able to fund the 
program through March before Congress departed for the holidays. This 
short-term extension bought some time, but according to the Centers for 
Medicare and Medicaid Services--CMS--some States will start running out 
of money after January 19. This means families and States will very 
soon face the harmful consequences of congressional inaction.
  Just last week, the Congressional Budget Office said that funding the 
CHIP program for the next 5 years will cost significantly less than 
previous estimates. This program is vital to our families and vital to 
our children. We should reauthorize the CHIP program right away.
  Like the CHIP program, community health centers have enjoyed long 
bipartisan support for the high-quality care they provide to our 
families. Also, like CHIP, the funding for community health centers 
expired on September 30, leaving many health centers across Indiana 
worried about if they will have the resources they need to continue to 
serve Hoosiers.
  We have the ability to work together now to ensure that our community 
health centers can continue to provide cost-effective, high-quality 
healthcare to people all across the country.
  Finally, we have demonstrated a common desire to address the needs of 
the opioid and drug abuse crisis. It is a scourge. It took the lives of 
63,000 people just in 2016--63,000 of our brothers and sisters, our 
husbands and wives, our sons and daughters. It is a heartbreak that is 
crushing the entire country.
  I welcomed President Trump's declaration of a public health 
emergency, and both Republican and Democratic Senators have highlighted 
the need for Congress to do even more to help those struggling with 
  Like many other States, the opioid epidemic has been particularly 
devastating in underserved areas in Indiana that lack adequate 
treatment providers.
  Senator Murkowski and I have partnered on a bipartisan bill that 
would encourage addiction treatment professionals to serve in 
underserved areas by making addiction treatment facilities eligible for 
National Health Service Corps student loan repayment and forgiveness.
  We can show our commitment to increasing access to treatment by 
reauthorizing the National Health Service Corps program, which expired 
in September. We also must recognize that a meaningful response to the 
opioid crisis will require robust and meaningful funding to help our 
communities as soon as possible.
  I have often said that most people think Congress can do something to 
help make life better--to provide working parents with the peace of 
mind that their children can grow up healthy and to instill confidence 
in our communities so that they will have the tools they need to 
respond to this heartbreaking crisis. At the very least, Congress 
should not make this situation worse.
  By failing to take action in 2017, medical device companies are once 
again paying a counterproductive tax that inhibits growth in Indiana.
  On all of these issues--medical device taxes, our families and our 
children and this opioid crisis, community health centers--we can work 
together as Democrats, as Republicans, but more than either of those, 
as Americans to make sure that our families can get decent healthcare, 
to make sure that no one else dies because of this terrible opioid 
scourge we are dealing with. These are critically important issues. 
These are issues that know no political party, that know no special 
agenda. What we do know is that we need this Congress, this Senate, to 
deal with them now.
  Mr. President, I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). The Senator from North Dakota.

 Congratulating the North Dakota State University Bison Football Team 
               for Winning the FCS National Championship

  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I will be subbmitting a resolution in the 
U.S. Senate honoring the North Dakota State University Bison football 
team, who just won their sixth national championship in 7 years.
  Mr. President, I know you are a football fan, so you can truly 
appreciate what a fantastic achievement that is. What NDSU has 
accomplished over the last 7 seasons is absolutely extraordinary. With 
our victory on Saturday, the Bison have now won six national football 
championship series division I national titles in 7 years. That ties 
them for the most of all time. Also, in each of the past 7 years, they 
have won or shared the top spot in the Missouri Valley Football 
Conference championship.
  We also want to congratulate the James Madison University Dukes on an 
outstanding year. We had five championships in a row. The Dukes managed 
to beat us last year in a semifinal game, and we came back and avenged 
that loss in a thrilling championship game in Frisco, TX. It went down 
to the final play. It was a very, very exciting game.
  Winning a national championship is not easy, and this success, 
reflected both on and off the field, is earned through hard work and 
dedication. We recognize and congratulate all of the incredible players 
and Coach Klieman and his tremendous coaching staff, who put in 
countless hours of practice and preparation.
  We also recognize the importance of good leadership from athletic 
director Matt Larsen, NDSU president Dean Bresciani, and everyone at 
NDSU, all the coaches and the staff, team members, and really everybody 
who is part of Bison Nation. North Dakotans travel with our team. They 
show up in Bison Nation, and their cheering and supporting our great 
team is a huge part of our incredible victories.
  We congratulate Easton Stick, the quarterback, for achieving MVP 
honors and leading a tremendous offensive effort by the Bison and also 
Nick DeLuca, middle linebacker, for leading an incredible defensive 
effort. These were two tremendous defenses--James Madison and North 
Dakota State Bison--fast, strong, and it was a thrilling game and fun 
to watch.
  I want to compliment James Madison not only on their program but on 
all their fans and supporters--a real class act. I am very impressed 
with James Madison University--their students, their team, and all of 
their alumni, who also turned out in force for what was a tremendous 
game in Frisco, TX.
  With that, I submit this resolution to the U.S. Senate honoring the 
North Dakota State Bison.
  Mr. President, I have just one other thing to say: Go Bison.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

          American Farm Bureau Federation Convention and NAFTA

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I was fortunate enough this week to attend 
the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual convention in Nashville, 
where I had the opportunity to headline a discussion of the farm bill, 
along with my colleague from Kansas on the

[[Page S94]]

Senate Ag Committee and the gentleman from Texas, Congressman Conaway, 
who is leading on the House Agriculture Committee, during the 
President's commodity meeting. The American Farm Bureau hosted other 
farm groups and commodity organizations from across the country to talk 
about the next farm bill and to try to bring consensus as to what 
agriculture is looking for in farm policy.
  In my opportunity to visit with people at the Farm Bureau's annual 
meeting, in my remarks, I paid particular attention to the farm bill. 
It is a farm safety net. When we talk about a farm bill, I suppose we 
ought to highlight that only a small portion of the farm bill is 
actually related to farm programs. There are a number of titles to the 
farm bill, and most of the money in a farm bill is spent on nutrition 
programs and mostly SNAP, but there are other important components of a 
farm bill--rural development and conservation. In addition to that 
topic, which I have been on the Senate floor speaking about before, are 
food aid and support for those who are experiencing famine around the 
globe. My opportunity to be with farmers and ranchers from across the 
country gave me an opportunity to not only speak about my views as to 
what a farm bill should contain but, more importantly, for me to hear 
what they had to say that was important to them.
  Farm Bureau members from across the country made it clear to me, 
first of all, that they would like to see Congress--Republicans and 
Democrats in the House and the Senate--and the administration work 
together in a bipartisan fashion to get a farm bill done and, prior to 
that, to get a disaster relief bill completed, which I hope we will do 
yet this month on the Senate floor--both the disaster bill that needs 
to get to the President's desk as soon as possible and also a farm bill 
that needs to be completed in a timely fashion. The current farm bill 
under which we are operating expires in 2018.
  Of the things I want to highlight that I heard from Farm Bureau 
members while I was there is certainly the importance of crop insurance 
and the value it provides, particularly for those of us who live and 
farm and work in places where the weather is not often our friend, as 
well as just the challenges the current farm bill is creating in 
  Particularly, the safety net programs PLC and ARC don't work as well 
as they should or could. Part of that has to do with timeliness, and 
part is the inability and the difficulty in farmers having to choose 
between two programs and to predict for a long period--the life of the 
farm bill--which makes the most sense to them economically. Whether 
they are going to have high prices, low prices, good weather, or bad 
weather is a hard thing to know in the life of a farm bill. Again, 
because of the issues we have with the current farm bill, timeliness is 
important because those provisions that are less than satisfactory 
today will be extended if we aren't successful in completing a farm 
bill this year.
  While the topic of conversation generally revolved around the farm 
bill, I want to indicate to my colleagues that so much of what I heard 
was about trade, particularly about NAFTA. The reality is, 98 to 99 
percent of the mouths to feed are outside of the United States. Farmers 
and ranchers earn their livings by feeding a hungry world, and exports 
matter to us. There was a lot of concern expressed to me and among the 
farmers and ranchers who were gathered there about the potential of the 
withdrawal by the United States from NAFTA. Kansas is a good example. 
Our largest importer--the place to which we export the most 
agricultural commodities--is Mexico.
  It is not just about commodities. In addition to the commodities, 
there are manufacturing jobs related to food and food products. There 
are 36,000 jobs that generate more than $5.7 billion in economic 
activity, and approximately 14 percent of all jobs and 10 percent of 
all manufacturing jobs are tied to the food and agricultural sectors. 
So, when we talk about trade and exports, we are not just talking about 
shipping a ton of wheat or a carload of wheat to another country; we 
are also talking about all of the jobs here in the United States. It is 
not just in growing commodities and not just in raising cattle but all 
of the jobs that come from taking those commodities, turning them into 
food, and exporting the food to other countries as well.
  I have had this conversation with people within the administration 
and with my colleagues in the U.S. Senate. I do believe the tax bill we 
passed will improve the economy and that farmers, lots of other 
business men and women, manufacturers, and others will experience 
greater economic opportunity as a result of the passage of the tax 
bill. I would highlight that the tax rates are a lot less important if 
we don't have income. If something would happen in which we would not 
be exporting--for example, if there would be a withdrawal from NAFTA--
the outcome could be that the tax rates would become semi-irrelevant 
because the income levels of farmers and ranchers and those who would 
have jobs in the food sector would be significantly diminished. Less 
income means tax rates don't matter as much as they otherwise would.
  Things are really difficult in agriculture today. Commodity prices 
are at low prices historically. The challenges are great. Weather, as I 
said earlier when speaking about crop insurance, is not always our 
friend. Across Kansas, the plea is for rain or snowfall or moisture. It 
is dry statewide. The challenges the producers in my State but really 
those across the country face are low commodity prices and weather, 
which are significant. What that means is, we need every additional 
market. We cannot afford to lose any market to which we sell those 
commodities. More markets mean higher prices, and more demand means 
higher prices. Today, we need every penny we can gain on a bushel of 
corn or wheat or soybeans or grain sorghum. We need to make certain we 
don't lose markets but that we gain markets.
  I commend the President for traveling to Nashville and speaking and 
meeting with the American Farm Bureau. I believe it has been 30-plus 
years since a President attended a Farm Bureau annual convention. I 
know, in my own experience both in the House and the Senate, reporters 
have often asked me to analyze what I have heard or haven't heard in a 
President's State of the Union Address. It has always been my practice 
to listen to a State of the Union Address and hear whether a President 
speaks about agriculture, about farmers, about ranchers, about rural 
America. Here we had a President who traveled to Nashville and spent 
time with those farmers and ranchers of America, and I am pleased the 
President did so.
  I continue to encourage the administration to remain mindful of the 
role agricultural trade plays in our economy. I would indicate that our 
withdrawal from NAFTA is a high-risk strategy--a negotiating tactic, 
perhaps. It is true we have the highest quality of agriculture products 
available in the world, but other countries are very interested in 
taking our markets, and any indication that our markets are not going 
to continue gives countries like Argentina, Brazil, and others the 
opportunity to make the case that they will be stable suppliers. The 
things we raise in the United States they can sell and provide in those 
countries as well. My point is, we don't have a corner on the market, 
and any suggestion that we are not a stable supplier or that the 
trading relationship is going to diminish or disappear between two 
countries means that others are eagerly seeking to take those markets 
away from us.
  Given the impact on our Nation's economy, I urge those conference 
attendees, those people I visited with in Nashville, to continue to 
convey to all of those policymakers the importance of trade and the 
importance of trade agreements.
  The administration has a desire to develop bilateral as compared to 
multilateral trade agreements, and I encourage those negotiations to be 
ongoing today. We don't have any time to waste when it comes to finding 
new markets and trading relationships with other countries.
  Again, I appreciate the President traveling to Nashville and spending 
time with farmers and ranchers, and I appreciate the agenda he outlined 
in regard to regulatory relief, as well as the issue of broadband, on 
which the President spent a significant amount of time, providing 
technology to a part of

[[Page S95]]

the country that has, in many instances, been lacking or woefully 
  But the bottom line is that rural America needs income. We can do 
lots of things to improve the quality of life in rural America, but in 
the absence of farmer success, in the absence of a farmer and rancher 
earning a living, the ability to attract our children or others to come 
back to the farm and the ability to retain our young people in the 
community to work on a farm diminishes greatly.
  One of the questions I received was from a young lady studying in 
Texas, and this was her question: What are you doing to make certain 
that young people have a chance to be farmers? While my answer was less 
than perfect--it is a hard one to answer--it is an important question. 
The reality is that the chances of young people having the opportunity 
in agriculture to earn a living is totally dependent upon the economic 
success of those individuals in agriculture today and what the future 
holds. We can find a few programs that might encourage young people to 
be able to enter agriculture as a profession and as a career, but the 
reality is that it will only work when they are earning a good living, 
and that comes, once again, from the safety nets, including crop 
insurance, which will be included in a farm bill as it works its way 
through Congress this year, but also in the opportunity to see that 
every market around the globe is available to the U.S. farmer and 
rancher so that he and she will earn a living and so that they will 
increase the chances that their sons and daughters have the opportunity 
to work side by side with them into the future.
  I especially want to thank a few people from the American Farm Bureau 
Federation for allowing me to attend and inviting me to attend and to 
speak--certainly, President Zippy Duvall, the president of the American 
Farm Bureau Federation, from Georgia; Dale Moore, a Kansan who is at 
the American Farm Bureau Federation; and Mary Kay Thatcher, their long-
time government affairs person. All of those individuals at the 
American Farm Bureau Federation do their job so well, but I especially 
want to acknowledge the friendship and support of those three 
  I am reminded that no matter where we go, farmers and ranchers have a 
lot in common. In addition to their economic importance to communities 
across Kansas and around rural America, it is farmers and ranchers that 
still today provide a sense of what is right in America--an 
understanding of right and wrong, an understanding of the value of 
life, integrity, character, and values. It is something that is 
important not just to rural America but to our entire United States of 
America. So thank you to the farmers who visited with me. Thank you to 
the farmers who gave me the opportunity to speak with them and listened 
to me. Please know that I am happy and will continue to roll up my 
sleeves to work with my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats--the 
Senator from Kansas, the chairman of the Ag Committee; and the Senator 
from Michigan, the ranking member, Ms. Stabenow. Let's get a good farm 
bill done. Let's get it done on time, and let's all work together to 
make sure economic activity is alive and well and trade flourishes 
between the United States and the rest of the world.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. 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. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I believe that my distinguished 
colleague and friend, Senator Blumenthal, will be joining me on the 
floor. I ask unanimous consent that I be allowed to speak as in morning 
business for such time as I may require and, at the conclusion of my 
remarks, that Senator Blumenthal be recognized to make his remarks on 
the same subject.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                       Safeguarding OUr Elections

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, 2018 is going to be an election year. 
In just 10 months, Americans will go to the polls to exercise their 
franchise, believing in the integrity of our democratic process. I am 
here today to discuss a threat to the integrity of that process, which 
is getting little attention here in Congress--nothing near what it 
deserves. We really ought to be acting with some expedition to 
safeguard our elections this November. Yet, instead, the effort is one 
of chasing down partisan investigative rabbit holes.
  What ought to be our job? Well, national security, intelligence, 
election, and law enforcement officials, many of them testifying before 
us here in Congress, have made what our job is very clear. We must 
counter Russia's well-established election interference playbook. 
Russia will hack. Russia will bully. Russia will propagandize. Perhaps 
more insidiously, Russia will seek to corrupt, particularly by 
exploiting cracks in our incorporation and campaign finance laws. We 
are warned: Russia will seek to interfere in 2018's election.
  I ask unanimous consent that an article entitled ``CIA's Pompeo says 
Russia and others trying to undermine U.S. elections'' be printed in 
the Record at the conclusion of my remarks.
  To quote the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Heather 
Conley, testifying before Congress last spring, corruption is the 
``lubricant'' for Moscow's election interference, so ``the battle of 
Western democracies to defeat corruption'' must be seen as ``a matter 
of national security.''
  Testifying before our Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee, former 
Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, agreed, saying of 
Russia's 2016 election meddling:

       I believe [the Russians] are now emboldened to continue 
     such activities in the future, both here and around world, 
     and to do so even more intensely. If there has ever been a 
     clarion call for vigilance and action against a threat to the 
     very foundation of our democratic political system, this 
     episode is it. I hope the American people recognize the 
     severity of this threat and that we collectively counter it 
     before it further erodes the fabric of our democracy.

  How to counter it? Well, there are two important solutions that 
witnesses have identified in recent testimony before the Judiciary and 
other committees here in the Senate.
  First, guard against the use of phony shell corporations as 
facilitators of corruption. Ms. Conley, as I said, wrote that 
corruption is the ``lubricant'' with which the Russians operate their 
interference schemes. She and her colleagues warn that to fight the 
corruption that gives Russia this channel of influence--and I quote her 
here--``enhancing transparency and the effectiveness of the Western 
democratic tools, instruments, and institutions is critical.'' One 
central way to cut off this channel of improper influence would be to 
require companies to disclose who their real owner is so that Russian 
influence can no longer hide behind anonymous American shell companies.
  Another would be to crack down on the dark money that is flooding 
into American elections. It is illegal for foreign nationals to spend 
money or participate at all in American elections. Yet, post-Citizens 
United, the same dark money avenues that allow domestic election 
interference--for instance, that the Koch brothers use to manipulate 
American elections--are right out there to be used by Vladimir Putin. 
If they can hide their identity behind 501(c)(4)s and other dark money 
channels, so can operatives for the Russians.
  Instead of taking up these important measures or even ensuring a 
thorough investigation into the 2016 election meddling, we are--to 
paraphrase the legendary Senator Sam Ervin of Watergate fame--chasing 
rabbits when we should be on a bear hunt.
  Let's look at a few rabbits that have distracted us from the task at 
hand. Remember, when Michael Flynn, the President's former National 
Security Adviser, illicitly communicated with the Russian Ambassador 
about sanctions during the transition. Then in the White House, he lied 
to the FBI about it, which concerned the Justice Department so badly 
that the Acting Attorney General warned the White House Counsel 
personally, after which she was fired, but the President then

[[Page S96]]

waited 18 days until all of this had become public in the media to ask 
for Michael Flynn's resignation. Out of all of that, the topic for many 
Republicans was the alleged leaks of classified information that 
allowed the story to come to light--not the story itself of problems at 
the highest level of our national security establishment. Off people 
went after the ``leaks'' rabbit.
  Republicans then pivoted to talking about the ``unmasking''--remember 
that word; we heard a lot of it around here--of identities in 
intelligence reporting and the purported misconduct of Obama 
administration officials. Trump even publicly suggested that former 
National Security Adviser Susan Rice may have committed a crime. So off 
people went after the ``unmasking'' rabbit.
  Next, the President accused President Obama of wiretapping Trump 
Tower, an allegation so outrageous that even congressional Republicans 
have refused to stand by it, but my, what a bright and shiny rabbit it 
was for the weeks that it was still a distraction.
  By the spring and summer, Republicans were railing against purported 
conflicts of interest by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a 
distinguished career public servant.
  I ask unanimous consent that this article, ``FBI ruled McCabe had no 
conflict of interest in Clinton probe,'' be printed in the Record at 
the conclusion of my remarks.
  So off everybody went after the ``McCabe's wife'' rabbit.
  After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey to impede the 
Russia investigation and then told the Russian Foreign Minister and NBC 
that was why he had done it, the President launched another leak 
rabbit: a coordinated effort with his lawyers, congressional 
Republicans, and the rightwing media to suggest that Comey had leaked 
classified information by sharing with a friend his own contemporaneous 
notes of conversations with Trump.
  Just last week, the President again suggested on Twitter that Comey 
should be charged with a crime--another bite at the ``leaks'' rabbit.
  In early July, we learned of the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower 
between Russian lawyer and operative Natalia Veselnitskaya and senior 
Trump campaign leaders seeking dirt on Hillary Clinton. Republicans 
tried to distract attention from that mess by suggesting that 
Veselnitskaya was in the country on a visa issued by Obama 
administration officials, with some rightwing media--aided by some 
congressional Republicans--even whipping on the ``visa'' rabbit by 
suggesting there was a setup orchestrated by the Obama administration 
against the Trump campaign.
  Then came the ``Fusion'' rabbit. Because Fusion GPS had worked on 
separate projects--one with Christopher Steele and a separate one with 
Natalia Veselnitskaya--some Republicans began suggesting either that 
Russia had been Fusion's client for the Steele dossier or that Steele 
was the unwitting victim of a Russian disinformation campaign.
  Then there is the ``Uranium One'' rabbit, which began when a 
rightwing author suggested, without evidence, that Hillary Clinton may 
have been responsible for a Russian state company acquiring uranium 
mines in the United States. This rabbit remains a topic of 
investigation in Congress and in rightwing media.
  Then there are the attacks on Bob Mueller, which, like rabbits, 
multiply by the hour. As the special counsel's investigation started 
heating up over the late summer and fall, the rightwing began 
investigating the investigation--alleged conflicts of interest, history 
of campaign donations, inappropriate text messages, questions about 
spouses' employment. But the big one was that the FBI was corruptly 
involved in the procurement of the Steele dossier and that this had 
launched the ``witch hunt.'' This, of course, is a very shiny rabbit.
  However, a week ago, reporting by the New York Times confirmed that 
the FBI did not begin its investigation into Donald Trump's connections 
to Russia because of the so-called Steele dossier. This should not come 
as a surprise. We have already been told that U.S. allies warned 
American national security officials about Russian interference in our 
2016 elections.
  In response to a question from Ranking Member Feinstein at our Crime 
and Terrorism Subcommittee hearing on May 8, former Director of 
National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that ``Britain's 
intelligence service''--Britain's intelligence service--``first became 
aware in late 2015 of suspicious interactions between Trump advisers 
and Russian intelligence agents,'' and the Brits passed that 
information on to U.S. intelligence agencies. Clapper confirmed that in 
``the spring of 2016, multiple European allies passed on additional 
information to the United States about contacts between the Trump 
campaign and Russians.'' Clapper said that these reports were accurate 
and that ``the specifics are quite sensitive.''
  Now we have learned that Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George 
Papadopoulos, who pled guilty last year to lying to the FBI, apparently 
told a senior Australian official in the spring of 2016 that Russia had 
dirt on Hillary Clinton. This is something he said he had been told by 
an intermediary for the Russians. When hacked emails started showing up 
that summer, Australia's Government became sufficiently concerned to 
let U.S. officials know about what they had learned from Papadopoulos.
  So you have the British intelligence community warnings, the European 
intelligence community warnings, the Australian warnings, and Carter 
Page's travels to Russia. You have the attribution of the DNC hack, the 
intrusion into those emails, to Russian hackers. You have the leaking 
of the stolen emails. You have abundant evidence out of all of that for 
the FBI that the Trump campaign's links to Russia required further 
investigation. It would have been a complete failure of their duty to 
not have looked further based on all of that evidence.
  That is not to say that Christopher Steele and his work are not taken 
seriously by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials. U.S. 
security agencies have relied on Steele's analysis long before any 
dossier appeared. Steele is a leading Russia expert. Beginning in 1990, 
as an undercover officer in Moscow, he watched the Soviet Union 
unravel. He observed Russia's current leaders ascend through the 
Russian security services during the 1990s and 2000s. He rose to a 
senior position on MI6's Russia desk in London. Since leaving MI6, his 
reports on Russia and Ukraine have been shared widely within the U.S. 
Government as credible reporting. A U.S. official told the Guardian 
that Steele's reports were ``consistently reliable, meticulous, and 
  But you would never know this from listening to congressional 
Republicans. They have been repeating, in chorus with the White House 
and conservative media, the disproven claim that the Russians somehow 
commissioned the Steele dossier or that Steele somehow got suckered by 
the Russians or that some deep-state FBI set up the whole thing to 
pressure Trump. They have pushed to discredit Steele. They have pushed 
to discredit Fusion.

  As one example, rewind to the Judiciary Committee's hearing on the 
Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, last July. On the morning of 
the second day of that hearing, the President tweeted: ``One of the 
things that has been lost in the politics of this situation is that the 
Russians collected and spread negative information about then candidate 
Trump.'' This is Trump tweeting about himself. His tweet came shortly 
after a segment on FOX News centered on the same question. Other 
rightwing outlets parroted the same message.
  That same day, Republicans in Congress spun out the same premise that 
Russians paid for the dossier and that the dossier was, to use their 
word, the ``genesis'' of the FBI's inquiry. I hope we have made it 
clear that this was not the genesis.
  While the FARA hearing was still going on, that same day, the gop.gov 
website published this post:

       [W]e now know a Russian backed, Democrat connected research 
     firm, with a history of smearing individuals and pitching 
     fake information to reporters, was hired by opponents of 
     President Trump to compile a ``dossier'' of supposed Trump 
     ties to Russia.
       The information that was compiled was taken seriously by 
     the highest level of our intelligence community along with 
     our media, despite obvious signs that the firm behind it was 
     tied to Russia.

[[Page S97]]

       As a reminder, this phony ``dossier'' helped spark the 
     investigation now led by Special Counsel Mueller.

  That is the rabbit we are chasing now.
  The uniformity of the rightwing message that day with the White House 
was telling, but the message--the content of it--is simply not true. In 
fact, at that hearing, the witness denied any knowledge of any link 
between Russians and the clients of the Steele dossier.
  In the months that followed, Fusion GPS's founder, Glenn Simpson, 
spent over 20 hours speaking with congressional investigators, 
including investigators from the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  I ask unanimous consent that his op-ed be printed in the Record as a 
third and final item at the conclusion of my remarks.
  During these interviews, he specifically told Democratic and 
Republican staff alike that the dossier was taken seriously by the FBI 
because it corroborated reports the Bureau had already received from 
other sources--remember the British, the European, the Australian we 
have talked about--and a source inside the Trump campaign. From the 
Time's recent reporting, we can conclude that that source was George 
Papadopoulos. This has all been known for months, but the narrative 
about Fusion GPS and the FBI grinds on, unhinged from fact.
  The revelation about George Papadopoulos and the Australian 
Government should serve as a clarifying moment about the rightwing 
effort to undermine Bob Mueller's investigation of the ties of the 
Trump campaign and his Presidency to Russia. The FBI investigation did 
not begin because of opposition research. It did not begin because 
researchers or journalists or American national security officials fell 
victim to Russian disinformation. It did not begin because of fake news 
or because Democrats needed an explanation for losing an election. It 
began when multiple allies, friends of the United States, warned us 
that the Russian Government was interfering in our democratic process--
something many of them knew about from Russia's interference in their 
own democratic process.
  We still do not know to what extent that interference may have been 
facilitated or even simply known to members of the Trump campaign or 
other Trump associates. We still have done nothing to prevent further 
interference in our elections in 2018. The special counsel's 
investigation and the investigations going on in Congress must be 
allowed to continue until all of the facts are known.
  Here in the Senate, we should stop looking for new distractions, stop 
chasing rabbits, and start thinking about how we are going to protect 
our future elections--our 2018 election--against a repeat performance, 
which we have been warned about, by the Russians or another foreign 
adversary, for that matter.
  As the Center for Strategic and International Studies warns in its 
report, ``The Kremlin Playbook,'' we must fight the avenues for 
corruption that give Russia influence. We must ``enhanc[e] 
transparency'' in government and build ``resilience against Russian 
influence'' in our elections and elsewhere in American society.
  I will conclude by saying that the best measure of our success in 
Congress will be an America defended against foreign election 
interference in time to protect our 2018 elections. If we have not 
achieved that, we have failed at our duty. I do not see us presently on 
a path to meet that goal. We are less than a year out from election 
day. We have work to do. Enough with the rabbits.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

 CIA's Pompeo Says Russia and Others Trying To Undermine U.S. Elections

                          (By Susan Cornwell)

       Washington (Reuters).--The head of the Central Intelligence 
     Agency said on Sunday that Russia and others are trying to 
     undermine elections in the United States, the next major one 
     being in November when Republicans will try to keep control 
     of Congress.
       U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia 
     interfered in the 2016 presidential election to try to help 
     President Donald Trump win, in part by hacking and releasing 
     emails embarrassing to Democratic presidential candidate 
     Hillary Clinton, and spreading social media propaganda.
       CIA Director Mike Pompeo told CBS that the Russian 
     interference is longstanding, and continues. Asked on ``Face 
     the Nation'' if Moscow is currently trying to undermine U.S. 
     elections, Pompeo responded: ``Yes sir, have been for 
       ``Yes, I continue to be concerned, not only about the 
     Russians, but about others' efforts as well,'' Pompeo said, 
     without giving details. ``We have many foes who want to 
     undermine Western democracy.''
       Moscow denies any meddling in the 2016 elections to help 
     Republican Trump win. U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is 
     investigating whether any crimes were committed. Two Trump 
     associates, former national security adviser Michael Flynn 
     and campaign aide George Papadopoulos have pleaded guilty to 
     lying to FBI agents in the probe. Trump denies any campaign 
     collusion with Russia.
       Trump has at times suggested that he accepts the U.S. 
     intelligence agencies' assessment that Russia sought to 
     interfere in the election but at other times has said he 
     accepts Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials that 
     Moscow meddled.
       Trump has frequently spoken of wanting to improve relations 
     with Putin, even though Russia has frustrated U.S. policy in 
     Syria and Ukraine and done little to help Washington in its 
     standoff with North Korea.
       Pompeo told CBS that the CIA had an important function as a 
     part of the national security team to keep U.S. elections 
     secure and democratic. ``We are working diligently to do 
     that. So we're going to work against the Russians or any 
     others who threaten that very outcome,'' he said.
       Trump said on Saturday that he planned an active year on 
     the campaign trail on behalf of Republican candidates running 
     in the mid-term elections, in which all of the House of 
     Representatives and one-third of the Senate will be up for 
     election. Republicans hold majorities in both.

                     [From The Hill, Jan. 5, 2018]

  FBI Ruled McCabe Had No Conflict of Interest in Clinton Probe: Docs

                         (By Julia Manchester)

       The FBI said in documents released Friday that Deputy 
     Director Andrew McCabe did not have any role in the probe 
     into Hillary Clinton's private email server while his wife 
     ran as a Democrat for state office in Virginia.
       The documents note that Jill McCabe announced her candidacy 
     for state Senate in Virginia in March 2015, while Andrew 
     McCabe's role as deputy director started in February 2016, 
     three months after his wife lost her electoral bid.
       Andrew McCabe had asked ethics officials if his wife's 
     candidacy would lead to a potential conflict of interest 
     while he was working as an assistant director at the FBI 
     Field Office in Washington, D.C., the documents show.
       ``From the first contemplation that his wife would run for 
     office in Virginia, [McCabe] sought out and consulted with 
     ethics officers, which included briefings on the Hatch Act,'' 
     the records state.
       A ``system of recusal'' was also put in place to prevent 
     any potential conflicts of interests, according to the 
       The release of the documents comes after President Trump 
     and other Republicans have claimed McCabe had a conflict of 
     interest due to his wife's electoral bid, noting that her 
     campaign was supported by a super-PAC associated to Virginia 
     Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a Clinton ally.
       ``How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in 
     charge, along with leakin' James Comey, of the Phony Hillary 
     Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted 
     emails) be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton 
     Puppets during investigation?'' Trump tweeted last month:

       ``How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in 
     charge, along with leakin' James Comey of the Phony Hillary 
     Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted 
     emails) be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton 
     Puppets during investigation?'' 3:27 PM-Dec. 23, 2017

       Trump's tweet and others he sent targeting the No. 2 FBI 
     official amid the federal Russia probe came after it was 
     revealed McCabe would be retiring from his post in the coming 
       Trump interviewed McCabe to be FBI director in May after he 
     fired James Comey from the top post. The president ultimately 
     tapped Christopher Wray for the bureau's top spot.

                [From the New York Times, Jan. 2, 2018]

                  The Republicans' Fake Investigations

                (By Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch)

       A generation ago, Republicans sought to protect President 
     Richard Nixon by urging the Senate Watergate committee to 
     look at supposed wrongdoing by Democrats in previous 
     elections. The committee chairman, Sam Ervin, a Democrat, 
     said that would be ``as foolish as the man who went bear 
     hunting and stopped to chase rabbits.''
       Today, amid a growing criminal inquiry into Russian 
     meddling in the 2016 election, congressional Republicans are 
     again chasing rabbits. We know because we're their favorite 
       In the year since the publication of the so-called Steele 
     dossier--the collection of intelligence reports we 
     commissioned about Donald Trump's ties to Russia--the 

[[Page S98]]

     has repeatedly attacked us on Twitter. His allies in Congress 
     have dug through our bank records and sought to tarnish our 
     firm to punish us for highlighting his links to Russia. 
     Conservative news outlets and even our former employer, The 
     Wall Street Journal, have spun a succession of mendacious 
     conspiracy theories about our motives and backers.
       We are happy to correct the record. In fact, we already 
       Three congressional committees have heard over 21 hours of 
     testimony from our firm, Fusion GPS. In those sessions, we 
     toppled the far right's conspiracy theories and explained how 
     The Washington Free Beacon and the Clinton campaign--the 
     Republican and Democratic funders of our Trump research--
     separately came to hire us in the first place.
       We walked investigators through our yearlong effort to 
     decipher Mr. Trump's complex business past, of which the 
     Steele dossier is but one chapter. And we handed over our 
     relevant bank records--while drawing the line at a fishing 
     expedition for the records of companies we work for that have 
     nothing to do with the Trump case.
       Republicans have refused to release full transcripts of our 
     firm's testimony, even as they selectively leak details to 
     media outlets on the far right. It's time to share what our 
     company told investigators.
       We don't believe the Steele dossier was the trigger for the 
     F.B.I.'s investigation into Russian meddling. As we told the 
     Senate Judiciary Committee in August, our sources said the 
     dossier was taken so seriously because it corroborated 
     reports the bureau had received from other sources, including 
     one inside the Trump camp.
       The intelligence committees have known for months that 
     credible allegations of collusion between the Trump camp and 
     Russia were pouring in from independent sources during the 
     campaign. Yet lawmakers in the thrall of the president 
     continue to wage a cynical campaign to portray us as the 
     unwitting victims of Kremlin disinformation.
       We suggested investigators look into the bank records of 
     Deutsche Bank and others that were funding Mr. Trump's 
     businesses. Congress appears uninterested in that tip: 
     Reportedly, ours are the only bank records the House 
     Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed.
       We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, 
     Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread 
     evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with 
     a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often 
     raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those 
     deals don't seem to interest Congress.
       We explained how, from our past journalistic work in 
     Europe, we were deeply familiar with the political operative 
     Paul Manafort's coziness with Moscow and his financial ties 
     to Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin.
       Finally, we debunked the biggest canard being pushed by the 
     president's men--the notion that we somehow knew of the June 
     9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower between some Russians and the 
     Trump brain trust. We first learned of that meeting from news 
     reports last year--and the committees know it. They also know 
     that these Russians were unaware of the former British 
     intelligence officer Christopher Steele's work for us and 
     were not sources for his reports.
       Yes, we hired Mr. Steele, a highly respected Russia expert. 
     But we did so without informing him whom we were working for 
     and gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic 
     question: Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a 
     notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors 
       What came back shocked us. Mr. Steele's sources in Russia 
     (who were not paid) reported on an extensive--and now 
     confirmed--effort by the Kremlin to help elect Mr. Trump 
     president. Mr. Steele saw this as a crime in progress and 
     decided he needed to report it to the F.B.I.
       We did not discuss that decision with our clients, or 
     anyone else. Instead, we deferred to Mr. Steele, a trusted 
     friend and intelligence professional with a long history of 
     working with law enforcement. We did not speak to the F.B.I. 
     and haven't since.
       After the election, Mr. Steele decided to share his 
     intelligence with Senator John McCain via an emissary. We 
     helped him do that. The goal was to alert the United States 
     national security community to an attack on our country by a 
     hostile foreign power. We did not, however, share the dossier 
     with BuzzFeed, which to our dismay published it last January.
       We're extremely proud of our work to highlight Mr. Trump's 
     Russia ties. To have done so is our right under the First 
       In is time to stop chasing rabbits. The public still has 
     much to learn about a man with the most troubling business 
     past of any United States president. Congress should release 
     transcripts of our firm's testimony, so that the American 
     people can learn the truth about our work and most important, 
     what happened to our democracy.

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I now yield, per the pending agreement, to my 
distinguished friend from Connecticut.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Thank you, Mr. President.
  I thank my colleague Senator Whitehouse for his very erudite and 
insightful summary of the bright, shiny toys and rabbits and rabbit 
holes that a number of our colleagues have attempted to use to distract 
the Judiciary Committee and this body from what should be its quest for 
the truth; that is, the truth about the Russian attack on our democracy 
during the last election and potential collusion in that attack--
specifically, collusion by the Trump campaign--and obstruction of 
justice. Indeed, obstruction of justice is within the direct purview of 
the Judiciary Committee.
  I want to thank my colleague Senator Whitehouse for joining me in a 
letter that we wrote to the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, 
Senator Grassley, asking that he very simply make public the transcript 
of the interview with Glenn Simpson conducted by our staff. Senator 
Grassley declined. But, earlier today, Senator Feinstein released the 
interview, advancing the American people's right and need to know the 
full truth.
  I want to applaud Senator Feinstein's leadership in using her proper 
authority as the ranking member to serve this vital public interest. I 
am grateful to her for her courage and strength in moving forward and 
disclosing the transcript to prevent its use as a dangerous distraction 
from the critical work of our committee. I want to thank at least one 
of our colleagues across the aisle, Senator Cornyn, for apparently 
supporting that step.
  The toys and rabbits and rabbit holes are hardly new to efforts by 
defenders of an administration against an investigation, and perhaps 
for some amusement as well as enlightenment, I want to cite a satiric 
column done by Art Buchwald in 1973.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the column be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                Here Are Handy Excuses for Nixon Backers

                           (By Art Buchwald)

       Washington.--These are difficult times for people who are 
     defending the Nixon administration. No matter where they go 
     they are attacked by pseudo-liberals, McGovern lovers, 
     heterosexual constitutionalists and paranoid John Dean 
       As a public service, I am printing instant responses for 
     loyal Nixonites when they are attacked at a party. Please cut 
     it out and carry it in your pocket.
       1--Everyone does it.
       2--What about Chappaquiddick?
       3--A President can't keep track of everything his staff 
       4--The press is blowing the whole thing up.
       5--Whatever Nixon did was for national security.
       6--The Democrats are sore because they lost the election.
       7--Are you going to believe a rat like John Dean or the 
     President of the United States?
       8--Wait till all the facts come out.
       9--What about Chappaquiddick?
       10--If you impeach Nixon, you get Agnew.
       11--The only thing wrong with Watergate is they got caught.
       12--What about Daniel Ellsberg stealing the Pentagon 
       13--It happens in Europe all the time.
       14--People would be against Nixon no matter what he did.
       15--I'd rather have a crook in the White House than a fool.
       16--L.B.J. used to read FBI reports every night.
       17--What's the big deal about finding out what your 
     opposition is up to?
       18--The President was too busy running the country to know 
     what was going on.
       19--What about Chappaquiddick?
       20--People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
       21--McGovern would have lost anyway.
       22--Maybe the Committee for the Re-Election of the 
     President went a little too far, but they were just a bunch 
     of eager kids.
       23--I'm not for breaking the law, but sometimes you have to 
     do it to save the country.
       24--Nixon made a mistake. He's only human.
       25--Do you realize what Watergate is doing to the dollar 
       26--What about Harry Truman and the deep freeze scandal?
       27--Franklin D. Roosevelt did a lot worse things.
       28--I'm sick and tired of hearing about Watergate and so is 
     everybody else.
       29--This thing should be tried in the courts and not on 
       30--When Nixon gives his explanation of what happened there 
     are going to be a lot of people in this country with egg on 
     their faces.
       31--My country right or wrong.
       32--What about Chappaquiddick?
       33--I think the people who make all this fuss about 
     Watergate should be shot.
       34--If the Democrats had the money they would have done the 
     same thing.
       35--I never trusted Haldeman and Ehrlichman to start with.

[[Page S99]]

       36--If you say one more word about Watergate I'll punch you 
     in the nose.
       A--If the person is bigger than you: ``If you say one more 
     word about Watergate I'm leaving this house.''
       B--If it's your own house and the person is bigger than 
     you: ``What about Chappaquiddick?

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. Buchwald wrote a satirical list of tactics 
Republicans were using to keep Americans from focusing on the Watergate 
scandal. The list is eerily familiar. The tactics being employed by the 
Trump supporters today ring of those same tactics used in Watergate. 
Buchwald suggests focusing on accusations made against prominent 
Democrats or individuals who had accused Richard Nixon of wrongdoing. 
He suggests attacking the media. He suggests saying: ``The Democrats 
are sore because they lost.'' He suggests deflecting blame to a ``bunch 
of eager kids''--perhaps sounding like the reference to ``coffee boys'' 
today--and saying that this investigation is ``bad for the dollar,'' 
much like bad for America abroad.
  I am very confident--and I want to emphasize this point very 
emphatically--that the special counsel will be in no way distracted 
from his investigation and his team will be undeterred by these 
tactics. But the American people should not be distracted or deterred 
either and, equally important, the Judiciary Committee, the U.S. 
Senate, and the Congress as a whole has a duty here that is, in fact, 
vulnerable to that same distraction. We must persevere.
  What our Republican colleagues are doing at this point is indicated 
by a recent New York Times article. The article describes President 
Trump's efforts to persuade congressional allies to drop their 
investigations, and it says:

       Another Republican Senator said Mr. Trump had not urged him 
     to help bring the Russia inquiry to a halt. Instead, the 
     Senator said, the President nudged him to begin an 
     investigation into Hillary Clinton's connection with the 
     intelligence-gathering firm Fusion GPS, which produced a 
     dossier of allegations about Mr. Trump's ties to Moscow.

  The goal was to stop the investigation of Russian meddling, but the 
implication in the article is that the President knew he could achieve 
that goal as effectively, or at least more practically, by distracting 
from those investigations, diverting resources to other issues, and 
muddying the waters for the American people. That is the playbook from 
1973 that is referenced by Art Buchwald in his 1973 column.
  Here is the danger: Distractions are dangerous, and efforts to 
discredit law enforcement are equally perilous. Those efforts have 
included not only the urging for an investigation of Uranium One and 
Fusion GPS but also attacks on the integrity of some members of the FBI 
and the FBI as a whole and attacks on individual members of the special 
counsel's team, on the team as a whole, and on Robert Mueller himself. 
The effort plainly is to discredit the investigation before it reaches 
a potentially incriminating conclusion and to stop the investigation, 
but if not stop it, at least to demean its credibility before charges 
are brought.
  It is standard operating procedure. We know as prosecutors. The 
distinguished Senator from Rhode Island and I served as U.S. attorneys 
and then attorneys general for our States. We know going into the 
courtroom that we can expect to be attacked and that our teams can be 
expected to be attacked. That is what defense lawyers do. That is what 
they do because they hope to demean and discredit and dismantle the 
credibility of prosecutors before the jury in the courtroom. Here, the 
courtroom is not a court of law but the court of public opinion. Our 
Republican friends have launched that preemptive strike, methodically 
and meticulously, just as the special counsel is engaging in his 
investigation methodically and meticulously.
  Now, I referred to Republican colleagues, and I believe strongly and 
passionately that many, if not most, of our Republican colleagues share 
our zeal for the rule of law and for a just outcome to this 
investigation. The reason is very simple. The Russian attack on our 
democracy imperils not just this administration and not just one 
election. It imperils our democracy as a whole. The meddling in our 
elections was perhaps done to advance the Trump candidacy in 2016, but 
it can be used against the Trump candidacy in 2020. It can be used 
against another Republican candidate in that year. It could be used in 
2018 against other candidates for Congress or for State election.
  My Republican colleagues have been as eloquent as any of us in 
defining that threat because there is no doubt in the intelligence 
community that it is a threat, that the Russians did interfere, and 
that they sought to advance the Trump candidacy. Whether there was an 
impact and what the impact was may never be known, but the effort is 
clear. It involved a massive campaign of disinformation, propaganda, 
cyber attack, and other means. That is what the FBI learned was 
happening, not as a result of Christopher Steele but from sources 
within the Trump campaign, including George Papadopoulos, and from 
other intelligence sources, and that is what we must make sure is known 
to the American public. We must make sure that anyone who aided the 
Russians pays a price and that the Russians themselves pay a price, 
because if there is no price, it will be done with impunity again.
  So there should be--and I believe there is--bipartisan apprehension 
about that threat to our Nation's security. That is the reason that the 
Judiciary Committee's investigation, along with the special counsel, is 
so important, because our purview includes obstruction of justice and 
the integrity of the Department of Justice. Any interference 
politically with the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling must be 
prevented in the future as well. Only the Judiciary Committee can frame 
and craft legislation that will help to protect the FBI.
  Senator Whitehouse and I, and Senator Feinstein and others on the 
committee, will be proposing such legislation based on what we know so 
far. It is legislation that essentially protects the rule of law 
against such efforts to obstruct justice and politically interfere.
  The intelligence community's conclusions about Russian meddling did 
not rely on the credibility of Glenn Simpson or Christopher Steele. The 
two guilty pleas and convictions that the special counsel has already 
secured do not rely on the credibility of Simpson or Steele. Without 
fear of contradiction, I can predict that additional convictions and 
indictments will be based on fact and law, not on the credibility of 
Simpson and Steele. The conclusions reached by Simpson, Steele, or 
anybody else are relevant only insofar as they are supported and backed 
and proved by facts and consistent with relevant law.
  Now, in fact, as we know, Christopher Steele tried to blow the 
whistle on the Russians. He brought to the FBI's attention information 
that he thought was relevant to protecting the United States of America 
against Russian interference. As my colleague Senator Whitehouse has 
outlined in detail, the FBI already knew of it and courteously heard 
from Christopher Steele and later interviewed him.
  The effort to undermine the credibility of the FBI by pointing to 
Christopher Steele completely misses the mark. In fact, I am deeply 
disappointed that the first major action by our Republican colleagues 
on the Judiciary Committee was aimed at someone who reported 
wrongdoing, not committed it, and it was done without any cooperation 
or even consultation with Democratic colleagues. It is really a 
betrayal of the spirit that I think should characterize this very 
serious investigation, because it should be bipartisan.
  My hope is that these distractions, dangerous as they are, will, in 
fact, not divert either our committee or the special counsel. The pace 
of our committee's investigation--again, to be very blunt--has been 
shamefully slow. I hope that its pace will quicken and that it will 
intensify and that there will be hearings in public with witnesses 
under oath and subpoenas of documents. I have said it repeatedly. I 
hope we will use those tools because only by relying on our powers to 
investigate effectively and comprehensively will we protect the goals 
of upholding integrity and justice.
  As for the special counsel and our law enforcement community, I think 
they should know that we support them and that we will protect the 
special counsel against political interference. That is why there is 
legislation I have proposed, along with my

[[Page S100]]

colleague Senator Whitehouse and others. It is bipartisan legislation. 
I thank Senators Tillis and Graham, as well as Senators Coons and 
Booker, for joining in this legislation. That legislation has already 
had a hearing. It should be voted to the floor and passed by the 
Congress so that there is no question that the special counsel will be 
protected against interference or firing.
  As that investigation moves closer to the Oval Office, as it tightens 
its grip on members of the administration, there will be increasing 
threats and efforts to intimidate. The FBI and the Department of 
Justice, as well as the special counsel, have a well-earned reputation 
for integrity and zeal. It is part of our rule of law that a law is 
enforced. Enforcement of a law depends on thorough and independent 
investigations that are pursued without fear or favor, without efforts 
to distract or demean. This body, the U.S. Congress, has an obligation 
to support those kinds of values. They are uniquely American values. 
They are the underpinning of all of our laws, all that we hold dear, 
and all that we celebrate in this body and in this country.
  My hope is that we will be part of the effort to avoid politicizing 
the pursuit of justice. Politicization of the pursuit of justice 
diverts energy and attention away from credible criminal 
investigations. It sends a message to this President and future 
Presidents--and everybody who occupies any office--that there are no 
repercussions for diverting and distracting and for the ploys and 
rabbit holes that may be used to squander resources or undermine 
  Republicans and Democrats alike should join in the effort to preserve 
the rule of law. My hope is that we will and will do so without delay 
because every day that passes when these kinds of false, baseless, and 
biased innuendos and rumors are raised and given credence is a day that 
undermines those values that we hold dear.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I thank Senators Whitehouse and Blumenthal 
for their remarks.

                  Children's Health Insurance Program

  Mr. President, it has been 100 days since this Congress allowed the 
Children's Health Insurance Program to expire. Congress did nothing in 
September, October, November, and December, and now we are more than a 
week into January--100 days of anxiety for parents, 100 days of 
wondering if their kids will be kicked off their coverage, 100 days of 
worrying if they will be able to afford their child's prescriptions or 
worrying whether they can take them to the doctor if they get the flu.
  Members of Congress--new Members, such as Senators Smith and Jones, 
Members like Senator Hatch, who has been here for 40 years, and all of 
us--have healthcare paid for by taxpayers.
  We remember the discussion of the tax bill written down the hall in 
the office of Majority Leader McConnell. The Senate found plenty of 
time in December to pass a massive handout for corporations. The 
Presiding Officer, the Senator from Florida, has since questioned 
whether too much of this bill went to corporate interests. More than 80 
percent of the tax cut bill went to the richest 1 percent.
  In addition, we know it was a massive handout for corporations that 
sent jobs overseas. We are going to see more companies shut down in 
Mansfield, Lima, Zanesville, Chillicothe, Portsmouth, and in big cities 
like Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. We are going to see more 
plants close and move overseas because this Senate and the House passed 
a tax bill that encourages more corporations to ship jobs overseas. All 
the while, this body couldn't be bothered to give families more than a 
short-term funding Band-Aid for CHIP, which experts have said will not 
even last the last 3 months they promised.
  I applaud the Presiding Officer, the Senator from Florida, for his 
efforts to enlarge at least some of the tax bill to put more money into 
the pockets of working families, particularly low-income working 
families. It was not enough, but at least some effort was made.
  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are reporting that 
some States will run out of money by January 19, next week. In my State 
of Ohio, 209,000 children rely on CHIP. Who are these kids? These are 
sons and daughters of Ohioans, who are working, in most cases, making 
$8, $10, or $12 an hour. They are the sons and daughters of parents who 
don't have insurance not because they aren't working as hard or harder 
than we do, but they don't have insurance simply because their parents 
happen to work at a job where they are not provided insurance.
  There are 209,000 Ohio children who rely on CHIP, a program that has 
been bipartisan for 20 years. It was without controversy in the past. 
Families in some States already got letters last year and early this 
year warning them that their children could lose their healthcare.

  Think about these families. The parents of some of these millions of 
children around the country come home from work, working in a $10-an-
hour job, not making a lot of money. They are working every bit as hard 
as we do. They go to the mailbox and see a letter from their State 
government. I will read one of these letters, a copy of which went to 
tens of thousands of parents: Because Congress has not acted yet, we 
need to let you know there is a chance that the CHIP Program may have 
to be shut down. In other words, there is a chance that your children's 
health insurance will be cut off.
  Remember, this is because of the inaction in this body. This is 
because Senators, who have insurance paid for by taxpayers, would 
rather vote for tax cuts, would rather do whatever we do all day 
instead of renewing the Children's Health Insurance Program.
  This letter goes on: If Congress does not renew Federal funds for 
CHIP in time, you will get another letter in January telling you your 
benefits will end.
  So first, it is a warning. Some parents got this warning right around 
Christmastime. They are already struggling financially. They are not 
giving their children nearly as much as they want for Christmas because 
they are making $8, $10, or $12 an hour. They are just trying to stay 
above water. They are just trying to raise their kids. They get a 
letter like this at Christmastime saying: If Congress doesn't act, 
there is really bad news; your kids are going to lose their insurance. 
Then the same letter says: If Congress doesn't act, in January you will 
get another letter saying your insurance is cut off.
  It is already an expensive time of year. There is record cold in 
Ohio. Several of our grandchildren live in Columbus, one of them in St. 
Croix, and two in Providence, RI. When a number of our grandchildren 
were around, it was too cold to go outside. It was that kind of winter 
in Ohio. The day after Christmas, temperatures dropped to single digits 
for 5, 6, or 7 days running. Families are paying more for their heating 
bill. At Christmastime, of course, it is more expensive. Now their 
government adds to this list of worries.
  How do they plan their budget for this year if they don't know 
whether or not they will have to shell out thousands of dollars more 
for care for their kids? Remember, 9 million children are at risk 
because of Republican inaction.
  Senator Portman, my Republican colleague from Ohio, and I and almost 
every other Senator on the Finance Committee voted to move forward on 
CHIP, to renew it for these 9 million children for 5 years. That was a 
good thing. It passed out of committee, but Senator McConnell, for 
whatever reason, didn't think this was important enough to actually put 
it on the floor, move on it, and get it to the President.
  I have no idea if the President will sign it. I don't think he knows 
much about the Children's Health Insurance Program, but I assume his 
advisers will say that it is probably a good idea to sign it. But he 
hasn't had a chance to sign it because the majority leader doesn't 
think this bill is important enough--that these 9 million children are 
important enough--that Congress should take action.
  These are often families with two working parents. They might make 
$8, $10, or $12 an hour, but they are working in jobs where they are 
not lucky enough to have health insurance. They work for companies or 
many for small businesses that, for whatever reason, can't afford it. 
Whatever the reason, they are working for companies that don't offer 
health insurance coverage

[[Page S101]]

for their families, or they are families with children with special 
  I have introduced to my colleagues before Crystal Lett. This is 
Crystal's son Noble, a first-grader in Dublin, OH, a small, prosperous 
suburb west and northwest of Columbus.
  I met Crystal and Noble last year, when they made the trip from Ohio 
to Washington to talk to Members of Congress about CHIP. Crystal's life 
is not easy because she is taking care of a child with a disability 
whom she so clearly and dearly loves. I could see, watching Noble, how 
much he loves his mother and how important they are to each other.
  Noble was born with a rare genetic disorder. He needs three therapy 
sessions every week. He gets daily hormone injections. His medications 
cost $1,500 a month. I talked to Crystal when she visited. I talked to 
her again. We talked about how she and her family are scared to death 
about what will happen to them if Congress doesn't save CHIP.
  This is not difficult. Congress has renewed it every year for 20 
years. It is bipartisan. It has never had much of any opposition. There 
are a lot of people like Noble's mother. Crystal said CHIP is ``the 
difference between living a middle class lifestyle, or being part of 
the poverty line.''
  Congress had time to hand out massive permanent tax cuts to the 
richest Americans and the biggest corporations that send job overseas, 
but it could only manage to scrape together just a little short-term 3 
months of funding for these families.
  It is really what is wrong with this city. Folks here listen too much 
to the lobbyists. I remember--and the Presiding Officer remembers, 
too--seeing the stream of lobbyists from drug companies, from insurance 
companies, from the big banks, and from the oil industry, in and out of 
Senator McConnell's office, writing a tax bill. We remember that from 
just a couple of months ago. But for some reason, Crystal and Noble 
couldn't get in that line--the line of lobbyists asking for huge tax 
breaks, saving billions of dollars for their employers while these 
lobbyists are paid very well. But, frankly, there was nobody having the 
political wherewithal to convince the majority leader that we ought to 
move on the CHIP bill.
  Healthcare for our kids shouldn't be controversial. It never was 
until this recent Senate and until this recent President was sworn in. 
It shouldn't be partisan. It should be easy. It is a program created 20 
years ago. It was bipartisan. It has always been bipartisan. It still 
has bipartisan support today, except that the Speaker of the House down 
the hall and the majority leader a little closer to us just simply 
don't want to pass it.
  We passed the CHIP extension out of the Finance Committee. It is 
ready to go. Republican leaders could put it on the floor today, and it 
would pass. I am guessing that it would pass with no more than 5 or 10 
``no'' votes.
  I want my colleagues to explain to Noble's mother Crystal and to 
explain to other mothers and fathers like her why corporate tax cuts 
are more important than their children's health.
  This is about whose side you are on. Do we work for the corporations 
that send our jobs overseas, do we work for those companies that line 
up hungrily for tax breaks, or do we work for families who just want 
the peace of mind so they can take their kids to the doctor?
  It is past time for folks in Congress, with taxpayer-funded 
healthcare, to do their jobs and extend CHIP. I don't want more 
families to get a letter like this from their capital city, from the 
Department of Welfare or the Department of Job and Family Services, 
whatever it is in each community in each State. I don't want any more 
parents to go to the mailbox, to open this letter, and to have that 
fear and anxiety hit them in their gut, thinking: Oh, my God, my 
children's health insurance may be canceled.
  We can do better than that.
  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. 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.