(Senate - October 09, 2018)

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[Pages S6703-S6719]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          STATES COURTHOUSE''

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the House message to accompany S. 3021, which 
the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       House message to accompany S. 3021, an Act to designate the 
     United States courthouse located at 300 South Fourth Street 
     in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the ``Diana E. Murphy United 
     States Courthouse''.


       McConnell motion to concur in the amendments of the House 
     to the bill.
       McConnell motion to concur in the amendment of the House to 
     the bill, with McConnell amendment No. 4048 (to the motion to 
     concur in the amendment of the House to the bill), to change 
     the enactment date.
       McConnell amendment No. 4049 (to amendment No. 4048), of a 
     perfecting nature.
       McConnell motion to refer the House message to accompany 
     the bill to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
     with instructions, McConnell amendment No. 4050, to change 
     the enactment date.
       McConnell amendment No. 4051 (to the instructions 
     (amendment No. 4050) of the motion to refer), of a perfecting 
       McConnell amendment No. 4052 (to amendment No. 4051), of a 
     perfecting nature.

                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.

                       Resignation of Nikki Haley

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, first, I want to convey a few words of 
thanks to our dedicated Ambassador to the United Nations, who we just 
learned will be stepping down at the end of the year.
  Our Nation has benefited greatly from the tough, skilled leadership 
that Nikki Haley brought to the U.N. Her tenure will be remembered for 
her proud reassertion of American moral leadership and her fearless 
willingness to turn a bright spotlight on critical challenges, from 
Israeli's sovereignty to Iran's sponsorship of regional violence.
  Ambassador Haley has been a key part of the administration's team 
that has faced down a wide variety of critical challenges, and she has 
done so with distinction.
  She took on this role after an impressive 6 years as Governor of 
South Carolina and quickly proved to be both be a skillful advocate for 
our national interest and a forceful spokeswoman for our principles.
  I hope this is not the end of Ambassador Haley's distinguished career 
in public service. I thank her for her significant contributions to our 

                    Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. President, on another matter, yesterday, I was pleased to attend 
the ceremonial swearing-in for the newest member of our Supreme Court--
Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
  Justice Kavanaugh's remarks yesterday affirmed yet again what his 
record and his testimony clearly told us: He will be a thoughtful, 
fairminded Justice who is committed to applying our laws and our 
Constitution as they are actually written.
  His confirmation last week was a victory for the very same principles 
of fairness and justice we can now count on with him--along with his 
fellow Justices--to uphold.
  Saturday's vote was also a victory for the Senate--for this 
institution--and for the integrity of this institution. Reason and 
deliberation triumphed over what was literally--literally--an attempt 
to sway the Senate using mob tactics. I wish this were an exaggeration, 
but it isn't.
  While many came to Washington peacefully to share their stories, the 
loudest voices proved to be those of the politically motivated far 
left--the same far left special interests that had pledged total 
opposition to any Supreme Court nominee before the ink

[[Page S6704]]

was even dry on Justice Kennedy's retirement. They pulled out all the 
stops. They did everything they could.
  When it became clear Justice Kavanaugh's nomination would not be 
stopped on the merits--well, as we know, that was only the beginning. 
The far-left activists decided that the U.S. Senate and their Members 
should be harassed and intimidated wherever they might be--in a 
restaurant with family, getting out of their own car, or in their own 
homes; anything went.
  When they did not get their way, when these tactics failed to sway 
us, they just turned up the anger even more. Protestors disregarded the 
men and women of the Capitol Police, trampled barricades, stormed the 
steps of the Capitol and the Supreme Court, climbed on statues, and 
tried to literally shout down Senators right in the middle of a 
rollcall vote in the Senate.
  When the dust settled, literally hundreds of arrests had been made. 
Extraordinary security measures were required to protect the Senate, 
the Supreme Court, as well as the Kavanaugh family. Members of this 
body and Senate staff have received threats of violence and murder.
  After all that, I am afraid the far left had succeeded in only one 
thing: They made it even more difficult for the vast majority of 
Americans to take them seriously. They made it difficult for most 
Americans to take these people seriously.
  The madness hasn't stopped. They are already signaling that even more 
drastic steps may be necessary now that Justice Kavanaugh is on the 
  Some leftwing publications are already trying to lay the groundwork 
for--you guessed it--literally packing the Court with more Justices. 
That is right. The far left has gone scrounging through the ash heap of 
American history, and they are bandying about that discredited fantasy 
from back in the 1930s.
  In the meantime, while the groundwork is laid for that scheme, one 
far-left pressure group is already trying to circulate petitions that 
Justice Kavanaugh should be impeached--Justice Kavanaugh should be 
  The mob would like to make themselves perfectly clear. If Democrats 
were to retake Congress, ``progessives expect them to use their full 
power to get Kavanaugh off the bench.''
  So it is pretty obvious. The all-consuming animosity toward this 
nominee, independent of all the facts and all the evidence, is still 
being stoked. The far-left mob is not letting up.
  Early today, former Secretary of State Clinton sent this signal as 
clear as day--this is Secretary Clinton. She told CNN exactly how she 
views millions of Americans who hold different political views from her 
own. Here is what she said:

       You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to 
     destroy what you stand for. . . . If we are fortunate enough 
     to win back the House and/or the Senate, that's when civility 
     can start again.

  No peace until they get their way? More of these unhinged tactics?
  Apparently, this is the left's rallying cry, but fortunately the 
American people know the fact-free politics of hate, fear, and 
intimidation are not how we actually govern in our democratic Republic.
  The Senate and the Nation will not be intimidated.

                                S. 3021

  Mr. President, on an entirely different matter, earlier this year, 
the President challenged us to seriously address our Nation's crumbling 
infrastructure. We have wasted no time in Congress on working to tackle 
this challenge in a bipartisan way.
  Here are just a few highlights: The funding bill for fiscal 2018 
included a $21 billion increase in infrastructure funding. We continue 
to build on that significant commitment in our historic return to 
regular appropriations for fiscal year 2019.
  Just last week, we passed the longest FAA reauthorization in more 
than three decades on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. This week, we 
have the chance to keep the momentum going and advance another major 
victory for the American infrastructure by passing America's Water 
Infrastructure Act.
  Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper deserve a lot of credit 
for getting this important bipartisan legislation across the finish 
line. Its importance for every State in our Nation really cannot be 
  America's ports and inland waterways give our producers access to 
markets around the world. For example, more than 60 percent of our 
grain exports move through our inland waterways and so do other 
commodities such as fuel, coal, and agricultural inputs.
  No wonder the American Farm Bureau Federation wrote the Senate, 
explaining that this legislation ``will put America's inland waterways 
and port infrastructure on a solid and sustainable foundation to 
contribute to U.S. economic growth, jobs and global competitiveness for 
generations to come.''
  This legislation covers big projects, like deepening ports and 
ensuring the navigability of inland waterways, but it also focuses on 
the unique challenges our local communities face. It will help ensure 
access to functioning sewer systems and clean drinking water.
  On the last point, there is good reason why the chairman of the EPW 
Committee calls this legislation ``the most significant drinking water 
infrastructure bill in decades.'' When you look at its contents, it is 
hard to reach any other conclusion.
  There is more support for our rural communities as they grapple with 
aging water, sewer, and flood control infrastructure. The legislation 
includes Senator Boozman's SRF-WIN Act, which puts low-interest 
financing within reach for small and midsized rural communities, like 
those in my home State of Kentucky.
  For the first time in over 20 years, this legislation reauthorizes 
Federal funding to States to help ensure the safety of our drinking 
  The legislation also addresses environmental protection. To name just 
one example, it includes an important effort championed by Senator 
Rubio and Governor Scott to help address harmful algal blooms that have 
plagued Florida's waterways. These are just a few of the significant 
accomplishments this legislation secures. Dams and levees, flood 
control for our communities, safe drinking water, and sewer systems in 
communities big and small.

  The bill before us addresses real needs in my State and across 
America. I hope each of my colleagues will join me in voting to advance 
America's Water Infrastructure Act later today.

                    Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

  Now, on one final matter, I would like to conclude where I started, 
with a few words of thanks for a job well done. Justice Kavanaugh's 
confirmation could not have happened without the tireless work of so 
many. So while I certainly can't mention everyone who is deserving, I 
wish to take a moment to express my gratitude.
  First, of course, is President Trump himself, for sending to the 
Senate such a talented and qualified nominee. He and Vice President 
Pence are stalwart champions for the judiciary that the American people 
  My deep gratitude also goes to White House Counsel Don McGahn. 
Without Don's total dedication to ensuring that Judge Kavanaugh 
received a fair hearing, we would not be where we are today.
  Here in the Senate, I can't compliment enough our dear friend 
Chairman Grassley for his leadership of the Judiciary Committee. He 
balanced strong leadership with generosity and flexibility to all of 
the Members. He oversaw the most thorough, painstaking review of a 
Supreme Court nominee in our Nation's history.
  Supporting Chairman Grassley and the committee, I would like to 
mention the following individuals: Staff Director Kolan Davis, Chief 
Nominations Counsel Mike Davis, Steve Kenny, Lauren Mehler, Andrew 
Ferguson, Taylor Foy, Rachel Mitchell, Katharine Willey, Jessica Vu, 
George Hartman, Jill Kozeny, and Jennifer Heins in Senator Grassley's 
office, and an entire team of outstanding staff.
  Thanks are also due to the Republican Whip, Senator Cornyn, and his 
excellent team, led by Monica Popp, and also to all of the dedicated 
floor staff who make this body function: Laura Dove, Robert Duncan, and 
the entire cloakroom team; the Secretary of the Senate, 
Parliamentarians, clerks, reporters of debates, Sergeant at Arms, and 
our doorkeepers.
  On my own team, I really cannot imagine this process--or really, my 
office, at all--without the crucial leadership of Sharon Soderstrom, my 
chief of

[[Page S6705]]

staff. She works harder and achieves more, under more pressure, than 
almost anyone I have ever had the privilege of working with.
  Don Stewart, my deputy chief of staff, is the expert hand who helps 
keep us on course and shapes our communications strategy. Hazen 
Marshall, my policy director, helped to keep this and other priorities 
on track, including the other bipartisan policy wins the Senate 
delivered during the nomination debate.
  John Abegg is my chief counsel and right-hand man for every step of 
this process. For 15 weeks, John poured his determination, his 
experience, and his wisdom into this process. He started working the 
moment Justice Kennedy announced he was stepping down and did not stop 
until the gavel fell. We wouldn't be here without his work.
  I am grateful to my policy advisers, my communications team, and my 
operations staff for all the hard work and late nights they poured into 
this process, and to Phil Maxson and my personal office team for their 
  But most important of all, I need to close with this. To the men and 
women of the United States Capitol Police and to all of the other law 
enforcement officers who kept Members, staff, and citizens safe, even 
in extremely difficult and often hostile circumstances, we really can't 
thank them enough. Our representative government and the rule of law 
depend on their dedication, their bravery, and their sacrifice. So 
thank you so much for keeping the Senate safe.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Cancer Research

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, it was good to get back home to Texas over 
the weekend and on Columbus Day. I had a chance to travel to far West 
Texas, out to El Paso, TX, and catch up with some of my friends and 
constituents there on some important issues they care an awful lot 
  While we in Washington have been focused on Brett Kavanaugh's 
confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court for the last 90 days or so, a 
lot of other important things have been happening back in Texas and 
around the country.
  For example, on August 1, Dr. Jim Allison, affiliated with the 
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, won the Nobel 
Prize in medicine, along with a researcher from Japan. This is really 
important work. It was a culmination of 25 years of effort, and I am 
sure something Jim would have never even dreamed of as he grew up in 
the small town of Alice, TX, 45 minutes from Corpus Christi. He has 
come a long way since then. We are very proud of him, and today we send 
our congratulations to Dr. Allison and to the entire MD Anderson team 
on a tremendous accomplishment.
  Dr. Allison developed a new way to treat cancer using T cells. His 
method unleashes a patient's immune system to attack tumors. In other 
words, it is your own immune system that is triggered to attack the 
tumors that are attacking the patient. This is called immune checkpoint 
therapy. It has resulted in the development of numerous drugs that have 
the potential to save lives. None other than our former President, 
Jimmy Carter, is now cancer free because of this type of therapy, but 
he is just one of the most famous of many examples.
  In the not so distant past, cancer could be treated in only one of 
three ways: through surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. A friend of 
mine gave me the book--I think it was a Pulitzer Prize winning book--
called ``The Emperor of All Maladies,'' which was also a documentary. 
To be honest, the way that the medical profession treated cancer in the 
early days was pretty primitive: surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. 
But now, thanks to people like Dr. Allison and MD Anderson, cancer 
patients have other options.
  Dr. Allison is sometimes referred to as the ``Godfather of cancer 
immunotherapy,'' and the drugs he has helped to develop have now been 
approved to treat not only melanoma and lung cancer but also Hodgkins 
lymphoma and cancers of the kidney, bladder, liver and stomach.
  But despite the great strides made by this Nobel Prize-winning Texan, 
immunotherapy is still in the very early stages of development. Dr. 
Allison said there are nearly 2,000 immunotherapy trials in progress 
around the Nation, including 200 at MD Anderson alone. That gives my 
colleagues an idea of the number of people and the ongoing efforts that 
are working to extend the scientific frontiers of cancer treatment.
  Much of this work, of course, would not be possible without the 
funding that is provided by the American taxpayer through State and 
Federal funding. The National Institutes of Health remains the largest 
funding mechanism, but in Texas we have done our part by investing $3 
billion over 10 years through the Cancer Prevention and Research 
Institute of Texas, commonly known as CPRIT.
  Here in the Senate and in the House, working together with the 
administration, we have been promoting cancer research in several 
overlapping ways. I recently met with Dr. Shanlin Shah and learned 
about the fascinating proton therapy that MD Anderson has pioneered. 
Conversations like that are a great way that we in Congress, who are 
obviously not experts, can try to stay on top of rapidly advancing 
  But even more important is what we do here collectively to fund that 
research. We have increased funding by $2 billion to the National 
Institutes of Health. With that increase, close to $6 billion is now 
going to the National Cancer Institute, and an additional $100 million 
is being put toward the so-called Cancer Moonshot that Joe Biden and 
others touted and which all of us working together voted to create. The 
Moonshot will accelerate research regarding high mortality cancers.
  As a part of the Moonshot initiative, the National Institutes of 
Health has partnered with biopharmaceutical companies to launch what is 
known as the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer or PACT, as it is 
called. PACT is a 5-year public-private research collaboration totaling 
$215 million. Hopefully, it will identify new biomarkers and develop 
new immunotherapy treatments.
  Dr. Allison, whom I mentioned earlier, has spoken about how crucial 
this government funding effort really is. Of course, like I said, while 
we are caught up in the fights of the day here on the floor of the 
Senate, a lot of good work gets done that the American people don't 
hear about. So that is why it is so important to emphasize this point.
  While biotech and pharmaceutical companies fund the late-stage 
research that brings well-developed therapies into clinical trials, the 
early funding of basic science, which makes that possible, often comes 
from the money provided by the U.S. Government through the National 
Institutes of Health. Without it, Dr. Allison said, ``many of the 
therapies that currently treat millions of cancer patients worldwide 
simply wouldn't exist.''
  That is an important point too. It is not just treating cancer here 
in America. The science and the developments, the research and the 
cures that are developed at places like MD Anderson Hospital in 
Houston, TX, benefit the whole world.
  I remember one of the last times I was at MD Anderson for a townhall 
meeting with Senator McConnell, the majority leader, and Senator John 
McCain, our recently departed colleague from Arizona. At the time, I 
was told that patients from 90 different countries come to MD Anderson 
in Houston, TX, because of their expertise treating cancer.
  So this is not just a local or national phenomenon. This is a 
worldwide phenomenon.
  It is not just the government, of course, that helps to fund this 
important research. Philanthropists are also invaluable when it comes 
to this sort of research as well. I am thinking about my friends Peggy 
and Lowry Mays of San Antonio, TX. Thanks to their generosity, San 
Antonio's premier cancer center, which is one of only four in Texas 
with the National Cancer Institute's elite designation, is entering 
into an entirely new era. Their donations and their generosity will 
provide an endowment to support the director of the cancer center, and 
it will also fund new faculty recruitment and retention initiatives for 
generations to come. This is just another way

[[Page S6706]]

that generous people with big hearts are making a difference. It is not 
just government. It is government working together with people like the 
Mays to get these things done.
  What all of this shows, of course, is that when serious and sustained 
effort is applied and money is invested, there is a lot of progress 
that we can make in dealing with things that never would have even been 
considered treatable years earlier, not that many years ago, and there 
is always more to be learned.
  This calls to mind something the great Thomas Edison, the inventor of 
the light bulb, once said: ``When you have exhausted all possibilities, 
remember this--you haven't.'' We haven't exhausted all possibilities, 
as Dr. Allison's path-breaking work clearly shows--not even close. We 
have so much more to discover and understand. With science advancing at 
practically lightning speed, I believe it is not a question of if we 
cure cancer but when.
  That comes as good news for families all across this country of ours 
because almost no family has been spared. Even when we don't have a 
close friend or immediate family member who has undergone radiation 
treatment or chemotherapy, we know stories of famous people, such as 
Steve Jobs, Aretha Franklin, and even our friend John McCain, recently 
departed. They passed away from pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma. For 
others we know, it was oral cancer or lung cancer. Cancer respects no 
persons and observes no differences between the wealthy and the poor or 
race or ethnicity. But if we are lucky, we are also blessed to know 
cancer survivors who, thanks to medical innovation, have a new shot at 
life. They have undergone hardships and treatment that the rest of us 
might find difficult to even imagine, but they have endured by their 
spirit, and they have inspired all of us to keep working, whether it be 
at the Mays Cancer Center in San Antonio, at MD Anderson in Houston, or 
up here in Washington, where we work to fund research through 
legislation. Like Thomas Edison said, we will never exhaust all of the 
possibilities, so we must not give up. We must keep trying.
  Working with generous donors, as well as undaunted scientific 
researchers like Dr. Allison and his team, I hope we will continue to 
apply our time and talents to finding answers and yielding newer and 
greater discoveries.
  To all the younger generations--some in towns not unlike Alice, TX--
to all of those who are wondering what they might want to be when they 
grow up, look no further than Dr. Jim Allison. Look how much he has 
accomplished through his life's work. He is a good example of the type 
of person you can aspire to be and what is possible if you try.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Climate Change

  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I rise today to talk about something 
that is such an urgent challenge for our Nation and the world; that is, 
climate change. Over the weekend, we received the most recent and most 
dire warning of the costs of inaction yesterday when the U.N. 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its report. It wasn't 
easy to break through the news in the last week. We all know there was 
a lot going on, but this one did.
  Why did this break through the news? First of all, it was such a 
comprehensive report. It was a product of 91 scientists from 40 
countries. They looked at more than 6,000 studies, and they concluded, 
absent major changes in our greenhouse gas emissions, the devastating 
consequences of climate change are coming much sooner than previously 
expected. I think that is why it made front page news--because of the 
  I think a lot of times people think of something that maybe their 
grandkids or great-grandkids are going to have to deal with, but, no, 
actually the pages in this room--young people today, people even in my 
generation--are going to have to be dealing directly with the frontline 
consequences of climate change.
  The report predicted that the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 
2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels by 2040. That is just 
over 20 years. Think about the pages in this room. Twenty years from 
now might seem long, but it is not that long at all.
  Just 20 years ago, we could see persistent droughts--we are already 
seeing a number of droughts now--food shortages, worsening wildfires--
think of what we have already seen in Colorado and California on the 
west coast--and increased coastal flooding, damage that could cost $54 
trillion. This is about loss of life, loss of quality of life, and this 
is about loss of money and loss of people's incomes.
  As the authors of the report make clear, it will take immediate 
action to avoid these catastrophic consequences for our country and our 
world. First, by 2030, we must reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 45 
percent from 2010 levels. Second, by 2050, we must increase our use of 
renewable energy, such as wind and solar, by as much as 47 percent.
  Do you know what? We can do this. If we don't do anything, we are 
going to face dire consequences.
  When I first came to the Senate, we started hearing from military 
people and from scientists from all over the world about what we could 
see even in the next 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. So much of that has 
already come true. Imagine if we do nothing, and we keep on this 
  The American people understand it. I hear about the climate issue 
everywhere I go in my State--from hunters in Northern Minnesota to 
people who like to snowmobile and cross-country ski, to business 
leaders in the Port of Duluth, to students at the University of 
  Increasingly, warmer temperatures are having dramatic effects all 
over the northern part of our country. Lyme disease has spread further 
north. Aspen forests are shrinking. Moose range is declining. There is 
thirty-seven percent more rainfall as a result of mega rainstorms than 
we saw 50 years ago. The ragweed pollen season has extended 3 weeks in 
the Twin Cities in just the past 20 years. Those are facts.
  When you think about the effect that has on animals, think about the 
effect that has on our daily lives, and then think about what would 
happen if we kept going that way, not just this way but that way in the 
next 20 years. This is in stark contrast to comments made by some who 
still suggest the climate change debate isn't settled. I couldn't 
disagree more.
  I know we had a vote in this Chamber where something like 98 or 99 
Senators voted that climate change is occurring. There may not be 
agreement on what we should do about it, but there better be soon.
  I am a former prosecutor, so I believe in evidence. As this U.N. 
report shows us, the facts and the science couldn't be clearer. I 
suggest that everyone read about it or read summaries, which are easily 
available. Every week seems to bring fresh evidence of the damage 
climate change is already causing, and Americans will feel the 
  My State may be miles and miles away from rising oceans, but the 
impacts are not less of a real threat to my State. Climate change isn't 
just about melting glaciers, although we sure have seen those. Anyone 
who visits Glacier National Park--I went with my family--can literally 
see over time, decade by decade, the changes to those glaciers. I once 
visited Greenland with a number of Senators, including Republican 
Senators, and you could see what is happening there as major icebergs 
and parts of their ice sheets are breaking off and disappearing. You 
can see the physical evidence of this. You can see the photographs of 
this. It is not just about that.
  Recently, we have seen the devastating impact of natural disasters, 
like Hurricane Florence and the catastrophic flooding this summer 
throughout Southern Minnesota in Duluth. There may be some political 
division around climate change; that is putting it mildly. But there 
isn't any real scientific division because nearly all of the scientists 
in this world believe this is happening.
  I will never forget an episode from the John Oliver show, which is a 
humorous program to watch, but it brings

[[Page S6707]]

real issues to light. To show that kind of scientific division, he 
decided to have a bunch of scientists on the stage with him. They were 
wearing their white coats. He had something like 97 or 98 scientists on 
one side in their white coats and 1 or 2 on the other side. That is the 
division. It is not real division if you are someone who believes in 
evidence. Climate change is occurring, and this latest report is from 
the scientists all over the world who would have no reason to do this 
except to warn people about the truth. That is why they are doing this.
  As citizens, we have an obligation to learn about it, to understand 
it, and to support ideas that will not hold us back dramatically but 
will allow us to tackle this head-on. If we don't tackle this issue, we 
are going to continue to struggle with the far-reaching economic and 
environmental consequences. This report makes clear that those risks 
aren't far off in the future for your great-great-great-great-great-
great grandchildren; no, they could become a crisis as soon as 2040.
  Shifting global trends have the potential to wreak more subtle, long-
term havoc on our businesses and industries. That is why so many 
businesses in my State support doing something about climate change. 
Sometimes it is because they have customers all over the world--all 
over the world in areas that are going to be the first hit by tsunamis 
and other weather events or it is because they simply want to be good 
corporate citizens or it is because they see their bottom line and how 
it is going to be affected if we don't do something about this.
  The U.N. report details the economic damage that will happen if we 
fail to act, including losses of roughly 1.2 percent to our gross 
domestic product for every 1.8 degrees of warning. As it gets hotter, 
the GDP does go down.
  As a Senator from a State with a strong agricultural industry and a 
tradition of hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing, climate change 
is not only a direct threat to our State's economy, it is also a threat 
to our quality of life, to the way we grew up, to enjoying the outdoors 
with our friends and our families.
  When President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw 
from the international climate change agreement last summer, I heard a 
lot from people in our State.
  As you all know, 195 countries made a pledge to come together to 
combat climate change, and in withdrawing, the United States was 
initially one of only three countries that would not be in the 
agreement. The other two countries that weren't in the agreement were 
Syria and Nicaragua. Well, now Syria and Nicaragua have signed the 
accord, so the United States is now the only country not to sign the 
  Our decision to leave this agreement sent the wrong message to the 
rest of the world--the wrong message. The lack of leadership has led to 
other countries discussing backing out of the agreement. That is not 
leadership. That is not leading from the front. We can't have this 
happen. America should be leading and helping the world move forward.
  By the way, there is such an innovation space here, so much money to 
be made by responding to this in a smart way and developing new 
vehicles and developing new energy and new ways to deal with this 
challenge. It isn't just a challenge; it is also an opportunity. If we 
don't seize that opportunity by getting our own act together, by 
admitting that it is a problem and giving incentives to our businesses 
to go in the right direction and to bring other countries with us, we 
are going to lose that opportunity to other countries that are part of 
this international coalition.
  I have already talked to people who work in government or who work 
for businesses that have gone to international meetings and who have 
said: Do you know what some of these people in other countries say? I 
think we are going to work with China on this. They are part of that 
agreement. Hey, we are going to buy our solar panels from them, or we 
are going to do work with them on this.
  You can't hide from the fact that we withdrew from that agreement, 
and it hurts not just our environment, it hurts our economic 
opportunities going forward.
  Look at Minnesota and what has happened because we were out front on 
this. I am proud that our State has taken an incredibly proactive and 
innovative approach to energy use and sustainability, which is critical 
to addressing carbon emissions. Our State's renewable energy standard 
requires that 25 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources 
by 2025. We passed that way back in 2007 with--get this--a Republican 
Governor, Governor Pawlenty. He helped lead the way on that and worked 
with the legislature of Democrats and Republicans to pass what was at 
the time seen as a very aggressive standard. We did it by combining it 
with doing something about biofuels--something that is important not 
just in Minnesota but in the Presiding Officer's State of North Dakota.
  We were able to put together that kind of coalition--the leaders in 
our legislature and the Governor, farmers and workers, 
environmentalists--to move forward on biofuels so we would have 
diversity in our fuel supply as well as diversity in our energy supply. 
So we don't rely on just one type of energy, and we reduce greenhouse 
gases by having an ``all of the above'' energy approach.
  The legislation back then in 2007 received overwhelming bipartisan 
support, passing the Minnesota House 123 to 10 and the Minnesota Senate 
63 to 3. It has been a while since we have reached that kind of 
consensus on the Federal level when it comes to energy.
  What has happened? We have more than met those goals. What has 
happened nationally? Well, there was progress made during the Obama 
administration. When I first got here in 2007, I personally thought 
that we should move to some kind of a renewable electricity standard 
for the whole country, maybe making differences by geographic areas and 
regions. Sadly, the decision was not made to go that way. I think we 
lost it by one vote. We lost it by one vote. Instead, the decision was 
made on one side that we wanted to be more aggressive--and we tried 
with cap and trade, but that didn't end up getting passed in the 
Senate--and then on the other side, to kind of say: Well, let's just 
see what happens. As a result, in my mind, we have not done nearly 
  What has happened instead? Well, the States, our laboratories of 
democracy, have moved ahead--many of them, like Minnesota--and are 
coming up with their own standards or doing it by region. Our 
universities have moved ahead, our cities have moved ahead, and our 
businesses have moved ahead. By 2015, 154 companies, including 
companies I am very proud of--major companies in my State, such as 
Target, Best Buy, General Mills, and Cargill--had signed a pledge 
demonstrating their support for action on climate change that takes a 
strong step toward a low-carbon, sustainable future. These companies 
collectively employ more than 9 million people and represent more than 
$3 trillion in annual revenue.
  Last month at the Alliance to Save Energy gala, I got to present an 
Energy Efficiency Award to Target because of the work they have done 
with sustainability and righting the impacts of climate change. They 
have created an electric car program that is up and running in 5 
States, and they plan to expand that number to 20 in the next 2 years. 
They signed a virtual power purchase agreement with the Stephens Ranch 
wind farm in Texas as part of their goal of sourcing 100 percent 
renewable energy in their U.S. operations. Like so many companies in 
the United States, they have started a major solar program and are 
committed to establishing rooftop solar panels on 500 of their stores 
by 2020. As of last year, they had already finished 436 of their 
  They are not alone. Xcel Energy, Minnesota's largest utility, was an 
early supporter of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.
  If we had allowed that to go through and had that in place, imagine 
what a better position we would be in when we read headlines like those 
from this morning about the U.N.'s report and the dire predictions of 
what we are going to see in 20 years. But, no, we are in what I 
consider a state of paralysis. Maybe we are not making things worse, 
although when we took away those gas mileage standards--when the 
administration went back on that--we made them worse. We sure aren't 
making them better. Thanks to cities and

[[Page S6708]]

States, we are making progress, but we should be doing this together as 
a nation.
  Xcel Energy is another example of a company that appears to be ahead 
of the Federal Government. They supported the Obama administration's 
Clean Power Plan and announced plans to reduce carbon emissions by 60 
percent in the next 15 years.
  I look at it this way: If companies like Target and Xcel Energy 
understand the need to reduce our use of fossil fuels and embrace the 
energy of the future, then so should Members of Congress, and so should 
this administration.
  We know that energy innovation can't take root--not in any serious 
way--without certainty and stability on what those incentives are. That 
is what that Clean Power Plan was about. It took what I considered a 
more moderate route than some people thought it was going to take, but 
then it got pulled back by this administration. It is very hard to 
start planning for the future if we don't have a route for these 
companies to go. The rest of the world is getting on board. We don't 
want to be following; we want to be leading in America.

  As this week's report made clear, inaction is not an option for our 
economy, for our environment, for our country, or for the world. 
Military and security experts have repeatedly reminded us that climate 
change is a threat to our national security, increasing risks of 
conflict, humanitarian crisis, and damage to critical infrastructure.
  We see the stories of some of the refugees who are not coming up from 
conflict but are coming up from parts of Africa where they used to do 
subsistence farming but can no longer do that kind of subsistence 
farming because it is too dry, there are too many droughts, and the 
world has changed. We are going to see these humongous movements of 
people because they can't live where they used to live.
  It is much better for us if we take this on as a world and do 
something about it than deal with the repercussions of it--more severe 
weather, heat waves that could reduce our water supply, extreme 
rainfall that could damage critical infrastructure, and a decrease in 
agricultural productivity that could threaten my State's $20 billion 
agricultural industry. People around the country understand the stakes, 
but this place--I think it needs just a little more imagination.
  If you ever visit my office, I have a picture on the wall, and it is 
a picture of an angel, and she is handing off the world to some 
outstretched hands. The words on the picture read: ``The angel 
shrugged, and she said, `If we fail this time, it will be a failure of 
imagination.' '' That is what we need right now in Washington, DC--
imagination to deal with a very clear threat that the scientists have 
put right in front of us. Twenty years from now, it is going to be 
worse than those wildfires we see raging in California and Colorado. 
Twenty years from now, it is going to be worse than what we are seeing 
when it comes to the hurricanes and the tsunamis and all of the 
icebergs melting and what we are seeing in our national parks. Why 
would we just let this happen? We are America. We are leaders. It is 
time to act.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.


  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, well, now that the Senate has concluded 
its very divisive debate about the Supreme Court, it is time to talk 
about the No. 1 issue to the American people: healthcare. We begin that 
debate tomorrow, when the Senate will take up a Democratic motion to 
repeal the Trump administration's effort to expand short-term insurance 
  Let me be clear. These so-called short-term plans are junk insurance. 
Short-term plans are junk insurance. People who buy them are going to 
be extremely disappointed because they bait the consumer in with low 
prices but hardly cover anything. They might not cover maternity care, 
mental health care, prescription drugs--you name it. Even worse, the 
plans draw consumers out of the health insurance market, making it more 
expensive for everyone else to purchase insurance, especially more 
expensive for those with preexisting conditions.
  That is why so many prominent patient and consumer groups have filed 
a lawsuit against the administration's rule to expand these junk plans. 
Groups like the American Cancer Society, the AARP, the Lung 
Association, the Diabetes Association, and others that represent 
millions of Americans with preexisting conditions have clearly said 
that this is sabotage--sabotage--of the insurance market and will drive 
up costs for millions of Americans.
  So Senator Baldwin has introduced a CRA disapproval resolution--a 
resolution brought under the Congressional Review Act--to repeal this 
fundamentally misguided policy from the Trump administration. All of my 
colleagues should vote for this, but I suspect my colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle have a different idea because ever since taking 
control of Congress and the Presidency, Republicans have deliberately, 
relentlessly undermined Americans' healthcare.
  This particular policy is part of a long campaign to sabotage our 
healthcare system. Remember, nearly every Republican was silent when 
President Trump canceled the program that helped low-income Americans 
afford insurance. Remember, every Republican was silent when President 
Trump directed his administration to stop helping Americans sign up for 
the right policy. Remember, nearly every Republican was silent when 
President Trump's Justice Department refused to defend protections for 
preexisting conditions. A large number of Republican attorneys 
general--some running for the Senate right now--were part of the Trump 
administration's efforts to say it is just fine to get rid of 
protections for those with preexisting conditions. Remember, nearly 
every Republican voted to gut Medicaid, raise premiums on older 
Americans, repeal protections for Americans with preexisting 
conditions, and move us toward a future where 20 million fewer 
Americans have healthcare. Remember, every single Republican voted to 
repeal the coverage requirement and cause premiums to be much higher 
this year than they needed to be.

  So Americans, when you are paying more for insurance and you hate it, 
when those deductibles go up, those copayments go up, and you say: 
Where is the insurance that was supposed to protect me? I have taken so 
much money out of my own pocket. It is hardly worth it. Look to the 
other side of the aisle, and look at what your Senators have done, if 
you come from a State where they represent you. As a result of the 
Republican sabotage, premiums are up, out-of-pocket costs are up, 
prescription drug costs are up, and the quality of insurance is down--
in many cases way down. Under this Republican President and this 
Republican Congress, Americans are paying more to get lower quality 
health insurance. Americans, under this President, this Congress, are 
paying more to get less when it comes to health insurance.
  Protections for preexisting conditions are under assault in so many 
different ways. No wonder why, in poll after poll, Americans put 
healthcare as the No. 1 issue in the upcoming election. Tomorrow the 
Senate will have an opportunity to undo a portion of the Republican 
campaign to sabotage healthcare.
  In November, the American people will have a golden opportunity to 
move our country in a dramatically different direction by voting for 
Democratic candidates who will work to improve our healthcare rather 
than so many of those Republican candidates who, in obeisance to the 
big insurance companies, work to destroy it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). The Senator from Arkansas.

                                S. 3021

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I want to thank Chairman Barrasso, 
Ranking Member Carper, and Senators Inhofe and Cardin for all their 
hard work to advance the America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 to 
the Senate

[[Page S6709]]

floor so we can make the much needed improvements to our Nation's water 
infrastructure. I would also like to express my appreciation to the 
hard-working staff of the Environment and Public Works Committee who 
spent literally countless hours working on this important water 
infrastructure legislation. The path to getting this bill to the Senate 
floor has not been easy, and it would not have happened without the 
strong bipartisanship shown by EPW leaders.
  This bill gets us back on track to authorize critical water 
infrastructure projects across the country every 2 years, ensuring our 
economic vitality and competitiveness. America's Water Infrastructure 
Act is in lockstep with President Trump's vision for infrastructure by 
growing our economy, cutting redtape, protecting our citizens and their 
property, and improving transparency, all the while being fiscally 
  I am particularly pleased, this bill also includes the Securing 
Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now Act or SRF WIN Act 
legislation that I had an opportunity to introduce with Senator Booker. 
The SRF WIN Act was a truly bipartisan effort, and I would like to give 
special thanks to our cosponsors, Senators Barrasso, Cornyn, Inhofe, 
Capito, Wicker, Hyde-Smith, Feinstein, Casey, Baldwin, Manchin, and 
Senator Whitehouse.
  The fact that the SRF WIN Act has cosponsors from across the country 
with vastly different political ideologies makes an important point 
that infrastructure investment is not a rural issue or a big city 
issue. It is not a red State or blue State problem. This is a national 
emergency, and it is time we put partisanship aside and show the 
American people we can work together to provide safe and reliable 
drinking water and wastewater services to Americans in every part of 
the country.
  The SRF WIN Act is a result of months-long negotiations. It blends 
the best ideas available to ensure this commonsense, bipartisan 
legislation will work effectively and efficiently, providing millions 
and potentially billions in project dollars to communities that have 
traditionally not had access to these types of funds.
  What the SRF WIN Act does is simple. It combines the efficiency and 
trust associated with the State Revolving Funds with the leveraging 
power of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act. This 
legislation makes the process easier and more affordable for States and 
communities to access Federal water infrastructure funding. Simply put, 
the SRF WIN Act is a critical component to future water infrastructure 
  Congress needs to do a better job providing basic public services 
such as safe roads, bridges, and an up-to-date water infrastructure 
system. By passing America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, Congress 
has made water infrastructure investment a top priority. This bill is a 
victory for job creators, small and large businesses, every single 
State across the country, and consumers. I am pleased to see support 
for this bill in the House, the Senate, and the White House.
  I urge my colleagues to pass this important legislation, and I again 
thank Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, Senators Inhofe and 
Cardin for their strong bipartisan work. They set a great example of 
the good policy outcomes that can be accomplished if we work together.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DURBIN. I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, we receive a lot of letters in our 
offices, and primarily we pay attention to those that come from our own 
home States. People expect me as their Senator to read the letter and 
to at least consider their point of view. Some of these letters are 
kind of routine, almost form letters. Some emails come in at a volume 
we can hardly keep up with. In Illinois, I receive 10,000 emails a 
week--a week. That is a lot.
  There was a time when I was a college kid working here on Capitol 
Hill, and the Senator from Illinois signed every letter that went out 
of the office--sat at the desk and signed the letters. It is 
inconceivable now that we can respond to all the letters each day. We 
try to keep up with them, we try to be timely, and we pick those 
letters out that are personal and important enough that the staff 
thinks I should read them personally, and I make a point of doing it.
  Sometimes the stories they tell give me an insight into the issues we 
debate on the floor of the Senate.
  Most of the time the American people look at us puzzled, asking: What 
are they talking about, and why does this mean anything to my family 
and my future?
  Let me give you an example of a couple of letters I received that 
relate to a vote we are going to take this week. The first letter was 
from Richard and Mary Laidman, from Naperville, IL, which is west of 
the city of Chicago, in DuPage County.
  Richard and Mary wrote: ``Our 13-year-old son Sam was diagnosed with 
leukemia one day after the `no pre-existing conditions exclusions for 
kids' protection went into effect.''
  They went on to say to me: ``Obviously, we are feeling dependent on 
all the clauses of the [ACA] right now--including [the] no pre-existing 
conditions exclusions.''
  The bottom line, the Laidmans say, is ``junk insurance plans,'' the 
ones that are so cheap they don't cover anything important. ``Junk 
insurance plans'' wouldn't cover their son. It would leave him and the 
family to fend for themselves in the individual market.
  Do you know what it is like to go into the individual market as a 
mother and father and try to find health insurance for a 13-year-old 
son who has been diagnosed with leukemia? Maybe you can't find any, but 
if you could, it would be so expensive that you might not be able to 
afford it. The Affordable Care Act changed that, and it said: If you 
are going to offer health insurance plans in this country, you cannot 
discriminate against Americans with preexisting conditions. You have to 
cover everybody--bring them all in.
  We do that in Medicare. We say when you reach Medicare eligibility: 
All aboard. Everybody is invited in.
  But for the longest time, private health insurance companies wanted 
to pick and choose. They wanted healthy people who can pay premiums. 
They would rather not pay these bills so they excluded a lot of people 
with preexisting conditions.
  Sam, age 13 and diagnosed with leukemia, would be one of the victims 
of that old-time approach. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society recently 

       People diagnosed with cancer on a short term plan soon 
     discover these plans fail to cover even lifesaving cancer 
     treatments. If patients on short term plans can get access to 
     cancer therapies at all, they will often be left with 
     hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

  Tammy Baldwin is a Senator from the State of Wisconsin. She is going 
to offer to the Senate tomorrow a chance to vote against President 
Trump's plan that would eliminate protection for preexisting 
conditions. We will get a chance to be on record here. I think it is 
long overdue.
  None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. We don't know if tomorrow 
will bring an accident or a diagnosis, and, all of a sudden, your 
happy, healthy family has a challenge you never dreamed of. It has 
happened to my family. I will bet it has happened to most of yours.
  The question is, Are we going to demand of health insurance companies 
that they cover those with preexisting conditions or are we just going 
to tell those families: Fend for yourself. See what happens. See how 
much it costs.
  Another letter is from Watseka, IL, from the McTaggart family. 
Watseka is south of Chicago, in Iroquois County, a rural county, with 
big towns like Watseka and Milford. It is a great little place.
  Here is a letter from Christine McTaggart. She was originally 
diagnosed with stage III inflammatory breast cancer. Given this type of 
aggressive cancer, her prognosis was not

[[Page S6710]]

good. She went through 16 cycles of chemo, a bilateral mastectomy, 33 
radiation treatments, failed reconstruction and chronic tissue issues, 
and a thyroid cancer diagnosis. After all that, she learned the breast 
cancer was back. This time she was stage IV. In her letter to me, 
Christine said:

       When the ACA became law, I had no idea that my life would 
     come to depend on policies such as pre-existing conditions 
     not excluding you from coverage.

  She ends with this quote:

       I thank you for your tireless advocacy on this issue. . . . 
     My life, literally, depends on it.

  We pass a lot of resolutions here for ``National Pickle Week'' and 
saluting the flag. All of that is part of my job. Occasionally, an 
issue comes to the floor of the Senate that is really going to affect 
life-and-death issues for Americans all across our Nation. This is one 
of them. This is the No. 1 issue in this election.
  You might think our debate last week about a Supreme Court Justice 
was important, but you ask families back in Illinois: What do you 
really care about?
  They say: Senator, that was an important debate. I care about my 
family. I care about my health insurance. I want to make sure of two 
things. I want to make sure I can afford it, and I want to make sure 
that when I buy it, it is worth owning and it is there when I need it.
  The Republican view on this is this: Buyer beware. Go out in the 
marketplace. Shop around. Buy yourself something cheap, like a junk 
insurance plan. It may not be there when you need it, but boy, the 
premiums will be low.
  That is not much confidence in insurance, if that is the case, and 
that is why, when Tammy Baldwin, Senator of Wisconsin, offers us a 
chance to vote--I think, as soon as tomorrow--on this Trump rule, I 
hope we will get at least two Republicans who cross the aisle and join 
us. If they are listening at home, they will, because if they are 
listening at home, they know that families really care about this issue 
of preexisting conditions. It is so important for us.
  You look at the groups that have come out in opposition to President 
Trump's junk insurance plans. They are the most important groups that 
you could think of. The American Cancer Society stated that President 
Trump's junk plan rule would ``leave older and sicker Americans in the 
individual market with few, if any, affordable health coverage 
choices'' and that ``patients living with serious conditions will be 
left paying more for the coverage they need, if they can afford 
coverage at all.
  In recent months, I have heard a lot of congressional Republicans 
proclaim to care about people with preexisting conditions, especially 
those up for reelection. These are the same ones who have eagerly voted 
to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the night.
  I have been in the Senate for a few years. That was one vote I will 
never forget. John McCain walked through those doors in the middle of 
the night, stood at that table, and with his arms still restricted 
because of the torture he went through as a veteran in the Vietnam war, 
he could barely lift his right arm with his thumb pointed down, saying 
no. That ``no'' vote, together with two other Republicans, saved health 
insurance coverage for millions of Americans.
  But the Trump administration isn't finished. They found new ways to 
reduce coverage for American families and to raise costs. That is what 
the Trump plan is all about, and that is what we get a chance to vote 
  The Senate is broken out in 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats. If all 
of the Democrats vote for Tammy Baldwin, and I think they will, we 
still need two Republicans. Let's see if they will come over and vote 
not only against the Trump plan but vote for the millions of families 
like those who I have read about today on the floor who are counting on 
quality health insurance to be there when they need it, who believe 
that no one should discriminate against someone because of a 
preexisting health condition. That, to me, seems fundamentally fair.
  I have raised a child with a serious problem. We face this time and 
again. Nobody should have to face it. A vote for Tammy Baldwin's 
resolution of disapproval on the Trump plan tomorrow will put America 
on the right course for families that need health insurance they can 
count on.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                                S. 3021

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the Water Resources 
Development Act, the cloture motion of which we will be voting on very 
shortly. I strongly support moving forward with this legislation, and I 
encourage this body's support of that important work.
  I begin by thanking Chairman Barrasso, Ranking Member Carper, and 
Senator Inhofe for their great work on this bill. On the Environment 
and Public Works Committee, we have the leadership of Senator Barrasso 
and Senator Carper, and on the subcommittee that deals with 
infrastructure, I work with Senator Inhofe. The four of us have worked 
very closely in, I think, the best traditions of the Environment and 
Public Works Committee in the U.S. Senate in order to bring forward 
legislation that really does represent the priorities of all 100 
Members of the U.S. Senate.
  From the beginning, I acknowledge the amount of work that was done in 
order to accomplish this. It was done in great measure by incredibly 
gifted staff people who have been working for a long period of time in 
order to bring this bill to completion. Obviously, there are rough 
edges, and there are problems that require a lot of negotiations. Yet I 
know that Senator Barrasso, Senator Carper, and Senator Inhofe will 
agree with me about the importance of our staffs' work.
  I acknowledge Mae Stevens of my staff for the work she has done on 
this legislation to advance the priorities that are important for the 
people of Maryland and to make sure we have a well-balanced bill for 
our country.
  As I think my colleagues know, the focal point of my environmental 
work has been to restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay, which is 
considered to be one of America's greatest natural resources and is a 
national treasure. The Chesapeake Bay is the Nation's largest estuary. 
It generates $1 trillion in economic benefit to the watershed region. 
The Chesapeake Bay is critically important with regard to who we are as 
a region, our quality of life, our economy, and because of its rich 
environmental treasures.
  The shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries stretch 
over 2,000 miles. More than 100,000 streams and rivers and thousands of 
acres of wetlands provide the freshwater that flows into the Chesapeake 
Bay. If we do not protect the health of this incredible network of 
waters, we cannot hope to restore the Chesapeake Bay to its former 
  Additionally, the effort to clean up and restore the bay creates new 
jobs and economic growth opportunities around the bay States. For 
example, work to repair and upgrade our urban and suburban wastewater 
and stormwater systems puts people to work as engineers and operators, 
and there are so many more jobs that are created.
  Although we are making great strides in improving the quality of the 
Chesapeake Bay--I am very pleased of the progress we have made, and I 
think you see that when you visit the Inner Harbor of Baltimore or our 
shorelines--we still have a long way to go.
  America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 supports the health of the 
Chesapeake Bay. In doing so, it helps our Nation's economic 
competitiveness, our environment, and the health and welfare of our 
citizens. In particular, I am pleased that America's Water 
Infrastructure Act of 2018 will help both Poplar Island and the Mid-Bay 
project to continue what is a win-win for both the Baltimore Harbor and 
the Chesapeake Bay. Both of these projects are located in the State of 
Maryland. Both are critically important for us to maintain the 
environment and economy of the Chesapeake Bay.

[[Page S6711]]

  I have seen firsthand the results of the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers' efforts around the State. The Corps' ingenuity and expertise 
have spearheaded the replenishing and expansion of Poplar Island in the 
Chesapeake Bay. This massive sustainability project is quite literally 
bringing life to our region in its restoration of a habitat which for 
years suffered from erosion and environmental degradation.
  We are taking Poplar Island, which used to exist in the Chesapeake 
Bay but had been down to just a few acres, and restoring it in an 
environmental restoration project. We are bringing back wildlife and 
species diversification into the Chesapeake Bay. At the same time, it 
is a location for dredged materials. I can tell you, in my having been 
in Congress, it is not always easy to find locations to put dredged 
materials. Poplar Island is also popular with the community, so it has 
been a win-win-win situation.
  The expansion of the island now to 1,715 acres has the long-term 
benefit of creating a place for our native plants and animals to thrive 
and the short-term benefit of efficiently utilizing dredged materials 
from the maintenance of the Port of Baltimore to rebuild the island 
beyond its original footprint. We are now back up to over 1,700 acres 
from just the few acres that existed not too many years ago. This 
creates a system that helps to improve the vitality of both our 
treasured ecosystem and our commercial waterways, and it sets a 
precedent for beneficial practices in the future.
  The Army Corps has collaborated with Federal and State agencies, 
local communities, and businesses for input on this project, ensuring 
that its benefits will extend to all within the region.
  The Mid-Bay Project is a continuation of the very successful Poplar 
Island project, and I am pleased that both projects are supported in 
this bill. Poplar Island will reach its capacity in the next few years, 
which is what we planned on. Yet, in order to make sure we have another 
site that is available, we have to move that project now so that the 
planning process can be completed in time and engineering work can be 
completed in time so that there is no loss of activity in keeping the 
harbors at the needed dredge levels for shipping and have a site where 
the dredged material can be located. That is why it is so critically 
important to move forward with Mid-Bay now.

  We need policies that will keep up with the demand of our 
infrastructure backlog while we address the needs of our communities 
and our environment. We can and we must do both. I am pleased that 
America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would help projects in the 
Anacostia River watershed in Prince George's County get off the ground.
  This is the third WRDA bill in a row. Congress is including updates 
to our Nation's drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater 
infrastructure, including much needed funding.
  The American Society of Civil Engineers has yet again given our 
drinking water and wastewater a grade of D for 2016. States will need 
$32.75 billion a year every year for the next 20 years just to get our 
infrastructure in working order, which is more than $1 trillion. Yet we 
are currently only spending about $2 billion per year on both the clean 
water and drinking water State revolving funds combined. Every 
community--urban, rural, and suburban neighborhoods--has a right to 
expect that water that comes from its tap is safe to drink and that 
Congress will do everything within its power to ensure that it happens. 
Clean water means good jobs and better health throughout Maryland and 
our Nation.
  Clean water is not a partisan issue, and I have been proud to work 
with my colleagues to develop legislation that will benefit our aging 
water resources and infrastructure. Congress has the responsibility to 
be a strong partner with States and localities to repair our Nation's 
hidden water infrastructure and open waterways and to always remain 
unwavering in our commitment to improve the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
  One of the problems is that a lot of our water infrastructure is 
hidden. You don't see it, but you sure do notice it if you don't get 
clean water to drink, and you sure notice it when it affects the water 
quality of the bay or of other critical waters in this country. We 
really need to pay attention to this. We need to increase our capacity 
to be a partner in modernizing our water infrastructure, and this 
legislation absolutely takes a major step forward in carrying out that 
  Let me talk about some of the specific provisions that are included 
in this act.
  First, the bill includes S. 1137, the Clean Safe Reliable Water 
Infrastructure Act, which was introduced by me and Senators Boozman, 
Inhofe, and Duckworth. It addresses the need to invest in our Nation's 
drinking water, sewer, and stormwater systems, and it provides for 
increased water efficiency.
  The Clean Safe Reliable Water Infrastructure Act specifically 
includes $450 million to protect the sources of our drinking water and 
the funding to repair and eliminate combined sewer overflows, which 
dump water sewage into our Nation's waterways every time it rains. This 
is especially timely as the Mid-Atlantic region has seen historic 
precipitation events increasingly in the last decade. These 100- or 
1,000-year events cause wastewater treatment plants to take on more 
water than they can handle. Millions of gallons of untreated water are 
diverted into our local waterways--the same water that supplies our 
drinking water and the fish, crabs, and oysters that Marylanders love 
to eat.
  In fact, there was a storm so massive in Frederick, MD, just a few 
months ago that city officials asked residents to stop using the water 
in order to prevent equipment failure at the wastewater treatment 
plant. This is a crisis situation. This $450 million will go far toward 
helping to divert stormwater away from the wastewater treatment plant 
in Frederick as well as those like it all over the State of Maryland 
and our Nation.
  The Clean Safe Reliable Water Infrastructure Act also formally 
authorizes the voluntary WaterSense Program, which identifies and 
promotes water-efficient products through voluntary labeling. The 
WaterSense label makes it simple to find water-efficient products, new 
homes, and programs that meet the EPA's criteria for efficiency and 
performance. WaterSense-labeled products and services are certified to 
use at least 20-percent less water, save energy, and perform as well as 
or better than regular models. The program should help individuals 
reduce their water demand while protecting water quality. This benefits 
all of us, as we save water, we save energy, and we save costs.
  The EPA's WaterSense Program partners with manufacturers, retailers, 
distributors, home builders, irrigation professionals, and utilities to 
bring efficient products and services to our communities, and their 
partnerships encourage innovation in manufacturing and support 
sustainable jobs for American workers.
  Secondly, the WRDA bill creates a multi-agency Federal task force to 
study the problem of funding and financing stormwater infrastructure. 
The task force will, with the feedback from State and local governments 
and other program stakeholders, provide in a report to Congress 
suggestions for improving the funding and financing of stormwater 
systems--especially important as Maryland sees more frequent and severe 
storms, like the deadly floods in Ellicott City that were 22 months 
  I have already spoken on the Senate floor about what happened in 
Ellicott City, MD. Within 20 months, we had two 1,000-year floods. 
These floods were unprecedented. What do I mean by that? We have had 
flooding in Ellicott City before because the water rises in the river 
that goes through Ellicott City. These are the first floods we have had 
as a result of the stormwater runoff that literally ran down the main 
streets of Ellicott City. It destroyed homes and cost people their 
  We need to deal with this. Stormwater pollution is not only an urgent 
and deadly threat but a long-term one as well. Stormwater pollution is 
the fastest growing source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Yes, we 
talk about our farmers, and we have to do better for our farmers. We 
talk about the other problems we have, including the airborne 
pollutants that go into the Bay. But the fastest growing source in the 
Chesapeake Bay is storm runoff, which is a result of more people

[[Page S6712]]

living in the community, a result of more concrete, and a result of 
more severe weather events.
  Third, the bill addresses the need for information about onsite 
wastewater recycling as one alternative for communities that cannot 
afford the upfront costs or ongoing maintenance costs of traditional 
wastewater infrastructure. This is especially important in the rural 
parts of my State, like Maryland's Eastern Shore.
  Fourth, the bill includes S. 451, the Water Resources Research 
Amendments Act, introduced by me and Senator Boozman, which addresses 
the need for additional research into increasing the effectiveness and 
efficiency of new and existing water treatment works. Funding from this 
program helps to support the Maryland Water Resources Research Center 
and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the 
University of Maryland, College Park. We want to add the latest 
technology. We want to be the best in the world, as far as technology, 
when dealing with our water. This particular provision in the bill will 
help us achieve those objectives.
  Fifth, the bill reauthorizes WIFIA, a low-cost financing mechanism 
for water infrastructure projects. We first started with WIFIA in our 
transportation bill, coming out of our Environment and Public Works 
Committee, where we found creative ways in order to leverage the 
Federal participation so we can have larger infrastructure projects for 
roads, transit, and bridges. Now we are doing the same with water 
infrastructure. This bill reauthorizes the WIFIA program.
  Baltimore is on the list to receive one of the very first low-
interest WIFIA loans. Baltimore's $200 million loan will complete a set 
of projects to repair, rehabilitate, replace, and upgrade its 
wastewater collection and treatment, water treatment and distribution, 
and storm water management systems.
  These projects will help to improve the city's sanitary sewer 
collection system, ensure the reliability and performance of the 
drinking water and wastewater systems, and improve storm water 
management to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements.
  This will help the 1.8 million people served by the Baltimore 
Department of Public Works to continue to have some of the cleanest, 
safest, and most reliable drinking water in the country. There is no 
more fundamental responsibility of government than to make sure they 
provide safe drinking water to its population.
  Sixth, this bill creates the Water Infrastructure Resiliency and 
Sustainability Program, from a bill that I have long championed to help 
drinking water plants combat the effects of climate change. This 
program will award grants to increase the resiliency and adaptability 
of water systems to increasingly severe storms and droughts, as well as 
sea level rise--all caused by climate change.
  Water utilities can use the grants to assist in the planning, design, 
construction, implementation, operation, or maintenance of the plant--
really, anything they need to increase their climate preparedness.
  I applaud the great work that has been accomplished through this 
legislation, and I look forward to continuing the work to advance water 
infrastructure investment, including integrated planning and 
  From the very beginning, I said that this was a bill that was done in 
the right process in the Senate. Input was solicited from every Member 
of the Senate. The committee reached out to all of the Members. All the 
members of our committee have had input into this legislation. It is 
bipartisan. It is fiscally responsible, which was a key requirement of 
the bill.
  It will benefit of our communities. It will help us to meet our 
fundamental commitment to provide the citizens of this Nation with 
clean and safe drinking water. It will deal with the challenges we have 
in storm runoff, as it deals with environmental challenges we have. It 
is a well-balanced bill.
  Once again, I applaud the leadership of Senators Barrasso and Carper 
and my colleague on the subcommittee, Senator Inhofe, for their 
tremendous work.
  I look forward to voting for this bill, and I urge my colleagues to 
do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.

                    Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I come to the floor to speak on two 
different subjects. The most important one is the first one: to thank a 
lot of people who helped me to chair and oversee the confirmation of 
Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
  I should have given this speech 72 hours ago, but I was in a hurry to 
get to the airport. So I am making up for lost time now.
  As everyone knows, on Saturday the Senate confirmed Judge Brett 
Kavanaugh as our newest Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. I 
come to the floor to thank the Senate staff who helped to make that 
confirmation possible.
  Senators don't always recognize their staff as much as we probably 
should, but I am proud of the work my staff accomplished over the last 
3 months as we considered the nomination of Kavanaugh. They have worked 
very diligently on this confirmation process of our new Justice, and 
most of it was behind the scenes. They put in the long, long work hours 
required, and they did it 7 days a week, if needed. The chairman's team 
tackled the heavy workload before them, and I am tremendously grateful 
for all they did to make this nomination a success.
  First, on my staff, I would like to recognize my Judiciary counsel 
staff director, Kolan Davis. Kolan's experience and sound judgment 
keeps me out of a lot of trouble. I value his counsel today, just as I 
have for the last 33 years that he has been on my staff.
  By my side right here today is Mike Davis, the Judiciary Committee's 
chief counsel for nominations and also an Iowan. He graduated from the 
University of Iowa and Iowa Law. Mike brought the tenacity, diligence, 
and everything else that was needed to lead Kavanaugh's confirmation.
  The permanent nomination unit for the Senate Judiciary Committee, 
working with Mike Davis, includes Lauren Mehler, Steve Kenny, Katharine 
Willey, and Jessica Vu. Each of them worked incredibly hard. They have 
worked hard on all nominations of lifetime appointments to the Federal 
judiciary and over a long period of time, not just on Kavanaugh. Their 
hard work is shown by the record number of judges the Senate has 
confirmed this Congress. I think the number is 67 so far, besides 2 
Supreme Court Justices. I believe there are 41 on the calendar right 
  In addition to this team, Andrew Ferguson joined my staff to lead the 
team of special counsels to specifically assist with the Supreme Court 
nomination. Andrew led by example with his tireless work ethic and, of 
course, his legal talent.
  I also want to thank special counsels Tyler Badgley, Lucas Croslow, 
Colleen Ernst, Megan McGlynn, and Collin White. This team read every 
word of Justice Kavanaugh's more than 500,000 pages from his time as an 
executive branch lawyer, the 307 opinions he authored on the DC Circuit 
Court, and all other documents relevant to his nomination.
  Rachel Mitchell was part of this special counsel team, offering her 
expertise and many years of experience at a time when we needed extra 
help when we had Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh before our committee for 
a second set of hearings.
  Law clerks Tim Rodriguez, Camille Peeples, Abby Hollenstein, Dario 
Camacho, Elizabeth Donald, Michael Talent, Bob Minchin, Nathan 
Williams, Sam Adkisson, and Asher Perez had the opportunity to 
contribute and learn during this nomination. I thank them for their 
hard work and service here in the Senate, on top of their rigorous 
education. I thank the intern Jacob Ramer for his contribution as well.
  Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation process resulted in a record number 
of pages available to Senators, including questions for the record. 
This team handled it all.
  Over the course of my Senate service, I have established a reputation 
for my oversight work. I am equipped with a permanent staff of 
experienced investigators. When allegations of sexual assault were 
brought to my attention on September 13, I was fortunate to have this 
experienced and highly regarded division of my staff already on the job

[[Page S6713]]

to help run down every question and allegation we received.
  I thank DeLisa Lay, Patrick Davis, Josh Flynn-Brown, Katherine Nikas, 
Daniel Parker, and executive branch detailee Andy Hromyak for their 
dedication to investigation, oversight, and accountability.
  I also want to thank my talented communications team: Judiciary 
Committee communications director Taylor Foy and Judiciary Committee 
press secretary George Hartmann, as well as Michael Zona, Nicole 
Tieman, and Alexa Den Herder for their hard work. October 6 will be a 
memorable date for Taylor, marking both his wedding anniversary and the 
day Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed.
  I am thankful for my personal office staff, led by my chief of staff, 
Jill Kozeny. She has been on my staff for 31 years. I have long 
appreciated Jill's advice and all of her hard work on my behalf.
  I am also grateful for Jennifer Heins, who makes a tremendous 
contribution every day, and every staffer who was part of this 
confirmation process, including Penne Barton, Zach Schultz, Katelyn 
Schultz, Josie Wagler, and my State staff, who had to answer a lot of 
telephone calls over a period of 3 months, just dealing with people for 
and against the nomination of Justice Kavanaugh.
  I very much appreciate the rest of my Judiciary Committee staff, 
including my deputy staff director, Rita Lari, who took care of things 
while I was on the floor and during the long hours in the hearing.
  Finally, I appreciate the work of Leader McConnell's staff, most 
importantly, John Abegg.

                 Religious Freedom in China and Taiwan

  Mr. President, tomorrow, October 10, is the 107th national day of the 
Republic of China on Taiwan.
  I would like to extend my congratulations to the people of Taiwan on 
this very important occasion and to express my appreciation for the 
U.S.-Taiwan relations. We were allies in World War II and have been 
close strategic and economic partners for a very long time. However, as 
the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan has evolved into a 
thriving free-market democracy that is today, our relationship has even 
deepened and strengthened in a way that can only happen when two 
countries share core values.
  There are times when the economic or geopolitical interests of the 
United States are aligned with those of another country that does not 
fully embrace freedom as we do--whether that freedom is in the 
marketplace of goods and services or the marketplace of ideas in a 
democratic context. We can and should seek to engage with countries 
that do not share our values where it is in our national interest, and 
we do that.
  Still, those relationships remain contingent on weighing economic and 
security costs and benefits. On the other hand, with free-market 
democracies like Taiwan, there is at the heart of our relationship a 
very high degree of mutual understanding underpinning all of our 
interactions. Our shared values mean that our long-term economic and 
strategic interests are likely to remain aligned. For instance, market 
economies are more likely to seek mutually beneficial free and fair 
trade. Democracies tend not to seek hegemony but cooperation. In short, 
our shared values provide the basis for an enduring and stable bond 
that can only exist between free people.
  One of those fundamental values that is dear to my heart is religious 
freedom. I know my colleagues are aware of the disturbing reports out 
of the People's Republic of China about the closing and destruction of 
churches and the burning of Bibles. That is something we in the United 
States just do not understand how anybody, any country, could take this 
situation and think: Who is afraid of worshiping God? Well, it seems 
they have some problem in China.

  In Xinjiang Province, the Chinese Government has rounded up over 1 
million Uighurs and Kazakh Muslims. Tibetan Buddhists and practitioners 
of Falun Gong have also long had their freedom to practice their 
beliefs suppressed. This should disturb all free people.
  Of course, the Communist leaders of China have excuses for their 
behavior. One of these is the need for sinicization of nonnative 
religions. In other words, they think religions like Christianity as 
freely practiced are somehow not compatible with Chinese society. Of 
course, from our point of view, that is strictly nuts.
  Just look at Taiwan. It has the same Chinese history, the same 
Chinese language, the same Chinese culture as mainland China. Yet, on 
Taiwan, Christians and other religious groups practice their faith 
freely. No one gives even a second thought to whether this is 
compatible with their history and tradition because it is a matter of 
conscience, not a matter of undercutting the government. That is why I 
don't understand why it is a problem for Beijing.
  In fact, Taiwan has arguably preserved traditional Chinese cultures 
better than on the mainland. Chiang Kai-shek was able to rescue and 
bring to Taiwan some of the most valuable treasures from Chinese 
history. Of course, these items in Taiwanese society, in general, were 
spared the horrors of the cultural revolution. Of course, the cultural 
revolution was when the Communist Party of China destroyed an untold 
number of historical artifacts as well as cultural and religious sites. 
Ancient Chinese texts were burned, and there were massive human rights 
  Some have suggested that recent developments in China are the 
beginning of a new sort of cultural revolution. I hope not because we 
know what the results of that were 50 or 60 years ago.
  Whatever the Communist Chinese Government is thinking, its actions 
have shattered many illusions. The hope held by many in the United 
States was that robust engagement with the People's Republic of China 
on an economic and political level would help it to evolve into a free 
market democracy. That hope has now dimmed significantly. Things seem 
to be going quite in the opposite direction.
  This is a bad sign, then, for U.S.-China relations. If the Chinese 
leaders would like to correct their current course and improve 
relations with the United States, just take the example of Taiwan. Just 
look across the Taiwan Strait for that model: Chinese people, just like 
they are in Beijing.
  As the people of Taiwan celebrate their national day, I would like to 
thank them for their friendship with our great country. The Republic of 
China on Taiwan continues to be a strong partner in trade, security, 
and human rights. In fact, I should note that a delegation from Taiwan 
recently visited my home State of Iowa to increase their purchases of 
soybeans, and I greatly appreciate that, along with 88,000 Iowa 
  Finally, I would like to thank Taiwan for being a model of a free and 
democratic society when it can have a mutually beneficial partnership 
with the United States.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.

                         Health Insurance Plans

  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I rise on behalf of 152,000 of my 
constituents in Montana with preexisting conditions. These are folks 
who are struggling with things like diabetes and heart disease and 
asthma and cancer. Many of them are just one medical bill away from 
bankruptcy. Thankfully, their health insurance is there for them when 
they need it, whether it be for a joint replacement or to undergo chemo 
or to have a baby.
  Federal law holds health insurance companies accountable that their 
plans cover us when we need it. Unfortunately, those rules are being 
tossed out so big insurance can make a quick buck at the expense of 
working families.
  Just last week, health insurance companies started flooding the 
market with junk plans. These plans are marketed as cheap insurance 
that will keep you healthy. Fifty bucks a month for full coverage, they 
say; $8.95 a week for top-rated coverage, they claim. Now, that is a 
heck of a deal.
  Well, not so fast. They are total and complete shams. If you read the 
fine print, you will discover that dialysis, blood pressure pills, and 
x rays aren't covered. In fact, most things are not covered.
  Originally, insurance companies designed these plans to provide 
stopgap coverage when you changed jobs or needed health insurance for 
just a few months. They figured you could get by

[[Page S6714]]

with a bare-bones policy for a month or two. They were never designed 
to provide coverage for an entire year, let alone three, but now that 
has all changed.
  Starting last week, health insurance companies now have permission to 
sell long-term junk plans to Montana's families. What was once a short-
term solution is now becoming a long-term problem.
  So let's ask ourselves why we buy insurance in the first place. It is 
for risk management. Why do we buy auto insurance? It is in case you 
get in an auto wreck. You hope you never have to use it, but if you do, 
you need that insurance to take care of that automobile to get it back 
on the road again.
  Why do we buy fire insurance? In case you have a fire. You hope it 
never ever happens, but every once in a while it does, and if you are 
unfortunate and it happens to you, you have fire insurance to rebuild 
your home.
  I am a farmer. Why do you have crop insurance? You have crop 
insurance in that case where Mother Nature may not be smiling upon you; 
you may not get the rain at the appropriate time or you may get a 
hailstorm that wipes you out. You hope it never happens, but if it 
does, you have that crop insurance you can depend upon to manage your 
  So why do you buy health insurance? Is it because you plan on getting 
sick? I don't think so. It is because, if you get sick, you will need 
the coverage. If you end up with high blood pressure, you have the 
coverage to help offset those costs.
  Unfortunately, with these junk plans, they are called junk for a 
reason--because they don't cover anything. They give you a false sense 
of hope and a false sense of coverage and you have no coverage.
  I want to take you back to 1965. In 1965, my parents bought an 
accident insurance policy. It was supposed to cover accidents. Guess 
what happened in 1965. I got in a little accident with a meat grinder, 
and that insurance policy covered nothing. My folks had to dig deep and 
pay for the cost. When they thought they had insurance, they had 
  I was young, but I can still remember how angry my father was that 
they had been sold a bill of goods. That is exactly what it is with 
these junk insurance plans.
  Montanans are getting grifted. They are being sold a bill of goods. 
They are being lied to, deceived, and I will do whatever I can do to 
keep the junk out of our healthcare.
  We must hold big insurance companies accountable. We cannot let 
corporations swindle folks who need health insurance when, in the end, 
they have nothing.
  The bill before us this week does that. It keeps short-term plans 
short term. It stops insurance companies from selling garbage plans 
that don't cover preexisting conditions.
  That is why I am urging my colleagues to vote for this resolution, to 
stand up for Montanans across the State and Americans across this 
country. These are folks who work hard to put food on the table, and 
they shouldn't have to choose between a doctor's appointment and a 
utility bill.
  Today I rise for those folks from Miles City, Harlowton, and Libby 
and promise to defend them from these shoddy plans.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                                S. 3021

  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, in a few minutes, hopefully, the Senate 
will vote to invoke cloture on the motion to concur on the America's 
Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. In preparing to take this vote, I 
want to remind our colleagues why this bill is so important not just 
for our country's economy but for our environment as well.
  The Senator from Wyoming, Mr. Barrasso, will mention shortly that 
this is a comprehensive bill that supports the Army Corps of Engineers. 
It supports EPA's drinking water and wastewater programs. It authorizes 
the Corps to construct, modify, study, and expedite more than 100 water 
resource development projects. It prepares our country's water 
infrastructure for extreme weather events to avoid devastation caused 
by storms like Hurricane Florence by reauthorizing levee and dam safety 
programs through 2023.
  It also establishes programs to make communities more resistant to 
sea level rise. It reauthorizes, for the first time in 22 years, the 
Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, which provides for needed 
investments in water and sanitation infrastructure all across our 
  This bill would also nearly double the size of this critical loan 
program from $1 billion to almost $2 billion by 2021. It expands the 
existing $60 million annual small and disadvantaged communities program 
to allow for the testing and treatment of contamination in drinking 
water systems. It provides schools with the resources needed to address 
lead contamination.
  This bipartisan bill is a major win for families across the country. 
It passed both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and 
the House unanimously, and I urge my colleagues in the Senate to vote 
yes on this cloture motion.
  Before I yield, I just want to say to my friend Senator Barrasso how 
proud I have been to work with him. Our staffs are really a model of 
the way this place should work. We worked well not only with our 
colleagues on our committee and outside of our committee but also with 
the folks over in the House of Representatives. I will talk about them 
later today. To my chairman, it is a real pleasure to work with you on 
this one.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to complete my 
brief remarks before the rollcall vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, first I wish to thank my colleague and 
friend from Delaware, Senator Carper, for his friendship, leadership, 
and advocacy on this important piece of legislation. We worked closely 
  I rise in support of S. 2031, America's Water Infrastructure Act of 
  Every day, Americans depend on our Nation's water infrastructure 
systems. Clean water, flood control structures, working irrigation 
systems are all necessary for health, safety, and prosperity for our 
  This legislation is going to authorize important water projects. It 
will maintain the navigability of inland waterways and coastal ports, 
increase water storage, and fix aging irrigation systems across the 
  It will create jobs. It will spur economic growth and give local 
leaders an increased say in the projects and the way the projects are 
prioritized. It will rebuild flood control systems.
  This is the most significant drinking water legislation in decades. 
America's Water Infrastructure Act will cut Washington redtape; it will 
help grow the economy; and it will keep communities safe.
  The legislation is good for all 50 States. It is bipartisan. It is 
bicameral. The legislation passed the Environment and Public Works 
Committee by a vote of 21 to 0. It passed the House by unanimous 
consent on a voice vote.
  It has the support of a broad array of stakeholders, from the 
American Farm Bureau to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to the National 
Association of Manufacturers, to the Family Farm Alliance. As a 
testament to just how broad the support is for this bill, both the 
American Petroleum Institute and the Sierra Club have endorsed its 
passage. We don't see that every day.
  It is time to pass this important legislation and send it to 
President Trump for his signature. I encourage all Senators to support 
cloture on this bill.
  I yield the floor.

                             Cloture Motion

  THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     concur in the House amendments to S. 3021, an act to 
     designate the United States

[[Page S6715]]

     courthouse located at 300 South Fourth Street in Minneapolis, 
     Minnesota, as the ``Diana E. Murphy United States 
         Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, John Boozman, Roy Blunt, 
           Deb Fischer, Todd Young, James Lankford, Susan M. 
           Collins, Richard C. Shelby, Jon Kyl, John Thune, Pat 
           Roberts, Orrin G. Hatch, Marco Rubio, John Barrasso, 
           Roger F. Wicker, John Hoeven

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to concur in the House amendments to S. 3021, an act to 
designate the United States courthouse located at 300 South Fourth 
Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the ``Diana E. Murphy United 
States Courthouse,'' shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Booker) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Barrasso). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 96, nays 3, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 224 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen



                             NOT VOTING--1

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). On this vote, the yeas are 96, the 
nays are 3.
  Three-fifths of the Senators having voted in the affirmative, the 
motion is agreed to. Cloture having been invoked, the motion to refer 
amendments pending thereto fall.
  The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, water infrastructure, a bill that we 
have just moved to a positive cloture vote, 96 to 3--water 
infrastructure is important to every State, as we see by this vote--
every territory, every community, and every Tribe in this country. 
These systems support America's economic growth and our 
competitiveness. They deliver drinking water and treat wastewater. They 
provide water for crops, cattle, and small businesses. They are used to 
ship American-made goods from the heartland to the coasts and around 
the world. They keep homes safe from dangerous flood waters; they store 
water for times of drought.
  These systems are vital to our country. We must maintain, upgrade, 
and, where necessary, build them.
  During the State of the Union Address this year, President Trump 
called on Congress to act on infrastructure. He said we will build 
America's infrastructure ``with American heart, American hands, and 
American grit.''
  Water infrastructure is a major part of the President's call. That is 
why I introduced America's Water Infrastructure Act, along with my 
fellow leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee, Senators 
Carper, Inhofe, and Cardin. Several other committee members were also 
cosponsors, including Senators Capito, Wicker, Van Hollen, Boozman, 
Whitehouse, and Sullivan.
  Politico called America's Water Infrastructure Act the most 
significant infrastructure legislation to be taken up under the Trump 
administration so far. This legislation passed the Environment and 
Public Works Committee in the Senate unanimously, 21 to 0.
  Last month, the same leaders from our committee and the leadership of 
the committees in the House of Representatives reached a deal on 
historic comprehensive water infrastructure legislation. America's 
Water Infrastructure Act now has broad bicameral and bipartisan 
  Our bill will help grow the economy, will cut Washington redtape, and 
will keep communities safe.
  Authorizing important water projects will create jobs that will spur 
economic growth. The legislation will help deepen nationally 
significant ports and maintain the navigability of inland waterways. It 
is going to increase storage in the West and build new flood management 
  This bill will fix aging dams and irrigation systems across the 
country. Upgrading these systems will ensure that ranchers and farmers 
will get the water that they rely on.
  It will also help communities recover from devastating storms like 
Hurricane Florence and the damage it left along the east coast, 
especially in North and South Carolina.
  America's Water Infrastructure Act also cuts Washington redtape. As 
chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, I have 
heard time and again how State and local leaders know better than 
Washington which projects would have the most positive impact on their 
community. Our bill will give local experts an increased role in 
prioritizing which Army Corps projects get built.
  When a local partner takes over an Army Corps of Engineer's flood 
control project, they will no longer need to worry about obtaining 
brandnew permits. The Army Corps will simply transfer its authority to 
the local partner so that new permits are no longer necessary.
  The government will also provide technical assistance to smaller 
communities to make it simpler for them to comply with environmental 
  Leveraging Federal dollars is an important element of President 
Trump's infrastructure plan. We included language to help smaller rural 
communities leverage their resources so that they can build water 
infrastructure projects. Federal leveraging programs, particularly the 
Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act, allow taxpayers to get the most 
bang for their buck.
  In the past, smaller rural communities have had trouble accessing 
these dollars. The language in our consensus bill will give these rural 
communities the chance to compete for these funds and the ability to 
participate in these successful programs.
  Cutting redtape and increasing access to these leveraging programs 
will help us get projects done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter. 
That is just common sense.
  America's Water Infrastructure Act is also about safety. In recent 
years, we have seen the damage that floods and droughts can cause. We 
must maintain and improve our dams, our beach fronts, our levies, and 
our reservoirs.
  Our bill takes steps to address the backlog of maintenance needs of 
these infrastructure systems. It also creates a permanent program to 
find solutions for floods caused by ice jams.
  In the spring, and certainly in Wyoming, thawing ice and snow create 
jams in rivers and can cause them to overflow their banks. In my home 
State of Wyoming, ice jam floods have been devastating for the towns of 
Greybull and Worland. America's Water Infrastructure Act authorizes 
important programs to find permanent ways to prevent these types of 
  This bill is about more than just flood prevention. It is the most 
significant drinking water legislation in decades. The bill authorizes 
funds to repair aging drinking water systems.
  For the first time since 1996--that is 22 years ago--Congress will be 
authorizing the Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. These funds give 
States certainty--certainty that they can meet their drinking water 
needs. That is a big deal.
  There is a line that people say in Wyoming. It was originally 
attributed to Mark Twain. The line is this: Whiskey is for drinking; 
water is for fighting over. That is not the case with America's Water 
Infrastructure Act.

[[Page S6716]]

  That is not the case with America's Water Infrastructure Act. 
Democrats and Republicans are working together in a bipartisan way. The 
House of Representatives and the Senate are working together in a 
bicameral way. The House of Representatives passed this consensus bill 
unanimously by voice vote. Now it is the Senate's turn. We all know how 
important this legislation is for our country, for our States, and for 
our constituents. The bill is bipartisan and is fiscally responsible. 
America's Water Infrastructure Act actually reduces the deficit.
  I thank Ranking Member Carper and Subcommittee Chairman Inhofe and 
Subcommittee Ranking Member Cardin and their staffs for their 
leadership in working through this process. They have been wonderful 
partners in writing legislation that will have a real impact all across 
America. This bill is for all of America. It will have a real impact in 
our rural areas and in our big cities. It will help communities in the 
heartland and communities on the coasts.
  It is now time to pass this legislation. Let's pass the American 
Water Infrastructure Act and send it to President Trump for his 
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Daines). The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I rise today, along with the chairman, 
Senator Barrasso, to further discuss the important piece of 
infrastructure legislation that he has outlined that will positively 
affect the States of every Member of this body. I want to encourage 
each of our colleagues to support it.
  Over the course of August and early September, the Senate Environment 
and Public Works Committee reached an agreement with our counterparts 
in the House to advance America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.
  Our chairman, John Barrasso, and I coauthored this bill and did so 
with the help of the majority and minority staffs of the Environment 
and Public Works Committee over the better part of this past year. I 
want to take a moment to thank our chairman, as I have earlier, for his 
leadership. I want to thank the chairman and ranking member of the 
Infrastructure Subcommittee of EPW, Jim Inhofe and Ben Cardin, for 
their leadership in producing this critical bipartisan legislation.
  I want to thank the members of their staffs and especially the 
majority and minority member EPW staffs, without whose help this bill 
would not be before us today. Collectively, you have done a terrific 
job. I am proud of you. As we say in the Navy, Bravo Zulu, which means 
``well done.''
  As some of you may recall, the Senate's version of the bill was 
reported out of the Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously 
a few months back. On September 13, the bill passed the House of 
Representatives unanimously on a voice vote.
  People back home say to me: Why can't you just work together? Well, 
in this case, we have, and I think the results speak for themselves. I 
am hopeful and encouraged that this bill will receive the same strong 
support in the Senate this week.
  In a Congress and a country that are all too often divided, it is 
refreshing to me and I think to others as well that we have been able 
to come together to authorize water infrastructure and drinking water 
programs that are both vital and critical to the American people's way 
of life.
  America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 is a win-win for our 
Nation's economy and for our environment. This bill should serve as a 
model for how we can get meaningful legislation done in Congress, and I 
hope it will serve as a model.
  This legislation supports the ongoing work of the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers. It does so by reauthorizing the Corps' program for flood 
control, for beach and shoreline maintenance, and for the maintenance 
of inland and coastal waterways through which the goods that enter and 
depart from American ports travel.
  The Corps' Civil Works Program is our Nation's largest and I believe 
the world's biggest water resources undertaking. This program addresses 
a wide variety of priorities, including ship navigability; flood risk 
management; beach and shoreline protection; renewable energy, such as 
hydropower; water supply; and environmental restoration and 
stewardship. In fact, over 99 percent of U.S. overseas trade moves 
through the waterways which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is 
responsible for maintaining. Think of that--99 percent.
  In fact, this bill supports the Corps' operation and maintenance of 
13,000 miles of commercial deep-draft ship channels and 12,000 miles of 
commercial inland waterways. These ports and waterways serve a combined 
40 States and transport much of our country's waterborne cargo.
  The new authorizations that this bill provides are critically needed. 
Much of the infrastructure that the Corps is responsible for across the 
country now exceeds its useful lifespan. As a result, we have an 
enormous construction backlog of needed infrastructure investments. The 
latest estimates from the Army Corps indicate that the overall 
construction backlog is in the neighborhood of $96 billion, while the 
annual budget of the Army Corps hovers around $4.6 billion. Think of 
that--$96 billion on the one hand and $4.6 billion on the other hand. 
Those two numbers reflect the extraordinary challenge the Army Corps 
faces--a challenge we begin to address with this legislation. This bill 
addresses that backlog by providing new tools that will allow the 
government to partner with the Corps and leverage existing resources to 
make sure we get the most bang for our buck.
  This legislation also increases local participation, transparency, 
and accountability in developing the Army Corps' annual budget. It is 
my hope that enhanced local participation will allow for a more 
transparent and long-term look at the Corps' activities and help build 
a greater groundswell of support for increased appropriations to fund 
the agency's initiatives.
  The measure before us also authorizes critical Corps of Engineers 
disaster programs. When disaster strikes, the Federal Government often 
steps in and helps, as it did last year in Puerto Rico, 
Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and this year in the Carolinas. A large part 
of that help is provided by the Army Corps of Engineers--something that 
may come as a surprise to Americans who don't realize the critical role 
the Corps plays in responding to all sorts of emergencies.

  In addition, this bill includes new authorities to help protect 
communities and ecosystems in coastal States like Delaware and Maryland 
and States across our country from some of the worst impacts of extreme 
weather events. This measure includes provisions that allow communities 
to recover more quickly, too, when disaster does strike and facilitates 
rebuilding facilities in ways that are more resilient to future storms.
  This legislation also makes key changes in emergency response, post-
disaster recovery, and resiliency efforts so that the Army Corps thinks 
long-term instead of short-term when it selects solutions that it will 
implement. But the bill goes even further. It enables the Corps to 
pursue the best possible solutions to make communities more resistant 
to storm damage, whether those solutions are a traditionally 
constructed levee or a natural alternative, like the reconstructed 
dunes we are using along the Delaware coast and other places too.
  Earlier this year, NOAA announced that the total cost for extreme 
weather and climate events in 2017 exceeded $300 billion. That is a new 
U.S. annual record--$300 billion in 1 year, last year. It is not a 
matter of if the next extreme weather event is coming, it is a matter 
of when. As storm events, such as Hurricane Florence, grow more 
powerful and prevalent, threatening American lives and infrastructure, 
the passage of this bill--a bill that will help protect coastal 
communities from the risk of flooding--has never been more important.
  In addition to strengthening key Corps programs, this bill also 
addresses key programs at EPA for major drinking water and wastewater 
needs across our country. For the first time in over 20 years, this 
bill reauthorizes the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, too. 
That program provides Federal assistance to help communities with clean 
drinking water. It does so through no-interest, low-interest, and

[[Page S6717]]

forgivable loans that help communities in a variety of ways gain access 
to capital that would otherwise be unavailable. It is my hope that one 
day we can eventually add grants back into this program for communities 
that need the help the most, but that is probably a longer conversation 
somewhere down the line.
  The ongoing crisis in Flint that we are now seeing play out in far 
too many communities across our country is tragic but avoidable if we 
invest in water infrastructure more wisely. This bill makes it clear 
that we have learned our lesson, and we are beginning to take some 
steps to address this enormous challenge.
  Some of our colleagues may recall that earlier this year Senator 
Duckworth and I hosted a drinking water roundtable here on Capitol 
Hill. The image of her holding up in her hand a baby bottle with 
formula made from contaminated drinking water is an image that is hard 
for me to forget.
  This bill authorizes more resources for EPA to make sure that every 
parent, no matter what their ZIP Code is, where they live, can be 
confident that the water coming out of the tap at home or at their 
children's school is safe for their kids to drink. Toward that end, 
this legislation not only reauthorizes the safe drinking water 
revolving loan program, it nearly doubles its funding. By fiscal year 
2021, the program will grow from the current authorization of $1 
billion to almost $2 billion.
  Perhaps most notably, especially in light of the avoidable 
devastation and tragedy we saw in the wake of Hurricanes Maria and 
Harvey, this bill authorizes $100 million to repair drinking water 
systems damaged by storms and creates a new program that helps protect 
drinking water systems from extreme weather events.
  This legislation allows States that detect contaminants in drinking 
water to provide assistance to residents who depend on private water 
wells. This provision should matter to every Member of Congress whose 
residents rely significantly on wells for their water consumption 
needs, and we have them in every single State across America. I don't 
know about other States, but one in six Delawareans depends on private 
wells for their drinking water. It is not fair that if contaminants end 
up in their water through no fault of the resident, the resident has to 
find a way to rectify that situation on their own. Without this bill, 
these taxpayers get no support, and that is not right.
  This bill goes way beyond addressing emergency situations. It 
provides a framework for updating and expanding water infrastructure 
systems throughout our country at both the EPA and the Army Corps of 
  As I mentioned earlier, the bill authorizes $50 million for technical 
assistance to help schools and daycare centers deal with lead 
contamination in their drinking water and another $5 million per year 
in grants for modernizing, testing, and replacing the lead components 
that are causing the water contamination. This provision is going to be 
particularly helpful in places like Chicago and Baltimore, where there 
are schools operating with no usable drinking water fountains.
  Oftentimes, our water infrastructure is the forgotten leg of the 
infrastructure stool. We rightly worry about the infrastructure we can 
see, such as bridges, highways, airports, and railroads, but our water 
infrastructure--our pipes, shipping channels, flood control structures; 
the infrastructure we don't see but rely on every day--is also in 
desperate need of investment in many parts of America.
  Before I yield the floor today, I want to again thank our chairman, 
Senator Barrasso, and our Senators from Maryland and Oklahoma who are 
the cochairs of the Infrastructure Subcommittee of Environment and 
Public Works and other members of our committee and frankly those who 
are not fortunate enough to serve on our committee. I thank them for 
their hard work throughout this process.
  I thank our colleagues over in the House--Congressmen Shuster, 
DeFazio, Walden, and Pallone--who were great partners of ours. When we 
work together as Democrats and Republicans in both Chambers, we are 
stronger, and when we are stronger here, we are stronger across our 
  Finally, I thank the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers, R.D. James, who has made this legislation a priority for the 
Army Corps and for the administration. He and his team worked with us 
to craft a bill that I think we can all be proud of, and I am.
  I want to mention again that as smart as John Barrasso and I and the 
other Senators who serve on our committee and here in the Senate are, 
this bill wouldn't be before us if we didn't have some very smart 
people on our staffs. One is sitting right here next to me today, and 
some others are standing behind me. I see over on the Republican 
majority side some terrific members of staff who work under the 
leadership of our chairman. I want to take a moment to take my hat 
off--I wish I were wearing my hat. If I were, I would take it off to 
all of you, as well.

  Let me end today with an African proverb that I think is particularly 
relevant. It goes something like this: If you want to go fast, travel 
alone. If you want to go far, travel together.
  By working together, we crafted legislation that is both substantive 
and needed. This proposal stands as a timely example of how we can set 
aside our differences and get meaningful work done for the people who 
sent us here and expected us to accomplish really important things like 
this on their behalf.
  The underlying bill before us is one that delivers a lot of good to 
the American people. At the same time, it represents good public policy 
that is fiscally responsible. It is deserving of the support of our 
colleagues in the Senate. I hope they will join us in supporting its 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I would like to sincerely thank my 
ranking member and partner in this bipartisan bill, Senator Carper. You 
could not have asked for a better colead moving this legislation 
forward. I agree with exactly the sentiments expressed by the senior 
Senator from Delaware that America's Water Infrastructure Act could not 
have happened without a lot of hard work from a number of dedicated 
legislators, as well as dedicated staff.
  I also thank the chairman and ranking member of our Transportation 
and Infrastructure Subcommittee, Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member 
Cardin, and their staffs for their important contributions and their 
strong support.
  As Senator Carper mentioned the House, I thank our colleagues there 
and partners in this effort, Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member 
DeFazio of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Chairman 
Walden and Ranking Member Pallone of the Energy and Commerce Committee, 
along with their staff. They did a significant amount of heavy lifting 
to get this important water infrastructure bill to the finish line.
  Finally, I thank the staff of the Environment and Public Works 
Committee for their tireless work on the legislation. Senator Carper 
mentioned them from both sides of the aisle.
  On my staff, I thank Richard Russell, Brian Clifford, Andrew Harding, 
Lizzy Olsen, Pauline Thorndike, Craig Thomas, and Mike Danlak, and my 
chief of staff, Dan Coonsman.
  On the minority staff, I thank Mary Frances Repko, John Kane, Andrew 
Rogers, Christina Baysinger, Skylar Bayer, Ashley Morgan, and Avery 
Mulligan. It would not have happened without all of their hard work, 
dedication, and commitment to this piece of legislation.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. 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. WYDEN. Mr. President, while it is perhaps not in line with 
official and genuine Senate protocol, I also want to use this 
opportunity to congratulate my good friend in the Chair on the 
wonderful events of last weekend for his family.
  Mr. President, I have come to the floor to discuss my colleague 

[[Page S6718]]

Baldwin's resolution that would protect the millions of Americans in 
Wisconsin and Oregon and all across the land who are faced with 
preexisting health conditions.
  This has been an area I have focused on since my days as codirector 
of the Oregon Gray Panthers because preexisting conditions is kind of 
fancy lingo that people talk about as it relates to healthcare policy, 
but really what it is all about is, if you have cancer or diabetes or 
heart disease or asthma or any one of a score of healthcare conditions, 
before the Affordable Care Act, you were just in a world of hurt, 
literally and figuratively. In effect, the healthcare system then was 
for the healthy and the wealthy. If you were healthy, there was nothing 
to worry about--no preexisting condition. If you were wealthy, you just 
paid the bills, but if you had preexisting conditions, as millions and 
millions of Americans have, then you were really out of luck.

  So then, along came the Affordable Care Act. I had written a piece of 
legislation, the Healthy Americans Act, with seven Democrats and seven 
Republicans as cosponsors. It had airtight, loophole-free protection 
for Americans against discrimination if they had preexisting 
conditions. That provision from the Healthy Americans Act, to a very 
great extent, made its way into the Affordable Care Act. That is why 
millions of Americans were able to go to bed at night with a sense of 
comfort and a sense that if they did have healthcare conditions, the 
insurance companies wouldn't be able to just clobber them with higher 
costs. Unfortunately, we have the Trump administration's wanting to 
bring back the days when healthcare was for the healthy and wealthy and 
allow discrimination against people with preexisting conditions.
  The flip side of the preexisting condition coin is junk insurance--
selling junk insurance that really isn't worth a whole lot more than 
the paper it is written on. Boy, do I know something about junk 
insurance because that is how I started my time in public service, when 
senior citizens were sold 15 to 20 policies. Again, the rip-offs were 
built in. Back then, if you had one policy and you had another policy 
that offered similar coverage, they canceled each other out, and the 
senior got nothing. It was junk insurance. If we go back to the days 
when they discriminated against people with preexisting conditions, we 
are going to have junk insurance all over again.
  I am going to begin with the Trump administration's record on this.
  First of all, if you are a scam artist who is peddling junk plans, 
the Trump administration has your back. If you are a person with a 
preexisting condition, the Trump administration is advancing policies 
that will make both your health and your wallet in far worse shape. 
Now, the Trump officials get up and talk about the benefits of short-
term plans. They will use buzz words like ``flexibility'' and 
``patient-centered care,'' but I want everybody to be clear that it is 
junk insurance, plain and simple. It is putting a whole lot of lipstick 
on a frog.
  These junk insurance plans the Trump administration has revived 
represent the very worst of industry tricks and abuses. They punish 
Americans who really need healthcare. If you are young, if you are 
healthy, and if you are wealthy, as I have said, there is nothing to 
worry about. With junk plans, you have a glide path to put scams on 
those with preexisting conditions like heart disease, cancer, and 
mental illness. They exist to prey on older Americans--on women, on the 
less fortunate--particularly a group that I have thought was the heart 
of where healthcare reform ought to go--to the folks between 55 and 65.
  As I have indicated, junk plans are not new. Congress and the 
American people have rejected them before. I mentioned my history with 
the Oregon Gray Panthers. Big, thick stacks of legalese that nobody 
could understand were always hyped to the seniors. They were going to 
fill the gaps in Medicare. It was called Medigap. Back then, it was 
really just A and B. It didn't have D and Medicare Advantage and all 
kinds of other things. It was just A and B.
  You had seniors frightened that the gaps in Medicare were going to 
consume any savings they might have. So every time a fast-talking 
salesperson came through, a senior would buy a policy. When I was the 
director of the Gray Panthers, it was common to go to seniors' homes, 
and they would actually go to a closet and pull out a shoebox full of 
these worthless policies. I really fear we are looking at going back to 
those days.
  The fact is that Congress finally cracked down on those Medigap rip-
offs. I had an opportunity to be a part of that effort as a Member of 
the other body, the House, but a lot of people got hurt in the process.
  Junk insurance was not just a problem for seniors. A few years ago, 
the Affordable Care Act was designed, as I mentioned, in terms of the 
Healthy Americans Act, to make sure that junk insurance would be 
eliminated across the board. Across the board, we would say in our 
country, we are going to have ironclad, loophole-free guarantees that 
no American would ever face discrimination over a preexisting 
  By the way, that used to be a bipartisan proposition. The fact is 
that still serving in this body are a number of my colleagues on the 
Republican side who are cosponsors of the Healthy Americans Act, with 
that ironclad, loophole-free protection for those with preexisting 
conditions. So it is not as if somebody just kind of brought this up as 
a partisan issue. It was bipartisan then. Republican Members of this 
body, distinguished colleagues, were cosponsors of that Healthy 
Americans Act proposition. Now the Trump administration is trying to 
turn back the clock. It wants to make junk plans great again--a forced 
march back to those days that I described that were only for the 
healthy and the wealthy.

  The open enrollment plan for health insurance is coming up very 
quickly. The Trump administration has cut it in half so that it is 
going to last only a few weeks this year. That means, during the 
holidays, when Americans are traveling, shopping, and spending time 
with family, they will also have to make some judgments about health 
insurance. Because of the Trump administration's actions, these junk 
insurance policies are going to be peddled at the same time as 
insurance that would actually cover, meaningfully, the healthcare that 
our people need.
  What they are going to be doing with these Trump changes is making 
life easy for the scam artists but a nightmare for so many Americans 
who, day in and day out, walk an economic tightrope just trying to pay 
for essentials. These rip-off artists under the Trump plan are going to 
have a green light to steal the money Americans pay in premiums and for 
other expenses. According to a recent study, sometimes as much as $2 
out of every $3 is wasted on overhead with these administrative costs 
and junk insurance profits in these flawed policies that the Trump 
administration wants to foist off on Americans.
  The disastrous effects of junk insurance aren't limited to those who 
get conned into buying it. By bringing junk plans back, the Trump 
administration, in effect, goes out and swings a wrecking ball into the 
private health insurance markets in our country. It raises costs across 
the board, and Americans waste their hard-earned dollars.
  Senator Baldwin has a resolution, and I commend my colleague from 
Wisconsin on her effort on this. She came and talked with me about this 
early on, as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. We 
have jurisdiction over something like $1 trillion worth of health 
spending. I really appreciate the expertise and the passion that 
Senator Baldwin has brought to this issue, and we saw it in her very 
first presentation on what she wanted to do. Her resolution is the 
Senate's best opportunity to put a stop to the scams that I have 
described. It would throw the Trump administration's junk insurance 
rules out, and with Senator Baldwin's proposal, it would restore the 
protections that millions of Americans count on each day.
  The Democrats in the Senate are going to stand up for Americans with 
preexisting conditions, and I hope colleagues on the other side will 
join us. I recognize that the Trump administration will not, but my 
hope is that we will have colleagues on the other side supporting us 
for Senator Baldwin's resolution.

[[Page S6719]]

  In addition, as if this were not enough of an injury foisted on 
vulnerable Americans, the Trump administration has put forward a 
nominee for a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals who made 
healthcare sabotage one of his top priorities at the Trump Justice 
Department. Chad Readler, currently the Deputy Assistant Attorney 
General, in my view, is the wrong choice to be a Federal judge.
  Earlier this year, the Trump administration decided it just wanted to 
get out of the business of enforcing the rules that protect Americans 
with preexisting conditions. In fact, it had to argue in court that it 
could abandon that essential part of the Affordable Care Act, which was 
still the law of the land the last time I looked. Who did the 
administration turn to when it needed to cook up a dubious legal 
argument that it had no obligation to enforce the law of the land? Chad 
Readler. In fact, three career attorneys from the Department of Justice 
looked at his argument, and they actually withdrew from the case. Three 
career lawyers from the Department of Justice refused to participate.
  The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Mr. Readler's nomination 
earlier this month. His nomination could be sent to the floor of the 
Senate in the coming weeks, but it ought to be clear that this is a 
nominee who is not an impartial individual who has the judicial 
temperament Americans expect. He is not somebody who ought to be handed 
a seat on the Federal bench and have the power to sign off on the Trump 
administration's agenda of healthcare sabotage.
  I close with this. The Senate has an opportunity to stand up this 
week for the millions of vulnerable Americans who have these 
preexisting conditions, for the millions of Americans who under the 
Affordable Care Act can go to bed at night knowing that if they have 
preexisting conditions, they are not going to lose everything. I am 
serious when I talk about losing everything. Once you go back to 
discriminating against people with preexisting conditions, you are 
going to go back to job lock and all of the problems we saw associated 
with discrimination. If you were in Montana or if you were in Oregon 
and had a preexisting condition and you got offered a better job on the 
other side of town, you couldn't go get it because you would not be 
able to get coverage because there was discrimination against people 
with preexisting conditions.
  This week the Senate is going to have an opportunity to stand up to 
the Trump administration and go to bat for the millions and millions of 
Americans who are watching this debate who have preexisting conditions 
and who are just counting on this body not to turn back the clock and 
leave them vulnerable again. Senator Baldwin's resolution would prevent 
the Trump administration from bringing back the worst abuses of junk 
insurance. If it doesn't pass this week, this will be an issue that, in 
my view, will come up again and again and again until it is fixed.
  Finally, the Readler nomination, in my view, ought to be stopped in 
its tracks. The Senate ought to tell the administration that it is not 
going to rubberstamp judicial nominees who have proven, demonstrable 
track records of twisting the law in a way that harms the most 
vulnerable of our citizens.
  I note that the majority leader is here.
  I yield the floor.