December 13, 2018 - Issue: Vol. 164, No. 197 — Daily Edition115th Congress (2017 - 2018) - 2nd Session
BUSINESS BEFORE THE SENATE; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 197
(Senate - December 13, 2018)
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[Pages S7531-S7532] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] BUSINESS BEFORE THE SENATE Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the Senate began this week with a long list of important unfinished business. And make no mistake--that list remains lengthy. It will require the continued good-faith efforts of Members on both sides of the aisle to keep up the progress. We need to confirm more of the well-qualified nominees who remain waiting on the Senate's calendar. We need to deliver the targeted resources that are necessary for securing our border and fund the remaining parts of the Federal Government. Today, of course, debate will continue on the Sanders-Lee resolution with respect to U.S. involvement in Yemen. As I stated yesterday, their resolution is not sufficiently prudent nor sufficiently precise for the job at hand. Yes, the Senate wants Saudi Arabia to act responsibly. We want to see a more stable Yemen for the sake of the Yemeni people. We also want to preserve this 70-year partnership, which serves our interests and helps stabilize a crucial region. The resolution before us is a blunt and imprecise measure that would not advance these delicate goals. To the contrary, it would jeopardize U.S. support that has actually limited civilian casualties. And I maintain that since genuine hostilities are not involved, the resolution should not even be privileged under the War Powers Act. I urge my colleagues to vote against their resolution and to support Chairman Corker's more responsible alternative in its place. Even considering the work still before us, Members should take pride in the significant milestones we have checked off this week. On Tuesday, the Senate completed the 30th Federal circuit judge confirmation of this Congress. Yesterday evening, the Senate and the House reached a landmark agreement to reform the process by which Capitol Hill itself handles claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, and other workplace violations. It is a bicameral and bipartisan agreement. It strengthens protections for victims. It ensures that Members of Congress shall be held responsible for their own misconduct, not taxpayers. It contains a number of other important reforms to [[Page S7532]] create more transparency and accountability in the process. I am very glad Congress will be taking this important step. I want to thank Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Klobuchar and their counterparts in the House for working hard to get this across the finish line. That wasn't the only milestone we cleared yesterday. Yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the farm bill conference report. Now it is on its way to the President's desk. The boost this bill delivers couldn't come soon enough. It is no secret that these are tough times in farm country. Falling prices and volatile markets make it harder to make ends meet. Net farm income continues to decline. The threat of natural disasters is a constant fear for even the most skilled and prepared farmers. Families in my home State of Kentucky are all too familiar with these challenges. Months of heavy rain and severe weather this year have damaged crop yields and increased the burden on producers. We are home to more than 75,000 farms. They produce everything from soybeans and poultry to horses and corn. These families are looking to us for help and stability, and when President Trump signs our farm bill into law, more stability is just what they will get. I would like to share some of the bill's highlights that will support farm families in the Blue Grass State, by way of example. In need of certainty and predictability, this farm bill extends a strong commodity safety net and protects crop insurance. It contains policies to encourage future generations of farmers to plant their own roots--particularly important in States like mine with aging agricultural populations. To preserve our land for the future, the legislation promotes conservation programs, outdoor recreation, and upgraded watershed and drinking water infrastructure. For our rural communities, it expands broadband deployment and dedicates further resources to combat the opioid epidemic. For hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians faced with food insecurity, the farm bill increases funding for emergency programs at food banks. The legislation provides continued funding for groundbreaking agricultural research at universities and research institutions. For producers looking for markets abroad, it strengthens our trade programs to develop new opportunities for Kentucky around the globe. Of course, each of these important victories for Kentucky farmers comes in addition to the new opportunities available with the full legalization of industrial hemp, as I have discussed extensively here on the floor. All in all, this legislation is a big win for farmers in Kentucky and across our country. I am proud to have played a part in delivering that victory. It has been my privilege to represent Kentucky farmers on the Agriculture Committee every day I have served in the Senate. The multiyear bill we produced is a credit to the leadership of Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow, and now the fruits of their labor are finally on the way to the White House. I would like to express my gratitude to my follow conferees, especially my colleague from Kentucky, Congressman Jamie Comer. I would also like to thank the Kentucky Farm Bureau, which has been my partner every step of the way. Earlier this month, the farm bureau announced the beginning of its centennial year. I would be hard-pressed to think of a better way to celebrate that 100th birthday than with a new farm bill. There is a reason this bill passed both Houses with overwhelming bipartisan majorities. There is a reason this has been a big priority for Congress and the administration. Farming families deserve more stability. Once the President signs this farm bill into law, that is precisely what they will have. ____________________