CLOTURE MOTION; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 193
(Senate - December 06, 2018)

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[Pages S7341-S7351]
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                             CLOTURE MOTION

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I send a cloture motion to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under 
rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
  The senior assistant 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 nomination 
     of Justin George Muzinich, of New York, to be Deputy 
     Secretary of the Treasury.
         Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Jerry Moran, Lisa 
           Murkowski, John Barrasso, David Perdue, Ron Johnson, 
           Shelley Moore Capito, John Cornyn, Marco Rubio, Tom 
           Cotton, Steve Daines, Michael B. Enzi, Cindy Hyde-
           Smith, Lamar Alexander, John Kennedy, Deb Fischer.

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
mandatory quorum call be waived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Tennessee.

                     U.S.-China Fentanyl Agreement

  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, there is uncertainty reported in the 
news about the trade agreements and discussions that the President of 
the United States and the President of China had last weekend, but one 
thing is certain: The agreement that President Trump and the President 
of China made last Saturday concerning fentanyl--a deadly synthetic 
opioid which is mostly produced in China and which is the largest 
growing contributor to opioid deaths in the United States--will save 
thousands of American lives.
  Last Saturday evening, President Trump and President Xi announced 
that China will designate all fentanyl-like substances as controlled 
substances, which will make the selling of fentanyl subject to the 
maximum penalty under Chinese law.
  Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It can be 100 times stronger than 
opioid prescription pills. It is the source of the greatest increase in 
opioid overdoses in our country.
  According to our Drug Enforcement Administration, one way or another, 
almost all of the fentanyl that is used in the United States comes from 
China. Here is how: Traffickers in China modify the chemical makeup of 
fentanyl to bypass the authorities. Scheduling all fentanyl-like 
substances as a class, which is what President Xi agreed to do, is the 
single most important step that could be taken to stop the flow of 
deadly fentanyl from China into the United States.
  Let me tell you a story about one action that helped us get to that 
point. About 4 weeks ago, I led a senior delegation of five Senators 
and two Members of the House of Representatives to Beijing to meet with 
Chinese leaders. They, of course, expected us to talk about 
agriculture, energy, and trade issues, which are sources of major 
disagreement between China and the United States, and we did, but at 
the urging of the U.S. Ambassador to China, former Iowa Governor Terry 
Branstad, we made fentanyl and the opioid crisis the primary point of 
our visit.
  President Trump had already mentioned fentanyl to President Xi a few 
months earlier, and China had already taken steps to help the United 
States by stemming the flow of fentanyl into our country. China 
announced that it was controlling 25 different substances of fentanyl. 
The Drug Enforcement Administration told us while we were in China 4 
weeks ago that after China took those steps, there was a dramatic 
decrease in the amount of fentanyl available in the United States.
  In other words, while we were there, we asked China to do more of 
what it was already doing--instead of controlling just 25 types of 
fentanyl, to control it all, make it all illegal. Controlling all of it 
allows China's narcotics agents to go after anyone in China who

[[Page S7342]]

uses or produces fentanyl illegally or improperly. The Chinese 
officials listened closely to us. They committed to working with us. 
They made no promises at the time about what they would do, but with 
each meeting we had, we found they must have talked to whomever we had 
talked to at the previous meeting, and they were responsive.
  The truth is, I believe they were surprised. They were surprised 
first that we would make that the first point of our discussion when 
they had assumed that we would likely be there to talk about tariffs on 
soybeans and other issues. I think they were surprised to be reminded 
of or to find out for the first time what a massive problem it is in 
the United States. More people are being killed by opioid overdoses 
than are killed by automobile accidents, and the fastest growing source 
of those opioid overdoses is the synthetic stuff coming from China.
  Some of them were surprised and a little defensive because they did 
not believe it when we said to them--and I said to them directly that 
one way or the other, almost all of the fentanyl we see in the United 
States comes from China. It comes in the form of chemicals that are 
made there in small processing plants. It is shipped to Mexico or to 
Canada or through the mail, and then it is smuggled into this country 
illegally. It is often in small plastic bags. It is a white powder.
  One of the drug enforcement agents from Tennessee told me that once 
when he had seized just one package of fentanyl in Dixon County, he 
opened it, and he had to leave the room to keep from being overcome 
because enough of it escaped into the air that it had an effect on him. 
Just a few grams of this will kill an individual.
  When we returned from China after our trip 4 weeks ago, I spoke about 
that trip on the Senate floor. I said that China had the opportunity to 
become the global leader in stopping synthetic opioids. I talked with 
Ivanka Trump about our trip. She was helping the President prepare for 
his trip to Argentina, where he saw leaders from many countries. He had 
his dinner with the President of China last Saturday night. She helped 
to make sure that it was a priority in his briefings and in his 
  I talked to the President directly to report to him the good work 
Ambassador Branstad had been doing in China; how 6 months ago, the 
Ambassador had said to me: When you come to China, make this the focus 
of your visit because the Chinese officials don't appreciate the 
importance of this to the United States.
  China doesn't have a fentanyl problem. They don't have people using 
and overdosing from opioids. At one time, China had a terrible problem 
with opium, but they don't today. So I think it was a surprise to them 
to see how important it was to us.
  I urged President Trump to thank President Xi when they met at the 
G20 summit in Argentina for what China had already done and to ask the 
Chinese to continue working with us to stem the flow of fentanyl into 
the United States.
  Last Saturday, at the end of the G20 summit, President Trump and 
President Xi announced that China would do exactly what we asked them 
to do. China will control all forms of fentanyl as a way of stopping 
the flow of this dangerous synthetic opioid into the United States both 
by mail and by smuggling through Mexico and Canada. President Trump 
called this ``a game changer,'' and he deserves great credit for 
persuading China to make the selling of fentanyl subject to the maximum 
penalty under Chinese law.
  In 2016, roughly 45 percent of opioid overdose deaths were due to 
synthetic opioids like fentanyl--nearly half of the deaths. Remember, 
there are as many deaths from overdoses as there are from automobile 
  To be clear, this is not a problem the Chinese Government has caused, 
but it is a problem the Chinese Government is helping us solve. Working 
with our Drug Enforcement Administration and classifying 25 fentanyl 
compounds caused an immediate and dramatic decrease in those chemicals 
coming into the United States months ago. Now President Xi has agreed 
to control all forms of fentanyl, which will make it easier for China 
to go after anyone in their country who uses or produces fentanyl 
illegally and improperly.
  Opioid abuse is understood by the Senate and House of Representatives 
to be our No. 1 health epidemic in the country. While most of the 
country was watching the Kavanaugh hearings in October of this year, if 
you had a split-screen television, you could have seen on the other 
side of the television screen 72 Senators of both parties--5 committees 
here and 8 committees in the House of Representatives--working together 
to produce landmark opioid legislation to try to deal with our opioid 
  Fentanyl, the white powder synthetic opioid, can be 100 times more 
powerful than an opioid pain pill. A few grams can kill you, which is 
why we have seen such a spike in overdose deaths. Among drug overdoses, 
it is the fastest killer. Tennessee saw the number of deaths from 
fentanyl overdose increase 70 percent in 1 year, between 2016 and 2017.
  As I mentioned, in the legislation the President signed in October, 
Congress has taken action. He called that new law ``the single largest 
bill to combat a drug crisis in the history of our country.'' Those 
were his words.
  In addition to empowering the Food and Drug Administration to require 
manufacturers to sell certain opioid pills in so-called blister packs 
and expanding treatment and recovery opportunities, the new law 
contains Senator Portman's STOP Act, which will help stop illegal 
drugs, including fentanyl, at the border. It also includes the SALTS 
Act, which closes a loophole that allowed manufacturers and sellers of 
synthetic opioids like fentanyl to avoid prosecution by labeling the 
opioids as ``not intended for human consumption.'' Congress has also 
put the taxpayers' money where our mouth has been. Congress has 
approved $8.5 billion since last March to combat the opioid crisis.

  What President Trump and President Xi announced this weekend is the 
single most important step that could be taken to stop the flow of 
deadly fentanyl from China into the United States.
  I thank Ambassador Branstad, the former Governor of Iowa and now our 
Ambassador to China, for putting a focus on this, for leading our 
delegation on this specific request, and for setting up the meetings we 
had with Chinese officials. I also thank the staff members of the U.S. 
Embassy there for all of their hard work. They were very helpful--Steve 
Churchill, Rob Fordan, and Richard Jao.
  I thank, again, the Chinese officials with whom we met. They gave us 
a lot of time. If it were to be an hour's discussion, it was an hour 
and a half. If we started out with fentanyl and it was news to them, 
they took the time to understand it and talk about it. I thank Premier 
Li Keqiang, Minister Zhao Kezhi, and Director Yang Jiechi. We saw all 
of them, which included seeing the head of narcotics control and the 
head of the police system in China.
  I am grateful to the Chinese leaders for listening to our 
congressional delegation and for President Trump and President Xi's 
leadership in taking this action.
  Some have asked since last Saturday: Well, will China do it? Will 
this make a difference?
  We know it made a difference before. President Trump asked China to 
help with fentanyl, and China identified 25 forms of it. Our own Drug 
Enforcement Agency says that it saw a dramatic decrease in fentanyl in 
the United States immediately after that.
  Now we are asking China to make all forms of fentanyl illegal. That 
means that the crooks in China can't say: Well, they have made illegal 
these 25 forms, but we will modify the chemicals enough so that we can 
create chemicals to send to Mexico, Canada, and then to the United 
States that are not illegal. That will not be possible once China 
implements this. Once it implements these rules, I expect the rules to 
be effective. China does a lot of things well. One thing it knows how 
to do is to be a good policeman when something is against the law. I 
would not want to be the person in China who is misusing, abusing, or 
selling fentanyl illegally after these new rules go into effect.
  We are asking China only to do what the United States is already 
doing. We have learned that in order to be effective in controlling 
fentanyl, we have to control all of it. We have to make all of

[[Page S7343]]

it illegal so that our narcotics agencies, our drug agencies, and our 
policemen can deal with it.
  What about the possibility that even if China does this, fentanyl 
might be made in other countries? Well, maybe it would, but we could 
take the same steps there that we are taking in China.
  This is important in the larger sense. The President of China has 
listened to the President of the United States, who has said twice to 
him: Mr. President, fentanyl is a terrible problem in the United 
States. One way or the other, China is the source of most of the 
fentanyl that comes here. We believe the single most important thing 
you could do to help us control that is to make it all illegal. The 
President of China has said he will do that.
  That kind of response, as President Trump said, is a humanitarian 
gesture that, while it doesn't have to do with trade--it doesn't mean 
more soybeans are going to be sold--it helps to develop a better 
relationship between two countries that are not enemies but that are 
competitors, and we have some big issues we need to work on.
  There may be uncertainty in the air about some of the agreements that 
came out of the dinner that the President of China and the President of 
the United States had in Argentina last weekend, but there is no 
uncertainty about this--that the agreement by China, at President 
Trump's request, to make illegal all forms of fentanyl in China, all 
classes of it, will save thousands of lives in the United States. China 
will go from being the source of the biggest opioid problem that the 
United States has to the country that is doing the most about it. For 
that, all Americans should be grateful.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.

                       Tribute to Herb Holzapfel

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I am here this afternoon to congratulate 
Herb Holzapfel on his retirement as chairman of the Farmers' Rice 
  The Farmers' Rice Cooperative has a long and distinguished history 
and an equally long history of influential leaders. Herb stands out as 
one of those leaders--as one of the very best.
  It may seem a little bit odd for a Kansan to be congratulating a 
Californian, but in this job as a U.S. Senator and in my earlier days 
as a Congressman, as a Member of the House of Representatives, you have 
the opportunity to meet lots of wonderful, interesting people. As a 
person who is so interested in agriculture, I had the opportunity of 
meeting Herb back in my days in the House of Representatives. He is one 
of those special people who is a joy to know, and he is someone who has 
such a strong passion for agriculture, and so we easily connected.
  His love of agriculture, his engagement in the industry, and his work 
in the industry have improved the lives of farmers and consumers for 
more than 40 years, including 33 specifically with the Farmers' Rice 
  Herb is a passionate public servant. His love for public service 
dates back to his early moments as a boy when he remembers meeting 
Ronald Reagan. That was an inspiration to Herb. As he was attending the 
National Scout Jamboree here in the Nation's Capital, which marked the 
beginning of a life of serving others, he had the opportunity to become 
acquainted with Ronald Reagan.
  Herb grew up with a sense of duty. He was drafted and served in the 
Vietnam conflict just 1 year after he married Ginger, his wife. Herb 
joined the National Guard in the same year and began farming rice. He 
was offered a spot in the 1975 warrant officer helicopter training 
school, but he had to turn it down in order to get his rice harvested.
  Herb has always been on the lookout for opportunities to serve other 
people and has never shied away from hard work. His father would always 
tell him that in order to make something better, a person has to be 
involved. Herb took that message to heart and committed himself to 
doing things in the right way--to being fully involved.
  Herb joined the Farmers' Rice Cooperative in 1985 and became a board 
member that same year. In 1998 he was elected chairman of the board and 
has served in that position since then. For 20 years, Herb has fought 
for the rice producers and has led and represented them in such a fine 
fashion. Herb has always focused on finding solutions that will make 
sure that the next generation of farmers and ranchers is better off 
than the last.
  To accomplish that, he has worked with many Members of Congress on 
both sides of the aisle. As chairman of the co-op, Herb has spent a 
significant amount of time in Washington, DC, doing just that--
representing agricultural producers in the Halls of Congress. He is one 
of the most genuine people I have ever met. If you meet Herb, you will 
remember Herb. He goes out of his way to build genuine relationships 
with Members of Congress, and he knows the importance of our staffs. He 
has become a trusted adviser and a source of wisdom and good advice to 
many people in Washington, DC. In so many ways, that includes me. There 
has been no better ambassador for agriculture, especially for rice, 
than Herb. It is not uncommon for Herb to take an incoming call from DC 
while he is on his tractor back at the ranch.
  Herb's legacy at the Farmers' Rice Cooperative is one of his great 
achievements. He has assisted in the reforming of the cooperative over 
the past 30 years and has impacted every facet of the company, from 
dealing with the leadership of the co-op down to the nuts and bolts of 
the rice mill. He is one who has shown me how rice is grown, which is 
necessary, because no Kansas farmer knows how to grow rice. His goal 
has been to leave the company and the industry better than he found it.
  I will tell you, Herb, you have achieved that goal in spades.
  As I said earlier, Herb never shies away from hard work. This means 
he will not be slowing down but only changing directions. He will 
continue to work on the Farm Credit Council's board of directors, which 
he has been a part of since 2012. Herb's impact on the world of 
agriculture will continue to be felt for years to come through his work 
at the Farmers' Rice Cooperative and at the Farm Credit Council.
  I thank Herb for his years of advocacy on behalf of agriculture, 
rice, and all of the things that agriculture is comprised of, including 
wheat and cattle and corn in Kansas. He made the case for all of us--
for our farmers and our ranchers. I appreciate that very much. I 
appreciate his standing side by side and our being a team in order to 
see that good things happen in rural America. I wish him the very best 
in his new phase of life, and I thank him for his service and his 

                         tribute to bill snyder

  Mr. President, last Sunday, Kansas State University Head Football 
Coach Bill Snyder announced his retirement, marking the end of his 56-
year career coaching football and 27-year tenure in Manhattan, KS.
  Coach Snyder made his debut with the K-State football program in 
1989. He took the helm of a program that was known as Futility U and 
America's most hapless team.
  When he arrived, the Wildcats hadn't won a single game in the 
previous two seasons and had the most losses of any Division One 
football team.
  During the now-famous press conference at the early stages of his 
tenure at K-State, Coach Snyder remarked that, ``I think the 
opportunity for the greatest turnaround in college football exists here 
today, and it's not one to be taken lightly.''
  Kansans know well today that Coach Snyder lived up to those words.
  Coach Snyder boasts a great deal of accolades in his storied career: 
215 career wins, 19 bowl game appearances, and two Big 12 
championships--which seems especially remarkable, given the state of 
the program when he took over as head coach.
  Deeply engrained in Coach Snyder's legacy is the work he has done off 
the field developing young men, contributing to the community, giving 
back, and inspiring so many.
  Coach Snyder's ``16 Goals for Success'' have served as guidelines for 
his players on and off the field.
  Snyder said that if his players followed these goals--goals such as 
``Never Give Up,'' ``Don't Accept Losing,'' and ``Eliminate 
Mistakes''--then success would come. His ``16 goals'' represent his own 
legendary paradigm--that our work is never over and the journey to 
success is never really finished.

[[Page S7344]]

  His impact at the university and in Manhattan have reached far beyond 
the field, where he has helped to increase student enrollment, boost 
the local economy, and fund major renovation projects across K-State's 
campus that have allowed for groundbreaking work at the university.
  Coach Snyder's involvement, support, and close work with the Johnson 
Cancer Center at K-State has helped to advance the groundbreaking, 
scientific research being done there that will one day save lives.
  His work in the community to mentor young men and women, develop 
community leaders, and inspire philanthropy has changed lives across 
our State. His focus on ``family'' has created and contributed to a 
remarkable culture in Manhattan.
  Coach Snyder has had to overcome numerous challenges during his 
tenure as a coach, but he has faced those with the same grit and mental 
toughness that he has instilled in his players.
  Even while battling cancer, coach still hit the road to travel Kansas 
on Catbacker tours; he didn't let anyone or anything get in the way of 
him meeting with the program's most loyal fans, a large number of them 
rural Kansans.
  Coach's love for traveling the State and meeting with rural Kansans 
is something we both share, but I think often times Kansans might be 
more excited to talk about football than politics.
  Coach Snyder repeatedly says he came to Kansas State University 
because of the people, stayed because of the people, and returned 
because of the people.
  To get to Manhattan, KS, you take Bill Snyder Family Highway. To go 
to a K-State football game, you go to Bill Snyder Family Stadium. On 
your way into the stadium, you walk by a larger-than-life statue of 
Coach Bill Snyder. His legacy is permanently sealed in the K-State and 
Manhattan community.
  History will remember Coach Snyder as an incredibly successful 
football coach and developer of young men, someone with an 
extraordinary work ethic and a high level of integrity.
  I appreciate the impact Coach Bill Snyder has had at Kansas State 
University. His legacy will be forever enshrined there. Robba and I 
wish all the best for Coach, Sharon, and the entire Snyder family in 
this new chapter of their lives.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.

                      Remembering George H.W. Bush

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, on Friday, George Herbert Walker Bush, the 
41st President of the United States, went to his eternal reward.
  His death marks the passing of an era. George H.W. Bush was the last 
President to have served in World War II. He enlisted on his 18th 
birthday, postponing college to serve his country, and went on to 
become the youngest pilot in the Navy. During his 3 years of service, 
he flew 58 combat missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying 
Cross and three Air Medals.
  Throughout his life, he exemplified the characteristics of the 
``greatest generation''--service, love of country, humility, and honor.
  His achievements in public office were significant. As Vice 
President, he helped Ronald Reagan turn the economy around and combat 
the ``evil empire.'' As President, he presided over the dissolution of 
the Soviet Union and helped bring order and stability to the world 
stage in its aftermath. Through it all, he stayed humble and down-to-
  This week, I saw an article with anecdotes from Secret Service agents 
who had protected President Bush. What stood out to me the most was the 
fact that he used to stay in Washington over Christmas so his Secret 
Service agents could spend the day with their families. That was the 
kind of man he was.
  We throw around the words ``public service'' in government, but for 
George Bush, that term meant something. Public service was a real thing 
to him.
  Being a Congressman, being CIA Director, being an ambassador, being 
President--these weren't chances to aggrandize himself or to burnish 
his resume. These were chances to serve, to give something back to the 
country he loved and had fought to protect.
  President Bush was a statesman, a man of principle who understood 
that you could speak the truth without demonizing your opponents. He 
and President Clinton may have been political adversaries, but that 
didn't stop him from teaming up with President Clinton to raise money 
for victims of Hurricane Katrina in the 2004 tsunami.
  He was also, as every American knows, a devoted family man, a beloved 
father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He and his wife Barbara, 
who died earlier this year, were married for 73 years--the longest 
marriage of any Presidential couple in our Nation's history. The love 
and affection and friendship between them were palpable.
  By now, I think most Americans have seen the moving image from 
cartoonist Marshall Ramsey paying tribute to President Bush. In a 
cartoon, President Bush is depicted as having flown his World War II 
plane, a TBM Avenger, to Heaven. There, he joins hands with his beloved 
daughter Robin and his beloved wife, who says: ``We waited for you.'' I 
am sure their reunion was a joyful one.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.

                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am both pleased and honored that my 
distinguished friend Senator Feinstein is joining me today to discuss 
how climate change is affecting our country, from the East to the West, 
from one of the biggest States to the smallest one. Of course, we are 
small in size, but we are long on coastline.
  As the Presiding Officer will understand, as coastal States, Rhode 
Island, California, and the coastal States along the South Atlantic 
coasts are on the frontlines of climate change. Sea levels are already 
rising, and as they do, Rhode Island's coastal communities are having 
to spend more and more money on resiliency projects to protect their 
roads, their bridges, their beaches, their water treatment plants, 
their harbors, and other infrastructure.
  A 2000 study by our DEM found that 7 of 19 water treatment facilities 
in Rhode Island are expected to be overwashed by floodwaters driven by 
climate change. Frankly, just figuring out what this risk looks like is 
hard for coastal municipalities, so our State's Coastal Resources 
Management Council developed a project called STORMTOOLS, which allows 
Rhode Islanders to see how sea level rise is expected to affect their 
homes, their businesses, their beaches, and their parks.
  This is a STORMTOOLS-generated map of Upper Narragansett Bay. The 
blue color you see here is all land. People have homes and businesses 
and facilities there. All of this blue is now land, but it is land that 
gets covered by 10 feet of sea level rise. Ten feet of sea level rise 
is within STORMTOOLS' business-as-usual scenario in which we continue 
to burn fossil fuels unabated.
  As you can see, some of Rhode Island's peninsulas get cut off to 
become islands, some of our islands disappear or fracture. Rhode Island 
becomes an archipelago. I hope my colleagues on the other side can 
appreciate that changes like this to my State are things I have to 
respond to.
  A recent New York Times article suggested we may have to retreat from 
the coasts in order to protect ourselves from rising waters and more 
powerful storms. Why should Rhode Islanders have to retreat from our 
coasts just to protect polluters? It makes no sense. It is 
fundamentally unjust.

  Many of us not only live near the sea but work and sail and fish on 
it, so climate change threatens Rhode Islanders' lifestyles, our 
livelihoods, and our lives.
  The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated for the United States 
that by 2100, nearly 2.5 million residential and commercial properties, 
collectively valued at $1.07 trillion today, will be at risk of chronic 
flooding, and that is just from sea level rise alone. Storm surge and 
rain-driven flooding amplify that risk.
  Drill down to Rhode Island, and Zillow, the real estate firm, has 
estimated that over 5,300 homes worth almost $3 billion will be lost if 
the sea level rises just 6 feet. And that is just homes that are 
already there. People are still building in Rhode Island's coastal 
areas, so there are more new homes every day.

[[Page S7345]]

  Why should Rhode Islanders have to face this risk? Why should 5,300 
people have to risk losing their homes just to protect polluters? It is 
not right.
  Rising water isn't the only way in which climate change is affecting 
the oceans off our coasts. Warming oceans are disrupting our 
traditional fishing grounds and driving valuable species like lobster 
out of Rhode Island waters altogether.
  The just-released National Climate Assessment warns of falling 
catches. Last week I met with charter boat captains and recreational 
fishing enthusiasts from Rhode Island and nearby New England. They, 
like their peers in Louisiana, are facing changes in the size, 
geographic range, and number of fish that they catch.
  Our commercial fishermen tell the same story. They are worried that 
their kids and grandkids will not be able to experience the traditions 
and lifestyles they cherish or pursue the same career on the water.
  Why should Rhode Island have to lose this heritage just to protect 
  Senator Feinstein has seen similar changes in California, and I 
welcome her remarks.
  I ask unanimous consent that Senator Feinstein and I be allowed to 
engage in a colloquy.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). Without objection, it is so 
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the Senator from Rhode Island.
  Yes, we are already feeling dramatic changes in California.
  Let me give you an example. Off our coast, the ocean has become 25 to 
45 percent more acidic. It has 20 percent less oxygen, and it is nearly 
a full degree warmer than previous decades. All of that is according to 
the National Climate Assessment.
  These conditions have led to harmful algal blooms, a marine heat wave 
from 2014 to 2016, invasive Humboldt squid, the disruption of the crab, 
shellfish, and fishing industry. So it is being felt.
  In fact, the impact has been so great, a number of Pacific coast 
fishermen are now suing 30 fossil fuel companies for damages.
  At the same time, the seas are rising. The longest running tidal 
gauge in the Western Hemisphere is at the Golden Gate Bridge, and it 
has been recording sea levels since 1854.
  Now, as this chart shows--and this is sea level rise at the Golden 
Gate Bridge--the sea has risen 9 inches in that time, which the 
National Climate Assessment attributes mostly to thermal expansion of 
ocean water and the melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets. This is 
already threatening San Francisco's historic waterfront. The seawall is 
seriously deteriorating and must be upgraded to handle the stronger 
storms and higher tides we are already seeing and will continue to see 
in the future.
  I just met a week or so ago with the head of the Bay Area Rapid 
Transit System, and that is BART II, and they are talking about 
increasing the number of trains in the II by some three times. One 
wonders what is going to happen if the seawall continues to 
deteriorate. The city will move. It is going to be very costly, but it 
will be repaired. But it is a signal of what is coming.
  Last month, our city's residents approved a $425 million bond to help 
pay for the project of restoring the Embarcadero Seawall. As you can 
see, we are looking at another 2.5 to 3.5 feet of sea rise by the end 
of this century. If you just look at this chart, you see the amount of 
sea rise.
  Worse, if ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica collapse into the 
oceans, the ``Climate Science Special Report'' last year warned that 
sea levels could rise as high as 8 feet by the end of this century. 
That is an 8-foot rise by the end of this century. That would truly be 
  Scientists are carefully studying the Greenland and Antarctica ice 
sheets, as the Senator from Rhode Island well knows, to understand 
whether we can slow or avoid their collapse into the ocean. Last year 
alone, we saw an iceberg larger than the size of the State of Rhode 
Island break off of Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf. Events like this 
could give us clues into what large-scale melting may look like.

  Antarctica holds 90 percent of the world's ice, and the rate of ice 
melting and calving increased six-fold from 1994 to 2012--a six-time 
increase in 10 years. It is amazing.
  According to an eye-opening report from National Geographic last 
year, if the West Antarctic ice sheet collapses, as some researchers 
think may already be happening, it will eventually raise sea levels 
worldwide by 10 feet. This is a picture right out of National 
Geographic. A whole issue is devoted to this and the rifting of this 
huge glacier and what happens when it breaks out. That is where there 
are different views, of course, but some say the seas could rise as 
much as 10 feet.
  I really suspect, between you and me and the outside world, that it 
is going to be some calamitous effect that shakes us up enough to do 
what we need to do about it. We have been very slow to respond.
  National Geographic reports, as well, that 90 percent of the 674 
glaciers in this area of the continent are now in retreat--90 percent 
of them--and calving more icebergs into the sea; that means they are 
splitting and breaking off, including the one that is photographed 
right here. A full collapse of the ice sheets in Greenland and West 
Antarctica would eventually raise sea levels about 35 feet, it is 
  I drove through the San Francisco Marina District, and I thought, Oh, 
my gosh, what can happen in 15, 20, 50 years--our grandchildren--and it 
is really startling.
  But rising sea levels are far from the only problem. Wildfire and 
drought are already reshaping my State. The California drought from 
2011 to 2016 was made worse because of climate change: higher 
temperatures, depleted groundwater, and reduced snowpack. Large parts 
of California, including the Central Valley, which produces the 
majority of our Nation's fruits and vegetables, had to depend on 
groundwater pumping that will not always be available, and the National 
Climate Assessment warns that global warming will reduce the rate that 
groundwater replenishes aquifers by 10 to 20 percent. So we have a real 
  I want to add to that. I have been to big fires; as a matter of fact, 
I traveled with President Bush to a San Diego fire in a subdivision, 
and then, years later, I went to the Sonoma fire. It was a fire that 
burned so hot that the subdivision I visited, which was the Coffey 
subdivision--the block that had houses on all four sides was entirely 
burned down, and the ground had turned to sand. There wasn't a metal 
structure; there wasn't a brick chimney; there was nothing that was 
above ground.
  I called one of the chiefs, the head of State fire, and I said: Tell 
me what is happening.
  He said: The Santa Anas have reversed. The winds are blowing 40 to 60 
knots. The fire outruns us, and we can't lay line.
  So what happened--and the meaning, of course, is that you depend more 
and more on air, which means C-130s, and having to get them. 
Fortunately we got seven, and I went and saw that two are being 
repaired and adjusted to carry water. But that is what is happening, 
and we really have to come to terms with it.
  This new, big fire, which is the largest fire California has ever 
had, burned down 15,000 homes, if you can believe it. This is a picture 
of what the area looks like. Wildfire alone has burned nearly 2 million 
acres now--15,000 homes. It has killed 94 people. And wildfire is the 
deadliest and most destructive season we have on record this year.
  This picture was taken by a member of my staff in the city of 
Paradise, which was absolutely devastated, as you can tell--hulls of 
cars. I have even been to a fire that has burned so hot that you don't 
see any of the surrounding door metal, and you don't see any tires 
  So the terror of fire--and just as an anecdote, I read one story 
about an elderly couple who left their home and jumped in the pool, and 
he held his wife in the pool all night, and she passed away in his 
arms. This is the kind of thing we face in California.
  Let me ask the Senator from Rhode Island this: Wildfires are a 
problem for more than just Western States. Haven't fires affected even 
Rhode Island on the other coast?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Senator Feinstein, the fires have affected us--
nothing like what you describe. Our State has not burned. Our State is 
not like

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California today, still smoldering from such a massive fire. We don't 
have the devastation of the photograph that you just showed us, but it 
has sure affected our air quality.
  All the way across the continent, the fires we have had in 
California, Oregon, and Canada have affected the Atlantic States as far 
south as North Carolina. As you know, these fires lost tremendous 
amounts of what they call fine particulates into the atmosphere, and 
those fine particulates exacerbate asthma and other respiratory 
conditions, increase the risk of diseases like lung cancer. In a 
nutshell, bad air equals bad health, and we are getting bad air from 
these fires.
  Of course, forest fires aren't the only way that climate change 
degrades Rhode Island's air quality. You just make the air warmer, 
which global warming is doing, and hotter temperatures help to form 
more ozone. Ozone, as we know, is dangerous for children and the 
elderly and anybody with a respiratory condition.
  One in ten Rhode Islanders has asthma. Our air quality receives a 
grade of C from the American Lung Association, largely from forces out 
of our control--out-of-State sources and ozone coming in from upwind 
  This is not just an inconvenience. Across the country, air pollution, 
much of it made worse by climate change, causes a staggering 200,000 
premature deaths each year. Why should Rhode Islanders have to put up 
with that just to protect polluters?
  Of course, those aren't the only ways that climate change affects 
human health. Temperature extremes worsen health. There have been 
studies both in Rhode Island and in Senator Feinstein's State that show 
that as temperatures rise, there are more deaths, often not associated 
in the coroner's report with heat but clearly statistically following 
the heat.
  ER visits in Rhode Island skyrocket when daily temperatures pass 80 
degrees Fahrenheit, and the National Climate Assessment, based on a 
study of Rhode Island hospitals, predicts that the number of ER visits 
will increase from these conditions by 400 per year by 2050 and up to 
an additional 1,500 a year by 2095.
  Of course, the list of health consequences goes on: disease-carrying 
insects, such as ticks and mosquitoes; noxious algal blooms, as the 
Senator from California mentioned, that produce water-borne toxins and 
pathogens; longer pollen seasons ramping up people's allergies.
  Why should Rhode Islanders or Californians have to put up with these 
conditions just to protect polluters?
  Of course, it is not just the doctors who are worried; economists are 
starting to paint some very grim pictures. Freddie Mac, our great 
housing corporation, warns of a coastal property values crash that will 
rival the 2008 mortgage meltdown. I quote them:

       The economic losses and social disruption [ . . . ] are 
     likely to be greater in total than those experienced in the 
     housing crisis and Great Recession.

  The Bank of England and numerous academic economists warn of a 
``carbon bubble''--a separate economic risk that poses what they call a 
systemic risk to the global economy.
  Of course, the National Climate Assessment details grim economic 
consequences that climate change will have for our U.S. economy. Of 
course, it doesn't have to be bad economic news. Nobel Prize-winning 
economist Joseph Stiglitz testified that ``retrofitting the global 
economy for climate change would help to restore aggregate demand and 
growth. . . . [C]limate policies, if well designed and implemented, are 
consistent with growth, development, and poverty reduction. The 
transition to a low-carbon economy is potentially a powerful, 
attractive, and sustainable growth story, marked by higher resilience, 
more innovation, more liveable cities, robust agriculture, and stronger 
  Why would we not want that? That is the advice of a Nobel Prize-
winning economist.
  A 2018 report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate 
estimates that this green energy transition may increase global 
economic growth by $26 trillion through 2030 and create 65 million low-
carbon jobs. Growth will come not just from those new jobs but also 
from lower energy costs. As Stiglitz points out, transitioning to 
renewables can reduce costs. To quote him, ``Many energy efficiency 
technologies actually have a negative cost to implement.''
  Renewable energy, electric cars, battery storage, carbon capture, 
energy efficiency, low-carbon and zero-carbon fuels--these are 
technologies of the future, promising millions of great jobs. The 
question is whether these will be American technologies and American 
jobs or whether China, Germany, Japan, or other countries will win the 
transition to a low-carbon economy. Why should America lose that 
competition just to protect polluters?
  Senator Feinstein can eloquently tell us how innovation is 
California's bread and butter, so let me inquire of the distinguished 
chairman/ranking member. What kind of exciting developments are you 
seeing in California?
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I am sorry; what kind of?
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Exciting developments in innovation are you seeing in 
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. There are all kinds of exciting developments and 
innovation. Let me talk a little bit more about it.
  My understanding is that for 2018, researchers expect that emissions 
will grow by 2.4 percent, and the United States is part of this trend, 
showing a 2.5-percent increase in emissions due to our oil and gas use.
  So the first thing is that we need to move away from carbon, and we 
need to do it quickly. California is producing--you can use noncarbon 
electricity, and it works.
  One of the things I have been really concerned about as a grandmother 
is, as time goes by, what is the impact? If I understand the history 
well, the Earth has warmed, since the Industrial Revolution, about 1 to 
2 degrees. They say that if it warms another 1 to 2 degrees, it is 
handleable, but it will be difficult. If it warms 4 to 9 degrees, we 
will have the potential to destroy the planet. I think those figures, 
as they become more refined as time goes on, really send us the 
  It is hard here because--it was hard in California. Until I went home 
on this last break, I had never seen people on the streets with masks 
on. Yet there it was in San Francisco, by the Golden Gate, with the 
wind blowing, and the smoke was so thick in the morning that when you 
looked out a window, you were lucky if you could see two blocks. Those 
are the kinds of fires that warming encourages.
  So I want to salute you for your work. You have been our leader. I 
think you have been terrific. I think what we really need to do is to 
set some standards for our government to follow as they set regulations 
for the future. It is going to be difficult, people won't like it, and 
there will be differences between us, but we should have that 
discussion, and we should recognize the fact that we can't keep going 
as we are now.
  Now, California is responding. As I drove and campaigned there 
through many different counties and saw some of the alternatives to 
carbon in terms of the towers and wind and those kinds of things--you 
see where it is happening, but it is not happening enough, and it is 
not taken as seriously as it should be.
  So what I want to say is that I really want to work with you. I 
believe the people of my State--all 40-plus million of us--want a 
solution that will work. I thank you, and I am delighted to be part of 
this small dialogue.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I thank the Senator. Of course, California's massive 
economy is a vitally important part of the innovation that is going to 
help solve this problem if we can get the political will and the 
economic alignments to do this.
  Rhode Island, of course, has its own small innovation story. We are 
the first State to get offshore wind, steel in the water, and electrons 
on the grid. We are very proud of the company that did it. Indeed, the 
market has responded quite favorably. They have been bought for half a 
billion dollars by a larger company. That is great progress for Rhode 
  We are a leader in the composites industry. One of our composites 
companies, TPI Composites, is manufacturing wind blades for wind towers 
that spin turbines and generate electricity. We also got our first 
electric buses in Providence, and the electric bus bodies were built by 
the same group in Warren, RI, to be light, clean, and efficient.

[[Page S7347]]

In 10 years, TPI has manufactured more than 10,000 wind blades and is 
gearing up to provide more than 3,350 bus bodies. So things are moving.
  Our university is following on. It received $19 million in funding 
from the National Science Foundation for ``developing a new research 
infrastructure to assess, predict and respond to the effects of climate 
variability on coastal ecosystems.'' We have to bring innovation to 
bear on the changes that are coming, and we have to bring innovation to 
bear to protect against the changes that will be devastating if we 
don't act responsibly.
  I hope that we as a body in the Senate take the message from what is 
happening around us--your fires, Louisiana's floods, Rhode Island's sea 
level rise, and predictions for turning ourselves into an archipelago--
and begin to take this seriously, or we could just keep protecting the 
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. If I may respond just briefly, the State has mandated 
that 50 percent of its electricity must come from renewable sources by 
2030. We are actually ahead of schedule and on track to reach that 
deadline by 2020. If we do, we will both be here. I hope that will be a 
real signal to people that standards can be set and they can be met and 
that we can save this planet.
  I thank the Senator very much.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I thank the Senator.
  Senator Feinstein may remember, I came here in 2007. I was sworn in 
in January of 2007. In 2007 and in 2008 and in 2009, just what we would 
expect to be happening on an issue like this was actually happening in 
the Senate. By my recollection, we had four bipartisan climate bills, 
we had bipartisan climate hearings, and we had constant bipartisan 
climate conversations. This was an issue which was being taken 
seriously by this body through 2009, then in 2010 something happened, 
and all of that bipartisan work came to a screeching, dead halt. What 
happened was that the Supreme Court--five Republican Justices on the 
Supreme Court--issued a decision called Citizens United, which told big 
industries, big special interests like the fossil fuel industry: You 
can now spend as much money as you want in politics. There are no 
limits on what you can spend. That industry took off like a gunshot, 
like a runner from the start with that decision--I suspect they 
anticipated it--and instantly shut down all bipartisanship on climate 
change by virtue of the political spending and threats that Citizens 
United allowed them to do.
  If we could do it before Citizens United, we ought to be able to do 
it still now that we have a better understanding of what the threats 
are. This is a very real proposition to get something done, and I thank 
the Senator for her leadership over many years on this and many causes.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I thank the Senator.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. I thank the Senator, and I yield the floor.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. 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. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                       Honoring Our Armed Forces

                    Sergeant First Class Eric Emond

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, the Global War on Terror that started 17 
years ago continues. Today we formally call the missions undertaken in 
the War on Terror Operation Freedom's Sentinel and Operation Inherent 
Resolve. Brave American troops continue selflessly serving these 
missions in defense of our country. It is often an overlooked or 
neglected news story. It doesn't make the headlines frequently, but 
families throughout the country who have loved ones in the Middle East 
are closely monitoring the latest developments there. Their loves ones 
are still in harm's way in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.
  This war is being prosecuted at considerable costs. Many have made 
the ultimate sacrifice, including Army SFC Eric Emond, a member of 1st 
Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, who called Springdale, AK, home 
when he enlisted in the Marine Corps 21 years ago. He dedicated his 
career to the military, serving in the Marines and later joining the 
  In 2009, while serving in Afghanistan, he was severely wounded. 
During his recovery, he cofounded the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes--an 
organization launched to honor the fallen and to support Gold Star 
Families. He was on his seventh tour of duty when he was killed in 
action last month.
  I pray that the Emond family can find comfort in the support of 
others who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one and who have 
been aided by the organization Sergeant Emond passionately advocated 
  Many brave Americans are still fighting and selflessly serving, 
putting their lives on the line every day to defend this country 
against terrorists and nations that wish to assert malign influence in 
the world.
  We have a duty to honor their commitment to our country and to those 
who paid the ultimate sacrifice. In the coming days, Congress will have 
an opportunity to name the Department of Veterans Affairs facility in 
North Ogden, UT, the Major Brent Taylor Vet Center Outstation in honor 
of the city's mayor, a member of the Utah Army National Guard who, 
during his fourth military deployment, gave his life in support of the 
mission in Afghanistan last month. Let us never forget the sacrifices 
of our troops and let their legacies be an inspiration for all 
  On behalf of a grateful nation, I humbly offer my sincerest gratitude 
for the patriotism and selfless service of the men and women who serve 
in our Nation's uniform, the families who support their noble endeavor, 
and to those who gave their all.
  We must remember the many brave Americans, past and present, who 
stand in defense of our country. Certainly, we need to remember those 
on a daily basis. These men and women deserve our attention and 
admiration for answering the call to serve and risking comfort, life, 
and limb to protect our freedom.
  With that, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Florida Everglades

  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I wish to speak about one of the world's 
great natural treasures, the Florida Everglades. Eighteen years ago, 
there was an anniversary; as a matter of fact, it was in December of 
2000. One of the major water bills that Congress passes, usually about 
every 5 to 7 years, was enacted, and they typically contain Army Corps 
of Engineers' projects for water handling, water channeling the great 
rivers and lakes of America. All of these water projects are so vital 
to the economic functioning of this country. This water bill was passed 
back in December of 2000 to provide funding for projects on ports, 
dams, and beach renourishment projects all across the country. It also 
authorized for the first time the comprehensive restoration plan for 
America's Florida Everglades. It was a 30-year, multibillion dollar 
effort to restore the Everglades.
  What had happened, ever since the beginning of the previous century--
in the early 1900s--as Florida started to be discovered and as people 
increasingly had come, the way it was paved in the late 1800s, with 
Henry Flagler building his railroad, the railroad went down the east 
coast of Florida. He would build it as far as he could get, first to 
St. Augustine, where there was built a big hotel. That hotel today is 
the administrative building of Flagler College in downtown St. 
  Then Flagler extended it further to the Daytona-Ormond Beach 
location, where another big hotel was built. Taking it further south, 
all the way to West Palm Beach, the famed Breakers hotel in Palm Beach 
was built, as well as a Biltmore hotel.
  Finally, Henry Flagler took it on to Miami and then did a feat 
thought impossible and went through a string of islands called the 
Florida Keys. He took the railroad all the way to Key West.
  This was a means of travel that opened up to Americans in the 
Northeast this beautiful land called La Florida in Spanish, the name 
given by the

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Spanish conquistadors who came to Florida. Indeed, they came and they 
loved this land.
  As more and more people came and started settling, they found that 
sometimes Mother Nature was harsh. When Mother Nature came in its full 
display of fury, hurricanes would come; quick rainstorms would come; 
quick changes of temperature occurred, from warm to suddenly freezing, 
even with--albeit, not a lot of snow, but I have seen parts of Florida 
with the ground covered in snow and other parts that were pelted with 
freezing rain.
  As people tried to adapt to this land of contrasting environments, 
all of a sudden, they started to see nature, and along in the late 
1920s came a hurricane of such magnitude that when it hit the coast 
around West Palm Beach and then went inland to Lake Okeechobee, 3,000 
people drowned.
  As a result of that experience, the governmental structure said: We 
have to do something about flood control. Thus, the diking and draining 
for three-quarters of a century commenced under the rubric of flood 
control that would get the water off the land when too much water came 
at one time. But what happened was, suddenly they had a plan to reverse 
what Mother Nature had intended. Mother Nature intended for water as 
far north as southwest of today's Orlando to slowly flow south all the 
way into the big lake, Lake Okeechobee, and continue on into the 
Florida Everglades.
  What happened with all this diking and draining was it was taking 
away that natural flow of water. In order to get the water off the land 
in times of flooding, they created big dikes and canals that would send 
the water out into the tidewater of the Atlantic in the east and the 
Gulf of Mexico in the west.
  Take, for example, coming south of Orlando in the Kissimmee chain of 
lakes into what was a meandering stream called the Kissimmee River, 
where it slowly wandered southward through the oxbows with all the 
marsh grasses, cleansing the water as it went south and then entering 
into that big lake called Okeechobee, which did not have defined 
boundaries but, instead, marshy grasses all around the lake. The water, 
by gravity, continued to flow south into a natural extension of the 
marshy grasses, into the miles and miles of river grass that Marjory 
Stoneman Douglas had declared so beautifully as the ``river of grass,'' 
the Florida Everglades. So Lake Okeechobee had a way of taking care of 
its water and keeping it clean.
  After losing 3,000 people in that hurricane, the idea was to control 
the water--dike and drain it; dike the lake and drain it to the east 
and to the west, eventually into the St. Lucie River to go into the 
Atlantic and into the Caloosahatchee, to go into the Gulf of Mexico. So 
meandering streams like the Kissimmee River were suddenly diked and dug 
into a straight ditch. It was catastrophic for the sensitive estuaries 
that were cleansing the water as it moved south. It was catastrophic 
for the estuaries, where so many of the critters had the nursery 
grounds for their young, as well as the many fish species.
  Lo and behold, across the entire southern peninsula of Florida, a 
dike was built called Tamiami Trail, a paved road from Miami over to 
the west coast, just south of Fort Myers and Naples. That, in effect, 
became a dike across the southern peninsula of Florida that did not 
allow the water to flow further south into what, ultimately, as a 
result of President Harry Truman's signing it into law, became the 
Everglades National Park. Consequently, the Everglades National Park 
was then starved of freshwater.
  The consequences of all of those actions over almost a century are 
painfully visible in years like this one. Because of the pollution of 
that water, instead of the grasses cleansing it, toxic blue-green algae 
chokes the rivers and spreads all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean to 
the east and to the Gulf of Mexico to the west.
  People have seen in this past year the dramatic images of dead fish 
covering the water's surface, covering the beach on the west coast and, 
lo and behold, ultimately that phenomenon of red tide being 
supercharged with green algae. Ultimately, it went around the peninsula 
and up the east coast, and we saw dead fish on the beaches of the 
Atlantic coast as well.
  We need to return the waterflow to the flow that Mother Nature 
intended. That is what the restoration of the Everglades is all about, 
and that is how that started 18 years ago this month, with a 
comprehensive plan to turn around that flood control--that diking and 
draining of all of the southern half of the peninsula of Florida, which 
has now caused so many of the unintended effects.
  If you think about it, when the ecosystem is healthy, the Everglades 
are healthy. When the ecosystem is sick, all of the rest of that 
beautiful ecosystem is going to be sickly as well. What we have seen 
with the little bit of cleaning up we have done is that the Everglades 
are amazingly resilient. The environment and the Everglades are the 
heart and soul of Florida. These precious natural resources deserve our 
protection and stewardship because now they provide drinking water for 
millions and millions of people in South Florida who have moved there 
and for a major agricultural industry.
  The Everglades also provide storm protection. That is why the ongoing 
Everglades restoration effort is so important. We need to ensure that 
the Everglades are there to provide a buffer the next time a hurricane 
rolls through.
  We understand there is a link between warming ocean temperatures and 
hurricane intensity. If the climate trends continue--and I will 
reference my speech on climate change and global warming and the rising 
of the seas that I gave last week. As that climate trend continues, if 
we don't reverse it, then it is all the more important to fortify 
Mother Nature's best defenses.
  Not only are beaches and the preservation of them as one of those 
defenses important, but so are the Florida Everglades. Beaches, 
wetlands, coral reefs, mangroves all protect us against storm damage. 
We saw that during Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast and Hurricane 
Matthew in Florida. We are learning that proved true again during 
Hurricane Irma. That is why it is so critical that we preserve our 
natural infrastructure and conserve the undeveloped lands. As that 
famous Floridian, Marjory Stoneman Douglas said:

       There are no other Everglades in the world. . . . The 
     miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse 
     of saw grass and of water, shining and slow-moving below, the 
     grass and water that is the meaning and the central fact of 
     the Everglades of Florida. It is a river of grass.

  Since I have been privileged to be a Member of the Senate, the 
Federal Government has spent almost $5 billion on Everglades 
restoration. We have some great things to show for it, but we have a 
long way to go.
  Wading birds is an example. They are returning to the Kissimmee River 
floodplain. Water is finally flowing under that dike that was built in 
the 1920s--the Tamiami Trail. Now there is a breach of a mile-long 
bridge, and there is another 2\1/2\-mile bridge that is under 
construction to allow that water to flow south into the Everglades 
National Park.
  We are seeing the return of native wildlife in areas where projects 
are still underway.
  I referenced the Central Everglades Restoration Project that was 
passed in the water bill 18 years ago. It was originally envisioned as 
a 30-year plan because we knew we couldn't reverse all of the drainage 
and the engineering overnight. Out of 30 years, we are into the 18th 
year, with 12 more to go. It is a long-term effort, and it requires two 
things: diligent oversight over the ongoing work and an unwavering 
dedication to achieving Florida's goal of a restored Everglades.
  This Senator, whose family came to Florida in 1829, is a fifth-
generation Floridian. I understand this is an important project to 
protect our beautiful natural treasures, but what happens if we don't?
  We have all seen the environmental and economic wreckage, for 
example, from an oilspill. We have seen NASA images from space of 
mangroves flattened after a hurricane. As the hurricanes get stronger, 
more ferocious, and more intense, that will be a result, as well as the 
wiping out of beaches.
  All too often in recent years, this Senator has seen the devastating 
impact of toxic algae blooms on communities all over the Peninsula of 
Florida and even into North Florida. When you

[[Page S7349]]

take a body of water and throw a sack of fertilizer in it, the 
combination of heat and the nutrients are going to grow algae in most 
any light but especially in the warm climate of Florida. As a result, 
by that same example, if you take our freshwater in Florida and allow 
pollution to go into that because the pollution is not properly 
regulated, it puts the nutrients into the freshwater that will grow the 
algae. The algae will suck the oxygen from the water, and that becomes 
a dead river or a dead lake. All those extra nutrients then, when they 
hit the saltwater on the Atlantic coast or the Gulf of Mexico, 
supercharge other phenomenon that lives in saltwater, such as the red 
tide. We have seen that devastating impact.
  There was a Floridian whom we recently lost, Nat Reed. He was 
particularly attuned to the needs of Florida's environment. We are 
going to honor his legacy in a memorial service this coming weekend. We 
are doing that because Nat Reed was one of the great defenders of 
Florida's natural bounty, especially the Everglades. In the 1970s, he 
served both Presidents Nixon and Ford. He returned to Florida, and he 
worked under seven different Governors in many different environmental 
capacities, including as chairman of the Commission on Florida's 
Environmental Future. Back in the 1980s, that commission was 
instrumental in the land acquisition projects we now know as Everglades 
  For Nat Reed, his children and his grandchildren, for all of the 
current and future generations of Floridians, let's honor the legacy of 
Nat Reed, and let's stay the course over the next 12 years of this 
Central Everglades Restoration Project. Let's complete it and restore 
America's Everglades.
  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. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          Earthquake in Alaska

  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, it is Thursday afternoon, and it is the 
time of the week when I usually come down to talk about one of my 
constituents or some Alaskan who is doing a great thing for their 
community or the State or the country. I call that our Alaskan of the 
Week. I am going to suspend that this week because, to be perfectly 
honest, I think every one of my fellow Alaskans deserves a shout-out. 
Maybe they are all Alaskans of the Week this week for what happened 
and, then, their reaction to what happened in Alaska last Friday. The 
country read about it, but it is the earthquake--the very significant 
earthquake--that my State and my hometown of Anchorage just went 
  Mr. President, as you know, last Friday morning, at 8:29 a.m., the 
citizens of Southcentral Alaska, which includes Anchorage and the Mat-
Su Valley, were doing what they always do on a Friday morning. People 
were in their offices, driving to work, drinking coffee at home, or 
maybe taking a run on many of the paved trails throughout our wonderful 
city. Students were either in school or almost getting to school, 
sitting at their desks with pencils and pens in hand, and then the 
shaking began. It felt like it went on forever.
  I was here in DC. My wife was at our home in Anchorage. She sent me a 
text and said: We are having a big, massive earthquake. And we did. It 
was 7.0 on the Richter scale, which is a big earthquake--a big 
earthquake even for Alaska. Moments later, another earthquake measuring 
5.8 on the Richter scale hit. The epicenter was very close to downtown 
Anchorage, about 7 miles north.
  People all across the area ran out of their houses, their offices, 
and dove under their desks. Roads collapsed, pipes broke, and ceiling 
tiles came crashing down. Household goods cracked. Kitchens all across 
the State looked like they had been invaded by violent giants. 
Thousands of people lost power, including my home in Anchorage.
  Senator Murkowski and I and Congressman Young were here in DC. I am 
going to talk about that a minute. We went home soon after to see what 
happened, to see the damage.
  You saw the previous slide there. Senator Murkowski and I were out 
reviewing and assessing some of the damage. This is a photo of an on-
ramp to Minnesota Avenue, actually leading to the airport. That 
collapsed completely. That is how people get to the airport.
  Vine Road in the Mat-Su Valley, a major thoroughfare there, 
completely, essentially, imploded. Houses and businesses were shook 
dramatically. There is another picture of Vine Road there. That is the 
road that you just saw. It was rush hour in Alaska.
  Unfortunately, we are having a lot of problems with homes and 
businesses. This is a photo of just one of the hundreds of businesses, 
ceilings collapsing, entire offices ruined, and schools. The schools 
throughout the State suffered a lot of damage. In libraries, there were 
not just shelves collapsing. Books fly off the shelves when you have a 
7.0 earthquake. There is another photo of some of the schools with 
ceilings collapsing and rebar coming out. This is a classroom.
  In my view, just having been out there for a couple of days back 
home, there is at least hundreds of millions of dollars of damage that 
we saw, and it is still happening. When you have an earthquake of this 
magnitude, you have aftershocks, which are also very stressful and can 
be big and can do more damage.
  We have had over 2,700 aftershocks in the Anchorage Ball. This is the 
Anchorage Ball right here. Twenty of them have been over 4.0, and five 
have been over 5.0. That is a big earthquake--a 5.0 earthquake. So we 
have had five more of those. That is stressful, as you can imagine.
  People are tired. The first night after the earthquake, nobody was 
sleeping because of the number of aftershocks.
  When I was home, I felt a number of these, but Alaskans are 
resilient. They have grit. They have spirit. They are tough. The phrase 
going around to describe the State right now is ``shaken''--certainly, 
still shaken, still going on today--``not broken.'' There is 
frustration, and the country is going to need their help to rebuild. I 
have no doubt that is going to happen here.
  Here is the amazing thing. I think it is a Christmas miracle. You saw 
that destruction. You saw that at rush hour--kids in all of these 
classrooms, and there were no fatalities, not one death. You can 
rebuild a road, and you can rebuild a school, but if we were burying 
our kids right now, this would be a very, very different tragedy.
  Remember, just going to work, it was dark. It is dark in Alaska in 
the morning. It is dark during a lot of the day now in Alaska. It was 
cold, and yet there were no fatalities and very few injuries.
  So what happened? How did that happen? Somebody asked: Where is the 
positive story here?
  Well, we get a lot of earthquakes in Alaska. This is just a chart 
that shows, from a couple of years ago, what kind of earthquakes we 
get. The Presiding Officer knows I come and talk about my State a lot, 
but here are just a few stats on earthquakes.
  Alaska is home to the second largest earthquake ever recorded in 
history--the 1964 Great Alaskan Good Friday earthquake, registering a 
magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter scale. It lasted almost 5 minutes, if 
you can imagine that. Then we had a huge tsunami that killed dozens and 
dozens of people.
  Eleven percent of all of the world's recorded earthquakes are in 
Alaska. Three of the eight largest earthquakes the world has ever seen 
have been in Alaska, and 7 of the 10 largest earthquakes in the United 
States were in Alaska. One earthquake registering a magnitude of 7 to 8 
on the Richter scale happens every year in Alaska, but they don't 
normally happen in big, populated areas. There have been six 
earthquakes registering a magnitude from 6 to 7 on the Richter scale, 
but, again, not near the major cities. Our State is so big that we have 
a lot of these, and nobody gets hurt.
  Speaking of getting hurt, earthquakes of this size--a 7.0, even a 
6.0, even a 5.0--when they are near population centers, normally, in 
other parts of the world, they do a lot of damage--and they certainly 
did a lot of damage in Alaska--but, unfortunately, they also take 
  For example, last year in Indonesia, there was an earthquake 
registering 6.9

[[Page S7350]]

on the Richter scale that killed almost 500 people. It is not just in 
developing countries. In New Zealand in 2011, there was an earthquake 
registering 6.3 on the Richter scale that killed over 150 people.
  As I said, we were fortunate that there were no deaths. So what is 
part of the reason for that? Given how many earthquakes we have had 
over the years, we have learned a lot. The first thing we learned is 
about building codes. Fortunately--again, thank God--we had no 
buildings collapse. We have a lot of structures--homes, businesses, 
schools--that have severe structural damage, but a collapsing building 
is where you get a lot of deaths. With strong, strict building codes, 
particularly after the 1964 earthquake, that helps to prevent that.
  It is also people who are resilient, tough, and trained. I want to 
talk a little bit about this because I have no doubt this is why we had 
no fatalities.
  The group I really want to do a shout-out to--and I am just so proud 
of them--are the students and the teachers who were there in the 
beginning of the morning. I went through some of the schools just in 
the last few days, such as Houston Middle School and the elementary 
school in Eagle River. These schools just look like someone had 
completely exploded them inside. Yet these kids--young men and women--
acted calm, heroic, and, most importantly, they did what they have been 
trained to do.
  In Alaska, because we have so many earthquakes, the kids go through 
earthquake training all the time. They duck and cover under their 
  There is a video that has kind of gone viral because I know other 
kids in the country are looking at it. It is actually from Mr. Benice's 
class, right when it happened. He is a teacher at the Mears Middle 
School in Anchorage. The video was on because he was supposed to 
capture his lesson Friday morning. He is a grad student, and he had to 
film the class and what he was teaching for his studies.
  What the video captured, instead, were the students who are trained 
to react in ways that it is remarkable how automatic it was. After they 
saw this in Alaska, one reporter called these kids in this classroom 
``a well-oiled machine.''
  What am I talking about? If you watch it, the kids are sitting in 
their class. The teacher is talking, and you see a little bit of 
shaking. Boom. Then, every kid, without being told, knew exactly what 
to do. They were under their desks. Then, you see a lot of shaking, 
and, then, you see debris starting to come down. If you are not under a 
desk, you could be seriously injured or even killed by some of what is 
coming from the ceiling or worse.
  In Houston Middle School, when Senator Murkowski and I were touring, 
there were cinder blocks that were broken and shot out from the ceiling 
and the wall in these classrooms. Students are in there, but they were 
trained, and they were ducking and covering.
  In the video from Mr. Benice's classroom, after the shaking was 
over--it was about a minute, which seems like an eternity when you are 
in it--a student can be heard asking: ``Will they cancel school 
  Mr. Benice replied: ``Well, that is probably not the first thing we 
need to be worrying about right now.''
  Yesterday, a niece of one of my staff members here in DC said that 
the video of Mr. Benice's class was being shown in schools in Iowa, 
including her school, Prairie View Middle School, in Waukee, IA, 
because the teachers are telling their students: Hey, this why we 
train, and this is what you do when there is some kind of natural 
  Literally, I have no doubt that the training that happened in Alaska 
saved lives. I want to thank those kids, those students. I am so proud, 
and I really, really, want to thank the teachers of Anchorage and the 
Mat-Su Valley for doing this training for the kids, month after month 
and year after year. It obviously paid off.
  In terms of the reaction that you see, this why, again, I think all 
of my constituents are the Alaskans of the Week.
  The first responders, as they do in so many emergencies, our local 
heroes, reacted immediately. Civil engineers and city and State workers 
immediately checked on all of these highways and bridges and off-ramps, 
some of which collapsed, and essential infrastructure, such as 
hospitals. The Port of Anchorage has had all kinds of structural 
damage, which is very dangerous in terms of the supply chain for my 
entire State. The U.S. Geological Survey and NOAA--the National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration--gave us real-time information about the 
earthquakes and, importantly, the potential tsunamis. There were 
tsunami warnings all over Alaska because of how worried we were, being 
next to the ocean, that that may have triggered a tsunami. Thankfully, 
that did not happen.

  The State and local officials and the Anchorage Fire Department 
received hundreds of calls about damaged gas lines. We did have some 
house fires because of it. We did lose some houses because of it. Our 
utilities jumped into action. ENSTAR, which is a natural gas company, 
went to over 700 houses that had reported gas leaks. For the thousands 
who lost power, they got power back on in a relatively short time. This 
is very important because when it is 20 degrees in Alaska and we lose 
power in the winter, it is not as though we can borrow power from 
Illinois or Kentucky. We are there, alone and unafraid. We have to 
produce our own power. Yet our utility companies got power back on in 
my house in a few hours.
  Ken Bearman worked for ENSTAR for 46 years before retirement on 
November 9. Guess what he did as a utility guy. He suited up and came 
back to work on the job, to just go out and help people.
  That is the other thing. Alaskans went door-to-door checking on their 
neighbors. Shelters were immediately opened. Hospitals prepared for 
what they thought were going to be massive injuries and potentially 
deaths. Churches and nonprofits were available. That is what Alaskans 
do. When you live out and alone in part of a State that is pretty 
remote and communities are remote, that is what you have to do.
  The other group that kicked into gear--and I do want to thank my 
colleagues here--was the Federal Government. FEMA launched people 
almost immediately from the west coast, and we heard from senior 
Federal officials almost immediately. I want to commend the Trump 
administration and the rest of the Federal Government for their quick 
reaction. So many of them are in Alaska now.
  Almost within an hour, the President of the United States, who was 
down in Argentina at the G20, tweeted:

       To the great people of Alaska, you have been hit hard by 
     the big one. Please follow the directions of the highly 
     trained professionals who are there to help you. Your Federal 
     Government will spare no expense. God bless you all.

  That was from the President.
  The Vice President, who was also traveling, called me and Senator 
Murkowski within a few hours. The Chief of Staff of the White House, 
General Kelly, called. Every one of them wanted to know: What can we 
do? How can we help? Who do we need to send?
  The Secretary of Transportation--I want to give a special shout-out 
to Elaine Chao. She has already checked in with me three different 
times, and they have people on their way up to help with major 
infrastructure damages. The same with our FEMA Administrator, who has 
been a busy man, let's face it. Brock Long did a conference call with 
me, Senator Murkowski, and Congressman Young.
  I also want to thank my Senate colleagues. A lot of the press likes 
to report that we are always battling, that we are always fighting. I 
don't think that is true, by the way. It is absolutely not true. We 
have certain things on which we have principled differences, but a lot 
of action here is bipartisan, and the relationships matter. Within just 
a few hours, I had several of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, 
calling, texting, emailing: Hey, Dan, we heard about Alaska. We are 
seeing these images on TV. We got your back. We are praying for you. 
And that means a lot.
  I was talking to Senator Pat Leahy, the Senator from Vermont--a 
Democrat from Vermont--this morning about this very issue. He has seen 
a lot here in the Senate. He has been in the Senate for a long time--
over four decades. Do you know what he said to me? It is important to 
remember that when these kinds of things happen, it reminds everybody 
in this body that we

[[Page S7351]]

are the United States of America--the United States of America. We take 
care of each other when we know bad things are happening in different 
parts of the country.
  Kind of related again to this reaction, Senator Murkowski and I had 
the opportunity to go out to the Incident Command Center. Yes, there 
are times when you don't feel like the different levels of government 
are working or coordinating. By the way, our first responders include 
our military, our National Guard, which does such a great job. This 
Incident Command Center would give any American pride because they were 
all there, almost like a battle, like a war, like an op center, for the 
military people watching. It was FEMA, it was Federal, it was the 
military, it was the State, and it was local, all working like this, 
literally working together, hand in glove.
  So to my constituents, we are going to have a long road to recovery, 
there is no doubt about that, but people are already getting on it. 
There are going to be frustrations, and we have to work through those. 
I know people are still scared and nervous and wondering how they are 
going to pay for all the damage, but we are going to work through that 
  For my colleagues here in the Senate, you know, we have had a lot of 
natural disasters over the last few years--at least since I have been 
here in the Senate--throughout the country. There were hurricanes in 
Florida, Louisiana, and Houston, TX. California just went through 
horrendous wildfires that killed so many of our fellow Americans. This 
body acts. This body has acted with disaster relief funding.
  I remember saying to a number of Senators here and to my constituents 
that when those big--some of those packages have been big in terms of 
the funding, in terms of the dollars. Colleagues said: Hey, Dan, we 
need your vote on this.
  None of that money was going to Alaska, but I remember saying each 
time: You know, I am voting for these packages. Why? I think it is the 
right thing to do.
  Also, let's face it, but for the grace of God go I and my State and 
my constituents. I live in a State where there are all kinds of natural 
disasters, such as wildfires, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis. But I 
think that is the attitude here in general. When bad things happen--
particularly natural disasters--to other parts of the country, the vast 
majority of this body says: Hey, I am going to help. I am going to 
  So I am already getting the sense that my colleagues here will make 
sure that help comes to Alaska as we continue to assess the damage.
  I also want to just mention to the American people who are watching, 
including Alaskans or folks from the lower 48, Senator Murkowski and 
Congressman Young and I held a press conference on Friday afternoon 
after talking to the Federal Government, working closely with our State 
leaders, to give people information. It was a national press 
conference--actually national media coverage--so I took the 
opportunity--a lot of this was still going on, including aftershocks, 
and we didn't know. We didn't know if there were 200 people killed. So 
I asked people watching to pray for their fellow Americans up in 
  As I mentioned, yes, we were prepared. Yes, the building codes in 
Alaska are probably some of the strongest on the planet. I am so proud 
of our students, who were trained by great teachers. Our first 
responders were out there in the cold within minutes, let alone others 
working, and are still doing it, by the way.
  I have no doubt that part of the reason we had zero fatalities, zero 
deaths with a 7.0 earthquake in a city of almost 300,000 people--in 
most parts of the world, there would not be zero deaths; there would 
probably be thousands. I have no doubt that part of the reason is 
because of those prayers. So I want to thank anyone and everyone who 
was praying for Alaska that day because I guarantee you, it mattered.
  To my fellow Alaskans, I again want to thank you. I think that on 
Friday and even continuing up to today, you represent the best of 
America, the best of what we as Americans love to see in our fellow 
Americans: resilience, toughness, preparedness, and helping each other. 
That was on display and has been on display, and I couldn't be prouder 
to represent the great State of Alaska, particularly now.
  We have a lot of work to do. There are going to be frustrations. It 
is going to take time. But be assured that we will be working here and 
at home--Senator Murkowski and I but also with our colleagues--to make 
our recovery from this massive earthquake as speedy as possible.
  God bless.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Young). 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.