AMENDING THE WHITE MOUNTAIN APACHE TRIBE WATER RIGHTS QUANTIFICATION ACT OF 2010
(Senate - April 16, 2018)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 61 (Monday, April 16, 2018)]
[Pages S2131-S2138]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




 AMENDING THE WHITE MOUNTAIN APACHE TRIBE WATER RIGHTS QUANTIFICATION 
                              ACT OF 2010

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the House message to accompany S. 140, which 
the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       House message to accompany S. 140, a bill to amend the 
     White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act 
     of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement 
     Fund.

  Pending:

       McConnell motion to concur in the amendment of the House to 
     the bill.
       McConnell motion to concur in the amendment of the House to 
     the bill, with McConnell amendment No. 2227 (to the amendment 
     of the House to the bill), to change the enactment date.
       McConnell amendment No. 2228 (to amendment No. 2227), of a 
     perfecting nature.
       McConnell motion to refer the message of the House on the 
     bill to the Committee on Indian Affairs, with instructions, 
     McConnell amendment No. 2229, to change the enactment date.
       McConnell amendment No. 2230 (to (the instructions) 
     amendment No. 2229), of a perfecting nature.
       McConnell amendment No. 2231 (to amendment No. 2230), of a 
     perfecting nature.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I rise to urge my colleagues to vote in 
support of the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.
  My legislation is about bringing jobs to the most economically 
disadvantaged communities in Montana and empowering Indian Tribes to 
determine their own destinies. In fact, for 14 years, the Federal 
Government has placed prohibitive regulations on tribes, which has 
infringed on their rights and cost them jobs and economic 
opportunities. Now Montana's Tribes and the Tribal communities across 
the country suffer from some of the Nation's highest unemployment. This 
legislation will restore the parity between Tribal governments and 
Federal, State, and local governments as well as protect and respect 
the Tribes' right to sovereignty.
  It is time for the Federal Government to step out of the Tribes' way 
so they can make the right decisions for their communities, for their 
people, and create good-paying jobs on reservations.
  On behalf of Montana's 12 federally recognized Tribes, as a member of 
the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, as the chair of the Senate 
Western Caucus, and as an original author of this legislation both in 
this Congress and the last, I urge my colleagues to make the right 
choice and support the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.


                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.


                          Air Strikes on Syria

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I want to begin this afternoon by 
commending the men and women who make up the world's most capable 
military. Over the weekend, America's all-volunteer Armed Forces 
executed a challenging mission with precision and with excellence. At 
the President's order, the United States joined with our British and 
French allies in military action to respond to Bashar al-Assad's use of 
chemical weapons against the Syrian people.
  I support both the actions taken and the underlying objectives.
  The tactics the Assad regime has deployed to consolidate gains and 
terrorize the people of Syria have stood in defiance of the clear U.S. 
position that the use of chemical weapons is simply unacceptable. It 
was time to act.
  Americans have become used to flawless execution on the part of our 
uniformed military. Times like these compel us to pause and appreciate 
their excellence and their heroism. We must remember that none of it 
could occur without extensive training, careful planning, robust 
investment, and the professionalism, dedication, and bravery of our 
servicemembers.

[[Page S2132]]

  Mr. President, on a completely different matter, this afternoon the 
Senate will vote to advance legislation from Senator Moran that would 
bolster the proper sovereignty of American Indian Tribes in the face of 
excessive Federal regulations.
  From the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 all the 
way until 2004, the NLRB respected the sovereignty status of Tribal 
government employers. But because the law does not technically provide 
that exemption, the NLRB discarded that precedent in 2004 and has 
become entangled in local Tribal decisions.
  By intervening in Tribal affairs on a case-by-case basis, the NLRB 
has effectively been picking winners and losers among different 
businesses. The result has been regulatory confusion and a lessening of 
Tribal governments' authority to govern their own lands.
  This legislation would correct the 83-year-old oversight that led to 
this confusion. It would codify in law that federally recognized Tribal 
governments should be exempt from such regulation, just like other 
State and local governments.
  More than 160 Tribes, Tribal corporations, and Tribal trade 
associations support Senator Moran's legislation. I am proud to support 
it as well, and I urge every one of us to vote to advance the bill 
later this afternoon.


                               Tax Reform

  Mr. President, tomorrow's tax filing deadline is not exactly a 
national holiday, but millions of Americans use the end of tax season 
as a time to pause and to take stock. In recent weeks, at kitchen 
tables in Kentucky and across the country, working families have been 
crunching the numbers. For too long, our country's outdated and unfair 
Tax Code made life more difficult than it needed to be for middle-class 
families. Now all of that is changing.
  Tomorrow marks the last time America's working families, 
entrepreneurs, and job creators will have to file under that old Tax 
Code. This Republican Congress and President Trump got rid of it and 
put a brandnew 21st century Tax Code in its place. Now Americans are 
rightly anticipating a better year ahead, and they aren't having to 
wait very long.
  President Trump is in Florida today to hold a roundtable discussion 
with small business owners. On Main Streets from Miami to Tallahassee, 
tax reform is empowering local employers to create more prosperity for 
their employees and for their communities.
  In Melbourne, the owner of Stellar Transport, a shuttle service that 
works closely with Florida's elderly, is using tax savings to raise 
wages, expand paid vacation, and cover a 26-percent increase in 
healthcare costs for his 60 employees.
  In Jacksonville, Magellan Transport Logistics is planning to buy a 
new 47,000-square-foot facility and hire 100 new employees as part of 
an ambitious plan to succeed under the new pro-growth Tax Code. Of 
course, these are among the first fruits of the U.S. economy under this 
historic new law.
  Millions of U.S. workers are receiving bonuses, raises, and special 
benefits, not to mention lower utility rates and increased 
opportunities. As employers adopt new withholding practices, more and 
more workers will see more of their own money going into their own 
pockets.
  Florida's workers and entrepreneurs should be proud of Senator Rubio, 
who was instrumental in getting tax reform across the finish line. In 
particular, his efforts helped Republicans to secure a significant 
increase in the child tax credit.
  It is surprising that Florida's senior Senator didn't want any part 
of all these tax cuts and new jobs. He took every opportunity to vote 
with every other Democrat and try to block these tax cuts from 
happening. Fortunately, Republicans overcame partisan opposition and 
made tax reform a reality.


                Measure Placed on the Calendar--S. 2667

  Mr. President, I understand there is a bill at the desk due for a 
second reading.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will read the bill by title for the 
second time.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 2667) to amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 
     1946 to provide for State and Tribal regulation of hemp 
     production, and for other purposes.

  Mr. McCONNELL. In order to place the bill on the calendar under the 
provisions of rule XIV, I object to further proceedings.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection having been heard, the bill will be 
placed on the calendar.
  Mr. McCONNELL. 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. BARRASSO. 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. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor as a former chairman 
of the Indian Affairs Committee of the Senate to talk about the issue 
of the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act--the package before us today to be 
discussed and voted on within the next hour.
  I know we are going to be hearing from the current chairman, Senator 
Hoeven. We are going to be hearing from Senator Moran, Senator Flake, 
and others. I would like to associate my remarks with those I know they 
will make, specifically, those of the chairman and my other colleagues, 
and emphasize the need to recognize and respect Tribal sovereignty.
  As Senator Moran will explain shortly, this legislation seeks to fix 
the National Labor Relations Board's 2004 decision to treat Tribal 
government employers and tribally owned businesses as private entities, 
not as sovereign governments.
  They are sovereign governments.
  The National Labor Relations Board's decision, I think, is the wrong 
decision. It increased uncertainty for Tribes, as Tribes suddenly faced 
regulation from a body that failed to recognize their government-to-
government relationship. I think it was a complete mistake by the 
National Labor Relations Board, which is why I am proudly here to 
support the legislation we are discussing here today.
  Suddenly, as a result of this ruling, these Tribal businesses became 
commercial entities. These businesses provide critical services on 
Tribal lands and in their communities. I believe the National Labor 
Relations Board's decision--and the litigation that inevitably 
followed--has only increased uncertainty in Indian Country and is in 
direct opposition to the entire notion of Tribal sovereignty.
  Indian Tribes have a right to sovereignty. We must work to ensure 
there is true parity between governments. We must actively respect the 
government-to-government relationship.
  Over the last many years, Congress has worked to address policies 
that have been detrimental to Tribes, including those affecting Tribal 
sovereignty. That is why we are here today to vote on this important 
piece of legislation. Tribal sovereignty allows Tribes to govern 
themselves, to regulate Tribal businesses, and to provide essential 
services for Tribal members.
  As we consider this package before us today, I want to commend 
Chairman Hoeven, Vice Chairman Udall, and others for working together 
to move this important legislation through the Senate.
  This package is no different. Senator McCain and Senator Flake have 
worked for many years to resolve the White Mountain Apache water 
settlement issues. I see Senator Flake is here to discuss those issues. 
Senator Heinrich and Senator Udall recognize the need for greater 
certainty in land management through the Santa Clara long-term lease. 
Senator Moran has been a great leader on this issue. That is why I am 
proud to be standing with him today.
  I would urge all of my colleagues to join Chairman Hoeven, Senator 
Moran, and our committee in providing the parity for Tribal governments 
as they govern their future.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Wyoming for his 
comments and all those who have worked so hard to bring this 
legislation to the floor, which we will be voting on later tonight.
  Indian water settlements are an invaluable tool to ensure that Tribes 
receive the water rights they are entitled

[[Page S2133]]

to and that other water users are given the certainty they require.
  In States like my home State of Arizona, water rights have a 
substantial impact on the lives and livelihoods of so many residents. 
So these measures are critical to communities around the great State of 
Arizona.
  I rise today to support the legislation I introduced aimed at 
ensuring that the previously enacted White Mountain Apache Tribe Water 
Rights Quantification Act of 2010 is properly interpreted by the 
Department of Interior. This bill clarifies that settlement funds 
awarded to the Tribe may be used for a critical rural water system. 
This new system is essential for the Tribe and will allow them to 
deliver drinking water to their members.
  The measure I am proposing today is also time sensitive. The White 
Mountain settlement includes an enforceability date that means if this 
water system project is not completely approved by May 2021, it becomes 
void. In order to realistically meet this deadline, this bill must pass 
as soon as possible so that the Tribe has time to complete the 
necessary project studies.
  This bill also corrects an issue with the National Labor Relations 
Act. For nearly 70 years, Tribal governments were exempt from the act, 
just like local and State governments and the Federal Government. 
However, in 2004 the NLRB inappropriately ruled that Tribes were no 
longer exempt. This measure would create parity for Tribal governments, 
giving them the same employer rights afforded to other Federal, State, 
and local governments.
  Importantly, this element of the bill also applies to Tribal 
employers on Tribal lands, meaning any tribally owned and operated 
institution not on Tribal land would be treated as normal, private-
sector employers. This bill also offers two important clarifications--
one of which is desperately needed to allow the White Mountain Apache 
Tribe to move forward on a vital rural water system project.
  I urge the bill's passage so that we can ensure that Tribes are best 
able to serve their people and to improve their communities.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Barrasso). The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, thank you for your remarks on the floor 
earlier this afternoon. I rise to have the Senate consider and to have 
a conversation about S. 140, a package of three bills that will have 
positive benefits on Indian Country.
  Two bills in the package--the Senator from Arizona was talking about 
one of them. Two bills in this package, S. 140, the White Mountain 
Apache Water Rights Quantification Act, sponsored by Senators Flake and 
McCain, and S. 249, a bill to provide that the Pueblo of Santa Clara 
may lease for 99 years certain restricted land, sponsored by Senators 
Udall and Heinrich of New Mexico, have already received unanimous 
consent from the Senate.
  The third bill in the package, the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, was 
attached as a message from the House to S. 140 in January. I am the 
sponsor of this legislation in the Senate, which should be 
noncontroversial in a chamber where Members of the Senate profess to be 
supportive of Tribal sovereignty. This concept has been around since 
2005, and I became interested in this topic and introduced legislation 
in 2013--now 5 years ago.
  I suppose all of us, from time to time, may introduce legislation 
that is a messaging point or a talking point. In this and in most every 
other case, when I introduce legislation I work hard to see that it 
becomes law. I work in a bipartisan way to bring Republicans and 
Democrats together and for rural and urban Members of the Senate to 
work together. This is an example of that. There is nothing about this 
legislation that is a messaging to Tribes or to others. It is not an 
introduction of a piece of legislation designed to make a point. It is 
a piece of legislation designed to become law.
  This bill has passed the House and is now pending here in the Senate 
today. I hope to use this opportunity to convey to my colleagues that 
this legislation is not a radical proposition but rather a restoration 
of the sovereign status of Tribal governments. Indeed, by moving 
forward with this legislation, we can enshrine the status quo that 
existed for 70 years after the passage of the National Labor Relations 
Act, until the National Labor Relations Board stripped Tribes of their 
government status under the NLRA. By making explicit that Tribal 
governments are distinct and sovereign and capable of making their own 
decisions, we will correct a decade-old error made by the NLRB.
  (Mr. YOUNG assumed the Chair.)
  The Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act is simple and narrow. It amends the 
NLRA to exempt tribally owned entities operated on tribally owned 
lands--no more, no less. Businesses owned by individual Tribal members 
or operations off Tribal lands still remain subject to the scrutiny of 
the NLRB.
  Many of those who have expressed opposition to this bill will say: I 
support Tribal sovereignty--but. If you have to qualify your support 
for Tribal sovereignty in order to protect your own interests instead 
of the Tribes, then, no, you really don't support Tribal sovereignty. 
Tribal sovereignty is something we believe in. Tribes of Native 
Americans--those who inhabited this country before our ancestors 
arrived--were granted sovereignty over their own businesses decades or 
generations ago.
  Senators have voiced on the Senate floor that this is not about 
sovereignty but about an attack on labor. That is simply not true. One 
accusation is that this bill is truly an attack on labor because it 
doesn't provide exemptions from other Federal legislation. If my 
colleagues are objecting to this bill because of its narrow scope, then 
will they support making it broader? I think the answer to that is 
clearly no. If they are serious about that, then let's have a 
conversation.
  I am not new to Tribal issues. My introduction to this topic began 
when I was elected to the Kansas State Senate a long time ago now. I 
was a freshman member. I happened to have a law degree and was assigned 
by the leadership of the State senate to conduct negotiations and to 
chair a committee on Indian gaming in Kansas. I spent the next 2 years 
in front of a Federal district judge, negotiating an agreement under 
IGRA for Indian gaming in Kansas.
  Other examples of our efforts include the passage of general welfare 
exclusion legislation with Senator Heitkamp of North Dakota that passed 
this Senate and became law several years ago now. Again, it was trying 
to make clear that Tribal decisions made on behalf of Tribal members 
are much better decisions than those made by Congress but especially by 
those made by agencies and bureaucracies--in that case, the IRS; today, 
the National Labor Relations Board.
  We have also worked on other issues related to Tribal interests, 
including a Carcieri fix and the ability to bring land into trust--
issues that are important to Tribes across the country. My point is, 
this is another piece of legislation in a series that the Senate has 
pursued in which we are doing right by those who preceded us as our 
ancestors settled in America.
  I don't think that the critics of this bill want Tribal governments 
exempt from the other statutes either. No, the objection isn't about 
the sovereignty granted by this legislation. It is not that it doesn't 
go far enough; it is what it does grant sovereignty for.
  I would ask my colleagues: If the Senate denied Tribal sovereignty in 
this instance, what Tribal rights are going to be targeted next? The 
point is, if you are for sovereignty, you are for sovereignty in all 
circumstances, and you don't have the ability to choose. It is based 
upon a legal and moral obligation that we have to Tribes here in the 
United States.
  Others have criticized this legislation. They have said that non-
Tribal members cannot vote for Tribal governments, and therefore this 
is different from States. Again, this legislation puts Tribes in the 
same position, under NLRB, as States and other local units of 
government--but that is not true either. A person living in the 
District of Columbia, who works in Virginia, is subject to Virginia 
labor laws without having a say in forming those laws.
  In 2013, there was an issue of Tribal sovereignty on the U.S. Senate 
floor. It was broader than that. It was VAWA--the Violence Against 
Women Act. I supported its reauthorization, which included new 
authorities for Tribal governments to protect Native American women 
when they are harmed by

[[Page S2134]]

non-Indians. With VAWA's passage, Congress placed our trust in Tribes 
to exact justice in the circumstance of domestic violence and violence 
against women.
  The point here is that we rightly determined that Tribes should have 
the ability to punish Indian and non-Indian violent offenders, but 
today it is being argued that we can't trust them to treat Indian and 
non-Indian employees justly.
  I remember the allegations against my colleagues who voted against 
VAWA were that they were not supportive of Tribal sovereignty. Those 
who oppose this bill today are subject to exactly the same criticism.
  There is also an assumption being made that employees of tribally 
owned entities are being treated poorly or will be treated poorly if 
this legislation passes. The majority of Tribes are located in rural 
areas, where the labor pool is often inadequate. It is to the Tribes' 
advantage to treat their employees fairly in order to retain them. As a 
matter of fact, many Tribes have the highest wages and provide the best 
benefits in their region. Tribal jobs are coveted because prospective 
employees know what they stand to gain by their employment.
  The idea that Tribal government enterprise workers should be treated 
as commercial rather than governmental workers doesn't hold up. A 
Tribal casino worker is no less of a government employee than an 
employee of a State-owned-and-operated enterprise that includes liquor 
stores, ski resorts, and, yes, casinos.
  In 2015, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held legislative 
hearings on the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act--the legislation we are 
considering today--and testifying before the Committee was Robert 
Welch, chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians in California. 
Despite being a unionized Tribe--employees of the tribally owned 
facilities are union members--Chairman Welch testified in support of 
this bill.

  Many Tribes welcome labor unions. That is fine. The point is, it is 
their decision. The Tribal decision is where this issue rests. The 
point of this legislation is it is up to the Tribes to decide, not the 
NLRB.
  More than 160 Tribes and Tribal organizations support this 
legislation and have worked hard to see its passage. They support it 
because the principle of Tribal sovereignty is critical to their well-
being.
  The vote I seek today is not a partisan ploy. I have worked to pass 
this legislation without a recorded vote. I have taken to the floor to 
do live UC requests on a number of occasions but have been met with 
objections. I have worked to get this legislation included in 
appropriations bills, but it was always forced out at the last minute.
  In recent bipartisan legislation, Republican leadership, Chairman 
Hoeven, and I were open to attaching both NAHASDA and TLSA, but TLSA's 
inclusion was deemed unacceptable. This is not about making anybody 
cast a difficult vote. We have tried to do this in a way that 
eliminates that option, that necessity. We had two victories lined up 
for Indian Country--NAHASDA and TLSA--and we got nowhere because of 
opposition to Tribal sovereignty. That brings us to where we are today 
on the Senate floor. It requires a Senate vote that will take place in 
a little more than half an hour.
  It is important to note that Tribal sovereignty enjoys bipartisan 
support. Nearly two dozen Democrats, including Members of the House 
Democratic leadership, supported this legislation in January when it 
passed the House, and we have strong bipartisan backing in the Senate 
as well. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs reported this out by 
voice vote last summer. Democratic colleagues of mine have spoken in 
favor of it.
  The late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii wrote in 2009: ``Congress 
should affirm the original construction of NLRA by expressly including 
Indian tribes in the definition of employer.'' Senator Daniel Inouye 
continues to be held in high regard in the U.S. Senate for his work in 
the U.S. Senate, for his service to his Nation, and for his firm 
commitment to Tribes and to Native Hawaiians. Again, Senator Inouye, 
who is no longer with us, said: ``Congress should affirm the original 
construction of the NLRA by expressly including Indian tribes in the 
definition of employer.''
  What this bipartisan consensus demonstrates is that this is not about 
labor. This is about the ability of Tribal governments to be treated 
equally as other levels of government and to provide vital services to 
their people without fear of work stoppages.
  Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American 
Indians, wrote in February:

       Tribes make an array of public services available to their 
     tribal citizens and other local residents: law enforcement, 
     fire and EMS departments, schools and hospitals, and natural 
     resource management.

  These are things Tribes do on a daily basis for Tribal members and 
for residents.

       All tribal governments play critical roles in ensuring the 
     safety, health, and stability of tribal and surrounding 
     communities.

  He goes on to write that in 1935, Congress ``did not want the kind of 
labor strife and work stoppages that could paralyze federal, state and 
local governments, jeopardizing public health and safety in the 
process.''
  Eighty years later, why it is that every other form of government in 
this country is treated one way and Tribes another? That, my 
colleagues, is not right. Why do Tribes have to accept others 
determining their workplace rules but not their counterparts? Why is it 
that the well-being of Native Americans on reservations, who rely on 
these services, might be placed at risk? But most importantly, why 
would we deny sovereignty when Tribes are entitled to it?
  Senator Udall, my friend and colleague from New Mexico, who serves as 
our committee's vice chair, the ranking member, understands the 
importance of self-governance. He recently said: ``Decisions made by 
Tribes for Tribes produce the best outcomes for their unique 
communities.''
  Is there a U.S. Senator who doesn't believe that decisions made at 
home are better because we are all unique? We have unique circumstances 
in every State across the country and in every community. Local folks 
can make better decisions about what makes sense in their local 
community. We know that for our constituents; we should know that for 
Tribal members. Again, Senator Udall said: ``Decisions made by Tribes 
for Tribes produce the best outcomes for their unique circumstances.''
  What we will be voting on shortly is really a question of whether the 
Members of this Chamber--U.S. Senators who swore to uphold the 
Constitution and fill their responsibilities--believe that Tribal 
governments, elected by their members, possess the right to make 
informed decisions on behalf of those they represent. I say they do, 
and I hope that most of my colleagues--in fact, I hope all of my 
colleagues agree with that sentiment.
  We have been working at this legislation for 5 years now. Decisions 
will be made 30 minutes from now that will have a huge consequence, 
perhaps not on me, perhaps not on many of my constituents but on Tribal 
leaders and the individual Tribal members who elected them to make 
decisions on their behalf. We would be offended if people intruded on 
our abilities to make decisions for our constituents, and Tribal 
leaders are no different.
  This is important legislation. It is not political. It is about 
making the right decision for the right reason so that good outcomes 
can benefit all Americans--all who live here in the United States--and 
I ask my colleagues to seriously consider and, ultimately, vote for 
this bill, S. 140, which includes the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Moran). The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I strongly encourage my colleagues to 
reject this anti-worker bill masquerading as an issue of Tribal 
sovereignty.
  I strongly support Tribal sovereignty. I can't speak for everyone in 
this body, but I am virtually certain that every single Democratic 
Member of this body supports Tribal sovereignty, and I am pretty 
certain that most Republican Members of this body support Tribal 
sovereignty, but that is not what this bill is about. This is just the 
latest battle in the decades-long war that so many in this town have 
been waging to undermine the rights of

[[Page S2135]]

American workers. This bill strips away the rights of 600,000 employees 
at Tribal casinos, so 600,000 employees at casinos on Tribal lands will 
lose their right to collective bargaining. We know what that means to 
their wages and their benefits. Seventy-five percent of these 600,000 
employees are not members of a Tribe. So when these casinos all over 
the country, on reservations, these casinos on Indian lands--most of 
the 600,000 employees at the Tribal casinos have the right to 
collectively bargain, to form unions if they choose, to collectively 
bargain if they choose, and to get better wages and benefits if that is 
what brings them to it. Again, 75 percent of these workers are not 
members of any of these Tribes. There are other Federal laws that apply 
to workplaces on Tribal lands.
  The Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 
the Employment Retirement Income Security Act--so-called ERISA--and 
title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act all apply on Tribal 
lands, but this bill only goes after collective bargaining rights, only 
goes after those workers. There is no reason Congress should single out 
and attack the rights of these workers to organize and advocate for 
themselves in the workplace.
  We can protect Tribal sovereignty. I want to do that. I am leading 
the charge against this bill. I want to protect Tribal sovereignty, but 
you can also protect workers' rights at the same time. You don't have 
to jettison workers' rights. You don't have to hurt these workers. We 
don't have to take rights away from these workers--the right to 
organize and bargain collectively--in order to protect Tribal 
sovereignty. Our laws do that right now.
  Some of my colleagues will say they want to make sure that Tribes 
have the same rights as States, whose workers are carved out of the 
National Labor Relations Act, but Tribal government employees are 
already exempted from the National Labor Relations Act. This bill 
eliminates the Federal labor rights of workers at for-profit 
businesses, like casinos.
  So who is behind this? The national chamber of commerce wants to go 
after unions every chance they get and take away collective bargaining 
rights. Do you know what that means when companies do that? It means 
higher profits. It means they can pay less to workers. It means they 
can strip workers of their healthcare and their retirement. Of course 
these companies want to take away collective bargaining rights and put 
unions out of business. That is the whole point of this bill.
  Again, Tribal government employees are already exempted from the 
NLRA. This bill eliminates the Federal labor rights of workers at for-
profit businesses, like casinos. You don't think these casinos are 
making lots of money? Of course they are. They will make more money if 
you take away the collective bargaining rights of employees. Employees 
will make less. Employees will, in some cases, lose their health 
insurance. Employees will get fewer dollars for retirement, but profits 
will go up for these casinos.
  These casinos are often run by companies that have nothing to do with 
these Tribes. That is not establishing parity. States can't carve out 
home State, for-profit businesses from the NLRA. Nevada can't say that 
it has decided its casinos on the Vegas Strip are exempt from Federal 
labor laws. So why would we treat these private, for-profit casinos any 
differently?

  Supporters of the bill will say it is necessary to prevent overreach 
by the National Labor Relations Board. That argument doesn't hold up 
either. The Board is methodically evaluated when they do and don't 
assert jurisdiction on Federal lands. They use a very careful test to 
ensure that the Board's jurisdiction does not infringe on Tribal rights 
or interfere in the Tribes' exclusive right to self-government.
  All of us in this body--at least all of us on this side of the aisle; 
I think all of us in the body--of course we want to make sure that 
Tribal rights are enforced and that we don't interfere in the Tribes' 
exclusive right to self-governance. These, though, are for-profit 
businesses on these reservations.
  In a June 2015 decision, the Board used the test and did not assert 
jurisdiction in a labor dispute on Tribal lands.
  As I said, I think all of us here support Tribal sovereignty. I wish 
all of us here supported American workers' right to organize just as 
strongly.
  My friends on this side of the aisle have spent day after day, week 
after week, month after month, doing all they can to stop workers in my 
State, in the State of Kansas, and all over this country from 
organizing. This bill is an attempt to take advantage of Tribe support 
in Congress to attack workers.
  There is another provision slipped in. At a time when Congress is 
engaged in a long-overdue discussion about sexual harassment in the 
workplace, this bill repeals all Federal protections against harassment 
for the 600,000 workers. So it strips collective bargaining rights from 
600,000 people. It also repeals all Federal protection against sexual 
harassment for those same 600,000 workers. Right now, these workers 
cannot bring Federal harassment claims. Their only Federal protection 
against harassment is the NLRA. Under that law, workers have the right 
to collectively protest harassment. They can file grievances under 
union contracts to enforce their rights. If this bill passes, that 
Federal protection will disappear. All of the collective bargaining 
agreements in these workplaces would expire at the end of their terms, 
and the union-won protections against harassment would simply disappear 
along with all of them.
  We are going in the wrong direction. Today more than ever, workers 
need a voice in the workplace.
  Think about this: Over the last 40 years, gross domestic product has 
gone up and up and up. Corporate profits have gone up and up and up; 
worker productivity has gone up and up and up; executive salaries have 
gone up and up and up--all because of the productivity of American 
workers. But workers haven't shared in the wealth that they have 
created for their bosses. Workers haven't shared in the growth of those 
companies. Wages are flat.
  So think about that again. Profits go up, productivity goes up, 
executive salaries go up, productivity of American workers, as I said, 
goes up, but wages are flat. A big part of that is because of this 
attack from this body and the House of Representatives--the attack on 
workers trying to organize and bargain collectively. So if this bill 
passes, we are going to make sure that 600,000 fewer Americans have the 
right to organize and bargain collectively. Again, it means profits 
will go up at these casinos, executive salaries will go up at the 
casinos, and wages will be flat and go down even as these companies do 
better and better.
  Workers don't share in the growth they create. Hard work just doesn't 
pay off the way it used to. The dignity of work has been undermined by 
this Senate, by the House of Representatives, and by the White House. 
If work isn't valued, then Americans can't earn their way to a better 
life for their families no matter how hard they work. This bill will 
make it harder for these workers to ensure that their work is valued.
  This bill undermines the dignity of work in this country. We ought to 
be lifting up workers. We shouldn't be undermining their right to 
advocate for themselves. These are workers banding together to advocate 
for themselves. Their voices are stronger when they are together, and 
that is when management has to listen to them. That is why they get 
better wages. That is why they get better healthcare. That is why they 
get better retirement. But we know what this bill does. It doesn't 
protect Tribal sovereignty. That is just what they say it does, just 
like they said--80 percent of the tax cut went to the richest 1 percent 
of Americans, and they called that a tax cut for the middle class. 
Surely it wasn't that. Just like the bank bill that rolls back some 
tough rules on Wall Street--they like to say that was a bill for the 
small banks. No, it wasn't. It was much about Wall Street. Just like 
this bill is not for Tribal sovereignty--it is to help put labor unions 
out of business and depress wages. That is why I oppose this bill.
  I urge my colleagues to vote no.


                      Nomination of Ronny Jackson

  Mr. President, over the next few weeks, the Senate will consider the 
President's nominee to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. 
Ronny Jackson. I will be meeting with Dr. Jackson tomorrow, and I look 
forward to that meeting. I am eager to

[[Page S2136]]

hear what his plans are and how he will make the VA system work better 
for the women and men who serve our country. I will have some tough 
questions for him. I know my friend, the Senator from Kansas and the 
current Presiding Officer, who also sits on the Committee on Veterans' 
Affairs, has the same concerns that I have.
  One of my top priorities will be finding out his views on the 
misguided idea that some are pushing of privatizing the Veterans' 
Administration. Privatizing the VA would mean putting profits ahead of 
veterans. It would mean depriving the women and men who served our 
country the best possible care just to line the pockets of healthcare 
executives.
  We have seen what happens when we introduce corporate profit motives 
into organizations that should be set up to serve the American people. 
Just look how private, for-profit charter schools have failed children 
in my State. The owners of the private, for-profit charter schools have 
done well, while taxpayers have been fleeced and students have been 
betrayed. We know that privatization of the prison system or 
privatization of Social Security or privatization of Medicare or 
privatization of the Veterans' Administration all works the same way. 
The people who are to be served find they have less quality care or 
service. The people who own the newly privatized agencies or companies 
do very well.
  Study after study in my State shows these for-profit charter schools 
don't give Ohio students an adequate education and cost taxpayers more. 
According to a report from Stanford University's Center for Research on 
Education Outcomes, students at Ohio's charter schools lose 43 days of 
math instruction and 14 days of reading instruction, compared with 
traditional public schools in the State. We allowed for-profit school 
operators to inject profits into Ohio's public education, and they 
treated taxpayers like ATM machines and shortchanged students. We can't 
allow the same thing to happen to veterans. I will fight any effort to 
use America's veterans to pad the profits of wealthy corporations. Dr. 
Jackson will have to commit to oppose any VA privatization efforts to 
earn my vote.
  We know the VA system isn't perfect, and we know it can improve. We 
have work to do to rebuild and strengthen it. Dr. Shulkin was trying to 
do that and made some inroads in doing it, but it will be hard. It is 
the largest healthcare system in the country. It serves 9 million 
veterans every year and provides care at more than 1,200 facilities 
across the country, including about three dozen in my State.
  Some of those serve veterans very well, while others need significant 
investment to improve their services. Too many veterans still face 
obstacles to get the highest quality care through the VA system. I know 
veterans service organizations, some of the best groups and civic 
organizations in our country--to name a few, knowing I will leave some 
out: the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, the AMVETS, 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the 
Polish American Veterans--all these organizations have said: We don't 
want to privatize the VA. We want improvements in the Veterans' 
Administration, but we want to keep it a public organization that 
serves veterans who fought for this country.
  Just because the task to fix the VA is hard doesn't mean we abandon 
our responsibility to the men and women who served this country. We 
need to redouble our efforts to strengthen the VA, not tear it down and 
not privatize it.
  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. HOEVEN. 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. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I understand there is 4 minutes left, and 
I might go a few minutes over. I ask unanimous consent to complete my 
remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I rise in support of S. 140, as amended, 
the bill sponsored by the outstanding Senator from the great State of 
Kansas, Mr. Moran. This bill affirms Tribal sovereignty and upholds the 
unique government-to-government relationship the United States shares 
with the Indian nations.
  As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, I have long said there 
is far more common ground than division on Indian issues. Our committee 
has a strong tradition of working in a bipartisan manner to improve the 
lives of Indian people and to build stronger Native American 
communities.
  With the support of Indian Country, we have successfully advanced 
important initiatives to support Tribal economic development, 
healthcare, public safety, and housing. Additionally, we have worked to 
support our many Native veterans. Native Americans proudly serve and 
defend our great country at some of the highest rates per capita of any 
ethnic group.
  Of the 29 bills we have cleared through the Indian Affairs Committee 
this Congress, 18 have passed the Senate by unanimous consent and 4 
have already been signed into law.
  Jefferson Keel, lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation and 
president of the National Congress of American Indians, recently stated 
in an op-ed piece to The Hill: ``Both political parties have seen the 
wisdom of supporting strong tribal governments and tribal sovereignty 
and have to realize that as the most local of governments, tribes know 
best how to solve local challenges.''
  Tribal sovereignty is the inherent right of Indian Tribes to govern 
themselves on their own lands, and it is the cornerstone of our 
government-to-government, nation-to-nation relationship. Today marks a 
real opportunity for the Senate to affirm and celebrate Tribal 
sovereignty and self-determination.
  The Senate will be considering S. 140, as amended, ``An Act to amend 
the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 
2010.'' This bill combines both Republican and Democratic bills into 
three sections of S. 140. Each of these bills--S. 140, S. 249, and S. 
63--all passed out of the Indian Affairs Committee with bipartisan 
support.
  The first section of S. 140 would allow for a technical amendment so 
the White Mountain Apache Tribe can use all or a portion of already 
appropriated funds from a water rights settlement to complete their 
drinking water system in Arizona. This section was originally sponsored 
by Senators Flake and McCain as S. 140. The bill was voice-voted out of 
the Indian Affairs Committee and passed the Senate by unanimous 
consent.

  Section 2 of S. 140 would amend the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act so 
that the Pueblos of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh are authorized to 
lease their respective Indian trust and restricted lands for up to 99 
years. This is identical language to S. 249, a bill that was introduced 
by Senators Udall and Heinrich of New Mexico. That bill was passed by 
the committee on February 8, 2017.
  Section 3 of S. 140 would amend and clarify the National Labor 
Relations Act so that Indian Tribes, Tribal governments, and tribally 
owned and operated institutions and enterprises that are located on 
Indian lands would be provided parity under the law with respect to 
other governments. This would reverse the 2004 National Labor Relations 
Board decision that found Tribal governments to be private 
organizations. That NLRB decision overturned years of precedent.
  Let's listen to Tribal leaders. In his prepared statement to the 
Committee on Indian Affairs regarding the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act 
of 2015, then-Governor Paul Torres of the Pueblo of Isleta stated:

       This bill is essential to restore the dignity and equality 
     of Indian tribes as sovereigns, which the National Labor 
     Relations Board is seeking to deny us. The Board treats every 
     sovereign, all the way down to local governments and 
     political subdivisions of the state, as exempt from the 
     National Labor Relations Act except for one--Indian tribes. 
     It does so even though Congress made clear, when the NLRA was 
     enacted, that the Act does not apply to sovereign entities. 
     The NLRA does not mention Indian tribes and for a long time 
     the Board recognized that the Act does not apply to Tribes. 
     Since 2004, it wants that power--but it did not ask Congress 
     for it. Nor did it ask the Tribes for their views.


[[Page S2137]]


  So this clearly goes beyond what should be allowed under the law. We 
have accomplished a lot in our committee, and it is because we have 
listened to Tribal leaders and their communities. This bill, S. 140, 
has the support of every Tribal leader across the country, the National 
Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Gaming Association, 
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and many other organizations.
  With that, Mr. President, I urge a ``yes'' vote on cloture and on 
passage of this bill.
  With that, 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 amendment to S. 140, an act to amend the 
     White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Qualification Act of 
     2010 to clarify use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund.
         Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner, Orrin G. Hatch, Tom 
           Cotton, Steve Daines, Roy Blunt, Mike Crapo, James E. 
           Risch, Johnny Isakson, John Thune, Thom Tillis, James 
           M. Inhofe, Pat Roberts, John Hoeven, John Boozman, Jeff 
           Flake, Jerry Moran.

  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 amendment to S. 140, an act to amend the 
White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act of 2010 to 
clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement Fund, shall be 
brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain), the Senator from Florida (Mr. 
Rubio), and the Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Tillis).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Florida (Mr. Rubio) 
would have voted ``yea''.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Illinois (Ms. 
Duckworth), is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Ernst). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 55, nays 41, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 74 Leg.]

                                YEAS--55

     Alexander
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kaine
     Kennedy
     King
     Lankford
     Lee
     McConnell
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Sasse
     Scott
     Shelby
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Toomey
     Udall
     Warner
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--41

     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Hassan
     Hirono
     Jones
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Van Hollen
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--4

     Duckworth
     McCain
     Rubio
     Tillis
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 55, the nays are 
41.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
  The majority leader.


                Motion to Refer with Amendment No. 2229

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I move to table the motion to refer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The motion was agreed to.


                Motion to Concur with Amendment No. 2227

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I move to table the motion to concur 
with further amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The motion was agreed to.


                Motion to Concur with Amendment No. 2232

  Mr. McCONNELL. I move to concur in the House amendment to S. 140, 
with a further amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] moves to concur 
     in the House amendment to S. 140, with an amendment numbered 
     2232.

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Text of 
Amendments.'')


                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I send a cloture motion to the desk 
on the motion to concur with further amendment.
  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 motion to 
     concur in the House amendment to S. 140, an act to amend the 
     White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act 
     of 2010 to clarify the use of amounts in the WMAT Settlement 
     Fund, with a further amendment.
         Mitch McConnell, John Barrasso, Roy Blunt, Johnny 
           Isakson, Todd Young, Tom Cotton, Tim Scott, Roger F. 
           Wicker, Cory Gardner, John Thune, Jerry Moran, John 
           Hoeven, Lamar Alexander, Pat Roberts, Mike Crapo, Jeff 
           Flake, John Boozman.

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
mandatory quorum call be waived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask for the yeas and nays on the motion to concur 
with amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.


                Amendment No. 2233 to Amendment No. 2232

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I have a second-degree amendment at 
the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2233 to amendment No. 2232.

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

       At the end add the following.
       ``This Act shall take effect 1 day after the date of 
     enactment.''


                Motion to Refer with Amendment No. 2234

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I move to refer the House message on 
S. 140 to the Committee on Commerce with instructions to report back 
forthwith.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] moves to refer 
     the House message to accompany S. 140 to the Committee on 
     Commerce, Science, and Transportation with instructions to 
     report back forthwith with an amendment numbered 2234.

  The amendment is as follows:

       At the end add the following.
       ``This Act shall take effect 2 days after the date of 
     enactment.''

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask for the yeas and nays on my motion.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.


                           Amendment No. 2235

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I have an amendment to the 
instructions.

[[Page S2138]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2235 to the instructions of the motion to 
     refer.

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

       Strike ``2'' and insert ``3''

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.


                Amendment No. 2236 to Amendment No. 2235

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I have a second-degree amendment at 
the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator for Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2236 to amendment No. 2235.

  The amendment is as follows:

       Strike ``3 days'' and insert ``4 days''

                          ____________________