EXECUTIVE SESSION
(Senate - May 23, 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 85 (Wednesday, May 23, 2018)]
[Pages S2866-S2871]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report both nominations.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nominations of Jelena 
McWilliams, of Ohio, to be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the 
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for a term of five years; and 
Jelena McWilliams, of Ohio, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of 
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for a term of six years.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.


                 Tribute to Major General Joseph Martin

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I want to take a moment to recognize MG 
Joseph M. Martin and his outstanding military career, which is made 
evident by a significant milestone promotion to lieutenant general. 
Major General Martin is the commanding general of the 1st Infantry 
Division at Fort Riley, KS, and assumed this command in October of 2016 
when he took command of the Big Red One--the Army's longest serving, 
permanent division since 1917.

[[Page S2867]]

  Within days of assuming command of the Big Red One in 2016, he 
deployed with his division headquarters, 500 of his soldiers, to Iraq. 
He assumed leadership of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component 
Command-Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
  Major General Martin's combat leadership was remarkable in Iraq. 
During the 9-month deployment, he led the fight, alongside the 
Government of Iraq, against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in 
Mosul. His efforts, and the efforts of the brave soldiers in the U.S. 
Army and all of our troops, led to the defeat of ISIS in Mosul and the 
destruction of their territorial hold. ISIS had been in control of 
Mosul since 2014 but were beaten back by Major General Martin and his 
forces. They liberated 1.8 million Iraqis, and it was a remarkable 
victory.
  In the manner of a true combat leader, Major General Martin was one 
of the last soldiers to return from the mission in July of 2017. When 
General Martin returned stateside, he quickly demonstrated his 
leadership back on base at Fort Riley, and he led the 100th anniversary 
of the division.
  He has been an outstanding partner to me and fellow Kansans on a 
number of initiatives to support the Big Red One. He has been involved 
in the communities of Manhattan and Junction City and those other 
communities that surround Fort Riley. It is no surprise to me that he 
has been selected for promotion to lieutenant general. He is a proven 
leader, capable of completing the most complex challenges under the 
most stressful situations. The Army has made the right move with his 
promotion and, furthermore, by placing him in a position of greater 
responsibility.

  I am confident Kansans will join me in congratulating soon-to-be-
confirmed Lieutenant General Martin on his promotion. We honor and 
thank him for his service.
  We recognize the sacrifices he and his family have made over the last 
32 years. I recognize his wife Leann and their children, Kylie and 
Joey, for their service over the years. Strong Army families make 
strong Army soldiers.
  I have no doubt--none--that Major General Martin will continue to be 
one of the Army's best leaders, and I look forward to seeing what lies 
ahead for him in his career.
  Congratulations, General Martin.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. CRAPO. Mr. President, I rise in support of the nominations of Ms. 
Jelena McWilliams to be Chair and a member of the Federal Deposit 
Insurance Corporation.
  As one of the three primary Federal financial regulators, the FDIC 
plays a critical role in the U.S. financial system, particularly for 
community banks. As head of the FDIC, Ms. McWilliams will be 
responsible for administering the Deposit Insurance Fund and ensuring 
the safety and soundness of the financial system while also promoting 
economic growth. She will also contribute to deliberations on financial 
stability as a member of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.
  In having focused extensively on financial institutions throughout 
her career in both the private and public sectors, Ms. McWilliams is 
supremely qualified for this position.
  She has a unique view of the U.S. regulatory system and its regulated 
entities, most recently serving as the chief legal officer, executive 
vice president, and corporate secretary for Fifth Third Bank, which is 
a regional bank based in Ohio. Prior to that, she served as a valuable 
member of the Banking Committee's staff for both Senator Shelby and me. 
Ms. McWilliams also worked as an attorney at the Federal Reserve during 
the financial crisis and on the Small Business Committee under former 
Senator Snowe.
  Many of my colleagues and I can personally attest to her 
qualifications, her good judgment, and her expertise, which will be an 
asset to the FDIC and to the country.
  At her nomination hearing in January, Ms. McWilliams demonstrated a 
deep knowledge of the issues overseen by the FDIC as well as a 
commitment to carrying out its mission. She discussed how her personal 
experience has shaped her conviction in the FDIC's unique 
responsibility as a deposit insurer, noting that one of the side 
effects of the civil war that broke apart the former Yugoslavia was a 
collapse of its financial system. Her parents, who still lived there, 
had their savings disappear overnight when a local bank closed its 
doors. Yugoslavia had no deposit insurance, and her then 68-year-old 
father returned to work as a day laborer.
  As she stated at her hearing, ``I can assure you that the core 
mission of the FDIC resonates profoundly with me and, if confirmed, I 
will not take its mission or my duties lightly.''
  Ms. McWilliams has conveyed a strong desire to encourage economic 
growth and facilitate new bank creation by continuing to address the 
disproportionate regulatory burden that is faced by community banks. 
Additionally, she acknowledged the need to expand Americans' access to 
credit and the banking system.
  If confirmed as a member and Chair of the FDIC, I look forward to 
having the opportunity to work with Ms. McWilliams on these important 
issues. I strongly support her nominations today, and I urge my 
colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.


                               Healthcare

  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, starting in January of 2017, extending to 
today, the President, often with the help of this Republican Congress, 
has engaged in a very deliberate, very purposeful campaign of sabotage 
to the American healthcare system. We are now starting to see the very 
serious consequences of this campaign of sabotage. It started on 
Inauguration Day when President Trump signed an Executive order that 
ordered all of his agencies to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It 
found its way to the Senate floor when Republicans spent most of 2017 
trying to pass legislation that would take insurance away from 23 
million people, according to the CBO.
  The President undertook a number of steps to try to weaken the 
exchanges where millions of people get their healthcare. He cut the 
open enrollment period in half. He stopped funding advertising. He 
pulled funding for the navigators, who are the people who go out and 
try to help people sort through their healthcare options. There is no 
reason to do that, to try to stop people from being able to sign up for 
healthcare, unless your intention is sabotage. There is no public 
policy reason to give people less time to sign up or to give them less 
information about their options.
  Most recently, the Republicans finally succeeded in repealing the 
individual mandate which the Congressional Budget Office said will, by 
itself, increase premiums by 10 percent and wipe out insurance for 13 
million people. The administration is now trying to expand the sale of 
what we call junk plans, which are insurance plans that don't have to 
cover a minimum set of benefits, that don't have to protect people with 
preexisting conditions or existing sicknesses from higher premium 
rates.
  I think I came down to the floor 2 weeks ago to talk about the first 
two rate filings of the rate filing season. These were in Maryland and 
Virginia. The rate filings were, quite frankly, catastrophic. While 
these were the worst of the bunch, all of the rate filings were much 
higher than the rate of medical inflation.
  The worst requested increase was when one insurance plan in Maryland 
asked for a 91-percent increase in premiums. One insurance plan in 
Virginia asked for a 64-percent increase in premiums. In Maryland, the 
head of the insurance plan who asked for the 91-percent increase said 
the reasons for it were the continuing actions on the administration's 
part to systematically undermine the market and to make it almost 
impossible to carry out its mission. No one can afford a 91-percent 
increase in premiums, and no one can afford a 64-percent increase in 
premiums. Frankly, very few people can afford a 15- or a 20-percent 
increase in premiums.
  This week, we received the rate filings from the State of Oregon. In 
Oregon, the Providence Health Plan, with about 90,000 customers, which 
is one of the bigger plans in the State, is asking for a 14-percent 
premium increase. Now, that is not 91 or 64, but there are

[[Page S2868]]

a lot of families who simply aren't going to be able to afford a 
double-digit premium increase in Oregon. It is important to note that 
Oregon put into place a new State-based reinsurance program, and if not 
for that reinsurance program, this would have been a 20-percent 
increase.
  I am just going to keep track of all of these increases so we have a 
sense of what is happening to consumers as a result of this campaign of 
sabotage. We will add this rate increase in Oregon of 14 percent, and I 
will make sure I get it right.
  The CBO has told us, the repeal of the individual mandate is going to 
jump premiums by 10 percent. So, in Oregon, you can be relatively sure 
that had the Republicans not repealed this big part of the Affordable 
Care Act, you would have been looking at a single-digit increase, 
something that would have mirrored medical inflation. Yet, because of 
the actions that had been taken here and because of many of the actions 
that have been undertaken by this Congress, we are looking at a double-
digit increase.
  Keith Forrester, who is the head of one of Oregon's biggest insurance 
companies, said our rate increase reflects the expected costs of 
providing coverage to our members, including the impact of eliminating 
the individual mandate.
  Senate Democrats are going to be down on the floor pretty 
relentlessly over the course of the next few months to make people 
understand that as you are getting your health insurance bills, as you 
are seeing these big increases, a big reason will be due to the actions 
that your elected leaders have taken--this Republican Congress and this 
administration.
  Yet the rate increases might be getting even bigger than they already 
are today. That is because of this expected proliferation of these new 
junk plans. Again, these are called short-term plans by the 
administration because they used to be, truly, short-term options. They 
were 3 months in duration. You would pick up one of these plans in 
between coverage, and because they were short-term plans, they were not 
required to cover mental health and maternity, and they could charge 
you more if you were sick.
  This administration has decided these plans can now be sold for a 
full year, meaning they will essentially stand side by side with 
regulated plans that have minimum benefits and protect people with 
preexisting conditions. The administration said, only a couple hundred 
thousand people nationwide might sign up for these plans.
  The CMS's Chief Actuary says--this is President Trump's CMS, the 
administration's own Chief Actuary--that is wrong; that, in fact, it 
will be a million and a half people potentially signing up for these 
junk plans. It could get as big as 1.9 million by 2022.
  Who will sign up for these junk plans? It will be healthy people 
because healthy people aren't going to need all of the coverage. It 
will be people who don't have preexisting conditions, who don't have 
addictions or diagnosed mental illnesses. It will leave behind in the 
exchange plans the people who need the coverage. Those people will not 
go on the junk plans because they will need insurance plans that cover 
their illnesses or their diagnoses. What we know is that if you have a 
sicker population in the exchange-based plans, in the regulated 
individual market, those premiums will go up.
  A recent study found, the combination of the individual mandate and 
the proliferation of these new junk plans will result, on average, in 
16-percent increases in premiums all across the country. In 
Connecticut, that could mean the premiums will go up by $1,155.
  Now, that is not something the health insurance companies did. That 
is not because of rising medical costs. That is because of decisions 
that were made by this Republican Congress and this Republican 
administration--two decisions. There was one decision to repeal a big 
part of the Affordable Care Act that protected sick people, that kept 
their rates lower. Another decision by the administration was to give 
relatively healthy people access to stripped-down plans.
  Admittedly, those two changes may offer some benefit to people today 
who are healthy. I am not going to deny that those two changes may 
provide a lower insurance rate for a subset of people who are healthy, 
but we are not supposed to just represent the healthy people. Today you 
are healthy, and tomorrow you are not. We are supposed to represent all 
Americans. In fact, we probably should be going the extra mile to make 
sure people who, through no fault of their own, have serious diagnoses 
aren't paying an arm and a leg more for coverage, but we are not doing 
that because of the steps this Republican Congress and this Republican 
President have taken.
  On average, insurance rates are going to go up for everybody in 
Connecticut by $1,100, according to one study, and they are going to 
potentially skyrocket for people who can't get onto these stripped-down 
junk plans.
  I think it is really important we talk about this. As I walked across 
the State of Connecticut last summer--something I have come to do in 
the last few years; I take about 5 or 6 days and walk from one side of 
the State to the other, which is something the Presiding Officer and 
others probably can't do in States that are a little bit longer across 
than 110 miles--healthcare was the dominant theme. In their having 
heard the news that I would be in a certain town during the day, people 
waited for me who were miles ahead on the road. They waited ahead of me 
for hours and hours to talk to me about their illnesses and about their 
fears that this Congress and this President were going to take away 
their coverage.
  We were successful in defeating the full repeal of the Affordable 
Care Act, and that is great news, because the Affordable Care Act is 
more popular than ever before, but this Congress and this President are 
trying to ruin some of the most important protections in our healthcare 
system because they are mad that they lost the repeal vote by one vote.
  So it is important for us to tell Americans what the consequences of 
that sabotage campaign are. It certainly means that people are going to 
get less protection, but it also means that, over the course of the 
next few months, as rates are filed across the country, you are going 
to see some devastatingly high premium increases due to the Republican 
campaign of healthcare sabotage--this week, 14 percent in Oregon; last 
week or the week before, 91 percent in Maryland, 64 percent in 
Virginia. This is what happens when you strike blows at the American 
healthcare system, and it is important for Americans to understand what 
that means.
  With that, Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Women's Healthcare

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I hope that one day soon it will not be 
necessary to come to the floor of this Senate and shine a spotlight on 
how the Trump administration is making it harder and harder for women 
in America to get the healthcare they need and deserve. It seems like 
not a week goes by without the Trump administration full-on attacking 
women's healthcare. It is the agenda of what I call healthcare 
discrimination, and it is out in full force.
  The latest news came out officially less than 24 hours ago. The Trump 
administration has put itself right in the middle of women and their 
doctors, denying access to critical information that millions of women 
rely on from physicians and nurses--the very providers they trust and 
depend on. What this means is that across this country you can say 
good-bye to the guarantee that women are getting the whole story about 
their health and the options they have for their care. For millions of 
women, the healthcare they need is going to have to get a Trump stamp 
of approval, and that Trump stamp of approval is going to be the 
requirement to get the care they need.
  I just want to say to my colleagues here in the Senate that I think 
this alone makes a mockery of all the talk I remember hearing from 
Republican colleagues in this body who said there is going to be 
patient-centered care in

[[Page S2869]]

America. The developments in the last 24 hours basically say that with 
respect to healthcare, it is not going to be patient-centered care, but 
it is going to be politics-centered care.
  Now, that patient-centered care concept was one of the most common 
talking points I remember hearing again and again. We heard it in the 
Finance Committee, where I have the honor to be the ranking Democrat. 
We heard it again and again: We are going to have patient-centered 
care. It was part of the crusade to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The 
whole point of that patient-centered care slogan was to say that the 
government shouldn't come between patients and their doctors and that 
it wasn't going to be about politics; it was going to be about 
patients--making sure that politics and the government didn't come 
between patients and their doctors.

  So here we are now, a few months later, and the Trump administration 
has just decided point-blank that it will decide what is best for women 
in Oregon and across the country. They basically said that they ought 
to be able to gag doctors and deny women the right to hear about 
healthcare options that, fortunately, are perfectly legal in America 
today.
  The fact is, this new decree--this dictate--from the Trump 
administration comes with a battery of new restrictions on healthcare 
clinics that millions of women depend on every single day. We all know 
what it is about. It is an attack on Planned Parenthood. It is an 
attack on vital sources of care for women.
  As I have said on this floor--I have gone through it again and 
again--the vast amount of work done by Planned Parenthood has nothing 
to do with abortion. It is all about vital preventive services for 
women, which, by the way, are especially important in rural areas.
  I am sure we are going to be talking about women's healthcare 
tomorrow in the Senate Finance Committee, where we will be having a 
hearing specifically on rural healthcare. There is bipartisan interest 
in that topic, but I want colleagues to know, it is pretty hard to 
promote all of the opportunities for sound healthcare and 
bipartisanship when you have a decision from the Trump administration 
that has the potential to hit women's healthcare in rural communities 
like a wrecking ball.
  In States like Oregon, thousands of women live in communities where 
there is not a clinic or a doctor's office every few miles. If the 
Trump administration finds a backdoor way to shutter the few options 
these women have today, they may not have anywhere else to turn to get 
the essentials of healthcare. Women could lose the right to see the 
doctor of their choosing.
  I will just say it point-blank: If somebody wants to take away the 
right of women in America to see the doctors and the providers of their 
choice, they are going to have to run over me. I will tell you, I think 
women are going to win that fight.
  To have women lose access to lifesaving services like cancer 
screenings, routine physicals, birth control, prenatal care, and so 
much more--that ought to be off the table for politics. It shouldn't be 
about Democrats and Republicans; it should be about commonsense 
approaches to ensure that women have all of the options for the 
healthcare they want and deserve.
  Taking healthcare choices away from women is fundamentally wrong. 
Depriving women of essential healthcare information that they have 
every right to hear about is fundamentally wrong. The Trump 
administration putting itself between women and their doctors is 
fundamentally wrong.
  The decision that came down last night, which we learned about last 
night, is a reckless one. It is a harmful one. We ought to make no 
mistake about it, it is going to make healthcare worse for women across 
the country.
  I have now had to say it too many times to count: It is long past 
time for these attacks on women's healthcare to end. I hope it will not 
be necessary to come to this floor again.
  The Trump administration will see how flawed the decision--the 
dictate--that came down last night is and will retract it. But until 
they do, I will come to this floor and make the case for ensuring that 
women are empowered in our country to be able to see the healthcare 
providers of their choice, to have the opportunity to access the vast 
array of services that are largely preventive from sea to shining sea.
  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. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                                  DACA

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, on September 5, 2017, President Trump 
announced the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals 
Program, known as DACA. As a result of that, hundreds of thousands of 
immigrants who came to the United States as children and are known as 
Dreamers have faced losing their work permits and face deportation to 
countries they barely remember.
  DACA provided temporary legal status to Dreamers only if they 
registered with the government, paid a fee of almost $500, and passed a 
thorough criminal background check. This DACA Program has been a 
success. More than 800,000 Dreamers have come forward and received DACA 
protection, which has allowed them to become a part of the only country 
they have ever called home.
  Many of these Dreamers were brought here as infants and toddlers, 
raised in this country, pledging allegiance to that flag. They believed 
they were part of America, and usually at some point when they became 
teenagers, their parents gave them the terrible news that they were 
undocumented.
  When President Trump decided 8 months ago to repeal DACA, he set 
March 5 as the deadline for the final expiration of the DACA Program. 
However, two Federal courts have stepped in and issued orders blocking 
the President's repeal of this DACA executive order. This means that 
Dreamers who have DACA can continue to apply to renew their status for 
now.
  I urge every DACA recipient to file their renewal application 
immediately. The Trump administration is doing everything in its power 
to fight this court protection, and that court protection could be 
lifted any day. This means there is a need for Congress to do 
something.
  Again, I urge the Republicans who control Congress to immediately 
pass the Dream Act--bipartisan legislation I first introduced 17 years 
ago that would finally give these Dreamers a path to becoming citizens 
of the United States.
  The reality is that tens of thousands of Dreamers are already at risk 
of losing their work permits and being deported. The Department of 
Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, has promised me that her 
Department will not deport any DACA recipient with a pending DACA 
application, even if their status expires. I am going to hold her to 
that commitment because lives hang in the balance.
  However, for DACA recipients whose status has expired, the Department 
will not authorize them to work unless and until their DACA is renewed. 
This means that tens of thousands of DACA-eligible individuals could be 
forced to leave their jobs while their applications are pending and 
before the renewals are approved.
  Then consider the fate of Dreamers who are eligible for DACA but 
never quite reached that status. They can no longer apply for 
protection because of President Trump's decision to prohibit new DACA 
applications after September 5, 2017. For example, a child turning 15--
the youngest age at which you can apply for DACA--is now blocked from 
applying. The nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute estimates that in 
addition to 800,000 DACA recipients, there are an additional 1 million 
Dreamers who are eligible. Thanks to President Trump's harsh decision 
to end DACA, 1.8 million Dreamers are at risk of deportation and cannot 
work to support themselves or contribute to the country they love.

[[Page S2870]]

  On September 5, Trump called on Congress to ``legalize DACA.'' But 
since then, he has rejected six bipartisan proposals to achieve that. 
He has even rejected a $25 billion bipartisan offer to build his border 
wall. Mexico, of course, was supposed to pay for that wall.
  We provided the money in a bill that also provided protection for the 
Dreamers. The President rejected it. Instead, he has tried to put the 
entire hard-line immigration agenda on the backs of the Dreamers. 
President Trump has said that he will support legalization for Dreamers 
only if Congress passes his plan, which would, among other things, cut 
legal immigration to the United States by more than 40 percent.
  There are people within this administration and some within the 
Senate who really despise immigrants, and you can see it. They want to 
cut legal immigration to the United States. That would be the largest 
cut in immigration in almost 100 years.
  Earlier this year, the Senate decided to vote on President Trump's 
plan--the one he supports. It failed; it failed badly when 39 Senators 
voted for it, and 60 voted against it. President Trump is holding 
Dreamers hostage to an immigration plan that is so extreme that many of 
his own party members do not support it.
  Over the years, I have come to the floor of the Senate more than 100 
times to tell the stories of Dreamers. I could give these speeches 
endlessly. I don't think they have the impact of coming to know the 
young people who are engaged and involved and at risk in this political 
debate.
  This is Dalia Larios, the 114th Dreamer I have introduced on the 
floor of the Senate. She was brought to the United States from Mexico 
when she was 10 years old. She grew up in Mesa, AZ. She remembers 
celebrating the Fourth of July, going to school dances, and of course, 
watching the Super Bowl.
  Her parents were hard workers who usually had two or three jobs. They 
taught her that although there were many things she could not control, 
she could control how long she studied and how much time she devoted to 
school. She did; Dalia graduated from high school in the top 1 percent 
of her class. She was named the most outstanding life science student 
in school. Not only did she excel academically, she completed over 150 
hours of community service.
  She is a remarkable young woman. She started an after-school dance 
program for at-risk children and was the first place State champion in 
both French and constitutional debate.
  Dalia then attended Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State 
University. She majored in biological sciences--specifically genetics, 
cell, and developmental biology. She continued her community service 
volunteering as an English and biology tutor at a number of health 
clinics. Dalia graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA and received a number 
of awards, including the School of Life Sciences award for plant-based 
research on cervical and breast cancer vaccines.
  Today, Dalia is a fourth year medical student at Harvard Medical 
School. She is researching lung cancer and lung transplants at Brigham 
and Women's Hospital and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

  In 2016 she won the Robert Ebert Prize for Healthcare Delivery 
Research or Service for her work on designing a student-led health 
coaching program to improve health outcomes in complex diabetic 
patients, and what did she dream to be? A cardiothoracic surgeon.
  Dalia wrote me a letter. She said:

       For many, DACA may be a political bargain. For me, it is my 
     life. And [because of DACA,] for the first time ever, I have 
     been able to live a life that is not just rooted in dreams 
     but rather the realization of those dreams. It has been a 
     gateway to change, inclusion and meaningful integration into 
     the country I call home and desperately hope to serve.

  At least 65 additional Dreamers were enrolled in medical school this 
last school year, but without DACA these Dreamers could be deported 
back to their countries, where they haven't lived since they were 
little kids. Will America be a stronger country if we ask Dalia to 
leave--this Harvard Medical School graduate, who wants to be a 
cardiothoracic surgeon? If we tell her, ``We don't need you; go to some 
another country,'' are we better off for that? Of course, not. We are 
stronger to have people like Dalia in the United States.
  The Association of American Medical Colleges states that the Nation's 
doctor shortage is going to continue. Both the AMA and the Association 
of American Medical Colleges have warned that ending DACA could make it 
even harder to deal with the physician shortage in the United States. 
They caution that President Trump's reversal in policy ``could have 
severe consequences for many in the health care workforce, impacting 
patients and our nation's health care system.''
  I personally think it would be a tragedy to deport someone like 
Dalia, who has so much to contribute to America.
  President Trump created the DACA crisis. Instead of working toward a 
solution, he has sabotaged every effort we have made to support and 
save the Dreamers. Now it is up to the Republican majority in Congress 
to accept one of the six bipartisan solutions on the table to save 
these young people.
  Congress should do its job and make the Dream Act the law of the 
land, or we are going to be responsible for the fate of wonderful young 
women like this. This amazing young woman could be saving lives in 
America as a surgeon, or we can deport her back to Mexico. What sense 
would that make?
  Currently, the U.S. House of Representatives is debating when and if 
to return to the immigration debate. It is fortunate that 20 
Republicans have had the courage to step up so far, and I hope more 
will join them to say: We have to do something. We can't just let this 
happen without an effort to pass a bill to solve the problem.
  The same thing could be said of the Senate. That is why I am hoping 
that at the end of the day, we can put this kind of Dream Act and DACA 
bill back into active consideration on the floor of the Senate.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 1615

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, as in legislation session, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Committee on the Judiciary be discharged from further 
consideration of S. 1615; that the Senate proceed to its immediate 
consideration; that the bill be considered read a third time and 
passed, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon 
the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, this is an 
issue on which Congress needs to act. Congress does, in fact, have 
authority to pass laws governing immigration and naturalization within 
our system, but this particular unanimous consent request represents an 
attempt to pass a major piece of legislation without any opportunity 
for debate, any opportunity for input from the American people, or any 
opportunity for amendments by individual Members. If we pass it this 
way, we will be cutting the American people out of the debate.
  Moreover, we also need to address the draws for illegal immigration. 
If we are going to address the needs of those who have been brought 
here unlawfully by no fault of their own while they were infants or 
minors, we need to make sure that we are not going to continue to draw 
people in unlawfully and that we are not going to continue to have 
people in various parts of the world sending their children here 
unlawfully, unaccompanied on many occasions and being subjected to 
sexual assault and all other kinds of abuse in the process. We do need 
to fix the underlying problem.
  For that reason, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I am just going to respond briefly.
  The bill that I asked to be called today for a vote was debated at 
length over a period of 17 years with numerous committee meetings. This 
is not an open-ended bill. There is a deadline. To qualify for it, one 
must have been in

[[Page S2871]]

the United States already for over a year. So it would not be a magnet 
for those who would like to come and take advantage of it in the 
future. It wouldn't apply to them, but it does apply to 1.8 million who 
would be eligible for citizenship.
  I am sorry that there was an objection, but I will continue to work 
with Members on both sides of the aisle to resolve this. We owe it to 
Dalia and to many others like her who are waiting for Congress to act.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The Senator from North Carolina.


            Calling for the Release of Pastor Andrew Brunson

  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, sadly, I have to do a speech that I 
promised I would do every week until we find justice for someone who 
has been in a Turkish prison now for a number of days. This is Pastor 
Brunson. He is a Presbyterian minister from Black Mountain. He has been 
in Turkey for 20 years, doing missionary work for a small church that I 
will describe briefly later.
  On October 4, 2016, he was swept up in President Erdogan's regime's 
reaction to an unlawful coup--a coup that I disagree with. I believe in 
a peaceful transition of power, and I do believe that people who are 
responsible for it should be subject to Turkish laws. But the roundup 
of people by President Erdogan--he cast a very wide net--went so far 
beyond any reasonable expectation of people who could have been 
involved in the coup attempt. On October 4, 2016, a Presbyterian 
minister from Black Mountain, NC--the same church that Billy Graham was 
a part of--found himself arrested on charges for being a potential 
terrorist and plotting a coup.
  He is in a Turkish prison. He has been in that prison now for 593 
days--593 days, almost 17 months--without charges. He is held in a 
prison cell that is designed for 8 people but has 21 people in it. He 
is not really allowed to speak with his family. In fact, the only 
family he has seen over the last 593 days has been his wife, because 
they have been afraid to let his children come into the country for 
fear that they would not be allowed to leave, nor will his wife Norine 
leave the country for fear that she will not be able to come back. She 
is his only connection to his family. It has been 593 days.
  I want to go back and tell you what really underlines why they think 
this Presbyterian minister is a part of the coup attempt or a terrorist 
organization. It is because they believe that religions in the United 
States are somehow joined together in this intelligence-gathering 
network so that, instead of doing missionary work, they can go into 
these countries and infiltrate their systems and then force coups or 
support or provide aid to people who would commit a terrorist act 
against the Turkish homeland--something that I would object to and 
something of which I would say that anybody who does that should be 
subject to Turkish law.
  They believe this of Pastor Brunson, a pastor of a church in Izmir, 
who for many years, when he was doing missionary work, didn't even have 
a church. They finally were able to get the resources together. They 
have 50 members. This is a 50-member congregation in a church in Izmir, 
which is one of the more populous cities in the Turkey.
  This is a very small church. On a packed day, on a Sunday, you may be 
able to fit 120 people in it. They open the doors so that people 
walking down the street can hear what they are talking about. They open 
the windows. They invite anybody in it.
  Part of the case is that they believe that people who have entered 
that church are Kurdish, and because they are Kurdish, they must be 
associated with the PKK, and if they are associated with the PKK, then, 
clearly, they were involved with terrorist attempts against Turkey.
  This church was also used in evidence. You see the picture. There is 
a small room upstairs in this very small church. There have been over 
one dozen secret witnesses. In a Turkish court, he doesn't have a trial 
by jury. He has three judges, and there is a prosecutor who is 
elevated, effectively, to be another judge, whom he is testifying 
before. One of the secret witnesses said that he clearly is guilty of 
nefarious activity because one night he saw a window open in this 
church for about 4 hours. That was the evidence submitted.
  There is a problem with that. No. 1, generally speaking, in our 
country, having a light on doesn't necessarily go directly to being 
prosecuted for terrorism or conspiracy to commit terrorism. There is 
another problem with this allegation. This room doesn't have a window. 
There is no possible way somebody could have seen the light. Even if 
you would argue that seeing a light could somehow be linked to 
terrorist activity, you can't even see it.
  To make matters worse, after more than a dozen secret witnesses came 
on, many of them in Turkish prisons themselves for the prosecution, the 
defense asked if they had 10 witnesses who would testify on his behalf. 
The judges said they would not be allowed to testify because they are 
suspects. They haven't been charged with anything, necessarily. They 
may not even be incarcerated, but they are suspects. Therefore, he has 
no opportunity whatsoever to defend himself.
  I am about to go back and do a final vote on the National Defense 
Authorization Act. We have to get President Erdogan's attention. In a 
bill that we are going to have on this floor in the next couple of 
weeks, I believe we are going to send a very clear message to the 
President and to the people of Turkey to treat our people fairly, to 
treat with respect a nation that is prepared to send American men and 
women to Turkey to fight and die for their freedom. If they don't, then 
we are going to have to continue to up the temperature until justice is 
done for Pastor Brunson and others in Turkish prisons.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.


                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding rule XXII, all postcloture time on the McWilliams 
nominations be considered expired at 12 noon on Thursday, May 24; 
further, that if cloture is invoked on the Evans nomination, the time 
until 1:45 p.m. be equally divided in the usual form, and at 1:45 p.m., 
the Senate vote on the nomination; finally, that if any of the 
nominations are confirmed, the motions to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table and the President be immediately notified of 
the Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Tillis). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


            Unanimous Consent Agreement--Executive Calendar

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at a time 
to be determined by the majority leader, in consultation with the 
Democratic leader, the Senate proceed to executive session for the 
consideration of the following nomination: Executive Calendar No. 603. 
I ask consent that there be 10 hours of debate equally divided in the 
usual form and that following the use or yielding back of time, the 
Senate vote on the nomination with no intervening action or debate; 
that if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid 
upon the table; that the President be immediately notified of the 
Senate's action; that no further motions be in order; and that any 
statements relating to the nomination be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          ____________________