NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED
(Senate - June 11, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 96 (Monday, June 11, 2018)]
[Pages S3395-S3403]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




  NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019--MOTION TO 
                                PROCEED

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 5515, which the 
clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 442, H.R. 5515, a bill to 
     authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2019 for military 
     activities of the Department of Defense, for military 
     construction, and for defense activities of the Department of 
     Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such 
     fiscal year, and for other purposes.


                   Recognition of the Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, later this afternoon, the Senate will 
move to begin considering the John S. McCain 2019 National Defense 
Authorization Act.
  Our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee have spent months 
engaged in thorough work and in bipartisan collaboration. Now the whole 
Senate will take up their legislation and vote on a plan to deliver on 
the most pressing needs of our Armed Forces.
  Congress has passed Defense Authorization Acts for 57 consecutive 
years--57 consecutive years. In doing so, we have taken steps to 
fulfill one of our most fundamental constitutional responsibilities: 
authorizing the funds that our men and women in uniform require to keep 
us safe.
  This year's NDAA arrives as our Nation faces significant challenges--
challenges like an emboldened Iranian regime and its continued support 
of destabilizing forces in the Middle East and a new era of great power 
competition as Russia and China expand their capabilities.
  Building on a time-honored process, this year's Defense authorization 
will help our Nation rise to meet these challenges with cutting-edge 
tools, top-notch training, and revitalized readiness. It is one of our 
most important jobs here in Congress. The 2019 Defense authorization is 
the top item on our to-do list, and we will tackle it this week.


                             Appropriations

  Meanwhile, other important work is underway at the committee level. 
Chairman Shelby and our colleagues on the Appropriations Committee are 
laying the foundation for a productive summer. Last week, they reported 
out appropriations bills to fund the Departments of Transportation, 
Housing and Urban Development, and Veterans Affairs, as well as 
important military construction projects. This week, they will proceed 
to finalize measures for Interior and Environment, Commerce-Justice-
Science, and the legislative branch. I look forward to taking up these 
appropriations bills right out here on the Senate floor.


                       Tax and Regulatory Reform

  Now, on another matter, Mr. President, today marks another important

[[Page S3396]]

milestone in our efforts to cut back the forest of redtape the Obama 
administration left behind. Effective today, thanks to the leadership 
of Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC has rolled back meddlesome and 
unnecessary regulations that Democrats imposed on the internet back in 
2015.
  Let's put this whole effort into perspective. The Federal Register is 
the government's legal newspaper. Among other documents, it prints the 
regulations that Federal agencies enforce and the proposed rules on 
deck. In 2016, under President Obama, it had to print nearly 39,000 
pages of rules--an alltime high--and another 21,000 pages of proposed 
rules. That is 39,000 pages of rules and 21,000 pages of proposed rules 
in 2016. It is hard to wrap your mind around that--60,000 pages of 
rules and proposed rules to pile on American workers and job creators.
  We slashed those numbers in 2017. In that first year of our 
Republican government, the total number of Federal Register pages 
devoted to rules and proposed rules plummeted by more than 50 percent--
50 percent less in 2017 than in 2016. That is a significant slowdown in 
the Federal Government's redtape factory just in our first year. This 
is part of what we were elected to do--get Washington, DC's, foot off 
the brake and let hard-working Americans and small businesses spend 
less and less time and energy hurdling obstacles put up by the Federal 
Government.
  The regulatory reform comes on top of the historic tax reform 
legislation we passed last December. We overhauled our Nation's Tax 
Code and rewrote it so that businesses can expand, invest, and create 
jobs more easily and middle-class families can keep more of what they 
earn. This 180-degree policy turnaround is helping the U.S. economy 
rise to its highest heights in recent memory.
  Today, thanks in large part to tax reform and regulatory reform, more 
small businesses are saying that it is a better time to expand 
operations than at any point in the last 44 years--44 years. More 
businesses are saying that it is a better time to expand operations 
than at any point in the last 44 years. That represents a 25-
percentage-point leap in the number of Americans who say now is a good 
time to find a quality job. We have 3.8-percent unemployment--the 
lowest nationwide level in 18 years.
  The real roots of this good news aren't here in Washington. The 
Republicans understand that government does not create prosperity, but 
public policy plays a big part in determining whether the wind is 
blowing in the faces of the job creators or whether it is at their 
backs. On that front, the results of this Republican-opportunity agenda 
are literally speaking for themselves.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, this week the Senate continues its 
consideration of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act. 
Among important provisions related to our military readiness and 
operations abroad, the NDAA presents crucial opportunities to address 
other matters of national security.
  In addition to the critical improvements to CFIUS we must make in 
this bill, one of the most concerning issues is the decision by the 
Trump administration last week to reduce the harsh penalties previously 
imposed and then to provide relief to the Chinese telecom giant ZTE, 
lifting restrictions on the company and allowing it to continue to sell 
its products in the United States. ZTE was guilty of evading U.S. 
sanctions on Iran and North Korea and then lying to U.S. officials 
about it afterward.

  Asked about the decision to relax penalties, President Trump's trade 
adviser, Peter Navarro, said: ``It's going to be three strikes you're 
out on ZTE.'' Why are we giving ZTE three strikes? If you purposely 
evade U.S. sanctions and then lie about it, that is reason enough to 
bring the hammer down and leave it there. I have another expression for 
the Trump Administration: ``Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, 
shame on me.''
  It seems the administration was outmaneuvered by the Chinese on ZTE 
once again. Congress should reverse what the administration has done by 
reinstituting the hard penalties on ZTE, and we should do it on the 
NDAA bill that will be on the floor this week.
  You might ask: Why is this related to defense? This is the Defense 
bill.
  It is precisely related. Cyber security experts, national security 
experts, principal government agencies, the Republican-led FCC, the 
Republican-led FBI, and the Republican-led Pentagon have all deemed the 
sale of ZTE products in the United States a national security threat. 
Even if they hadn't violated sanctions and even if they hadn't lied 
about it, they shouldn't be here. This gives the Chinese Government--
which in many ways takes advantage of the United States militarily and 
economically and is spying on us by cyber warfare--a great opportunity 
to get right inside all of our communications.
  This is what Director Christopher Wray, appointed by President Trump, 
had to say:

       We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any 
     company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments . . 
     . to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications 
     networks. That provides the capacity to exert pressure or 
     control over our telecommunications infrastructure. It 
     provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal 
     information. And it provides the capacity to conduct 
     undetected espionage.

  ``Undetected espionage,'' the head of the FBI says, is what allowing 
ZTE in America will do. That is the Nation's chief law enforcement 
official--a Republican, appointed by President Trump--testifying that 
ZTE's technology is an espionage risk. What the heck are we doing 
cutting a deal with China--which is no friend of ours on economics and 
is stealing our jobs, stealing our intellectual property--letting them 
into the United States so they can have a window on hearing what our 
companies, our Defense Department, and everyone else are doing?
  Does that make any sense? I don't think so. That is why we have had 
bipartisan support and concern. I want to salute Senator Cornyn, 
Senator Rubio, and Senator Cotton. Their views and mine are not the 
same on a whole lot of issues, but on America's security and letting 
China spy on us, we are the same.
  I urge the Republican leader and the leaders of the bill to include a 
bipartisan amendment, offered by Senators Cotton and Van Hollen, to 
reverse the agreement made by the administration and prevent it from 
being able to provide ZTE relief for at least a year. We have to do 
this.
  God forbid that this country declines, and if they write a book on 
it, this will be one of the key points. We have a chance to stand up to 
China, to protect our national security, and to tell the Chinese that 
they can't keep taking advantage of us, and we are going to back off, 
for no stated good reason, because, clearly, Secretary Ross has said 
the deal he has put in is a good one. Forget about it. It is as weak as 
a wet noodle--fining them $1 billion. They don't care. They are backed 
by the Chinese Government. Putting some outside observers on the 
board--come on. They will not know what is going on because the Chinese 
Government controls just about all the big companies in China. So I 
hope we will stop this.


               Nominations of Thomas Farr and Ryan Bounds

  Mr. President, alongside the consideration of the NDAA, we are told 
that the majority intends to see the confirmation of more judicial 
nominations during this work period. In the next few weeks, the Senate 
is likely to take up two highly controversial nominees: Thomas Farr, 
for the Eastern District of North Carolina, and Ryan Bounds, for a 
Ninth Circuit seat in Oregon.
  Thomas Farr has spent a lengthy legal career defending the interests 
of corporations against workers. That seems to be a trademark of so 
many of the nominees of this administration and this Republican Senate. 
He has not once but twice defended the gerrymandering of congressional 
districts by North Carolina's Republicans, and probably worst of all, 
he defended North Carolina's restrictive voter ID law, which ``targeted 
African Americans with almost surgical precision.'' That is not some 
politician's words. Those are the judges of the Fourth Circuit Court of 
Appeals, a rather conservative court. For somebody to target African-
Americans and say, ``let's make

[[Page S3397]]

it less likely they vote and give them less power,'' is such a grand 
step backward in this country, no matter what State you come from--
North Carolina, New York, Oregon. And we are going put this guy on the 
bench? Shame on us. Shame on us.
  By the way, the only reason Farr can be considered for this 
nomination is that an Obama nominee, Jennifer May-Parker, was blocked 
for nearly 3 years via the blue slip. Our Republican friends used the 
blue slip and kept this seat vacant, and now they have undone the blue 
slip in an act of partisanship, narrowness, and enmity in this country, 
and now they are going to fill it with someone like Mr. Farr--again, 
shame.
  Like Mr. Farr, Mr. Bounds is also controversial. Recently, we learned 
that Mr. Bounds had some rather offensive writings that he failed to 
disclose to the bipartisan Judicial Advisory Committee established by 
Senators Wyden and Merkley. That certainly validates their decision to 
withhold the blue slip. Despite the opposition of both home State 
Senators, the majority is moving forward. In doing so, they will 
further erode the century-old blue slip tradition that they themselves 
used to block an unprecedented number of nominees when Obama was 
President.


                             Net Neutrality

  Mr. President, on another matter, the Republican-led FCC's repeal of 
net neutrality goes into effect today. The rules enacted by the Obama 
administration to bar large internet service providers from charging 
customers more for certain content are gone. The rules to bar large 
internet providers from slowing down certain websites are gone. The 
rules ensuring an open and free internet with a level playing field for 
small businesses, public schools, rural Americans, people without a lot 
of money, and communities of color are gone.
  Democrats tried to forestall this day by writing and then passing a 
CRA Act resolution through the Senate. It is bipartisan; some 
Republicans helped us. It couldn't have passed without them. Then, as a 
unified Senate caucus, Democrats sent a letter last week urging Speaker 
Ryan to schedule a vote, which I believe would have passed had it been 
put on the floor of the House of Representatives. Ryan refused to bring 
up the companion legislation to restore net neutrality. Once again, our 
Republican friends in the Senate, the House, and the administration 
have done it over and over, siding with the big, powerful special 
interests--in this case, internet service providers--over the average 
person, who is sort of powerless. How many of us rail against our cable 
bills? How many of us feel helpless when it comes to getting that cable 
bill? This increases the power of the same people.
  Do our Republican friends really want to do that? I guess so. Let me 
put it this way. By refusing to bring up the Senate-passed resolution 
to restore net neutrality, House Republican leaders gave a green light 
to the big internet service providers to charge middle-class Americans, 
small business owners, schools, rural Americans, poorer people, and 
communities of color more than they did before.
  With the exception of three brave Republicans in the Senate, it 
should be crystal clear to the American people that Republicans in 
Congress chose to protect special interests.


                               Healthcare

  Mr. President, finally, I wish to address a bit of news on 
healthcare. On Thursday evening, the Trump Administration made a 
startling announcement: It would no longer defend the constitutionality 
of protection for Americans with preexisting conditions. This decision 
is a shameful capstone in the Trump administration's yearlong 
sabotaging our Nation's healthcare system. It is the most dangerous, 
most potent example of sabotage to date, even as premium increases hit 
double digits in State after State because of Republican actions. If 
the Trump administration gets its way, our entire healthcare system 
will be thrown into chaos.
  A mom goes to a health insurance company: My daughter has cancer.
  We are not going to fund you.
  She goes to another one.
  We are not going to fund you.
  The mother suffered. The family suffered. Their child is agonizing, 
dying of cancer, and they can't get insurance now because the Trump 
administration is no longer saying that we are going to protect people 
who apply with preexisting conditions.
  What is going on here? What is going on? And our Republican friends 
do nothing. The one thing I can tell you is that healthcare is going to 
be the biggest issue in 2018. It is far more important to the vast 
majority of Americans than any other issue. It is far more important 
than the tax cut they get, because for most Americans whatever they got 
back in tax cuts--for many, many Americans, and my guess is most--is a 
lot less than the amount their premiums are increasing. It is a killer 
for small businesses and others who want to insure their workers.
  President Trump, when he ran, explicitly and repeatedly said that he 
was going to protect folks with preexisting conditions. He has once 
again undone what he has promised. He has dropped the ball on 
healthcare, letting middle-class Americans, average Americans, and 
working families pay an awful price.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. (Mrs. ERNST). The Senator from Massachusetts.


                             Net Neutrality

  Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, I wish to follow up on what the 
Democratic leader was making reference to with regard to net 
neutrality. Today is the day when net neutrality rules are gone, even 
though there is a way in which we, the Congress, can put them right 
back on the books. That is what happened in the Senate 3 weeks ago, 
when we voted 52 to 47 to put the net neutrality protections back on 
the books to ensure that they would be there for every American. As 
Senator Schumer was just pointing out, the ball is in the court of the 
House of Representatives--the Republican-controlled House of 
Representatives. We passed net neutrality in the Senate on a bipartisan 
basis.
  Senator Murkowski, Senator Collins, and Senator Kennedy of Louisiana 
voted for net neutrality. We know, as Senator Schumer just said, that 
if the vote was taken right now on net neutrality in the House of 
Representatives, it would win. We would be able to put those 
protections back on the books. Millions of people rose up throughout 
the last 6 months of last year, with 22 million of them contacting the 
FCC. Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC, ignored those 22 million 
people, and by a 3-to-2 vote on the Federal Communications Commission, 
they took net neutrality off of the books. In other words, they 
officially stripped consumers of the protections that have allowed our 
economy and our democracy to flourish. Now Americans will have to 
blindly trust their cable companies, their broadband companies, and 
their internet providers to protect them against discrimination. It is 
Big Cable's dream come true. They have already won at the FCC, but now 
the counterrevolution is underway. In the Senate, it has already 
happened.
  What we need to do now is to have the same level of energy with those 
millions of Americans who are targeting the House of Representatives 
and telling them that they want net neutrality, that they want 
nondiscrimination principles, that they want equal protection for the 
smallest voices, the smallest companies to be the law of the land--net 
neutrality. We need entrepreneurs; we need job creators, we need small 
businesses, which are the lifeblood of the American economy, to be 
protected against the natural tendency of the biggest corporations to 
pump up profits at the expense of the little guy. Yet you don't have to 
take my word for it.
  In looking back over recent history, before net neutrality 
protections were codified, in 2007, an Associated Press investigation 
found that Comcast was blocking or severely slowing down BitTorrent--a 
website that allowed consumers to share video, music, and video game 
files. From 2007 to 2009, AT&T forced Apple to block Skype and other 
competing services from using AT&T's wireless network in order to 
encourage users to purchase more voice minutes. In 2011, Verizon 
blocked Google Wallet to protect a competing service that it had a 
financial stake in developing and promoting.
  We all know it is just a matter of time before these big companies 
will

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start to exercise their unfettered right to begin discriminating. 
Historically, these powerful corporations protect themselves, and they 
neglect consumer issues; they prioritize profits; they disregard 
service; they pocket their profits, and everyday Americans lose.
  There will be no eulogy for net neutrality here on the floor of the 
Senate today. The FCC will not have the last word when it comes to net 
neutrality, but the American people will. We are going to have a 
tsunami of Americans who will contact their Members of the House of 
Representatives to demand that it have a vote on net neutrality in the 
same way we had that vote here on the Senate floor. We know that when 
that vote takes place that the American people are going to win, that 
net neutrality is going to win, that the principles of 
nondiscrimination are going to win.
  Too many people today think that this whole idea of discrimination is 
back in vogue--that you can start talking about it in a way that has 
not been a part of our culture for a generation. Yet it is back. In a 
lot of ways, net neutrality is part of that whole discussion of whether 
or not the American people get protected against discrimination.
  We have an enhanced urgency because the FCC's rules are now final, 
and net neutrality is no longer the law of the land. That is what 
happened today. The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, 
Ajit Pai, is taking his victory lap today. He is so proud of what has 
happened--that net neutrality has been taken off the books--despite 22 
million Americans saying they wanted it to stay on the books.
  Here is what we know. Consumers don't trust their cable and internet 
companies to do the right thing unless strict rules are in place to 
protect everyone in our country. We know that when you take a 
democratized platform with endless opportunity for communication and 
you add American ingenuity, you get economic growth; you get 
innovation; you get democracy online. That is what this fight is all 
about, and this fight is far from over. We are going to intensify our 
efforts to ensure that there is going to be a vote on the floor of the 
House of Representatives.
  Conventional wisdom thought that it was all over last December, that 
once the FCC voted 3 to 2, it was over. The FCC didn't in any way 
anticipate the 52-to-47 vote here on the Senate floor to reinstitute 
net neutrality just 3 weeks ago, and it is dramatically underestimating 
the response of Americans all across our country who are descending 
electronically on the House of Representatives--on the part of Congress 
that has yet to vote on these issues. We are going to see millions of 
teachers, students, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and activists 
mobilize to protect the internet. They have demonstrated on the 
streets. They have written letters. They have made calls. They have 
signed petitions. They have posted on social media. That is what we are 
going to continue to see.
  Already, 170 Members of the House of Representatives have signed the 
discharge petition, which is a technical term for saying: Call for a 
vote on the floor of the House of Representatives to vote on net 
neutrality. The momentum is building. They need 218. They have 170 
right now. They are 48 Members of the House of Representatives short of 
winning over there. The pressure is going to intensify every single 
day, especially since net neutrality has now been, as of this moment, 
taken off the books.
  By the way, this fight is being waged at the State level as well. In 
California, just 2 weeks ago, the State senate voted 25 to 12 to 
reinstitute net neutrality, and in New York, in Massachusetts, in 
Oregon, and in Washington--in State after State--they are rising. They 
are saying: If the Federal Government will not protect us, then we will 
protect ourselves.
  We know that influential lobbyists aren't going to go away, but the 
American people aren't going to go away either. This is their 
government. This is the place at which they expect their will to be 
respected. When net neutrality is taken off the books--an issue that 
polls at 86 percent of all Americans--the will of the American people 
is not being respected. There is nothing more powerful than the 
collective voices of millions of Americans who are working together 
with a common mission, and that is to restore net neutrality to the 
books. The campaign to restore the internet, to save the internet, 
enters a new phase today. The urgency has never been higher, but the 
intensity level across this country has never been higher. Today is not 
the day for a eulogy for net neutrality. The fight has just begun.
  We thank every Senator who has already voted for net neutrality, and 
we thank every American who has worked toward that goal. Now let us 
redouble our efforts, because we have to turn this into a campaign 
issue in 2018 that matches all of the other issues that are driving the 
agenda of our country.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. NELSON. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                 Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery Effort

  Mr. NELSON. Madam President, a recent study from Harvard suggested 
that the actual death toll in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane 
Maria could be as much as 70 times higher than what was previously 
reported. In fact, the study, which was released 2 weeks ago, suggests 
that the death toll could actually have been in a range from 800 all 
the way up to close to 8,000 deaths, and that is compared to the 
official FEMA count of 64.
  Recently, I was with the former Governor and now father of the 
present Governor, Pedro Rosello. He shared with me that a George 
Washington University study is underway to more accurately count the 
deaths resulting from the hurricane, but there is no reason why there 
should be such a discrepancy among U.S. citizens in these reports. The 
latest findings are just another stain on the Federal Government's 
overall response to the ongoing disaster in Puerto Rico, which has not 
been too stellar.
  The people of Puerto Rico are our fellow American citizens. They have 
a right to know exactly what happened on the island as a result of not 
just one massive storm but the second one which hit as well. They have 
a right to know exactly how many of their friends and neighbors lost 
their lives as a result of this disaster and exactly what the Federal 
Government is doing to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.
  That is why Senator Harris of California and I have introduced a bill 
to create a better way to track the number of deaths caused by a 
disaster. The legislation would require FEMA to work with the National 
Academy of Medicine to develop a new uniform system for local, State, 
and Federal officials across the country to more quickly and accurately 
determine the number of deaths by a disaster like Hurricane Maria. Not 
only will this bill help to provide some semblance of closure to the 
families affected by devastating events, but it will also ensure that 
the areas that are hardest hit by these disasters are getting all of 
the disaster assistance they are entitled to, including funeral 
assistance, which can help uninsured families afford the cost of 
burying their loved ones. This legislation that Senator Harris and I 
have filed is just one more step in our overall effort to help folks 
recover from the storms from last summer. I am urging my colleagues to 
work with us to get it done.
  The people of Puerto Rico aren't the only ones still working to 
recover from last year's storms. While we are now officially already in 
June in the midst of this year's hurricane season, there are still too 
many communities in Florida that have not received the hurricane 
recovery funds that Congress passed this past February--the hurricane 
disaster assistance appropriations. It is June and we passed it last 
February and it is still not out the door of the agencies. That is 122 
days ago, about 4 months. Folks are hurting. They would like to have 
the disaster assistance money we appropriated. For these communities, 
this is unbelievable. They are not just waiting for money from 
Hurricane Irma from last year, they are waiting for funds from

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Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew from 2 years ago.
  This Senator has repeatedly called on the administration to do more 
to expedite these funds for those who need it most by getting the funds 
to them. However, our calls and our requests go unheeded. We have 
fishermen and farmers whose livelihoods are being threatened, and their 
assistance is being slow-walked. Some may have to close up their 
businesses if they don't see relief soon.
  Specifically, communities in the Florida Keys were especially 
devastated. The eye of the hurricane went over about 19 miles up the 
chain from Key West. Those on the northeast quadrant of the storm got 
it the worst--around Big Pine Key. They are still waiting for some of 
their assistance that was due for that hurricane last year. There are 
homes that are still not repaired, and there are canals that are still 
full of debris.
  According to a recent article in the Miami Herald, only $600,000 in 
FEMA reimbursements has been deposited so far to Monroe County, which 
is in the Florida Keys. That is unacceptable. How are these communities 
expected to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season if they don't have 
the funds they were due from a year ago?
  I am again urging the Trump administration to see this as the 
emergency it truly is and finally release the funds to those who so 
desperately need them. These communities can't wait any longer. 
Congress has acted, and now it is time for the administration to do its 
part.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                       Nomination of Miki Bowman

  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, in my time in the Senate, I have tried 
hard to make certain that rural America--rural Kansas in particular but 
all of rural America--has an advocate and that we work hard to make 
certain that colleagues from across the country understand the 
important issues we face in small towns across Kansas and around the 
country.
  Today, I want to talk about an opportunity we have that I think will 
be most beneficial to those of us who come from places like the 
Presiding Officer and I do. I rise today to speak in support of Miki 
Bowman. She was nominated recently--she had a hearing in front of our 
Banking Committee--to be a member of the Federal Reserve Board of 
Governors. Tomorrow, our Banking Committee will consider her 
nomination. I want to make certain that my colleagues on the committee 
and certainly my colleagues here in the Senate understand how valuable 
Miki will be as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal 
Reserve Board and understand her qualifications.
  She is a native of a small town in Kansas. She is a native of Morris 
County in a beautiful part of our State. She received a degree from the 
University of Kansas as an undergrad and a law degree from Washburn 
University in Topeka. She is a rural American.
  Her talents brought her to Washington, DC. She served at the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and 
on the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure 
Committee and the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee as a 
staffer, as well as in the office of Senator Bob Dole, one of my 
predecessors in the Senate.
  Like many of the Kansans I have known who have come here to 
Washington, DC, to work over the years, she found her way back home to 
Kansas when she returned to her hometown and became the vice president 
of the Farmers & Drovers Bank in 2010. In 2017, Ms. Bowman became the 
State bank commissioner for our State, where she is currently 
responsible for overseeing hundreds of State chartered banks, trust 
companies, money transmitters, and other nondepository entities.
  Ms. Bowman is precisely the kind of person I envision to fill the 
community bank representative position on the Board of Governors. The 
Federal Reserve Act now requires--and we worked hard to make sure this 
was the case--that the President ``appoint at least one member with 
demonstrated primary experience working in or supervising community 
banks having less than $10 billion in total assets.'' Well, the Farmers 
& Drovers Bank in Council Grove, KS, is a $175 million bank--well below 
that $10 billion threshold. So Ms. Bowman not only qualifies by the 
criteria of the statute--she is a banker--but she is also a supervisor, 
as exemplified by her role now as our State banking commissioner.
  If those qualifications aren't enough, I have come to know Miki 
Bowman as a forthright, intelligent, quality individual with a 
demonstrated record of service to her State, her country, and to her 
community. Those of us who know what I call relationship bankers know 
how important their role is in a small town in Kansas and across the 
country. The perspective she brings to the table as a banker, as a 
regulator, as a public servant, as a mother, and as a community leader 
is exactly the kind of perspective I think our country and our economy 
need at the Federal Reserve Board.
  I look forward to voting to advance Ms. Bowman's nomination tomorrow 
morning in the Banking Committee. I urge all my colleagues to support 
her confirmation when she is considered by the full Senate in the near 
future.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.
  Mr. GARDNER. Madam President, as the eyes of the world are fixed on 
Singapore, I rise today to discuss another important development in our 
Nation's diplomatic efforts in the Indo-Pacific.
  Tomorrow, we will open a new chapter in the relationship between the 
United States and our longstanding friend and ally Taiwan by opening 
the new complex of the American Institute in Taiwan, or AIT, which 
serves as a de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan. You can see the ``Strong 
Foundation, Bright Future''--this incredible new facility in Taiwan to 
replace the existing facility we have. I am pleased that Marie Royce, 
the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, 
will attend the ceremony on behalf of the United States. Along with my 
colleagues, Senators Rubio, Inhofe, and Cornyn, I sent a letter and 
called for a Cabinet-level official to attend the ceremony as well. 
There are a lot of things going on in Asia on June 12.
  The opening of this state-of-the-art complex comes at a most 
opportune time as a demonstration of strong U.S. support for the people 
of Taiwan. I join my colleagues in Congress in welcoming this new 
facility and thanking the men and women of our Foreign Service in 
Taipei and around the world for their service to our Nation.
  The new AIT facility will cultivate the relationship between the 
United States and Taiwan and further demonstrate the commitment of the 
United States to bolster its friendship and commercial and defensive 
partnership with Taiwan.
  Today, I also announce that I will be introducing a resolution 
welcoming the new AIT complex. I encourage my colleagues to cosponsor 
this resolution to express our support and excitement for this new 
facility.
  Taiwan is a free, democratic, and prosperous nation of 23 million 
people and an important contributor to peace and stability around the 
world. In many ways, Taiwan should serve as the model for a free and 
open Indo-Pacific.
  The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which governs our unofficial 
relations with Taiwan, calls ``to preserve and promote extensive, 
close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between 
the people of the United States and the people of Taiwan.'' The Taiwan 
Relations Act also unequivocally states that it is the policy of the 
United States ``to resist any resort to force or other forms of 
coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic 
system, of the people on Taiwan.''
  Since the election of President Tsai in 2016, Taiwan has been under 
unrelenting pressure from Beijing in a shameful and dangerous effort to 
deprive Taiwan of international legitimacy and to undermine the fragile 
status quo between Beijing and Taipei. In the last month alone, Taiwan 
lost

[[Page S3400]]

two diplomatic allies--the Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso. Taipei 
has also once again been shut out of the World Health Assembly due to 
pressure from Beijing. Despite this decision, despite this treatment, 
Taiwan has nevertheless made a very generous donation of $1 million to 
the World Health Organization for Ebola-related relief efforts.
  It is time for the United States to aggressively push back against 
Beijing's effort to undermine a free Taiwan. Two weeks ago, I had an 
opportunity to visit Taipei and meet with President Tsai and personally 
thank her for her friendship and Taiwan's valuable contributions to 
global peace and stability. I think that friendship can be seen in this 
new AIT facility.

  I have also introduced two bipartisan bills in the Senate that will 
enhance U.S. relations with Taiwan and send a very strong message to 
Beijing that the United States will never--the United States will 
never--abandon our friends in Taipei.
  The first bill is the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, or ARIA, which 
is a bill that presents a new, comprehensive policy framework for U.S. 
policy toward the Indo-Pacific.
  We introduced ARIA on April 24, 2018, with a group of bipartisan 
cosponsors, including Senators Markey, Cardin, Rubio, and Young. 
Senators Sullivan and Perdue, with whom I traveled to the Shangri-La 
Dialogue in Singapore last week, have also joined in this effort.
  ARIA recognizes that Taiwan should be front and center in our Indo-
Pacific strategy. ARIA states that it is the policy of the United 
States to faithfully enforce all existing U.S. commitments to Taiwan, 
as enshrined in the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 and the six assurances 
offered by President Ronald Reagan in 1982.
  ARIA also authorizes the sale of advanced weapons, weapon parts, and 
upgrades to Taiwan, consistent with U.S. law, and urges the President 
to regularize the arms sales consultation process with Congress.
  Finally, it authorizes high-level military and diplomatic contacts 
with Taipei, consistent with the Taiwan Travel Act, which was signed 
into law by President Trump on March 16, 2018.
  Last week, the Wall Street Journal editorial board endorsed ARIA, 
including writing that the bill ``notably encourages regular weapons 
sales to Taipei.''
  I ask unanimous consent that the Wall Street Journal editorial, 
titled ``China's Military Escalation,'' dated June 4, 2018, be printed 
in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

              [From The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2018]

                      China's Military Escalation

                        (By The Editorial Board)

       While President Trump focuses on trade and North Korea, 
     China is aggressively building military outposts beyond its 
     borders in the South China Sea. Beijing wants to push 
     Washington out of the Indo-Pacific, and the Trump 
     Administration and Congress may finally be developing a 
     serious strategy to respond.
       Trillions of dollars of trade annually float through the 
     Indo-Pacific, which stretches from East Africa through East 
     Asia. In recent years China has built military bases on 
     artificial islands hundreds of miles from its shores, 
     ignoring international law and a 2016 ruling by a United 
     Nations tribunal.
       The buildup has accelerated in recent weeks, as China has 
     deployed antiship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and 
     electronic jammers on the Spratly islands and even nuclear-
     capable bombers on nearby Woody Island. This violates an 
     explicit promise that Chinese President Xi Jinping made to 
     Barack Obama in 2015 that ``China does not intend to pursue 
     militarization'' on the Spratlys.
       The next step could be deployed forces. At that point 
     ``China will be able to extend its influence thousands of 
     miles to the south and project power deep into Oceania,'' 
     Admiral Philip Davidson, who leads the U.S. Indo-Pacific 
     Command, said in April.
       In the face of China's buildup, the U.S. has shown uneven 
     commitment. Mr. Obama limited freedom-of-navigation patrols 
     to avoid a confrontation and never committed the resources to 
     make his ``pivot to Asia'' a reality. China saw Mr. Obama's 
     hesitation and kept advancing. The growing concern is that 
     China will begin to dictate the terms of navigation to the 
     world and coerce weaker neighboring countries to agree to its 
     foreign policy and trading goals.
       Defense Secretary Jim Mattis lately has been putting this 
     concern front and center. He recently rescinded an invitation 
     to the Chinese navy to participate in the multinational 
     Rimpac exercises off Hawaii this summer. And at the annual 
     Shangri-La security dialogue in Singapore this weekend, Mr. 
     Mattis said that ``the placement of these weapons systems is 
     tied directly to military use for the purposes of 
     intimidation and coercion.''
       He pointed to the Rimpac cancellation as a ``small 
     consequence'' of this behavior and said there could be 
     ``larger consequences,'' albeit unspecified, in the future.
       One such consequence could be more frequent and regular 
     freedom-of-navigation operations inside the 12-mile 
     territorial waters claimed by China. Joint operations with 
     allies would have an even greater deterrent effect, and the 
     U.S. should encourage others to join. Beijing will try to 
     punish any country that sails with the U.S., but that will 
     underscore the coercive nature of its plans.
       Believe it or not, Congress is also trying to help with the 
     bipartisan Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA). The Senate 
     bill affirms core American alliances with Australia, Japan 
     and South Korea, while calling for deeper military and 
     economic ties with India and Taiwan. It notably encourages 
     regular weapons sales to Taipei.
       The bill authorizes $1.5 billion a year over five years to 
     fund regular military exercises and improve defenses 
     throughout the region. It also funds the fight against 
     Southeast Asian terror groups, including Islamic State. This 
     will help, but more will be needed. This year's $61 billion 
     military spending increase was more backfill than buildup, 
     and China recently boosted its defense budget 8.1%.
       ARIA also tries to address Mr. Trump's major strategic 
     blunder of withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership 
     trade deal, which didn't include China. The Senate bill 
     grants the President power to negotiate new bilateral and 
     multilateral trade deals.
       It also calls for the export of liquefied natural gas to 
     the Indo-Pacific and authorizes the U.S. Trade Representative 
     to negotiate a deal with the Association of Southeast Asian 
     Nations (Asean). If the U.S. had a trade rep who believed in 
     trade, this could strengthen the U.S. relationship with 
     Vietnam and the Philippines--countries at odds with China 
     over its territorial claims and militarism.
       The bill is backed by Republicans Cory Gardner and Marco 
     Rubio and Democrats Ben Cardin and Ed Markey, which is a wide 
     ideological net. China's rise, and Mr. Xi's determination to 
     make China the dominant power in the Indo-Pacific, is a 
     generational challenge that will require an enduring, 
     bipartisan strategy and commitment. A firmer stand to deter 
     Chinese military expansionism is an essential start.
  Mr. GARDNER. On May 24, 2018, I also filed the Taiwan International 
Participation Act, or TIPA, with Senator Markey. This bipartisan effort 
establishes that it should be the policy of the United States to 
support Taiwan's participation in appropriate international 
organizations, to instruct U.S. representatives in international 
organizations to use the voice and vote of the United States to support 
Taiwan's inclusion in appropriate international organizations around 
the globe, and to direct the President and his representatives to raise 
Taiwan's participation in appropriate international organizations 
during relevant bilateral engagements with the government of the PRC.
  I call on my colleagues to support both of these important pieces of 
legislation, which are efforts to show our strong support for the 
people of Taiwan. There is much more we can do and we should do to 
enhance our relationship with Taiwan, and I call on the administration 
to undertake all efforts allowable under U.S. law to enhance our 
relationship with Taipei.
  The opening of this new facility tomorrow, this new AIT complex--in 
fact, just a few hours from now--is a great sign of friendship and 
commitment from the United States, and I congratulate all those who 
have made this possible.
  I know Senator Rubio is on the floor today to talk about this and the 
important support the United States continues to show for Taiwan, but I 
will finish on this before I yield the floor.
  In my conversation with President Tsai, I talked about how Taiwan is 
really a great leader from whom we should learn and recognize and value 
their leadership around the globe. I think the million-dollar 
contribution they made to combat Ebola issues is just one small signal 
that they have an important role to play on the world stage, and I hope 
our allies around the globe will continue to engage Taiwan, as 
appropriate, and make sure they have that strong international voice 
that they sometimes feel to be lacking today.
  I encourage my colleagues to stand up to support Taiwan. I 
congratulate AIT on this new facility and certainly look forward to 
engaging Taiwan even more as we move forward.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.

[[Page S3401]]

  

  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I want to start by thanking the Senator 
from Colorado, who has shown real leadership on the subcommittee that 
involves all of these matters regarding the Indo-Pacific region, and he 
is here on the floor to talk about a series of other measures that are 
in place.
  None of us here will be in Taipei tomorrow to attend the ceremony, 
but we all want to take this opportunity to applaud the opening of the 
American Institute in Taiwan and its new compound. This building will 
be so much more than just new office space. It will serve as a tangible 
symbol of the strong and enduring friendship between the United States 
and Taiwan, which is a democracy and is a strong ally of this country.
  Taiwan is not just an important economic and security partner. As I 
have said already, it is a very vibrant democracy. It has a prosperous 
free enterprise economy. Frankly, it is a shining example of what we 
hope the rest of the Indo-Pacific region will become and continue to 
be.
  The opening of this new office comes at a critical time when both the 
United States and Taiwan face major challenges that are posed by the 
Communist Party of China, which governs that country. Under the 
Communist Party, Beijing has increased its efforts to undermine and 
erode U.S. interests, even as it moves to isolate Taiwan on the 
international stage. For example, the Chinese Government has 
successfully blocked Taiwan's meaningful participation in many 
international organizations, such as the World Health Organization.
  Unfortunately, here in our own hemisphere, they have been successful 
in pressuring certain nations to cut their diplomatic ties with Taiwan 
and, instead, create new ones with Beijing.
  By the way, that is not Taiwan's position, but it is Beijing that 
makes you choose. You can either have relations with them or Taiwan--
but not with both.
  The latest, by the way, is the Dominican Republic, not far from our 
coast, where, in exchange for billions of dollars of assurances, they 
made that change. They will deny it, but you will see the billions 
coming in. These billions of dollars sound like a really good deal 
until you realize they bring their workers from China, and it is all a 
one-way street. It is all there to benefit China. Look around the world 
at all of the countries that have taken all of this money, 5 years, 3 
years later; they are terrible deals with terrible terms that are good 
for China but bad for the country that took the money. But in this 
particular case, they were successful, and they are going to continue 
to chip away at those countries. About a year before, Panama had cut 
their ties with Taiwan.
  What China has made very clear is that their intention is to continue 
to both pressure and entice--I say ``entice,'' but probably the right 
word is ``bribe''--additional countries to do the exact same thing. And 
they do it, as I said, with the promise of investments and loans.
  I encourage these countries and everyone who is listening and cares 
about these issues to go and look at the history of these loans, these 
enticements, and these investments. You will see how bad they 
ultimately are for the country that helps them. They all come with 
troubling strings attached.
  The Chinese Government, by the way, has even been successful in 
bullying American companies when it comes to Taiwan--or other topics, 
for that matter, that they deem too sensitive for the Communist Party. 
Perhaps the most recent, outrageous example is an American, working in 
America--not in China, in America--for an American company, Marriott 
Hotels, was fired from his job because he accidentally liked a tweet 
that said something about Taiwan and Tibet being independent of China.
  Imagine that you work for a company, and you go online. You 
accidentally retweet something--or like it--and you get fired because 
China goes to Marriott and says: We will cut you off from doing 
business if you don't get rid of this guy. They fired an American, in 
the United States. If you think the things China is doing are things 
that are happening halfway around the world with Taiwan--they are 
happening to Americans right here.
  A few weeks ago, one of the clothing stores put out a T-shirt, and on 
this T-shirt it had a map of China, but it didn't include Taiwan. They 
had to apologize for that and call back all of the T-shirts or they 
were going to get kicked out.
  An American airline, United Airlines, was told that unless they 
changed their website so that it no longer referred to Taiwan as an 
independent country, they would be punished.
  They are intimidating American businesses in the United States 
because of Taiwan and other issues the Communist Party finds 
unacceptable.
  For far too long this aggression has gone unchecked. China must not 
be allowed to continue to interfere any further in Taiwan's relations 
or standing with the rest of the world.
  Earlier this year, I, along with numerous colleagues, passed a law 
that the President has signed. It is called the Taiwan Travel Act. It 
encourages high-level visits between American officials and their 
Taiwanese counterparts. I hope the administration will move quickly to 
begin implementing this and send high-level officials, including 
Cabinet-level officials, to Taipei to meet with their counterparts 
there.
  Our friendship with Taiwan is based on our shared ideals and the 
common vision of an Asia that is prosperous, peaceful, and free. The 
United States must, should, and, I hope, will continue to stand by 
Taiwan, irrespective of any pressure that others, including the 
Communist Party of China, may bring to bear on this relationship.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, first of all, the comments that were made 
by my friend from Florida are right on target.
  I recall--actually, it was 30 years ago--a book that was written by 
Anthony Kubek called, ``Modernizing China.'' Everything he said at that 
time that was going to happen in the future has now happened with the 
leaders and the freedoms that China has never known. Then, when you go 
and see what is happening all around the world right now with China and 
in the South China Sea--they are building all of these islands down 
there. Our allies believe they are preparing for World War III, so that 
is really serious stuff.
  Anyway, we are going to be voting in a few minutes on moving forward 
on the bill that every year, arguably, is the most significant bill of 
the year. It has passed now for 57 consecutive years. We are anxious to 
get to the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act.
  It is our hope, as we consider the bill this week, that we can have 
an open amendment process, just as we did in the committee markup, 
where we considered 300 bipartisan amendments.
  I am joined here by Senator Reed, who is the ranking member of the 
Senate Armed Services Committee. We are all in agreement on a lot of 
things, one being an open amendment process. We want to make sure 
everyone has an opportunity to offer their amendments.
  Unfortunately, with the rules of the Senate, it is sometimes 
difficult because people can object to anything, and then everything 
stops. But on this bill, I can't imagine it is going to happen because 
of the significance of this bill.
  We can't overstate the significance of the NDAA legislation, which 
prioritizes modernizing our forces. There is widespread agreement that 
we need this legislation.
  Just look at some of the headlines. This weekend, the Washington Post 
had an article about how the Pentagon fears we aren't keeping pace with 
China and Russia in the area of hypersonic weapons. Hypersonic weapons 
are weapons that move at five times the speed of sound. We are actually 
behind both China and Russia in developing that capability.
  We could say the same thing about the triad nuclear progress. We have 
done virtually nothing in the last 10 years while we have watched China 
and Russia go beyond this. Of course, these are the things we are 
addressing.
  On Memorial Day, the Oklahoman discussed how China and Russia have 
artillery capabilities. Artillery capabilities are generally looked at 
in terms of rapid fire and range, and they are ahead of us in both of 
these areas.
  This idea that America has the best of everything is something that 
most

[[Page S3402]]

people believe, but we have fallen behind. We need not be critical of 
how we got behind. That is not important now. We know where we are, and 
we know we can start with this bill, and we are going to be having a 
motion to advance the bill.
  Let me say this. During the consideration of this bill in committee, 
we had well-attended meetings. We actually considered 300 amendments 
during the course of consideration in conference to bring it to the 
floor out of committee, and it passed unanimously, so it is something 
we worked on very closely together.
  Senator Jack Reed and I worked very closely, and we had very few 
disagreements. I think we both agree on this: We have to get the bill 
done, and we want to have an open amendment process. If, for some 
reason, there is a lot of objection to that, we will express ourselves, 
and, hopefully, we will be successful.
  With that, I thank Senator Reed not only for the cooperation we have 
had--not just from Senator Reed--but also for his leadership in the 
committee so that we could come to the point where we are today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Thank you, Mr. President. Let me also extend my thanks to 
the Senator from Oklahoma for his cooperation and leadership.
  As he indicated very accurately, on a bipartisan basis, we considered 
numerous amendments. We were virtually unanimous at the conclusion of 
the committee deliberations in terms of bringing this bill to the 
floor.
  His staff and the Democratic staff were working all weekend to 
prepare a package of amendments, which we think can be accepted 
unanimously as an initial step in the process, the managers' 
package. Then, like Senator Inhofe, I would like to see a process where 
we have a series of amendments from both sides, adequate time to debate 
the amendment, and then a vote on the amendment as we move forward. 
Then we are hoping to be able to do so in a very deliberate and 
thoughtful way, and reach, we hope, in a timely manner, a point where 
we have discussed the major concerns of all of our colleagues, voted on 
many of them, and then ask for final passage of a bill that is worthy 
of passage. Each year we have done so. This will begin to set us on a 
path to conference with the House of Representatives and then a final 
conference report here.

  Once again, I thank the Senator from Oklahoma and concur that we 
would like to see--and so far, his cooperation and his leadership has 
engendered cooperation so we can have a series of amendments on the 
floor.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, let me make one more comment because it is 
not very often we come with a really significant piece of legislation 
that everyone agrees on; that everyone agrees we have to have. There is 
no question about that. I would say this also has the support of not 
just me and Senator Reed but also the leadership in the minority and 
the majority in the Senate. The one thing everyone agrees on is an open 
amendment process.
  It is frustrating, and I ask my friend from Rhode Island if he agrees 
with this; that under the Senate rules, one person can really make it 
very difficult--in fact, one person can preclude us from having any 
votes on amendments just because that is the way the Senate works. Last 
week, we experienced that on Thursday. We wanted to advance the bill at 
that time and bring it forward, but we couldn't because of just one 
individual making a demand that his amendment be heard. So I am hoping 
we discourage people from doing that.
  I think Senator Reed would join me in encouraging our Members to 
bring their amendments down to start moving this forward before 
something happens that obstructs the progress we anticipate we are 
going to be enjoying.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I couldn't concur more with the Senator from 
Oklahoma. We have both, in our careers in the Senate, seen debates on 
the floor on the NDAA that were very open, that proceeded over the 
course of several days, and that produced very sound legislation. Then 
we have seen situations in which, frankly, no amendments could be 
offered because almost immediately we were in a position of deadlock. 
The majority leader, Republican or Democratic, filed the final cloture 
motion and suddenly we were on final passage without amendments.
  I think the bill is good. I think there are many important issues we 
can debate. We might disagree on the outcome of the vote, but that 
debate and that vote is very critical to the national security of the 
United States.
  So I do, in fact, concur with the Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, there are some issues where we are going 
to have a partisan difference. We already pretty much know where they 
are. There are going to be some controversial votes, and that is fine. 
That is the way this is supposed to be, and this is a good way to 
settle it.
  I recently came back from Afghanistan, Kuwait, and a lot of places 
where we have our troops. Let me say that if we don't go ahead and get 
this done--because we have already announced the bill being done as we 
speak--we have an awful lot of troops out there who are going to really 
wonder: Are we really supportive, offering our support to them, these 
guys and gals who are out risking their lives and doing the heavy 
lifting?
  So we are anxious to get started, and we will have the vote shortly. 
We will get on the bill. I would like to go ahead and start in on 
amendments so, hopefully, that will take place.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, through the Presiding Officer, I would 
like to talk to both of our leaders and thank them for the work they 
have done. I, too, look forward to having numbers of amendments.
  I think many people here are aware that I have an amendment that 
deals with the 232 tariff issue, and I know there is a lot of interest 
in that amendment. We actually have strong bipartisan support from a 
range of very respected Senators.
  There has been a blue slip issued that has been erased. I was asked 
by Senator Inhofe, as well as by Senator McConnell, to solve the blue-
slip issue. I just wanted Members to know we have talked to the 
Parliamentarian, and I plan to ask unanimous consent, after we vote to 
move to the bill, for a very short paragraph to be consented to that 
would then solve the blue-slip issue and then cause my amendment to be 
able to be heard without, in any way, tainting the bill should it move 
across the Senate floor to the House.
  I have given that language to the well. I know they are going to talk 
to Laura Dove and Gary a little bit about it. I just wanted to make you 
aware, as a courtesy, that I do plan, after we move to the bill, to ask 
unanimous consent on something that should be totally unobjectionable 
and that in no way prejudices my amendment in a favorable way; it just 
allows us to move to it without having the blue-slip issue that has 
been raised.
  Mr. INHOFE. Let me make one comment about this. First of all, I would 
say to the Senator from Tennessee how much I appreciate the courtesy he 
has expressed and the way he has dealt with it and talked about his 
interest. I think he and I actually had a disagreement on the content 
of one of his interests, but, nonetheless, we talked it over, and we 
had a chance to iron those things out. I do want to publicly thank you 
for not running in and objecting and making it difficult for us to get 
our jobs done.
  Mr. CORKER. Thank you.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  All time has expired.
  The question now occurs on agreeing to the motion to proceed.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Missouri (Mr. Blunt) and the Senator from Arizona (Mr. 
McCain).

[[Page S3403]]

  

  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Maryland (Mr. Cardin), 
the Senator from Illinois (Ms. Duckworth), and the Senator from New 
York (Mrs. Gillibrand) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 91, nays 4, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 120 Leg.]

                                YEAS--91

     Alexander
     Baldwin
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Boozman
     Brown
     Burr
     Cantwell
     Capito
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Coons
     Corker
     Cornyn
     Cortez Masto
     Cotton
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Donnelly
     Durbin
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Flake
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Harris
     Hassan
     Hatch
     Heinrich
     Heitkamp
     Heller
     Hirono
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Jones
     Kaine
     Kennedy
     King
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Leahy
     Lee
     Manchin
     Markey
     McCaskill
     McConnell
     Menendez
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Murphy
     Murray
     Nelson
     Perdue
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Risch
     Roberts
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Scott
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Warren
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--4

     Merkley
     Paul
     Sanders
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--5

     Blunt
     Cardin
     Duckworth
     Gillibrand
     McCain
  The motion was agreed to.

                          ____________________