(Senate - June 13, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 98 (Wednesday, June 13, 2018)]
[Pages S3866-S3899]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of H.R. 5515, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 5515) 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 


       Inhofe/McCain modified amendment No. 2282, in the nature of 
     a substitute.
       McConnell (for Toomey) amendment No. 2700 (to amendment No. 
     2282), to require congressional review of certain regulations 
     issued by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United 
       Reed/Warren amendment No. 2756 (to amendment No. 2700), to 
     require the authorization of appropriation of amounts for the 
     development of new or modified nuclear weapons.
       Lee amendment No. 2366 (to the language proposed to be 
     stricken by amendment No. 2282), to clarify that an 
     authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or 
     any similar authority does not authorize the detention 
     without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent 
     resident of the United States.
       Reed amendment No. 2842 (to amendment No. 2366), to require 
     the authorization of appropriation of amounts for the 
     development of new or modified nuclear weapons.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                            Suicide Epidemic

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise to address a public health issue 
that has left in its wake a trail of tragedy and shattered life. The 
suicide epidemic has touched all sectors of our society, but the 
problem is particularly acute among LGBT who have experienced bullying 
and discrimination at every turn. In the most devastating cases, these 
teenagers even face estrangement from their own families. That is why 
today, in honor of Pride Month, I wish to devote a significant portion 
of my remarks to them--my young friends in the LGBT community.
  The prevalence of suicide, especially among LGBT teens, is a serious 
problem that requires national attention. No one should ever feel less 
because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. LGBT youth 
deserve our unwavering love and support. They deserve our validation 
and the assurance that not only is there a place for them in this 
society but that it is far better off because of them.
  These young people need us, and we desperately need them. We need 
their light to illuminate the richness and diversity of God's 
creations. We need the grace, beauty, and brilliance they bring to the 
world. That is why, as we commemorate Pride Month, my message today is 
one of love for my LGBT brothers and sisters. It is also a call for 
action to Americans of all political stripes.
  Regardless of where you stand on the cultural issues of the day--
whether you are a religious conservative, a secular liberal, or 
somewhere in between--we all have a special duty to each other. That 
duty is to treat one another with dignity and respect. It is not simply 
to tolerate but to love.
  The first tenet of my faith is to love one another. The same Man who 
taught this principle also lived it by His example. In an era 
characterized by rigid social divisions, He broke down barriers propped 
up by centuries of tradition and cultural belief. In His teachings, He 
made no distinction between man or woman, Jew or Gentile, sinner or 
saint but invited all to come to Him--all. He saw beyond the arbitrary 
differences of group identity to the inherent worth of the individual. 
He taught that we were all equal because we are all children of the 
same God and partakers of the same human condition. This Man loved 
radically, and He challenged all of us to do the same.
  If there were ever a time to show our LGBT friends just how much we 
love them, it is now. In a world where millions suffer in silence, we 
owe it to each other to love loudly. That is why I am a strong 
supporter of Utah's Love Loud Festival, among many other efforts to 
combat suicide and improve mental health in the LGBT community, which 
is afflicted by these problems. These young men and women deserve to 
feel loved, cared for, and accepted for who they are. I don't think 
they chose to be who they are. They are born to be who they are, and we 
ought to understand that. They deserve to know they belong and that our 
society is stronger because of them.
  Ensuring that our LGBT friends feel loved and accepted is not a 
political issue; we all have a stake in this. We all have family or 
loved ones who have felt marginalized in one way or another because of 
gender identity or sexual orientation, and we need to be there for 
  On a much broader scale, we need to be there for anyone struggling 
with feelings of isolation, especially those experiencing suicidal 
thoughts. By no means is suicide a problem exclusive to the LGBT 
community. In one way or another, this public health crisis has 
affected all Americans, regardless of color, class, or creed.
  Over the last two decades, the suicide epidemic has taken tens of 
thousands of lives, with suicide rates rising by as much as 30 percent 
across the country. The severity of this public health crisis was 
thrown into sharp relief last week with the tragic deaths of Kate Spade 
and Anthony Bourdain.
  In my home State of Utah, the statistics are particularly alarming. 
Every 14 hours, a Utahn dies by suicide, resulting in an average of 630 
deaths each year. The problem is so acute that Utah now has the fifth 
highest suicide rate in the Nation.
  In addressing this topic today, my heart is both heavy and hopeful--

[[Page S3867]]

because suicide has already taken so many lives; hopeful because I 
believe we are on the cusp of a major legislative breakthrough that 
could turn the tide in the campaign against this epidemic.
  As some of you may recall, I joined Senator Joe Donnelly last year in 
introducing the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act--a bipartisan 
proposal that makes it easier for Americans of all ages to get the help 
and treatment they need when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
  Our bill requires the FCC to recommend an easy-to-remember, three-
digit number for the national suicide prevention hotline. I believe 
that by making the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline system more 
user-friendly and accessible, we can save thousands of lives by helping 
people find the help they need when they need it most.
  The Senate passed our bill with overwhelming bipartisan support in 
November. Now it is time for the House to do its part. While I am 
pleased to learn that our legislation is slowly making its way through 
the House committee process, I call today for more urgent action. Every 
minute we wait, we leave hundreds of Americans helpless who are 
struggling with suicidal thoughts. There are literally lives on the 
line here, and leaving them on hold is not an option. That is why I 
call on my colleagues in the House to pass, without further delay, our 
suicide hotline bill. By doing so, we can prevent countless tragedies 
and can help thousands of men and women get the help they so 
desperately need.
  Before I conclude, I wish to express my heartfelt belief that we can 
win the battle against suicide, but I would also remind my colleagues 
that no amount of legislation can fix this problem. No public policy is 
a panacea for an issue as deep and intractable as the suicide epidemic.
  Beyond legislation, however, there are steps we can take to create a 
society that is kinder, more civil and understanding--a society, in 
other words, where suicide is less of a problem. It doesn't take a 
social scientist to tell you that the coarsening of our culture has 
negatively affected our communities. As the political discourse breaks 
down, so, too, do the social ties that bind us together. The gradual 
dissolution of civil society has led to unprecedented levels of 
loneliness, depression, and despair. In this sense, suicide is merely a 
symptom of a much larger problem.
  Yet, even though there is hopelessness, there is still reason to 
hope. I firmly believe that by restoring civility to its proper place 
in our society, we can fight the despair that has seized hold of so 
many. Civility starts with the words we use. Whether in person or 
online, we can be softer in our language, kinder in our actions, and 
stronger in our love. We can combat coarseness with compassion and 
choose empathy instead of anger.
  On an individual level, reclaiming civility entails a fundamental 
shift in how we view our political opponents. No longer should we see 
each other as adversaries in a zero-sum game but as allies in 
preserving the American experiment for future generations.
  Restoring civility and respect to the public square cannot be 
achieved through legislation; ultimately, this is a change that must 
take place in the heart of every American. Here in the Senate, we can 
lead by example, which is why I urge all of my colleagues to join me 
today in recommitting to civility and working to bring people together 
to help solve these very serious problems that are keeping us apart and 
hurting our society. There are people out there who really suffer, who 
don't choose to be the way they are, and we have to be intelligent 
enough and compassionate enough to help them. So I hope that we will, 
and I hope that our wonderful country will take these things to heart.
  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. 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. MORAN. Mr. President, I want to talk about a couple of issues 
that are wrapped up in the NDAA.
  First of all, there is a National Guard issue.
  As we all know, the men and women who serve our Nation in the Armed 
Forces are among the absolute best of us, and I thank the Presiding 
Officer for his service. When the Presiding Officer and his fellow 
citizens volunteered to serve, they did so by committing themselves to 
defending our families, our Nation, and our way of life. Through their 
service and sacrifice, they earn our respect and our honor. As a 
grateful nation, we strive to demonstrate that respect to them. 
Certainly, we should demonstrate our appreciation for our military on 
Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but, every day, we understand that we 
can never truly repay the sacrifice that many Americans have made--the 
ultimate sacrifice.
  One of the customary and powerful demonstrations is when we pay our 
respects through a display of military honors during a servicemember's 
funeral. These honors include an honor detail that presents an American 
flag to the deceased's family and includes a bugler, who ceremoniously 
plays ``Taps'' and puts a lump in everyone's throat and tears in our 
eyes. Unfortunately, an Army audit found that in 2014, 88 deserving 
veterans' funerals did not receive those military honors as they should 
have. One service without its deserved honors is one too many.
  Even more disappointing, based upon a recommendation from that audit, 
we learned that the National Guard Bureau has a plan now to eliminate 
in eight States the coordinator position for the military funeral 
honors. The National Guard Bureau is claiming a marginal cost savings 
as the excuse to eliminate these coordinator positions; however, a cost 
savings is an unacceptable justification, especially if losing these 
positions leads to more servicemembers not receiving military honors as 
our final demonstration of respect for their service.
  The coordinator position is a vital link between the military and the 
veteran's surviving family. The coordinator's primary responsibility is 
to determine the eligibility and appropriate honors for deceased 
veterans. The coordinator also trains servicemembers who perform 
military honors, coordinates with units and veterans service 
organizations within the State, and provides immediate attention to 
families who are in need of assistance.
  Common sense would tell one that if military honors are not being 
rendered when they should be, as this audit found, the NGB--the 
National Guard Bureau--should do everything possible to make certain to 
reverse that terrible outcome. Instead, it is seeking to eliminate the 
positions that are responsible for handling the care and coordination 
of military honors.
  Even if the National Guard Bureau reverses course, the Military 
Honors Program deserves protection and preservation for all of those 
who served. Therefore, I draw attention to an amendment I have offered 
in this year's NDAA. Amendment No. 2575 would protect the Military 
Funeral Honors Program in the Army National Guard. This is a bipartisan 
amendment that has been cosponsored by Senators Manchin, Crapo, and 
Capito. If passed, my amendment would ensure that each State would 
maintain at least one military funeral honors coordinator, which we 
hope would reduce the chances of these honors being skipped in the 
  I urge my colleagues and the committee to support amendment No. 2575 
for inclusion in the managers' package and allow this amendment to move 
swiftly in the Senate to help fulfill our promises to our veterans and 
make certain they receive the appropriate honors they will have earned 
at the time of their passings.
  Another of my amendments, amendment No. 2269--a topic about which I 
spoke last week--improves upon the Army's force structure stationing 
process. It has been sponsored by Senator Roberts as well as by Senator 
Gillibrand and the minority leader, the Democratic leader, Senator 
Schumer from New York.
  Again, I express my appreciation to the Senate Armed Services 
Committee for its diligence in authorizing appropriations for our Armed 
Forces in a thoughtful and deliberative manner. This amendment attempts 
to take the

[[Page S3868]]

same approach that the Armed Services Committee is taking today--
deliberate. We want the Army to perform in a diligent way its internal 
process on force structure, to thoughtfully deliberate how and where it 
makes smart investments. That includes the stationing decisions about 
soldiers and families, which will have an impact on cost for decades to 
come. Simply put, the intent of amendment No. 2269 is to increase the 
rigor, transparency, and congressional oversight of the Army's 
stationing process regarding changes or growth in force structure.
  Both the Department of Defense and the Army are experiencing a much 
needed period of growth. Our Armed Forces are modernizing and 
increasing their readiness to be in a position to deter, confront, and 
defeat potential adversaries in environments that are more complex and 
more volatile than we have experienced in recent history.
  After months of speaking on this topic to Army leaders, such as 
Secretary Esper, General Milley, and General Abrams, I am convinced 
that the Army's most senior leaders agree that its current process 
needs improvement to become more accurate and comprehensive.
  As the Army grows and modernizes, more stationing decisions will be 
made in the future, and the Army ought not miss the opportunity to 
conduct due diligence in all of their decisions and invest wisely to 
pay down the costs in the future. With the Army's focus on reform, 
transparency, and using every dollar wisely, I believe this amendment 
No. 2269 helps the Army maximize the value of every dollar, operate 
transparently with Congress, and wisely use resources entrusted to them 
by the taxpayer. Once again, my amendment seeks to codify the 
transparency they are seeking and updates to the Army's stationing 
process that will ensure the Army is making better, more cost-
effective, long-term decisions.
  The instructions to the Army in this amendment have already been 
prescribed by the GAO, and the Army's own regulations are based on Army 
testimony and correspondence where it is made clear that the Army wants 
to improve their process. For example, with regard to how contiguous 
and noncontiguous Army training areas are measured, General Milley 
testified before the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, of 
which I am a Member, and said: ``It is my belief that they are rated 
differently . . . because it seems to pass a common sense test,'' given 
the geographically distant nature of the training areas off post. The 
fact that the Army's analysis currently considers these training areas 
as one in the same eluded many of the Army's senior leaders when we 
first began this process.
  In addition, this amendment codifies Secretary Esper's February 23, 
2018, commitment to improving the quality of life for soldiers and 
their families by considering ``community schools around the 
installations and the professional licensure reciprocity'' in future 
stationing decisions.
  The Army has not incorporated information regarding tax credits, 
license reciprocity, education, and employment in their basing, so this 
amendment follows through on the Secretary's intent and guidance to 
address these factors that are critically important to soldiers and 
their families. The addition of this amendment in the criteria would 
encourage States to further support military men, women, and their 
  It is a recruitment and retention factor. We say the Army recruits 
individuals but retains families. The quality of life families 
experience when they move from installation to installation is 
paramount to each soldier's personal decision to continue serving. Our 
intent with this amendment is to support the Army in making decisions 
based on fair, open, and comprehensive data, particularly long-term 
cost factors that will help the Army save in future years. Those 
savings can be put toward training, supporting soldiers and their 
families, sustaining our weapons, and increasing the Army's readiness 
and lethality.
  I ask for support on amendment No. 2269. I am convinced these changes 
will make certain the Army's stationing process is transparent and will 
help the Army maximize the value of every dollar, while operating more 
transparently, communicating with Congress, and more wisely using 
resources entrusted by the American taxpayer. This will pay off in the 
long term for the Army, their families, and for the taxpayers.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). The Senator from Connecticut.

                              Gun Violence

  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, I come to the floor to mark a very 
unfortunate date. We are recognizing the 2-year anniversary of the 
shooting at Pulse nightclub on June 12, and on Sunday, June 17, we are 
going to mark the 3-year anniversary of the shooting at a church in 
Charleston. The killer in Charleston murdered nine people attending a 
Bible study. The killer in Orlando murdered 49 people who were at a 
  I just came from my office meeting with one of the survivors of the 
Pulse nightclub shooting.
  About 93 people are killed every day from guns. That is a mixture of 
suicides, homicides, and accidental shootings. That means that in the 
731 days since the Pulse nightclub shooting, we have had somewhere 
around 70,000 people killed by guns in this country. That is a 
statistic that has no comparison anywhere else in the world. In the 
United States, we have about 20 times the number of people on a per 
capita basis who are being killed by a gun than the average OECD 
competitor nation. Something is going on here that is different than 
what is happening anywhere else.
  As my colleagues know, I try to come to the floor every few weeks to 
talk about who these victims are to give a sense about the lives that 
are cut short, all the promise that is erased from this Earth 93 times 
every single day because of what is happening inside the epidemic of 
gun violence and to try to relate to people how furious this mounting 
cavalcade of those left behind is by our inaction. Remember, we have 
done virtually nothing meaningful since the tragedy in my State at 
Sandy Hook, and thus the slaughter continues.
  Melvin Graham's sister, Cynthia Graham Hurd, was murdered in 
Charleston in that shooting. Earlier this year, he talked about how 
angry he is that Congress has done nothing meaningful to try to affect 
the reality of gun violence in this Nation. He said:

       You would think that this would be the time. Each time 
     something happens, you think, this is the time we're going to 
     get some action, some movement, some unity in Washington to 
     do something. . . . And each time they have let me down, they 
     have failed me. They've shown me . . . that they simply do 
     not care.

  On the evening of June 17, 2015, Dylan Roof walked into the Emanuel 
African Methodist Episcopal Church and killed nine people. He had a 
criminal record and shouldn't have had a gun, but because of a loophole 
in the background checks law that allows for a gun seller to transfer 
weapons to someone if the background check takes a long time, Roof was 
able to get a weapon, immediately go to this church, and kill nine 
people. The reality is, FBI data indicates that over the last 5 years, 
15,000 people have been sold weapons who shouldn't have gotten weapons 
under this loophole. That means 15,000 people are walking around the 
United States today with firearms who have criminal records because 
their background check took 3 or 4 or 5 days. The reason background 
checks take a long time--most of them take about 10 minutes--is some 
people have complicated criminal histories, like Dylan Roof did. So it 
simply belies commonsense to say you are going to give a gun to 
somebody simply because they have a complicated criminal background and 
it takes a few days to sort out. This is an example of a crime that may 
not have been committed had our laws been different.
  Until October of 2017, the Pulse nightclub shooting, which happened 
on June 12, 2 years ago, was the deadliest in U.S. history. These 
massacres that reach that tragic landmark of being the worst in U.S. 
history don't last for long, given the increasing pace of gun homicides 
in this country. This was an individual who was known to law 
enforcement, who had been in the system because of activity on line 
with respect to his connection with terrorist groups. Had we had a 
comprehensive no-fly ban in this country that gives the Attorney 
General the power to put people who are having conversations with 

[[Page S3869]]

groups on the list of those who can't buy guns, it is also very 
possible that Omar Mateen, the shooter in this case, would never have 
been able to buy a gun, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. This 
is another example of our laws being inadequate to meet the moment.
  Unfortunately, this country tends to only pay attention to the issue 
of gun violence when these mass shootings happen. They are truly soul-
crushing, community-changing events. Newtown, CT, is never ever going 
to recover from what happened there.
  Every single day, whether or not we see something scrolled across the 
bottom of our cable news screen about a shooting, there are still 
upward of almost 100 people dying every single day--people such as 
Malachi Fryer, who was 6 years old when he walked into a room where a 
handgun was left unattended on a table. He took the gun back into his 
bedroom to play with it, and he accidentally shot himself. He was 6 
years old, and he had just finished first grade in Elizabethtown, KY.
  His school principal said:

       Malachi was special in many ways. He had a smile that 
     warmed your heart, a contagious laugh and a positive 
     attitude. He was a little comedian and the classroom was his 
     stage. He loved people and he didn't meet a stranger. 
     Basketball was his pleasure and joy. Our hearts are heavy 
     because a piece of our New Highland family is gone.

  Age 6, Malachi is one of the victims of the many accidental shootings 
that happen in this country.
  In my State, Antonio Robinson was recently ready to graduate from 
Stamford Academy. He was a former cocaptain of the Stamford High School 
football team. He was standing in an overpass, and he was shot to 
death. His sister said: He never bothered anybody, so he never thought 
he had to dodge or hide from bullets. He was on his cell phone standing 
at an overpass. He wasn't even aware he was about to be shot.
  His former coach and sixth grade teacher said:

       He wasn't the biggest kid out there [on the basketball 
     court], but he played with a lot of heart and soul. He gave 
     it everything he got.

  Another one of his football coaches said that he was ``very 
respectful.'' He was just an ``awesome, awesome kid,'' just 18 years 
old. Antonio Robinson is gone.
  Ryan Dela Cruz was 17 years old, from Seattle, WA. He was a senior at 
Franklin High School. He dreamed of a career in the Marine Corps. He 
and his friends went to a local park one recent Friday night. They 
encountered another group, words were exchanged, and shots were fired. 
Ryan Dela Cruz isn't living any longer.
  He was described by his high school principal as ``a sweet, 
thoughtful, inquisitive, and compassionate young man. . . . He was 
determined to commit his life to the service of others.''
  His father didn't want him to go into the Marines. His father was 
worried about the safety of his son, but, increasingly, you couldn't 
change Ryan's mind. He was committed to serve this country. What Ryan 
said to his father sticks with his dad. When he raised the issue of 
Ryan's safety, Ryan said to his father:

       Papa, wherever you are, it's God's will. If you die, you 

  Ryan Dela Cruz died at age 17.
  Bob Stone was 64 years old when he died. From South Beloit, IL, he 
was a community pillar, longtime member of the city council, 
commissioner of the police and fire department. He and his wife Rebecca 
were known throughout the community because they had put together a 
festival every year in town. They were the organizers. It started with 
Rebecca's parents back in 2006, and they kept it up, something to bring 
the community together.
  This story is particularly hard to hear because it is a murder-
suicide involving his son Vito. The two of them were in a tent in the 
backyard. They were spending the night with Vito's two young children. 
Something happened inside that tent. Vito shot his father and then shot 
himself. Luckily, the children were unharmed, but for the rest of their 
lives, they are going to have to deal with the unspeakable, 
indescribable trauma of that murder-suicide that took the lives of 
their father and grandfather right in front of their eyes.
  The young woman I met with today has gone through one of these 
traumas herself, having survived the Pulse shooting from 2 years ago, 
and speaks about that same kind of trauma.
  Her life has been fundamentally changed from that day. Relations with 
her family members have been ruptured. She lost her cousin inside the 
nightclub that evening. It is a reminder. Researchers tell us every 
time 1 person is shot, there are likely 20 other people who experience 
some kind of trauma from that 1 shooting. Take the average of 93 people 
every single day and multiply that times 20, and that will give us a 
sense of just over a 24-hour period the catastrophe that happens in 
families and communities across the country because of gun violence.
  Well, today I will not go into the details about all the things we 
can do to solve this, but I will share a statistic I came upon the 
other day. My head is full of statistics, trying to explain what is 
happening when I come to the floor to tell the stories of these 
  Here is an interesting one. I heard some of my friends say to me: 
Well, America is just a more violent place. Sure, we have more guns 
than other places have, but there are a lot of things happening in the 
United States, different cultures living side by side, people with 
different backgrounds, which may lead to more episodes of violence.
  Here is a really interesting statistic. Let's go back to the OECD 
countries, which are what you consider to be the most advanced 20 or so 
countries in the world. If you look at rates of gun violence, the chart 
tells only one story. The United States has a rate of gun violence of 
about 10 people per 100,000 in terms of gun deaths, and there is no 
comparison. The next highest country is Finland, which has a rate of 
about 3 per 100,000. The average country is down around 1 per 100,000. 
We are talking about a rate that is 10 times higher in this country 
than other countries.
  Let's go to another measure of violence because some people will say 
we are just a more violent country. That actually is not true. We are 
actually, by other measures, a less violent country than all the rest 
of these.
  Let's take another measure of violence. Let's take a look at 
assaults. There is a statistic that measures reported assaults in these 
same countries. When you look at reported assaults, the United States 
is actually almost last. We aren't the country with the most assaults; 
we are close to the country with the lowest number of assaults. Belgium 
has more; Israel has more; Portugal has more, as does Sweden, France, 
Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Austria, 
Norway, Ireland, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, and the 
United Kingdom. Only Japan and Canada report fewer assaults per person 
per capita than the United States.
  So it is not that we are a more violent nation. It is that we are, in 
particular, a nation plagued by one type of violence--gun violence, 
which tends, of course, to be the most lethal kind, the kind that comes 
with the greatest degree of cascading trauma.
  I know we have important business to do today with respect to the 
Defense authorization bill. I and my State have important equities in 
that bill that I hope to advance, but I still think it is worthwhile 
every now and again to come to the floor and remind my colleagues that 
even if they don't read about an episode of mass violence today, there 
will still be nearly 100 people who lose their lives. It is an epidemic 
that happens only here in the United States and is not explained by the 
United States being a more violent nation in general. It is simply 
explained by a nation that has more guns per capita and a Congress that 
is unwilling to make sure that only the right people get their hands on 
those weapons.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I am honored to follow my colleague 
from Connecticut on a topic that has bedeviled and baffled us together 
almost since the time we became Senators. It is a topic that is 
heartrending and gut-wrenching for both of us.
  I thank him for his leadership and partnership in this effort.
  Mr. President, we are here on the 2-year anniversary of the tragic 

[[Page S3870]]

nightclub attack. On June 12, 2016, a man armed with an assault rifle 
and a pistol, with hatred in his heart, stormed the Pulse nightclub and 
murdered 49 people. This man turned a safe haven, a place of joy and 
celebration, into an unimaginable nightmare.
  On that day, and on so many other days--in fact, virtually every 
day--all of us who lived through the Sandy Hook massacre firsthand 
relived the terrible tragedy of that day in our State.
  Tonight, coincidentally, Sandy Hook Promise, a group that was formed 
in the wake of that tragedy and has done so much good work around the 
country to make our Nation safer, is having its annual dinner. I will 
be attending and speaking there with many who were involved in seeking 
to make sense of that tragedy and accomplish specific, tangible, 
commonsense measures since then.
  The Orlando nightclub attack remains the deadliest incident of 
violence against LGBT people in our Nation's history. We ought to take 
particular time today to commemorate this national tragedy. We also 
should think about the epidemic of gun violence, like Sandy Hook, and 
hate crimes generally across the country--which may not involve gun 
violence--that plague our Nation daily, the greatest Nation in the 
history of the world. This scourge of hate crimes and gun violence--
often the two go together--is a continuing plague.
  In an average year, more than 10,300 hate crimes that are committed 
involve a firearm. That is more than 28 every single day.
  Meanwhile, the FBI tells us that for the second year in a row, hate 
crime offenses are on the rise in this country, an increase of 6.3 
percent from 2015 to 2016, and that increase itself follows a 7-percent 
increase from 2014 to 2015. These statistics are stunning. They are 
particularly sad, given the underreporting of hate crimes. We know that 
many hate crimes are never reported because of embarrassment and fear 
of retaliation. The real incidence of bias-motivated crimes is likely 
much higher than even these intolerable numbers tell.
  We know that LGBT people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes 
than any other minority group. I am heartbroken to report that LGBT 
people are introduced to these instances of violence at a very young 
age. There is no preparing children for it.
  The youth experience of this kind of bias, bigotry, and hatred is 
extraordinarily high, and it often is manifested in violence and 
physical harassment in school. Students report being severely beaten 
and robbed by their peers. One young man recounted being beaten, driven 
5 miles out of town, stripped naked, and left to walk home alone.
  When we hear these stories, we should not be surprised that more than 
half of LGBT youth feel unsafe in their schools. We should not be 
surprised, but we should be outraged. We should be angry that this kind 
of bias, bigotry, and harassment continues to affect LGBT people. In 
this great Nation, it is intolerable. Schools should be places where 
young people learn, grow, and build friendships, free of fear of being 
assaulted by their peers and becoming the next victim of this 
unspeakable crime.
  Apart from the bias, bigotry, and hate crimes that are the result of 
this kind of unacceptable precedent, gun violence continues to plague 
our schools, as well as churches, theaters, and other public places. 
But the plague of gun violence is not only in the mass shootings, which 
attract the most attention. It is the one-by-one or smaller groups that 
account for the 96 deaths every day and 30,000 deaths every year.
  These numbers have become so familiar as to be banal. The banality of 
this evil is itself an insidious disease. It eats away at the moral 
core of our country. It continues to make us a lesser nation.
  Our failure to act makes this Chamber complicit in those deaths. This 
body cannot avoid its moral culpability for those deaths. The Senate of 
the United States and the entire Congress are, in effect, aiding and 
abetting this epidemic of gun violence, which is probably the most 
deadly public health crisis that plagues our Nation right now.
  Imagine if a communicable disease, say Ebola, took 90 lives every 
day. There would be marches in the streets and demonstrations. The 
country would react, but it has become so inured to this public health 
epidemic of gun violence that there is no reaction unless there is a 
massive incident like the Parkland High School shooting.
  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School became a turning point for this 
country on gun violence. When young people demonstrate, march, hold 
vigils, and walk out of schools--in Ridgefield, I attended one of those 
walkouts, a profoundly moving and important event. I believe these 
events can provide a turning point that will move this country into a 
new social change era, a new movement of social change comparable to 
the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement and marriage 
equality and women's healthcare, a movement that can truly transform 
this Nation, raise its consciousness, but also elicit action.
  We need not only more words and rhetoric and speeches but also action 
on the commonsense measures that this body has failed to enact: 
background checks applied to all gun purchases; tightening the 
information that goes into the database used in those background 
checks, even beyond the Fix NICS bill that was a minor change adopted 
earlier this year; a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips; a 
closing of the 72-hour loophole involved in the background check system 
for purchases of a gun; and, of course, the hate crimes or red flag 
statute that enables police and family to go to a court to seek a 
warrant to make sure that someone who is dangerous to himself or others 
will not be permitted to buy or possess these weapons.
  These commonsense reforms have been before us for years, and since 
Sandy Hook, nothing has changed. This body has been inert and 
reprehensibly unresponsive. We know these measures work. We know from 
Connecticut's experience that they reduce crime and homicides. We know 
from our State's adoption of these reforms that we can lessen the 
number of shootings, as well as deaths and injury. We know what doesn't 
work: arming teachers in school, a proposal rejected by the law 
enforcement community, by the education community, and by ordinary 
citizens in communities around the country.
  Connecticut has shown by our experience that these commonsense, 
sensible measures do work, but they cannot protect Connecticut citizens 
alone because our borders are porous.
  Even a State like Connecticut, with the strongest gun laws in the 
country, is at the mercy of States with the weakest because guns are 
trafficked across State borders. So we need national standards and 
national laws that will protect us in Connecticut and all around the 
country who are at risk.
  The new social change movement, powered and fueled by young people, 
can break the vicelike grip that the gun lobby has held over this 
Congress for so many years--indeed, for decades. I have worked on this 
issue literally for 2\1/2\ decades or more. When I was attorney general 
of the State of Connecticut, I championed and we passed a measure to 
ban assault weapons, among other reforms. It was challenged in the 
court. All of the same arguments were raised then legally that are 
raised now. We defeated them. In fact, I tried the case and argued it 
in the Supreme Court. Those arguments are as invalid today as they were 
then--based on the Second Amendment or void for vagueness or equal 
protection--and they will fail in the courts just as they did in our 
courts then. I have never felt nearer than we are now to meaningful 
reform because of those students, because of those young people, 
because of the outpouring that is riveting America and moving us 
forward, but it has to be translated and galvanized into votes in this 
coming election and in elections to come so that the will of the people 
is heard here and the vicelike grip of the gun lobby is broken.
  Walking out of schools and walking into polling places is what is 
required, and these young people are showing us the path to do it. Even 
while we work in that arena, organizations like Sandy Hook Promise are 
showing us how to educate in a totally bipartisan way and raise 
awareness in our schools and bring people together so that we solve our 
conflicts peacefully and with words, not conflict.

[[Page S3871]]

  Scarlett Lewis, whose son Jesse was killed at Sandy Hook, has worked 
hard on social and emotional learning--another way to bring us together 
at the earliest of ages. Social and emotional learning has been her 
mission since Jesse's death, and she has formed a foundation to choose 
love, to enhance the ethos of teaching young people that they can solve 
their disagreements and conflicts with words and caring that they can 
be taught in school.
  First, of course, teachers need to be taught and trained how to do 
that teaching, and that is why I sought an amendment to the 
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with her 
inspiration to build that movement.
  There will always be hateful people who want to lash out and destroy. 
On this anniversary of the Orlando nightclub massacre, we cannot 
concede defeat, and we cannot relent or relax our efforts. We need to 
commit to action, not just reflection or rhetoric. Every child who goes 
to school should do it without fear. Every person who goes to church 
should have no doubt about the safety of that sacred place or any other 
house of worship. Anyone who goes to a movie theater or to any other 
public place should do it without the apprehension that a person with a 
gun might be in wait.
  For our LGBT community, we need a statute like the NO HATE Act that I 
have proposed--I introduced it last year--which would address the 
bigotry and bias that continues to plague them, not just in the hateful 
words but in the violence and harassment they suffer. Enforcement of 
the laws that exist now is absolutely essential. In fact, enhanced 
enforcement--devoting more resources to the police, FBI, and 
prosecutors who pursue these crimes--ought to be a challenge that we 
meet without question.
  On all of these fronts, we should be united. It should be bipartisan. 
There should be no political division to make America safer, to make 
sure that we fulfill the vision of our great country that we will live 
peacefully together and enjoy equally the opportunities that are 
entitled by all of us.
  Thank you, Mr. 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. WICKER. 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. WICKER. Mr. President, I rise this morning to speak in favor of 
the National Defense Authorization Act. We are currently negotiating 
with Members of the Republican and Democratic Parties on how to 
consider amendments. We will eventually get there, as we do every year, 
because the NDAA bill has passed Congress--the Senate and the House--
and has been signed by the President for 57 years in a row on a 
wonderfully bipartisan basis. I expect, when it is all said and done, 
that will happen again this year.
  As a matter of fact, I was just speaking to a group of Hawaiians who 
were gathered together under the leadership of Senator Mazie Hirono. 
Senator Hirono is the ranking member of the subcommittee that I chair, 
the Seapower Subcommittee. We were able to make the point and have been 
able to make the point at several forums about what a bipartisan issue 
this is, to protect our country through a strong Navy and through the 
provisions that we will enact under the Seapower title. Of course, this 
bipartisan exercise is a very important fulfillment of our 
constitutional responsibility. It is right there in the preamble--to 
``provide for the common defence.'' And that is what our subcommittee 
has done.
  The bill this year authorizes $716 billion for national defense. This 
is an increase from last year, and we finally got rid of the notion 
that we can somehow be a safe and secure nation and have this defense 
sequestration that had come upon us due to our inability to deal with 
the budget. Last year we authorized and appropriated $700 billion for 
national defense, and this bill would up that a little to $716 billion. 
My position is that we need every penny of that. The top line matches 
the figures we have set in the 2-year budget. That was passed by the 
House and Senate on a bipartisan basis and signed into law by the 
President of the United States, President Trump.
  Secretary Mattis says this defense spending is essential at these 
levels to keep America safe and to support our men and women in 
uniform. Secretary Mattis authored the new national defense strategy, 
and it prioritizes preparing the Armed Forces for long-term strategic 
competition with China and Russia. We would like to be on a friendlier 
basis with China and Russia, but sadly, at this point, we are not. We 
are in a long-term strategic competition. I believe Secretary Mattis, 
when he says we need to do this, and the NDAA, which is the subject 
matter before us on the floor right now, recognize that. Strategy is 
driving the budget this year, not the other way around.
  As I noted, I am chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee. Senator 
Hirono is my ranking Democratic member. We both recognize that 
upholding our maritime interests is becoming more and more critical. We 
are a maritime nation, and Americans need to understand this. The 
Seapower title recognizes this. It positions the Navy and Marine Corps 
to retain superiority over rapidly modernizing Chinese and Russian 
maritime forces.
  I am happy to say that it accelerates the naval buildup toward the 
statutory 355-ship Navy, which was signed into law as a result of the 
NDAA last year. The SHIPS Act, which Senator Hirono and I both 
persuaded every member of our subcommittee to cosponsor--every 
Republican and every Democrat on the Seapower Subcommittee sponsored 
this. We were able to add the SHIPS Act to the NDAA last year and have 
it signed by the President of the United States.
  The bill this year builds on what we hoped would be the result of the 
SHIPS Act. It authorizes $23 billion for building 11 new ships that we 
didn't intend to build otherwise--an increase of $1.2 billion above the 
DOD budget request. The statutory language signed by the President is 
actually getting us there. It adds over $1 billion in advanced 
procurement funding for attack submarines, destroyers, and amphibious 
ships that will stabilize the industrial base, encourage new suppliers 
to enter the marketplace, and save taxpayers money in the long run 
through this mechanism of advanced procurement funding for our attack 
submarines. It authorizes multiyear contracting--another cost-saver--
for our Super Hornet fighters, Hawkeye early warning planes, and two 
types of standard missiles fired from our Navy ships.
  I am pleased with the progress we have made, and I am pleased that 
our work on the SHIPS Act last year is already paying dividends in 
terms of getting us much more quickly to the 355-ship fleet.
  The NDAA also includes 12 provisions that were contained in a bill 
that Senator McCain and I authored in response to the tragedies of the 
USS John McCain and the USS Fitzgerald collisions. Frankly, there were 
other mishaps in the Pacific also. In the McCain and the Fitzgerald, 17 
soldiers tragically died because of accidents involving our ships.
  Based on studies that we commissioned in this Congress, we came 
back--Senator McCain and I--and introduced provisions. I will mention 
five of them today.
  They are included in the base NDAA bill.
  First, we direct a comprehensive review of the Navy's cumbersome and 
confusing chains of command. This confusing chain of command in the 
Pacific has been a problem.
  We limit the duration of ships homeported overseas to no more than 10 
years. After 10 years of being homeported overseas, forward-deployed 
ships must now rotate back to the United States more frequently to 
avoid being overtaxed from constant operations. That is in this bill.
  We give forward-deployed ships more sailors. We have had a shortage 
there, regrettably, inflicted somewhat because of defense 
  We require the Navy to develop a more realistic standard workweek 
assessment. I know the Presiding Officer understands this from the 
testimony we have received. The old system led to sailors routinely 
working 100-hour workweeks. Is it any wonder that our sailors were 
fatigued and burned out,

[[Page S3872]]

with 100-plus-hour workweeks? This NDAA bill, which we must pass and 
get to the President, would end that. It would also allow the Secretary 
of the Navy more flexibility in the personnel process to keep talented 
officers in the Navy and to keep talented officers in the Marine Corps.
  One other thing I will mention is that we have the title of CFIUS 
reform. CFIUS simply stands for Committee on Foreign Investment in the 
United States--CFIUS. This provision is designed to protect our 
interests with regard to the designs of China, and it came to us, 
actually, out of the banking bill. We need to stop China from gaining 
access to military technology and gaining access to strategically 
important industries in the United States through buying our companies. 
China is buying American companies and then getting access to the 
intellectual property owned by those companies. This is what CFIUS 
reform does.
  NDAA includes the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, 
adopted unanimously by the Senate Banking Committee, and would give the 
Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, more 
authority to prevent foreign acquisitions of our sensitive 
  This is a good bill. It is a wildly popular bill in the military. It 
provides increased resources for those men and women who strapped on 
the boats, who put on the uniform and stepped forward voluntarily--not 
a single person in the military has been forced to do this; they 
stepped forward voluntarily--to do the hard things so that we can live 
in peace and prosperity and comfort in the United States.
  This is a popular bill in the other body. We are taking their bill 
and making some adjustments, but we will get that ironed out in 
conference. We will, once again, fulfill our constitutional duty to 
provide for the common defense and show that when it comes to national 
defense and providing security for the people of this great Nation, 
this is, indeed, a bipartisan determination and a bipartisan exercise.
  So I urge us to get moving on this, and I certainly believe--I am 
convinced--that before the end of the week, we will have an affirmative 
vote and move this bill toward the President's desk.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  Seeing no other Members seeking recognition, I suggest the absence of 
a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill 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.

                        Family Separation Policy

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, on Monday, in my office in Chicago, I met 
a woman and her daughter. The story they had to tell me was 
heartbreaking. This woman was from the Democratic Republic of the 
Congo, Kinshasa.
  Something had occurred at her home while she was gone, where a child 
of hers left an iron on. Another child came in, grabbed the wire of 
that iron, was electrocuted, and died. It was a horrible accident that 
claimed the life of a child.
  That child who died was the nephew of a general in the Army of the 
Democratic Republic of Congo. When he heard about his nephew dying in 
this accident, he said he would take care of the situation and that 
family would pay a price for the life of his nephew.
  This woman, a mother of three, went into a panic because her daughter 
was going to be killed by this general--such a panic that she fled the 
country. Her journey is almost indescribable: From Africa to South 
America, up through Central America, finally arriving on a bus at the 
border, the port of entry in Southern California. She came there and 
asked for asylum. She was in fear of not only her life but the life of 
her daughter.
  What happened next is what I want to speak to, because what happened 
next is something that I didn't think would ever happen in America. 
What happened next was a decision by the Federal Government to take her 
6-year-old daughter away from her in California. They said initially 
that her request for assistance was a valid enough request to go 
forward to a hearing. But even having said that, they snatched this 
girl from her mother's arms and removed her screaming to another room. 
Then, they deported her daughter from Southern California to the city 
of Chicago--our government.
  Was this mother abusing this child? Of course not. Was there any 
evidence of trafficking involved here? Of course not. Was this woman a 
terrorist? Of course not.
  Why did they do it?
  When I heard about it, I called the head of the Department of 
Homeland Security, Secretary Nielsen, and said: Why would you remove 
that child from that mother's arms and transport her 2,000 miles away?
  She said: Oh, I will look into that. That is not our policy. We don't 
do that.
  Well, historically, our government didn't do it, but it turned out 
that Secretary Nielsen was wrong. It is our policy--a policy that has 
been announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He says it is 
basically going to be a hard approach to those who try to come to this 
country and ask for asylum, ask for refuge.
  So in the first two weeks of the month of May, with this new policy 
of Jeff Sessions--Attorney General Sessions' policy--658 children were 
removed from their families and taken to separate places.
  Can you imagine the trauma on that child, let alone the mother? The 
American Academy of Pediatrics tells us that you don't do that to 
children without leaving some scar, some problem, but we are doing it 
as official government policy--official government policy of this 
  Well, I met with the mother and the child. What happened to the 
mother after the child was removed is just a succession of horror 
stories. The mother was called in for a hearing while the child was 
sitting in Chicago. The mother has no attorney. She was not 
represented. She speaks limited English. She went through a hearing 
where they denied her request for refuge and asylum. They then said she 
could appeal the ruling if she wished.
  She said: How long would that take?
  They said: 3 to 6 months.
  She said: I could not stand to be separated from my daughter for 3 to 
6 months. I waive all of my rights. I am finished. I am finished with 
this effort.
  Well, she was released--the mother was--on another appeal, I might 
add, by the ACLU. She was reunited with her daughter, and I happened to 
see them both in my office in Chicago.
  When I walked in the room, this woman, who had traveled this great 
distance to protect her little girl, clearly tensed up when she saw 
this White man in a suit and tie walk in, and then it was explained 
through her interpreter that I was not there to hurt her or separate 
her from her daughter. Her daughter was running around the office while 
we were talking but never lost sight of her mom the whole time.
  This is not an isolated instance. This is not just a little accident 
that happened on the border near Southern California. This is now the 
policy of the United States of America, the policy of the Trump 
administration, the policy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions--to remove 
children from their mothers.
  Of course, it is not cheap. Transporting a child 2,000 miles and 
putting them in some care facility--even a good one--is not cheap. When 
my colleague, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, recently went to Arizona 
to see the children who had been separated from their parents, he was 
denied access. They wouldn't let him see it. He has gone back, and 
others will go back too.
  It is unthinkable that we are holding these children in some 
situation where we don't want anyone to see them once they have been 
taken away.
  In the southwest part of the United States, reportedly some mothers 
have been told: Oh, we are going to give your child a bath, and then 
the child was snatched away.
  That is the official government policy of Attorney General Sessions 
and the Trump administration.
  It is hard to imagine that we have reached this point in the history 
of this country that this is acceptable conduct by our government. It 
is hard to believe that the rest of the world will look at this and 
say: Well, that is how

[[Page S3873]]

Americans treat people who come asking for help. They take their kids 
away from them.
  Family separation is now the policy of this administration, not 
family unity.
  I am hoping--just hoping--that perhaps some of my Republican 
colleagues will think this is an outrage as well. Maybe they will step 
up and speak out. I hope they do. On a bipartisan basis, we should all 
be standing up for these children who are being separated from their 
  They say: Well, it is a new approach, a hard approach for dealing 
with those who come to our border. We have used hard approaches in the 
past in the United States.
  Let me explain two examples. There was a hard approach that was used 
in this Chamber, in the Senate, in the 1940s, during World War II. 
Senator Bob Wagner of New York came to the floor and said: I want to 
give permission for 10,000 Jewish children who are currently in 
England--safe and away from Nazism and Hitler in Europe--to come to the 
United States. He called for a vote in this Chamber and he lost. It was 
defeated--the notion of allowing 10,000 Jewish children to come here 
for safety was defeated on the floor of this Senate.
  The same thing happened during that period of time when the ship the 
MS St. Louis came over from Germany with 900 Jewish people who had 
heard about the Holocaust, feared it, and wanted refuge in the United 
States, and they were turned away--turned away and forced to return to 
Europe, where several hundred died in the Holocaust.
  Those are specific examples of things that happened here, in this 
town, by this government, in one of the most embarrassing chapters in 
our Nation's history. That was the time when we were also taking 
Japanese Americans--Japanese Americans--and interning them in camps 
despite no evidence of sabotage, treason, or wrongdoing.
  After that war, America reflected on those incidents I have just 
described and said: We are going to be a different nation from this 
point forward. After World War II, the United States said: We are going 
to set the example where we are a caring, compassionate nation that is 
there to help when people are in desperate circumstances. We did it 
over and over again.
  Look at the Cuban-American population in the United States. Look at 
three of my Senate colleagues who are Cuban Americans and tell me that 
accepting refugees from Cuba was a bad idea for the United States. Of 
course it was not a bad idea. It was the right thing to do for those 
who wanted to escape the early days of the Castro regime.
  Take a look at those who came over after the Vietnam war, many of 
whom had risked their lives to fight on our side of that war, asked for 
refuge in the United States, and we gave it to them. Tell me that was a 
mistake. We know it wasn't.
  Tell me our decision to open the United States of America to Jews 
living in the Soviet Union who faced oppression was a mistake. I don't 
think so. I think it was the right thing to do.
  The things I have just described--the Cubans, the Vietnamese, the 
Soviet Jews--define who we are. This Nation--this caring, wonderful, 
great Nation--defines itself by its policies.
  Now look at this policy of family separation. Look at this policy of 
removing children from the arms of a mother, with no suspicion of any 
wrongdoing whatsoever, and tell me that is consistent with who we are 
in America. That is what we face with this family separation policy.
  I am joining with Senator Feinstein and several other of my 
colleagues to prohibit this new policy. We don't have a single 
Republican cosponsor yet. I hope we do. I hope there is one Republican 
Senator who will step up and say: This is wrong.
  We can enforce our laws, but let's not do it by tearing children out 
of the arms of their parents and mothers, because that is sad, and that 
is what is happening now. The family separation policy of this 
administration, sadly, is not only not right, it is not American.

                            Opioid Epidemic

  Mr. President, I have had roundtable discussions across the State of 
Illinois. I have gone from Chicago to downstate, to small towns, to 
suburban towns, to, of course, the big city of Chicago. What I have 
found is this: No matter where you go, no matter how rich the suburb, 
no matter how small the town, you will find the opioid crisis facing 
  This drug epidemic may be the worst in our history. Every day, we are 
losing 115 American lives to opioid overdose. In the past 3 years, 
there has been a 53-percent increase in drug overdose deaths in my 
State. More than 2,400 of my neighbors and the people I represented in 
Illinois have died because of this crisis.
  When we look back at the history, it is hard to understand how we 
reached this point. We know--when we go far enough back--that the 
pharmaceutical companies that produced these opioid pills 
misrepresented, lied to doctors, nurses, dentists, and the American 
people about the addictive nature of opioids. We know that happened. We 
also know that it became a big cash cow industry for pharmaceutical 
companies when more and more Americans became addicted to opioid pills.
  Think of this: Two years ago, pharma produced 14 billion opioid 
tablets in the United States--enough for every adult in America to have 
a 3-week prescription of opioid pills. That was the reality. They were 
churning out these pills as fast as they could make them because they 
knew there was money to be made.
  What we learned is that when the pills got too expensive on the black 
market, those who were addicted moved to heroin--another form of 
narcotic--which was cheaper and also addictive and, when laced with 
fentanyl or taken in overdose, killed the person who was using it.
  Fourteen billion pills.
  I have introduced legislation to address several aspects of this 
crisis. There is a lack of access to treatment. Once a family or a 
person identifies someone in need of treatment, sadly, there aren't 
many opportunities for good, affordable treatment to stop this 
addiction and to save their lives. I also want to respond to the 
childhood trauma that can drive people to opioid use. We see that. I 
want to improve the oversight of the volume and types of opioids being 
approved by our government for sale in this country.
  We need to do more to prevent addiction and to address this crisis. 
What are we finally going to do to get serious about this?
  First, we have to have the pharmaceutical industry stop making 
profit--their motive in the production of opioids.
  Next, we have to be realistic about where these opioid pills are 
  Downstate in my State of Illinois, in Hardin County, which is a 
small, rural county, fewer than 10 doctors can prescribe controlled 
substances--10 doctors in this county. There is a total population of 
4,300 people in Hardin County, and there are 10 doctors with the legal 
authority to prescribe. It is the smallest county in my State.
  In the year 2010, pharma sent 6 million hydrocodone opioid pills and 
1 million OxyContin pills to Hardin, IL. Seven million pills to a 
county with a population of 4,300 people were enough opioids for every 
resident of that tiny, rural county to have a 3-month prescription for 
opioids. Last year in Madison County, IL, which has a larger 
population, 17 million opioid pills were sent.
  Maybe you have heard of Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin. 
I encourage my colleagues to pick up Foreign Affairs magazine or the 
New York Times or the L.A. Times or the New Yorker. There, you will 
read about the family who owned this pharmaceutical company and made a 
fortune off these opioid pills and addiction, the Sackler family. If 
the name sounds familiar, it is because they have donated millions of 
dollars to art galleries and universities across the country--and also 
helped to fuel our Nation's opioid epidemic. The Sackler family owns 
Purdue Pharma and is responsible for a lion's share of the opioid 
crisis we face today.
  For years, under the Sackler family leadership, Purdue waged a 
comprehensive campaign to addict America to OxyContin. They wildly 
mischaracterized the risks of the drug, falsely claimed that it was 
less addictive and harmful, and just two pills a day were all you 
needed for full-time relief. They went on to say that OxyContin should 
be prescribed for common aches and pains, even when they had internal 
information proving that these pills were dangerous.

[[Page S3874]]

  The family promoted the liberalization of direct-to-consumer drug 
advertising. Ever turn on the television lately and see the drug ads? 
How do we keep up with these? They are coming at us from every 
direction. Well, they went on direct consumer advertising with opioids 
at this point. They enlisted an army of sales reps to swarm doctors' 
offices with payments, false medical journals, and false promises. As 
my colleague, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, has documented, 
they showered the so-called patient advocacy groups with millions in 
funding to fabricate a patient perspective demanding more opioids.
  In 2007, this company, Purdue, pled guilty to criminal misbranding of 
OxyContin. So what did they pay as a result? Listen to this. What did 
this company have to pay for creating the opioid crisis in 2007? Six 
hundred million dollars. Does it sound like a lot of money? It 
shouldn't because their sales revenues were $35 billion. So $600 
million was the cost of doing their deadly business. No jail time for 
any member of the Sackler family, no Sackler family responsibility, but 
hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to be killed because of 
their crisis. As our former colleague, Senator Arlen Specter, once 
said, it is ``an expensive license for criminal misconduct.''
  Purdue, the Sackler family, and other opioid manufacturers, such as 
Janssen, Abbott, Endo, and Insys, systematically orchestrated a complex 
web to deceive the American public, promote their opioids, and avoid 
liability. This is shameful, it is unjust, and it is well past time for 
Congress to do something about it. I will soon be introducing 
legislation to crack down on this corporate misconduct by properly 
penalizing and preventing the misrepresentation of opioids and 
requiring drug corporations to provide more information to the Food and 
Drug Administration on the risk of abuse and long-term effects. I am 
also examining the influence the pharmaceutical industry is exerting 
over our regulatory agencies and the medical community by hiring former 
officials with incentive payments.
  In the meantime, here is what we need to do:
  First, Purdue Pharma and other opioid manufacturers must testify 
before the Senate to explain their role in this epidemic. We did this 
with the tobacco companies and put them under oath years ago. We need 
to do the same to these pharmaceutical companies.
  Second, we must fix the 2016 law that weakened the Drug Enforcement 
Administration's strongest enforcement tool against this outrageous 
distribution practice. I support efforts by my colleagues, Senators 
McCaskill and Manchin, to restore the DEA authority.
  Finally, opioid manufacturers have profited off of flooding the 
market with painkillers and addicting Americans, and they should pay 
for the need for treatment their products have created. I have 
introduced legislation to impose a penny-per-milligram tax on the 
production of opioids. Big Pharma has to be financially liable for the 
mess and epidemic they have created.
  While we sit on our hands, sadly, in the United States and watch this 
opioid epidemic grow, an arm of the Purdue company, Mundipharma 
International, is shamefully exporting its deceptive marketing campaign 
overseas. Mundipharma, an arm of the Purdue company, is targeting 
doctors and the public with misinformation they were found guilty of 
using in the United States.
  Meanwhile, the wave of addiction created by the drug industry has 
ignited a new and deadlier crisis with the highly potent synthetic 
opioid fentanyl, which is being shipped through the mail in staggering 
quantities from China to the United States. This rippling effect is 
causing further deaths in America, straining our resources and exposing 
major gaps.
  I am glad the Senate Judiciary Committee is considering this issue 
and moving one of my pieces of legislation forward, but we must do 
more. Our communities across the country are facing the suffering 
caused by this crisis. We need to do more to hold pharma responsible 
for this deadly, irresponsible, and many times criminal conduct. Let's 
start by bringing them to testify under oath before the Senate.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, I would say amen to the comments of the 
Senator from Illinois, our Democratic whip. He spoke on two subjects 
very eloquently--the subject of opioids and the subject of ripping 
apart families in immigration, both of which require immediate action.


  Now, Mr. President, I want to speak on something that requires 
immediate action. There are 130 million Americans in this country who 
have a preexisting condition. The Affordable Care Act that we passed 7 
or 8 years ago guarantees insurance coverage if you have a preexisting 
condition. Lo and behold, the Trump administration is trying to rip 
that out of the Affordable Care Act, the law--130 million Americans and 
almost 8 million just in my State of Florida.
  They want to repeal and kill the Affordable Care Act. This is one way 
to do it because the Trump administration and congressional Republicans 
and their allies have repeatedly tried and failed to kill the 
Affordable Care Act but now are trying to dismantle it piece by piece 
by pulling out economic undersupports of the law. As a result, they 
successfully did that and attached it to the tax bill that went 
through, and we are seeing the results of that. The premiums are going 
up. Now they want to basically kill the bill by saying that it is not a 
requirement of the law that insurance companies cover a preexisting 
  Let me give you some examples of preexisting conditions: Alzheimer's, 
cancer, acne. How about simply being a woman? Let me repeat that. Being 
a woman was a preexisting condition before these protections were put 
into law--that an insurance company would have to cover you and that 
your rate had to be fair.
  Having faced multiple times the Republicans trying to dismantle this 
law, the Trump administration is now trying administratively and 
through the courts to take health coverage away. In my State of 
Florida, it is almost 8 million people.
  Here is what they did. In February, in 20 States, the attorneys 
general, including in my State of Florida, filed a lawsuit to attack 
our Nation's health law and all of the key protections that go with it, 
and that is without any plan to replace it. Just last week, the U.S. 
Department of Justice sided with these States and went into court and 
told the court to do away with the law that bans insurers from charging 
people more or denying them coverage based on a preexisting condition.
  This seems absolutely inexcusable to me. If the attorneys general and 
the administration now supporting them prevail, health insurers across 
the country will once again be able to charge unlimited premiums for 
older adults by discriminating against all people with preexisting 
conditions--discrimination by the insurance companies refusing to offer 
them coverage or charging them exorbitant premiums simply because of 
what they call a preexisting condition in their medical history.
  As people age, they have more maladies, and almost everybody then has 
a preexisting condition. The law says that you are guaranteed you can 
get insurance coverage, even in an individual, single policy if you 
have a preexisting condition. I gave you some examples. Let me repeat 
them: cancer, Alzheimer's, maybe just an operation, maybe something 
like acne. This Senator has even seen, as the former insurance 
commissioner of Florida elected years ago, an insurance company saying 
that a rash is a preexisting condition, and therefore they would not 
insure a person. Then there is the fact that just being a woman is a 
preexisting condition for which they would not guarantee coverage--just 
because of being a woman.
  Our constituents deserve better. They deserve access to healthcare. 
They deserve to know they can go to the doctor without being placed at 
risk of medical debt or bankruptcy, without putting even more pressure 
on our communities, hospitals, and those of us with insurance. If you 
don't have that guarantee, what is going to happen? Rates are going to 
go up. More people will go to the hospital, and it is going to be 
uncompensated care, and that is going to cause our rates to go up.

[[Page S3875]]

  This lawsuit by these attorneys general is nothing more than another 
political attack on our Nation's healthcare law. In my State of 
Florida, Florida's Governor and the other 19 States that joined the 
lawsuit are the ones who are behind this, and they need to be held 
accountable. They are trying get rid of the protections for health 
insurance if you have a preexisting condition.
  It is not enough to say that the Trump administration is taking 
deliberate steps to make healthcare more expensive. Now they are trying 
to take away one of the most important and popular provisions--the ban 
that prevents insurance companies from discriminating against people 
with preexisting conditions.
  Why don't we stop these games? Instead, why don't we work together? 
Let's get together a bipartisan agreement and help our constituents be 
able to have the healthcare they need, the insurance protection they 
need at an affordable price.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. (Mrs. Ernst). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                              The Economy

  Mr. LANKFORD. Madam President, I have talked to a lot of Oklahomans 
who say they would love to hear some good news every once in a while, 
so let me just pause for a moment and read a couple of headlines and 
give some good news.
  One piece of good news came out of the Oklahoma legislature and out 
of our research branch. It deals with our finances. Oklahoma's revenues 
are up 20 percent higher than what was expected. For folks in this 
Chamber who don't know what is happening in Oklahoma, our economy has 
been down for a couple of years. We have been struggling through some 
serious issues in the budget. For our revenues to be up 20 percent 
higher than what was expected is a surprise but a welcomed surprise. It 
is a real sign of the turnaround in the Oklahoma economy, and it is 
very good news for a lot of people. I am grateful to say that it is not 
isolated news, that this is happening nationwide with there being a 
real turnaround in the Nation's economy.
  I don't often come to this floor and quote the New York Times, but 
let me do that today. Just a couple of days ago, the New York Times ran 
the headline: ``We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs 
Numbers Are.''
  In just the first couple of paragraphs of its story, it read that the 
real question in analyzing the May jobs numbers released that week was 
whether there were enough synonyms for ``good'' in an online thesaurus 
to describe them adequately. For example, ``splendid'' and 
``excellent'' fit the bill. These are the kinds of terms that are 
appropriate when the U.S. economy adds 223,000 jobs in a month, despite 
its having been 9 years into an expansion, and when the unemployment 
rate falls to 3.8 percent--a new 18-year low.
  That was from the New York Times. They ran out of words to describe 
how good the economy is nationwide.
  This is from CNN:

       There are now more job openings than workers to fill them.
       Want more evidence that America's economy needs more 
     workers? For the first time in at least 20 years, there are 
     now more job openings than there are people looking for work.

  That came from CNN.
  The strong economy that we are facing shows that we have a 44-year 
low of people right now who are applying for unemployment insurance, of 
people who are out there who have lost jobs and are looking for jobs--a 
44-year low nationwide.
  Three million new jobs have been created since November of 2016. 
Right now, there is a job opening for every jobless person in America. 
During the height of the recession just a few years ago, there were six 
people who were looking for work for every one job open. Now there is 
at least one job open for every single person in America. Unemployment 
has fallen to 3.8 percent--the lowest in 17 years--and consumer 
confidence has hit an 18-year high.
  There have been remarkable turnarounds that have happened. There has 
been a nice, strong, steady increase in our economy. What the Federal 
Reserve has always been afraid of--an overheating economy that moves 
too fast--has not occurred. It has just been one of steady growth with 
new individuals participating in the labor force. On top of all of 
that, even for those individuals who are currently employed right now, 
the average wages have increased in America by 2.7 percent.
  For the individuals who are employed, wages are going up. For 
individuals who are looking for jobs, there are job openings for every 
single American who wants a job, and the unemployment rate continues to 
drop to a 44-year low. That is good news. That is the ability for the 
American economy to be able to run again as it was designed to run.
  Quite frankly, when the tax reform bill was debated at the end of 
last year, there were a lot of people asking: Is this going to work? 
Will it really encourage the economy to grow or will it be a sugar 
high--is what I heard on this floor--of individuals who will be rushing 
to spend money only to then have the economy fall away and collapse?
  What it has shown is, month after month, since tax reform has been 
passed and implemented, businesses have been hiring; people have been 
finding work; and wages have been going up by a steady amount. There 
has been the opportunity for people to start new businesses. We have 
seen real growth. Whether that be in State revenues, as in my State, or 
whether it be for individuals around my State, we are seeing real 
progress. That is a benefit. Now I encourage people to keep going.
  There are a lot of things still to do in our economy, and I am 
grateful that, recently, the national survey, which is done every year 
on the best places in America to start a new business, listed Oklahoma 
City as the No. 1 place in the country to start a new business, a place 
that is business friendly. That is true for my entire State, where 
people are welcome to come and start new businesses, to engage, to find 
new jobs--to open up and find new opportunities.
  Speaking of opportunities, my State, along with many other States, 
has started rolling out from the tax reform bill what are called 
opportunity zones. It is when we look for areas and designate areas in 
the State that are not growing as fast as other areas and provide 
incentives for people--incentives that have been built into the tax 
bill--in working with the State leaders, where there can be greater 
investment for people to find jobs, start new businesses, open new 
businesses. There are additional incentives with which to do that, and 
we have seen that continue to roll out. So far, there have been 46 
States that have designated opportunity zones, and they are rolling out 
even today.
  I am grateful for what is happening in our economy because it is not 
about numbers and statistics. It is about individual families who have 
the opportunity to find work. A friend of mine at church recently lost 
his job. What is interesting about that is, 8 years ago, I had a friend 
of mine at church who also had lost his job, but it is so different now 
versus then. Eight years ago, a different friend who lost his job 
caught me and talked about the desperation of looking, but there was 
nothing out there. Now a different friend who has lost his job, who is 
in transition right now, is talking about the opportunities, and he is 
not in a hurry because he has so many options in front of him. He may 
start something or he may join somebody else.
  It is a good thing that when those moments of crisis come, you have 
opportunities and the hope of transitioning to another place in order 
to be able to take care of your family. I would encourage us to 
continue to work on our economy.
  One of my favorite stories that has come out of the newspapers over 
the last couple of weeks is from the Wall Street Journal. It talks 
about this economy and talks about hiring, and it mentions specifically 
that many companies are having a difficult time finding new workers, so 
they are pursuing a group that they would not have considered a few 
years ago. They are looking to hire and train felons. These are

[[Page S3876]]

individuals who have done their duty to society--who have been in 
prison, have finished their terms--and they are out and just want 
another shot. This economy is growing so fast that many of those 
individuals are getting their next shots to start life all over because 
companies are reaching out to train and hire people who even have 
felony records. These are individuals and families who don't need a 
handout; they need opportunities. Thankfully, they are getting it in 
this economy.
  Whether it is a company in Guymon or whether it is a company in Hugo 
or whether they are companies all across my great State, people are 
finding opportunities to work. I am grateful for that and a growing 
  Madam President, I thank Senator Inhofe and Senator Reed for their 
work on this year's National Defense Authorization Act. It is a big 
piece of work. It is something that we do every single year, walking 
through--what is called affectionately around here--the NDAA. It is all 
of our defense policies. It is what weapons systems we buy. It is how 
we support our men and women in uniform. It is how we ensure the 
national security of the United States. It is working its way across 
the floor, and I am proud of the role my State has played in what is 
happening to achieve the goals for national security.
  The defense bill authorizes a 2.6-percent pay increase for our 
troops, which marks the largest increase in troop pay since 2010. The 
bill also increases procurement and funding of the KC-46 tanker, which 
will be stationed at Altus Air Force Base in Southwestern Oklahoma and 
maintained at Tinker Air Force Base near Oklahoma City.
  The Air Force currently operates an air fueling tanker fleet with an 
average age of more than 50 years. Since the air refueling tanker plays 
a key component in our Nation's overall military strategy and our 
worldwide reach, including our readiness and operational capability, 
the KC-46A is a very welcomed and long-awaited asset for the Air 
Force's air refueling capability. They are scheduled to arrive later 
this year--in just a few months--at Altus Air Force Base so our women 
and men of the Air Force can step up and be trained and be ready to use 
that great asset.
  The 97th Air Mobility Wing at Altus Air Force Base is responsible for 
that formal training with the C-17, the KC-135, and now the KC-46 
aircraft for the Active Duty, Guard, and Reserve aircrew, while it 
maintains that Global Reach. Tinker Air Force Base currently supports 
the depot maintenance on that.
  Many of those pilots who end up in that training first start out in 
Enid, actually. They are being trained in Enid, OK, on some of our 
smallest training aircraft. They learn how to do it and then, later, 
transition to Altus to then fly the KC-46.
  The bill continues the modernization efforts to be able to continue 
flying the B-52 bomber, the sustainment of which is completed at Tinker 
Air Force Base. The bill includes funding for the Paladin Integrated 
Management system upgrade, which is assembled in Elgin, OK, and is used 
at Fort Sill, which is right down the street. The Fires Center of 
Excellence at Fort Sill organizes, trains, and equips all of the 
Paladin units in the Army Paladin Integrated Management.
  Quite frankly, just about every time I go home or now fly out, I sit 
next to or nearby some young woman or man who is clutching a folder in 
his hand as he heads into Oklahoma City to get on a bus and head to 
Fort Sill so he can do his basic. I always recognize their faces, and I 
don't have to say anything else to them but ``thank you for signing 
up,'' because they are always clutching those folders they have been 
told not to lose, so they just hang onto them tightly. They are heading 
to basic at Fort Sill. It is an incredibly important facility for us as 
a nation.
  Earlier this year, it was announced that Fort Sill will maintain the 
long range precision fires and the air and missile defense cross 
functional teams and will welcome two new brigadier generals to lead 
these organizations. All around the world people are asking for the 
assets that are coming out of Fort Sill because people want missile 
defense and the capability of protecting themselves from incoming 
  This bill that we are working on also includes funding for the bulk 
diesel system replacement at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. 
Almost every time you see a guided missile somewhere--in all 
likelihood, on TV--it was assembled and prepared in McAlester, OK.
  The bill provides funding for the aircraft vehicle storage building 
for the Army National Guard in Lexington, OK. Since September 11, 2001, 
the Oklahoma National Guard has deployed more than 30,000 soldiers to 
more than 16 countries--right out of Oklahoma. We are proud to do our 
  Finally, the committee recognized the spaceport in Oklahoma, which 
some folks missed, but the committee did not. It is home to one of the 
Nation's longest and widest runways. It is a 13,503-foot-long by 300-
foot-wide concrete runway, and it is ready and prepared for our Nation.
  The committee noted that the Oklahoma Air & Space Port, near Burns 
Flat, OK, is the only space port in the United States to have a 
civilian Federal Aviation Administration-approved spaceflight corridor 
in the National Airspace System. This spaceflight corridor is unique 
because it is not within military operating areas or within restricted 
airspace, which provides an operational capability for space launch 
operations and associated industries that are specialized in space-
related activities.
  This is a good bill. There is a lot in it, and it is a long bill. 
There are amendments that are still pending as we work through the 
process, but there has been a good conversation as we have worked 
through and continue to focus on one of the primary responsibilities of 
this Congress and of our legislative branch--standing up for the 
national defense and making sure we take care of that.
  There are a lot of things happening in our economy and our Nation 
because we are secure. If at any moment we let down our guard with our 
own security, a lot of other things will disconnect. It is a good thing 
for us to work through the process on this, and I look forward to 
supporting this bill and continuing to support our national security.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. JONES. Madam President, I rise today to talk about an issue of 
deep importance to our country and my fellow Alabamians, and I follow 
my colleague, Senator Lankford, who spoke with such eloquence on 
national security.
  This week, we are debating the National Defense Authorization Act, 
which funds our Nation's defense programs for the coming year. Like 
Senator Lankford, I want to thank Chairman McCain and Ranking Member 
Reed for their work on this incredible and important legislation, as 
well as Senator Inhofe. He has done such yeoman's work in Senator 
McCain's absence.
  This bill has tremendous implications for our country, both abroad 
and here at home. In Alabama, we know all too well about the need for 
national security and a good economy. From Redstone Arsenal in 
Huntsville to Fort Rucker, from Maxwell Air Force Base to the Anniston 
Army Depot and all of our Reserve and National Guard men and women in 
the State of Alabama--they are on the frontlines. In addition to the 
tens of thousands of civilians who support their work--Alabama is home 
to a first-class workforce that supports our national security mission 
every single day. So it only makes sense that this legislation 
continues to support the work of Alabamians and includes a well-
deserved 2.6-percent pay raise for our troops.
  Just as important, it also includes funds for the Missile Defense 
Agency at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. It increases space defense 
funding, which is so important to our Air Force. It authorizes 75 F-35 
Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, some of which will be stationed at 
Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. It provides what Senator Lankford 
talked about a moment ago--14 KC-46 refueling aircraft. I hope the Air 
Force will put a few of those in Birmingham for our fantastic Alabama 
Air National Guard, which supports so many missions around the world.
  There are many more resources to ensure that our Nation's defenders 
are always mission-ready, and we could go on and on.

[[Page S3877]]

  I am pleased that this legislation takes care of so many of the 
priorities for our military, our defense, and Alabama. I certainly plan 
to vote for this bill, and I commend all of those who have worked so 
hard to make it happen. That doesn't mean there aren't still ways we 
can improve this bill.
  As some may know, Alabama is also home to thousands of talented 
welders, mechanics, and other trades men and women who build the 
helicopters and ships that carry our troops around the world to defend 
the United States and our interests. Not only are these vehicles 
important for an effective and responsive military, but they also 
support good American jobs.
  One of those ships is the littoral combat ship, many of which are 
built in Mobile, AL, including the USS Manchester, which was delivered 
to the Navy just last month. The LCS continues to prove its value to 
our Nation's defense and our military, which is why I am a little 
disappointed that the bill we are debating this week includes only a 
single LCS, which is pictured here behind me. Many of them are made in 
Mobile, AL. Not only did the President reiterate just last week at the 
Naval Academy his goal of growing our Navy to 355 ships, this program 
also puts to work about 1,000 different suppliers across 41 States. 
That translates into countless American jobs.
  I have seen these ships being built firsthand, and it is a tremendous 
production, state-of-the-art. During my first recess State work period 
back home in February, I went aboard the Manchester just before its 
commission, and I saw firsthand how these ships are being made and the 
incredible opportunities down there. To build ships like the 
Manchester, it takes 4,000 skilled workers to support the effort each 
day. That is 4,000 American jobs.
  Right now, back home in Mobile, they are hard at work on the 
production lines to build littoral combat ships and the expeditionary 
fast transport ships, such as the USNS Trenton, which recently gave 
assistance to mariners in distress in the Mediterranean.
  By not recognizing the importance of the LCS to our Nation's 
security, we hurt the long-term viability of the workforce in Alabama 
and all of the suppliers across 41 other States. To some extent, we 
don't recognize their importance to our national security, and we are 
not doing all we can as a Congress to support our national security 
  The Navy's future frigate, which Alabama stands ready to support, 
won't come online for a few more years, so those 4,000 workers in South 
Alabama need to keep working, not just sit tight and wait to be 
employed again in 2021. They need to work now. They need to continue 
the lines to make sure we have seamless transition.
  Alabama, American jobs, national security--these are just a few of 
the reasons I sponsored an amendment to add a single LCS ship to this 
extremely important piece of legislation.
  I would strongly urge my colleagues who will be in conference on this 
bill to increase the resources for the LCS program in the final package 
that will come before this body. The House version actually contains 
three LCS ships. So, as I have said so many times on this floor and in 
other places throughout this city and in these offices, I hope we can 
find common ground to build at least one, maybe two, more ships that 
are so important to our security and the Navy.
  Let me be clear. This isn't just about ships; this needs to be 
considered in terms of long-term goals for our military. We need to 
build the ships that the Navy needs to do its job, we need to keep our 
production lines ready to go for future products, and we need to 
maintain the American jobs that make these efforts possible.
  This really isn't rocket science. Our national security strategy and 
the economic stability of our country go hand in hand. Alabamians are 
proof-positive of that, given our long history of supplying military 
personnel and other aspects of our national security to help our 
military throughout the years.
  I urge my colleagues to support my amendment and maintain a robust 
LCS production posture that supports our national security and economic 
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.

                               Tax Reform

  Mr. BARRASSO. Thank you, Madam President. As the Presiding Officer 
well knows, last December, Republicans voted to cut the taxes that 
American families pay. We simplified the tax system. We made it fairer 
and cut the rates.
  Every single Democrat in the Senate voted against giving Americans 
this tax relief that they needed--every single one of them. Democrats 
claimed that only rich people would benefit and that businesses would 
never share their savings with workers. The Democratic Leader, Senator 
Schumer, actually said that tax cuts such as these only benefit the 
wealthy and the powerful, to the exclusion of the middle class.
  So what happened? What have we seen all across America? The American 
people know that the Democrats were wrong. The very day the tax bill 
passed the Congress, AT&T came out and said they were giving their 
workers a bonus. The company said that 200,000 hard-working employees 
were going to get an extra $1,000 each directly because of the tax 
relief law. Over the next few weeks, more than 4 million Americans got 
similar good news: They were going to get bonuses too. They learned 
that they would be getting a bonus or a pay increase because of the tax 
  More than 500 companies have said that because their taxes went down, 
they were sharing the savings with their workers. In my home State of 
Wyoming, these are people who work at places like Home Depot, Lowe's, 
Walmart, and Starbucks. It is also people who work at small businesses, 
like Taco John's and the Jonah Bank in Casper, WY. It is people who 
work at the Bockman Group in Sheridan, WY. That is a local business 
that specializes in fencing and excavation. I had a chance to meet with 
all of those people. They said the employees would be getting raises 
for one reason, and that is because of the tax law. The owner actually 
said that with this tax cut, he would now move ahead with starting two 
new businesses this year, employing more people. That means more jobs 
and more economic opportunities for people in northeast Wyoming.
  Another thing that we had a chance to talk about when the tax law was 
passed was how this would affect people's utility bills. It started 
happening right away. Americans noted that their utility bills starting 
going down. There are more than 100 utility companies across the 
country that have cut the rates they charge for electricity as a direct 
result of the tax law. And it is not just electricity; it is gas bills, 
water bills, all of the above.
  Look at the number. One hundred and two utilities cut their rates 
across the country. How much money does that add up to? How much money 
did people actually save because bills are going down for families all 
across the country because of the Republican tax cuts? The tax rate 
cuts amount to a savings of $3 billion for American families who are 
paying less money for utilities. That is an incredible savings for 
American families.
  Democrats said the companies would keep their tax savings. Instead, 
the savings are being passed along to consumers. That is the way it was 
supposed to work, that is the way it did work, and the benefit for 
families across the country amounts to $3 billion in lower utility 
  Americans are starting to use more energy right now to keep their 
homes cool this summer. It is that time of the year. These rate cuts 
are very good news for families all across the country. When monthly 
bills get cut, they have more money to save, spend, and invest. It is 
their money, so they get to make those decisions on how they want to 
use it. That is what happens when we change the tax laws. Washington 
gets less, and taxpayers get to keep more.
  Republicans cut taxes. Working Americans are seeing more money in 
their own pockets as a result. I hear about it every weekend in 
Wyoming. People are saying that this tax law has made a specific 
difference in their lives--their personal lives, for them, their 
families, and their children. They see it with their neighbors as well. 
They get more money from their jobs, they pay less in taxes, and they 
pay less for things, such as utility bills.
  People are winning in three different ways because of the Republican 
tax relief law. A lot of people are seeing more

[[Page S3878]]

good jobs now than ever before. The numbers came out last week. People 
collecting unemployment insurance is at a 44-year low. They don't need 
the unemployment benefits because they are working. We haven't seen 
numbers this low since 1973. It is a sign that we have a very strong, 
healthy, and a growing economy. People are keeping their jobs or 
getting new and better jobs. If people get laid off or want to change 
jobs, they can get a new one right away. They don't need to go on 
unemployment. They don't need to collect unemployment insurance because 
we have a strong, healthy, and growing economy right now.
  The Labor Department said that there are now 6.7 million job openings 
across the country. That is an alltime high. For the first time ever, 
there are actually more job openings than there are unemployed people 
who are looking for work--6.7 million openings, 6.3 million job 
hunters. So when looking at some of these measures, the American 
economy isn't just stronger than it was before the recession, it is 
stronger than it has been in decades.
  The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta says that we are on a pace for 
the economy to grow more than 4 percent in the second quarter of this 
year. They actually say it may be as high as 4.6 percent. It is 
  The American people don't need an economist to tell them what they 
see with their own two eyes in their own communities. They see that the 
economy as strong, the economy is healthy, and the economy is growing. 
All they need to do is look around their hometown, talk to their 
neighbors, talk to their friends, see how people who might have been 
out of work now have jobs and job opportunities. They are paying less 
in taxes, keeping more of their hard-earned money, and they are seeing 
it in their paychecks. The proof is in the paycheck.
  I expect to see it again at home in Wyoming this weekend. Businesses 
are hiring, workers are getting bonuses, raises, more money in their 
pockets, more money in their paychecks. People across America are 
feeling better about their opportunities. The opportunities are there. 
They are real. They are being grasped by people all around the country. 
There is confidence. There is an optimism we haven't had previously. 
There is a positiveness in people's lives, and it is happening because 
of the policies Republicans are implementing in Congress and in the 
White House, in this partnership between a President and a Congress 
committed to cutting taxes, to slashing regulations, to letting people 
keep more of their hard-earned money. We have no intention of stopping 

  Democrats are continuing to look for ways to slow things down, to 
block the progress, and to change the subject. They don't want to talk 
about any of these things. Republicans are looking for ways to keep 
America growing and to keep America strong. That is what Republicans in 
Congress are committed to doing.
  The American people expect us to keep going, to keep looking for ways 
to make America better, stronger, and safer. It is what the American 
people expect from us, and it is exactly what Republicans are going to 
continue to do.
  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.
  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). Without objection, it is so 

                           Amendment No. 2842

  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, I rise to speak in favor of the Reed-
Warren amendment.
  For months, I have been voicing concerns about the Trump 
administration's dangerous plans to develop new, more usable low-yield 
nuclear weapons. Specifically, this Defense bill authorizes the 
Pentagon to begin developing a new low-yield warhead, which the Trump 
administration wants to put on our Nation's submarine-launched 
ballistic missiles. I think this decision is strategically unwise for 
many reasons.
  I am concerned about discrimination and the risk of rapid escalation 
into a nuclear conflict. As many experts have publicly suggested, 
Russia may not be able to distinguish between an incoming Trident 
missile that poses an existential threat to their nation and a low-
yield nuclear missile that is intended to serve as more of a warning. 
That may be a risk this administration is willing to take, but it is 
not one I can support.
  I am also not convinced that additional low-yield nuclear weapons are 
necessary for deterrence. Let's be clear. Together with our allies, the 
United States brings overwhelming nonnuclear coercive power to the 
table, but beyond that, the United States already possesses a 
significant low-yield nuclear arsenal. In fact, we are in the process 
of spending billions of dollars to upgrade our delivery systems in 
order to ensure that our flexible deterrent is capable of reaching 
anyplace, anytime.
  I am troubled by the message that developing new nuclear weapons 
variants sends to the world about America's commitment to 
nonproliferation. Our credibility to negotiate with other countries, 
like North Korea, to demand that it reduce its nuclear arsenal, 
depends, in part, on the fact that we have long been committed to 
reducing our own. We must not do anything to jeopardize that progress.
  That is not what this amendment is all about. In fact, I offered an 
amendment in committee to fence the funding for low-yield SLBM until we 
can better understand the impact of this new weapon on our Navy and on 
our obligations as a steward of nonproliferation around the world, but 
my amendment was not successful.
  I understand that some of our military leaders, and some Members of 
my own party, genuinely believe this new low-yield weapon is necessary. 
I know my colleagues approach this seriously, and I know people with 
good intentions can disagree, but that is exactly the purpose of this 
Reed-Warren amendment. The point is, we should be having this debate 
right here in Congress. That is where the debate belongs.
  The impact of the underlying provision currently in the Defense bill 
is that the Pentagon will not need to come to Congress to ask for 
permission to develop a new low-yield nuclear weapon in the future. 
Instead, they can merely notify that they intend to do so and then 
proceed on their own. If this Defense bill passes in its current form, 
Congress will have lost our best opportunity to have a say in how they 
will develop it, what it will cost, or how and where it will be 
  The argument in favor of the existing provision is that low-yield 
nuclear weapons should be treated ``just like any other weapon,'' but I 
would say this to my colleagues: That is not the case. As Secretary 
Mattis has said, there is no such thing as a ``tactical'' nuclear 
weapon and ``any nuclear weapon used any time is a strategic game-
changer.'' The truth is, nuclear weapons are not like other weapons, 
and we should not treat them that way. We should all be able to agree 
that nuclear weapons are in their own class, and they deserve special 
scrutiny by Congress.
  In fact, we have faced this very question before. Fifteen years ago, 
there was a similar effort to take Congress out of the debate and out 
of any question about the use of nuclear weapons. In that case, 
Senators John Warner and Jack Reed offered a bipartisan compromise 
proposal that said the executive branch could only go forward in the 
development of new nuclear weapons with explicit authorization from 
Congress. That proposal passed unanimously, 96 to 0, including votes 
from 10 of our Republican colleagues who still sit in the Senate today.
  The provision in the underlying Defense bill would gut that 
bipartisan agreement, an agreement that has held for more than 15 
years. It was offered at the eleventh hour, behind closed doors, and on 
a party-line vote.
  In contrast, the amendment offered by Senator Reed today is 
consistent with that compromise, and a vote for the Reed-Warren 
amendment is a vote to sustain that bipartisan consensus.
  Regardless of what you think about the development and use of low-
yield nuclear weapons, as a Member of the Senate, you should vote to 
have a voice in that process. That is what the American people sent us 
here to do, and that is what we owe them.
  I would like to thank Senator Reed for his decades of bipartisan 

[[Page S3879]]

in this area, and I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the Reed-
Warren amendment.
  I yield back my time.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I believe Senator Markey of Massachusetts is 
here to speak.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator from Massachusetts withhold 
her suggestion?
  Ms. WARREN. Yes, I do.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, I come to the floor to speak on behalf of 
the amendment being offered by my colleagues Senator Warren from 
Massachusetts and Ranking Member Jack Reed from Rhode Island. I 
strongly support this amendment, and I want to explain why.
  A nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon, period. They are the only 
human-made force that could destroy all of humanity in a matter of 
minutes. They annihilate utterly and completely. The size of the bomb 
does not matter. Using any nuclear weapon is a step so grave that it 
is, in and of itself, an act of war. It also invites nuclear 
retaliation. That is why President Ronald Reagan was right when he 
said: ``A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.''
  Nuclear weapons are fundamentally different than any other military 
capability we possess. Congress must have a role in determining when 
these weapons are developed, how they are managed, and if, Heaven 
forbid, we must ever use them again.
  Oversight is one of the fundamental responsibilities of this body, 
and on no issue is it more important than nuclear weapons. That is why 
I support what Senator Warren and Senator Reed are doing. It rightly 
protects the role Congress must play in determining if and when we as a 
nation decide to develop more of the most lethal weapons on the planet.
  What Senator Warren and Senator Reed are doing is ensuring that 
Congress must authorize developing new or modified nuclear weapons 
because that is all important. This authority was written into law 
years ago. It was a bipartisan compromise that passed 96 to 0. 
Congressional oversight of nuclear weapons development and deployment 
has long enjoyed bipartisan support, and it should now as well.
  There are many, myself included, who believe we should go even 
further. As the only Nation to have ever used nuclear weapons against 
another country, the United States has a special responsibility to lead 
global efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate the world's nuclear 
weapons. This is an important issue. I am a realist, and I realize, as 
long as nuclear weapons exist, the United States must have a credible 
nuclear deterrent that is safe, secure, and reliable.
  Appropriately striking this balance is one of the most consequential 
issues, not only for our Nation but for the whole world. It is why, for 
decades, Congress has played a crucial bipartisan role overseeing our 
Nation's nuclear arsenal. The debates have been heated. We have not 
always agreed, but we recognize Congress must be involved. This must 
continue to be the case moving forward.
  So I thank Senator Reed and Senator Warren for their leadership in 
offering this amendment, which goes right to the heart of the question 
of what the role of the Congress is on this most important of all 
issues--the authorization for the development of nuclear weapons in our 
  From the beginning of the nuclear era, when President Roosevelt 
involved the Congress in the development of the Manhattan Project, 
until today, it has always been critical that those who are most 
concerned about this issue, the American people, have their elected 
representatives in the room.
  I thank Senator Reed and Senator Warren for their leadership on this 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, let me first thank Senator Markey and 
Senator Warren for their comments and just state that this amendment is 
very straightforward and simple. It ensures that Congress has an 
oversight role in authorizing the development of new or modified 
nuclear weapons, including low-yield nuclear weapons. It reiterates 
what Congress does every year in the National Defense Authorization 
Act. I consider the oversight role of this institution essential for 
the Defense Department and, in particular, for nuclear weapons.
  There are many devastating weapons of war in the world, but nuclear 
weapons are different. Thankfully, it has been over 70 years since the 
only time nuclear weapons have been used in war, but because it has 
been so long, I think many are not fully aware of the awful power of 
nuclear weapons. On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear 
bomb on Hiroshima. In the immediate aftermath, approximately 70,000 
people--mostly civilians--were killed. Tens of thousands more would die 
of radiation poisoning within weeks. Approximately 80 percent of the 
city of 350,000 people was destroyed. The second nuclear weapon, 
dropped on Nagasaki 3 days later, killed 40,000 immediately and 
approximately 40,000 more people from radiation poisoning in the 
following weeks. A weapon that can kill more people in an instant than 
the United States lost in the entire Vietnam conflict deserves close 
congressional scrutiny.
  To provide perspective on the size of these weapons, the bomb dropped 
on Hiroshima was 13 to 15 kilotons. The bomb dropped on Nagasaki was 18 
to 20 kilotons. A low-yield nuclear weapon is defined as a nuclear 
weapon whose yield is less than 5 kilotons of explosive yield. For 
comparison, the Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb, or MOAB, used on an 
Afghanistan tunnel network in 2017--and featured all across the media 
as a devastating explosion--is 11 tons, or 0.01 kilotons, about 500 
times less powerful than a 5-kiloton, low-yield nuclear weapon. So we 
are talking about an extremely powerful weapon that will result in 
thousands of casualties if used.
  Two weeks ago, I visited General Hyten, who is the commander of the 
U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. We 
participated in a classified exercise, involving the use of nuclear 
weapons. Again, the loss of life and destruction was truly sobering. I 
recommend that all of my colleagues participate in such a war game 
because it truly brings home the complexity and the essential role the 
Congress has in overseeing the development of nuclear weapons.
  I would like to convey one point that General Hyten made to me at the 
conclusion of the war game--that his No. 1 job is to ensure that 
nuclear weapons never be used in the first place and that they act as a 
deterrence to their use.
  With that, let me make a few observations on the amendment before us 
and why we are having this debate today.
  The 2018 ``Nuclear Posture Review,'' released in February, recommends 
that the United States undertake deployment of a submarine-based, low-
yield nuclear weapon. At present, the United States has several low-
yield nuclear weapons, but they are deployed from the air.
  The principle reasons advanced for this recommendation in the 
``Nuclear Posture Review'' are, first, the development of the Russian 
doctrine to use low-yield nuclear weapons to ``escalate to de-
escalate''; second, the inclusion of this doctrine not only in Russian 
plans but in repeated Russian war games; third, the significant 
expansion of the number of Russian nonstrategic, low-yield nuclear 
weapons that are not subject to arms control agreements, together with 
the Russian deployment of a land-based intermediate cruise missile that 
violates the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Agreement, or INF Agreement; 
and, fourth, finally, the development of extensive air defense systems 
over key Russian areas that could deny access to our current aircraft 
that would deploy a low-yield nuclear weapon.
  The ``escalates to de-escalate'' strategy presumes that Russia has 
initiated hostilities in Europe and, after initial Russian success, 
either NATO forces regain the momentum and the conventional fight is 
turning decisively against Russia or Russia has secured its desired 
limited objective and anticipates a decisive counterattack by NATO. In 
either case, this Russian doctrine calls for a first strike with the 
use of a low-yield nuclear device to freeze NATO forces. The Russian 

[[Page S3880]]

is that we will not respond with high-yield weapons for fear of 
initiating an all-out nuclear exchange, and we lack the ability to 
strike key targets with our airborne low-yield weapons because of their 
area denial air defenses. Their doctrine assumes that we will accept 
the existing status of Russian forces, even if they occupy NATO 
territory, while nonmilitary measures are pursued. This conclusion is 
contrary to our longstanding commitment to NATO expressed at the NATO 
Summit in 2016. In the words of that summit, ``no one should doubt 
NATO's resolve if the security of any of its members is threatened. 
NATO will maintain the full range of capabilities necessary to deter 
and defend against any threat to the safety and security of our 
populations, wherever it should arise.''

  Now, given this threat posed by the Russian doctrine, the Nuclear 
Posture Review proposes that the development of a submarine-based, low-
yield nuclear weapon will strengthen deterrence, raise the nuclear 
threshold, and make Russia refrain from a first use of nuclear weapons 
since we will be capable of responding in kind to hold all of their 
critical targets at risk. In short, it will stabilize rather than 
destabilize nuclear deterrence.
  The inherent difficulty in evaluating this recommendation is the 
realization that deterrence is based upon the perceptions of both 
parties and the implicit and explicit communication between both 
parties--in other words, what we are signaling with our words and 
actions, and whether the adversary is accurately interpreting those 
  This is an extraordinarily difficult question. I and many of my 
colleagues have struggled with it throughout our service in the Senate 
and, in many cases, service in our previous careers. Indeed, experts in 
the field of nuclear deterrence honestly disagree with respect to the 
recommendation of this submarine launched, low-yield weapon. Some feel 
it is needed; others do not.
  I am increasingly skeptical that a response to a low-yield Russian 
attack by an American low-yield counterattack will result in both sides 
refraining from future use of nuclear weapons. In other words, I am 
skeptical that we will avoid moving upward on the escalatory ladder 
leading to a larger nuclear exchange.
  One important issue is the selection of targets and how that affects 
our interpretation of Russian objectives and, alternatively, how it 
will affect Russian interpretations. If the initial Russian target is 
integral to our military operations, will we see it as ``escalate to 
de-escalate'' or ``escalate to prevail.'' And if we respond in a way 
that is interpreted by the Russians as something more than a quid pro 
quo, will the Russians respond again, assuming we are beginning a 
nuclear campaign?
  Moreover, will we cease conventional operations while allied 
territory is being held by Russia? This is the logic behind the Russian 
doctrine, but it contradicts our obligations under NATO. If we press 
these conventional attacks, especially if we are gaining advantages, 
the temptation to use additional nuclear weapons by the Russians may be 
  Proponents may suggest that the simple possession of this seaborne 
low-yield weapon will be sufficient to deter the Russians, but that 
assertion seems to ignore existing airborne weapons that may be 
directed at critical targets that are accessible to our air attack and, 
as such, would accomplish the limited counterresponse that seems to be 
behind the current proposal. In addition, much of the investments we 
are making in modernizing our triad--particularly with long-range 
standoff weapons to replace our aging air-launched cruise missiles, the 
B-21 and the F-35 with the life extended B61-12 gravity bomb--should by 
2030 offset the increasingly complex anti-access/anti-denial 
environment Russia is capable of.
  There are no easy answers to these questions, and answers will change 
over time as political, military, and economic factors change. That is 
why I believe it is essential that Congress maintain a central role in 
the development and deployment of nuclear weapons and why I strongly 
urge this amendment. This is about Congress's role, not about a 
particular nuclear weapon.
  In this bill, the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization 
Act, the request for the development of the submarine-launched, low-
yield nuclear weapon is authorized. An amendment, offered in the Armed 
Services Committee, to require certain reports by the Defense 
Department before its deployment failed. It was offered by one of our 
colleagues on the Democratic side. Moreover, the funds are already 
appropriated for this weapon in the recent Energy and Water 
appropriations bill. An amendment to eliminate the funding at the full 
Appropriations Committee failed. So we are on track this year to go 
ahead with the development of this system, but the question is this: In 
the future, will Congress retain the right to make critical decisions 
about the development and the deployment of nuclear weapons?
  So the debate today is not about whether the low-yield, submarine-
launched ballistic missile will proceed. The debate today is about 
congressional oversight of the steps ahead on this new nuclear weapon 
and any other new or modified nuclear weapon.
  Back in 1993, during consideration of the fiscal year 1994 National 
Defense Authorization Act, Congressmen Spratt and Furse included a 
provision that prohibited research and development that could lead to a 
low-yield nuclear weapon. Then, in 2002, President George W. Bush 
conducted a nuclear posture review, which concluded that the Spratt-
Furse provision should be repealed because it purportedly had a 
chilling effect on the science in the DOE weapons laboratories and 
might be needed to destroy bunkers containing chemical or biological 
weapons. As a result, the fiscal year 2004 National Defense 
Authorization Act, reported out of committee by Chairman John Warner 
with Ranking Member Carl Levin, included section 3116, which repealed 
the Spratt-Furse provision.
  When the fiscal year 2004 NDAA came to the floor for consideration in 
May of 2003, there was an exhaustive debate on the issue of this 
repeal, and several amendments were offered. The first amendment was an 
amendment by Senator Feinstein and Senator Ted Kennedy that proposed to 
strike the repeal, and it lost. I, then, offered the next amendment, 
which allowed research and development to occur but prohibited the 
final development and production of a low-yield nuclear weapon.
  Senator John Warner then offered a second-degree to my amendment, 
which allowed research and development to occur but required specific 
authorization for final development and production, and that is the law 
today. Senator Warner was very clear about the necessary role of 
Congress. On the floor, John Warner stated:

       In the second degree amendment, it is clear that the 
     Congress is fully in charge, working with the Executive 
     Branch. The Congress, and only the Congress, can authorize 
     and appropriate the funds necessary to go one step beyond 
     what the earlier [Reed] amendment has provided.

  Well, now, while my amendment failed, the second-degree amendment 
offered by Senator John Warner passed 96 to nothing. Indeed, there are 
Members here today--our colleagues in the Chamber--who were there at 
the time and who voted for the modified amendment, the Warner-Reed 
  The John Warner amendment has been uncontested until this year in the 
fiscal year 2019 Defense authorization bill. An amendment offered in 
committee--and this is the amendment offered by the Presiding Officer--
eliminates the John Warner language requiring congressional 
authorization for development and deployment of the low-yield nuclear 
  Instead, now the administration simply has to submit funding in the 
Department of Energy budget for new or modified nuclear weapons, not 
the Department of Defense budget. As such, this could be done through 
the Secretary of Energy, not necessarily through the Secretary of 
Defense. Indeed, in a strictly legal interpretation, the Secretary of 
Defense would have no role in this budget request. In addition, once 
the information appears in the budget sent to Congress, the executive 
branch can immediately begin using prior year's monies, subject to 
reprogramming guidelines approved informally by the four defense 
committees and not the full Senate, to begin work on a low-yield 
nuclear weapon.
  I think it is important to note this: Under the present language in 
the bill

[[Page S3881]]

before us, it is the Secretary of Energy who could, at the request of 
the White House, indeed, conceivably--not likely, but conceivably, even 
over the objection of the Secretary of Defense--propose in his budget 
that we begin to develop a new nuclear device. Simply submitting that 
budget would authorize him to begin reprogramming funds, which would be 
approved, at best, by a handful of Senators. That is not the kind of 
consideration we must apply to develop a new nuclear weapon. It is the 
role of the Senate--all of us--to stand up and to state where we 
believe this country should be headed.
  The threat and power of nuclear weapons has not changed. In fact, in 
the complex and unstable times of present day, with so many more states 
seeking nuclear weapons, I think it is imperative that Congress be more 
involved, not less, in the development and deployment of our country's 
nuclear arsenal.
  Therefore, my amendment simply puts Congress back in the loop, 
restoring the oversight put in place by the John Warner amendment in 
  It is our fundamental duty to review, authorize, and appropriate, if 
necessary, the programs the executive branch will execute. I would 
contend that this is especially true, given the nature of nuclear 
weapons and their capability for destruction. Some may agree with the 
need for a new, modified, or low-yield weapon and some may not, but 
everyone in Congress should have a say on the issue.
  My amendment simply ensures that Congress is involved every step of 
the way in the development of any new or modified nuclear weapon. I 
believe it is critical, considering the awesome destructive powers of 
this weapon, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment so we 
can continue to exercise appropriate guidance on an issue that is 
existential to the survival not only of the country but of the world.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today in support of Senator 
Reed's amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
  The Reed amendment would restore congressional oversight of the 
development of new, low-yield nuclear weapons.
  Since 1994, Congress has limited the Department of Energy's work on 
low-yield weapons. We have done so for two reasons.
  First, many of us believe the true purpose of low-yield nuclear 
weapons is not to deter nuclear attack, but rather to fight unwinnable 
nuclear wars. We are only fooling ourselves if we believe nuclear wars 
can be won.
  Second, we already have sufficient low-yield capabilities. They 
include nuclear cruise missiles and the B-61 gravity bomb. In fact, 
today, we are modernizing both.
  We are developing the LRSO, a nuclear cruise missile, at a cost of 
nearly $20 billion, and we are modernizing the B-61 gravity bomb at a 
cost of $8 billion. That is nearly $30 billion toward new, low-yield 
capabilities; yet some in this body would go further.
  During the Senate Armed Services Committee's markup of the NDAA, 
Senator Cotton offered an amendment to eliminate all existing 
restrictions on the development of new, low-yield weapons. His 
amendment, which passed on a party line vote, would allow the Secretary 
of Energy to develop new weapons simply by requesting funding to do so.
  That is an abdication of our constitutional responsibility to oversee 
spending on the world's most dangerous weapons. I cannot support this 
action and will oppose this NDAA if Senator Cotton's amendment is 
  It was not long ago that we debated this very issue. We would be wise 
to recall what happened. In 2002, the Bush administration's Nuclear 
Posture Review urged Congress to loosen congressional restrictions on 
low-yield weapons. I worked with Senator Kennedy to stop those efforts. 
With the help of Senator John Warner, we decided that we would allow 
basic research, but advanced development of new low-yield nuclear 
weapons would require congressional authorization. That position 
carried the day by a vote of 96-0 here in the Senate.
  Senator Reed's amendment before us today would preserve Congress's 
existing role to oversee the development of new nuclear weapons.
  I believe it is absolutely critical that we retain our authority, and 
I urge my colleagues to support the Reed amendment.

                           Amendment No. 2366

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, one of the most fundamental protections of 
our Constitution is that the government cannot imprison or punish 
people without due process or without being charged with a crime and a 
fair trial. Several years ago, Congress tried to undermine those most 
basic protections by saying the government could hold someone forever 
without so much as charging them with a crime under the powers granted 
to pursue Osama bin Laden in 2001.
  The Lee amendment seeks to restore those fundamental protections for 
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who are captured inside 
the United States. That is an important step forward, and I will vote 
for it. However, the Lee amendment still stops short of the protections 
guaranteed in our Bill of Rights.
  The Fifth Amendment to our Constitution says that no person shall be 
deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The 
Sixth Amendment says the accused has a right to a speedy and fair 
trial. Neither of those is limited to just citizens and permanent 
residents. My amendment 2795 would restore these protections for all 
persons captured in the United States.
  By restoring these protections, no terrorist suspect would be freed. 
The government would simply have to charge someone they believe to be a 
terrorist with a crime and put them on trial. I have no sympathy for 
terrorists and want to see them punished and locked away so they can 
cause no harm. I merely want the government to follow our most sacred 
charter, our Constitution, to do it just as we have for more than 225 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

                         Responsible Diplomacy

  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, the events of last week--the baffling, 
inexplicable attacks on our closest allies by the administration one 
day and the appalling praise for perhaps the most brutal dictator on 
Earth the next--are not normal. This behavior is not normal. These 
upside-down values are not normal.
  These actions mistake disruption for dynamism. They are empty bravado 
for bold displays of leadership. These actions are not serious or 
sober. They represent the opposite of statecraft, and the implications 
of such thoughtlessness for America, her allies, and the world could be 
lasting and grave.
  In many ways, the President is a steward of America's foreign 
policy--shaping it during their time, yes, but also understanding it is 
based on relationships and norms that have existed since long before 
they took office and will continue to exist long after they exit the 
political stage.
  Over the past several months, I have spoken of our abandonment of the 
international rules-based order that we took the lead in establishing. 
I have spoken of the profound implications of this abandonment, what it 
means to our economy, to national security, and to our relations 
throughout the world.
  This administration's dangerous dance with protectionism and its 
unwarranted besmirching of our allies, such as Canada, are illustrative 
of precisely the kind of harmful implications I feared would become 
  This is not a matter of one instance of a poor word choice or a 
single moment of absentmindedness; this attitude of contempt for those 
nations that share our values and respect for those who do not has been 
a common thread throughout the administration's actions over the past 
18 months.
  It is disturbing when the American President and his administration 
are going on about the ``great personality'' of the murderous dictator, 
Kim Jong Un, or how Kim ``loves his country very much,'' while at the 
same time calling the Canadian Prime Minister ``obnoxious, weak, and 
dishonest'' for merely pushing back on imposed tariffs or declaring 
that the European Union is ``solidly against'' the United States when 
it comes to trade policy.
  Consistently ridiculing our allies by suggesting they are somehow 
abusing us, while voicing admiration for despots and dictators, 
represents a fundamental departure in behavior for American 
administrations. It represents a

[[Page S3882]]

fundamental misunderstanding of our relationship with our allies.
  It is understandable that we will have disagreements with our allies, 
but that does not justify upending the international framework and 
foreign relations painstakingly constructed and cultivated by previous 
generations of leaders.
  Issues we have with allies ought to be addressed through constructive 
dialogue, not bellicose taunts or bombastic tweets. Such behavior is 
beneath the Presidency, and it is destructive to the position of global 
leadership this Nation holds. It projects to the world not American 
values but some sort of creep nihilism.
  I am astonished to use that word, ``nihilism,'' to describe the 
actions of any administration, of any party--much less my own--but it 
is our obligation to call what is happening by its name.
  When we read this week in The Atlantic, quoting a senior White House 
official as saying that the ultimate goal of the administration is to 
destroy the international order so America will, as a matter of policy, 
have ``No Friends, No Enemies,'' then ``nihilism'' is the only word for 
  If I may echo the sentiments of our absent colleague Senator McCain, 
I would like to make clear to our allies from the Senate floor that a 
bipartisan majority of Americans stand with you. We stand in favor of 
the principles of free trade, which have brought about unprecedented 
prosperity around the world. We stand in favor of preserving alliances 
based on 70 years of shared values, which have helped secure equally 
unprecedented peace and comity among nations. As Senator McCain plainly 
stated, ``Americans stand with you.''
  Attacking our friends is not who we are as a nation. It is not 
responsible diplomacy. It is not helpful to our goals as a nation, and 
it cannot become the norm, but I fear it is becoming the norm, and that 
is devastating and it is a reality we must face in this Chamber.
  We continue to act here as if all is normal, as if all parties are 
observing norms, even as the executive branch shatters them, robustly 
trafficking in conspiracy theories and attacking all institutions that 
don't pay the President obeisance--our justice system, the free press. 
The list is getting longer.
  This institution--the article I branch of our government--is not an 
accessory to the executive branch, and we demean ourselves and our 
proper constitutional role when we act like we work for the President 
and that we are only here to do his bidding, especially now.
  With the time I have left in this Chamber, I will continue to speak 
out, and I invite my colleagues who are disturbed by the recent 
treatment of our allies to do the same, but as vital as I feel it is to 
speak out, for the record and for history, it is clear that in the face 
of such an unprecedented situation, words are not enough. Mr. Madison's 
doctrine of the separation of powers tells us it is our obligation to 
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, we will be voting on the National Defense 
Authorization Act soon, which enjoys a storied history in the Congress. 
Fifty-seven consecutive years we passed the National Defense 
Authorization Act in order to support and equip our military. Earlier 
this month, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly--
25 to 2--to advance this important legislation to the floor.
  There are 1.8 million Americans around the world on Active Duty, 
according to the Department of Defense. The United States has 737 
military installations worldwide, and the Department of Defense is the 
world's largest employer. Supporting all of these people and facilities 
is a Herculean task, and the Defense authorization bill is one very 
important way we do that. It is how we make sure the men and women in 
uniform are paid, our alliances are strengthened, and that military 
facilities are properly modernized and maintained.
  This bill we will be voting on will support a total of--it is an 
authorization--$716 billion for these tasks. Occasionally, people ask: 
Isn't that too high a price to pay? Well, $716 billion is 
unquestionably a lot of money, but the simple fact is, there is no one 
who shares our values who can step in and fill the void left by an 
absence of American leadership. It is American leadership that keeps 
the world stable--or at least as stable as it is--that helps keeps the 
peace and helps fight the scourge of things like terrorism. There is no 
substitute for the United States of America.
  There are countries I will talk about in a moment--such as China--
that want to surpass us both economically and militarily, but it is 
important for our very way of life and for peace in the world that the 
United States continues to live up to its responsibilities to lead when 
it comes to national security.
  In my home State, there are roughly 200,000 men and women stationed 
at places like Fort Hood, Joint Base San Antonio, the Red River Army 
Depot and Ellington Field. These are the people I think of each year as 
we take up and pass the Defense authorization bill. They rely on us to 
supply them what they need in order to do the tasks they have 
volunteered to do.
  One thing this bill will do--and it sounds very modest--is provide a 
2.6-percent pay increase, the largest in nearly 10 years for our 
uniformed military.
  Given the state of today's world, maintaining our military readiness 
has never been more important or more difficult. The array of national 
security threats facing the world is more complex and diverse than at 
any time since World War II. Our leaders say, the strategic environment 
has not been this competitive since the end of the Cold War. Simply 
put, America no longer enjoys a comparative advantage that it once had 
over its competitors and its adversaries.
  Secretary of Defense Mattis and the Department of Defense have 
admirably crafted the national defense strategy that was delivered to 
Congress earlier this year. This is a critical first step for the 
administration to lay out its strategy, but now that strategy must be 
implemented, and the Defense authorization bill will align our policies 
and resources in a way that will accomplish that.
  This legislation will modernize the military's rigid, outdated 
personnel management system to increase the adaptability of the force, 
increase its lethality, where necessary, invest in emerging 
technologies to ensure that our troops have what they need in order to 
be successful, and reform the Department of Defense to empower strong 
civilian leadership.
  I am glad there are two pieces of this bill that are included and 
that I want to highlight in particular.
  The first is called the Children of the Military Protection Act. I 
believe the Senator from Maine is my chief cosponsor, and I thank him 
for that. This will close a jurisdictional loophole affecting military 
installations where minors commit criminal offenses on base. This issue 
was brought to my attention by an Army JAG officer--a judge advocate 
general, a lawyer--who was concerned that juvenile sexual assault cases 
were falling through the cracks when the Federal Government chose not 
to prosecute because, naturally, this would end up in the jurisdiction 
of U.S. attorneys and the Federal courts, and certainly their plate is 
full. This was a particular problem, though, at Fort Hood in Central 
  This legislation will allow Federal prosecutors to retrocede 
jurisdiction to the State; that is, allow the State to step up and 
prosecute these cases, allowing State-level authorities to take up the 
case when the Federal Government's other responsibilities and finite 
resources prevent it from being able to do so.
  This is, as I said, a bipartisan priority that Members of both sides 
of the aisle should rally behind.
  Our children who live on military bases must be protected at all 
costs, and when they are sexually assaulted, their juvenile assailant 
should not escape justice because of the constraints of the status quo.
  The second piece of legislation I have introduced and that I am 
pleased has been included in the NDAA--the Defense authorization bill--
involves how we address future threats to our national security. I have 
spoken quite a bit about China recently. My friend from Maine, who 
serves on the Intelligence Committee, as do I--we hear

[[Page S3883]]

quite often about the challenges confronting us from our rival China. 
But that country bears mention again right now because of its 
connection to the Defense authorization bill.
  The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Chairman 
Thornberry, has recently said that it is in ``the Indo-Pacific region 
[where] the United States faces a near-term, belligerent threat armed 
with nuclear weapons and also a longer-term strategic competitor.'' He 
has described that as being a threat to the United States in the Indo-
Pacific region where we face a near-term belligerent threat armed with 
nuclear weapons--that would be North Korea--along with a long-term 
strategic competitor, and that would be China, that Chairman Thornberry 
is referring to.
  That is why this year's Defense authorization bill, among other 
goals, prioritizes military readiness in that region and strengthens 
key partnerships. It promotes stability and security in the Indo-
Pacific region through exercises with our allies, and it maintains our 
policy of maximum pressure on North Korea as we seek to negotiate the 
denuclearization of the North Korean peninsula.
  But another main provision in this legislation that has to do with 
the Indo-Pacific region in particular, which I have cosponsored, along 
with Senator Feinstein, the senior Senator from California, is known as 
the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, or FIRRMA. This 
legislation will allow us to better intercept threats to our national 
security posed by China when its companies masquerade as normal 
corporate actors. But it has been well documented that China is intent 
upon not only stealing our intellectual property, but also acquiring 
the know-how to build dual-use technology in China and thus undermine 
our industrial base here in the United States. They do so by evading 
current law, by mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures. This 
legislation will modernize the review process led by the Secretary of 
Treasury to make sure that foreign investments in the United States 
protect our national security.
  This is not intended to discourage foreign investment. Foreign 
investment is a good thing. But when countries have an explicit 
strategy to try to acquire cutting-edge technology that has military 
applications, it obviously is a concern to our national security.
  As I said earlier, the Defense authorization bill is important for 
many reasons that hit closer to home. For example, in Texas, this bill 
has traditionally authorized needed improvements at Texas military 
facilities. We have an all-volunteer military. That means we have to 
not discourage people from entering the military or being retained in 
the military. One of the ways we do that is by making sure that we 
maintain improvements at our facilities, as well as provide updated 
aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles. All of these have Texas 
implications too.
  So when I vote yes on the Defense authorization bill soon, I will be 
thinking of these servicemembers--my constituents back home who proudly 
wear the uniform of the U.S. military--as well as all of those troops 
stationed overseas. I encourage all of our colleagues, let's make sure 
we get this NDAA, the Defense authorization bill, across the finish 
line as soon as possible.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I wish to commend the Senator from Texas for 
his leadership both on the juvenile justice provision of the National 
Defense Act, and also, very importantly, on foreign investment. We 
often hear around here testimony about all-of-government efforts. What 
we are facing is an all-of-society effort from some of our 
competitors--principally, China. Their private sector and their public 
sector are sometimes indistinguishable when it comes to investments. 
That is why this modernization act that the Senator from Texas has 
taken the lead on and has included as an amendment in the National 
Defense Authorization Act is vitally important to national security.
  I just want to thank the Senator for his leadership on a very 
important issue and commend the work of the committee in including it 
in the bill. Like the Senator, I look forward to supporting this bill. 
I think it is important on many levels, but since the Senator is on the 
floor, I wanted to commend him for his leadership on these issues.

                              Food Labels

  Mr. President, I come to the floor today to talk about a regulatory 
issue. It would be easy to joke about it, and I will probably not be 
able to resist a few puns along the way, but it is very serious.
  The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing food labels. They want 
to make them more understandable. They want to make them more 
informative to people when they are purchasing food in the grocery 
store. They have increased the font size on the calorie serving size, 
the number of servings in a container, and this all makes sense. But 
there is a place where the proposed rule of the FDA goes off the rails, 
if you will, and that involves maple syrup and honey, which the agency 
is suggesting should have on its label ``added sugar.''
  Well, maple syrup and honey essentially are sugar. And in pure maple 
syrup, in pure honey, which we produce in our State and other States in 
the Northern Tier, nothing is added. To add the phrase ``added sugar'' 
to maple syrup and honey makes no sense and is indeed confusing to the 
consumer because if you read a label that says ``maple syrup'' and it 
says ``added sugar,'' your natural assumption is somebody has put more 
sugar in there. That is what you would take from that.
  Indeed, that is what this label requirement that has been proposed 
would do. It would actually undermine the good work that has been done 
by the maple syrup industry and the honey industry over the years to 
explain to consumers the difference between pure honey and pure maple 
syrup and other products that have other things in them and may have 
sugar added.
  This is a photograph of where maple syrup comes from. This is a maple 
tree, and the farmer is tapping it. These tubes all lead to a maple 
house. Making maple syrup is not easy. It takes 40 gallons of sap to 
make one gallon of syrup. That is why we call it liquid gold. It is a 
wonderful product. It is a pure product. There is nothing that is added 
between the tree and the jar that you buy in your grocery store if, 
indeed, it is real maple syrup. Nothing is added.
  Last week, I visited a wonderful guy in Maine who is known as the Bee 
Whisperer, and he--or rather his bees--makes honey. We were out in a 
back field where the hives are. I said: How many bees are out there? He 
sort of scratched his head and said: About 3 million. Bees are in the 
hives in this back field of the Bee Whisperer up in Maine and when the 
honey comes into the combs, they scrape the wax off the top. The wax is 
created by the bees, by the way, so it is a totally natural product. 
The honey then comes out, and here it is coming out into a jar.
  This is pure honey. To add to this label ``sugar added'' makes no 
sense because it is not. There is nothing added, except what the bees 
  So this is a case where I think what we are talking about is a well-
meaning attempt on the part of this agency, the FDA, to inform 
consumers, but, in the process, what they are really doing is 
misinforming them.
  Honey comes from the bee to the jar--nothing in between. Maple syrup 
comes from the tree to the jar--nothing in between. Nothing is added. 
The only thing that is added by this proposed regulation is confusion, 
and confusion is the whole thing we are trying to avoid here.
  We are not adding sugar. Sugar isn't added into maple syrup and into 
honey. If you put ``added sugar'' on the label, it will make the 
consumer think that this isn't a pure product, and it will undo 50 
years of effort to make the public understand the difference between 
pure maple syrup and pure honey and something that may indeed have some 
added ingredient.
  MaryAnne Kinney--by the way, MaryAnne's husband is the guy that was 
tapping the tree that I showed a minute ago--is a State legislator in 
Maine, and she is also a maple producer, and she is in Washington this 
week spreading the word about this issue. I just want to add my voice 
to it because this would have a significant impact on these industries 
nationwide. These are important businesses. In

[[Page S3884]]

Maine, maple syrup is a $20 million-a-year business.
  I have to admit that one day years ago, when I was the Governor of 
Maine, we used to tap a maple tree in the front yard of the Governor's 
residence every year. It was a ceremonial event. The press was there. I 
went out one year to tap that tree, nailed one of these guys into the 
tree, and then the sap dripped out into the bucket. This is the old 
fashioned way. The new way is what I showed before; the tubes run right 
to the sugar house.
  The press was there, and they said: Governor, what do you think of 
Vermont maple syrup? I said: Vermont maple syrup? Are you kidding me? 
We use that in cars in Maine; we don't eat that stuff. Well, it started 
a war with the Governor of Vermont, which we settled amicably, I might 
  Maple syrup is important to us. I think this is would be a funny 
issue if it weren't so serious for producers. As a matter of fact, when 
you say they are going to put ``added sugar'' on a label for maple 
syrup, most people think it is kind of funny, but it is not funny to 
the industry.
  So I can't resist, Mr. President: I am hoping for a sweet ending to a 
sticky mess and that the FDA this week will do the right thing.
  I yield the floor.
  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. ROUNDS. 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. ROUNDS. Mr. President, as a member of the Senate Armed Services 
Committee, I am pleased that we as a committee have once again come 
together in a bipartisan fashion to advance the National Defense 
Authorization Act, or NDAA, which I believe is a vital piece of 
legislation for our national security.
  I thank the chairmen and ranking members in both the House and Senate 
for their leadership--Senator Inhofe--and the Members on both sides of 
the aisle who have continued to work together on this very important 
Defense bill.
  Congress as an institution continues to come together each year to 
show our troops and their families that they have our full support. The 
Federal Government's No. 1 responsibility is to provide for the defense 
of our Nation.
  This year's NDAA, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization 
Act, honors our chairman, who has dedicated his life to serving our 
country. Few people are more passionate about our troops and our 
military readiness than Chairman McCain, and the courage he has 
exhibited during his years of service and in his current battle has 
inspired all of us. I am pleased we were able to put together 
legislation bearing his name that builds on last year's efforts to 
provide adequate tools so our forces can fully rebuild our military and 
adequately address the challenges they face.
  The most important capability we have is our people, the men and 
women in uniform who defend our Nation and the families who give them 
the strength to do so. That is why I am pleased that this year's NDAA 
includes a 2.6-percent pay raise for our troops.
  We are also fortunate that the leader of our Armed Forces, Defense 
Secretary James Mattis, has provided us with a national defense 
strategy that clearly articulates the current and emerging threats we 
as a nation are facing. This strategy focuses on the central challenge 
facing our Nation: the reemergence of long-term strategic competition 
with our near-peer competitors, such as Russia and China. It is our 
duty to provide Secretary Mattis and all of our troops with the tools 
they need to execute this strategy.
  The world is more dangerous than at any time since the Cold War era. 
China and Russia are both strategic competitors. Great uncertainty 
still remains on the Korean Peninsula. Iran continues to threaten 
Middle Eastern stability. Our forces remain engaged in combat in 
Afghanistan and are conducting counterterrorism in multiple areas of 
  Our superiority in the maritime, air, ground, space, and cyber 
domains--once taken for granted--is constantly challenged by our 
strategic and regional competitors.
  Even more concerning, the threat of sequestration and repeated 
continuing resolutions has prevented our troops from being fully 
equipped to prepare and defend against these threats. As a result, 
modernization, readiness, and sustainment have all suffered.
  It is our duty to provide funding stability and avoid arbitrary 
budget caps that constrain defense spending below that which is 
required to protect our Nation. Failure to provide adequate, stable 
funding disrupts planning, impacts responsible obligation of critical 
funding resources, degrades readiness, and inhibits modernization, and 
there have been disturbing real-world consequences.
  The high operational demand with an insufficient fleet, overburdened 
maintenance infrastructure, and an erosion of training all were factors 
in a string of recent Navy surface fleet incidents. The Marine Corps 
and Air Force have had their own serious readiness issues with the F-18 
and the B-1 fleets, which experienced multiple class-A accidents, some 
of which caused the loss of life. The shortage of pilots in every 
service is a strategic readiness concern that must be addressed.
  Our sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines deserve the very best in 
training and equipment. This year's NDAA does that by providing a total 
of $716 billion in fiscal year 2019 for national defense.
  Voting for this vital legislation is not--I repeat: not--an act of 
budget-busting. In fact, in 2010 we spent $714 billion--just $2 billion 
less than this year--on national defense, but a dollar went a lot 
further back then. Adjusted for inflation, this bill actually 
authorizes more than $110 billion less than in 2010 buying power. We 
are slowly digging ourselves out of a hole that has hollowed our Armed 
Forces. The real budget-busting is being done with mandatory spending, 
and we don't even vote on mandatory spending.
  Since the Cold War, the stakes for failing to take decisive action 
have never been higher. This legislation will enable our Armed Forces 
to continue taking necessary steps to rebuild and restore our national 
  As an example, in the Navy--this year's NDAA builds on last year's 
bill to improve ship and aviation readiness and the infrastructure 
necessary to support the fleet, which directly addresses a significant 
problem the Armed Services Committee has examined in multiple hearings 
this year. Significantly, it improves the Navy's capacity to execute 
maintenance in naval shipyards by continuing to grow the workforce 
while investing in shipyard infrastructure, including facilities, 
equipment, and information technology. This increase in workforce will 
help the Navy to meet scheduled ship maintenance, support additional 
ships, and reduce the backlog that has accumulated from over a decade 
of increased operational tempo.
  Similar plans to restore readiness will be executed across the force 
so long as we honor our commitment to invest in a complete life cycle 
acquisition system.
  As chairman of the Cybersecurity Subcommittee of the Senate Armed 
Services Committee, I am pleased that the NDAA includes important 
provisions that take steps to address the serious cyber threat our 
Nation faces. This includes providing the Secretary of Defense with the 
authority to conduct military operations in cyber space, developing a 
program to establish cyber institutes at educational institutions, and 
investing in cyber programs in the defense industrial base. These are 
important steps we can take to defend the Nation in the cyber domain.
  I am also glad that the bill we are considering today includes 
strategic measures that I offered to improve officer personnel 
management and increase the capabilities of our training ranges 
throughout the Department of Defense to better support the objectives 
outlined in the national defense strategy. Today, a number of our 
personnel and training systems are outdated and fail to provide our 
forces with the tools they need on the modern battlefield. This bill 
changes that.
  While we champion this year's bill, we must also extend our view 
beyond fiscal year 2019. We must be prepared for the future while 
reacting to the present, especially as it relates to funding. For the 
past 3 years, I have served

[[Page S3885]]

as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, bearing witness to 
potential challenges that could threaten our national security if we do 
not address arbitrary budget caps placed on our defense. These 
arbitrary budget caps have forced the kinds of false choices that are 
potentially so devastating for our Armed Forces.
  We must also avoid the false choice of paying for readiness while 
assuming risk for modernization or vice-versa. We cannot let the 
pursuit of the perfect modernization solution prevent us from 
implementing mature technologies--to address short-term capability 
gaps--now, today.
  The bill we are considering today avoids these choices.
  In closing, I thank Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, Senator 
Inhofe, and my other Armed Services Committee colleagues and everyone 
on staff for their work on this year's NDAA.
  I look forward to getting this bill to the President's desk in a 
timely manner as we continue our strong tradition of coming together on 
a bipartisan basis to support our troops and their families so that 
they can continue to keep us safe.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.

Congratulating Mitch McConnell as the Longest Serving Senate Republican 

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I begin today by congratulating my friend, 
the senior Senator from Kentucky, Mr. McConnell, on becoming the 
longest serving Republican leader in the history of the Senate.
  This is an institution where somebody once wisely, I think, observed 
that there are only really two rules. Unanimous consent and total 
exhaustion are the way the Senate has in the past reached conclusions. 
That would not be and is not an easy group to lead. But I think Senator 
McConnell, more than any other Member of the current Senate, 
appreciates and understands the institution in ways that very few 
people do. He used the skills of understanding the uniqueness of the 
Senate. There is no other legislative body designed, as this body was, 
to be sure that the minority is heard and to be sure that the time we 
take is adequate for points of view to be put out there.
  During that time, in the past year, Senator McConnell has led our 
conference and the Senate in delivering the biggest tax overhaul in 
three decades, confirming a record number of circuit court judges, and 
overturning unnecessary regulations that were holding the economy back, 
and that is not easy to do.
  Every Member of the Senate comes here on their own. They come here 
working for the people who elected them. In many ways, we have 100 
independent contractors who understand their bosses--the people they 
work for--and the States they come from better than anybody else on the 
Senate floor does. Now, that is not a bad thing. That is an indication 
of bringing democracy to a place that has only 100 Members and always 
has almost 100 different points of view.
  Senator McConnell has earned the confidence of his colleagues. He has 
led the Senate in a good way. I am proud to call him my friend. He was 
the Senate whip when I was the majority whip in the House, and I am 
grateful for the 11 years, 5 months, and 11 days of steady leadership 
he has given.
  Now, Mr. President, with the Democratic and Republican leaders, the 
majority and minority leaders, both doing what they need to do, the 
work of the Senate continues.
  This is the 57th time the Senate has dealt with the National Defense 
Authorization Act. It is the only bill that we pass as an authorizing 
bill every single year, and I think that is highly appropriate. The No. 
1 job of the Federal Government is to defend the country, and we give 
that issue a different level of time on the Senate floor every year 
than we do anything else.
  The national security threats facing the United States today are more 
complex and more diverse, certainly, than at any time since World War 
II and maybe at any time ever. The United States hasn't seen the kind 
of strategic competition we see from other places. We haven't seen the 
diversity of opposition that democracy faces today. Frankly, our 
competitive advantage is not what it once was. Our advantage on the 
battlefield is not what it once was. It is still better than anybody 
else but not as overwhelmingly better as we were at one time.

  For us to continue to be successful, we have to maintain that 
military advantage. We have to counter our potential adversaries. As 
Senator Rounds just mentioned, we have to look at the new potential of 
cyber warfare, being sure our cyber advantage, our technological 
advantage, can't be disrupted because someone else has developed a way 
to get into our systems better than we developed ways to defend them. 
That is not an acceptable conclusion. We need to work to defend an 
international order that has advanced our security, that has advanced 
our prosperity, and that our allies and partners are an intricate part 
of. This requires us to be sure we are always ready.
  Secretary of Defense Mattis and senior leaders of the Department of 
Defense have spent a lot of time crafting the national defense 
strategy. This bill makes it possible for us to pursue that strategy. 
This is not a bill where the Members of the Senate pretend to be the 
master strategists of our defense, but it is a bill that allows the 
Members of the Senate, with oversight, with responsibility to the 
people we work for, to be sure that plan not only makes sense but is 
  In the National Defense Authorization Act, there is a total of $716 
billion. Half of all the discretionary money we spend, we spend on this 
topic. This would be another time to repeat my observation earlier that 
this is our No. 1 priority as the Federal Government or we wouldn't be 
spending half of all the discretionary money we spend on this.
  We need to be sure we keep faith with those who are serving, to be 
sure they have the best resources, the best equipment, the best 
training that is possible.
  Importantly, the authorization bill provides our servicemembers with 
a pay raise, a 2.6-percent pay raise. That is the biggest pay increase 
in a decade, and it needs to happen. It authorizes crucial multiyear 
procurement authority to keep our lines of defense production open. You 
have to have more than a 12-month commitment to build things like the 
F/A-18 Super Hornets that are made in St. Louis. We have been using 
those aircraft at a high volume of use, part of flying package after 
flying package. The Middle East has impacted our use of those planes 
and others.
  This is a bill that says: OK. We need to be sure we are looking 
forward not just for 12 months but for a multiple series of months to 
allow that line and the great men and women who work on it to keep it 
  The NDAA invests in emerging technology, and we do all we can to 
assure that our troops have what they need to make their mission 
successful. This bill makes significant investments in research and 
engineering to be sure that, again, we have the cutting-edge military 
technologies, and we have the cutting-edge ways to defend those 
military technologies.
  It is hard for me, when we come to this bill every year, not to make 
the point that we want to be sure Americans are never in a ``fair'' 
fight; we want to be sure they always have all the advantages anytime 
they engage to protect our freedoms.
  This bill recognizes the critical importance of our allies and our 
partners around the globe who fight together with us, who have shared 
responsibilities with us. This bill provides support to counter what we 
see the Chinese doing in the South China Sea or what we see the 
Russians doing as they look to--and obviously resent the success of 
NATO--both economic and defense of those NATO countries. It continues 
the fight against ISIS and terrorists in Afghanistan.
  We are hopeful--I am hopeful we have some language in this bill 
where, as opposed to an annual designation that recognizes those who 
have been wounded and injured in the service, we could make that an 
annual Silver Star Service Banner Day. I am grateful for the work those 
families do every year, and I hope we can continue to honor them in 
this bill.
  This would, frankly, be a perfect bill to honor families of those who 
have been injured and wounded in service, as it also recognizes the 
incredible service

[[Page S3886]]

of John McCain. I can't think of anyone whose life of service to this 
country is more exemplary, is more determined, is more vigorous than 
his commitment to the people who serve but also to the taxpayers we 
work for.
  The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act is named for 
the chairman. He has given so much of his life to our service. This is 
a bill that I hope appropriately honors his service, as I also hope it 
appropriately does what we need to do to honor our No. 1 priority--the 
defense of America.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I couldn't have said it as well as the 
Senator from Missouri. This is the John S. McCain reauthorization bill 
and obviously he is deserving of much more than that.

                           Amendment No. 2842

  Since we are going to have the votes in just a few minutes--two 
votes--let me make a couple of comments, and then I will yield to the 
Senator from Rhode Island. I believe the first vote we are going to 
have is going to be the Reed amendment, and I do oppose it. This 
amendment would require congressional authorization for the development 
of nuclear weapons for one simple reason we already require. Congress 
is already required to authorize the development of nuclear weapons in 
each year's authorization and appropriations bill.
  The debate is not really about the authorization; it is about the 
``Nuclear Posture Review.'' The ``Nuclear Posture Review'' calls for 
the United States to develop a low-yield nuclear capability, which some 
in Congress are against. That is fine. That is what this vote is on. We 
should debate it. We have debated it in the past, certainly in our 
committee we have, and that is the reason it is on the committee and 
would have to be taken off on the floor, if that is the desire of the 
majority of Members. That is not my desire. That is what we did.
  The Armed Services Committee considered an amendment to limit low-
yield authorization, debate its merits, and voted it down by a 
bipartisan vote of 16 to 11. There is certainly support for it.
  Let's be clear. The purpose of developing the low-yield capability is 
the same as our entire nuclear enterprise--deterrence. According to the 
NPR, Russia believes we have a gap in our nuclear capability because we 
have no low-yield nuclear warheads. As a result, they may perceive that 
limited nuclear first use, including low-yield weapons, would present 
the United States with two bad choices in response: escalate or do 
nothing. Since neither response would be acceptable, Russia may see 
this as an opportunity to gain strategic advantage through the use of 
nuclear weapons. We must correct this Russian misconception.
  Simply put, the NDAA authorizes the development of low-yield 
capability to make nuclear use less likely, to preserve and enhance 
deterrence. That is what this is all about. I heard arguments--and we 
debated this for many hours in the committee, and it is one that I 
think we ought to have every capability the Russians have, and of 
course we will not have that unless we have the low-yield capability. I 
would hate to have our country in a position where the only choice we 
have is to do nothing or to use the high-yield equipment that we don't 
want to use.
  I will save my remarks on the next amendment, the Lee amendment, 
until after this so we can give Senator Reed the opportunity to visit 
about his amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, first, let me thank the Senator from 
Oklahoma for his graciousness in allowing me to respond.
  As I read the language of the bill, the language we had in place 
since 2004 was stricken. That language prohibited, essentially, the 
production and development of a low-yield nuclear device without 
congressional authorization. In addition to that, the language that was 
inserted in the bill that is before us now creates a process, whereby 
in order to begin work in production and development of a low-yield or 
perhaps even any type of nuclear weapon, the Secretary of Energy simply 
must submit the request in the budget, at which point they can begin 
reprogramming funds that already had been appropriated to start moving 
forward with the development of not only the low-yield nuclear weapons 
we are talking about now but in the future, additional ones. The 
essence of my amendment is clearly to get to the point where we are 
considering going forward with any new proposal by the administration. 
I will emphasize, too, the way this language is crafted in the bill, it 
is the Secretary of Energy--it is not the Secretary of Defense--that 
puts it in his budget. Once it is in his budget, then they can begin to 
move money around. It could be for this submarine launch system or it 
could be for a system we have had in the past. We had nuclear field 
artillery in 1950s and 1960s. It might not be, frankly, the Secretary 
of Defense or anyone else. It might be the President or the NSC that 
decides to do that. I am simply saying we have had for a decade or more 
the responsibility, the obligation, to authorize new nuclear weapons 
and specifically low-yield weapons. That is why we have to include in 
this bill a specific authorization for this proposed submarine low-
yield nuclear weapon.
  If the language existed as is in the bill now, next year I don't 
think we would have that requirement. The Secretary of Energy could 
simply put it in his budget and then say: It is ready to go. I am 
moving money around. I am going to get ahead and create a new low-yield 
device--maybe not a submarine device, maybe a short-range rocket for 
the U.S. Army or a field artillery piece, which the chairman from 
Oklahoma understands because we were both in the service when they had 
those. This simply says, we as the Congress have the obligation and 
responsibility to say the provide oversight and authorize any such 
system. That is why we are on the floor today with respect to this low-
yield submarine weapon system, because if we did not stand up and 
authorize it, it could not be constructed.
  As we go forward, I think we still would have to have that 
congressional responsibility, particularly in a world that is becoming 
increasingly complicated by nuclear weapons not just from the major 
powers but by rising powers by many countries.
  I urge my colleagues to support the amendment. It simply maintains 
the status quo and says, if we are going to develop a new weapons 
system, come to us. We can debate it. We approve it or we don't approve 
it, but the American people can rest assured that this is not something 
that has been simply moved through the administrative channels of any 
Executive, this President or any other President.
  With that, I will ask for support.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. In just a moment, it is my intention to table the Reed 
amendment. I want to say this. This is the way things should work. We 
have debated this. We have debated it in committee. I have heard his 
very logical remarks and positions, and he has heard mine. We have an 
honest disagreement, and I think this is a better example than some of 
the things we heard recently from some of our colleagues.
  Mr. REED. I thank the Senator.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I move to table Reed amendment No. 2842 
and ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Illinois (Ms. Duckworth) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 47, nays 51, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 121 Leg.]



[[Page S3887]]



     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The motion was rejected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                           Amendment No. 2366

  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I wish to speak for a moment about an 
amendment I offered, the Due Process Guarantee Act amendment. This is 
based on a bill Senator Feinstein and I have introduced together. It 
has one purpose: to protect American citizens and lawful permanent 
residents on U.S. soil from being apprehended here and indefinitely 
  In Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton appropriately referred to 
arbitrary unlawful imprisonment as one of the favorite and most 
formidable instruments of tyrants. If our country is to make sure that 
it avoids this mistake, our country needs to undo a decision that was 
made in section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act passed 
by this body for fiscal year 2012, which is still in effect today.
  This amendment does one thing, and it is very simple. It simply says 
that if you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may 
not be indefinitely detained on U.S. soil without trial, without 
charge, without access to a jury or to counsel. These are not radical 
concepts. These are simply fundamental American concepts. These are 
concepts required by the Constitution itself.
  It is not too much to ask to suggest that we should have a vote on 
this year's National Defense Authorization Act, given that it was a 
National Defense Authorization Act passed 7 years ago that put this in 
place to begin with. In the following Congress, a virtually identical 
version passed by a supermajority vote of 67 votes. For reasons I have 
never been able to understand, it was stripped out in the conference 
committee later.
  Today we have the opportunity to undo the wrong that was placed into 
law then. We must prohibit indefinite detention of American citizens 
apprehended on U.S. soil. That is what this amendment does.
  We should be voting on it. We should not be blocked from getting a 
vote. I, therefore, implore you, with all the energy I am capable of 
conveying, to vote no on this motion to table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Toomey). The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I want the same 30 seconds.
  I implore you all to understand the difference between fighting a 
crime and a war. The Senator's amendment, as drafted, applies outside 
the United States.
  Remember Anwar al-Awlaki, the American citizen who hid with al-Qaida 
in Yemen? We killed the guy. If we had captured him, the last thing I 
would have wanted him to hear is, ``You have a right to a lawyer,'' 
because he is now part of the enemy force.
  The case law is very clear here. You had saboteurs from Germany marry 
up with American citizens in Long Island to commit sabotage in America. 
In re Quirin, the Court held that an American citizen who joins the 
enemy force can be an enemy combatant under law of war and tried by the 
  We have a case where a man was held at Charleston for 5 years--Mr. 
Padilla, who sided with al-Qaida. The court said it doesn't matter if 
you are captured in the United States. Your activity matters.
  Here is what I want. I don't want to read these guys their Miranda 
rights because they are recruiting in our own backyard. American 
citizens are high on the list of al-Qaida and ISIS to use against us. 
When we capture them, I don't want to read them the Miranda rights.
  We don't have to hold them indefinitely. If an American citizen is 
suspected to join the enemy, let's have a hearing about whether or not 
they have given up their citizenship. That way, we don't have to read 
them their Miranda rights and lose the ability to interrogate a person 
who has joined the enemy.
  What you are doing is incentivizing ISIS and al-Qaida to find an 
American because they have protections other people would not have in 
their own backyard. It is insane to say America is not part of the 
battlefield. Ask people in New York if America is part of the 
battlefield. Ask people in the Pentagon if America is part of the 
battlefield. If you think America is not part of the battlefield, vote 
with him. If it is, table this amendment.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 30 seconds to 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, this bill does not apply to people 
apprehended outside the United States. It does not apply to you at all 
if you are not a U.S. citizen or a lawful resident on U.S. soil at the 
time of your apprehension. This should not be controversial. This, in 
fact, is made noncontroversial by the Constitution itself.
  I urge you to vote no on this motion to table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. I move to table Lee amendment No. 2366 and ask for the 
yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Illinois (Ms. Duckworth) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 30, nays 68, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 122 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto


     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The motion was rejected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, we have begun the period of time in the 
year when insurance companies start to declare what their intention is 
with regard to rate increases, and the news is not good for American 
healthcare consumers.
  I am going to be joined on the floor today by a few of my colleagues 
to talk

[[Page S3888]]

about what the impact of these radical increases in premiums is going 
to be for our constituents. The news is not good, but, frankly, it is 
no surprise because for a year and a half now, the Trump administration 
has been waging a very deliberate assault on the American healthcare 
system, trying to sabotage it as retribution for the country not 
agreeing to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which now enjoys 
widespread popularity across the country. This deliberate campaign of 
sabotage--beginning the first day Trump got into office with an 
Executive order, leading up to these last 2 weeks in which the Trump 
Justice Department is trying to rule that protecting people with 
preexisting conditions is unconstitutional--has had an impact. It has 
had an impact.
  I want to quickly run through what we have seen thus far with respect 
to premium increases all across this country as a result of the Trump 
administration's and Republicans' campaign of sabotage.
  First is in Maryland. The highest increase we saw in Maryland--these 
were announced about a month ago--was one plan announcing a 91-percent 
increase--in 1 year, one time, a 91-percent increase. It is almost a 
doubling of premiums for a PPO plan in Maryland that was primarily 
being used by people with preexisting conditions, people who were sick.
  The reason this plan is going up by 91 percent is because, as the 
Trump administration and this Congress take steps to move healthy 
people off of insurance plans to either no insurance at all or to junk 
plans, only sick people or people with preexisting conditions are left 
on plans like the CareFirst PPO plan. A 91-percent increase. Who in 
Maryland with any kind of middle-class income can afford a 91-percent 
  Virginia is not much better. In Virginia, at about the same time, one 
plan asked for a 64-percent increase. Again, I don't know many families 
who are making $30,000 a year who can afford a 1-year, 64-percent 
increase in premiums.
  Remember, overall, medical inflation in this country--meaning on a 
percentage basis, the amount of increase in medical costs from year to 
year--is about 6 percent. So if you were just passing along the costs 
to your consumers, the rate should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 
5, 6, or 7 percent. Instead, in Virginia, it is 64 percent.
  Senator Merkley is going to talk about Oregon, but premiums in Oregon 
are going up by double digits--14 percent.
  Washington State is looking at a premium increase of 30 percent. The 
Kaiser plan in Washington is asking for a 30-percent increase. The 
statewide average is right around 20 percent. Kaiser, in Washington, 
says: ``The rate changes shown are primarily driven by the claims 
experience of the single risk pool, medical inflation, and projected 
changes in the risk profile of the membership due to the elimination of 
the individual mandate.'' That is the change that Republicans made to 
the Affordable Care Act.
  You are actually in decent shape in Maine, so I will give you the 
good news too. In Maine, you are only seeing a 10-percent increase in 
premiums--just slightly above the rate of medical inflation.
  In one of the more popular States in the country, New York, the news 
is catastrophic--a 39-percent increase in premiums in the largest 
health insurance plan in New York. Fidelis, which is on the State 
healthcare insurance exchange, is asking for a 39-percent increase.
  Let me read to you what the New York Department of Financial Services 
said about this requested 39-percent increase:

       With respect to the individual market, the single biggest 
     justification offered by insurers for the requested increases 
     is the Trump Administration's repeal of the individual 
     mandate penalty. The individual mandate, a key component of 
     the Affordable Care Act, helped mitigate against dramatic 
     price increases by ensuring healthier insurance pools. 
     Insurers have attributed approximately half of their 
     requested rate increases to the risks they see resulting from 
     its repeal.

  It is not as if the Republicans in this body didn't know what was 
going to happen. The CBO said that rates will go up by at least 10 
percent in the first year if you repeal that part of the Affordable 
Care Act and 13 million people will lose insurance. That is what 
happens when rates go up by 40 percent. Some people just cannot afford 
to pay it. So whether the number is 39 or 91 or 64, these rate 
increases that are happening because of this campaign of sabotage by 
the Trump administration are simply unaffordable.
  Before I turn this over to Senator Merkley, let me quickly run 
through what I am talking about.

  In January 2017, President Trump signs an Executive order telling all 
his agencies to dismantle the ACA, despite the fact that Congress 
didn't repeal the Affordable Care Act and never would appeal the 
Affordable Care Act.
  In April of 2017, he cuts open enrollment in half for the Affordable 
Care Act just to try to make sure that fewer people can sign up for 
health insurance.
  In May, Republicans start voting to try to take insurance away from 
23 million people. Actually, one of the proposals would have taken 
insurance away from 30 million people. In December of 2017, they 
finally settle on legislation that takes insurance away from 13 million 
people and drives costs up by at least 10 percent.
  In February of this year, the Trump administration starts to allow 
insurance companies to expand the use of junk plans. These are plans 
that cover very little. They might not cover prescription drugs or 
mental health or addiction care, but they are cheaper, so healthy 
people tend to move to these plans, leaving the sick people on the 
plans that are now going up by 39 percent.
  The final cherry on top is that right now as we speak, the 
administration is making an argument before the Supreme Court that the 
remaining scraps of the Affordable Care Act that the Republicans left 
are unconstitutional.
  The protection for people with preexisting conditions, which Trump 
promised over and over and over again to keep--Lesley Stahl pinned him 
down in a ``60 Minutes'' interview and asked: You are going to keep 
protection for people with preexisting conditions, right? You are going 
to keep the part of the Affordable Care Act that is wildly popular, 
aren't you?
  He said: Yes, I am going to keep that part.
  In fact, he has now instructed his Department of Justice to break 
precedent and argue the unconstitutionality of a statute of the United 
States, that statute being the portion of the Affordable Care Act that 
protects people with preexisting conditions.
  Believe me, insurance companies are paying attention to this unending 
withering assault on the Affordable Care Act and the American 
healthcare system. That is why we are seeing these big premium 
  We want to make sure that our colleagues understand what is happening 
here and that the American public understands what is happening here. 
These increases in healthcare costs are unprecedented, but they are not 
surprising, given what this administration and what this Congress have 
been doing.
  With that, I yield the floor, seeing that Senator Merkley is ready to 
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I thank my colleague for letting us come 
down to talk about the trumped-up healthcare prices in America. It is 
trumped up because the prices are going up specifically because of the 
policies of President Trump and his team. The sabotage is at full 
  Long before the sabotage occurred, in 2017, here on the floor of the 
Senate, we had five different versions of trying to wipe out healthcare 
for American citizens. They varied in range from wiping out healthcare 
for 22 million Americans to wiping out healthcare for 30 million 
  How is it that in a ``we the people'' republic, people can come down 
here and vote to wipe out healthcare for millions of people across this 
country? Quite simply, we have a team in power that believes in 
government by and for the powerful and the rich. They have healthcare, 
so they don't care about the rest of us, but we should be here fighting 
for the ordinary citizen in America. What is more important to peace of 
mind than the knowledge that if your loved one gets sick or injured, 
they will get the healthcare they need and you will not go bankrupt in 

[[Page S3889]]

process? That is why this is so important to Americans.
  Just by a little bit, just by a thin, one-vote margin, we defeated 
those efforts to destroy healthcare last year, in 2017. We thought, 
thank goodness the people have triumphed for once in this Chamber. But 
no sooner than that occurred, then we had a tax bill--a tax bill that 
itself was written by and for the wealthy and well connected rather 
than the people. It borrows $1.5 trillion and gives most of it to the 
wealthiest of Americans.
  Embedded in that terrible assault on the finances of America, that 
terrible failure to address the fundamentals of things that enable 
families to thrive--healthcare, education, living-wage jobs, and good 
housing--embedded in that was pulling the plug on the insurance pools. 
What does that mean? It means that the healthiest can jump out of the 
pool, and when they do that, they leave sicker people, and the price 
goes up. The price goes up, so more of the healthy people jump out of 
the pool, and the price goes up. This is known as the insurance death 
spiral. For ordinary citizens, it is known as double-digit increases in 
the cost of your healthcare policies brought by these Republicans and 
Donald Trump with this deliberate effort of sabotage.
  The sabotage didn't end with pulling the plug on the insurance pools, 
no. Then we had the effort to undermine the marketplace, where people 
can compare policies and get policies that abide by the healthcare bill 
of rights, the Patients' Bill of Rights, things like, yes, you can buy 
a policy at the same price as everyone else even if you have 
preexisting conditions--that healthcare bill of rights. It is the 
healthcare bill of rights that allows testing and screening because an 
ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  What is Team Trump doing? Well, they cut the enrollment period in 
half. They cut funding for outreach by up to 92 percent. They slashed 
the budget for advertising--so people wouldn't know that there was an 
open period and would miss the opportunity to get a healthcare plan--by 
90 percent, 9 out of 10 dollars. They put up anti-marketplace 
propaganda. They periodically proceeded to shut down the website so 
people would get frustrated while trying to sign up for insurance. That 
is a real winner--make it hard for people to sign up for healthcare. 
Just how bad does it have to get--this attack on ordinary Americans by 
this administration, making it difficult, sometimes impossible, for 
people to sign up for hours at a time, right in the middle of an open 
enrollment period. They are wiping out the cost-sharing subsidies, so 
healthcare will be more expensive for people who have the least means.
  Then we have even more. We have the junk policies--these junk 
insurance policies that make you feel good, they are very cheap, you 
can buy them, and they are good for filling your filing cabinet, but 
when it comes to actually getting healthcare when you are sick or 
injured, they don't pay for anything. That is a junk policy. It is 
really a predatory policy to try to say to people: Here, buy this, and 
you have insurance--but you don't really, not when you need it. That 
really is another assault on an ordinary American about the peace of 
mind of having healthcare when you are injured or when you are sick.

  So there we are. We thought this assault had gone as far as it could 
possibly go.
  Someday the people in this country will rise up in an election and 
proceed to say: We really do believe in that vision of our 
Constitution, that ``we the people'' vision of our Constitution of the 
United States of America; we believe in that vision, and we want an 
elected body that believes in that vision.
  But a new assault came just days ago in which the President--who 
promised to make sure that every healthcare policy was cheaper than it 
was before, and that turned out to be a lie; the one who said that 
every person will be covered, and that turned out to be a lie; the one 
who said that whatever happens, I will absolutely make sure we continue 
to protect Americans who have preexisting conditions, and they will get 
the same or better treatment than they have now--issues an order that 
says: We are not going to defend the requirement that people with 
preexisting conditions can get healthcare at the same price as everyone 
else. What is this called? This is called a sellout. This is called a 
deception. This is called a whopper. This is called an assault on 
ordinary Americans when it comes to healthcare.
  This is why insurance rates are going up all over the country. We are 
seeing double-digit increases in every State, even my State, which 
tried to protect ordinary people by wiping out and barring those junk 
plans but was assaulted by the rest of the sabotage. This isn't limited 
just to Connecticut and my State of Oregon; it is State after State 
after State, including the State of Virginia.
  Before my colleague from Virginia speaks, I yield to my colleague 
from Oregon, the senior Senator from Oregon, who knows this issue so 
well and who has been in this Chamber fighting for peace of mind in 
healthcare for year after year after year. This is why we must come 
together as a nation and repair our healthcare system to have a simple, 
seamless healthcare system that does right.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I don't want to make this a cake-tossing 
contest, but I also want it understood that my colleague from Oregon 
has done an invaluable service to the country by showing the importance 
of what is happening at the border, where there is an effort in effect 
to traumatize children and separate kids from their parents. I look 
forward to working with my colleague when we do some work on it in 
Oregon. I certainly don't want to hold up my friend from Virginia, and 
I appreciate Senator Murphy.
  Before I came to the Congress, I was codirector of the Oregon Gray 
Panthers, a senior citizens group, for about 7 years. Back then, we 
were talking about ways in which to move forward on healthcare, to 
advance the rights of our people, to improve the quality of life in 
this country. There was often a bipartisan coalition to do that, to 
make those advancements.
  In the last year, however, there has been an unprecedented effort to 
turn back the healthcare clock. We see it with the effort to sell junk 
insurance, which, in effect, involves the Trump Health and Human 
Services Department saying to States: Well, it is really pretty much OK 
to discriminate; just don't be too obvious about it. Then we saw the 
effort to strip away the Medicaid guarantee of nursing home coverage 
for older people.
  Now, Senator Murphy, Senator Kaine, and my colleagues are here on the 
floor to talk about the Trump administration's efforts to unravel the 
current law that bars insurance companies from beating the stuffing out 
of people with preexisting conditions. That is the way it used to be, 
folks. If you had a preexisting condition and you weren't healthy or 
wealthy--and that is what you face if you have a preexisting 
condition--you were really in bad shape. If you are healthy, you pay 
your bills--and you don't have bills. If you are wealthy, you pay the 
bills. But millions who have preexisting conditions would just get 
clobbered with premium hikes, so they couldn't get coverage at all.
  Finally, we said in the Affordable Care Act: We are actually going to 
start moving the clock forward, and we are going to bar insurance 
companies from discriminating against those with preexisting 
conditions. This is particularly important for the 67 million women 
under 65, an enormous number of women in this country who have a 
preexisting condition, and they have, over the last few years, counted 
on the healthcare protections I just described in the Affordable Care 
Act as a healthcare safety net, as a backstop--protections that say 
they can't be charged more because they need maternity care and other 
essential services, protections that say they can't be denied coverage 
due to a preexisting condition, and that means everything from ovarian 
cancer to asthma. Every year, those who switch jobs or stop working, 
perhaps to take care of a loved one--and women often perform those 
roles--now have the assurance that they can have the mobility of being 
able to move up in the workforce if they live in Virginia or 
Connecticut or Oregon and they see the opportunity to get a better job. 
If they have a preexisting condition, without these protections, they 
are locked in. They are locked

[[Page S3890]]

into the workforce. What we are saying is that we want these 
protections to stay so that women and all Americans have the 
opportunity to secure advancements when they have the skills and 
talents to move on to another job.
  These fundamental healthcare rights will disappear if the President 
and the Republican State attorneys general are able to unravel the law 
of the land.
  This is really a head-scratcher, folks. It is one thing for an 
administration to say to Senator Kaine or to Senator Murphy that they 
want to come to the Congress, they want to come to the appropriate 
committees--my colleagues serve on one of them, and I serve on the 
other--and say: We want to pass a law that changes preexisting 
condition policy. We wouldn't be for it, but at least that is a 
legitimate debate. They are not talking about doing that. They are not 
talking about coming to Congress.
  Do you know why they are not coming to the Congress? Because they 
know their effort to unravel preexisting condition policy would not 
have a pulse up here. They wouldn't be able to get any traction for it. 
So what they are doing is going through the back door. They are trying 
to use a very complicated legal process--and it is going to be very 
hard to follow--about the Supreme Court and the purchase requirements 
and the tax and the like. But make no mistake about it, this is an 
effort to unravel the law of the land to deny protections to women--
protections that ensure that if they have a preexisting condition, they 
don't have to go to bed at night in pure panic, worried that they could 
wake up in the morning and they could lose everything.
  I will have plenty more to say about it. This is especially important 
because it escalates the Trump administration's campaign of healthcare 
discrimination against American women. This is really going to take a 
toll on 67 million women under 65--people who, as I have said, without 
this protection are going to go to bed at night, in my view, with an 
enormous fear and an enormous sense of uncertainty of what is ahead, 
where they could lose everything.
  With that, I thank my colleagues for their courtesy and Senator 
Murphy for bringing these efforts to the floor so frequently.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I would also like to rise to talk about 
this important issue of healthcare.
  I have heard my colleagues, Senator Murphy, Senator Merkley, and 
Senator Wyden, and I know Senator Murray will speak in a minute. We are 
focusing on the great damage this administration is doing to the 
healthcare of Americans.
  I thought maybe I could inject just a little bit of good news into 
this discussion. The good news I want to describe is positive advances 
that are still taking place because of the Affordable Care Act, despite 
the best efforts of the administration to kill the Affordable Care Act.
  Because Senate colleagues joined together on the floor nearly a year 
ago to defeat efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even as the 
sabotage has been going on, there has been an advance in my State that 
is very significant. Two weeks ago, my State legislature, after a 4-
year debate, decided to become the 33rd State to accept Medicaid 
  Mr. President and my colleagues, if you want to know whether what you 
do in this Chamber matters, that vote in August of last year that 
preserved the Affordable Care Act enabled my State to embrace Medicaid 
expansion, and in one stroke of one vote, 400,000 Virginians have the 
ability now to have healthcare maybe for the first time in their lives. 
That is nearly 5 percent of our population.
  These are working-age adults, most of them--many of them--working 
multiple jobs, but they have not been able to afford health insurance. 
But because this body saved the Affordable Care Act, we were able to, 
in the stroke of a vote, provide health insurance to 400,000 people--
people who now know they can be taken care of if they get injured or if 
they are in an accident. Even if they are completely healthy, they have 
peace of mind and don't go to bed at night with the anxiety of what is 
going to happen to my family if I am in an accident or what will happen 
to my wife if she gets ill.
  The Affordable Care Act is not just holding in the face of this 
sabotage effort by the Trump administration; it is actually still 
advancing in places like Virginia. A number of other States have 
referenda on the ballot to do exactly what Virginia just did. We do not 
need to stand still; we need to defeat sabotage, and then we need to 
move ahead.
  My colleagues have stressed the various ways in which the Trump 
administration has tried to undermine the healthcare of Americans, and 
I don't need to go over them at length: limiting enrollment periods, 
limiting marketing, eliminating the individual mandate, and injecting 
uncertainty over the payment of cost-sharing. All of those things are 
leading insurance companies to increase rates. When they announced rate 
increases in my State recently, some insurance companies want to 
increase rates by as much as 64 percent.
  The good news is--at least if there is any good news--they are not 
being shy about explaining the reason. They are telling us exactly the 
reason they are increasing the rates. They are increasing rates because 
of specific, identified policies of this administration to punish 
Americans and raise their health insurance costs. That is what the 
insurance companies are stating.
  As Senator Wyden mentioned, now Republicans are in court with the 
administration to try to defeat the protection the Affordable Care Act 
gave to people with preexisting conditions. These are not just a few 
people in my State or nationally; these are tens of millions of 
Americans, Virginians who have cancer, diabetes, or even lesser 
conditions that in the past--and potentially in a Trump administration 
future--could get kicked to the curb as a result.
  I want to tell my colleagues one story about preexisting conditions 
because it is my family's story. Then I will conclude because I want my 
Senate colleague from Washington, who has been a leader on this effort, 
to offer her perspective.
  When we think about preexisting conditions, there are all kinds of 
them, but some people don't know how broadly this definition has been 
used by insurance companies to basically deny anybody coverage if they 
can think of a single reason or a simple reason to do so.
  I am not going to get into my own family's medical history, but I 
just want to tell you this. My wife and I have three children. There 
are five of us. I would submit that we have to be virtually the 
healthiest family in the United States because the only 
hospitalizations for the five of us in our lives, as a family of five, 
have been three childbirths, with my wife being in the hospital three 
times to deliver healthy children.
  Right after the Affordable Care Act passed, when the ban on 
discriminating against someone with preexisting conditions was going 
into effect, for the first time, neither my wife nor I had a job with 
an employer that was offering a group plan so we needed to try to buy 
insurance on the individual market. My wife is a super diligent 
consumer and made numerous calls, and two insurance companies turned us 
down because of preexisting conditions. One was a preexisting condition 
of mine, though not serious enough ever to put me in a hospital, and 
one was because of a preexisting condition of one of my kids, also not 
sufficient to put that youngster in a hospital.
  In both instances, the insurance company said: Well, we will write a 
policy for some of your family, but we will not write it for all of 
your family.
  Safety tip: Do not tell my wife you will write an insurance policy 
but not for one of her three kids. That is not a good thing to do.
  When my wife heard that, she said: I want to know whom I am speaking 
to because what you are suggesting to me is against the law.
  No, it is not against the law. It is company policy. We can turn your 
child down, Ms. Holton. We can turn your child down.
  No, you can't. Put a supervisor on the line.
  The supervisor got on the line.
  My wife said: This is now against the law. You cannot turn my child 
down because of a preexisting condition.

[[Page S3891]]

  After some ``backing-and-forthing'' and the ruffling of pages, I 
guess, in an insert in the employee manual, the employee said: You are 
right. We can't turn you down. We apologize. That policy that we told 
you could be for four can now be for five.
  If this can happened to a family like mine who had never even had a 
hospitalization for any illness or injury, other than delivering a 
child--this was happening over and over again--why would this 
administration want to return to those days? It is shocking and 
heartless, and we are going to do everything we can in the court and in 
Congress, as well as together in dialogue with the public, to make sure 
this important protection is not ripped out of the hands of American 
  Congress needs to act to stop the Trump administration sabotage, to 
preserve the Affordable Care Act. I hope we will take up the Murray-
Alexander bill. It will stabilize the insurance market through 
provision of reinsurance, through guarantee of cost-sharing payments. 
There is no reason we can't take this up. Then we need to move ahead 
even further on proposals like the bill I have with Senator Bennet, the 
Medicare-X bill, to make sure every person in this country can buy a 
Medicare policy, a policy developed by Medicare on the individual 
insurance exchange, if they choose.
  I am glad to be joined together with colleagues who are so passionate 
about protecting the healthcare of American families. Based on the 
results in Virginia, which avoided Medicare expansion for years only to 
finally wake up and realize we need to do it, I know we will prevail in 
this effort because it is what the American public wants us to do.
  Mr. President, I would love to yield the floor to my colleague from 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I wish to thank my colleague from 
Virginia for his personal, compelling reason why what the 
administration is doing is so wrong. That could happen to anyone, and 
does happen to everyone, and I so appreciate that.
  I thank my colleague from Connecticut for bringing us together today 
to highlight this. There is so much going on in the country, and we 
don't want this to get lost because it will impact every single family.
  We are here today to talk about President Trump's ongoing effort to 
sabotage healthcare for literally millions of families in our country. 
As we talked about last week, the Trump-Pence administration showed, 
once again, that there is no limit to how low and how baseless they 
will go to appeal to extreme Republican donors and their special 
  President Trump's Department of Justice announced it will ignore 
years of precedent and abandon its duty to defend our laws in court. It 
will abandon our laws that prevent insurers from denying people with 
preexisting conditions coverage or charging people more because of 
their gender or raising premiums without limit for seniors.
  This decision also makes it clear President Trump is ignoring the 
lessons he should have learned last year. Around this time last year, 
Republicans were trying to jam through the President's partisan 
healthcare bill, filled with proposals that would have scrapped those 
patient protections, spiked premiums and healthcare costs, imposed an 
age tax on our seniors, gutted Medicaid, and thrown our entire 
healthcare system into chaos.
  The TrumpCare bill ultimately failed as people across the country 
stood up, spoke out loudly, and made it very clear they didn't support 
President Trump's sabotage agenda. President Trump didn't listen. 
Instead, he has continued to undermine healthcare for our families at 
every available opportunity, and Republicans have been lockstep with 
them the entire way; like when President Trump expanded loopholes to 
allow junk insurance plans that don't include important consumer 
protections; like when congressional Republicans jammed through a 
partisan tax bill to undermine our healthcare laws; like when President 
Trump announced radical new restrictions on Federal family planning 
funding based on ideology that would result in less access to 
healthcare for millions of women across the Nation and a gag rule that 
will interfere with providers' ability to talk about the full range of 
reproductive health service with their patients. Those steps were all 
designed to make it harder for women and families to get the care they 
  Last week, President Trump's administration took yet another step to 
undermine the healthcare system. In a nearly unprecedented move, the 
Trump administration announced it would no longer defend the Affordable 
Care Act in court. The Trump administration announced it would abandon 
the parts of the law that prevent healthcare discrimination against 
women, against seniors, and against those with preexisting conditions. 
That decision goes against years of legal precedent. It goes against, 
for sure, the wishes of families across the country who want their 
government to care about patients, not partisan politics. It even goes 
against the promises of many Republicans who claimed they were going to 
fight for those important patient protections.
  Republicans may not be listening, but I have to tell you, families 
across the country have been speaking up loud and clear. They want us 
to fight for them and for their healthcare policies that can help them 
get the care they need. While President Trump and Attorney General 
Sessions have never fought for patients--as their latest decision makes 
abundantly clear--Democrats have never stopped fighting for them, and 
we are not going to stop now.
  We remain dedicated to working toward commonsense solutions that help 
bring our healthcare costs down and begin to fix some of this damage 
that has been done by President Trump. We actually had a bipartisan 
deal that would have accomplished that goal, but, unfortunately, 
Republican leaders made very clear from the start they are not 
interested in lowering premiums, they are not interested in stabilizing 
our marketplace, and they are not interested in fixing this problem. 
Instead, they are interested in helping special interests, they are 
interested in donors, and they are interested in catering to the 
extreme right.
  Despite their move to throw a wrench in our important bipartisan 
work, I want you to know Democrats are at the table, and we will be 
here all of August ready to work to fix this for families in Washington 
State and across the country. I hope, going forward, cooler heads will 
prevail and Republicans will return to the table and join us on finding 
solutions to lower patients' costs and strengthen healthcare in our 
country rather than continuing to help President Trump sabotage it. 
That is what the people in my State want. I know that is what families 
across the country want.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I have always said our Nation's current 
healthcare system is in need of repair. That is why we keep coming back 
to try to fix it and make it better. Every West Virginian deserves 
access to quality, affordable healthcare, and I am very concerned our 
country is at risk of moving backward instead of forward.
  When people ask why I voted against repealing the healthcare law, I 
always say it is because we need to make sure those with preexisting 
conditions don't go bankrupt paying for basic healthcare. Most people 
today, if they don't have insurance, and especially those who have had 
preexisting insurance, are one healthcare crisis away from bankruptcy. 
What is happening today is an unfortunate political move. The only 
reason this lawsuit is moving forward is because my friends on the 
other side have failed more than 50 times trying to repeal it. On top 
of that, the tax cut bill that just went through had this in it, 
repealing basically the mandate on healthcare, which throws it into 
turmoil and is why we are in a lawsuit right now.
  Right now, 20 State attorneys general, including the attorney general 
of West Virginia, are suing to allow insurance companies to once again 
deny coverage to West Virginians with preexisting conditions. Every 
single time they voted for repeal, this is exactly what they were 
trying to achieve.
  What makes this worse is we have a bipartisan compromise, led by 
Senator Alexander and Senator Murray, with 12 Republicans and 12 
Democrats. This bill includes important steps that will

[[Page S3892]]

help reduce healthcare costs for West Virginia families, and this 
agreement shows what is possible when we put people before politics. 
What we did is, after the last repeal on the floor failed, we got 
together and put a fix in. We have a reinsurance program. We have a way 
to maintain and try to educate people on how they would use their 
healthcare, their newfound wealth in healthcare, in a more effective 
and efficient way.
  This is what we should be doing, but, no, there is a political 
promise to repeal so we keep fighting every angle there is that is 
being thrown at us. Now there is this last one going through the court 
system--and having also the judicial system being involved to stop this 
horrible scourge on the people of my State and all across the country.
  Let me tell you how many West Virginians are impacted. In a State 
with a little over 1,800,000, this one move right here affects 800,000 
West Virginians. We are talking with people who have all types of 
things that could exist. They could have a child with a heart defect, 
asthma, you name it. They are going to be able to say: I am sorry, 
preexisting. We are not going to insure you or the cost will be so high 
you can't afford it.
  We are impacting too many West Virginians. On Monday, I asked them to 
share their stories with me and my office--people, real people with 
whom you can put a face, a name, a story, and also have some empathy 
for. I am going to read a few letters, if I may. I have one from Kim 
Kramer from Parkersburg. She said:

       Dear Senator Manchin,
       Again, I find myself writing to plea for a sane policy 
     related to healthcare for my family, my friends, my 
     community, my country and myself. When healthcare policy is 
     centered around quick profits at the cost of the long term 
     health of citizens, a medical tsunami is sure to follow.
       I live with my adult son who was born with Down Syndrome. 
     He is 33 and I am 60. He is healthy for now but does have a 
     couple of pre-existing conditions and risk factors which 
     could very possibly need attention as he grows older. The 
     mere thought that I would have to pay out of pocket for his 
     healthcare due to policy changes in the years to come is mind 
     boggling. Perhaps today his care is not directly on the 
     table, but it has been this past year and will most likely be 
       I am at pre-retirement age. I work full time and am in good 
     health. But I take medication to maintain a healthy blood 
     pressure. That is already a pre-existing condition. Medicare 
     is still down the road for me. As a nurse, I know the 
     importance of screening for certain conditions.
       But removing coverage of pre-existing conditions puts me in 
     a very real catch 22 situation.
       If I go for recommended health screenings and a condition 
     is found, I would be covered by my current insurance. If my 
     employment situation should change, as is possible for any of 
     us, then I would have a pre-existing condition that would 
     either not be covered or would make my premium so high that I 
     would have to wonder if I will be able to provide for other 
     basic needs like appropriate housing.
       Many in my family, my circle of friends, my community and 
     state would be in this terrible predicament.
       Any diagnosis would be a barrier to treatment in essence. 
     No insurance company apparently wants to cover sick people! 
     Makes me wonder why we would call it insurance at all!
       Perhaps in Washington, too many of you have lost touch with 
     the very real stress and anxiety that is created when 
     healthcare accessibility is unobtainable.
       Do any of you understand what is it is like to live 
     wondering when the medical tsunami will come? Because not 
     having healthcare coverage is like that. You hope that the 
     wave won't strike but it's just beyond the horizon and you 
     have no idea if or when it is coming, or how to survive it.
       The current mandate for coverage of pre-existing conditions 
     assures better health and prevention treatments; better 
     outcomes and decreased expenses. It gives us all some peace 
     of mind if we become ill and allows us to focus on getting 
       Please care about our people.
       Please keep mandated coverage of pre-existing conditions.
       Thank you.

  I have Katelyn from Elkview.

       Dear Senator Manchin,
       I am a 22 year old West Virginian who grew up in northern 
     Kanawha County near Clendenin. I was diagnosed with anorexia 
     when I was 13, and have struggled with it for years. I am 
     thankful that the ACA created provisions that will allow me 
     to remain on my parents' health insurance until I am 26, but 
     worry that my pre-existing condition could prevent me from 
     getting insured in the future.
       Losing health insurance would mean me losing access to my 
     mental health medication as well as making it really 
     difficult to access further treatment should I have a 
       I also worry about how lack of coverage for my preexisting 
     condition could prevent me from affording care in the future. 
     I hope to devote my life to public service, which is very 
     fulfilling but does not pay well enough for me to afford to 
     pay high medical bills. This is something that particularly 
     worries me as I get older and am thinking about whether I 
     will be able to afford to start a family.
       I hope that you will continue to defend the Affordable Care 
     Act, particularly its provisions that protect people with 
     preexisting conditions and women's health generally.

  Larry from Lewisburg writes:

       Shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in my mid-
     forties, the health insurance company I paid for coverage 
     went bankrupt. Faced with a preexisting condition, I was 
     uninsured until I began receiving Medicare, about 20 years 
     later, even though I had been therapeutically treated and had 
     no symptoms or return of tumors for most of that time.
       An adult stepdaughter has MS, epilepsy, and multiple other 
     health challenges. She works full time, and the end of 
     preexisting condition insurance protection would be life-

  My final letter is from Marie-Claire from Bruceton Mills, who writes:

       Dear Senator Manchin, my daughter was diagnosed with lupus 
     shortly after ObamaCare became reality. I was able to secure 
     affordable health insurance for her from that day forward 
     [because of the Affordable Care Act].
       Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can--and eventually 
     will--affect any part of the body at any time.
       An insurance company faced with underwriting my daughter 
     simply will not insure her--ever--unless mandated by our 
     government to cover preexisting conditions. Simple as that.
       She has had multiple late night trips to the emergency room 
     that would have bankrupted her had she not been covered.
       Please do not forget her when you tell stories on the 
     Senate floor.

  This is not about Democrats or Republicans; this is about all of us. 
We all face this in our States, that of moving down this pathway 
because of not enforcing this part of the Affordable Care Act, when we 
have a fix--truly, a Democratic-Republican fix, bipartisan--led by 
Lamar Alexander, our Senator from Tennessee, and Patty Murray, our 
Senator from the State of Washington.
  This is a shame. This is a tough place, especially when you have 
solutions to fix the problems that challenge all of us. That is all we 
are asking for. Please be considerate of these people. Please do not 
throw caution to the wind or throw the baby out with the bath water and 
800,000 West Virginians who would lose their insurance.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I rise to address the national defense 
authorization bill that is under consideration and that we will 
probably be wrapping up this week.
  First, I will address an amendment that Senator Corker and I have 
filed. It is an amendment that is related to the topic at hand, which 
is our security, because it is an amendment that would restore to 
Congress the authority to have the final word on the deployment of 
tariffs--taxes on American consumers--when purchasing goods that 
originate overseas, tariffs that are implemented, imposed, with the 
justification that our national security depends upon it. These are 
often referred to as the ``section 232 tariffs'' because of the section 
of trade law that authorizes these tariffs.
  The short version is that I think we ought to be having a debate and 
a vote on whether this responsibility that the Constitution clearly 
gives to Congress should be restored to Congress. It is my view that it 
should be. Senator Corker and I have sought a vote on this. At this 
point, it appears that despite bipartisan support for this amendment, 
we may not be able to have a vote, but I think we should. I also think 
we should seriously consider continuing debate on the national defense 
authorization bill until such time as we are able to address this 
important amendment.

                           Amendment No. 2700

  The other amendment I will discuss is an amendment I have offered 
which will get a vote. It will get a vote tomorrow, and I urge my 
colleagues to support this. Let me start by reminding my colleagues of 
something that I

[[Page S3893]]

hope we all learned a long time ago, and that is the very first 
provision of the U.S. Constitution after the preamble, the very first 
operative portion of our Constitution.
  Article I, section 1 states: ``All legislative Powers herein granted 
shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist 
of a Senate and House of Representatives.'' I can't think of a more 
clear, succinct, straightforward, and unambiguous way to make the point 
that writing laws is in Congress's domain, is Congress's 
  In the course of writing laws, sometimes we delegate some of that 
authority. Sometimes we delegate it to our staff members. We ask them 
to do the drafting. We are still responsible because we are Members of 
Congress. Sometimes we delegate it to the executive branch, and we call 
that rulemaking. We authorize the relevant agencies or Cabinets to 
develop the rules that will implement the legislation, but I would 
argue strenuously that that is still part of the legislative function. 
As such, it is a delegation, but it should not be an abdication of our 
responsibility. Congress should accept the responsibility for this 
rulemaking, and we should be accountable for it because that is part of 
our job.
  That brings me to the Defense authorization bill, specifically to 
title XVII. There is a section called the Foreign Investment Risk 
Review Modernization Act. This is a dramatic expansion of the authority 
given to CFIUS under existing law. CFIUS is an acronym that stands for 
the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. There is this 
big expansion of authority that CFIUS gets. Part of the way in which 
this underlying bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, expands 
CFIUS's authority is by the huge delegation of legislative authority it 
grants the administration. It grants the administration enormous 
discretion to develop the rules by which this expansion of power will 
be implemented.
  Let me explain briefly what CFIUS is all about. CFIUS--this Committee 
on Foreign Investment in the United States--is charged under existing 
law with reviewing foreign investments in America, foreign-based 
companies that choose to or wish to invest in an American company. If 
there is a national security concern involving the investment, if there 
is a risk that is identified, then CFIUS--this committee--is charged 
with recommending that the President block the transaction if it is 
considered to be a threat to our security.
  Under existing law, the President has the authority, in fact, to 
block such a transaction. For instance, if a Russian company were 
attempting to purchase Lockheed Martin, which is a big defense 
contractor and a big supplier of very important, sensitive, and 
advanced military equipment to our armed services, our Armed Forces, in 
such a case, CFIUS would take, I think, a pretty quick review of that 
and recommend a no. The President would almost certainly block such a 
  We understand there is a sensible need for this committee to exist 
and to do its work. So let's get back to the underlying legislation 
before us.
  Under existing law, under current law, the range of transactions that 
CFIUS can review for this purpose of determining whether it is a threat 
to our national security is pretty narrow. It is fairly narrow. I think 
there are legitimate concerns that it is too narrow, especially 
considering aggressive and even hostile acts that are taken under the 
auspices of the Chinese Government to acquire sensitive American 
technology. As I say, there is this delegation of authority to broaden 
  I would argue that this rulemaking--the decisions that CFIUS will 
make as it implements and develops these rules that we are going to 
empower it to develop--is really going to decide which kinds of 
transactions will be permitted to go forward and which ones will not. 
The rulemaking--not so much the legislation itself but the subsequent 
rulemaking--is going to really set the scope of CFIUS's review and its 
  There are many rulemakings required of the CFIUS committee through 
this legislation. Here are a couple of examples.
  A passive investment by a foreign-based entity--a passive investment 
in a U.S. company--is meant to be excluded from a CFIUS review. That 
would be allowed. That would not be subject to a review. Yet, guess 
what, CFIUS gets to define what constitutes a passive investment. That 
is a pretty big power.

  A second example is that of critical infrastructure and technology 
companies. Those are the companies that we are concerned about, right? 
Critical infrastructure and technology companies are the ones that have 
sensitive technology that we might not want to have fall into hostile 
hands. That is the category in which there is an automatic trigger for 
a CFIUS review.
  Guess what. CFIUS is going to write the rules to decide what 
constitutes a critical infrastructure and technology company. I don't 
know what it is going to conclude. I am pretty sure that if you are the 
manufacturer of a chip that goes into a very cutting-edge military 
application--that almost certainly would be a technology company we 
would want on the list. Yet it says critical infrastructure. What about 
a power company that produces electricity that feeds into our grid? 
What about a company that provides a municipal water supply? What about 
a supplier to one of those companies or a consultant to one of those 
companies? I think you could ask a lot of interesting questions about 
what kinds of companies ought to qualify, and we have delegated that. 
That will be decided by someone else. That will be in the rulemaking 
  Then there is the case of who must submit a form to CFIUS for a 
transaction, who must go under CFIUS review, and there is some criteria 
in the legislation.
  The final catchall is that CFIUS will have the authority, as it sees 
fit, to require these reviews for other transactions. What could be 
more broad and sweeping than that? Basically, CFIUS can itself decide 
to write the rules in such a way that it will have the power to review 
any transaction it wants.
  This is really remarkable in terms of how much power is being 
delegated to the executive branch to write these rules.
  The rules could be written in a way that they are written too 
broadly, and if they are too broad, it could have a chilling effect on 
foreign direct investment in the United States. It is a huge source of 
jobs and economic growth when foreigners bring their capital to the 
United States and invest it here because America is one of the most 
attractive places in the world to invest.
  On the other hand, if they write these rules too narrowly, it could 
be that CFIUS will not have sufficient authority, and transactions that 
we ought to be blocking will not get blocked because the rules will 
have been written too narrowly.
  There is no Member of the Senate who can know in advance whether the 
rulemaking is going to strike the right balance. That is what we need 
here. That is what we want. What we want is the right balance so that 
we are stopping the transactions from bad actors but permitting the 
transactions from harmless sources that will help our economy.
  Since we can't know in advance whether this rulemaking will be done 
in the appropriate fashion, why wouldn't we insist on the 
responsibility of overseeing this and, in fact, on having the final say 
to make sure that this is done properly, that the right balance is 
struck? In fact, isn't that our responsibility under the constitutional 
authority and responsibility given to us?
  This is what my amendment is all about. My amendment would simply 
require Congress to approve the major rules--not every last rule but 
all of the important, major rules that CFIUS would develop--pursuant to 
this legislation that we are probably going to pass later this week. 
Congress would have to approve it before it could go into effect. It 
would be approved by a simple majority vote, and it would not be 
subject to a filibuster. There would be a strict time limit so that 
Congress would have to respond quickly when the rules are finished, and 
if Congress were to reject one of the rules, CFIUS could modify it so 
we could get to a conclusion.
  My amendment does not give Congress the power to consider individual 
transactions--that shouldn't be in our domain--and it doesn't authorize 
Congress to review every rule, as I say, only the major rules, which is 
to say

[[Page S3894]]

those which would have a big impact on our economy.
  So what are the practical consequences if my amendment were to be 
adopted? It would simply ensure that the administration would work with 
us as they were adopting the rules. Knowing that they needed to pass 
these rules in the House and the Senate, they would consult with us and 
say: Hey, this is what we are thinking in terms of how we define 
critical infrastructure and sensitive technology, and here is what we 
are thinking about what would constitute a path of investment. In all 
of the other cases in which they were making big decisions they would 
run them by us. We would have a dialogue, and we would get to a place 
where there was an agreement. That is what would happen, and, actually, 
that is exactly what should happen.
  I have heard some concerns expressed about my amendment. Some have 
said: Well, wait a minute. If you get your amendment passed, Congress 
will never approve of these rules.
  I couldn't disagree more. Congress is about to vote overwhelmingly. 
We voted in committee unanimously to grant CFIUS this broad new 
authority. The Members of this body overwhelmingly think that we should 
broaden the range of transactions subject to CFIUS review. Why wouldn't 
we support sensible rulemaking that would allow CFIUS to do what we 
have asked them to do? So I think it is extremely implausible that 
Congress wouldn't support this.
  Others have suggested: Well, you don't really need this because you 
have the CRA, or the Congressional Review Act, as a mechanism that 
allows you to repeal a rule if Congress doesn't like it.
  The CRA wouldn't work in this case at all because the CRA requires 
the President to sign a bill repealing a recently passed rule. What 
President is going to sign a bill repealing a rule or regulation that 
his administration just passed?
  The CRA works when there is a change of administration. When the 
Trump administration came in, working together with Congress, the 
President and we repealed a number of regulations from the previous 
administration. But a President isn't going to sign a law repealing his 
own regulations.
  So I want to appeal to my colleagues, maybe for different reasons, to 
support this legislation. For my Republican colleagues, 39 of us are 
cosponsors of the REINS Act. The REINS Act would require congressional 
review of every regulation throughout the entire government. Every time 
a major new rule is passed under the REINS Act, Congress would have to 
vote before it would go into effect.
  If the REINS Act that 39 of my Republican Senate colleagues have 
cosponsored were the law, we wouldn't have this conversation because 
this legislation would come automatically under the REINS Act and 
automatically require that major rulemakings would come back for a 
vote. So I can't for the life of me understand why Republicans who 
support the REINS Act wouldn't support this, and I hope all of my 
Republican colleagues will.
  I would appeal to my Democratic colleagues, as well, for the simple, 
fundamental reason that this is our responsibility. We should accept 
the responsibility that the Constitution assigns to us. That is No. 1, 
first and foremost. But, also, let's be honest. A big majority of our 
Democratic colleagues voted against confirming several of the members 
of CFIUS. A big majority of Democrats voted against confirming the 
Treasury Secretary, Mr. Mnuchin. They voted against confirming Attorney 
General Sessions. They voted against confirming Secretary of State 
Pompeo. Those three individuals are on CFIUS, and the Treasury 
Secretary is the chairman of it. So if my Democratic colleagues have 
such serious reservations about the work product that would come from 
these individuals that they voted against confirming them, one would 
think they would want the opportunity to have some say on their work 
product. That is what this is about. So I can't imagine that my 
Democratic colleagues would take the position that they must not have 
any say over the Trump administration's rulemaking. They have never 
suggested so much confidence in this administration that they would 
want to forego that opportunity. So I would hope that my Democratic 
colleagues could join me in this as well.
  What this comes down to is that I think we should accept 
responsibility for the work we do and the work we delegate. Let's make 
sure that this really important and necessary expansion of CFIUS 
authority is done right. The way we do that is that we make sure that 
Congress has the final say over the rulemaking.
  I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, as everyone in this Chamber knows, 
passing the Defense authorization bill is a tradition that has taken 
place without interruption for 56 years. That means that, regardless of 
political party or the disagreements we may have on other issues, we 
can agree on this: the importance of a strong national defense.
  This year, we consider the National Defense Authorization Act against 
the backdrop of a changing world. America faces challenges from nations 
seeking to upend our rules-based international order. These nations aim 
to undermine the United States and her allies and disrupt the American-
led system of international commerce and security that has been the 
foundation of global prosperity since the end of World War II.
  America is at a crossroads, and as we look out at the forces that 
threaten our security, we need to be ready to defend our way of life. 
In Europe, a newly emboldened Russia under the control of Putin seeks 
every opportunity to exert its malign influence, undermine democracies, 
flaunt international law, and bully our NATO allies. In Asia, 
expansionist China is working to coerce its neighbors, invest millions 
in military modernization, construct illegal artificial islands, and 
challenge American leadership across the globe. In short, we have 
reentered an era of great power competition.
  If we value our security and our prosperity, we must be prepared to 
support the men and women of our military so that they are able to win 
in this environment. Earlier this year, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis 
presented Congress with a national defense strategy. This blueprint for 
the Nation's defense thoroughly emphasizes the fact that interstate 
competition is now the focus of our U.S. national security. The 
priorities laid out in the NDS provide a road map for confronting these 
challenges head-on. Now is the time to fund them.
  That is why I am proud to stand before you in support of the fiscal 
year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. With this legislation, we 
take important steps to ensure that our Nation's defense is ready to 
deter and defeat great-power adversaries. This year's NDAA provides 
$716 billion in fiscal year 2019 for the national defense--a direct 
investment in building an agile, capable force that is prepared to take 
on the threats of the 21st century.
  This authorization closely aligns with the core tenets of the NDS. It 
provides keen investments in modernization priorities to help America 
defeat threats identified by Secretary Mattis and position our forces 
to be more lethal against our major foes. First and foremost, this 
legislation fully supports the sustainment and the modernization of our 
nuclear forces.
  I serve as the chair of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, whose 
jurisdiction includes nuclear forces, missile defense, and the national 
security of our space programs. The subcommittee increased investments 
in each of these areas in order to speed the development of next-
generation capabilities and to meet the unfunded priorities of the 
military service branches and of our warfighters.
  Additionally, the bill before us today fully supports the 
administration's 2018 ``Nuclear Posture Review,'' which charts a 
responsible path forward to make sure that our nuclear forces continue 
to deter strategic attacks on our homeland and also to assure our 
allies. Across all spectrums, this legislation helps to support the 
needs of the warfighter and the goals of our national security.
  At sea, the fiscal year 2019 NDAA includes over $23 billion for 
shipbuilding, to fully fund 10 new combat ships and accelerate funding 
for several future

[[Page S3895]]

ships so that we can continue to ensure free navigation across the 
world's oceans. On land, it authorizes more than $1.5 billion to 
procure 135 Abrams tanks and authorizes $190 million to prototype the 
next-generation combat vehicle, which is $70 million more than the 
administration's request, to ensure that we are prepared to fight and 
that we are prepared to fight and to win. In the air, it ensures that 
our forces are ready by authorizing nearly $400 million for the RC-135 
family of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, 
which are proudly headquartered at the 55th Wing, at Offutt Air Force 
Base in Nebraska.
  Though the threats of today are pressing, we must continue preparing 
to meet and defeat the adversaries of tomorrow. That is why this 
legislation makes significant investments in building the future force.
  To keep our military a step ahead, this NDAA authorizes an increase 
of more than $600 million above the administration's request for 
science, technology, and testing programs, including $75 million for 
university research conducted at innovative locations like the 
University of Nebraska. All told, the fiscal year 2019 NDAA provides a 
wide spectrum of investments that will help our military to stay ahead 
and to ensure that we never have to face an adversary with equal 
  Just as importantly, this bill demonstrates the belief of the Senate 
that the most important asset in our arsenal is not a weapons platform 
but the men and women who wear the uniform. With that in mind, the 
fiscal year 2019 NDAA provides a 2.6-percent pay raise for members of 
the Armed Forces, and it authorizes nearly $146 billion for military 
personnel, including costs of pay, allowances, bonuses, and benefits. 
We all know that meeting the challenges of tomorrow means having the 
best talent. It also means having a process in place to incentivize 
career progress and retain those uniformed servicemembers who excel in 
their fields.
  That is why this legislation also makes important, much needed 
reforms that will modernize our personnel system. For decades, the 
personnel management system has remained stagnant. Now, with the 
reforms included in this bill, we have the opportunity to bring the 
system in line with the changing needs of the modern military. The 
fiscal year 2019 NDAA lays the ground work for new career flexibility 
and provides additional opportunities for the highest performers to 
advance, opening doors to allow the best and the brightest to take on 
tomorrow's leadership roles.
  At the end of the day, we must be prepared to face an uncertain 
future. This bill is about ensuring America's security in a volatile 
world. As the national defense strategy made clear, our Nation is faced 
with ``a security environment more complex and volatile than any we 
have experienced in recent memory.''
  I think all of us in this Chamber can agree that this environment 
requires us to stand united and to stand ready as a nation. For that 
reason, I am proud to say that this year's Defense authorization bill 
expands our capabilities across every domain to meet these threats. 
Ultimately, passing this legislation is about fulfilling the promise we 
made to our men and women in uniform to give them the best tools to 
wage the most effective fight and to ensure that America is never 
outmatched on the battlefield.
  There may be much uncertainty in this world, but you can count on 
this: There is no more professional, dedicated, or lethal fighting 
force in the world than the U.S. military. Let's vote to keep it that 
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.

                         Tribute to John McCain

  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, as we consider this year's National Defense 
Authorization Act, I rise today to honor my esteemed colleague and 
friend Senator John McCain. As a member of the Armed Services Committee 
for the past 32 years and as chairman for the past 4, Senator McCain 
has worked tirelessly to steer this essential legislation through the 
U.S. Senate.
  Under Senator McCain's leadership, the NDAA has authorized pay raises 
for troops, invested in modern equipment and advanced training, has 
helped to restore military readiness, and provided America's allies the 
support needed for security missions around the globe.
  We all know Senator McCain has been a fixture in the Senate during 
every NDAA debate. Wagging his finger and raising his voice, he 
mustered the rest of us to support and defend our troops. He made it a 
priority to reduce wasteful spending and crack down on waste, fraud, 
and abuse.
  Year after year under Senator McCain's leadership, the Senate Armed 
Services Committee has identified billions of dollars in unnecessary 
spending in the Department of Defense, and because of his efforts, we 
have reinvested savings in providing critical military capabilities for 
warfighters, meeting the unfunded priorities of our service chiefs and 
our combatant commanders, and supporting critical national security 
  The fact that Congress has approved the NDAA legislation every year 
that he has been involved in this process speaks to his ability to 
unite his colleagues around what matters most.
  While Senator McCain is missed here--his physical presence is 
missed--his influence and legacy will remain for years to come in this 
body and, certainly, with this important legislation.

            Nominations of Susan Brnovich and Dominic Lanza

  Mr. President, I would like to say a few words about a nominee who 
was reported to the floor last week, Susan Brnovich. Judge Brnovich has 
been nominated to be a district judge for the District of Arizona in 
Phoenix, a seat that badly needs to be filled.
  Judge Brnovich is absolutely the right person to fill this seat. She 
has spent her entire legal career representing the people of Arizona 
and Maricopa County, and for that, I thank her.
  Upon confirmation, Judge Brnovich will join the district court bench 
in Phoenix alongside another highly qualified Arizona nominee, Dominic 
Lanza, whom the Judiciary Committee reported to the floor in April.
  Mr. Lanza will fill another seat on the Arizona district court that 
has remained vacant for far too long. He, too, is the right person for 
the job.
  Just 2 weeks before the committee considered Mr. Lanza's nomination, 
he and his colleagues at the U.S. attorney's office coordinated with 
Federal and local law enforcement in Phoenix to raid the homes of's owners. They seized the website and 
indicted those responsible for trafficking young girls online through 
the company's website.
  Thanks to Mr. Lanza's efforts, among others, is no 
longer operational, which means the largest online human trafficking 
scheme in the country has been shut down.
  Unfortunately, after being reported favorably to the floor 2 months 
ago, Mr. Lanza's nomination has stalled on the Senate floor. I see no 
reason that a man who helped shut down backpage should be languishing 
on the floor for what should be a unanimous vote.
  I see no reason that my friend, Judge Brnovich, who has dedicated her 
career to representing her fellow Arizonans, should face the same fate. 
I urge my colleagues to promptly confirm these two eminently qualified 
individuals and allow them to take their seats on the Federal bench.
  With that, 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.
  (Disturbance in the Visitors' Galleries.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the 
  Mr. INHOFE. 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. INHOFE. Mr. President, it is my intent--and I will be doing it--
but I want to give a chance for Senator Paul to be on the floor when I 
do this.
  As we have said over and over again, Senator Reed and I have worked 
very closely in trying to get these amendments in place. I can remember 

[[Page S3896]]

years past, when there were people who objected to any amendments, we 
ended up without amendments, so we had to pass a bill that didn't have 
an open amendment process on the floor.
  We wanted an open amendment process on the floor. I am talking about 
``we'' being the Democrats, Republicans, and the leadership on both 
sides of the aisle. We have committed to that. We have tried to do 
  Unfortunately, under Senate rules, one Senator can stop and object to 
moving on an amendment. If that happens and continues, the same thing 
will happen. I can remember four times in the past when we ended up 
without any amendments at all because one person objected.
  It is our intent to open it up so that people can offer their 
amendments, vote them down, vote them up--whatever we want to do.
  Right now, we have several amendments, and I would like to make a 
motion to adopt them en bloc. These amendments are amendments that have 
been cleared on both sides. There are 10 of them. All 10 are germane 
  They are Ernst amendment No. 2289, Schatz No. 2441, Bennet No. 2617, 
Shaheen No. 2686, Heitkamp No. 2695, Lee No. 2723, Hatch No. 2755, Cruz 
No. 2598, and Tester No. 2818.
  These 10 amendments are all germane. They cleared on both sides.
  I ask unanimous consent that these amendments be called up en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Reserving the right to object, the right to trial by jury 
is a most precious and ancient right. A few minutes ago on the Senate 
floor, 68 Senators voted to give a vote on the Senate floor on whether 
anyone captured and accused of a crime would get a trial by jury. It is 
in the Bill of Rights. Over two-thirds of the Senate voted for it--
enough to pass a constitutional amendment. We voted for it, and one 
person is denying a vote on this.
  The senior Senator from South Carolina does not believe the Bill of 
Rights applies to people accused of a crime. Think about that. This is 
not about me. This is about one Senator from South Carolina who so much 
objects to the Bill of Rights that he doesn't want it to apply to 
people accused of a crime.
  So, yes, I do most strenuously object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I do regret this.
  Let me repeat what was just objected to. There are 10 amendments that 
are cleared on both sides. Democrats are all for them. Republicans are 
all for them. I suggest the junior Senator from Kentucky is for all 
these amendments too.
  If we don't have these amendments, what amendments will we have? What 
good does it do to offer an objection to these amendments that are all 
germane just because he is upset with some senior Senator from another 
  I am thinking now: Where do we go from here? I am going to offer 
another bloc of votes as soon as we have some that are all germane and 
agreed to on both sides. When that happens, I am hoping there will not 
be an objection. I am hoping to break this logjam.
  If not, then what is going to happen is that we are going to end up 
voting for this bill. We know it is going to pass. It has passed for 57 
consecutive years. It is going to pass, but it will pass without the 
amendments of those individuals who have wanted an open amendment 
process, which I have wanted, which my Democratic colleague has wanted, 
and we have made that effort for a long period of time.
  I am concerned. I think that it could end up that we will have--it is 
not as if we haven't had amendments. In our committee, we had some 300 
amendments that we actually considered. We went through the amendment 
process. We have had a lot of input from other Members, but again, we 
are committed to an open amendment process. So far, it looks as if we 
are not going to get it.
  I just ask that whatever is causing my good friend from Kentucky to 
object to these amendments will be satisfied by some change. If he 
wants a vote on his amendment, let him go and pursue it. I hate to hold 
this bill hostage.
  I just got back from being with our troops all over the world. I was 
in CENTCOM, in EUCOM, in AFRICOM, talking to our troops who are over 
there. They know that their pay raise is in this bill. Their benefits 
are in there. This is one thing we need to do.
  If there is one thing that needs to be done, it is this bill. I think 
maybe there is something wrong with a system that says: If I can't have 
my way to get a vote on my amendment, I am going to kill everybody 
else's amendments. That is what I am afraid may be happening now.
  I am hoping my friend from Kentucky will reconsider and allow us to 
adopt amendments. It has nothing to do with an amendment the Senator 
from Kentucky has.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have a colloquy 
with the Senator from Maryland.
  THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COTTON. The Senator and I have done a lot of work together on a 
an issue that is a genuine threat to our national security; that is, 
the threat of Chinese telecom companies stealing our technology, 
infiltrating our telecom networks, and hacking into the data not just 
of our government or our military but also private citizens.
  Earlier this year, I asked the Directors of all four major 
intelligence agencies--the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, and the DIA--if they 
would use products made by Huawei or ZTE. None of them raised their 
hand. I said: Well, that may be unfair. You are the leader of an 
American intelligence agency. What about members of your family, your 
neighbors, your friends, church members? Not a single one of them 
recommended that they would use a Huawei or ZTE product.

  I hope all of you up in the Galleries are not using a Huawei or ZTE 
product. If you are, you might want to go out and buy a different one, 
and that is because these companies are dangerous to our national 
security and to your privacy.
  Huawei and ZTE are nothing more than extensions of the Chinese 
Communist Party. Huawei's CEO was an engineer for the People's 
Liberation Army. The company's livelihood consists largely of a steady 
stream of government contracts, and its greatest claim to fame is 
shamelessly stealing the secrets of American companies. That is why it 
is under investigation by the Department of Justice for that and for 
violating sanctions against Iran. ZTE is no better. They broke our laws 
by doing business with North Korea and Iran and then lied about it to 
U.S. investigators. That makes it a repeat offender.
  That is why General Nakasone, the new Director of the NSA, committed 
at his confirmation hearing to educating all of our allies about the 
threat that companies like Huawei and ZTE pose to the civilized world.
  Given this history, I suggest it would be reckless to let Huawei and 
ZTE infiltrate their products into our country's critical 
communications infrastructure. Whether it is routers, switches, or any 
other kind of equipment, allowing them to do so would give the Chinese 
Government a backdoor into our first responder networks, our electric 
grid, and a lot more than that. That is why the Federal Communications 
Commission proposed a rule to prohibit the use of the Universal Service 
Fund to buy equipment from these firms and why I and a number of other 
Members have urged the Department of Agriculture to do the same thing 
with our U.S. funds.
  These companies have proven themselves to be untrustworthy, and at 
this point, I think the only fitting punishment would be to give them 
the death penalty; that is, to put them out of business in the United 
States. The only reason Huawei is the second largest smartphone maker 
in the world and ZTE the fourth is because we have let them run wild 
for too long. We have given them access to our markets even as they 
have broken our laws and abused the rights of our citizens. If we 
refuse to do business with them, things would change very quickly, 
believe me.
  For these reasons, Senator Van Hollen and I offered our amendment 
that was adopted earlier this week. It would prohibit all Federal 
agencies from buying any kind of equipment or services

[[Page S3897]]

from Huawei, ZTE, or any related companies. It would also prohibit any 
American company from receiving U.S. taxpayer dollars in the form of 
grants or loans should they use Huawei or ZTE products. Finally, our 
amendment would reinstate the original denial order for the purchase of 
American goods and services on ZTE to hold it accountable for breaking 
our laws.
  I would say that I don't see this amendment as contradictory or 
harmful to the administration's strategy when it comes to China and 
North Korea. If anything, I think it is complementary. This 
administration, after all, originally imposed the death penalty in the 
form of a denial order against ZTE. After Xi Jinping pleaded for life 
without parole, so to speak, the administration agreed to a very tough 
series of actions.
  This is the first real, concrete action the United States has taken 
against Huawei and ZTE, but I and the Senators in this Chamber believe 
the death penalty is the appropriate penalty. Just as our maximum 
pressure campaign brought North Korea to the table, strengthening our 
sanctions on ZTE will show China that we are finally serious about 
stopping its theft of our intellectual property and preventing it from 
infiltrating our communications network and from violating the privacy 
rights of our citizens.
  If we weaken sanctions against ZTE, we will signal to China and to 
the rest of the world that they can act contrary to our sanctions with 
impunity. That is a message we cannot afford to send, and that is why I 
am pleased the Senate agreed to include our amendment in the National 
Defense Authorization Act.
  I would like to conclude by turning to the Senator from Maryland, 
with whom I have worked in such a constructive fashion on this matter--
not only on this legislation but also in the Senate Banking Committee--
and ask him how he sees the threat posed by Huawei, ZTE, and companies 
like them.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, I want to start by thanking my 
colleague, the Senator from Arkansas, for his longtime leadership on a 
range of important national security issues, including his attention 
and focus on the threat posed by Huawei and ZTE, which, as he 
explained, are two Chinese telecommunications companies that pose a 
risk not just to our security but also to the privacy of American 
  This is a threat that is here and now, and it is not one we have not 
been aware of for a long time. I think it is important to look back 
because this didn't sneak up on us overnight.
  If you go back to the year 2012, the House Intelligence Committee 
sounded the alarm on Huawei and ZTE in a bipartisan report that stated 
that ``China has the means, opportunity, and motive to use 
telecommunications companies for malicious purposes'' and that ``based 
on available and classified and unclassified information, Huawei and 
ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus 
pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems.''
  That was a House Intelligence Committee report in the year 2012. 
Since then, the evidence has grown even stronger.
  We know that the Government of China exercises significant control 
over its telecommunications firms and that ZTE and Huawei have close 
and very longstanding ties to the government. We also know that China 
is one of the world's most active perpetrators of economic espionage 
and cyber attacks in the United States.
  In 2015, the FBI issued a report on Huawei making it clear that the 
Government of China relies on signals intelligence to spy on American 
citizens. American intelligence officials have long warned that Beijing 
could harness this technology to steal data, eavesdrop on 
conversations, or carry out cyber attacks.
  We had testimony recently--in February--from the leaders of the top 
U.S. intelligence agencies. Senator Cotton referenced the testimony of 
the FBI Director and others, and I want to expand on the testimony of 
FBI Director Chris Wray, who said:

       We're deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any 
     company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments 
     that don't share our values 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.

  That is why part of this amendment contains the very important 
provision that the Senator from Arkansas mentioned that would prohibit 
U.S. taxpayer dollars from being spent to purchase any equipment from 
Huawei or ZTE. The Pentagon recently prohibited the sale of these 
devices on U.S. military bases. The FCC has also proposed steps to 
discourage American companies from using products from Huawei and ZTE. 
It stands to reason--and it is totally consistent with that sentiment--
that we make it clear that U.S. Federal Government agencies should not 
be purchasing this equipment that threatens our national security.
  One of those companies--ZTE in specific--not only represents the kind 
of threat that we have been discussing but also has been a repeated and 
flagrant violator of U.S. law. They were caught a number of years ago 
for cheating, and instead of coming clean, they tried to cover it up, 
cheated again, and they were caught again.
  Here is what the Department of Commerce said in its report about ZTE 
just this past April. It said that they engaged in ``a multi-year 
conspiracy to violate the U.S. trade embargo against Iran to obtain 
contracts to supply, build, operate and maintain telecommunications 
networks inside Iran using U.S. original equipment'' and that ZTE was 
``illegally shipping telecommunications equipment to North Korea in 
violation of the Export Administration Regulations.''
  The Commerce Department went on to explain that ZTE--finally, after 
getting caught multiple times--``admitted to engaging in an elaborate 
scheme to hide the unlicensed transactions from the U.S. Government by 
deleting, destroying, removing, or sanitizing materials and 
  In fact, it turns out that they were violating our sanctions regime 
against not only Iran and North Korea but also Sudan, Syria, and Cuba. 
In fact, they had elaborate flowcharts at ZTE showing exactly how they 
were going to do this. Then, when we confronted them and they said they 
were going to come clean, instead they rewarded their top executives 
with bonuses. That is why, when the Secretary of Commerce issued the 
sanctions and imposed the blocking order on the sale of U.S. 
telecommunications components to ZTE in April, he explained that the 
message ZTE sent from the top was essentially to evade and then lie 
about what they were doing with respect to U.S. sanctions.
  Well, it is very important that we send a message, and we need to 
send a message consistent with what the Secretary of Commerce did last 
April. It is very important, as the Senator from Arkansas said, that we 
let countries know we mean what we say. They are a flagrant violator of 
those sanctions laws, and we can't let them off the hook with a slap on 
the wrist because if we do that, it will undermine our credibility with 
respect to our sanctions on North Korea, which are very important in 
focusing the attention of North Korea on the goal of denuclearizing the 
Korean Peninsula. It will send the wrong message to countries around 
the world that if we catch you and you cheat again and we catch you, 
you can just cut a deal that ends up being a slap on the wrist.
  That is why I am very pleased to join with the Senator from Arkansas 
in offering this bipartisan amendment. In addition to the two of us, 
there are a number of other Senators--a bipartisan group--supporting 
this legislation. I am glad it has been incorporated in the 
  With that, I want to turn it back over to the Senator from Arkansas 
and ask him whether he has any further thoughts on this very important 
issue before us today.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Maryland for his 
remarks and once again for working together in such a constructive 
fashion. As he said, we have had a number of Senators from both parties 
sponsoring our amendment. I think that reflects the concern that both 
Republicans and Democrats alike have about the threat that Chinese 
telecom companies like

[[Page S3898]]

Huawei and ZTE pose to our national security and to our citizens' 
privacy. Our amendment is an important first step to ensure that they 
are not doing business with the Federal Government or any firms that 
are relying on U.S. taxpayer dollars and also that ZTE in particular 
faces the stiffest penalties possible for its recidivist behavior in 
violating sanctions and lying to U.S. investigators.
  We still have more to do, and I suspect we will be back together 
either in the Senate Banking Committee or on the Senate floor to try to 
protect our citizens' safety and their privacy from companies that are 
in essence arms of the Chinese Communist Party. We will be working 
together in the coming months, as this bill moves forward to be 
reconciled with the House of Representatives, to ensure that this very 
important language stays in the bill in its final version and then gets 
passed into the law.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, if I may, I just want to emphasize 
that final point made by the Senator from Arkansas, which is that it is 
going to be very important that we keep this provision in the Defense 
authorization bill as it winds its way through the process. I am 
confident that there is a bipartisan commitment to doing exactly that 
because we cannot back away at this point. Backing away would send a 
very bad signal to ZTE and Huawei and other violators of our sanctions 
or any of our other adversaries who are considering violating U.S. law 
and U.S. sanctions.
  Mr. COTTON. I couldn't agree more with that. In fact, the House 
version of the National Defense Authorization Act does include language 
that is similar, not identical, to our language. To my knowledge, it 
passed without any objection in the House from either Democrats or 
Republicans--again, just showing how widespread our concern in Congress 
is with Chinese telecom companies, like Huawei and ZTE.
  So I am confident that working together with the Senator from 
Oklahoma, the Senator Rhode Island, and our House counterparts the 
final version of this bill, which we will vote on later in this year, 
will have very tough language that will move us in the right direction, 
protecting our citizens' safety and privacy.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PERDUE. 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. PERDUE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous to call up amendment No. 
2870 to amendment No. 2282.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, Senator 
Cotton from Arkansas and I were just on the floor these past 15 minutes 
explaining why this bipartisan provision is in the managers' amendment 
to the bill. It is because of the threats posed by Huawei and ZTE. With 
respect to ZTE specifically, it is because of its multiple flagrant 
violations of U.S. law. Removing that provision would send a very bad 
signal, not just to ZTE, not just to China but to anybody else around 
the world watching that they can violate U.S. sanctions law with 
impunity. We shouldn't be doing that.
  I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. PERDUE. Mr. President, I don't disagree that we need to send a 
strong message to people doing business with the United States. 
However, the Commerce Department has imposed a severe fine in the ZTE 
case--a $1.7 billion fine--in addition to penalties and compliance 
measures on ZTE, including the firing of its entire board and all 
senior executive leadership. That is not dissimilar to a commerce 
violation right here in the United States. If someone violates the 
rules and laws of our land, there are fines, penalties, and compliance 
measures that go along with that.
  In regard to these harsh penalties, Secretary Ross has just said: 
``the strictest and largest settlement fine that has ever been brought 
by the Commerce Department against a violator of export controls.''
  The Commerce Department has leveled a harsh but justified penalty.
  I agree that we need to send a strong message, and I think this does 
just that. However, the current NDAA managers' package would trample on 
the separation of powers and undercut the Trump administration's 
authority to impose these penalties. My amendment would prevent this 
year's NDAA from limiting the export control authority of the Secretary 
of Commerce.
  I don't dispute the threat that ZTE products pose, but, remember, the 
majority of the chips used in ZTE products are made right here in the 
United States. Our government should not use products from ZTE, Huawei, 
or any other company with such close links to the Chinese Government.
  The underlying NDAA still prohibits the entire government from 
purchasing ZTE products, but we should not tie the hands of the 
administration to enact penalties as it sees fit, particularly in these 
times of aggressive actions by foreign players.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order to call up 
amendment No. 2870 to amendment No. 2282.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is the Senator restating his unanimous consent 
  Mr. PERDUE. Yes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. DONNELLY. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. DONNELLY. We heard my colleague from Maryland and my colleague 
from Arkansas; therefore, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. DONNELLY. Mr. President, I rise to discuss my efforts on the 
Senate Armed Services Committee, on behalf of the people of Indiana, to 
craft and advance a defense bill that supports Indiana's role in our 
Nation's defense and protect America's security interests and defense-
related jobs.
  Before I get to that, though, I want to take a moment to acknowledge 
the chairman of our committee, my friend Senator John McCain. He is an 
American hero. I hope as he watches the Senate do its bipartisan work 
on this year's NDAA, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization 
Act, he knows that all of us here are thinking of him back in Arizona 
and wishing him the best in his battle. When we think about John 
McCain, we think about a fighter. We think about the epitome of a man 
who defends our freedom every single day. I am proud he is our 
chairman, and I am proud he is my friend.
  Now I want to talk about provisions I secured in the national defense 
bill that we are considering, efforts I supported, and an amendment I 
  I am proud of the many contributions Hoosiers make to the safety and 
security of our Nation--most especially those brave men and women who 
volunteer to put on the uniform in service to our country.
  I am also proud of the thousands of working men and women who go to 
work in the dark every day to manufacture the highest quality products 
and equipment that support and protect our warfighters. From humvees 
and transmissions to satellites and aviation braking systems, Hoosiers 
know a key strength of our military is the technological and quality 
advantage that American manufacturing gives to our warfighters.
  In fact, it is with those friends and neighbors in mind that I want 
to talk about the importance of ensuring that the equipment used by our 
Armed Forces and the jobs--the moms and dads who go to work every day 
to build that equipment--stay right here in America.
  One of the provisions I pushed hard for and was included in the bill 
requires the examination of the F-35 supply chain in order to ensure 
that key manufacturing capabilities are not being sent abroad, 
jeopardizing the backbone of America's future Air Force.
  Workers at the Honeywell facility in South Bend, IN, currently 
manufacture components for the braking mechanism for the F-35 
airplane--one of the most

[[Page S3899]]

technologically advanced aircraft ever built. I am told that next 
month, the last raw forging shipment will come to the facility for 
Hoosier workers to manufacture these components. Honeywell is planning 
to send that manufacturing work for the F-35 overseas to a plant in 
  While Turkey is a member of NATO, it is on a concerning path of 
crumbling democratic norms, and it is in the process of purchasing a 
missile defense system from Russia. That is not the kind of place where 
we should be manufacturing critical components for one of the most 
advanced warfighting machines in our arsenal, particularly when we have 
trained, experienced, talented, patriotic, devoted American workers in 
South Bend, IN, who want to continue doing this work protecting our men 
and women and keeping our Nation safe.
  What is more, if the U.S.-Turkey relationship deteriorates further, I 
am concerned our country will not have access to a critical component 
of our most sensitive aircraft or missile or radar. We don't currently 
know what future threats to our supply chain will emerge. This Congress 
and the American people should know the answers to those questions. I 
believe my provision will help us get to the bottom of it and find 
those answers.
  Another provision I authored that the Senate Armed Services Committee 
adopted as part of this bill would ensure that our Nation retains key 
national security capabilities within the Federal workforce.
  I also fought to keep key sectors of our defense industrial base 
robust and secure from threats, such as tampering and counterfeit 
parts. That work happens at the Naval Support Activity Center in Crane, 
  In addition, another measure I supported that is included in this 
bill ensures that companies that provide products crucial to our 
national defense are not purchased by a foreign adversary like China. 
When it comes to our national defense work, I believe it is critical 
that our policies encourage companies to invest in American workers and 
communities at home and penalize those that ship work to foreign 
countries. That is why I proposed an amendment that is simple and 
clear: Federal defense contracts, funded by American taxpayers, should 
go to companies that employ American workers.
  My amendment, which is based on my End Outsourcing Act, would allow 
contracting officers to take into consideration a company's outsourcing 
practices when awarding Federal contracts. It is common sense. Our 
Federal tax dollars should go to companies that invest in and support 
American workers. When defense work is shipped from American companies 
to other countries, it can hurt our national defense, our workers, and 
our communities.
  Finally, I want to highlight a provision that has been mentioned by 
my colleagues that I strongly supported in this bill that helps protect 
American telecommunications security, which is an important part of our 
national security.
  Specifically, this bill includes a provision that prohibits the 
Department of Defense from procuring, obtaining, or renewing contracts 
that utilize equipment or services from China's Huawei Technologies or 
ZTE Corporation. Huawei is reportedly being investigated by the 
Department of Justice for potentially violating U.S. sanction laws as 
it relates to Iran. ZTE sold sensitive technologies to Iran and North 
Korea in violation of U.S. sanctions laws.
  I am concerned about the administration's recently announced deal to 
roll back penalties against ZTE, and I think this measure in the 
Senate, in our national defense bill, would be an important step toward 
helping safeguard our telecommunications industry's security.
  I am hopeful the Senate will soon pass the national defense bill. It 
is bipartisan. It is not Democratic, it is not Republican; it is 
American. It is an example of what we can accomplish together. I am 
proud it will help protect our national security and American jobs, and 
it also includes a number of provisions that are vital to Indiana.
  I would like to close by again saying how honored we are that this is 
the John McCain Defense bill. What an extraordinary chairman he has 
been for us. We wish him well. We hope he is getting stronger every 
single day, and we look forward to seeing him in the Chamber soon.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.