EXECUTIVE CALENDAR
(Senate - July 18, 2018)

Text available as:

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

        
[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 121 (Wednesday, July 18, 2018)]
[Pages S5045-S5059]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the nomination.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Ryan 
Wesley Bounds, of Oregon, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 
Ninth Circuit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.


                 Unanimous Consent Request--S. Res. 572

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, as in legislative session, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Committee on the Judiciary be discharged from further 
consideration of S. Res. 572; that the resolution be agreed to, the 
preamble be agreed to, and the motions to reconsider be considered made 
and laid upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Oregon.


                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 3227

  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, this 
moment hardly seems the time for the Senate to engage in debating 
rhetorical phrases of praise for the Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement agency when that agency--better known as ICE--is deeply 
mired in the scandal of separating children from their parents. It is 
ICE that partnered with Border Patrol and Health and Human Services in 
this diabolical situation. It is ICE that holds the parents in 
detention camps. It is ICE that has failed to arrange for the knowledge 
within the system of which parents go with which children. It is ICE 
that often has prevented individuals from having access to counsel, 
from being able to even phone their children, and charged them for 
using the phone.
  In this situation, some 2,500-plus kids have been torn out of the 
arms of their parents, and this particular resolution would engage in 
nice phrases of praise instead of addressing itself to solving the 
problem.
  We should right now be considering Senator Harris's act, the REUNITE 
Act, which would accelerate the reunification of the children, would 
ensure that family separation never happens again, would coordinate 
actions between ICE and the Border Patrol and Health and Human 
Services, and would set up a family case management system that worked, 
according to the IG of Homeland Security, to deliver 100 percent of the 
time when individuals had a date for a hearing--100 percent of the 
time.
  That is why I ask my colleague to modify his request so that the 
Committee on the Judiciary, instead, be discharged from further 
consideration of S. 3227, the REUNITE Act, and the Senate proceed to 
its immediate consideration; that the bill be considered read a third 
time and passed and the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the Senator from Montana so modify his 
request?
  Mr. DAINES. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Is there objection to the original request?
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. I strongly object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I live in a State--the State of Montana--
that has a northern border. ICE agents keep our border secure, and I 
want to thank them for the very important work they are doing.
  Far too many people are coming into our country illegally and putting 
the safety and security of American citizens at risk. In fact, in 
Montana, the effects of unsecured borders are very personal. All across 
our State, communities at this moment are torn apart by the meth and 
opioids that are trafficked through the southern border. In fact, just 
last year, ICE seized nearly 50 tons of narcotics, nearly a million 
pounds of heroin, fentanyl, and other deadly drugs that criminals and 
cartels are smuggling into our country.
  At a time when America is suffering from a drug epidemic, how many 
more lives would be lost if ICE agents were not protecting our borders? 
How many more innocent Americans would be harmed or murdered if we did 
not have ICE agents to arrest illegal immigrants with criminal 
convictions? These are the questions that those who call for the 
abolishment of ICE should be asking.
  It is outrageous. It is irresponsible to call for abolishing one of 
our country's most critical security measures. Abolishing ICE would 
give terrorists, gang members, drug dealers, and other criminals a 
field day.
  I stand for protecting American security. I stand for upholding the 
rule of law. That is why I stand with ICE.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, this resolution being offered by my 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle is a partisan political stunt 
to distract the American people from the crisis created by Donald 
Trump's zero tolerance policy.
  Almost 3,000 children were ripped from the arms of their parents and 
traumatized by the President's cruelty.
  Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee had a closed-door briefing 
with officials from the Department of Justice, the Department of Health 
and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security. The 
American people deserve to hear from these officials in public and 
under oath. All these officials provided at this briefing--not under 
oath--was more obstruction and obfuscation. The witness from 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement even claimed that they ``did not 
mess up here.''
  Separating almost 3,000 children from their parents, not meeting 
judicially set deadlines for reunifying these children--the trauma 
continues. Is there anybody in America paying attention to this issue 
who actually believes there was no mess-up?
  We need a public hearing to hear from these officials under oath.
  Donald Trump is weaponizing fear to pursue his anti-immigration 
agenda, and we are not going to be party to that. We should be focused 
like laser beams on reuniting the children with their parents.
  Mr. DURBIN. Will the Senator from Hawaii yield?
  Ms. HIRONO. I yield to the Senator from Illinois.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic whip.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I would like to thank the Senator from 
Hawaii for joining in this statement about the agency of ICE, which is 
in the Department of Homeland Security.
  There are certain things that I think Democrats and Republicans can 
come together to agree on. Let me tell you what I think they are. 
Border security--the United States needs security at its borders. There 
is no question about that, whoever the President may be.
  The second thing we agree on is, nobody who is dangerous should be 
allowed to come to this country. Anyone

[[Page S5046]]

here who is undocumented and dangerous should leave, should be removed. 
We all agree on that, do we not?
  The third thing, which 68 Senators agreed on, is comprehensive 
immigration reform. Our immigration laws are a mess--an absolute mess. 
That is why we continue to debate the topic, and 68 of us came to vote 
on a bipartisan measure 5 years ago to fix the whole system. It passed 
the Senate and died in the House.
  Where are we today? We are here today debating on the floor the 
future of ICE. There are parts of the function and responsibility of 
this agency of ICE that all of us would agree on. ICE has important 
responsibilities combating serious criminal activities, like smuggling, 
bulk cash, drugs, weapons, human trafficking, violent criminals and 
others who would do us harm, and enforcing immigration laws against 
terrorists. There is no argument about that. But what has become 
controversial is the Trump administration's new immigration policy.
  You see, we don't have the resources to deport 11 million 
undocumented people nor do we have the resources to arrest all who 
present themselves at the border. What this administration has done, 
though, is say that they are going to criminalize--charge as 
criminals--everyone who shows up at the border. By doing that, they 
take limited resources and focus them on a mass of people, most of whom 
are no threat at all to the United States, instead of focusing their 
resources on the drug smugglers, the traffickers, the would-be 
terrorists. Those are our priorities for the safety of our homes, our 
families, and our communities, are they not?
  Here we have this resolution that was brought to the floor to commend 
ICE in all its functions. I can just tell you, I don't join in that 
resolution. I specifically don't join in it when it comes to the 
President's zero tolerance policy.
  It became the policy of the Trump administration and the U.S. 
Government to forcibly remove 3,000 children from their parents. That 
is bad enough, is it not? The notion that you take a baby out of the 
arms of a mother--a toddler, an infant--separate a young child--we did 
it under President Trump's zero tolerance policy.
  Now let me state what added insult to that injury. At that point, 
there was no effort made to make certain we could reunite the parents 
with the children. Time and again, we would meet downstairs for a 
briefing from ICE and other agencies, and they would tell us: We don't 
know where the parents are. We really don't know where the kids are. We 
are going to have to go looking.
  Imagine separating up to 3,000 children from their parents, and the 
U.S. Government did not keep a record of what happened to those kids. 
Ship something by UPS--they give you a tracking number. Go online, and 
you can track that package wherever it may be. Order a pizza from 
Domino's. Call them after 15 minutes and ask: Where is the pizza? They 
will tell you. Check your coat at a restaurant before you go to the 
table. When you come back and hand them that little piece of paper, 
they give you your coat. It is pretty simple, is it not? But when it 
came to children and families, this agency, ICE, along with other 
agencies of this government, lost them. In one agency in Chicago, they 
told me that the search for the parents of the little kids they had was 
like a scavenger hunt. They just started calling right and left to try 
to figure out where the parent might be.
  Yesterday, we had a briefing, and finally these agencies came up with 
some numbers. There are 2,550 children still in our custody who are not 
reunited with their families; 1,800 parents we haven't linked up with 
their children. And we want to put a resolution on the floor to commend 
this activity--to praise them for their great work? Not me.
  They do good work in a lot of important areas, and I will be happy to 
join in that chorus. But we stand here and ignore the obvious--that 
this zero tolerance policy has given our Nation a black eye, has raised 
questions about our values as Americans, has created situations we 
cannot morally defend, such as separating children from their mothers.
  Do you know what the American Academy of Pediatrics tells us? The 
doctors tell us it is an institutional form of child abuse to remove 
these children.
  I have seen them, these poor kids, 5 and 6 years old in these 
settings. The place I visited in Chicago was doing its best to help the 
children, but two little girls walked into the room where I was 
sitting. They were holding hands--cute little kids. It was my 
opportunity to meet about 10 or 12 kids who were separated from their 
parents under the zero tolerance policy.
  These two little girls were holding hands, and I thought they were 
sisters. We asked in Spanish. ``No, amigas,'' she said. They had become 
friends to one another.
  It turns out that the one who was 5 years old was from Guatemala and 
the one who was 6 years old was from Chiapas, Mexico. They were holding 
on to one another. All they had was one another because our government 
had separated them from their mothers.
  Now this agency is struggling to find these mothers. In some 
circumstances, they cannot even link up the children with their 
parents.
  No, I am not going to join in a resolution of congratulations for the 
work they have done. Many of the things they have done have been 
courageous and important for the security of this country, but when it 
comes to the zero tolerance policy, it is not.
  I do want to make one last point. Listen to what the top agents at 
ICE's Homeland Security Investigations agency, which focuses on serious 
transnational criminal activity, had to say. Last month, a majority of 
the agents focusing on transnational criminal activity wrote a letter 
to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen 
Nielsen, asking that Homeland Security Investigations be removed from 
ICE because of ``the political nature of civil immigration 
enforcement.''
  These are men and women who are focusing on serious crimes, and they 
asked to be removed from ICE. They are tired of the politics. I am 
weary of it as well.
  We need to start solving these problems--border security, dangerous 
people kept out of this country and removed, comprehensive immigration 
reform. And for goodness' sake, reunite these children with their 
parents.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CRUZ. Mr. President, I rise in support of the brave men and women 
of our Immigration Customs Enforcement agency. These are law 
enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep this 
country safe.
  Rising in support of law enforcement used to be a bipartisan issue. 
It used to be an issue that brought us together, that unified us. 
Sadly, as we have seen in the preceding minutes, that is no longer the 
case.
  I rise today to urge my Democratic colleagues to say no to the 
reckless and radical voices within their party that are pulling their 
party so far out of the mainstream and so far out of touch with the 
American people that it is barely recognizable. For a long time, when 
Democrats were debating immigration issues, they used to say ``Well, of 
course, we support enforcing the laws,'' almost as an obligatory 
throwaway. Instead, we are here today, debating the abolishing of the 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the exact antithesis of 
where most congressional Democrats claimed they were. All of this 
started because a few weeks ago, a longtime Democratic incumbent, a 
Member of the House, found himself beaten in a primary in New York 
State by an avowed socialist. As a result, many of my colleagues on the 
Democratic side of the aisle are suddenly terrified of their left 
flank. Because her campaign focused on abolishing ICE--abolishing the 
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, more incumbent Democrats 
have said that they, too, are open to abolishing ICE.
  I call on this body to pull back from the abyss. On immigration there 
are areas of good-faith disagreement that this body has debated and 
will continue to debate. I have long characterized my views on 
immigration as being able to be summed up in four words: legal, good; 
illegal, bad. I think the vast majority of Texans and the vast majority 
of Americans agree with that. There

[[Page S5047]]

are a host of immigration policies that ought to be commonsense 
bipartisan policies.
  The Presiding Officer has shown great leadership in fighting against 
sanctuary cities, fighting against jurisdictions that defy Federal 
immigration law and that release violent criminals without being 
willing to turn them over to immigration officials. Those violent 
criminals, in turn, go on far too often to commit even more violent 
crimes.
  I am the author of Kate's Law, a commonsense proposal which says that 
aggravated felons who repeatedly enter the country illegally should 
face a mandatory minimum prison sentence. It was named for Kate 
Steinle, a beautiful young woman, 28 years old, murdered on a 
California pier by an illegal immigrant who had been deported over and 
over and over again and had been in and out of jail over and over and 
over again and had multiple felony convictions. Yet, because San 
Francisco is a sanctuary city, they released him yet again, and he 
committed murder.
  Kate Steinle would be alive if we could come together on Kate's Law, 
if we could come together on ending sanctuary cities. Yet it turns out 
that in today's hyperpolarized world, even that is not extreme enough 
for the modern Democratic Party. Multiple leaders of their party are 
advocating abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
  What does ICE do? ICE men and women--I have met with a great many of 
them in my home State of Texas. I have met with a great many Border 
Patrol agents. I have joined them on their midnight muster. I have gone 
out on patrol with them as they risk their lives securing our border 
and risk their lives keeping us safe in the interior.
  Criminal aliens arrested by ICE in fiscal year 2017 were responsible 
for more than 76,000 dangerous drug offenses; yet many Democrats are 
saying: Abolish their role. They were responsible for over 48,000 
assault offenses. They were responsible for over 11,000 weapons 
offenses. They were responsible for over 5,000 sexual assault offenses. 
They were responsible for over 2,000 kidnapping offenses, and they were 
responsible for over 1,800 homicide offenses.
  Yet the approach of the modern Democratic Party is not to find a 
reasonable, commonsense common ground. It is, instead, to say: Abolish 
the agency that has arrested criminals responsible for over 1,800 
murders.
  When it comes to drugs--the volume they are dealing with in fighting 
the narcotics traffickers--ICE in fiscal year 2017 seized more than 
980,000 pounds of narcotics. ICE seized approximately 2,370 pounds of 
fentanyl, approximately 6,967 pounds of heroin. Yet, today, too many 
elected Democrats are afraid that they, too, might face a socialist 
primary and that their far left is so angry, hates President Trump so 
much, that their position is not that we should enforce the immigration 
laws; their position is not that they will stand with law enforcement. 
Their position has become to abolish the Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement agency, the agency charged with enforcing our immigration 
laws.
  This is not a reasonable position and a public policy debate upon 
which reasonable minds might differ. There are many of those in the 
immigration world. This is not one of them. This is a radical and 
reckless position.
  Yet, this resolution--by the way, this resolution says not a word 
about the issue of family separation. We have heard some of the 
speeches from my Democratic colleagues focused on family separation. I 
can state that every Member of this body, Democrat and Republican, 
agrees that families should not be separated.
  Indeed, I have introduced legislation to prohibit family separation, 
to ensure that children stay with their parents--the best place for a 
kid is with his or her mom or dad--but to do so in a way that also 
respects the rule of law, that doesn't return to the failed policy of 
catch-and-release that only encourages more and more illegal 
immigration, that only puts more and more children--little boys and 
girls--in a position of being physically and sexually assaulted by 
human traffickers.
  No one who cares about humanity, no one who cares about compassion 
should want to incentivize putting little children in the control of 
global, transnational drug cartels and human traffickers.
  For the past several weeks, I have been negotiating with Democratic 
Members of this body, trying to see if we could reach common ground to 
unite and say that we will not separate families, but at the same time, 
we will respect the rule of law and not return to catch-and-release in 
a way that incentivizes illegal immigration.
  We will find out if any Democrats are willing to find common ground. 
All 100 could join together on ending family release and ending it 
today, but too many on the Democratic side want to condition ending 
family release on essentially mandating the release of every illegal 
alien in custody--those apprehended with children, mandating their 
release. That is not a reasonable position. That is not a position the 
American people support, and, critically, this resolution before the 
Senate says not a word about it.
  This resolution does not address that question. Instead, this 
resolution says that those ICE agents--the ICE agents who right now may 
be kicking down the door on a meth house and facing violent drug lords, 
firing weapons at them, risking their lives to keep us safe--we stand 
with those law enforcement agencies, even if we may disagree on the 
parameters of illegal immigration.
  I am one who believes we should welcome and embrace legal 
immigrants--those who follow the rules and wait in line like my father 
in 1957, when he came as an immigrant from Cuba seeking freedom. Those 
are debates we can have.
  We ought to be coming together in the spirit of bipartisan agreement 
to stand with law enforcement. I call upon the responsible members of 
the Democratic Party--and, surely, there must be some left. Surely, in 
the Democratic Party, there are some voices that are willing to stand 
up to the reckless and radical left and say: No, we should not abolish 
the agency charged with enforcing our immigration laws, charged with 
protecting us from vicious and violent criminals.
  The fact that Senate Democrats are today objecting to this resolution 
shows just how captive they are to the fury that rages against 
President Trump.
  Everyone in this Chamber has, at one time or another, had something 
the President has said or done that we all disagreed with. That is part 
of the political process, but the rage and fury on the far left is a 
qualitatively different matter. It is a rage that is demanding 
Democrats to go after, to undercut, to attack law enforcement agents 
who keep us safe. That is a mistake. It is a disservice to this 
institution. It is a disservice to the legacy of many distinguished 
Senators and a disservice to the American people and the Constitution 
that we are sworn to protect.
  I urge this body to pass this commonsense resolution, standing with 
law enforcement, enforcing our borders, and stopping violent criminals, 
murderers, kidnappers, and rapists that ICE arrests every year. 
Abolishing law enforcement puts all of us at peril. I call upon my 
Democratic colleagues to reject that radical and reckless position.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, this Senator came to talk about trade, and 
I am going to do that, but I think what we have is an example of 
extremes in politics that is on display before us.
  I think, on the one hand, political points are trying to be scored 
about the abolition of certain law enforcement organizations. On the 
other hand, there are the political points that a government, 
especially our government, should not have a policy of separating 
children from their parents, unless the parents have committed a crime 
and need to be incarcerated for the purpose of that crime.
  Here we have the extremes again going to either side, when, in fact, 
if there were good will, if there were not such a highly polarized, 
highly charged, partisan atmosphere, in part, as we say in the South, 
egged on by various Members of the leadership in the Congress as well 
as the Executive--if we didn't have all of that, we could get a lot 
more done.
  The genius of American politics is for us to be able to come 
together, to respect each other, to understand the

[[Page S5048]]

other fellow's point of view, and then work out our differences.
  It is the same thing on the international stage. That is why we see 
it is so difficult to reach international agreements when people have 
gotten hardened into positions because of race or religion or political 
balance.
  So if you note a tone of sadness in this Senator's voice, then you 
are correct because, again, we are seeing the polarization of American 
politics.
  Why can't we have a law enforcement organization that also doesn't 
have to operate under a policy of separating children from their 
parents? That is the commonsense point of view, but, no, we devolve 
into these extremes.


                                Tariffs

  Mr. President, I came to talk about trade.
  Is the United States taken advantage of by other countries? You bet 
and especially China. We have been letting them get away with it for 
years, but you don't try to correct that situation by suddenly saying, 
I am going to impose a tariff, as the President has, on imported steel 
and aluminum: 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.
  What happens then is, for the people who use those products in 
manufacturing, whatever their business is, that is going to cause the 
cost of those goods to go up. The consumers are going to be the ones 
who get hurt. By the way, what that is going to do, again, is the 
extreme. If you do this, the person who is offended is going to do this 
and do it more.
  That is exactly what is happening in this trade war that is suddenly 
starting to hurt all of us. In reaction to steel and aluminum tariffs 
that the United States has imposed, good friends of ours, major trading 
partners of ours--I am keeping China in a different category. I am 
talking about the European Union; I am talking about Canada, one of our 
closest friends; and I am talking about Mexico. In retaliation for what 
we are doing to them, they are now retaliating and putting tariffs on 
other goods. They are putting tariffs on everything, not only for steel 
and aluminum but from washing machines to lobster, whiskey, and cheese.
  We are starting to see the consequences of these moves. People are 
starting to hurt. This Senator has heard from many businesses in his 
State that are starting to get hurt. In Florida, we are seeing the 
harmful effects of these tariffs. Mind you, it is not just the 
Budweiser Brewery that I visited several months ago in Jacksonville 
that produces 3.3 billion aluminum cans a year. Of course, the cost of 
those cans are going to go up, and it is going to be the consumer who 
pays, but it is going to affect others in the restaurant industry, the 
medical device industry, the marine manufacturing industry, and the 
auto parts industry.
  Let me tell you about the cost of these auto parts that we have to 
import and those made here domestically. Because of the increased costs 
of steel or aluminum, the cost of those parts are going up. Maybe the 
dealer that services your car and replaces parts is one thing, but what 
about the individual entrepreneur, like the auto mechanic shop that has 
to buy its parts that all of a sudden has to charge more? The big guys 
that deal in many more automobile repairs can spread that cost over a 
lot of people, but that poor individual auto mechanic shop is getting 
hurt. It is happening right now, and they are losing business.
  Take, for example, the marine manufacturing industry. Manufacturing 
boats is a big industry in Florida. It is worth $121 billion a year in 
Florida, which is 650,000 jobs in Florida and tens of thousands of 
downstream jobs in Florida and nationwide. The industry in our State 
alone provides over $10 billion in annual economic activity. All of 
those businesses are really getting hurt because the European Union, 
Canada, and Mexico--three big export markets for the boat 
manufacturers--are getting orders cut because of the retaliatory 
tariffs of 25 percent from the European Union. They are not going to 
sell any more boats to European customers if they have to pay an extra 
25 percent. They will go elsewhere where they can get it cheap, and 
that means 10 percent extra costs in Canada; 15 percent in Mexico.
  What is that going to do? There are jobs in that boat manufacturing 
industry that will go away. They are brands that you might recognize 
like Nautique, Bryant, and Bass Cat. They are all brands of one 
company, Correct Craft, that I visited in Orlando this week. They 
manufacture boats and engines in factories across the country, with 
their headquarters in Orlando.
  The President's tariffs have increased the production costs 
considerably because of the cost of aluminum and steel that goes into 
those boats. To add insult to the already existing injury, they are 
being hit with these retaliatory tariffs from other countries where 
they sell their goods.
  There is no sugarcoating it. We are in the midst of a full-blown 
trade war. If this thing gets out of control, it can take us into an 
economic recession like the Smoot-Hawley tariffs did in the recession 
that led to what is known as the Great Depression. If we continue down 
this path without an exit strategy, we are going to regret it.
  Already, our boat manufacturers in Florida have lost tens of millions 
of dollars in canceled orders. Regal Marine Industries had $4 million 
worth of orders fall through. The company estimates it will lose $13 
million this year because of these tariffs, and that will wind up 
costing people their jobs. It is no small thing.
  This is what happens when you get excessively extreme, when you get 
partisan, when you act like you know it all, when you improvise your 
way through a complicated world and don't have a well-thought-out plan 
of how to get out of this mess. Again, with bipartisan consensus, it is 
the nature of the politics that we have to rein in.
  There is also the story of Micro Stamping, which is the sole supplier 
of high-grade surgical equipment. That equipment is used in the 
treatment of breast cancer. Micro Stamping is contemplating shutting 
down because the President's trade moves are stopping it from getting 
the specific type of steel it needs to manufacture the equipment.
  What about Hale Products? It is up in Ocala. It is also being crushed 
by the tariffs. It makes fire suppression equipment. Since the cost of 
the tariffs is passed down to the end consumer, it says the tariffs 
will make it harder for municipal fire departments--that are already 
facing stiff budget constraints--to buy the new, lighter weight 
lifesaving firefighting equipment. This will have repercussions beyond 
the company's immediate business needs.
  It is worth noting that what is going on is doing lasting damage to 
our strategic alliances. The U.S. Government--this executive branch--is 
treating our friends like enemies and is giving comfort to our 
adversaries. This is no way to run a country. We should be working with 
our allies to address our global challenges. We ought to be advancing 
our shared interests, not just in trade but in national security and a 
range of things.
  Before we escalate these things and they get out of hand, we need to 
think a little bit more about what we are doing, why we are doing it, 
and if we are doing it the right way. This Senator is saying we are not 
doing it the right way. What we are doing is sending a message that 
America is closed for business. I don't think that is what we want to 
do.
  I urge my colleagues to join this Senator in shining the light of day 
on the hard truth of what happens when you go along and make things up 
without having a clear plan for success, which is exactly what this 
trade war right now is a product of. That kind of approach doesn't work 
for the USA; it doesn't work for Florida; and it doesn't work for the 
vast majority of hard-working everyday Americans. I think it is time to 
come to our senses.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from Missouri.


                Commemorating the Negro National League

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, last night, the Major League Baseball All-
Star Game was hosted in Washington. In conjunction with that game, the 
Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hosted an event to honor the Homestead 
Grays, which was one of the teams from that league. There were great 
teams in that league. The Homestead Grays had won the Negro League 
World Series in 1943, which was 75 years ago. They had a great exhibit 
here in town about that team and about the history of that league.

[[Page S5049]]

  The museum, which was founded in 1990, is located in Kansas City, MO. 
It is dedicated to highlighting and preserving that important part of 
our sports history--the history of African-American baseball. Bob 
Kendrick runs that museum, and it is a museum I would encourage all of 
my colleagues to visit as the All-Star Game was in Kansas City a few 
years ago, and it was one of the venues for Major League Baseball.
  When people are in Kansas City, playing the Royals, managers and 
coaches often take their players there--players who haven't been there 
before and players who want to go back--just for them to have a sense 
of what it was like when there was the segregation of baseball and also 
some of the great players who played there. The chairman of the board, 
Stewart Myers, was here yesterday, and the vice chairman, Adam Sachs, 
was here yesterday.
  The museum is actually expanding and building the Buck O'Neil 
Research and Education Center on the Paseo in Kansas City. Buck O'Neil 
was a great Kansas Citian, but he had also been a great part of Negro 
Leagues Baseball. In June of this year, vandals broke into the YMCA, on 
which a lot of money had already been spent. It was where that part of 
the museum, the research center, was going to be housed. The vandals 
did more damage than they should have been able to do, and, 
unfortunately, there was some water damage in the building. Yet that 
effort continues.
  The Negro National League was created there in 1920 at that Paseo 
YMCA. There was an owners meeting, and the owners decided, It is time 
we really put more of a structure into this league. So they established 
a league. Before 1920, these African-American teams barnstormed around 
the country and played whomever they could play. After 1920, they could 
still barnstorm, but there was a league, there was a league 
championship, and there was a structure they had not had before.
  In 1947, as every baseball fan knows, the Brooklyn Dodgers decided to 
integrate baseball, and Jackie Robinson, who had played for the Kansas 
City Monarchs, was the first player to step into that challenge of 
integrated baseball. The league lasted another 13 years or so. I think 
the last team finally folded in the early 1960s.
  Some of the greatest baseball and the most exciting baseball ever 
played was played in this particular league--names like Satchel Paige, 
who said about himself that he was so fast he could turn off the light 
in the bedroom and be in bed before it got dark. He was a great 
pitcher, and he was a great runner. Buck O'Neil, Satchel Paige, Cool 
Papa Bell, Jackie Robinson, and 100 other names in that last 3 years of 
the 1940s who joined the Major Leagues are all part of that story.
  Missouri teams were an important part of that story. The Monarchs 
played for 37 seasons, and I already mentioned that Jackie Robinson 
played briefly for the Monarchs before he went to the Dodgers. They won 
a dozen league championships. They sent more players than any other 
team to the Major Leagues. The St. Louis Stars, who were on the other 
side of our State--originally the St. Louis Giants--played 12 seasons. 
They won the league championship in 1928, in 1930, and in 1931.
  The real focus of the exhibit here this week was on the Homestead 
Grays. Now, where did the Homestead Grays come from? I think I already 
mentioned they were celebrating the 75th anniversary of winning the 
Negro League World Series in 1943. The Homestead Grays were originally 
based in Homestead, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh.
  In 1940, in 1941, and in 1942, they played at least half of their 
games here in Washington. When the Washington Senators were traveling, 
the ballpark would be available, and the Homestead Grays would play 
games there. By 1943, they were playing about two-thirds of their games 
in Washington and generally had more people at their games than the 
Washington Senators had at their games. They won nine consecutive 
league pennants from 1937 through 1945.
  There was even an effort, when the Nationals team was brought here, 
to call the Nationals the Washington Grays because of that tremendous 
team that had played here. The team owners chose the Nationals because 
it was one of the Washington Senators' official nicknames. That is an 
important part of our history right there, and we are going to be 
celebrating the 100th anniversary of that league in 2020.
  I and Congressman Cleaver, who is on the other side of this building, 
are looking at ways to draw more attention to this great part of our 
story. It is sad because of the segregated elements of it, but it is a 
great story because of the entrepreneurship and the sportsmanship and 
the competitive nature of that league.
  Mr. NELSON. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. BLUNT. I can tell the Senator is interested. I am pleased to 
yield.
  Mr. NELSON. Indeed, this Senator is interested. Would you believe 
that a lot of those retired players who are still living happen to live 
in Florida?
  Mr. BLUNT. Right.
  Mr. NELSON. Further, as the Senator correctly pointed out, once 
Jackie Robinson was able to break into the majors in 1947, it would be 
another 11 years--1958--before the last team in the Major Leagues 
integrated. Would you believe, for all of that period of time, these 
great baseball players who have contributed so much had no pensions?
  Further, it was years later in this Senate--in the last decade--that, 
finally, the Commissioner of Baseball was brought in front of the 
Commerce Committee in order to face the music about the fact that the 
retired players who had not played in Major League Baseball but in the 
old Negro leagues in America--because they couldn't get into Major 
League Baseball, even while the rest of the teams were being 
integrated, which took 11 years--had no pensions. Would you believe 
that Major League Baseball, through Bud Selig, finally agreed to give 
them onetime pension payments?
  This Senator is so grateful because that has helped so many of the 
residents in my State who are these great players. Senator Blunt has so 
accurately described their considerable talents on the baseball field.
  Mr. BLUNT. I think that is an important part of the history.
  There were a couple of players there last night who had played in the 
league, and of course there are fewer of those players all the time. I 
have had a chance, as you have had, to meet and talk to them over the 
years--to talk about the excitement of that kind of baseball and their 
ability to entertain both with their sportsmanship as well as just with 
their talent as sportsmen.
  I think it was a great league, and it is a great story. I don't know 
if the Senator has had a chance to go to the museum in Kansas City, but 
as a guy who knew those players and appreciates what that league was 
all about, I would certainly love to go there with the Senator 
sometime.
  Mr. NELSON. If the Senator will yield, as a matter of fact, I am 
looking forward to seeing that museum.
  It was one of the Senator's players on the Kansas City Monarchs--
``Peach-Head'' Bob Mitchell, retired, who was living in my State--who 
brought to the attention of his Senator the inequity that had occurred 
in their never getting pensions, even though they were certainly 
capable of getting into Major League Baseball but, because of 
segregation, could not.
  Mr. BLUNT. I am looking forward, along with others, to celebrating 
that century of history. It is an important part of the story to be 
told, and I am glad the Senator has helped add to it here today.


                            Opioid Epidemic

  Mr. President, I also want to talk for a few minutes about the 
importance of getting the appropriations bills to the Senate floor, and 
I want to do that by talking about the opioid epidemic.
  Our annual opportunity to look at that is legislative--legislative in 
terms of deciding how to spend money as we try to deal with this 
epidemic that claims more lives than any other single accidental cause 
of death. For a long time, car accidents predominated that list, but in 
virtually every State in the country, more people die now from drug 
overdoses than die from car accidents.
  There are people of every age, such as the high school cheerleader in 
my hometown of Springfield, MO, who hurt her leg and got medicine for 
that leg injury. I think it was after 3 years of

[[Page S5050]]

struggling with addiction that her mother found her dead in the bedroom 
from an overdose.
  Every age, every race--there are stories of incredibly successful 
people who received from the doctor or the dentist more pain medicine 
than they needed. It is not because that is what the doctor or the 
dentist intended to do. Doctors and dentists in the 1970s and 1980s 
were told: This is nonaddictive. There is no reason for people to have 
pain.
  People could take these opioid-based painkillers and not have pain. 
That part was true. The part that wasn't true was the nonaddictive 
part. And the part that wasn't true was what you would do when the 
doctor was no longer giving you that medicine or you could no longer 
act like you were getting the medicine because of pain when, by then, 
you were getting it for some other reason.
  The appropriations bill that our committee has voted out and that we 
are eager to get to the floor includes $3.7 billion targeting the 
opioid epidemic. It is a 1,300-percent increase over where we were 4 
years ago. Congress has become more aware of not only how widespread 
the epidemic is but also the incredible human cost of the epidemic.
  The bill includes almost half of that money, $1.5 billion, for State 
opioid response grants. One reason we are doing this with grants is we 
really don't know all of the options yet, and we haven't been able to 
evaluate the best ways to deal with this. We do feel in our committee 
and in Congress that it is unlikely that the best way to deal with this 
in one place is necessarily the best way to deal with it in other 
places.
  My State of Missouri received $10 million last year. We will receive 
$28 million this year if this grant funding is approved, and other 
States will go up proportionately, exactly as we did.
  What did we do with that money in our State of Missouri to see how we 
could deal with this epidemic? More than 1,700 people have received 
evidence-based medical treatment for opioid-use disorder; 1,700 people 
in the last 12 months or so have received that. More than 4,300 kits of 
naloxone, which is what you take when you overdose, have been 
distributed. That is less effective sometimes than it used to be 
because of fentanyl, and people don't have any idea, when they are 
trying to help you with what you put into your system--and you don't 
either--so, occasionally, you will get that shot to relieve you from 
the overdose and think that has helped, and then suddenly what you have 
put into your system overwhelms even that normal cure if you get it on 
time. ``Cure'' might be the wrong word because all it does is save you 
that one time.
  Around 4,000 people have received training on what to do in the event 
of an overdose. About 10,000 people have received training in our State 
on topics from treatment to prevention to recovery.
  For a State like ours, the rate of opioid deaths has increased; 
opioid overdose deaths have more than quadrupled in the past 15 years. 
That would not be an unusual number for States to see.
  Senator Capito from West Virginia and I were here on the floor 
talking about this earlier this year. This is not necessarily an urban 
problem. In fact, in most cases, it is more of a rural problem per 
capita than an urban problem per capita. We have set aside money 
targeted for those rural communities. There is $135 million set aside 
for rural communities based on different things that appear to be 
needed more in rural communities than in any other communities.
  A couple of hundred million dollars goes into community health 
centers to support people who have behavioral health concerns and 
mental health concerns. If you don't have a mental health problem 
before you get addicted to opioids, you have one once you have gotten 
addicted to opioids. So those funds go there to try to deal with that.
  Senator Stabenow and I introduced a bill a few years ago, the 
Excellence in Mental Health Act, and eight of our States now have a 
situation where they are treating, in that eight-State pilot, 
behavioral health problems like all other health problems. That 
particularly steps up if someone with an opioid addiction problem has a 
behavioral health problem they wouldn't have had otherwise. And there 
is no limit. Just as there would be no limit if you had kidney 
dialysis, there is also no limit in those eight States for your 
behavioral health problems. There is no limit where, if you haven't 
whipped this in 28 days, you are going to have to deal with this as a 
unique problem. Dealing with mental health and behavioral health in the 
same way matters in all cases, but it particularly seems to apply as 
people try to beat addiction.
  The Department of Labor and Health and Human Services bill includes 
$60 million for child abuse prevention and treatment programs to 
support what happens in families when someone in that family gets into 
a situation of abuse.
  The number of people who become addicted needs to change, but also 
how we deal with pain needs to change. So there is some unique money 
available to the National Institutes of Health to try to develop a pain 
medicine that is nonaddictive; $500 million went toward that effort.
  In all of these cases, we feel as though we have produced a good bill 
out of our committee. It has about one-third of the money in it after 
defense is taken off the table. It is a big bill that covers a large 
jurisdiction.
  Everyone in the Senate deserves a chance to be part of this debate. 
Everyone in the Senate deserves to look at how the appropriators--I 
think it was 33 to 1 that they voted for this bill--have decided to 
spend the money. It may be the way everyone decides to spend the money, 
but everyone ought to have a chance on this floor to say ``No, I think 
this money would be better spent here and here, better spent this way 
and that way.'' Every single Senator ought to be able to be part of 
that discussion.
  If we continue this process that we have been in for a few years--one 
big bill that nobody ever gets to vote on--that means the Senators who 
aren't on the Appropriations Committee will not have a say in 
establishing our national priorities. It is time to do that.
  These bills are all out of committee and have been for almost a month 
now. We have had three of them on the floor already. I think we plan to 
have four of them on the floor next week, and maybe Defense, Labor, and 
HHS not too long after that.
  These are big issues that every Senator should have a say in, and the 
only way that will happen is if these issues are decided right here on 
the floor. Hopefully we will set some records, at least, of having 
these bills on the floor and debated.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I want to reflect on some of the data that 
has been coming in on our economy in response to our tax reform and 
deregulatory push.
  Before I do, I want to commend my colleague from Missouri and thank 
him for his leadership and work on the incredible crisis of opioids we 
are dealing with. It is not a uniformly national crisis; it is more 
concentrated regionally, and my State of Pennsylvania is affected as 
badly as any place in the country.
  I am pleased we have been able to take a number of constructive 
measures, but we have a lot of work yet to do as we try to deal with 
this scourge. I want to thank him for that.


                               Tax Reform

  Mr. President, on tax reform, before I get into some of the macro and 
statistics that are really, really incredibly encouraging, I just want 
to touch on a couple of constituent companies and their employees and 
how our tax reform is affecting them.
  One is a company called Glass & Sons Collision Repair. They are 
located in Reading, PA, which is in the eastern part of our State. They 
recently announced that they will be paying $1,000 tax reform bonuses 
to all of their employees--$1,000. This is a small business. It is a 
father-and-son business. The owners, Charles and Trevor Glass, made the 
decision to pay the bonuses right after they met with their accountants 
and learned how much they are going to save as a result of tax reform. 
The first thing they did is say: We are going to share this with our 
employees. It is a terrific development for everyone involved.
  There is another company on the other side of the State, in Somerset,

[[Page S5051]]

the southwestern part of the State. It is a company called Guy 
Chemical. They recently announced that not only are they increasing 
wages and bonuses, but they are also making all new investments, 
including buying a new forklift, updated computer equipment, new 
software, and they are building a new lab for research and development 
that will be five times the size of their old lab. They are doing this 
because of tax reform and the confidence they have in the economic 
growth that is occurring in this reformed environment.
  It is not only individuals who work for companies that have been able 
to pay higher wages and bonuses who benefit from tax reform; it is just 
about everyone. About 93 percent of all of the folks I represent and 
all of the folks we all represent--when they file their tax return for 
this year's income, they are going to pay less in Federal income taxes.
  According to the Tax Foundation, the direct savings for a 
Pennsylvania family with an income in the $50,000 to $70,000 range--it 
will be about $1,400 in savings.
  In addition to the direct savings from a lower Federal tax bill, 
because of the savings that Pennsylvania utilities have on their 
Federal tax bill, they are required to pass that on to their customers, 
and that is exactly what they are doing. So far it is a combined $320 
million in annual savings to Pennsylvania consumers in the form of 
lower utility bills as a result of our tax reform.
  There is no question that there are tremendous, direct personal and 
individual benefits across the board. Related to that is the fact that 
the economy is just taking off. The economy has been on fire. This year 
it has been tremendous.
  Nothing reflects the strong economic data better than the employment 
picture. It is fair to say that the employment picture in America may 
never have been this good. I know that is making a very bold statement, 
but stay with me here as we go through some of this data.
  In the month of May, we had the lowest unemployment rate since 2000--
the lowest unemployment rate in 18 years. The African-American 
unemployment rate hit an all-time record low. It has never been 
measured as low as it was in May, at 5.9 percent. Likewise, the 
Hispanic unemployment rate hit an all-time record low, at 4.6 percent 
in June. Small business optimism was at the second highest level on 
record ever, this past month of May.
  Dividends paid from overseas subsidiaries of U.S multinationals, 
dividends paid back home--money that is sitting overseas and invested 
back in America--reached an all-time record high in the first quarter 
because we changed the rules to diminish the penalties we used to have 
when an American company brought income that was earned overseas back 
home.
  Well, one of the things we wanted to have happen as a result of our 
tax reform was that we wanted to see more capital expenditures--more 
companies putting money to work buying plants, plant equipment, 
technology, and tools. Guess what. For the first quarter of this year, 
there was tremendous growth in capital expenditures by American 
businesses. It is up over 7 percent, well above even the ambitious 
estimate that came out from the Congressional Budget Office late last 
year.

  I think one of the most amazing statistics about this whole 
employment picture is what happened in March. We saw that in the month 
of March--again, the first time ever that I am aware of--the number of 
job openings in America, meaning the number of available jobs that need 
to be filled, was greater than the number of people looking for jobs. 
Think about that. There are more jobs available in America than there 
are people looking for jobs in America. That is terrific for people who 
need work. The jobs are out there.
  The National Federation of Independent Business, which is America's 
largest network of small businesses, were surveyed in June. Sixty-three 
percent--almost two-thirds--of these small business owners reported 
that they were hiring or trying to hire. That is the highest level we 
have seen since 1999. And 87 percent of those who are trying to hire, 
or are actually hiring people, are concerned that there are just too 
few people out there available to be hired.
  So, in a way, the economy is growing so robustly and the job 
opportunities are expanding so quickly that we have a shortage of 
workers. We have too few people available to meet the demand for all of 
these jobs. It is the right problem to have.
  So what happens as a result of that? It is exactly what we predicted. 
People who have decided to leave the workforce, to give up on work--
people who are of working age and are healthy but decided, for whatever 
reason, not to work--are coming back into the workforce. They are 
coming back in big numbers. In the month of June, over 600,000 
Americans who had worked in the past but then had stepped out of the 
workforce for whatever reason came back into the workforce. The biggest 
proportion of these folks are people who have never gone to college, 
but they have a renewed confidence and optimism about the economy. They 
have confidence in opportunities available to them, despite the fact 
that they don't have a college income. They have decided that they are 
going to reenter the workforce and, in the process, start to improve 
their standard of living.
  By the way, the labor force participation rate rose really across, I 
think, all ethnic groups, including women, men, African Americans, and 
Hispanics. It is up across the board.
  So far this year, over 1 million workers who had left the workforce 
are back in it. That compares to about half a million workers in the 
first half of last year and about 600,000 in 2016. So there was a big 
surge in the number of workers coming back into the workforce, and they 
are finding jobs. It has improved our overall population, our overall 
percentage of working-age people who are, in fact, working. As I say, 
it is across all demographic groups and contributing enormously, first 
and foremost, to improving the quality of their lives and their 
family's lives but also our overall economic growth.
  What else did we get from the June jobs report? In June--in the month 
of June alone--there were 213,000 jobs added. That is a very, very 
rapid pace. Oh, by the way, these numbers are always provided 
subsequently. So in June we got the revision for April and May, months 
that had good job growth. It turns out that it was even better than we 
thought. All together, there were 37,000 more jobs when we revised the 
April and May numbers than we had originally figured.
  There was a modest uptick in the unemployment rate, but don't be 
fooled by that. That is because with so many additional people entering 
the workforce, we are counting far more people now in how we determine 
that.
  One of the truly exciting things about this is that for many, many 
years, we have had stagnant wages. Wages just weren't rising very 
rapidly. It is because productivity wasn't growing. That, I think, was 
being driven by the fact that there wasn't considerable growth in 
capital expenditures. Now that we have changed that dynamic and capital 
expenditure is growing, productivity is growing and wages are starting 
to grow. I am not satisfied with the growth yet, but it is very 
encouraging that the direction is positive.
  Based on the employment cost index, wages grew about 2.9 percent in 
the first quarter. That is the fastest pace in a decade--the fastest 
pace in 10 years. Average hourly earnings for nonmanagers rose at their 
fastest pace in 9 years.
  In June, interestingly, pay for workers who switched jobs rose at 3.8 
percent, which is a clear indication that employers are forced to bid 
up wages because they need to hire workers, and they are having trouble 
finding the workers.
  This whole dynamic is very, very encouraging. It means wages are 
growing and are likely to grow more.
  I should also point out that there is a feature in the arithmetic 
that suggests that it could mask the extent to which wages are growing. 
What I am referring to is when I say that average wages are growing by 
2.7 percent. That is true, but let's keep in mind that when we get a 
surge of new people into the workforce, most of those people are coming 
in at the lower end of the wage spectrum. Maybe it is their first job 
or maybe they have been out of work for a long time, or maybe, as I 
pointed out,

[[Page S5052]]

they don't have the same level of education and skills of people 
already in the workforce. So they are starting at a lower-than-average 
wage. So all else being equal, that would tend to bring the average 
down. So despite that, when you have growth, that tells us that people 
who have been continuously employed are getting an even bigger growth 
in their wages.
  So this is very, very encouraging. I think it is likely to continue. 
It is exactly what we were hoping would happen as a result of our tax 
reform.
  But there is another whole development that is not directly about 
wages, but when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. With all 
of these people finding work, with all of these opportunities for work 
and people coming back into the workforce, guess what. There is a 
reduction in dependency on government programs because people are able 
to earn the income to support their families.

  So, for instance, in the 4-week average of unemployment benefits 
claims, one of the things we monitor closely, the number of people who 
are collecting unemployment hit a 45-year low of 213,000 in May--45 
years. You have to go back 45 years to find so few people who required 
unemployment for an extended period of time. It is really amazing, when 
we consider how much bigger a country we are today, that we have gotten 
down to a number that was matched only 45 years ago--amazing.
  We can look at the disability benefits. According to the Social 
Security Administration, fewer Americans applied for disability 
benefits last year than at any time since 2002, 16 years since we have 
had a number this low.
  We can also look at the food stamp program. Two million people have 
come off of food stamps because they are working and they are earning 
enough that they either don't need it or they don't qualify anymore.
  So these are very, very encouraging trends. As I say, because the 
driver is a new set of incentives that is encouraging capital 
expenditure and, therefore, productivity growth, I think this is really 
likely to continue.
  The macro GDP numbers reflect this as well. The Congressional Budget 
Office last year estimated that growth for 2018 would be about 2 
percent. As a result of tax reform, they revised that up to 3.3 
percent.
  As for estimates for the second quarter--the quarter that just 
ended--we don't have the numbers yet. It is still a couple of weeks 
away, but the estimates are that growth was probably equal, maybe even 
more than 4 percent.
  So we have had tremendous growth. We already had a great first 
quarter relative to other first quarters, and the second quarter is 
probably very, very big.
  All of this, of course, means that if this growth is sustained, which 
I think it is likely to be, not only will we continue to have good 
employment numbers like we have had, but we are also going to have good 
budget numbers.
  The Federal Government budget is driven more than anything else by 
how strong our economy is and how many people are working. Everybody 
working is paying taxes. Every company that is making money is paying 
taxes. So revenue coming into the Federal Government is likely to be 
very strong.
  So I am very optimistic. I think it is very clear that the 
combination of pushing back on excessive regulation and a tremendously 
pro-growth tax reform has led to this growth.
  I should warn that I think there is a bit of a cloud on the horizon. 
I hope it doesn't develop into a big storm. Right now it is just a 
cloud, but that cloud is trade policy that could really start to hinder 
economic growth.
  It is interesting. We had testimony at the Banking Committee just 
yesterday from Fed Chairman Powell. I pointed out that the minutes for 
the June meeting of the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee had a 
disturbing reference. I will quote briefly: The FOMC minutes for June 
stated: ``Some Districts indicated''--they refer to the various 
districts around the country--``that plans for capital spending had 
been scaled back or postponed as a result of uncertainty over trade 
policy.''
  That is a warning. That is a warning to us. If we spiral down into a 
full-blown trade war--and we certainly have a lot of skirmishes going 
on--and if this spirals out of control, business will start to pull 
back. They will lose the confidence they have had, and that could lead 
to diminished capital expenditures, which will start to really diminish 
the tremendous growth that we have seen.
  So far for this year the economic picture has been extremely 
encouraging. Benefits are very broad-based. Economic growth is broad 
and strong. There are employment numbers that we haven't seen in 
decades. I believe this can continue. It is much more likely to 
continue if we avoid a damaging trade war.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.


                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I am grateful today to be joined by 
Senator King, from the great State of Maine, to speak about the 
troubling changes that we are seeing in the oceans and how climate 
change is reshaping our States' fisheries.
  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 
recognizes that ``climate change imperils the structure and function of 
already stressed coastal aquatic ecosystems.'' For the record, Maine 
and Rhode Island are indeed aquatic.
  The oceans have absorbed approximately 30 percent of the excess 
carbon dioxide that we have pumped into the atmosphere since the 
Industrial Revolution began. That is changing the ocean's chemistry. 
The oceans have also absorbed roughly 90 percent of the excess heat 
trapped in the atmosphere by those greenhouse gases. As a result of 
that excess carbon dioxide and that excess heat, our oceans are 
warming, and they are rising. They are losing oxygen, and they are 
growing more acidic. This puts marine life, coastal communities, and 
the global ocean economy all in jeopardy.
  Commercial fishing is an important economy in the United States, and 
both Maine and Rhode Island celebrate our longstanding fishing 
traditions. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, over 
9.6 billion pounds of wild seafood, valued at $5.3 billion, was 
commercially landed in the United States in 2016.
  Across New England, American lobster was our most valuable fishery. 
We had lobstermen bringing around $663 million--two-thirds of $1 
billion--worth of lobster to shore. Sadly, Rhode Island's lobster 
fishery is badly knocked down by warming ocean waters. NOAA notes: 
``The lobster industry in New York and southern New England has nearly 
collapsed.'' Maine dominated the catch, bringing in nearly 85 percent 
of the lobster landed in the region.
  According to NOAA, from ``1994 to 2014, Maine's landings surged 219 
percent to more than 124 million pounds.'' The lobster population is 
shifting north, away from Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut, as 
waters warm, leaving Rhode Island and other southern New England 
lobster traps empty. But Mainers are taking notice, too, as warming 
waters are driving lobster even farther north along their rocky coast. 
A recent study of 700 North American marine species predicted that 
lobster populations could move 200 miles northward by the end of the 
century as waters continue to warm. Senator King can report what 200 
miles does to the coast of Maine.

  Lobster is not the only fishery feeling the heat in New England. A 
2017 study of global warming found that the greater Northeast region is 
anticipated to warm faster than other regions of the world. According 
to the ``Climate Science Special Report,'' a Federal report that will 
form the scientific basis of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, 
``the Northeast has warmed faster than 99% of the global ocean since 
2004.'' We have a global ocean hotspot off our coast. The Northeast is 
also expected to see higher than global average sea level rise, putting 
our ports, fishing docks, and coastal infrastructure all at risk.
  Fishermen have noticed. They are keenly aware of the myriad ways 
climate change is altering the waters that generations of their 
families have fished, and they see the difference. Fishermen in Rhode 
Island have told me: ``Sheldon, things are getting weird out there.''
  ``Sheldon, it's not my grandfather's ocean.''
  They share anecdotes of catching increasing numbers of tropical fish 
early in the summer season and seeing fish

[[Page S5053]]

that rarely frequented Rhode Island waters until recent years. As new 
fish move in and traditional fish move out, fishermen are left with 
more questions than answers.
  In Southern New England, black sea bass has become the poster fish 
for shifting stocks. As we can see in this graphic, the 1970s had a hub 
of black sea bass here, with this as the center and then a slight reach 
upward but basically off the mid-Atlantic coast. This is 2014. The 
center of activity has moved up closer to Rhode Island. We are right 
here. Of course, black sea bass populations in our region have 
increased concomitantly.
  This commercially valuable fish, the black sea bass, can help Rhode 
Island fishermen replace traditional species that are growing more 
scarce, like winter flounder--the fish my wife studied for her graduate 
work--which has crashed as winters warm.
  The current fisheries' management structure, however, forces Rhode 
Island fishermen to toss the increasingly abundant and valuable black 
sea bass overboard. NOAA scientists saw this northward transit of the 
sea bass coming years ago, but regulatory catch limits did not keep up. 
They are generally based on historical catches. And States are hesitant 
to give up quota even after the fish have moved northward and left 
their shores, so State-specific quotas badly lag the changing 
distribution of the fish.
  A former Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council scientist 
acknowledged that fish like summer flounder are moving north and told 
NPR that ``some of the Southern states are having trouble catching 
their quota, and states to the north have more availability of fish.''
  Dave Monti is a friend who is a charter boat captain out of Wickford 
Harbor in North Kingstown, RI. Dave said:

       There's no doubt the waters have warmed and black sea bass 
     have moved in. The quotas haven't done a good enough job at 
     figuring in climate change yet.

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
an article from the Providence Journal describing the changes that 
Captain Monti sees and our local efforts to deal with these changes.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                     [From the Providence Journal]

      Front Line of Climate Change: Black Sea Bass Surge Off R.I.

                           (By Alex Kuffner)

       Providence, RI.--Scientists tell us that some fish will be 
     winners and others losers as oceans warm.
       In Rhode Island, count lobster, silver hake and winter 
     flounder among the losers, their numbers plummeting as 
     climate change drives water temperatures higher. On the list 
     of winners so far are squid, summer flounder, butterfish.
       And black sea bass. The population of the dusky-colored 
     fish with striking blue accents has historically been 
     strongest off the mid-Atlantic Coast, but over the past 
     decade or so its numbers have spiked off New England and it 
     is becoming a more important catch for the region's 
     fishermen.
       In a telling sign of black sea bass's surge in Rhode 
     Island, the state Department of Environmental Management last 
     month loosened regulations governing the recreational fishery 
     for the species, extending the season by 31 days and 
     increasing the fall possession limit to seven fish per person 
     per day, from five.
       It may appear to be a small development, but the rules 
     change resulted from a heated debate among state and federal 
     regulators about how best to manage a species whose 
     distribution and abundance has gone through a striking shift 
     that few would have imagined a generation ago.
       The back-and-forth over the fish also signals more 
     difficulties to come as regulators struggle to respond to the 
     impacts of climate change on the marine environment. Similar 
     issues are already playing out with summer flounder, another 
     warm-water fish that is becoming more common off the north 
     Atlantic coast.
       How they are managed will have important implications not 
     only for those fish but for lobsters and other key species in 
     the ocean ecosystem.
       ``We're in an adaptive mode right now,'' said Bob Ballou, 
     assistant to the director of the Rhode Island Department of 
     Environmental Management and chairman of the Atlantic States 
     Marine Fisheries Commission's black sea bass and summer 
     flounder boards. ``It's occupying all our time to think 
     through all the approaches to better manage these 
     resources.''
       One of the key assumptions that the nation's fishery 
     management system is built upon is that species don't move 
     between general geographic regions.
       That traditional regulatory framework held up for a long 
     time, but rising water temperatures and the resulting shifts 
     in species distribution and abundance are forcing the 
     beginnings of change.
       In the case of black sea bass, it's not that the population 
     of the fish is simply relocating north. Numbers are still 
     decent in the southern portion of the fish's range, but they 
     are much stronger now off the coasts of New York, 
     Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts--places where the 
     waters used to be too cold to support large populations.
       In Rhode Island, water temperatures in Narragansett Bay 
     have risen about 3\1/2\-degrees Fahrenheit since 1959, 
     according to weekly monitoring done by the Graduate School of 
     Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Warmer 
     winters, in particular, have allowed black sea bass to thrive 
     this far north.
       In the 1980s and 1990s, a fish trawl survey conducted by 
     the DEM rarely caught a single black sea bass in Rhode Island 
     waters, but incidence of the species has risen steadily, 
     especially over the past decade, and now each trawl nets 
     about two black sea bass on average.
       Because black sea bass move between federal and state 
     waters, the fish is managed jointly by the federal 
     government, through the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management 
     Council, and states, including Rhode Island, through the 
     Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
       Although scientists have long known that concentrations of 
     the fish have been shifting north toward the Gulf of Maine, 
     it wasn't until 2016 that regulators started to factor in the 
     change.
       That year, a new stock assessment for black sea bass 
     formally recognized for the first time two distinct 
     populations of the fish, a northern group around New England 
     and a southern group from New Jersey to the Carolinas.
       The growth in the northern group more than made up for the 
     southern group's mediocre numbers, and the assessment 
     determined the total population of the fish to be nearly two 
     and a half times higher than the minimum stock threshold set 
     by regulators
       ``That was a really big step forward,'' said Jason McNamee, 
     chief of marine resource management for the DEM. ``The 
     science is now catching up to what's going on with the 
     environment.''
       But despite the robust overall picture for the fish, the 
     ASFMC's proposed quotas for this year called for a 12-percent 
     reduction in the northern region's catch to allow the 
     southern region, the historic center of the black sea bass 
     fishery, to increase its share.
       Rhode Island, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut filed 
     an appeal, and on May 3, the fisheries commission relented, 
     allowing what amounts to a four-percent increase for the 
     northern region.
       The stakes are high for Rhode Island, which is experiencing 
     deep changes to the composition of its marine species because 
     of its location, at the junction of what ocean scientists 
     call the Boreal Province--cold waters that include the Gulf 
     of Maine to the north--and the Virginian Province--warmer 
     waters of the mid-Atlantic to the south.
       ``We're right at the front lines of these changes,'' 
     McNamee said. ``These mid-Atlantic species are our most 
     important species now.''
       Dave Monti reeled in another black sea bass.
       Like the five others caught in Narragansett Bay on a recent 
     morning, at less than 15 inches long, it was too small to 
     keep. So Monti started working the hook out of its mouth.
       ``You've got to be careful of the dorsal fin,'' he warned. 
     ``It'll stick right into you.''
       As regulators have tightened catch limits for striped bass 
     and other saltwater game fish that were historically abundant 
     in Rhode Island waters, black sea bass has filled the void, 
     said Monti, a charter boat captain who docks his boat in 
     Wickford Harbor.
       ``They've saved my charters over the past couple years when 
     other fish aren't around,'' he said.
       Seas were too rough to visit his favorite place to fish for 
     black sea bass, a patch of waters in the open ocean near 
     Brenton Reef off Newport, so he steered his 44-foot boat the 
     Virginia Joan to a few spots in the Bay between Jamestown and 
     Narragansett.
       Black sea bass is a reef fish that likes rocky bottoms and 
     patrols the waters around jetties and pilings for prey. It's 
     a hermaphrodite--some fish switch sexes as adults. The 
     species can be found off Rhode Island year-round, typically 
     coming inshore to the Bay in the spring to spawn and 
     wintering farther off the coast.
       Just south of the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge, Monti 
     reached for a rod from a holder overhead. He called it his 
     ``sea bass slayer.'' It was fitted with a shiny, red-tinted 
     lure and he baited the hook with a slice of squid and a 
     little fish called a silverside. A few minutes later, the 
     first black sea bass was caught.
       It doesn't take much work to find the fish these days, said 
     Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party and 
     Charter Boat Association.
       ``Black sea bass are a charter boat operator's dream,'' he 
     said. ``They're pretty prevalent, they're easy to catch, and 
     they taste great.''
       On a recent charter to Block Island, the six clients on 
     Bellavance's boat caught only two striped bass and one 
     bluefish between them, so he started setting lines for black 
     sea bass. They promptly snagged 20 of the fish that were big 
     enough to take home.

[[Page S5054]]

       Although he applauded the new regulations, he said the 
     changes have been slow to come and haven't gone far enough. 
     He'd like to have the current six-month season extended year-
     round and the per-person daily limit raised to 10 fish.
       ``We need to recognize that the stock has shifted to the 
     north and to the east,'' he said. ``Rhode Island is closer to 
     that epicenter than it used to be.''
       Monti, who is vice president of the Rhode Island Marine 
     Fisheries Council, which advises the DEM on state fishing 
     policy, agreed.
       ``There's no doubt the waters have warmed and black sea 
     bass have moved in,'' he said. ``The quotas haven't done a 
     good enough job at figuring in climate change yet.''
       About half the morning's catch on Monti's boat were black 
     sea bass. Among the rest were other warm-water fish that are 
     becoming more common in Rhode Island: scup and summer 
     flounder.
       After Monti freed the little black sea bass from the hook, 
     he held it in his hand. As the fish age, their scales become 
     more blue. This one had yet to develop the bright coloring, 
     but it was still striking.
       ``Pretty, isn't it?'' Monti said as he dropped it back into 
     the Bay.
       Not everyone loves the fish.
       Black sea bass have voracious appetites, hunting on the 
     ocean bottom for crabs, clams and shrimp. The fish don't have 
     teeth but will swallow crustaceans whole.
       Lobstermen complain of pulling up their traps and finding 
     black sea bass inside that have gobbled up their lobsters.
       ``I see it everyday,'' said Lanny Dellinger, a Newport 
     lobsterman and board member of the Rhode Island Lobstermen's 
     Association. ``Everyday, every trawl. It doesn't matter if 
     it's mud bottom, hard bottom, deep water, shallow water. 
     There are so many black sea bass, it's unbelievable.''
       The rise of black sea bass is coming at the same time that 
     the lobster catch is on a steep decline in Rhode Island, 
     falling from 8.2 million pounds in 1998 to 2.3 million pounds 
     in 2016, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
       Lobster is a cold-water species that is moving north as 
     Rhode Island's waters warm. The higher water temperatures 
     have made the lobsters that remain more susceptible to shell 
     disease. Dellinger and others believe that predation by black 
     sea bass is also pushing down the lobster numbers.
       Black sea bass could be contributing to the decline, but 
     the fish is probably not the primary cause, said Jon Hare, 
     science and research director at the National Oceanic and 
     Atmospheric Administration's Northeast Fisheries Science 
     Center in Woods Hole. Crabs and other crustaceans that the 
     fish eat aren't feeling similar impacts, he said.
       McNamee agreed, saying that the fish generally prey on 
     smaller juvenile lobsters, leaving the bigger ones alone.
       As part of a larger study of black sea bass, the Rhode 
     Island-based Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation is 
     analyzing the gut contents of fish caught by nine 
     participating commercial and recreational boats.
       ``We know that black sea bass do eat lobster, but we just 
     don't know if the rate of consumption is having an impact on 
     the size of the lobster population,'' said Anna Malek Mercer, 
     executive director of the foundation.
       One lobsterman sent her photos of a 2\1/2\-inch long 
     lobster found inside a black sea bass in a trap.
       ``When they end up in lobster traps, there usually aren't 
     any lobsters inside,'' she said.
       Dellinger wants loosened regulations on both the 
     recreational and commercial sides to allow fishermen to catch 
     more black sea bass. He likened the fish to coyotes that need 
     to be culled or to rodents afflicting farmers.
       ``It's like owning a corn bin full of rats and nobody's 
     allowed to get rid of them,'' he said.
       Despite the recent changes, scientists and fishermen in 
     Rhode Island say that the management system for black sea 
     bass is still outdated.
       Tellingly, none of the New England states has a seat on the 
     Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council--one of the two key 
     decision-making bodies for the species--even though much of 
     the fish's population is located off the region's coast.
       That has meant that allocations remain high for fishing 
     boats in states like Virginia and North Carolina that must 
     sometimes travel half a day north to find the fish, while 
     Rhode Island boats are forced to discard their catch because, 
     local fishermen say, their quotas aren't high enough.
       The southern states don't want to give up their share 
     because black sea bass fetches a good price--more than $3 a 
     pound on average--and the commercial fishery is growing in 
     value--tripling since 2009 to more than $12 million.
       The black sea bass study being done by the CFRF is using 
     different gear types--from gill nets to trawls to lobster 
     traps--to gather more data on the species and strengthen 
     stock assessments that may be missing some fish.
        Malek Mercer said that scientists are getting a better 
     understanding of the fish's changing population, but managing 
     the species is the problem.
       ``For better or worse, science is not going to fix that,'' 
     she said. ``But if we get our management there, I do think we 
     can have a really strong black sea bass fishery here.''
       McNamee described the management system as ``deliberative 
     and slow by design.'' He acknowledged the frustration felt by 
     Rhode Island fishermen who have seen the state's traditional 
     groundfish stocks drop off while black sea bass proliferate.
       ``There's still way more fish to catch than fishermen can 
     get access to,'' he said.

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, we have to fix this. To use the black 
sea bass example, the species is comanaged by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 
Rhode Island only has a seat on the Atlantic States Commission; it does 
not have a vote on the Mid-Atlantic Council. That means that my State 
is not fully represented in the decision-making process, and perfectly 
good black sea bass keeps being thrown into the sea by fishermen who 
ought to be able to bring that catch home.
  In 2016, NOAA scientists assessed the vulnerability to the effects of 
climate change of over 80 commercially valuable species in the 
Northeast. So this is not just a story about black sea bass or about 
lobsters; this Northeast climate vulnerability assessment ranked 
species based on climate risk and sensitivities to changing ocean 
conditions.
  Here is the climate risk factor graph. As we see, all 80 species 
scored in the high or very high risk of climate exposure categories. 
All 80 commercially valuable species they studied faced high or very 
high risk. This is a red flag for our fisheries.
  Maine is the place for lobster. In Rhode Island, squid is king. In 
2016, 56 percent of the longfin squid caught on the east coast was 
landed in Rhode Island. According to NOAA, this catch was valued at 
over $28 million, accounting for nearly 30 percent of our landings 
value in 2016. But climate change is putting our calamari at risk. Warm 
waters may actually open more habitat for the species, but its carbon 
cousin, ocean acidification, is the hazard. Like its shellfish 
brethren, squid require calcium carbonate--for squid, it is to grow the 
hard beaks they use to feed. Acidic waters decrease the availability of 
this necessary compound in the seawater and can even dissolve calcium 
carbonate organisms' shells under extremely acidic conditions.
  On the west coast, shellfish farmers have been dealing with ocean 
acidification since the mid-2000s. Dr. Richard Feely is the researcher 
who first identified ocean acidification as the cause for oyster spat 
failures in the Northwest back in 2005. He noted in a recent NPR 
article that the acidification problem is only going to get worse. 
``The acidification water welling up from the ocean floor now contains 
carbon dioxide gas emitted 50 years ago.'' Carbon emissions are worse 
since then. Some hatcheries in the Northwest are already moving 
operations to less acidic waters off Hawaii, and others are looking to 
buffer the water with seagrasses to absorb carbon and lower acidity. 
Shellfish farmers in Rhode Island are facing the challenge of 
acidifying waters as well.
  At the same time, marine species are also facing deoxygenation, 
increased harmful algae, and other consequences of a warming and 
acidifying ocean. The symptoms of climate change in the ocean are 
everywhere.
  A recent study in Global Change Biology warned that reduced oxygen 
availability could limit the growth of fish and other species. 
Fishermen can't make a living off sick and tiny fish.
  California's lucrative Dungeness and rock crab season was cut short 
in 2015 to 2016 due to a harmful algae bloom.
  Our Great Lakes have been hit too. I went out on Lake Erie after the 
horrible algae event there, and the fishermen who took me out sounded 
like Rhode Islanders. One of them said: ``Everything I've learned from 
fishing a lifetime on this lake is worth nothing now, because it's all 
changing so fast.''
  If we have an opportunity to have an open, bipartisan debate on a 
strong Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization, I urge my colleagues not 
to overlook the toll climate change is taking on our fishing industry. 
The changes that are happening in our oceans do not care whether you 
believe they exist. The physics, chemistry, and biology driving these 
changes will happen anyway, and our fishermen are depending on us to 
give the scientists and the managers the tools and resources they need 
to meet the challenges climate change is bringing to our shores.
  I now yield to my friend from Maine to give the perspective from his 
rocky shores.

[[Page S5055]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Mr. KING. Mr. President, I first want to thank Professor--I mean 
Senator Whitehouse for the information he shared. It was compelling, 
important, and very worthy of our deep consideration.
  To talk about renewing the Magnuson-Stevens Act without talking about 
the effects of climate change and the effects on the water itself would 
be an enormous missed opportunity.
  First, I commend Senator Whitehouse, the Senator from Rhode Island, 
for his longstanding commitment to the issue of climate change, the 
well-worn ``Time to Wake Up'' poster, and the work he has done over the 
years to force us to pay attention to this issue.
  I am, as he indicated, going to talk about what is going on in the 
Gulf of Maine, but I want to broaden the discussion just for a few 
moments to talk about the issue of climate change as a broader question 
before us.
  This isn't some environmental dream. It is not something that was 
invented by someone. It was discovered by scientists, and it is dollars 
and cents. It is the most practical problem that we have to deal with.
  I am on the Armed Services Committee. We are talking about military 
bases all over the world--some as close as right down in this region 
and then down toward Norfolk, VA--that are under a severe threat from 
rising sea levels and that are going to cost us billions, if not 
trillions, of dollars to upgrade and maintain because of rising sea 
levels. This isn't something abstract. This is something that is 
happening today, and it is something that we are going to have to deal 
with that is going to have an enormous cost. The longer we put off 
preventing and dealing with this issue, the higher that cost is going 
to be.
  There is a second reason this is a national security issue, and that 
is the aggravation of conflict and the initiation of migration. The 
number of refugees from Syria--which has disrupted the politics of 
Europe and disrupted many of the European countries and, indeed, has 
had a reflection here in this country--is roughly 3 to 4 million 
people. The estimate for refugees from climate change--from extreme 
temperature, from drought, from famine--is in the hundreds of millions 
as opposed to 3 to 4 million from Syria. Imagine the disruption to all 
of the countries of the world that are destinations for these refugees 
who are fleeing places that have become uninhabitable.
  This is a question we are going to have to address, and, as our 
military characterizes it, it is a threat multiplier because when you 
have people moving from one region to another, you have conflict. From 
time immemorial, conflict has largely been based on things like access 
to water and access to arable land, and we are talking about an 
enormous accelerator of that across the world.
  Now let me talk about the effects in my home State. First the good 
news. Lobster landings in Maine are up. We have ridden a lobster boom 
over the past 30 years. Since the 1980s, the poundage of lobsters 
harvested in Maine has grown 500 percent. When I was Governor, a good 
harvest of lobsters was 50 to 60 million pounds; 2 years ago, it was 
127 million pounds--more than double. That is the good news.
  The bad news is that it is starting to change, and we may have seen 
the turning point in this boom. We don't know that, but the last 2 
years have been down substantially from the peak in 2016. We will see 
what happens this year. Hopefully, it is a blip and not a trend.
  By the way, one of the reasons the lobster industry has survived and 
flourished in Maine is not only the favorable impact of gradual 
increases in temperature but because of the conservation ethic of the 
lobstermen themselves, who voluntarily throw back egg-bearing females. 
They cut a V-notch in their tails so they won't be caught again. If 
they are too small or too large, they throw them back. An amazing ethic 
of conservation has been imbued in the culture of lobstering and also 
in our laws for many years. So the fact that we still have a lobster 
fishery and that it is as vigorous and as productive as it is, is due 
in large measure to the creativity and conservation ethic of our 
lobstermen.
  Here is the bad news. The bad news is, when water temperature gets to 
about 68 degrees, it is like turning a switch. It stresses the lobster 
population to the point where they can't survive. The good news is, it 
gets warmer, and they multiply. The bad news is, once it reaches a 
certain critical point, the species could collapse. Indeed, that is 
what has happened, as the Senator from Rhode Island has indicated, to 
the once-plentiful lobster population of New York, Massachusetts, and 
Rhode Island.
  The problem is, over recent years--and I have talked to a lobsterman 
friend today, just this afternoon--the center of gravity of lobstering 
along the Maine coast is steadily moving north and east. He told me it 
has moved about 50 miles in the last 10 years.
  The other problem that is occurring is that the lobsters are going 
further offshore to seek cooler water, which means the lobstermen have 
to go further. They have to have bigger boats. They have to make more 
of an investment in order to make a living.
  Right now, we are in good shape, but the trend is not good. We are 
seeing other changes that have magnified both the boom, and what we are 
worried about is the bust. We have seen changes decline in some fish 
species like the cod that fed on baby lobsters. Now, as Senator 
Whitehouse mentioned, we are seeing a growth of a fish that was never 
seen in Maine in the recent past, the black sea bass.
  My friend tells me, today they are catching triggerfish in the Gulf 
of Maine, which is a North Carolina species. They have even caught 
seahorses in lobster traps. This is a dramatic change as the waters 
warm.
  As I mentioned, if they get close to the 68-degree level, the lobster 
population is in trouble. It is not only lobsters. By the way, 
lobstering is a serious business in Maine--half a billion dollars just 
in land value, a billion and a half dollars in the overall economic 
impact of this species to our State.
  By the way, before I leave the question of lobsters, I have to 
acknowledge the comments made by the Senator from Pennsylvania earlier 
when he was talking about the economy, and he flashed a warning light 
at the end of his remarks about trade and tariffs. We are already 
seeing the negative impact of what I consider ill-considered tariffs on 
China. The first place they retaliated was against lobsters. Twenty 
percent of the entire lobster catch in Maine is sold and exported to 
China. It is our fastest growing market. If the Chinese tariffs they 
have already announced are imposed and fully implemented, it could cut 
that to zero.
  Canada doesn't have those tariffs. Canada is not engaging in a trade 
war with China. Canada and other countries are moving into the vacuum 
we have created. The idea that we can impose tariffs on other countries 
without any ill effects here just isn't true.
  Right now, it looks like the lobster industry, soybeans in the 
Midwest, maple syrup in Vermont, other agricultural products across the 
country are going to be collateral damage in an incipient trade war 
that I don't understand where it is going.
  I would like to know what the strategy is. What is the end game? 
Where does this go? So far, I haven't seen any indication of that. What 
I have seen an indication of is severely dangerous impacts on our 
economy industry.
  Another part of our ocean ecosystem is clams. There is a massive 
decrease in harvest because of two reasons: One, acidification. As the 
Senator from Rhode Island indicated, 30 percent of all the carbon 
dioxide that has been emitted during the Industrial Revolution has 
ended up in acidification in the ocean and, two, nonnative green crabs, 
which are exploding because they like the warmer water. They have been 
around for 100 years, but that population is growing enormously. They 
are just devastating the clams. Green crabs can consume 40 half-inch 
clams a day. Those crabs have decimated blue mussels and scallops along 
the shore. They are going for clams, and we are concerned that maybe 
lobsters could be next.
  Warming water and shifting predators are not the only challenges we 
face: more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, absorbed into the ocean, 
and one-quarter of what is emitted goes into the ocean. The ocean then 
becomes more acidic. Any kind of shelled

[[Page S5056]]

animals--lobsters, clams, oysters--expend evermore energy maintaining 
the pH balance in their bodies, and that means they can't grow and 
reproduce. The world's oceans have become 30 percent more acidic since 
the Industrial Revolution.
  Oysters have become a great new product for Maine. We are growing 
them in oyster farms along the Damariscotta River and other places. You 
can go to fancy restaurants and see Damariscotta oysters. They are 
wonderful.
  My friend Bill Mook, who is one of the pioneers of the oyster 
industry in Maine, has had to move the incubation of his oysters out of 
the ocean, out of the natural river, onshore, and into tanks so he can 
buffer the water to minimize the acidification and then put them back 
in the water to grow out. That is a pure result of climate change and 
acidification of the ocean.
  Freshwater runoff is another issue that increases the acidification. 
We have had an enormous increase in the amount of freshwater rainfall 
in this country, and in Maine that has increased the acidification in 
the oceans. What do we do? The first thing we do is admit there is a 
problem. You can't solve a problem if you act like there is nothing 
wrong. The first thing we have to do is admit there is a problem. I 
think more and more people are coming to that conclusion.
  When this administration was nominating people, the refrain I heard 
in all of the hearings was climate is changing, man has an impact on 
it, but we don't know how much.
  That is progress. At least it is an admission that something is 
happening. What do we do? We admit there is a problem. I think we are 
close to reaching that point.
  The second thing we have to do is more research. We have to continue 
to fund the science to do the research to understand what is happening, 
to understand what we can do to mitigate these risks. Research and 
scientific data is crucial. For some of our great agencies that have 
the people who have been researching this for years, to be suppressing 
the research or not supporting it or burying it is not a service to our 
country. Research is crucial. We need the facts. We need the data. We 
need mitigation strategies. We also need to pay attention to the 
underlying cause of climate change, which is a combustion of fossil 
fuels and the enormous amount of carbon dioxide that is being added to 
the atmosphere.

  This is a long-term challenge. It is not something we can solve in 
the next 1 or 2 years. Some people ask: Well, it is such a long-term 
challenge, why are we doing it? Because it may not be solved for 50 
years.
  In my office is Edmund Muskie's desk. I sit behind Edmund Muskie's 
desk--one of the greatest Senators of the 20th century and one of the 
greatest citizens Maine has ever produced. Fifty years ago--2 years 
from now, 1970--Edmond Muskie led the passage of the Clean Water Act 
and the Clean Air Act, which are two of the greatest and most important 
pieces of legislation passed in this body in the last 100 years; the 
first real recognition that we had a responsibility to the environment, 
that we had a responsibility to our children and our grandchildren. By 
the way, astoundingly, the Clean Water Act passed the U.S. Senate 
unanimously. Can you imagine? We can't agree on the time of day 
unanimously in this body. In 1970, under Ed Muskie's leadership, the 
Clean Water Act was passed unanimously.
  The point I want to make is, the steps they took almost 50 years ago 
have cleaned up our rivers, have cleaned up our atmosphere, have made 
parts of our country blossom again.
  In Maine, we are working on our rivers. The towns that turned their 
backs on the rivers are now turning back toward the rivers because 
people can fish, swim, and enjoy the rivers. When Ed Muskie started his 
lonely crusade in the late 1960s, the rivers were essentially open 
sewers.
  Fifty years ago, Ed Muskie started that work. We see the benefit of 
it today. We should be doing the same thing. The fact that it may not 
come to fruition for 20, 30, 40, or 50 years is no reason to not start 
now. We have to start. This isn't pie in the sky. This isn't somebody 
trying to impose new regulations. This isn't something that is made up 
by environmentalists or people who just don't want to see any 
development. No. This is lives and livelihood. These are families, 
communities. It is responsible stewardship and just plain common sense.
  There is a lot of science, and there is a lot of complexity to this 
issue. It seems to me we can take inspiration from Ed Muskie, Howard 
Baker, and all those a generation ago who built the edifice upon which 
we have a cleaner, healthier, stronger economy and stronger society.
  I remember those days. The great debate was payrolls versus pickerel. 
You couldn't have payrolls if you preserved the pickerel. It turned out 
to not be true. We have developed the strongest economy in the history 
of the world. Yet we paid attention to the environment. We have paid 
attention to our responsibilities, to our children and our 
grandchildren, and we created the economy at the same time we were able 
to clean up the environment.
  I remember those debates. They were bitter. You can't do it. If you 
do this, you are going to put everything out of business. There will be 
no economy. That was the argument. It hasn't happened.
  Finally, you can talk about the science. You can get caught up in all 
the data. To me, there is a really easy rule that makes this easy to 
understand what our responsibilities are. I call it the ``Maine 
rototiller rule.'' Many people in Maine have gardens, but it is a small 
garden. It is in your backyard, so it doesn't make sense for everybody 
to buy a rototiller--the machine you use once or twice a year to clean 
your garden and till over the ground and begin to plant. We borrow 
them. I used to borrow one from my neighbor Peter Cox. The ``Maine 
rototiller rule'' goes like this. When you borrow your neighbor's 
rototiller, you return it to them in as good a shape as you got it, 
with a full tank of gas.
  That is all you need to know about environmental stewardship. Do you 
know what? We have the planet on loan. We don't own it. We own a little 
piece of land for a generation, but we don't own it. We have it on loan 
from our children and our grandchildren and their children and their 
grandchildren. Therefore, we have a sacred responsibility to turn over 
the planet to them in the same or better shape than we found it. That 
is our responsibility. It is very simple. When you borrow something 
from your neighbor, you return it in as good a shape as you found it. 
That is what we should be doing today.
  We can do this. There will be costs, but the costs of not doing it 
will dwarf the costs we can undertake today to protect the Gulf of 
Maine, the coast of the United States, the fields of Africa, the 
forests of North America, and the land and water and air that our 
children and grandchildren deserve to have passed on to them in better 
shape than we found it.
  We can do this. We can start today. We may not live to see the 
results, but we will know we have done something important, something 
meaningful, something that will make a difference in the lives of 
generations we don't know. They will know what we do or what we don't 
do. I myself choose the side of action--recognizing the problem, 
analyzing it, understanding it, and acting to mitigate the harms that 
otherwise will befall our children.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, Senator King and I yield the floor.
  First, let me thank him for joining us. Second, with Senators present 
here from landlocked States, let me make the requests to both of you 
that, when we come before this body with concerns about what is 
happening to our ocean economies, which I think are shared by every 
coastal Senator who is seeing these changes, that you view our pleas 
with the same courtesy and respect that we show you when wildfires burn 
through Utah and we come to make sure that there is adequate emergency 
response or when Oklahoma faces hurricanes or cyclones and tornadoes 
and the Federal Government and the Senate rally to the response of 
those who are experiencing the pain of that in your States. Our fishing 
communities and our coastal communities have a very different distress, 
but I hope you will see it as an equal distress and pay us the courtesy 
of your due consideration.
  I yield the floor.

[[Page S5057]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). The Senator from Oklahoma.


                         Securing Our Elections

  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, there has been a lot of conversation 
again, of late, about election security. It seems to be a frequent 
conversation in the hallways the last couple of days, and it is an 
ongoing issue that I think some people have lost track of, but we have 
not.
  Amy Klobuchar and I and several others have worked very hard for 
months on this issue of election security, quietly trying to get the 
language right and to work through the process of what it takes to 
secure our elections for 2018, 2020, and beyond, learning the lesson 
from 2016.
  I do want to remind this body that the elections are not something 
that happens this November. It is already ongoing. Many States' 
primaries have already been conducted. Last night there was a runoff 
primary that happened in Alabama. Georgia holds their runoff primaries 
next week, and Tennessee is the week after that. Kansas, Michigan, 
Missouri, and Washington will be on Tuesday, August 7. It is already 
ongoing.
  While we watch the indictments that just came down from the Mueller 
investigation on GRU officers from Russia who were trying to interfere 
in our elections in 2016, as we have seen the sanctions and the 
indictments that have come down on some of the oligarchs from Russia 
and from the Internet Research Agency for what they were doing in 
social media, trying to be able to interfere with our election in 2016, 
I think it may be important for us to do a quick lookback at what has 
happened and what is still going on and what we are trying to 
accomplish in the next few weeks.
  Let me just give a quick look at what is happening in my State of 
Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, in the 2016 cycle, the FBI and others began to 
discover that there were issues with the elections and some 
interference from what they, at that time, called ``bad actors'' in 
June of 2016. Later that summer, in August of 2016, the FBI issued what 
they call a nationwide ``flash alert'' to every State dealing with a 
threat from a ``bad actor.''
  The Oklahoma State Cyber Command director received that warning, as 
did everyone else, but at that time the FBI didn't share any details 
because no one in my State was given security clearance to be able to 
have that kind of classified conversation with the FBI.
  It wasn't until September 22 of 2017, a year and a little bit later, 
that DHS actually notified my State and our State election authorities 
that we hadn't just been targeted by a bad actor but that we had been 
targeted by the Russians--a year later--because no one had clearance 
and there was no one engaged.
  DHS told Oklahoma State Election Board secretary Paul Ziriax, who is 
doing a great job, that there was evidence that the Russians conducted 
a surveillance scan looking into vulnerabilities in the State computer 
network, but they didn't get into the election board computer network, 
and they didn't get into any of our equipment.
  They basically came and checked to see if the door was locked, and 
they found out that in Oklahoma the door was locked, and the Russians 
could not get in. They didn't penetrate into our system, though they 
tried.
  But it was a year after the elections before we were even notified 
that the Russians were trying to penetrate our system. A subtle flash 
warning is all that we received in the summer of 2016.
  Oklahoma has a great system for elections. Our system is consistent 
across every single county. We have optical scanners with a paper 
ballot backup so that we can verify the computer count with a hand 
count if needed. We have had a very good system. That system was tested 
by the Russians when they evaluated the computer networks of our State, 
and they were also not able to get in, thanks to the leadership of some 
of the cyber and the technology folks who are in Oklahoma.
  Not all States have the same practices. In some States, from county 
to county their election systems are different. From township to 
township they may have different systems with different companies and 
different backgrounds. They may not have the same kind of system where 
they get a chance to protect their cyber systems.
  We saw that in 2016, when the Russians were able to penetrate some of 
the States and actually were able to harvest some of their voter 
register rolls. They weren't able to change any votes. They weren't 
able to affect the voting that day, but they did a tremendous amount of 
scanning through systems to be able to see where there were 
vulnerabilities, what they could learn on our election systems, and how 
they could engage for a future time.
  I think we should learn a lesson from that and be aware that the 
Russians are trying to penetrate that system and learning as much as 
they could.
  At the same time that they were hacking into different systems and 
testing them out to see if they could get in, a different set of folks 
from the Russian group the Internet Research Agency were trying to put 
out social media disinformation.
  Some 200,000 Oklahomans saw Facebook and Twitter posts that Russians 
put out as false information. They weren't all on one candidate. There 
were multiple candidates and multiple issues. Sometimes it was on 
Hillary Clinton, sometimes on Donald Trump, sometimes on Bernie 
Sanders, sometimes on Jill Stein, and sometimes just on ideological 
issues. Over 200,000 Oklahomans saw those posts from different 
Russians, not knowing they were Russian posts at all. They were 
Russians pretending to be Americans, and they were pushing that 
information out.
  What can we learn from this? One is the most simple of those things: 
You shouldn't believe everything you see on the internet. It is not 
always an American. It is not always who they post to be, and it is not 
always true. It should be the most basic information that we should 
learn about what is happening on the internet and what is online, 
including Facebook and Twitter.
  The other lesson that we need to learn is a little more complicated. 
We have to be able to have better communication between the Federal 
Government and States, better cybersecurity systems, and the ability to 
audit that.
  That is why Senator Klobuchar and I have worked for months on a piece 
of legislation called the Secure Elections Act. That piece has worked 
its way through every State looking at it and their election 
authorities. We have worked it through multiple committee hearings. In 
fact, recently, just in the last month, there were two different 
hearings in the Rules Committee. It is now ready to be marked up and 
finalized to try to bring it to this body.
  It is a very simple piece. It affirms that States run elections. The 
Federal Government should not take over elections nationwide. In fact, 
that would make a bad situation worse. States need to be able to run 
elections and be able to manage those.
  But it qualifies several things. One is that it gives a security 
clearance to a person in every single State. If there is a threat from 
a hostile actor, there is not some vague warning that comes out. There 
is an immediate address about what is happening and a communication 
within the intelligence community here on the Federal level to 
individuals with a clearance on the State level.
  Right now, the DHS, in absence of this legislation, has started 
implementing it anyway. Every single State has at least one person with 
a security clearance now, including my own. They are working to have at 
least three in every State to do a backup system.
  We also need to be able to affirm that every State can audit their 
elections, that they would do what is called risk-limiting audits after 
the election just to check and to make sure that the results are 
correct, but also that they have the ability to audit it as the 
election is going on so that it is not just counting on a machine but 
that there is also some way to back it up. States have a variety of 
ways they can actually do that.
  If elections are trusting that the electronics are going to work and 
not be hacked into and not be affected, we should have learned the 
lesson from 2016 that there are outside entities trying to attack these 
systems and to find vulnerabilities, and they will.
  Some way to be able to back it up, to be able to audit the election 
while it is happening, risk-limiting audits after the fact, security 
clearances for individuals within States, and rapid communication State 
to State and State to

[[Page S5058]]

Federal Government all help to maintain the integrity of our elections.
  That is what we do in the Secure Elections Act. I think it is so 
important that we try to resolve this as quickly as possible.
  I encourage this body to finish the markup in the Rules Committee to 
be able to bring it to the floor and to have a consistent bipartisan 
vote to be able to support the work that we need to continue to do to 
protect our elections in the days ahead.
  Our Republic is one that maintains its stability based on the 
integrity of our elections. I have zero doubt that the Russians tried 
to destabilize our Nation in 2016 by attacking the core of our 
democracy. Anyone who believes they will not do it again has missed the 
basic information that is out day after day after day in our 
intelligence briefings.
  The Russians have done it the first time. They showed the rest of the 
world the lesson and what could be done. It could be the North Koreans 
the next time. It could be the Iranians the next time. It could be a 
domestic activist group the next time. We should learn that lesson, 
close that vulnerability, and make sure that we protect our systems in 
the days ahead.
  There is more that can be done, but the States seem to take a lead on 
this. This is something that the Federal Government should do, and we 
are very close to getting it done. I wanted to be able to tell this 
body that we are close. Let us work together to get this done in the 
days ahead.
  I yield the floor.
  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. 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.


                                  NATO

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, thank you.
  Last week at the NATO summit in Brussels, the leaders of all 29 
member states, including the United States with President Trump, signed 
a declaration reaffirming the purpose of the alliance--collective 
defense and the importance of article 5, which regards being attacked 
against one ally as an attack against all others.
  There may be a growing sense here in the United States that NATO is 
no longer useful to our interests and that it is a burden that is not 
worth the cost.
  I recently traveled to Moscow, Oslo, and Helsinki with members of the 
Senate Appropriations Committee, many of us on the Subcommittee on 
Defense. We had meetings with U.S. Embassy officials, our Ambassadors, 
and foreign government officials--people within the ministries of 
foreign affairs, ministries of defense, and with legislative leaders in 
that region.
  At my meetings in Moscow, we worked to begin a dialogue with Russian 
counterparts. Everything I heard in those meetings reinforces my belief 
that Russia remains a threat to European stability and that a united 
NATO is essential to countering the threat and preserving American 
peace and prosperity.
  Two wars in Europe last century resulted in the loss of hundreds of 
thousands of American lives who fought the forces of tyranny. To 
prevent a third war against this Communist menace, Western European 
powers, still weakened by World War II, formed an alliance with America 
and Canada to deter the Soviet Union's massive conventional forces from 
invading beyond what became the eastern bloc.
  Not only did NATO successfully deter the Soviet Union until its 
collapse in 1991--and in my view, NATO contributed to the Soviet Union 
collapse in a significant way--but in that process, America's 
commitment to European security allowed these allies to recover from 
the war economically, strengthened democratic governance, and enabled 
them to stop fearing one another.
  We would be naive to believe that threats critical to North Atlantic 
security have faded along with the Soviet Union. Indeed, my recent 
interactions in Europe confirmed that Russia remains a revisionist 
power intent on continuing Russia's disruptive activities in Europe, 
the Middle East, and here at home in the United States.
  In every meeting I attended, I made clear that the Russians must end 
their election-meddling here in the United States and Europe in order 
to open doors to rebuilding our relations. I brought up Russia's 
destabilizing support for separatists in Ukraine and its illegal 
seizure of Crimea after Ukraine democratically chose a President who 
sought closer ties with the West.
  Supporting and admitting that they share intelligence with the 
Taliban undermines the democratic government in Afghanistan and 
undermines our Nation's military as we continue to fight the Taliban 
alongside the Afghan National Security Forces.
  In each circumstance of those conversations, Russian officials, 
including Foreign Minister Lavrov, continued to obfuscate or outright 
deny any responsibility. However, those meetings left me unconvinced 
that Russia is prepared to change its behavior.
  In subsequent talks in Norway, a NATO member, and Finland, a NATO 
partner, the concerns relayed to me by these European leaders 
underscore the fear our European friends have about Russian activities. 
During our meetings, my colleagues and I reassured them of America's 
commitment to our joint security, and that commitment from the entire 
U.S. Government must not waver.
  The first Supreme Allied Commander in Europe overseeing all NATO 
military operations was Kansas's own Dwight D. Eisenhower. As President 
in 1957, he declared before our NATO allies that we must ``re-dedicate 
ourselves to the task of dispelling the shadows that are being cast 
upon the free world.''
  In addition to ongoing Russian subterfuge, terrorist groups remain 
intent on striking the West, threats to data information require strong 
cyber security measures, and the scourge of human and drug trafficking 
degrades social structures. On these and other issues, NATO allies have 
coordinated and contributed to the security of our own country, the 
United States of America.
  In particular, let's recall that only once has NATO invoked article 
5--in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on our country. The only time 
the NATO alliance has been asked to respond, they declared a 
willingness to respond--that an attack on one is an attack on all--when 
the United States of America was attacked on 9/11.
  When we went to war against al-Qaida and its Taliban hosts in 
Afghanistan, we were not alone. The United States has nearly 15,000 
troops serving in Afghanistan, and they are serving with NATO coalition 
forces as part of counterterrorism efforts to support Afghanistan's 
fight against the Taliban and ISIS, which has seized strategic 
territories in recent years.
  We are approaching 17 years of support from our NATO allies in 
Afghanistan--support that has come even at the expense of the blood of 
those who serve. Just last week, I am saddened to say, two U.S. Army 
soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice and were killed while serving in 
Afghanistan, and at least two more soldiers have been wounded from 
insurgent attacks.
  Finally, there is an economic threat that a destabilized Europe poses 
to our Nation's well-being. The EU--distinct from NATO but certainly a 
beneficiary of the security provided--is America's largest trading 
partner.
  Questioning why we should come to the defense of the smallest NATO 
member damages the alliance, and it hurts our alliances elsewhere. If 
we won't honor a treaty in Europe, friends might wonder why we would 
honor a treaty in Asia. Predators can take advantage of our perceived 
indifference. That is, in part, what led to the Korean war.
  The United States contributes 22 percent of NATO's total budget. In 
addition to our NATO contributions, the United States continues to 
increase defense spending on our military presence supporting our 
partners, with more than $6 billion in fiscal year 2019 appropriated 
for the European Deterrence Initiative and another $792 million 
invested in military construction across the continent.
  President Trump is absolutely right to urge fellow allies to increase 
their defense spending, and I echoed that message on our trip to Norway 
when we visited with those allies in Oslo. To the credit of our allies, 
they have increased spending by more than $40 billion in the past year.

[[Page S5059]]

  Fighting alongside us in Afghanistan, where they continue to serve 
beside us today, unfortunately, more than 1,000 Europeans have died.
  NATO is strong, and it is getting stronger. I believe the strength of 
NATO relies on remaining unified. Words matter, and what Americans say 
can bolster or shake confidence in the United States.
  I will conclude on this personal note. I thought of the force for 
good our country has provided the world as I stood in our Embassy in 
Moscow on July 4th, our Independence Day, watching the Marine Corps 
Honor Guard's presentation of the colors as our national anthem was 
sung. It is difficult for me to sing the national anthem without 
choking up wherever I am, but it was especially difficult that day as I 
reflected upon the course of events in my life--when kids practiced 
getting under their desks for missile drills, to the fall of the Berlin 
Wall, to the aftermath of 9/11, to a father who served in World War II. 
I honor him and all those who served.
  Over the past 70 years, it is America that has safeguarded freedom 
for our people and for those who live elsewhere in the world. Along the 
way, our vision of a freer, more prosperous world attracted allies who 
shared our dream.
  Our foremost responsibility is to protect Americans all the time and 
to promote our values around the world. We can do this better. We can 
do this with our allies. With them, we will have a better future.
  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.

                          ____________________