CONCLUSION OF MORNING BUSINESS
(Senate - July 23, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 123 (Monday, July 23, 2018)]
[Pages S5118-S5122]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     CONCLUSION OF MORNING BUSINESS

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Morning business is closed.
                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session for the consideration of the following 
nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Robert 
L. Wilkie, of North Carolina, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I started my morning in Kansas City 
speaking to 4,000 veterans attending the Veterans of Foreign Wars 119th 
National Convention held in Kansas City.
  My speech was a message to those Americans whom I hold in highest 
regard, our Nation's veterans, and especially those veterans who are 
helping other veterans. I wanted them to know, when they signed up to 
serve our country, they did not do so in support of any political 
party. Those who serve our Nation, and particularly those who paid the 
ultimate sacrifice, did not answer the call to support Republicans or 
Democrats, but they answered for a higher calling.

[[Page S5119]]

  Speaking to thousands of veterans this morning and being in a room 
filled with the characteristics that make this country so great--duty, 
honor, loyalty, respect--should remind us here in Washington, DC, that 
we must work together to do everything possible to ensure that our 
Nation's nearly 20 million veterans receive the best our Nation has to 
offer. Putting veterans first and setting aside differences has led to 
major policy changes and vital veterans legislation such as the John 
McCain VA MISSION Act to reform the VA's healthcare system.
  Of course, a large part of the task to ensure veterans get the best 
our Nation has to offer falls to the Department of Veterans Affairs. I 
want our veterans to receive the best care, the best attention possible 
from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  In just a few minutes, the Senate will vote on the confirmation of 
Mr. Robert Wilkie to be the Secretary of the Department of Veterans 
Affairs. I am confident Mr. Wilkie is focused on putting veterans 
first, changing the VA culture of any complacency--ridding it of any 
complacency--and is ready to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  Of course, Mr. Wilkie has numerous monumental tasks ahead of him. The 
Department of Veterans Affairs is a massive bureaucracy that has had a 
number of challenges in the past, and he will be charged with 
successfully implementing the John McCain VA MISSION Act.
  The VA MISSION Act, if implemented correctly, will be transformative 
for the Department and will make sure the VA continues to serve 
veterans for generations to come. I look forward to working with Mr. 
Wilkie to accomplish that goal, and I appreciate the interest the Trump 
administration has had on implementation of the VA MISSION Act.
  I judge whether the VA is working for veterans by what we all call 
casework, which is when veterans seek help from me and my staff because 
they can't break down the barriers or navigate the VA's penchant to 
tell them no. Right now, we have about 80 open veterans' cases and a 
steady stream of about 30 cases coming from Kansas veterans each month. 
I intend to be an active participant, working with the VA as they work 
to implement the VA MISSION Act. I intend to be a constructive 
participant in the process for making the VA better for Kansas veterans 
and American veterans.
  Those in our communities can help as well, not just those in the 
Department of Veterans Affairs. It is what we all do as citizens, 
educators, and business men and women. One of the first acts is 
developing access standards, and folks can provide their feedback until 
July 30. So let us hear from the VFW and other VSOs. Let us hear from 
veterans. Either the VA or my office can direct you to the Federal 
Register site to make those comments known.
  I am pleased we are taking the final step needed in the Senate 
tonight to provide the leadership to confirm Mr. Robert Wilkie to be 
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Moran). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, today this Chamber will take an important 
step to ensure that we have leadership in the Department of Veterans 
Affairs to oversee the implementation of historic reforms that we 
passed in May to improve the VA's healthcare delivery system and 
provide veterans with more choices and fewer barriers to care.
  We will vote on the nomination of Robert Wilkie to serve as Secretary 
of the VA. Having served our Nation in uniform, as well as experiencing 
military life as the son of a wounded combat soldier, Robert Wilkie's 
extensive career in a wide range of defense and veterans issues makes 
him uniquely qualified to serve as the next Secretary of the VA. He 
clearly understands the complexities associated with serving our Nation 
and the importance of taking care of veterans.
  I am grateful for Robert Wilkie's willingness to serve as the next 
Secretary of the VA. I urge my colleagues to follow the example of the 
Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, which overwhelmingly advanced his 
nomination to the Senate in a bipartisan way. Having served as Acting 
Secretary of the VA, Robert Wilkie is well aware of the challenges 
facing the Department.
  Accepting responsibility to oversee the implementation of reforms 
passed by Congress, including the VA MISSION Act, to update its medical 
records system, to expand support for our women veterans, and to reduce 
the disability claims backlog, are just a few of those issues that he 
will need to tackle.
  To accomplish all of this, he will have to change the culture at the 
VA. Serving as the Secretary of the VA is a huge undertaking, but one 
that he has committed to me that he wholeheartedly accepts. The Senate 
VA Committee and my office are ready and willing to help him and the VA 
succeed in their mission.
  Congress has given the VA the tools to provide our veterans with 
quality care and to improve the benefits they have earned. Now the 
Department needs his leadership to implement and to carry out these 
changes. Under the leadership of future Secretary Wilkie, the VA can 
reestablish a nonpartisan approach to serving veterans.
  Our veterans must be our top priority. I am confident that Robert 
Wilkie will provide the leadership the VA needs to better serve our 
veterans.
  I yield back.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, today the Senate will vote to confirm 
Robert Wilkie, President Trump's outstanding choice to serve as the 
next Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  The job is an incredibly important one. As Secretary, Mr. Wilkie will 
be tasked with fulfilling our Nation's commitments to veterans and 
their families, expanding their access to care, and improving 
accountability at the VA.
  Millions of American veterans rely on the VA--day in and day out--for 
healthcare, employment resources, counseling, and a host of other 
services they need and have certainly earned.
  It is fortunate, then, that Mr. Wilkie's impressive career of public 
service demonstrates he is well prepared to advance the agency's vital 
missions.
  Robert Wilkie grew up the son of an Army artillery officer. He 
carried on the tradition of service as an officer in the U.S. Air Force 
Reserve. In addition to uniformed service, Mr. Wilkie has amassed more-
than two decades of experience as a civil servant. He has served at the 
Department of Defense, at the National Security Council, and here on 
Capitol Hill.
  Throughout the years, he has built a reputation as a thoughtful 
analyst and a skilled manager. Both these skills will serve him well at 
the helm of an an agency that employs nearly 400,000 people to meet the 
needs of millions more.
  I know I speak for so many of my colleagues when I say that the 
Senate looks forward to working closely with the next Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs.
  Already in 2018, guided by the leadership of Chairman Isakson, this 
body has taken decisive action to better fulfill our Nation's promises 
to veterans and their families.
  In May, the Senate voted, by a wide bipartisan margin, to pass the VA 
MISSION Act, which was designed to ensure that the services on which 
our Nation's heroes rely are flexible and accessible enough to meet 
their needs.
  The omnibus spending measure passed earlier this year included a 
record level of support for VA programs.
  In Robert Wilkie, the President has chosen a partner with whom this 
body can work side by side to continue advancing the interests of our 
Nation's veterans, including more than 300,000 in my home State of 
Kentucky.
  I look forward to doing just that. I urge each of my colleagues to 
join me in voting today to confirm this qualified nominee.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I am proud to speak today on behalf of my 
friend and colleague Robert Wilkie, the nominee to be VA Secretary.
  I have had the honor of working with Robert for 3 years. Sometimes, 
he worked for me, and other times, I worked for him. His combination of 
knowledge, humor, humility, and heart has endeared him to my staff and 
to

[[Page S5120]]

scores of North Carolina constituents, including many servicemembers 
and veterans.
  Robert was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, the son of an Army 
artillery officer. He literally grew up on Fort Bragg, and he lived 
most of his early life in the Fort Bragg-Fayetteville area of North 
Carolina.
  Robert is now an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
  Previously, he served in the Atlantic Intelligence Command and Joint 
Forces Intelligence Command and the U.S. Navy.
  Robert has also pursued a distinguished career in public service on 
the civilian side, both in the halls of the Pentagon and of Congress. 
Robert has served as a trusted adviser to some of our Nation's most 
distinguished public servants, including Robert Gates, Condoleezza 
Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Jim Mattis.
  As a congressional staffer, Robert developed excellent working 
relationships with committee staff, on both sides of the aisle. He is 
universally recognized as a team player and mentor, traits of any 
outstanding leader.
  Frankly, given his depth of experience, I was pleasantly surprised 
and very proud to have Robert accept a position with a 6-month-old 
freshman Senator, but it was clear to me from the start that Robert was 
destined to serve our Nation at a higher level.
  Last year, Robert received that call from the administration when he 
was nominated to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and 
Readiness. Robert demonstrated his extraordinary skills in a short 
period of time, so it was no surprise to me that the administration 
identified him as a perfect fit to be Secretary of the VA.
  When he was appointed in the acting role as VA Secretary, he quickly 
worked to improve morale at the VA, earning strong reviews and trust 
from VSOs, members of Congress, and VA staff. He also moved decisively 
to execute the electronic health record project, which we all know is a 
critical part of the VA transformation initiative.
  Robert has all of the education and professional experience required 
of a Secretary of the VA, but perhaps what makes Robert best suited to 
the job is his lifelong experience as an Army brat and the personal 
experience as the son of a gravely wounded soldier.
  He has literally lived the experience, and I know that Robert will 
bring his professional experience and a personal insight and intensity 
to the role that will serve our veterans well.
  Robert has been confirmed unanimously by the Senate on two separate 
occasions, most recently in November 2017, by my colleagues in this 
current 115th Congress. Since the VA was elevated to a Cabinet-level 
department in 1988, there have been nine Secretaries of Veterans 
Affairs; Robert Wilkie will soon be the 10th.
  No nominee to be VA Secretary has ever received a single recorded no 
vote on the Senate floor.
  I look forward to supporting his confirmation, and I would encourage 
all of my colleagues to do the same. Put politics aside and vote in 
favor of this honorable and eminently qualified man to serve all of our 
Nations' veterans.
  Thank you.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I rise today to announce that I think 
Robert Wilkie is the right man for the job to be VA Secretary. Today, 
we are going to fulfill our constitutional responsibility to provide 
advice and consent on the President's nominee. This is a responsibility 
that I take very seriously, especially in my role as ranking member of 
the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.
  In our committee, Chairman Isakson and I have overseen the screening 
of the confirmation of 12 nominees to serve veterans. I am proud to say 
that we confirmed them without dragging our feet.
  Recently, we had Mr. Robert Wilkie before the committee for his 
confirmation hearing. Members of our committee asked him tough 
questions about his vision for the VA. We asked him about his plan to 
bring much needed stability to the Nation's largest healthcare system. 
Following the important exchanges during that hearing, Members sent 
more tough questions to the nominee for his response. In the days since 
his nomination, Mr. Wilkie has sat down with Members to respond to 
their questions and concerns one-on-one.
  By voting to confirm Mr. Wilkie today, I believe we are providing 
stronger leadership for America's veterans. With this vote, we are 
fulfilling our obligation to them.
  We are doing our job, but our job just doesn't stop today. As Members 
of this body, we must hold Mr. Wilkie accountable to the commitments he 
has made through his confirmation process.
  There are some critically important issues to be addressed within the 
VA. There are workforce shortages, whether in rural America or urban 
America. We need more doctors and nurses and more psychiatrics and 
psychologists within the VA. This is critically important if he is 
going to oversee a successful VA. We need to have the VA personnel. We 
need to have it manned appropriately to meet the challenges that are 
out there after being at war for 17 years and veterans from previous 
eras getting older.
  Today, unlike ever before, we have political forces at play inside 
the VA. This is very unfortunate because, quite frankly, I believe that 
good employees are being forced out, not because of the job they are 
doing but because of their views. When Mr. Wilkie becomes Secretary, he 
is going to have to make sure that stops. It is critically important 
that we keep the employees that we have who are good employees and move 
the VA forward so it can do the job that it is meant to do.
  He also has some challenges to address in rural America. The 
community-based outpatient clinics we have there need to be staffed up. 
We need to make sure that the VA has what it needs to meet the needs of 
the veterans in rural America, and, by the way, with the passage of the 
MISSION Act, we need to make sure that veterans aren't run around once 
that act gets fully implemented and they need community care and the VA 
can't provide that care.
  He needs to make sure the disability appeals process continues to 
move forward and that the backlog is whittled down. He needs to make 
sure that the accountability bill is implemented as Congress intended 
and that the whistleblower protection in the bill lives up to what it 
means. He also needs to implement the ``Forever GI bill'' in a way that 
makes sense for our veterans. Last and certainly not least, he needs to 
make sure the VA MISSION Act is implemented in a way in which a veteran 
can make the decision as to how he gets his or her healthcare.
  Veterans need a leader who will build bridges and find solutions to 
the issues that face our veterans, not who will tear down the 
Department to meet a political agenda. Veterans need a leader who will 
not shy away from those challenges that face the VA. We need someone 
who is going to tackle the challenges like workforce shortages, like 
access to mental healthcare, and like barriers, particularly in rural 
America, for women veterans. I believe that Mr. Wilkie is the right fit 
for that job.
  Right now, the VA does not have a confirmed Secretary who is focused 
on the larger mission of serving these veterans, of implementing the 
reforms, and of improving VA care and benefits. Instead, we have had 
temporary political appointees in charge who have been more interested 
in picking political fights with people who have not been their 
enemies. I believe we have lost sight of the VA's mission. It will be 
up to Mr. Wilkie to right that ship.
  That is why I am so hopeful that this evening, we can get Mr. Wilkie 
confirmed so that he can get on the job as soon as possible. Veterans 
are depending on him, and they are depending on us to make sure he gets 
to work. Once he gets to work, I guarantee that the chairman of the VA 
Committee and I, as ranking member, and all of the members of the 
Senate's Veterans' Affairs Committee will make sure that he does the 
job and fulfills the promises we have made to our veterans.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.

[[Page S5121]]

  

  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Montana, Mr. 
Tester, for his remarks. I thank him more so for his hard work, as 
ranking member, over the last 2 years with me, as chairman, and for 
bringing us to the point at which we are today. Jon and I are very 
excited because we know that Robert Wilkie is the real deal. We know 
the things that we have gone through with some of the previous 
appointees and with some of the problems at the VA now have a chance to 
be overridden and solved and that we will step forward in a new day for 
the VA.
  We no longer want somebody who is going to make excuses for the VA. 
We want somebody who is going to make a difference at the VA. Robert 
Wilkie understands the needs of our veterans in rural areas. He 
understands their needs in large urban cities. He understands the 
threat of suicide and the need to have mental health care accessible 
and available to our veterans at all times. He knows all of the things 
we need to do. He also knows we have given him a quiver of arrows that 
he can use as he hunts through the VA to root out the bad players and 
lift the big players.
  The VA MISSION Act, as Jon Tester just mentioned, is absolutely rule 
No. 1. The implementation of that change gives our veterans the choice, 
our rural veterans the access, our urban veterans the accountability, 
and the VA the chance to maximize the delivery of healthcare services 
to our veterans at a cost that, over time, will be less than if the VA 
had done it all by itself.
  The VA is a tremendous organization. It is the state of the art in 
many things--in ophthalmology, for example, and in treating a lot of 
the signature wounds that we have today from the war--PTSD and all of 
those. Our VA does a phenomenal job with all of those. Yet there are a 
lot of healthcare services that are routine for which veterans 
shouldn't have to wait 3, 4, and 5 months but that they ought to be 
able to get in a reasonably accessible period of time. They ought to be 
able to get services closest to home, where they are, and be able to 
get them from those who can deliver the services to them when they need 
them. The VA MISSION Act lets that happen.
  I am going to say a few things tonight in my remarks on the early 
warnings with regard to the VA MISSION Act--that it is costing a lot of 
money because they are going to see some requests come in for money. 
Yes, it is going to take us a little while to get over the bubble with 
the initial implementation, but when we do, we are going to minimize 
the cost and give greater service to the veterans and, over time, 
reduce the cost to our veterans.
  Every time we don't require the VA to build another hospital or 
another clinic, we are lowering the cost of our real estate and 
uplifting the opportunity for us to spend more money on services. Every 
time we have doctors in hospitals who treat veterans who want to 
participate in the VA MISSION Act and the Veterans Choice Program, they 
will not have to add all of the other costs of infrastructure, and our 
veterans will get better choice, better service, better medical care, 
and better time.
  This is an opportunity to make the change of a lifetime. We are going 
to make the VA something it has always wanted to be and give the 
veterans something they always thought they had--the best possible care 
at the most affordable price to the taxpayer. We will deliver a 
difference for our veterans and their families.
  I am proud of what the committee did 2 weeks ago when it passed the 
VA MISSION Act and when it brought about caregivers' legislation for 
those family members so that they may take care of loved ones from the 
Vietnam war era. We are going to have bills coming up that have to do 
with the Navy and other things like that in the year ahead. We have a 
lot of things we are going to do.
  I want us to stop, here and now, dragging out old stories about the 
VA and talking about what the VA isn't and, instead, talk about what it 
is. I want to give a specific example. The press needs to stop giving a 
3-, 4-, 5-year IG's report and reporting it as today's news. Jon and I 
have spent more time in responding to reports about the IG or someone 
else--I am just picking on the IG--and about failures within the VA 
when, in fact, it turns out that they are from a study from 2006 when 
we finally get the report. They make a big deal out of it as if it were 
yesterday.
  Most of the issues from the Veterans Administration's major stories--
I didn't say ``all,'' and it never will be all--are being met and 
addressed faster than ever before. We have to report the good news as 
well as the tough news. I will stand there and respond to the tough 
news all day long, but I hate it when I have to call my own press 
conference to talk about what is really going on at the VA that is 
really good.
  It is absolutely essential that we be in partnership with the media--
the VA itself, the VA's employees, its service providers, and all of us 
in our roles in Congress as committee chairs, in leadership. It is 
essential that all of us join in and put our arms together and move 
forward in order to have a stronger, more productive, more responsible 
VA.
  I mentioned the VA MISSION Act and accountability. We have finally 
given the VA the ability to hold its employees accountable, which we 
have been meaning to do for a long, long time, and it is making a 
difference. We have the Whistleblower Protection Act, which gives 
whistleblowers the chance to make reports for things that they see, 
know, and do that are difficult and should be corrected. We have given 
them some degree of reasonable protection so that they are not run over 
instead. That is something that is important to do.
  We have talked about accountability. We have talked about all kinds 
of things. We will talk about one last thing, and that is rural 
America.
  Certainly, with Jon, I have gained a greater impression than I have 
before of the problems that rural America faces. Georgia has a large 
rural population, but, quite frankly, Georgia is a big State, and 
Atlanta is a big city. When you go outside Atlanta, you still have 
Savannah, Augusta, and a lot of places that are much bigger than the 
biggest city in Montana. We owe those veterans who are more distant 
from the services we provide, because of where they live, the 
opportunity to get the services faster and quicker. We are going to do 
that with the VA MISSION Act. I appreciate Jon's leadership in doing 
that as it has made a real difference.
  What I have tried to do with the hotlines on mental health for the 
veterans who call in--whose lives are in danger or who are in danger of 
taking their own lives or who need help or counseling then and now--is 
to make sure they are no longer getting hung up on, to make sure they 
are no longer getting referred to other operators, to make sure they 
are no longer getting called back tomorrow after leaving voice mails. 
It is to make sure they are getting action right here and right now--
today. We owe it to our veterans whose lives are at risk today--the 
same thing they do every day when they serve us in uniform and their 
lives are at risk every day overseas.
  We have a chance to do a wonderful thing, and that is to keep our 
promise. We have to change and deliver quality healthcare to our 
veterans and deliver a better response to our veterans than they have 
ever had before. We have the chance to fix the problems that we have 
had and to look to the future for new solutions to other problems that 
will face us. We owe our veterans no less than the best Secretary in 
Robert Wilkie, and we have him in Robert Wilkie.
  I told Robert: You have no excuses. I have heard all of the excuses I 
ever want to hear about this. We know what we have to do, and we know 
when we need to do it. It is now. We have to know how to do it, and it 
is with you as the Secretary of the VA.
  I commend him to my fellow Members of the U.S. Senate.
  I thank Chairman Roe, from the House of Representatives, and for the 
hard work that they have done in bringing this together with Jon and I 
and seeing to it we have a great Secretary.
  We are going to lock arms and be in lockstep next year to make the VA 
perform even better than it has before. We are here to make sure that 
the VA has no excuses on the results, that it gets the backing it needs 
from us, that those veterans who have served us get the healthcare they 
need, and that the veterans who join us today to defend us in the 
future will have it there when they retire.
  I urge Senators to vote for Secretary Robert Wilkie to be Secretary 
of the

[[Page S5122]]

VA, our 10th most recent VA appointee, and to give him a unanimous vote 
today, which is the kind of support he needs to move forward in the 
21st century.
  God bless all for being here today. I thank the Senators for their 
votes. I thank Senator Tester for his support as ranking member, and I 
thank the Senator from Kansas for his support throughout the year.
  I yield to the Senator from North Carolina.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I thank the chair for the kind words about 
the nominee, Robert Wilkie, for the Veterans Health Administration.
  I am here to proudly discuss his record. Actually, until about 6 
months ago, he was the military affairs adviser in my office and was my 
adviser on the VA. He has done an extraordinary job.
  He is the child of a gravely wounded veteran from the Vietnam war. He 
grew up on Fort Bragg. He is from Fayetteville, NC. He has done an 
extraordinary job in serving our office, in mentoring my staff, and in 
working for Senate leaders and leaders in the White House--Secretary 
Gates, Secretary Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and now General Mattis.
  Robert Wilkie is going to do an extraordinary job because he 
understands what it is like to be the son of a veteran and to be a 
member of the armed services himself. He serves in the Air Force to 
this day. He previously served in the Navy. He has attended the U.S. 
Army War College. He has a law degree and a keen understanding of how 
this governing body works. He also has great relationships with people 
across the political spectrum. He has worked very closely in committee 
work with the committee staff. He just has an extraordinary reputation. 
He has an extraordinary sense of history. He has a great dedication to 
our veterans, and he understands the intrinsic link between Active Duty 
and reservists and, ultimately, with veterans.
  I believe that he is going to go in and move forward with the 
transformation and do great things for our veterans who need the help 
today. He will do an even more outstanding job of understanding how we 
can better prepare the men and women who are serving today to go into 
veteran status--to help them find jobs, to provide them with 
healthcare, to make sure they get the most out of their veterans' 
benefits. I know that Robert Wilkie will do an extraordinary job.
  I appreciate Chairman Isakson's leadership on the committee. I think, 
with a strong Secretary like Robert Wilkie in Veterans Affairs, we will 
finally start making progress in repaying the debt that we can never 
fully repay to the men and women in uniform. I strongly support this 
vote, and I look forward to having a very strong confirmation vote this 
afternoon.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I yield back all time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Wilkie 
nomination?
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from North Carolina (Mr. Burr), the Senator from Tennessee (Mr. 
Corker), the Senator from Louisiana (Mr. Kennedy), and the Senator from 
Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Ohio (Mr. Brown), is 
necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). Are there any other Senators in 
the chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 86, nays 9, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 163 Ex.]

                                YEAS--86

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

                                NAYS--9

     Booker
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Markey
     Merkley
     Sanders
     Warren
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--5

     Brown
     Burr
     Corker
     Kennedy
     McCain
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the President 
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.

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