(Senate - August 21, 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 139 (Tuesday, August 21, 2018)]
[Pages S5741-S5755]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.

[[Page S5742]]


                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. CRAPO. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the President's 
nomination of appellate judge Brett Kavanaugh to serve as an Associate 
Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 9, President Trump announced 
his selection of Judge Kavanaugh to be the 114th Justice in our 
Nation's proud history.
  For a practicing lawyer, serving on our highest Court is the pinnacle 
of achievement, and nomination to the Bench is testament to a 
distinguished legal career. When we imagine a Supreme Court Justice, we 
think of respected jurists, well-steeped in legal questions, rigorous 
in attention to detail, respectful of traditions, faithful to the law, 
awed by the recognition of the proud and profound responsibility 
wielded, and fair to all involved. Our legal system requires it, and 
the American people value it among their highest ideals of government.
  Throughout our history, the central tension of our Republic can be 
defined as the exercise of government power versus liberty. Each 
expands at the expense of the other. Finding a way for both central 
authority and individual freedom to coexist and support each other 
remains our biggest challenge and will remain so long into the future.
  To preserve the limits on an ever-expanding Federal Government, our 
Founding Fathers conceived of a system of interlocking powers that 
support each other but serve as a necessary restraint against 
tyrannical behavior of any. We all know it as the principle of 
separation of powers, with each of the three branches acting as a check 
on the others.
  The Constitution's appointments clause defines one of the most 
consequential duties of our Federal Government, and it illustrates the 
working application of the checks and balances dynamic.
  Article II, section 2, clause 2 of the Constitution provides that the 
President ``shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of 
the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and 
Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court'' and others. This provision 
interlocks the executive branch with the legislature. Neither can 
succeed without the other. At its best, this is a partnership 
functioning well. At its worst, either side can deny the other's 
  One popular but misguided criticism made of Judge Kavanaugh centers 
around his academic study of the separation of powers in our Federal 
system. In one scholarly writing, he explores the legal structures of 
our government and the dangers presented by over-politicizing the 
relationship between the branches. He describes the enormous challenges 
faced by President Clinton and President Bush in carrying out their 
constitutional duties while political difficulties swirled about them 
and the impact that had on the efficient administration of government.
  Much hyperbole has been spoken about Judge Kavanaugh's keen 
observations. Whether you find yourself on the political right or the 
left, few would dispute his central point--that a government system 
rendered inoperative benefits no one. To quote Alexander Hamilton in 
Federalist Paper No. 70, ``A feeble Executive implies a feeble 
execution of the government.'' Judge Kavanaugh offers a number of 
options for the political branches of government to explore and points 
out the pros and cons of them. The opposite view held by Judge 
Kavanaugh's critics is, then, by extension, the status quo of 
Washington's dysfunction.
  As a jurist, in his legal opinions, Judge Kavanaugh has consistently 
demonstrated a willingness to reign in both Congress and the Executive 
when they overstep their constitutional bounds. In a town where 
acquiring power seems ingrained, having a judge committed to preserving 
the constitutional function of each branch cannot be overstated. Yet 
some would have you believe that Judge Kavanaugh's understanding of the 
proper operation of our system of government is a threat to the very 
Republic and disqualifying to serve on our highest Court. I disagree. 
His analysis is insightful and should be eagerly embraced by civic 
students throughout the country.
  In the weeks since President Trump nominated Judge Kavanaugh for the 
Court, special interests have kicked into overdrive, peddling one 
imagined conspiracy after another. Variously, I have heard people 
suggest that Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to the people of every race, 
creed, gender, and age. Some have even unleashed prophecies of biblical 
gloom and doom awaiting the confirmation of a Justice Kavanaugh. Still 
others have called on opponents of Judge Kavanaugh's to use every 
possible tool to stop his confirmation, including the extreme step of 
shutting down the government should things not go their way. So, facing 
a nominee with impeccable credentials, opponents must imagine a 
boogeyman. Fortunately, people see past those attacks because they are 
the same attacks they lobbed when President Bush nominated Justice 
Souter and when President Reagan nominated Justice Kennedy.
  Failing at that, some opponents of Judge Kavanaugh's are hoping to 
demand an endless stream of documents to delay confirmation proceedings 
indefinitely. These opponents claim that the process is unfair and 
lacks transparency, when in reality the opposite is true.
  As Chairman Grassley of the Judiciary Committee so eloquently pointed 
out at a recent Senate Judiciary meeting, none of these criticisms hold 
any weight.
  There will have been 57 days between the announcement of Judge 
Kavanaugh's nomination and the date of his confirmation hearing--a 
longer period than Senators had for Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and 
Gorsuch. Judge Kavanaugh has submitted more than 17,000 pages with his 
bipartisan Judiciary Committee questionnaire, which is the most 
extensive questionnaire ever sent a nominee. The committee has also 
received hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from Judge 
Kavanaugh's service in the executive branch. This, too, is already more 
than any Supreme Court nominee before him, and documents are continuing 
to be sent to the committee for review. Chairman Grassley is working 
tirelessly to make the vast majority publicly available as quickly as 
possible, and I appreciate and applaud his transparency.
  I recognize the politics and the purpose behind these creative but 
misguided attacks, and so does the American public.
  Judge Kavanaugh's experience and legal background are not in dispute. 
His readiness for the Supreme Court is not contested. His law clerks 
vouch for him. Lawyers who argue before him commend him for his 
judgment, his fairness, and his temperament. His peers admire and 
respect his intellect and draw regularly from his opinions. In short, 
he is a judge's judge. In fact, nearly every one of his former clerks 
signed a letter extolling the qualifications that he has, his virtues, 
and his temperament. So widespread was the support of their former 
mentor that only those who were prohibited by their employer from 
signing were left off.
  Newspaper editorial boards from across the country have endorsed his 
nomination. Here are just some of the dozens of glowing testimonials 
about Judge Kavanaugh:
  The Wall Street Journal:

       Judge Kavanaugh has an exemplary record that suggests he 
     will help to restore the Supreme Court to its proper, more 
     modest role in American politics and society. . . . He has 
     the experience and intellect to be a leader on the Court, not 
     merely a predictable vote on this or that issue.

  The Detroit News:

       Brett Kavanaugh's credentials, his commitment to judicial 
     independence, his unassailable character, his record as a 
     judge dedicated to the Constitution and his likability should 
     overwhelm the Senate skeptics who will be tempted to oppose 
     him simply because he was appointed by Trump.

  The Richmond Times-Dispatch:

       If one were to create an ideal resume for the position of 
     Supreme Court justice, it would not look terribly different 
     from Brett Michael Kavanaugh's curriculum vitae. President 
     Trump's nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy is more 
     than qualified for the job. . . . Indeed, Kavanaugh's 
     qualifications are impeccable--unfortunately, that won't stop 
     him from being lambasted by the opposition on the left 
     concerned about his conservative values.

  The Las Vegas Review-Journal:

       Judge Kavanaugh is imminently accomplished. . . . Judge 
     Kavanaugh is firmly in the judicial mainstream, although 
     Democrats will no doubt try to twist him into a rabid, 
     dangerous extremist. He is, in fact, a

[[Page S5743]]

     constitutionalist who believes that judges should follow the 
     nation's founding document rather than interpret law to 
     achieve desired ends.

  The Lowell Sun in Massachusetts:

       What Democrats cannot question is Brett Kavanaugh's 
     credentials. . . . After all the drama and histrionics, 
     sensible Democrats should put politics aside and vote to make 
     him the ninth member of the Supreme Court.

  Judge Kavanaugh is one of the most qualified nominees ever for the 
Supreme Court. He has been nominated to succeed Justice Kennedy, a man 
for whom he once clerked and called a ``mentor.'' With over 300 
authored opinions and 12 years of service on the bench, he is a judge 
with a clear record demonstrating that he applies the law as written 
and enforces the Constitution. He values precedent and wrote, along 
with Justice Gorsuch and others, ``The Law of Judicial Precedent,'' a 
scholarly piece on the importance of stare decisis.
  Many critics argue that a Justice Kavanaugh would likely be the key 
to unlocking any number of Supreme Court precedents. I wonder, though, 
how many have actually read this book and understand that he is someone 
who has given exhaustive and weighty consideration to important legal 
questions. But we should take him at his own words:

       The judge's job is to interpret the law, not to make the 
     law or make policy. So read the words of the statute as 
     written. Read the text of the Constitution as written, 
     mindful of history and tradition. Don't make up new 
     constitutional rights that are not in the text of the 
     Constitution. Don't shy away from enforcing constitutional 
     rights that are in the text of the Constitution.

  Judge Kavanaugh is a respected jurist with a sterling reputation for 
intellectual rigor and attention to legal detail. He understands the 
proper role of a judge in our legal system--to fairly interpret the 
law, not create it. He thinks deeply about the legal questions before 
him and strives to build consensus on the court.
  As stated by his former law clerks, ``Judge Kavanaugh never assumes 
he knows the answers in advance and never takes for granted that his 
view of the law will prevail.'' He actively solicits views from all 
sides of the argument--all the better to form a lasting and well-
reasoned opinion.
  I look forward to the Senate Judiciary Committee's upcoming hearings, 
when the public can hear directly from Judge Kavanaugh, in his own 
words, the proper role of a judge in our legal system. I am confident 
Judge Kavanaugh will demonstrate the rigorous intellect, the fealty to 
law, and the judicial temperament that have long defined his career on 
the bench.
  Thank you.
  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.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. YOUNG. 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. YOUNG. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about Judge 
Kavanaugh, President Trump's second nominee to serve on the Supreme 
Court of the United States.
  Judge Kavanaugh's qualifications are undeniable. He has proven over 
the last 12 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit 
that he is well qualified for this next step in his career.
  I had the opportunity to sit down with Judge Kavanaugh in my office 
just last month. He struck me as a man of great character and 
integrity. He answered questions directly. He spoke forthrightly. He 
demonstrated, at once, a strong intellect and a deep humility. He had a 
wide-ranging conversation with me on issues that are important to the 
people in my home State of Indiana, including his approach to 
faithfully interpreting the Constitution of the United States.
  As a D.C. Circuit judge, he has carried out his duties faithfully and 
consistently. He has shown by the record that he understands that the 
judge's role is to apply the law as it is written; it is not to impose 
his own policy preferences. He is what you might call a textualist when 
interpreting statutes, meaning he adheres strictly to the law as it is 
written. He is an originalist as well, meaning he carefully reviews the 
history of our Framers when interpreting the Constitution. This is an 
approach he frequently lectures and writes about as a guest lecturer at 
Harvard and other top law schools, including Notre Dame Law School back 
home in Indiana where he gave a guest lecture on his jurisprudential 
approach in February of 2017. It is also worth noting, it was Supreme 
Court Justice Elena Kagan who hired Judge Kavanaugh to teach at Harvard 
when she was the Harvard Law School dean. Justice Kagan clearly thought 
highly of the Judge's reputation and credentials--so highly, in fact, 
that she hired him to help shape the minds of Harvard Law School 

  In his writing, Judge Kavanaugh reminds us that federalism and the 
separation of powers ``are not mere matters of etiquette or 
architecture, but are essential to protecting individual liberty.''
  Judge Kavanaugh has also exhibited a willingness to rein in 
administrative agencies when they exceed their authority under the law. 
He has consistently held that international laws do not govern national 
security matters if Congress has not adopted them as domestic law.
  After carefully reviewing Judge Kavanaugh's record, I am confident he 
will be faithful to the Constitution and preserve the integrity of the 
Supreme Court.
  I have to say, Judge Kavanaugh is more than just a highly respected 
jurist. He is more than an eminently qualified legal scholar and a mind 
that is well suited for the Supreme Court. He is also a father, a 
husband, a coach to his two daughters' basketball team, and a man of 
impeccable character.
  Earlier this month, a group of more than 30 parents sent a letter to 
the Senate Judiciary Committee praising Judge Kavanaugh's character. 
The judge's two daughters are students at Blessed Sacrament School in 
Washington, DC, and the judge is the girls' basketball coach. The 
parents wrote: ``Brett Kavanaugh has been a devoted coach and mentor to 
our daughters.''
  They continued: ``In addition to his long list of professional and 
academic accomplishments--we hope that the Committee will also consider 
Brett Kavanaugh's contributions as a volunteer youth basketball coach--
and the service, selflessness, dedication, and commitment his coaching 
  In 2 weeks, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin its 
confirmation hearing for Judge Kavanaugh. He is one of the most 
qualified nominees to ever come before the U.S. Senate, and when all is 
said and done, the Judiciary Committee will have reviewed more records 
than ever before for a Supreme Court nominee.
  The importance of protecting individual liberty cannot be overstated. 
I am pleased we are considering the nomination of someone who, by word 
and deed, has committed himself to preserving freedom.
  I look forward to watching Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, 
and after conducting a thorough and objective review of his nomination, 
I am confident Judge Kavanaugh will be an excellent addition to our 
Nation's highest Court.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I note my colleagues have come before me 
to discuss the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to fill the vacancy on the 
U.S. Supreme Court after the retirement of Justice Kennedy.
  I checked, just to make sure I understood the section of the 
Constitution. It is article II, relative to the President's powers, 
which talks about the power of the President to fill that vacancy on 
the Supreme Court, subject to the advice and consent of the U.S. 
Senate. One hundred U.S. Senators ultimately have the last word on any 
nominee. I am fortunate to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, 
where we get the first chance to review any nominee and take a look at 
their background and vote as a committee before the matter is brought 
to the floor of the U.S. Senate.
  I have listened to my colleagues who support Judge Kavanaugh 
ascending to the bench and to a lifetime appointment to the highest 
Court of the land. I am troubled by one particular aspect of this 
nomination. It is different than

[[Page S5744]]

any nomination to the Supreme Court in the history of the United States 
in this respect: This President made it clear that any person who 
wanted to be eligible for the U.S. Supreme Court needed to pass a 
clearance by two organizations. One is called the Federalist Society 
and the other is the Heritage Foundation. Both of these are 
conservative organizations which reviewed all of the potential Supreme 
Court nominees and produced a list of 20 or more men and women who 
would be eligible for the Supreme Court by their judgment.
  Is their judgment important? I will point to one fact in history 
which illustrates. When Neil Gorsuch was considered by President Trump 
to serve on the Supreme Court and fill the vacancy of Antonin Scalia, 
he was not notified by the White House. The White House called the 
Federalist Society head, Leonard Leo, and asked him to call Mr. Gorsuch 
and tell him the good news. So to say that the Federalist Society and 
the Heritage Foundation played a critical role in the selection of a 
nominee is an understatement. If you don't clear their background test, 
their litmus test, you cannot be considered by the Trump administration 
for the Supreme Court.
  That is offensive to me. We don't see any reference to the Federalist 
Society or the Heritage Foundation in the U.S. Constitution. There is a 
clear reference to a President elected by the people of the United 
States, but to give to any special interest group, right, left or 
center, that kind of authority is way beyond what our Founding Fathers 
imagined would be this process for selecting someone for the Supreme 
  Then it gets even more complicated. Before we consider a nominee for 
the Supreme Court, we have to carefully review their records. It takes 
time. Literally, scores of lawyers sit down and go through the 
published opinions and speeches and other documents which evidence a 
person's background, and when it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, it is an 
extensive background. He has had a role at the highest levels of the 
Federal Government for years: Ken Starr's Office of Independent 
Counsel, the Bush v. Gore lawsuit that went down to the State of 
Florida and beyond.
  The cases he was involved in as a member of the court are pretty 
obvious and published, but many of his other activities--particularly 
in the White House when he served as Staff Secretary to the President 
of the United States--were extensive. For a 3-year period of time, for 
35 months, he was the gatekeeper in the White House as to the 
documentation the President would receive and read. It involved a 
pretty massive amount of time and documentation on all of the major 
issues facing the Presidency for almost 3 years. Should we take a look 
at it? Is it worth our investigation and inquiry into what Mr. 
Kavanaugh said and did during those years?
  Well, there was a time here when Republicans thought it was not only 
important but essential when it came to a nominee named Elena Kagan. 
Elena Kagan had never served on the Federal judiciary. She was 
nominated by President Obama. At the time, the ranking Republican on 
the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, insisted on 
the full documentation of her role in the White House, and the 
Democratic Senator, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, joined him in making that 
request. As a result, 170,000 pages of documents were produced because 
of the request made by Senator Sessions and Senator Leahy. It was a 
bipartisan request. It established a standard.
  The same standard was applied for Democratic nominee Sonia Sotomayor. 
Documentation had to be presented to the committee and carefully 
reviewed before there was a vote on whether that person would serve in 
a lifetime appointment to the highest Court in the land.
  Most of us assumed, at that point, that it was a settled practice in 
the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee when it came to the documentary 
proof we would ask for when nominees came before us for the Supreme 
Court. We thought that, but we were wrong because when the Republicans 
took control, everything changed. It changed, of course, with Antonin 
Scalia's vacancy as a result of his untimely death--a vacancy President 
Obama sought to fill during his last year in office. He ended up 
nominating Merrick Garland, a DC Circuit Court judge of impeccable 
credentials to fill the vacancy. Many Republicans in the Senate refused 
to even meet with Merrick Garland, let alone consider him and vote on 
him. So, for a whole year, the vacancy continued at the Supreme Court 
while the Republicans broke Senate tradition and refused to consider 
President Obama's nominee.
  Then came the election of Donald Trump, the nomination of Judge Neil 
Gorsuch, and the process went forward to fill the vacancy the 
Republicans had kept open for more than a year before Neil Gorsuch was 
finally voted on by the U.S. Senate.
  So here came the second vacancy under the Trump administration--a 
vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Kennedy--and the question 
was obviously asked: What standard will you use for asking for the 
documentary evidence of the person's background in public service?
  Many of us assumed it would have been the same standard that was 
pushed by Senator Sessions, a Republican of Alabama, and Senator Leahy, 
a Democrat of Vermont. We were wrong. Instead, what the Republicans 
said is, we are going to have a new rule when it comes to Republican 
nominees from the Trump administration in the case of Judge Brett 
Kavanaugh, and that new rule said we will not ask for documentation for 
the 35 months when he served in the White House as the closest adviser 
to the President of the United States. I can tell you there were a 
myriad of issues that were considered by the President in that period 
of time, and Brett Kavanaugh, then assistant to the President, was 
involved in these decisions. We will not know what he said or did 
because the Republicans have refused to ask for the documentary 
evidence of his time there.
  There is more to the story. The Republicans decided, for those 
documents they might consider asking for, they would have a final 
filter, and the final filter is a man named Burck, who has served as an 
attorney for not only President Bush but also in the past for Steve 
Bannon. Does the name ring a bell? Steve Bannon of Breitbart News. 
Burck has served as his counsel and was a deputy to Brett Kavanaugh in 
the White House.
  Mr. Burck is literally going through Kavanaugh's documents from his 
time in the White House Counsel's Office to decide which ones will be 
given to the Senate Judiciary Committee to consider. So it means he is 
the filter of things he doesn't want us to see and he doesn't want the 
American people to see. This Republican advocate attorney is going to 
be a decisionmaker when it comes to whether we can see documents that 
were produced by Brett Kavanaugh when he served in the White House 
Counsel's Office.
  It gets even worse. It turns out, those documents, which he preclears 
for us to read in the Senate Judiciary Committee, are subject to some 
sort of committee confidentiality. I have served on the Senate 
Judiciary Committee for a number of years, and I know there are 
documents which are considered somewhat committee confidential, but it 
is rare, and it is usually a case you wouldn't argue over; classified 
information, for example. In this case, these Republicans on the Senate 
Judiciary Committee will be the final, final filter as to whether the 
American people will know the background of Brett Kavanaugh.
  Why is there so much secrecy here? Why wouldn't these documents be 
made public? Well, let's look back in time. When Elena Kagan was asked 
to produce her documents from the time when she served in the White 
House, she produced every one of them except those that were personal 
and private. On how many of those 170,000 pages did she assert 
executive privilege and say: I can't produce them? None. Every single 
document was turned over to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  Now, when it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, I can't tell you what is going 
on here. There is a concealment which is impossible to explain. What 
would we find in those documents that have been carefully screened by 
Mr. Burck and then again by the Senate Judiciary Committee Republican 
  I am concerned about it because this is a lifetime appointment to the 
highest Court in the land. We know the

[[Page S5745]]

Court is carefully divided. It is legitimate for us to ask the 
questions about Judge Kavanaugh's background because of our 
constitutional responsibility to advise and consent, but we can't ask 
those questions if they don't produce the documents, and that is where 
we are today.
  So my colleagues can come to the floor and talk about Judge 
Kavanaugh's record leading up to this nomination. They are limited in 
the information they have been given, and the limitations are 
unprecedented in the U.S. Senate.
  The Republicans, when it comes to the Supreme Court, just rewrite the 
rules. Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee: Sorry. No thanks. We 
are not interested in interviewing him or even considering him for that 
appointment. When it came to this judge, Judge Kavanaugh, the ordinary 
production of documents, by a standard established by the Republicans 
and Senator Sessions, is being ignored now when it comes to the 
nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. We will be given limited information 
because of this process and have to do our best to carefully review 
this nominee before he is considered for this lifetime appointment to 
the highest Court in the land.

  I yield floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). The Senator from South Dakota.
  Mr. THUNE. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call 
be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, when it comes to deciding whether to 
confirm a Supreme Court Justice, there are two important questions: 
One, is this person well qualified? And, two, does this person 
understand the proper role of a judge?
  When it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, the answer to both questions is 
yes. I don't need to tell anyone how qualified Judge Kavanaugh is. He 
is a graduate of Yale Law School and a lecturer at Harvard Law School. 
He has extensive legal experience in government and private practice, 
and he has spent the past 12 years serving on the Court of Appeals for 
the DC Circuit, sometimes referred to as the second highest court in 
the land.
  His opinions have been endorsed by the Supreme Court more than a 
dozen times, and they are regularly cited by courts around the country. 
In short, he is eminently qualified to be a Justice on the Supreme 
  But being qualified, while essential, is not sufficient. A Supreme 
Court Justice also needs to understand the proper role of a judge, and 
that role is to interpret the law, not make the law; to judge, not 
legislate; to call balls and strikes, not rewrite the rules of the 
  Judge Kavanaugh understands this. He understands that as a Supreme 
Court Justice, his job will be to rule based on the facts of the case, 
the law and the Constitution, and nothing else, not his personal 
opinions, not his political feelings, not his beliefs about what the 
law should be--just the plain text of the law and the Constitution. And 
that makes Judge Kavanaugh exactly the kind of judge that all of us, 
Democrats and Republicans alike, should want on the Supreme Court--the 
kind of judge who, in the words of Judge Kavanaugh, will decide cases 
``without regard to policy preferences or political allegiances or 
which party is on which side in a particular case.''
  Of course, that is not the kind of Justice Democrats are looking for. 
They don't really want an impartial Justice. They want a Justice they 
can rely on to rubberstamp Democratic policies. So even before 
President Trump had named a replacement for Justice Kennedy, Democrats 
were already signaling their intention of rejecting anyone the 
President put forward. One Democrat Senator formally announced his 
opposition to the President's nominee the morning of July 9, before the 
President had actually nominated anyone.
  Since Judge Kavanaugh's nomination, Democrats have tried to make a 
case against Judge Kavanaugh, flinging up accusations in the desperate 
hope that something will stick. Needless to say, they haven't had much 
luck. It is difficult to argue that a judge like Judge Kavanaugh isn't 
eminently suited to serve on the Supreme Court.
  Democrats are also doing their best to delay the proceedings by 
making outlandish demands for documents relating to Judge Kavanaugh's 
time in the White House. Apparently the up to 1 million pages that the 
Judiciary Committee expects to receive from Judge Kavanaugh's time in 
the executive branch and his circuit court confirmation aren't enough, 
even though it could be more than the amount of material received for 
the last five Supreme Court nominees combined. Let me repeat that. One 
million pages that the Judiciary Committee expects to receive from 
Judge Kavanaugh's time in the executive branch and his circuit court 
confirmation are more than the amount of material received for the last 
five Supreme Court nominees combined.
  One also has to ask why Democratic leaders feel the need to see any 
material for Judge Kavanaugh, given the fact that they have already 
made up their minds to oppose him.
  Of course, it is not about the material. We all know that. Democrats 
aren't really interested in reading every email that happened to be 
copied to Judge Kavanaugh. They just want to delay his nomination.
  It would be nice if Democrats would abandon their partisan opposition 
to Judge Kavanaugh and take a serious look at this superbly qualified 
nominee. Unfortunately, I expect the political posturing to continue, 
but we will continue to move forward with the confirmation process to 
deliver another outstanding Justice to the Supreme Court.

                            Economic Growth

  Mr. President, the good economic news continues to pour in. The 
economy grew at an impressive 4.1 percent in the second quarter of this 
year, bringing economic growth for the year so far up over 3 percent. 
Unemployment dropped to 3.9 percent in July, which is close to an 18-
year low. Worker pay and benefits are increasing at the fastest pace in 
a decade. Consumer confidence is at a nearly 18-year high. Disposable 
income, which is income after taxes, is up 3.5 percent this year. And 
small business optimism is at a record high.
  In short, Republican economic policies are working, and I don't need 
to tell anyone that economic growth lagged during the Obama 
administration. Recovery from the recession was historically weak, and 
some economists were predicting that 2 percent growth would be the new 
  But Republicans disagreed. We didn't think American workers should 
have to resign themselves to permanently sluggish economic growth and 
the diminished opportunities that come with it. We knew that American 
innovators and job creators were as creative and driven as ever, but we 
also knew that American businesses, large and small, were weighed down 
by burdensome regulations and an outdated tax code that discouraged 
growth. So over the past year and a half, the White House and 
Republicans in Congress have focused on removing obstacles to economic 
growth. We have reduced burdensome regulations, and in December, we 
passed historic, comprehensive tax reform legislation.
  Before that bill passed, before the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed, the 
Tax Code was not helping businesses grow and create jobs. In fact, it 
was doing the opposite, and that had real consequences for American 
  A small business owner struggling to afford the hefty annual tax bill 
for her business was highly unlikely to be able to hire a new worker or 
to raise wages. A larger business struggling to stay competitive in the 
global marketplace while paying a substantially higher tax rate than 
its foreign competitors too often had limited funds to expand or 
increase investment in the United States.
  So we took action to improve the playing field for American workers 
by improving the playing field for businesses as well. We lowered tax 
rates across the board for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, 
farms, and ranches. We lowered our Nation's massive corporate tax rate 
which, until January 1, was the highest corporate

[[Page S5746]]

tax rate in the developed world. We expanded business owners' ability 
to recover investments they make in their businesses, which frees up 
cash that they can reinvest in their operations and their workers. And 
we brought the U.S. international tax system into the 21st century so 
that American businesses are not operating at a disadvantage next to 
their foreign competitors.
  Now we are seeing the results: stronger economic growth, as I 
mentioned--4.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, giving us an 
annual growth rate of over 3 percent. That is something we haven't seen 
in quite a while. Low unemployment--we are seeing the lowest 
unemployment numbers, literally, in the last 18 years. The number of 
jobless claims is the lowest in 40 years. There are better wages and 
benefits. We are seeing companies large and small across this country 
increasing wages and the benefits they pay to their employees. Wages, 
as I mentioned earlier, are up--the highest level increase in wages in 
a decade. And, as I said earlier, disposable income is up 3.5 percent 
since the first of this year. All of this has happened since tax reform 
passed last year. One and a half million new jobs have been created 
since the passage of tax reform, and that means more opportunities for 
American workers.
  I am proud of the progress we have made in getting the economy going 
again, and I am going to go keep working with my colleagues, hopefully 
on both sides of the aisle, to expand economic opportunities for 
Americans even further.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.

                            Opioid Epidemic

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I would like to agree with my colleague 
from South Dakota, who has talked about the importance of the tax 
relief and regulatory reform and what that has meant for our economy. 
We are growing at rates that some have said were impossible. People 
said: Well, you just have to get used to the new normal. We are going 
to have the economy grow at 1 or 2 percent. It was 4.1 percent last 
quarter, and it looks as though we are going to continue to see strong 
growth. That is because of policies that were enacted here, and I think 
they are making a difference.
  I am going to talk about something today that actually is making it 
more difficult to find the workers to be able to get that economy 
moving forward the way all of us would like to see because as we have 
lower unemployment, as we have a growing workforce, we are seeing a 
number of Americans who are out of the workforce altogether.
  There is some new data from the Department of Labor and from the 
Brookings Institution, some studies that have shown that between the 
opioid epidemic--which is heroin, prescription drugs, now this new 
fentanyl--and other issues, there are people who are not showing up 
even to apply for jobs. They are not even showing up in the 
unemployment figures, and they are at historically high levels--8\1/2\ 
million men between the ages of 25 and 55, so able-bodied men between 
25 and 55. This recent study from both the Department of Labor and from 
the Brookings Institution shows that almost one-half of those men 
acknowledge taking pain medication on a daily basis. In one of the 
studies, when pushed, two-thirds of those men said that they were 
taking prescription drug medication on a daily basis. Think about that. 
This is shocking: 8\1/2\ million men out of work between the ages of 25 
and 55--about one-half of them are saying that they are taking pain 
medication on a daily basis; two-thirds are taking prescription drugs. 
That is not overreported. In my view, that is underreported because 
there are legal issues involved with the opioid epidemic. Also, there 
is a stigma attached to the addiction.
  So in order to fully take advantage of this growing economy--and my 
colleague is absolutely right about that--we have to deal with this 
opioid epidemic.
  I will tell you something that is even more tragic is that the 
Centers for Disease Control just came out with a new report last week 
talking about what is happening around the country, and it was another 
year of tragic results for American families, for communities 
represented by Members all across the country here in the U.S. Senate.
  This was the Centers for Disease Control. The new report shows that 
last year--they just got the final numbers for it--the number of people 
who overdosed and died from the opioid crisis that we have was greater 
than the year before, not just at record levels but at levels that 
really create this epidemic level. Seventy-two thousand Americans died 
of overdoses last year.
  This is the map that shows where it is, and it is all over our 
country. There were a couple of States that made some progress. Those 
are the States in purple here. But in all of these other States, you 
actually see an increase--overall a 9-percent increase in overdose 
deaths in our country from 2016 to 2017. The problem is not getting 
better; it is getting worse.
  My own State of Ohio increased 9.5 percent from 2016 to 2017. Sadly, 
that puts Ohio third in the country for total drug overdoses and fourth 
nationally for the number of overdose deaths per capita, per 100,000 
  Seventy-two thousand Americans dying of overdoses--that is more than 
the deadliest year for car accidents or gun deaths ever. Now, 72,000 
Americans died last year by overdose. That is more than the total 
number of American casualties in the Vietnam war. Remember that this is 
just 1 year--just last year. Overdoses are now the top cause of 
accidental death in the United States and the No. 1 cause of all deaths 
for all Americans under the age of 50.

  The most recent CDC report illustrates something a lot of us already 
knew. This is a national crisis, and it is gripping every single State 
represented in this Chamber. By the way, this is despite a lot of good 
work that has been done by this body, by the House, and by the 
  Over the last couple of years, Congress has taken on this issue. We 
passed legislation that is helping. One of the pieces of legislation is 
called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA 
legislation, which I coauthored with a colleague on the other side, 
Sheldon Whitehouse. The other one is called the Cures Act, which is 
funding going directly to the States. By the way, Ohio just got another 
$26 million this year from the Cures Act, and we are putting it to 
work. In the appropriations bill that is before this body now in the 
Labor-HHS bill, we again provide funding for the CARA legislation, 
which does funding directly to groups that are doing a good job on 
prevention, education, treatment and recovery. It also helps our 
firefighters and other first responders with the miracle drug Narcan 
that they need to reverse the effects of an overdose. It is all good, 
and it is working.
  I was recently back home and had a chance to visit, as I do 
regularly, some of the institutions and some of the entities that are 
using this funding. Just to give an example, I went to a town called 
Whitehall, outside of Columbus, OH. We had a roundtable at a fire 
station, and I got to see what is going on. They are taking this grant 
money and training their EMS personnel--the firefighters and 
paramedics--to be able to handle people coming in who are addicted and 
get them into treatment. This firehouse has opened up its doors, no 
questions asked. If you come in there, they will get you treatment.
  While I was there, coincidentally, a young man showed up. He had been 
through treatment three times, and it hadn't worked for him. He said he 
was ready--ready to go. He was shaking and he was nervous, but I 
watched the firefighter deal with him. They spoke to him, and I spoke 
to him.
  I saw him get into the ambulance and go to another entity that is 
called the Addiction Stabilization Center in downtown Columbus, which 
is also doing innovative work and is also funded by these programs, in 
this case with the Cures Act funding. It is an old hospital they 
converted into a 50-bed treatment center with an emergency center.
  So people can come in from the street, and they have a place to go 
into treatment immediately. It takes away the excuse. They have about 
an 80-percent rate of people getting into treatment. That is incredibly 
  One of the big problems with the current crisis is that people who 
are addicted and who overdose and are saved by this miracle drug 
Narcan, which reverses the effects of the overdose, typically then go 
right back into the same environment. How do you get them

[[Page S5747]]

into treatment? How do you get them back on track? How do you keep them 
in treatment? How do you ensure that treatment is successful? That is 
what the CARA and Cures legislation is helping to do.
  I will say that despite the positive stories back home, despite the 
additional effort we have put in, still there is this data from the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that last year was 
worse than the year before. Why is that so despite the efforts in 
Congress and at every level of government?
  In all of our communities something is being done. People are 
starting to step forward. The private sector is starting to get more 
engaged. That is all good.
  I think the primary reason for this is because of the rise of a 
particular drug--the new scourge. It is the synthetic form of opioids. 
Just as we were making progress in reducing some of these overdoses and 
deaths and dealing with the terrible consequences of the opioid 
epidemic, what happened? We saw a steep increase in a new drug coming 
into the market. It is more deadly--50 times more deadly than heroin--
and it is relatively inexpensive. That is a fatal combination for 
thousands of our constituents who are dying every year now from the 
fastest growing and deadliest drug in this epidemic--fentanyl.
  This breaks down the types of drugs and the type of drug and the 
increase or decrease. The one trend that stands out, as you see here, 
is the growth in synthetic opioids.
  In fact, with regard to other drugs, including heroin, you can see a 
slight decrease--basically, a flattening. For other opioids, there is 
an increase and, then, a slight flattening. With regard to synthetic 
opioids, there is a steep increase, and there is a steep increase 
  Last year there were 30,000 overdose deaths from synthetic drugs like 
fentanyl. That is up from approximately 20,000 overdose deaths from 
fentanyl the year earlier. So there are 10,000 more deaths from 
fentanyl between 2016 and 2017.
  To give you an idea of how rapidly this drug is infiltrating our 
country, in 2013 there were about 3,000 fentanyl overdose deaths 
nationally. This means that from 2013 to 2017, there has been an 850-
percent increase in overdose deaths due to fentanyl.
  Last year, fentanyl was involved in more than 60 percent of the 
48,600 overdose deaths that the CDC says were from opioids. In my State 
of Ohio, we think that is consistent. We think it is over 60 percent, 
or closer to two-thirds.
  Looking at the new data coming in this year from Ohio from the 
various health departments around the State and from our coroners, it 
looks like it is an even higher percentage in 2018.
  When I am home I hear about this a lot. People come up to me and tell 
me stories that will break your heart about family members. I have had 
two tele-townhall meetings in the last month, and both of these 
involved thousands of Ohioans. People aren't selected for anything 
other than that they get a phone call and they are asked if they want 
to talk to their Senator. We pick up the phone and we have 15,000 to 
20,000 people on the call, and in both of these last two tele-townhall 
meetings, somebody called in with a very similar story--a tragic story 
about the pain and suffering they experienced from a loved one passing 
away from a fentanyl overdose.
  Pauline from Zanesville called in, and she told me her brother had 
recently passed away. She wondered what we were doing about it. Sam 
from Shelby County called at the next townhall meeting and told me that 
his son had tragically overdosed from fentanyl and died. By the way, in 
both of those cases, they didn't mention that up front. They called and 
had a discussion with me about some policy issues, and it just kind of 
came out. Their voices cracked. You could tell when they are overcome 
with emotion at the end of our conversation. They said: Well, my son--
in this guy's case--just died from an overdose of fentanyl.
  By the way, in both cases, the brother and the son did not know they 
had taken fentanyl. They didn't know they had used fentanyl. In one 
case, with regard to the brother, he thought it was only cocaine that 
he was using. Instead, it was laced with fentanyl. In the other case, 
it was heroin, and the person had shot up heroin before and been 
successful in not dying of an overdose, at least, but in this case 
fentanyl was laced in the heroin.
  Now I tell you this because this new deadly drug is not just about 
pure fentanyl. It is about evil dealers and drug traffickers actually 
mixing the fentanyl with other drugs as well. When the coroners' 
reports come in, often they are finding out it is fentanyl, not the 
drug the person thought he or she was taking. I had first responders 
telling me that somebody wakes up and says: Thank you for saving my 
life on this Narcan. I am OK now.
  Unfortunately, that is not what you hope would happen. You hope they 
will say: I want to go into treatment.
  But they wake up, after having been saved by Narcan, and they say: I 
don't know why I overdosed, because I wasn't taking a strong drug.
  They are told: Well, this tested for fentanyl.
  They say: Well, I wasn't taking fentanyl.
  That is because now any street drug--any street drug--that is taken 
has the risk of containing fentanyl, which can be deadly.
  I hope people who are listening today tell everyone they can think 
of--at work, in their family, people in the community--just to be sure 
that this message is getting out. This is a new and deadly threat out 
on our streets, and it can be in any drug.
  We want to turn the tide in this drug epidemic that is depriving the 
people I represent and the people represented by this Chamber of their 
God-given purpose in life, whatever it is. It certainly isn't to 
overdose and die from opioids. We have to confront much more 
aggressively this rise of fentanyl. This is the reality. None of us 
wish it were, but it is.
  Shockingly, when you do research on this, you will find out that 
these synthetic drugs come into our country from other countries 
directly through the U.S. mail system. That is what law enforcement 
folks have told us--shocking. It is not mostly coming from any place 
except foreign countries sending it through the U.S. mail system. That 
is where the majority of this is coming from.
  We looked into this issue on the Permanent Subcommittee on 
Investigations. I chair that subcommittee. We spent 18 months studying 
this. We found out how easy it was to purchase fentanyl online and have 
it shipped to the United States of America. We learned through this 18-
month undercover investigation that these drugs can be found through a 
simple Google search and that overseas sellers essentially guaranteed 
delivery if the fentanyl was sent through a Federal agency--the U.S. 
Postal Service.
  We found out from talking to law enforcement and our own research 
that this drug is primarily coming from China--one country--where there 
are scientists and chemical companies that are putting together this 
deadly mixture and are sending it to our shores.
  Why do the traffickers prefer the U.S. Postal Service? Because it has 
lower screening standards than the other private carriers. 
International packages that enter the United States are subject to 
screening. Every private entity--such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, or others--
has to provide law enforcement with advanced electronic data as to 
where the package is from, what is in the package, and where it is 
going. With that data, they can use big data from around the country 
and around the world, including from intelligence sources, and they can 
help to identify suspicious packages. Otherwise it is like finding a 
needle in a haystack.
  The post office, by the way, brings about 900 million packages a year 
into the country. It is like finding a needle in a haystack, unless you 
have that information in advance and electronically. It allows Customs 
and Border Protection, which are doing the best job they can, to 
identify those suspicious packages, to stop them in transit, to keep 
these synthetic drugs out of our communities, and to stop the poison.
  I have seen them in action. I have visited the Customs and Border 
Protection port of entry and have seen how they can get packages. They 
have to take these packages into a sealed room that has adequate 
ventilation, and they have to wear protective gear to be

[[Page S5748]]

able to even open these packages because this stuff is so deadly.
  I have been to Columbus, OH, and I have seen there, in one of these 
distribution centers for one of the private carriers--not Customs and 
Border Protection--people putting their lives on the line for us and 
finding deadly packages and taking them offline to avoid this poison 
coming into our community. Law enforcement, as you can imagine, is 
desperate to stop these deadly drugs from reaching our shores in the 
first place. That is the best way to stop it. They need this critical 
information in advance to be able to do that.
  Why doesn't the post office do it? Because we haven't required them 
to. By law, after 9/11, we have required all private carriers to 
provide this information. Frankly, we were more focused on explosives 
than we were on contraband such as drugs. But we didn't require the 
U.S. Postal Service. Instead, we said: Study this issue and get back to 
  That was 16 years ago. For the last several years, some of us have 
been pushing the U.S. Postal Service hard on this, and unfortunately, 
some still continue to oppose this effort to provide 100 percent 
electronic data.
  Because of congressional pressure, they have recently been getting 
more data on some of these packages. Based on testimony before our 
subcommittee, last year the Postal Service received electronic data in 
advance on about 36 percent of the packages that came in, meaning that 
the United States received more than 318 million international packages 
with no or little screening.
  Even when the post office conducted these pilot programs to screen 
for the drugs to get to the 36 percent number, 80 percent of the time 
they presented the packages to Customs and Border Protection and 20 
percent of the time they did not present the package. So only 30 
percent of the time was screening being provided, and still in 20 
percent of those cases, they didn't present the packages to Customs and 
Border Protection. Instead, they went into circulation in our 
  We have a simple solution: 100 percent screening. This is a deadly 
  Can you imagine tens of thousands of people dying from something that 
comes in from overseas through our own U.S. Postal Service and we are 
not stepping up to say: Whoa, let's do everything we can to screen 
these packages. The best monitoring devices, the best information--that 
is what we are asking for.
  The legislation we have is called the STOP Act. It is a bipartisan 
bill that I authored with my colleague Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota. It 
closes the loophole from the U.S. Postal Service that drug traffickers 
are using and exploiting to ship these deadly drugs into our 
communities. By holding the Postal Service to the same standard as 
private carriers and requiring them to provide that advance electronic 
data for all international packages entering the United States of 
America, we can keep the fentanyl out of our communities.

  By the way, talk to your letter carrier about this issue. They will 
tell you they want to stop this. They don't want to be carrying this 
poison. The person who walks door-to-door in your community or delivers 
mail to your post office does not want to have fentanyl in their 
package. First, it is dangerous for them, but more important to them is 
that they know what it is doing to our communities. They don't want to 
be any part of it.
  The STOP Act passed the House of Representatives earlier this summer, 
and more than one-third of the Senators in this Chamber are now 
cosponsors of this legislation. In my view, it is long past time for 
the Senate to pass this legislation so that it can become law and begin 
to make a real difference in our communities.
  I would like to thank President Trump for his leadership on this 
issue. Some of you may have seen yesterday that he sent out a 
statement--a tweet--supporting moving ahead with the STOP Act because 
of the scourge of this fentanyl coming into our neighborhoods, coming 
into our communities, our homes. He recognized the importance of this 
issue, by the way, and talked about it during the 2016 campaign and has 
talked about it a lot since then. He appointed an opioid commission to 
look into this issue. That commission endorsed the STOP Act 
specifically. I want to thank Governor Christie for working with us on 
that. That was the final report in November of last year, and still we 
have not passed it.
  On Monday, when President Trump called on the Senate to pass this 
legislation without delay, I noticed there was more interest and 
reporters talking about this issue in the halls. I am glad about that. 
The President is waiting, pen in hand. He is ready to sign the STOP 
Act. Let's not make him wait any longer.
  Last year, an average of 81 Americans died every single day from 
synthetic opioids. From what I can tell back home, this year is no 
better and may, in fact, be worse. We can't wait around for this 
problem to get worse. We can't do nothing. We have to do something. The 
legislation we passed here to help with prevention, treatment, and 
recovery is good. It is beginning to work. But we also need to reduce 
the supply and at least increase the cost of this deadly drug, which is 
50 times more powerful than heroin. We need to pass the STOP Act. We 
need to pass it now so we can make a meaningful difference in combating 
fentanyl, the new scourge of this opioid epidemic.
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          Remembering Ed Rolfs

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, yesterday, my wife Robba and I attended the 
funeral services of Ed Rolfs of Junction City, KS. I come today to pay 
honor to this Kansan, to this great individual, and pay tribute to his 
contributions to his community and to our State.
  Mr. Rolfs was born on December 13, 1924, in Junction City, KS, where 
he lived his entire life. He attended school there and graduated from 
Junction City High School. He then attended the University of Kansas 
for his undergraduate degree and later received degrees from Columbia 
University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  Ed was a lifelong student and was always busy. He was an avid reader 
and researcher. He studied financial markets and economic trends. He 
also stuck to his roots as a farmer, and he worked on the family farm 
until his passing this week.
  The community and State know him as a strong supporter of schools and 
education. He continually supported scholarships and mentored many 
young men and women in the Junction City area.
  He was a banker, and he began his career at the bank his father first 
started in 1915--Central National Bank. In 1967, Ed was promoted. He 
was named president of the bank, and he served in that capacity for 
over 25 years. He saw a great deal of growth and expansion in the bank 
as it spread into communities across the State and region. He was a 
president of a big bank, but he was a president of a community bank 
that had relationships with its customers. The banking community knew 
him to be a visionary leader, and he was, by many accounts, described 
as having a brilliant mind. His impact on the bank was more than just 
the bottom line; he took care and focused on his employees and their 
  Ed was a dedicated member of the Junction City community. Junction 
City is a community that is surrounded by Fort Riley. It is a community 
that understands the importance of civic engagement and understands the 
importance of caring for those who serve our Nation and whose families 
often remain behind while that service occurs. He was active in his 
  It is what you, Mr. President, and I know about many communities 
across our States in which people devote a significant amount of their 
time to making sure that good things happen at home. It is also a 
generational thing where you see those the age of Ed make certain that 
their lives are more than just their careers.
  Ed had been a member of the Rotary Club since 1950. He joined the 
Masonic Union Lodge in 1953. He had held the post of president of both 
the Rotary Club and the Junction City Chamber of

[[Page S5749]]

Commerce. He was engaged with the Highland Cemetery Association as 
president; the Central Charities Foundation, where he was chairman; and 
he was a treasurer and trustee of the Kansas Council for Economic 
  I have known Ed for many years. I, as well as those who honored him 
at his funeral service yesterday, described him as a humble man, 
despite his many successes, who kept quiet about those accomplishments. 
Over his lifetime, he received many awards, ranging from the Ernst & 
Young Entrepreneur of the Year to the Kansas Governor's Art Award in 
  He served his country, in addition to his community. It makes us 
proud that he was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean 
conflict. He was a 73-year member of the American Legion Post No. 45. 
Serving and sacrificing for others is simply who Ed Rolfs was.
  Ed had a deep understanding of the temporary nature of life. He was a 
devoted and lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church, where he 
served in various roles--as treasurer, member of the choir, trustee, 
and Sunday school teacher.
  A dedicated family man and loving husband, father, grandfather, and 
great-grandfather, Ed leaves behind his wife, Eunice, of nearly 70 
years. I would use this as an opportunity to indicate to my colleagues 
that Eunice is the daughter of Frank Carlson, former Governor and U.S. 
Senator from Kansas. They were married for nearly 70 years. He has 
three children, four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
  One of the things I observe in judging a person on their abilities, 
their character, who they are as a human being, is what their family is 
like. In any dealings I ever had with Ed Rolfs and his family, I knew 
he was good at what was really important in life. He raised a good 
family. He and Eunice raised a good family.
  Ed represents the kinds of values on which our State was built. His 
sense of care and compassion and his service to his community, his 
country, his church, and his family have made the world and our part of 
the world a better place. He had a vision for a stronger community and 
a more prosperous Kansas. He will continue to inspire me personally.
  Another observation is that my attendance at the funeral services 
yesterday caused me to remind myself that you hope the people who come 
to your funeral service are there because they admire and respect you 
and honor you and the life you lived. Ed had significant responsibility 
and a significant position in the community, but it is unusual to see 
so many people of all ages at a funeral. It wasn't about his position; 
it was about his relationship with those he knew and cared about.
  In the coming weeks, Robba and I will continue to keep Ed and his 
wife Eunice, along with their family and friends, in our prayers. As 
they celebrated his life at the funeral services on Monday, may we 
continue to live our lives in a way that honors the way he lived his 
  May Ed Rolfs rest in peace.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. INHOFE. After the announcement that was made this morning--it was 
a great announcement, long awaited--I think it is appropriate that we 
talk a little bit about it. When Trump withdrew from the Paris 
Agreement and pulled back from the Clean Power Plan, we heard from the 
environmental extremists and the liberals declaring that the 
administration's actions will ``endanger public health, our environment 
and our economic prosperity.'' That was Governors Brown and Cuomo. They 
further declared that ``if we don't decarbonize our future, people are 
going to die.'' People are always going to die. That is what the 
extremists always say. I guess there must be a population out there 
that actually believes that.
  However, the opposite is happening even without a one-sided 
international agreement or the punishing Clean Power Plan. In effect, 
in 2017, the United States led the world in CO2 reductions, 
while China and India led the world in increasing CO2 
emissions. How many people know that? All you ever hear about is that 
we are the guilty one in terms of our emissions. That is not true at 
all. Just think, both China and India led the world in increasing 
CO2 emissions. These are the guys our previous President, 
Barack Obama, would have us believe were actually making great 
sacrifices, and here they are leading in increasing CO2 
  When we passed tax reform, the Democrats claimed we would experience 
``Armageddon''--Nancy Pelosi said that--and taxes on middle-class 
families would increase. As we have seen, tax reform has been a 
resounding success, with 4 percent unemployment and nearly 4.1 percent 
GDP growth in the last quarter.
  Right after Congresswoman Pelosi made the statement that taxes would 
increase on all middle-class families, the Washington Post fact-checked 
the Democratic claims, giving them four Pinocchios, as 80 percent of 
middle-class families are paying less in taxes. In other words, 80 
percent of middle-class families are paying less in taxes now than they 
were. Yet she was saying that taxes on all middle-class families were 
going to have to increase.
  You hear these things--they can't look at success and see what is 
happening and really appreciate it without rousing everyone on the 
other side with extreme accusations. With every Executive order and 
Congressional Review Act resolution that rolled back regulation after 
burdensome regulation, we heard that the end of days was coming.
  Let's pause here for a minute and see how you get rid of some of 
these regulations. There are two ways of getting rid of regulations. 
One is you do it with an Executive order. Sometimes that doesn't work. 
You can't use an Executive order in certain types of regulation, so you 
have to go with the Congressional Review Act.
  It is kind of interesting because we started the Congressional Review 
Act over 20 years ago. Prior to this administration, it had been used 
successfully only once in 20 years; now it happens almost every day.
  With every Executive order and Congressional Review Act resolution 
rolling back the regulations, we heard that the end of the world was 
coming. You would not know it if you looked at the economy and saw what 
is happening in this country today with the increases in energy 
production, manufacturing, consumer confidence, GDP, and job 
  Meanwhile, jobless claims have dropped to a 45-year low--a 45-year 
low of jobless claims this year--and the Social Security disability 
claims last year were the lowest we have seen since 2002.
  I think it is kind of interesting to go back and look at the fact 
that we have 4 percent unemployment. For as long as I can remember, I 
have always considered 4 percent unemployment full employment. There 
are always going to be some unemployables, but 4 percent is considered 
to be full employment, and that is what we have.
  It is kind of interesting. I was in Texas last week, talking to one 
of my liberal friends down there. I said: What can you say now? Look at 
the economy. The economy has never been better.
  He said: No, the economy is bad. It is hard to find anyone to work in 
restaurants anymore.
  In other words, we have full employment, but that is supposed to be 
bad. That is the position we are in right now.
  In the last quarter, we had 4.1 percent growth in the economy. Let's 
stop and think about that. This is something that no one disagrees 
with. For every 1 percent growth in economic activity, that translates 
into $2.9 trillion of new income coming into the Federal Government 
every 10 years.
  Let's stop and think about it. We have a President who is trying to 
undo the damage from the last administration when the military was cut 
down to the bone and we didn't do anything in the way of 
infrastructure. This President is committed to that.
  People are saying: All right, where is the money going to come from?

[[Page S5750]]

  There is where it is going to come from. My gosh, if we can average 
just 3 percent growth--and we have been doing that; we are far 
exceeding that--that is going to be close to $6 trillion of new funding 
that will be there for the next administration.
  With each action the President takes, we hear that the consequences 
are going to be dire and that people will die. It is always that people 
will die. Yet those predictions have never materialized. We have seen 
the opposite happen.
  When it comes to President Trump's pick to replace Justice Kennedy on 
the Supreme Court, the predictions are just as hysterical. If there is 
not any logical reason to be against something, they just start name-
calling. That is what has been happening.
  In a recent speech, Hillary Clinton worried that with the nomination 
of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Republicans ``want to turn the clock back . . 
. to the 1850s.'' That came from Hillary Clinton. Her meaning was very 
clear. She wants people to believe that Judge Kavanaugh and the 
Republicans are taking the country back to the days of slavery, despite 
no evidence to back up this reckless claim. In fact, Republicans want 
more freedom, not less.
  Others are equally as bold in their predictions in saying that his 
confirmation will be the death--listen to this--the death of millions, 
that his confirmation will be the destruction of the Constitution, and 
that his confirmation will usher in the end of civil rights in America 
and make us complicit in evil. In other words, it will be the death of 
millions of Americans. Who, logically, can even look at that without 
smiling and saying that they have to be totally desperate in the 
accusations they are making against this guy? All of these baseless and 
extreme attacks on his nomination mean just one thing--that Judge 
Kavanaugh is an excellent pick for the Supreme Court.
  After meeting with him last week, looking into his record, and 
reading about his character--some of the stories that I have heard from 
other people--it is clear that he is a solid choice to become our 
newest Supreme Court Justice. With 12 years on the DC Court of Appeals, 
Judge Kavanaugh has amassed a record of over 300 opinions, and the 
worst opposition research we have seen against him so far is that he 
charged baseball tickets to his credit card and then paid for them.
  By all accounts, from those who know him, Judge Kavanaugh is a 
respected member of his community and of his profession. 
Professionally, he is known as a serious jurist who studies the law and 
is evenhanded in applying the law.
  In his op-ed for the New York Times, entitled ``A Liberal's Case for 
Brett Kavanaugh,'' Yale Law professor Akhil Reed Amar made this 
statement: ``Good appellate judges faithfully follow the Supreme Court; 
great ones influence and help steer it.'' He was referring to Judge 
Kavanaugh. By this measure, Judge Kavanaugh has been a great appellate 
  He ranks second among the current judges who have law clerks who have 
gone on to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court. More impressively, the 
Supreme Court has agreed with the positions that Judge Kavanaugh took 
in the last 13 of his opinions, adopting his logic in the prevailing 
opinion before the Court. In other words, they came down on his side in 
the cases that he had decided in the last 13 of his opinions. Nine of 
those times, the Supreme Court adopted his dissenting opinion as their 
majority opinion. In fact, he has been reversed by the Supreme Court 
only once and only in part.
  Of those dissenting opinions by Judge Kavanaugh that the Supreme 
Court adopted as their own, one of them includes his dissent in 
Coalition for Responsible Regulation v. EPA, in which he concluded that 
the EPA defined ``air pollution'' too broadly in its regulations on 
greenhouse gas emissions. He viewed the Obama EPA's burdensome 
greenhouse gas regulations for powerplants as exceeding its authority 
and argued that the courts should ``not lightly conclude that Congress 
intended'' to ``impose the enormous costs on tens of thousands of 
American businesses, with corresponding effects on American jobs and 
workers.'' Again, the Supreme Court agreed with him. They were on his 
  This opinion is also instructive to see his thinking on the proper 
role of the courts in our system of government. In his opinion, he 
wrote: ``As a court, it is not our job to make the policy choices and 
set the statutory boundaries, but it is emphatically our job to 
carefully but firmly enforce the statutory boundaries.'' This is a 
consistent part of his jurisprudence.
  Because of his position on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge 
Kavanaugh has had many opportunities to check the Federal Government's 
overreach. I served as chairman of the Environment and Public Works 
Committee for quite a number of years, and one of the big problems we 
had at that time was that the bureaucrats were actually making the 
determinations. This is where he has actually overruled the bureaucracy 
many times. In fact, he has overruled Federal agency actions 75 times 
in his 12 years on the bench. That is really saying something.
  When the EPA wanted to impose massive emissions regulations but did 
not want to consider the costs, Judge Kavanaugh rejected that effort in 
White Stallion Energy Center v. EPA. The Supreme Court agreed.
  In the case of EME Homer City Generation v. EPA, Judge Kavanaugh held 
that the Obama EPA's cross-state air pollution rule was awful and 
imposed excessive regulatory burdens on the States.
  He also rejected the Department of the Interior's position to 
designate 143 acres of plaintiff's property as critical habitat for a 
shrimp based ``on a single 2001 sighting of four ant-sized San Diego 
fairy shrimp'' on the property. They would shut that down. He reversed 
  These are just a few examples of Judge Kavanaugh's efforts to ensure 
that our agencies are acting and regulating within their authorizing 
statutes and the U.S. Constitution.
  This is the real reason we are seeing such vitriol from the left. 
They have long used our courts and our agencies to impose their 
unpopular agenda, mostly because they couldn't get it through Congress, 
as the majority of Americans recognized how stifling and burdensome 
their agenda is.
  Having another judge on the Supreme Court who recognizes the proper 
role of the courts and the agencies when it comes to setting policy 
that affects all Americans threatens their ability to force costly, 
ineffective, unpopular burdens on our economy, our job producers, and 
our landowners. With Judge Kavanaugh on the court, we will preserve the 
U.S. Constitution and our system of representative government for 
decades to come.
  As I told Brett in our meeting--he has been good enough to go around 
and have meetings with all of the Members of the Senate. As a matter of 
fact, I told him that, from his reputation, he didn't need to waste his 
time with me because I knew all about him, and I was going to support 
him. As I told him during that meeting, though, his nomination and the 
work President Trump and the Senate have done to process judicial 
nominations are to save our country, not for me but for my 20 kids and 
  So I look forward to the confirmation. We are going to hear more of 
the accusations, more of the extreme left making comments about this 
great judicial success. I look forward to having him there for many 
years to come. I am convinced that it is going to happen.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). Without objection, it is so 
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, as a member of the Defense Appropriations 
Subcommittee, let me begin my remarks by thanking Chairman Shelby and 
Ranking Member Durbin, as well as Vice Chairman Leahy, for their 
leadership on the committee and their advocacy for the men and women 
who defend our Nation.
  At a time when the threats to our Nation are increasing rather than 
decreasing, the work of the Defense Subcommittee is vitally important 
to ensure that our men and women in uniform, as well as our DOD 
civilian employees, have the training, ships,

[[Page S5751]]

planes, vehicles, and other equipment they need to defend our country.
  The bipartisan bill reported out of the committee reaffirms the 
strategic importance of our Navy and our shipbuilding programs by 
including funding for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in fiscal 
year 2019, while also including $250 million in advance procurement 
funding for an additional destroyer in fiscal year 2020. This funding 
signals our strong belief that the Navy should sustain an aggressive 
rate of growth for large surface combatants in fiscal year 2020 and 
beyond in order to project strength in an increasingly dangerous and 
complex world.
  In recognition of national security imperatives, the Navy's own 2016 
fleet structure assessment increased the target number for large 
surface combatants to 104 ships from the 88 ships called for under the 
previous 308-ship Navy requirement. Maintaining a steady and 
predictable production profile for large ships will not only protect 
the help of our shipbuilding industrial base but also ensure that the 
Navy maintains an adequate number of these ships into the future.
  In Maine, we are very proud of the vital role Bath Iron Works plays 
in contributing to our national security by building and maintaining 
ships for the fleet. BIW is known throughout the fleet for the high 
quality of its ships that are built there, with many Sailors using the 
motto ``Bath built is best built.'' BIW employs the finest 
shipbuilders, engineers, and designers in the world. This bill rightly 
recognizes the great value that these tried and tested warships bring 
to the Navy.

  I am also proud of the continued investment this bill makes at our 
Nation's public shipyards. The additional $350 million provided for 
facility sustainment, research, restoration, and modernization, as well 
as the $176 million for shipyard investment acceleration, will help the 
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, and other public shipyards 
keep our Nation's submarines at sea for years to come.
  This bill also makes critical investments in research and development 
programs that are being carried out in partnership with research 
institutions such as the University of Maine. These programs include 
producing jet fuel from Maine's forest biomass, using structural 
thermoplastics for Army ground vehicles, conducting cellulose 
nanocomposite research for the Army, developing hybrid composite 
structures for the Navy, and participating in the Navy's advanced hull 
form development initiative, among many other essential research and 
development projects.
  Our legislation invests in cutting edge, fifth generation aircraft by 
funding 89 F-35 aircraft. These state-of-the-art planes are truly the 
future of aviation, and I am proud of Pratt & Whitney's contributions 
to this program through its construction of the F135 engine at its 
facility in North Berwick, ME.
  Additionally, our legislation procures eight heavy-lift helicopters 
for the Marine Corps. The rotating drive shafts are a critical 
component of this aircraft and are produced at Hunting Dearborn's 
facility in Fryeburg, ME.
  The National Guard, as the Presiding Officer is well aware, provides 
our country with both a strategic and operational reserve which has 
proven itself time and again.
  I applaud the bill's inclusion of providing $900 million to the 
National Guard and Reserve equipment account to modernize our Reserve 
Forces and ensure their full interoperability with the Active-Duty 
  Finally, the committee report ensures that Congress has sufficient 
oversight over any efforts to close or realign facilities of the 
Defense Finance and Accounting Service. DFAS, as it is called, 
maintains a highly efficient facility in Limestone, ME. It is 
responsible for payments to our servicemembers, DOD employees, vendors, 
and contractors. Given this critical responsibility, I applaud the work 
done by the hundreds of hard-working employees at Limestone, and I 
welcome their continued support of our Armed Forces.
  I am very pleased that we are proceeding the Defense appropriations 
bill, as well as the Labor-HHS appropriations legislation. I look 
forward to working with my colleagues to pass both bills in one package 
this week.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, this week marks the continuation of a 
bipartisan effort to actually do the work we were elected to do.
  The New York Times recently published an article that said the Senate 
got its groove back. I don't know if I would go that far, but certainly 
we are making some progress when it comes to these important funding 
  These two appropriation bills are two of the largest ones in the 
Federal Government. One, of course, is for the Department of Defense 
which, appropriately, is the No. 1 priority of the Federal Government--
to maintain the peace and keep our Nation safe. The other funds the 
Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.
  After we pass these bills this week, which we will, we will have 
passed 9 of the 12 appropriations bills, which cover 87 percent of 
discretionary spending.
  I might add that when I mention discretionary spending, it is 
noteworthy that about 70 percent of what the Federal Government spends 
is not discretionary spending. It is mandatory spending, which is 
another story in and of itself.
  But insofar as the Congress's responsibility to appropriate the funds 
in discretionary spending, we will have covered about 87 percent of 
  I want to express my gratitude again to Chairman Shelby and Vice 
Chairman Leahy for their efforts in facilitating such a relatively 
smooth process on all of our appropriations bills so far. They have 
done a good job of managing the bills and, even more importantly, of 
managing the people and preventing this process from devolving into a 
quagmire, as it occasionally does.
  To give you an idea of how difficult this can be, it bears mentioning 
that it has been 15 years since the Senate last passed the Labor-
Health-Education bill in time for the start of the fiscal year. So hats 
off to Mr. Shelby and Mr. Leahy. As the majority leader, Senator 
McConnell, said yesterday, these two bills represent big strides toward 
avoiding another omnibus, which the President said he wanted to do, and 
appropriating the taxpayers' money the right way.
  The funding bills we are working on this week are important, but they 
are not the only developments worth noting. Remember, recently we heard 
that in the second quarter of this year--the second 3-month period of 
this year--our economy grew at an astounding 4.1 percent after years of 
economic stagnation and wages that never seemed to go up. We were able 
to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of last year, which helped 
provide a needed stimulus to the economy by putting more money into the 
pockets of the people who earned it. We were successful in lowering 
rates across the board and doubled the child tax credit and standard 
  Over the last 9 months, my constituents in Texas have been writing to 
me about the effect it has had on their lives. These are men and women 
like Virginia Davis, a small business owner who said the changes will 
help keep expenses down and help her company buy new equipment. Then 
there is Suzan Casey, a widow in New Braunfels, TX, which is north of 
San Antonio, who is working part time even when facing health issues. 
She wrote and said that she appreciated our efforts at reforming our 
outdated Tax Code and that every little bit helps, especially when she 
has been saving up the money to go visit her grandson in California.
  In Texas, our economy has been robust for a long time now. We heard 
that last month, more than 23,000 jobs were added--the 25th consecutive 
month of job growth in my home State. In some places, such as Midland 
in the Permian Basin, which is the center of the universe when it comes 
to oil and gas production, it seems, the unemployment rate was as low 
as 2.2 percent. It is hard to find anybody who will work in the Permian 
Basin, in the

[[Page S5752]]

Midland-Odessa area, because the economy is so strong that every able-
bodied, willing worker is essentially employed. These are positive 
signs, although obviously there are stresses and strains that go along 
with it.
  Tax reform and the good economic news are complemented by other 
legislative victories we have had on behalf of the American people 
during this Congress.
  We funded rebuilding efforts following natural disasters, such as 
Hurricane Harvey.
  We enacted the Fix NICS Act and the STOP School Violence Act to help 
protect Americans from gun violence.
  We delivered real healthcare choices to American veterans with the VA 
  We passed occupational licensing reform, as well as banking reform, 
which helped our small banks, credit unions, and community banks get 
rid of some of the rules that never should have been applied to them in 
the first place because they weren't the cause of the huge crisis that 
led to the great recession just a few short years ago. It wasn't the 
community banks--it was Wall Street and some of the overreach there--
but community banks in small towns in and around Texas and elsewhere 
were the collateral damage.
  This last year and a half, we fought sex trafficking by passing 
legislation targeting internet predators, and we have worked hard and I 
think helped to reduce the rape kit backlog.
  We have confirmed a total of 53 judges this Congress, including 26 
circuit court judges, 26 district judges, and a Supreme Court Justice, 
Neil Gorsuch.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. President, 2 weeks from today, we will start the confirmation 
hearing of the next Supreme Court Justice we will consider, and that is 
Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who has been nominated to succeed Justice 
Anthony Kennedy as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  As I said, his hearing is set for the first week of September, and I 
hope we will move quickly to vote on his confirmation after the 
hearing. His confirmation process includes the largest production of 
documents ever in the Senate's consideration of a Supreme Court 
nominee. I appreciate Chairman Chuck Grassley's spearheading the effort 
in such a transparent, efficient, and thorough manner.
  To see how a judge will behave once elevated to the Supreme Court, 
the best evidence of how they will perform their job is how they have 
performed as a lower court judge, as Judge Kavanaugh has been over the 
last 12 years in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The best way to find 
out about his judicial philosophy, his temperament, and how he actually 
handles cases is to look at how he has done each of those things during 
the 12 years he has served on the DC Circuit. Yet we have heard some of 
our colleagues on the other side, including the minority leader and the 
former Judiciary chairman, Senator Leahy, who actually used to agree 
with us that the best way to evaluate a nominee--for example, during 
Justice Sotomayor's hearing--was by looking at their judicial record, 
but now they have changed their tune.
  In Judge Kavanaugh's case, what the rulings show consistently is that 
he is a diligent and thoughtful judge. His rulings are clear, they are 
impartial, and he strives to achieve justice in each one.
  Yesterday, I mentioned some of the cases in which Judge Kavanaugh's 
opinions, whether written as part of the majority opinion or the 
dissent, were vindicated by an adoption of that position and that 
opinion, essentially, by the Supreme Court on a 9-to-0 basis, but I 
would like to talk about another couple of arguments that have now 
started to bubble up.
  As I like to say, a false charge unrebutted is sometimes a charge 
believed, so we have to work hard to remind people that just because 
someone says something about Judge Kavanaugh's record, it is not 
necessarily true.
  The first claim that has now popped up is that he is somehow an 
``anti-worker radical.'' This is a phrase coined by the pundit Paul 
Krugman of the New York Times. It sounds pretty ugly. I guess it means 
that the judge is predisposed, when deciding cases, to find against 
employees and hard-working men and women in favor of management and big 
business. But the fact is, Judge Kavanaugh's record indicates exactly 
the opposite.
  In one case, a pro se litigant had been terminated after filing a 
discrimination complaint. Judge Kavanaugh joined the majority in a 
ruling for the employee, finding that a reasonable jury could have 
found unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against the 
plaintiff. That doesn't sound like an anti-worker radical to me.
  Judge Kavanaugh wrote a separate concurrence that a racial epithet 
that may have been used could create a hostile work environment, even 
if uttered a single time.
  In another case, involving a terrible accident involving a trainer of 
a killer whale at a theme park, Judge Kavanaugh did not simply defer to 
large corporate interests. In fact, the strict question of liability, 
which would have implicated State and Federal tort law, was not even 
before him, nor was the question of whether the work environment at the 
theme park was unreasonably dangerous. Instead, the question before the 
court and before Judge Kavanaugh was one of administrative law.
  Judge Kavanaugh argued persuasively that a Federal agency had ignored 
congressional intent when interpreting a statute in self-serving ways 
to give itself, the Federal agency, authority that Congress had not 
conferred. He argued that this agency had made arbitrary distinctions 
between different kinds of sporting and entertainment events and 
departed from longstanding agency precedent. That actually was the crux 
of his decision, despite the mischaracterization from some of the 
  We can count on Judge Kavanaugh to appropriately consider overreach 
by the administrative state and to enforce the rule of law that 
protects both corporations and individual workers. I think we have 
plenty evidence of that.
  One additional line of attack is that the judge has somehow been 
insufficiently protective of Fourth Amendment privacy rights, but one 
expert at the libertarian Cato Institute who has analyzed the judge's 
record in detail found that Judge Kavanaugh is a ``big step forward for 
constitutional liberty.'' Among other things, this expert noted that 
Judge Kavanaugh had been a leading advocate of interpreting statutes to 
include robust mens rea protection. In other words, in criminal 
statutes, before you can be convicted of a crime, you have to have 
criminal intent. That is mens rea.
  Judge Kavanaugh has authored 307 opinions on the DC Circuit and has 
attracted praise from across the ideological spectrum for the clarity 
of his thought and expression and the precision of his legal reasoning. 
He respects the roles and responsibilities that are assigned to the 
different branches of our government by the Constitution, and he sees 
the proper role of the judiciary as a narrow one, albeit an important 
one. It does not make policy. It interprets the law and applies it to 
individual cases, one at a time, impartially, with no eye toward the 
outcome or the politics of the case.
  The truth is, I believe that after the hearing we will have the week 
of September 4, the American people will conclude, as I have concluded 
based on my knowledge of Judge Kavanaugh for the last 18 years, that he 
is an eminently qualified and well-respected jurist by all those who 
know him and are familiar with his work. I look forward to confirming 
him as a Justice early this fall, hopefully in time for the October 
term of the Supreme Court, the first Monday in October.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Amendment No. 3761

  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I rise to offer an amendment to the 
legislation we are working on that would make sure security clearances 
are revoked on a going-forward basis only for valid national security 
reasons--not to change the subject on a bad news day,

[[Page S5753]]

not to threaten career government employees, and especially not to 
carry out political retribution.
  Virginia is home to tens of thousands of dedicated men and women who 
serve in our intelligence and defense communities. Over the years, as 
Senator and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I have met 
literally thousands of FBI agents, CIA officers, military 
servicemembers, contractors, and other public servants who hold 
security clearances. These men and women work day in and day out, often 
thanklessly, to keep America safe.
  Do you know what? I have no idea, amongst those Americans who have 
those security clearances, which of them are Democrats and which of 
them are Republicans, and that is the way our system is supposed to 
  The Federal Government grants security clearances only to those 
individuals who can be trusted with our Nation's secrets. Applicants go 
through intense, lengthy background checks, interviews, and even, in 
many cases, lie detector tests, not to mention extensive rechecks for 
suitability every few years. Only then, after this process, do we allow 
them to serve in some of the toughest intelligence and national 
security jobs. We ask a great deal of these dedicated professionals, 
but what we don't ask about are their political views.

  Since the mid-1990s, the Code of Federal Regulations has governed the 
13 criteria under which personnel are deemed eligible or ineligible for 
security clearances and access to classified information. Amongst those 
13 reasons to actually get a security clearance or to lose a security 
clearance is included: allegiance to the United States, being subjected 
to foreign influence, financial considerations, and others. When you 
look through that list of 13--and I have it over here--none of those 
criteria includes political speech, nor should they. Our national 
security is too important to infect with political partisanship.
  I believe that more than ever, in light of the President's actions 
last week when this President revoked the clearance of former CIA 
Director Brennan and, equally important, if not more important, when he 
threatened to revoke the clearances of numerous former and even current 
national security professionals. These individuals collectively have 
hundreds of years of honorable service to our country under their 
belts. No one can seriously question their fitness or loyalty to this 
  Unfortunately, what we know--which is what happened last week and 
which, unfortunately, happens too many times out of this White House--
is that this is all about politics. According to media reports, White 
House officials have discussed how to issue the revocations on a going-
forward basis to other enumerated individuals to distract from bad news 
stories. I hope these reports of the White House's plans are mistaken.
  True or not, we need only listen to the President's words to know 
these efforts are politically motivated. I will admit I had missed the 
widely publicized press event at which the White House announced the 
President's ``enemies' list.'' Yet anyone who looks at this list will 
notice some common factors in that they all served in the previous 
administration, and in the time since, several have exercised their 
First Amendment right to criticize this President for his policies. 
Many of those on the list have also had some involvement in the 
investigation into Russia's assault on our democracy in 2016. For 
that--in many cases, for doing their jobs--they are now being punished 
or will be potentially punished by this President and this White House.
  In the President's own words, ``These people led it . . . so I think 
it's something that had to be done.''
  This is truly a dangerous precedent. For the first time since 
President Eisenhower created the security clearance process as we know 
it, the President of the United States is abusing one of his most 
important national security tools in order to punish his political 
opponents. As one of my friends on the other side of the aisle 
mentioned, it is something that would be more akin to something coming 
out of a banana republic.
  Perhaps even more troubling is the message this President is sending 
to those who are currently serving in government service. It is pretty 
clear he is sending a message that says to think twice before working 
on anything this President doesn't like, to think twice before you 
express a political opinion, even if it is in private. The White House 
broadcast this message loud and clear when it threatened to revoke the 
clearance of a midlevel employee at the Department of Justice.
  This is a clear attempt of intimidating others in the bureaucracy. If 
this President is successful in revoking this first wave of clearances, 
there is no question these actions will threaten the ongoing Russia 
investigation--an investigation that, again today, claimed two more 
guilty convictions, an investigation that has already resulted, prior 
to today, in 5 guilty pleas and 35 indictments. As I mentioned, today 
included the conviction of the President's campaign manager.
  Unfortunately, the President's actions don't just harm the 
individuals involved; these tactics threaten our national security 
institutions themselves. The Pentagon, the intelligence community, the 
FBI, the Department of Justice, and the rest of our national security 
structures depend on seasoned career professionals who do not act out 
of partisan motivations. Threatening their clearances--threatening 
their livelihoods and their families--is a clear attempt at undermining 
an ongoing, legitimate criminal investigation into what Russia did in 
2016. If successful, the President's actions threaten to politicize our 
national security institutions even more so than they have already 
  The President has significant authority as head of the executive 
branch, but there is widespread agreement that he should not be able to 
use these powers to get payback against Americans who criticize him. 
All of us in this body agree that no President should be able to order 
the IRS to audit political enemies, and we all agree no President 
should be able to order wiretaps against those who displease him. We 
should also all agree that a President should not have the power to 
remove clearances for reasons that have nothing to do with national 
security and certainly not because an individual expresses his or her 
right to free speech.
  I ask my colleagues to support the Warner amendment. I ask the 
majority leader to make sure this amendment gets a fair vote, up or 
down, on the floor of the Senate because I believe the Senate must take 
a stand against any attempts to punish political speech or to threaten 
our national security professionals by arbitrarily taking away their 
security clearances.
  We currently have in place real and prudent guidelines for issuing 
and revoking clearances, guidelines that are based on national security 
and not on political considerations. We cannot allow those to be 
supplemented by crass partisanship or attempts by this President to 
punish his enemies. We have come way too far from the dark days of 
Watergate to allow this type of attack against career professionals who 
have faithfully served our Nation with honor and dignity. We should 
demand better from this President. We can take that action by passing 
this amendment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). The Senator from Iowa.

                     Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, as I have now for several weeks spoken 
to my colleagues about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, I 
return to further elaborate on where we are in that process.
  Two weeks from today, Judge Brett Kavanaugh will appear before the 
Senate Judiciary Committee for the first day of his confirmation 
hearing. I am quite excited to finally hear from him in that forum. He 
is one of the most qualified nominees to have ever been picked for the 
Supreme Court, and he has contributed a great deal to his community and 
the legal profession, besides being an outstanding judge on the DC 
Circuit Court of Appeals.
  Apparently, the other side has found very little in his record that 
is objectionable. The only thing I keep hearing is their unprecedented 
demand for millions and millions of pages of irrelevant documents on 
top of the hundreds of thousands of pages we have already received. 
Indeed, the Senate Democratic leaders have demanded the search of every 
email and every scrap of paper from every one of the hundreds of White 
House aides who came

[[Page S5754]]

and went for the entire 8 years of the George W. Bush Presidency. The 
Senate Democratic leaders have even refused to utilize search terms--
and other ways--in order to limit the universe of millions and millions 
of pages of records that would require a consecutive review by the 
Archives and both the former and incumbent Presidents' teams of lawyers 
even before the Senate Judiciary Committee could have begun its own 
search. These reviews would have taken many months, and some people 
have said they would have taken beyond this year.
  We know the true reason for their unprecedented document demand, 
which is to deny Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation until after the midterm 
elections, when the Senate Democrats hope to win back the Senate and 
block Judge Kavanaugh's nomination forever.
  Democratic leaders announced their opposition to Judge Kavanaugh 
immediately after he was nominated. Can you believe that? Some Senators 
announced their opposition to any one of the 25 potential nominees 
before the President even announced he was picking Judge Kavanaugh. The 
minority leader said he would oppose Judge Kavanaugh with everything he 
  This desire to obstruct the entire process explains their partisan 
push to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee in a mountain of irrelevant 
paperwork. They also want to divert attention from the very impressive 
record Judge Kavanaugh has. Democratic leaders know Judge Kavanaugh is 
the exact type of Justice the American people want. By the way, when he 
was a candidate--way before his election--the President named the 
people whom he was going to appoint and the types of people he was 
  Judge Kavanaugh has served for 12 years on the DC Circuit Court of 
Appeals. During that time, he has authored more than 300 opinions and 
has joined in hundreds of others. In 13 separate cases, the U.S. 
Supreme Court has adopted legal positions that have been advanced by 
Judge Kavanaugh's opinions on the DC Circuit. That is a very impressive 
record that few people on the circuit court of appeals can claim.
  The majority's staff on the Senate Judiciary Committee has already 
received more than 10,000 pages of judicial opinions Judge Kavanaugh 
wrote or joined, more than 17,000 pages of materials Judge Kavanaugh 
provided in response to the most robust questionnaire ever submitted 
for a Supreme Court nominee, and more than 260,000 pages of emails and 
other records from Judge Kavanaugh's executive branch legal service. 
This morning, the committee received close to 170,000 pages of 
additional records from Judge Kavanaugh's executive branch legal 
service. We now have more than 430,000 pages from Judge Kavanaugh's 
time in the executive branch--by far, the most ever received for a 
Supreme Court nominee. The majority's staff will finish reading every 
one of these pages before Judge Kavanaugh's hearing, which will start 
the day after Labor Day.
  I am following the precedent that was established during Justice 
Kagan's confirmation, when the Senate asked for many but not all of 
Justice Kagan's executive branch documents. We received documents from 
two out of three executive branch positions that Justice Kagan held. We 
received documents from Justice Kagan's time in the White House 
Counsel's Office and on the U.S. Domestic Policy Council. Senators from 
both parties agreed not to request internal documents from her time in 
the Office of the Solicitor General because of their sensitivity. 
Likewise, then, we are asking for documents from two of Judge 
Kavanaugh's positions in the executive branch but not from a third, 
which follows the practice of Justice Kagan's confirmation.
  We have asked for documents from Judge Kavanaugh's time in the White 
House Counsel's Office and the Office of Independent Counsel, but we 
didn't ask for documents from his time as Staff Secretary because, even 
more so than Justice Kagan's Solicitor General documents, they are 
incredibly sensitive to the executive branch. I will add that both 
positions for which we requested Judge Kavanaugh's documents were legal 
positions. Those documents could shed some light on his legal thinking.
  The Staff Secretary, another position that Judge Kavanaugh held at 
the White House, is a nonlegal position, and it wouldn't reveal 
anything about Judge Kavanaugh's legal thinking.
  On the other hand, we didn't receive documents from Justice Kagan's 
time in one of the two legal positions that she held. We didn't receive 
her Solicitor General documents, despite a heightened need for them to 
assess Justice Kagan's legal thinking. After all, Justice Kagan had no 
legal or judicial experience. In other words, she was not a judge prior 
to going to the Supreme Court, as Judge Kavanaugh is.
  In contrast to Judge Kavanaugh's 12-year judicial track record, the 
307 opinions Kavanaugh wrote, and the hundreds more he joined, Judge 
Kagan wrote or joined zero opinions. Judge Kavanaugh wrote or joined 
over 10,000 pages of judicial opinions, compared to Justice Kagan's 
zero pages. In short, we have received many more pages of more relevant 
documents for Judge Kavanaugh than we did for Justice Kagan.
  This more thorough and more transparent production is also on top of 
the thousands of pages of Judge Kavanaugh's publicly available 
materials, including his extensive and impressive judicial record. 
Nevertheless, Democratic leaders accuse me of hiding documents. 
Consider the hundreds of thousands that are available, and I am being 
accused of hiding documents.
  They are doing that because I have agreed to hold some documents as 
committee confidential. But during Justice Kagan's and Justice 
Gorsuch's nominations, we agreed to receive as committee confidential 
documents that contain material that are restricted by the Federal law 
that we call the Presidential Records Act.
  As the current chairman, that is exactly what I have agreed to do 
this time. As I have explained many times over the last month, I agreed 
to receive documents on a committee-confidential basis as an initial 
matter to allow the committee to accelerate our review of Judge 
Kavanaugh's record, while at the same time making sure that restricted 
material, such as Social Security numbers for individuals, bank 
information for individuals, or confidential advice given to the 
President, are not exposed to the public, as everybody would expect us 
to be that careful.
  Then-Chairman Leahy also agreed to receive documents on a committee-
confidential basis in 2010 ``to permit the Committee prompt access to 
them.'' I have done exactly the same thing in the case of Judge 
  All of those documents don't necessarily remain confidential forever 
because there is a process. They are reviewed a second time, and if 
they don't contain any material restricted by law for public access, we 
quickly release those documents to the public. Thus, we end up in 
exactly the same place as we did with Justice Kagan and Justice 
Gorsuch: Material restricted by the statute is held committee 
confidential, while nonrestricted material is released to the public.
  I would like to add that all documents we have received, including 
committee-confidential documents, at this very moment are available to 
every Member of the Senate. My staff is happy to make these documents 
available to any Senator interested in reviewing them.
  Now, my friends on the other side of the aisle complain that a lawyer 
by the name of Bill Burck, rather than the National Archives, is 
deciding what is considered restricted, but that is not true at all. 
The National Archives has been reviewing Judge Kavanaugh's emails, as I 
requested. These archivists are public employees, and they have 
informed President Bush and President Trump that, in the opinion of the 
professional archival staff, nearly two-thirds of the emails that these 
public servants have reviewed thus far contain restricted material and 
should not be released to the public. That means that under the same 
standard applied to Justice Kagan and Justice Gorsuch, the Committee 
will have to hold two-thirds of the documents reviewed by the National 
Archives as committee confidential when we receive them.
  Following historical practice, official records generally are 
produced to the Senate for our review, and personal records generally 
are not. The Obama-appointed Archivist of the United States and his 
team of career archivists are making the ultimate decision

[[Page S5755]]

on whether Judge Kavanaugh's executive branch records are official--
available to the committee and to the public--or personal. It is simply 
absurd to suggest that anyone is hiding anything. So I hope I don't 
hear that complaint anymore.
  I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle put aside 
politics and reconsider their reckless demands for the immediate 
release--for the whole world to see--of documents that contain full 
names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, 
personal communications with family members, other sensitive matters 
affecting personal privacy, and, of course, some of the more sensitive 
issues related to the President's core constitutional duties.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, we are making good progress on the 
rather large package of appropriations bills, including Defense and 
Labor and HHS, but just to make sure we are in a position to wrap it up 
before we depart for the week, I send a cloture motion to the desk for 
Senate amendment No. 3695.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under 
rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on Senate amendment 
     No. 3695 to Calendar No. 500, H.R. 6157, an act making 
     appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal 
     year ending September 30, 2019, and for other purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, Orrin G. Hatch, Jerry Moran, Lindsey 
           Graham, Mike Crapo, Richard C. Shelby, John Thune, John 
           Cornyn, John Hoeven, Shelley Moore Capito, Johnny 
           Isakson, Pat Roberts, Steve Daines, John Boozman, 
           Richard Burr, Lisa Murkowski, Roy Blunt.

                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I send a cloture motion to the desk for 
H.R. 6157.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under 
rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on Calendar No. 
     500, H.R. 6157, an act making appropriations for the 
     Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 
     30, 2019, and for other purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, Orrin G. Hatch, Jerry Moran, Lindsey 
           Graham, Mike Crapo, Richard C. Shelby, John Thune, John 
           Cornyn, John Hoeven, Shelley Moore Capito, Johnny 
           Isakson, Pat Roberts, Steve Daines, John Boozman, 
           Richard Burr, Lisa Murkowski, Roy Blunt.