STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ACT OF 2019--Motion to Proceed (Continued); Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 3
(Senate - January 08, 2019)

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[Pages S38-S48]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                         to Proceed (Continued)

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. 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. RUBIO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Young). Without objection, it is so 

                                  S. 1

  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, a few moments ago we welcomed our new 
colleague, my colleague for the State of Florida, former Governor and 
now U.S. Senator Rick Scott, who will do a phenomenal job here on 
behalf of the State of Florida. I welcome him to the U.S. Senate, the 
world's greatest deliberative body--and, on occasion, perhaps the 
strangest as well.
  In about 1 hour 15 minutes, the Senate is going to take up S. 1, 
which is a combination of four separate bills that enjoy widespread 
support in this Chamber from colleagues on both sides of the aisle, all 
of them sponsored and cosponsored by both sides of the aisle, and 
apparently we will fail to get a significant number of votes to get on 
this bill, nonetheless.
  So it is perhaps one the few places on Earth where people vote 
against things they are for because of reasons unrelated to the issue 
at hand. I don't want to dig too deep into that. That will be a topic 
for conversation later on, and maybe I will be wrong. Maybe they will 
change their minds in the next 1 hour 15 minutes, and we will have the 
votes we need, but I don't think it makes a lot of sense to say: I am 
upset about the government shutdown--by the way, the Senate voted 
unanimously to fund the government by a voice vote. We didn't even have 
a rollcall vote. So this Chamber has already enacted in that regard. At 
this point, it is incumbent on the leaders of the Democratic Party in 
the Senate, combined with the White House, to come up with a deal to 
reopen the government. This government shutdown is not good for 
anybody. I have never seen anybody win one of these.
  That said, I don't know why we would shut down the Senate, too, given 
the issues we face.
  About 3 weeks ago, the President announced that the United States was 
withdrawing from our engagement in Syria. I--and I think the majority 
of the people in the Senate--believed that decision was a mistake and 
is a mistake.
  While I was certainly encouraged by some of the comments by the head 
of the National Security Council, Ambassador John Bolton, on the pace 
and scale and scope of the withdrawal, nonetheless, there have been 
conflicting statements since then which put this all in question.
  At the time he made this decision, we walked through all of the 
reasons why this was a mistake--not because we want to be in war in 
Syria forever. That is false. Of course, it has to come to an end, but 
it needs to come to an end in a way that is in the interest of the 
United States of America. It is not in the interest of the United 
States of America to see ISIS reemerge the way they did after 2011, 
when the United States left Iraq.
  When the United States left and pulled back its presence in Iraq, it 
allowed ISIS to reconstitute itself and reemerge. They were called 
something different then, but they were basically a spinoff of al-
Qaida. They started out as an insurgency and grew very rapidly. They 
are larger today and they are more powerful today than when they 
reconstituted themselves almost a decade ago. I have no doubt that if 
this moves forward, ISIS will reconstitute itself, maybe not as a 
caliphate but as something equally dangerous, and that is an insurgency 
with the capability not just to create havoc, mayhem, murder, and 
destruction in Syria and potentially once again in Iraq but also to 
externally plot and attack us here on Homeland.
  This raises all other types of possibilities, like the Iraqi troops 
along with irregular forces sponsored by Iran--the Shia militia that 
have been on the ground in Iraq--coming across the border and into 
Syria. We all have read and heard about the Turkish troops that want to 
come into the Kurdish areas.
  If Assad is sitting there now with the United States pulling out and 
all of this is going on, he figures that at this point what does he 
need a political solution for, what does he need the U.N. or anybody 
for? The saddest part is that this diminishes the chances that Assad 
will ever have to face accountability for the crimes committed by his 
regime against innocent civilians--children, women, and others--not 
just for the gassing and use of chemical weapons but for widespread 
torture and murder. We will discuss that more as the week goes on.
  We are also concerned about Iran's growing influence with the United 
States leaving, especially in southeast Iraq and on the border of 
Jordan and Israel, with Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies and Iran 
itself, or the IRGC and General Soleimani, who is a maven of murder in 
that area, basically doing whatever they want. They have more freedom 
of movement, and there is the direct threat that it poses to both 
Israel and to Jordan.
  By the way, when the Turks come in or potentially Iraqi troops come 
in--when ISIS is reconstituted and starts killing people again--you are 
going to have new refugee flows. Maybe it will be mostly Kurds this 
time, maybe folks from the Syrian defense forces who had fought 
alongside us for a while and their families. Where will all of these 
new refugees go? Potentially, some will wind up in Jordan, further 
destabilizing or testing that country's ability to deal with all of 
  On that last point, both the Kurds and the Syrian defense forces have 
in excess of 700 ISIS fighters in custody, in prison. Are they going to 
let them all go? Because without us there supporting them, I don't know 
how they

[[Page S39]]

are going to hold them, and none of the countries they came from want 
them back. So you can potentially face hundreds of ISIS fighters being 
released overnight. These are all the consequences--and more.
  What are we going to do if in a few days, a few weeks, or months from 
now ISIS decides to deploy chemical weapons against the Kurds or others 
in these areas? That is the parade of horribles, and the possibilities 
are extraordinary. We could go on and on for a while.
  That is why, among other reasons, it was a mistake, and when we came 
out and said it was a mistake, a lot of people said: What are you going 
to do about it? Don't just talk; act.
  It is difficult in an issue like this. Congress can stop wars. 
Congress can defund them and deauthorize actions, but Congress cannot 
force the Commander in Chief to stay in a military engagement. We 
cannot force the President to deploy troops or keep them somewhere. We 
can keep him from doing it, but we can't force him to do it. Our 
options in this field are limited.
  We wanted to do something. We felt so strongly about this. The 
response is S. 1, which is the item before us here today. S. 1, as I 
said, combines these four bills that enjoy widespread bipartisan 
support. You would think that in the midst of everything else that is 
going on, this would be a really good way to start the new Congress, in 
foreign policy, in an area that traditionally has not been partisan--or 
shouldn't have been--by combining these four bills into S. 1, which is 
what is before us today.
  I want to briefly outline the four provisions combined in this bill. 
Two of them deal directly with our ally in Israel. First, it makes very 
clear that ``it shall be the policy of the United States to provide 
assistance to the Government of Israel in order to support funding for 
cooperative programs to develop, produce, and procure missile, rocket, 
projectile, and other defense capabilities to help Israel meet its 
security needs and to help develop and enhance United States defense 
  That last line is important because much of the technology that is 
being innovated and developed by Israel to defend Israel can also be 
used by the United States to protect us from rocket attacks there or 
when we are deployed abroad. The reason why this is so critical is that 
Hezbollah has a large presence in Syria and has their base of 
operations in Lebanon. Today, Hezbollah is better funded, better 
equipped, and has more armaments than at any time in its history.
  We all recall the Hezbollah-Israel war from about over a decade and a 
half ago. The next Israel-Hezbollah war will be far deadlier and costly 
because Hezbollah no longer simply depends on Iran to provide them the 
weapons. They make them themselves. Hezbollah no longer has a few 
rockets. It has enough to potentially overwhelm defenses. That means 
you could have the best missile defense system in the world, but if you 
fire enough of them, eventually some of them will get through, and when 
they get through in a small country like Israel--which at its narrowest 
point is only 9 miles wide--and it hits a population center and kills 
thousands of people, then, you know we are facing a catastrophe. Israel 
will respond to that sort of attack with overwhelming force. This could 
spiral quickly out of control.
  How could we wind up at that point? We could wind up at that point 
because now that the United States is leaving Syria, the Israelis are 
going to say: We are not going to allow Iran and Hezbollah to build up 
its presence. We are going to step up our military attacks inside of 
  It is possible, when they step it up, that it is likely that Iran and 
Hezbollah will respond by hitting back. Then, Israel will hit back even 
harder. At that point of escalation, you could easily see the missiles 
start coming out of Lebanon into Israel, and Israel responding with 
overwhelming force, and then we have a much broader conflict, with 
thousands--if not hundreds of thousands--of people whose lives are on 
the line.

  So making it clear to Hezbollah or to any enemy of Israel that the 
United States stands ready to equip them in the case of such a 
contingency is one of the best things we can do to prevent it from 
happening. If Israel's enemies believe there is any doubt that the 
United States will step forward and help Israel resupply in case of 
such conflict, you have increased the probability that they will 
miscalculate and take such action.
  But if they know that we are committed to rearming Israel as often 
and as much as possible and necessary in order to help them defend 
themselves, then, the chances of them attacking are diminished. That is 
why this bill authorizes U.S. security assistance in foreign military 
financing to Israel at an amount no less than $3.3 billion a year for 
the next 10 years.
  By the way, this, in essence, is authorizing a memoranda of 
understanding signed between the Obama administration and Israel. We 
are authorizing that and putting it into law. We are also authorizing 
the President to transfer precision-guided munitions to reserve stocks 
as needed for legitimate self-defense by Israel. The world now knows--
and Israel's enemies now know--that the United States has put aside 
reserve precision-guided munitions that are there if Israel needs them 
for us to quickly transport them to them in case they come under attack 
and run low on the munitions they need to defend themselves. That is 
the first thing this bill does.
  Another thing it does, by the way, is the Combating BDS Act of 2019. 
For those not familiar with BDS, it is boycott, divestment, and 
sanctions. It is, in essence, by and large, to punish Israel by 
convincing companies--international companies and others--to boycott 
doing business with Israel or Israeli entities, to divest of 
investments in Israel or Israeli entities, and convincing governments 
to sanction Israel.
  This provision of the law does not outlaw boycott, divestments, and 
sanctions. If a United States company caves to this pressure and 
decides it is going to boycott or divest from Israel, they have the 
legal right to do so. This doesn't outlaw it. However, it does say if a 
State or local government decides that it is not going to do business 
or if the government is not going to issue contracts for goods or 
services with any company that is boycotting or divesting from Israel, 
they have a right to do that.
  I have heard the argument that this is about free speech. First of 
all, it is not about free speech. It is about foreign policy. We will 
talk about that more as the week goes on, but there are court cases out 
there that talk about how this is not an effort to influence a domestic 
political debate or to speak or take action in the form of speech that 
influences a domestic political debate. This is about influencing the 
behavior of a foreign government's foreign policy. The courts give 
broad discretion to Congress and the President in the setting of our 
foreign policy.
  Putting that aside for a moment, as I told already you, this doesn't 
in any way prevent anyone from participating in boycotting or divesting 
from Israel. All it says is that if you do, your clients, in the form 
of State or local governments, can boycott or divest from you in 
return. Free speech is a two-way street.
  Beyond that, it makes it very clear in the law that nothing in this 
law should be construed to violate anyone's First Amendment rights.
  These are the two provisions that help Israel and to prevent the sort 
of economic warfare that is being driven against them and to make clear 
to their adversaries that the United States stands ready to resupply 
and strengthen Israel's ability to defend itself--not just helping 
Israel defend itself if it comes under attack but, frankly, in the 
hopes of deterring an attack against Israel. We do that by authorizing 
and putting into law the memorandum of understanding that was signed by 
the Obama administration in September of 2016.
  In addition, the third thing the bill does is to deal with Jordan. 
Jordan is a U.S. ally. It is, by the way, a nation that, along with 
Egypt, has been a linchpin of Israel's security in the region, and it 
is also a nation that has faced an onslaught of refugees fleeing the 
conflict in Syria. They face the threat from ISIS, as well. In S. 1, we 
reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act, which 

[[Page S40]]

in 2015. It is an act that, among other things, includes Jordan on the 
list of countries that are eligible for certain streamlined defense 
sales, because Jordan itself is facing many of the same challenges, 
particularly because of our pullout from Syria.
  If you think the pullout from Syria--especially from southeastern 
Syria--is a good thing for Jordan, you are wrong. Once the United 
States leaves that area, the Iranian influence will grow, and 
potentially, the ISIS influence will grow. It will become harder--not 
easier--on Jordan. This is the least we can do to strengthen an 
important ally in this legion.
  The last piece is one sponsored by the soon-to-be chairman of the 
Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Risch--the Caesar Syria Civilian 
Protection Act. It does three principle things. It requires the 
Treasury to determine whether the Central Bank of Syria is a financial 
institution that launders money for the regime. I am not sure it will 
take them long to conclude that they are, but that opens the door for 
the second thing it does, and that is new sanctions on anyone who does 
business with or provides financing to the Syrian regime.
  It also, by the way, requires the administration to brief us here in 
Congress as part of our oversight role on what our strategy is to 
facilitate the delivery of humanitarian products and humanitarian 
assistance inside Syria.
  Hopefully, we will be on this bill, but as the week goes on, I sadly 
will have to come to the floor and point out the horrifying atrocities 
that have been committed and that, I believe 50 and 100 years from now, 
people will look back at as one of the most horrifying things that have 
happened in this century. The people who have done this should be held 
to account.
  This law puts in place not just requiring the administration to tell 
us what they plan to do in the short term to help people to the extent 
possible, but it also puts in place the ability to hold those who have 
done this responsible and accountable for what they did and what they 
continue to do.
  I sincerely hope that we can get on this because the American people 
in the face of all this noise that is out there are in desperate need 
of reassurance that our Republic still works and that, at a minimum, we 
can still agree on what we agree on and we don't use the pretext of a 
shutdown to shut down the Senate.
  As I remind everyone again--and I know we have some new Members--this 
body unanimously passed a bill to fund the government. I have my views 
on this shutdown, and I don't understand the objection. It is $5 
billion for spending on border security. By the way, it is not $5 
billion on a wall. It is $5 billion to fund the top 10 priorities of 
the border security plan, and included in those top 10 are those of 
strengthening existing walls and barriers and building some new ones, 
but it includes far more than just a wall. I remind many of my 
colleagues who were here in 2013 that when we sponsored the Senate bill 
on immigration, we authorized four times as much in that bill for 
border security. Of course, the politics have changed, and so people's 
positions on the issue of border security have changed.
  That said, I am not in favor of government shutdowns. I don't think 
they make sense. The people have nothing to do with this. They are not 
responsible for this. Border agents, TSA employees, and Federal 
employees from these Agencies all across the country are missing 
paydays now. Their mortgage companies and their credit card companies 
don't care that there is a shutdown. They want to get paid or they will 
ruin your credit. I hope we can find a resolution for them--but also 
for the country--without our abandoning the reality that we need to 
deal with border security.
  Here is what I know, though. I don't believe shutting down the Senate 
and not allowing us to move forward on something as important as a 
Syria policy is the way to resolve the shutdown issue. You don't solve 
a shutdown with a shutdown. Shutting down the Senate and saying we are 
not doing anything here until we resolve this issue is not a 
constructive approach, and it is certainly not the way to start this 
new Congress.
  At a time when, I think, the Senate serves as important a role as it 
has in two decades, this country needs a Senate that is capable of 
functioning and agreeing on the things we agree on--on passing bills 
that have broad support and not allowing them to fall victim to debates 
that are unrelated to the issues at hand. I remind all of my colleagues 
who, just 2 or 3 weeks ago, joined me and others in criticizing the 
decision to draw down from Syria; that there isn't a lot we can do in 
Congress to force the President to stay there, but there are some 
things we can do to reassure our allies in the region that at least in 
the U.S. Senate they have our support--that Israel and Jordan and the 
innocents who have been tortured and killed in Syria have our support. 
We have a bill before the Senate, S.1, that does that, and I don't know 
why we are not looking forward to at least debating it.
  The vote we are taking in about 60 minutes or 59 minutes from now is 
not a vote to pass it. It is just a vote to begin debate on it. That is 
all it is. It is a vote to begin debate on it. To not even allow debate 
to begin on something we basically largely agree on may make a lot of 
sense in the hallways here, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to the 
men and women back home who are already watching the government 
shutdown with disdain and who then, on top of it, see that not even the 
Senate can function in the midst of all of this.
  I hope, whether it is today or later this week, my colleagues across 
the aisle will reconsider their objection to even beginning debate so 
we can get on this and get to work on behalf of the men and women of 
this country for whom we work and represent.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Johnson). The Senator from New Mexico.

                           Government Funding

  Mr. UDALL. Mr. President, I rise to call on the President to stop 
holding the government hostage and trying to force taxpayers to pay for 
his border wall--a wall that would be ineffective and wasteful and that 
is rejected by the American people.
  President Trump said he is ``proud''--that is his word that he used--
to shut down the government. He is proud to force hundreds of thousands 
of people across this country to miss their hard-earned paychecks. He 
is proud to shutter critical services. He is proud to try and extort 
the American people into paying for a wall they don't support. This 
Trump shutdown is nothing to be proud of. It is a national disgrace, 
and it is time to end this recklessness.
  I join with my Democratic colleagues today in calling on the 
Republican leaders to do their jobs and reopen the government right 
now. The American people don't support Trump's border wall, and they 
don't support this Trump shutdown. The funding bills that are being 
held up and used by the President as a bargaining chip have broad 
bipartisan support. The Democrats in both Chambers want to pass these 
appropriations bills now. Yet, as the Democrats stand ready to reopen 
the government, President Trump plans to address the Nation tonight to 
tell us again why he is proud to keep the government shut down.
  We will likely hear more bizarre talk tonight about what we need at 
the border from a President who doesn't know the first thing about the 
border. Once again, we will likely hear blatant lies about immigrants, 
about our border, and about our border communities. The American people 
are tired of this President's assault on the truth. They are tired of 
having their lives and livelihoods caught up in this President's 
inability to rise to the office he holds. No address from the Oval 
Office will change that.
  We need the Republican leadership in this Chamber to muster the 
political will to stand up to the President and get Federal employees 
back to work and critical services restored. We are now on day 18 of 
this shutdown--the second longest period that the government has been 
shuttered since 1980. We have already begun to see real-life 
consequences for families all across the Nation, and my home State of 
New Mexico is one of the States that is being hit the hardest by the 
President's temper tantrum, by his act of political extortion.
  In New Mexico, roughly 5,800 Federal workers are either furloughed or 
are working without pay. These aren't just

[[Page S41]]

numbers, these are real people. They are real people who are wondering 
how they will make their mortgages or rent payments or will feed their 
families. A Federal employee in Albuquerque wrote to my office to tell 
me how this shutdown is affecting her and her family.
  She wrote to me to ``go on the record that I am not one of the 
Federal employees the President is touting . . . as wanting to be out 
of work, without a paycheck, until he gets his wall.''
  She had an important message for the Republican leadership of the 

       The Senate does not work for the President--it is supposed 
     to represent the citizens of the United States . . . . 
     Federal employees do not want to stay out of work; we want to 
     go back to work and get paid.

  She ended:

       This is not our fight--just his.

  Economic anxiety is pervasive in all corners of the State. In fact, 
New Mexico was recently ranked as the most vulnerable to the impacts of 
the shutdown because of our significant Federal workforce and the 
importance of the Federal Government to our economy. As the ranking 
member of the Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment, and Related 
Agencies, I am acutely aware of how the lapse in appropriations is 
affecting the Agencies that are funded in our bill and the services 
they provide. These include the Department of the Interior, the 
Environmental Protection Agency, and the Indian Health Service.
  As the ranking member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, I am 
especially cognizant of how this shutdown is hurting Native 
communities. For Tribes across Indian Country, the shutdown's 
consequences are particularly dire after their going more than 2 weeks 
without Federal funds. Simply put, Tribes report that Federal programs 
that are critical to health and public safety are grinding to a halt 
and that lives are in danger.
  In New Mexico, the shutdown has left the Mescalero Apache Tribe's 
reservation--larger in size than the entire city of Houston, TX--with 
only one on-duty police officer, which would be unacceptable even under 
normal circumstances. Yet, due to a huge winter storm that left my 
State under heavy snowfall and subfreezing temperatures, that lone 
officer is responsible for not only responding to domestic violence and 
child welfare but also to snow-related accidents and emergencies across 
720 square miles--all because furloughed road crews aren't clearing the 
snow and ice from the reservation's roads. One elder already died 
because he was unable to make it to dialysis. Sadly, Mescalero's 
experiences are not uncommon.
  The Yurok Tribe of California will soon have to close its courts, 
curtailing the Tribe's efforts to rein in the opioid epidemic. Urban 
Indian Health Programs in Baltimore and Boston are days away from 
closing completely, leaving Native families in these cities without 
support. The Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota was just informed that 
its Indian Health Service unit must begin reducing services.
  The 276 Tribes that depend on the USDA's Food Distribution Programs 
on Indian reservations--a program that feeds nearly 100,000 American 
Indians and Alaska Natives--are also faced with reliving the 2013 
shutdown crisis, when food rotted in locked warehouses while hungry 
families gathered outside--all because the President and some extreme 
Members of his party refuse to do their jobs and keep the government 
  It is disgraceful, and it is dangerous. Every day that the President 
continues to treat Tribal health and public safety programs like 
hostages for political gain, it endangers families across Indian 
Country. The United States has trust and treaty obligations that Tribes 
obtained in exchange for ceding millions of acres of land. The 
consequences of the President's outright disregard for treaty 
obligations are real. The consequences of the Senate majority leader's 
inaction are real. The consequences of the Republicans' unwillingness 
to stand up for Tribes in their States--to stand up for basic humanity 
and common sense--are also real.
  We are talking about people's lives and the fundamental obligation of 
our Nation to honor its commitment to Native Americans. It is really 
that simple. We all know how pressing these problems are. The impacts 
of the Trump shutdown are far and wide. There are thousands of stories 
across the Nation. Let me tell you another from my home State of New 
  A local Santa Fe small business--a construction company, Sarcon 
Construction Corporation--is ready to begin an $8.4 million project to 
build two new hangars at the Santa Fe Municipal Airport. This 32,000-
square-foot project will generate $650,000 in local tax revenue and 
will employ 75 to 100 people. Many of those people are literally 
unemployed now while waiting for this project to begin. This project is 
a big deal for my home city of Santa Fe.
  Do you know why the project is stalled? Sarcon can't get the 
necessary approval from the Federal Aviation Administration because of 
the Trump shutdown, as the FAA personnel who are responsible for its 
approval are furloughed.
  This shutdown has real consequences for real people, especially for 
people like those unemployed New Mexicans who are ready and eager to 
work but who are unable to because of our President's tantrum. The 
President says he can ``relate'' to Federal workers who can't pay bills 
during the shutdown, but in the next breath, he blithely assumes they 
will ``make adjustments'' and be fine.
  As he has demonstrated time and again, this President cannot and does 
not relate to the struggles of everyday Americans who are hurt by his 
policies. He cannot and does not relate to Federal employees who live 
paycheck to paycheck or to Santa Fe construction workers who wait 
anxiously to get back to work. He has shown us time and again that his 
policies and behavior are heartless and that he is unfit for the office 
he holds. I will say it again. The President told the American people 
on camera that he is ``proud to shut down the government.'' The 
responsibility falls squarely on him and now on his Republican 
collaborators in the Senate.

  The impacts reach every corner of our Nation. His shutdown has 
already had real impacts on our Nation's public lands, including our 
most iconic national parks.
  Many national parks, such as Bandelier National Monument and Valles 
Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico, remain closed. Restrooms have 
been closed for 2 weeks, trash has accumulated, and roads have not been 
plowed. For 2 weeks, we have heard horror stories of poor sanitation 
and public safety issues at national parks because of the shutdown, 
including overflowing toilets, vandalism, and other resource damage. In 
Big Bend National Park, because of the lack of emergency services, Good 
Samaritans had to rescue a hiker who fell and broke his leg while 
hiking on Christmas Eve.
  In fact, the effects have been so devastating that, in a legally 
questionable move, this administration just made the unprecedented 
decision to dip into the park's entrance fees to fund basic services at 
a handful of parks across the country. These are fees that Congress 
authorizes the Park Service to collect to pay for deferred maintenance 
projects and other critical needs, not to take the place of 
appropriated funds. We still don't know which parks will be affected by 
the administration's decision, but I fully expect this bandaid approach 
to fall far short of protecting our treasured national resources or 
restoring services to the public in a meaningful way. It is merely a 
cynical attempt to get the problems caused by the President's shutdown 
off the front page of the newspaper.
  If we want to reopen the parks, there is a simple solution: Pass the 
Interior appropriations bill without delay, and we can reopen the 
entire National Park System. In the meantime, reopening some park sites 
but not others will not help many gateway communities that depend on 
parks and public lands to provide needed revenue and that are facing 
economic crisis as this shutdown wears on.
  The National Parks Conservation Association estimates that in 
January, visitors spent an average of $20 million per day in nearby 
communities. That is real and vital revenue. In New Mexico alone, 
national parks generated more than 1,700 jobs in 2017 and created more 
than $140 million in economic output

[[Page S42]]

for my State. I can tell you that New Mexico can't afford for these 
sites to be closed.
  It is not just the parks that are at risk. Fire prevention programs 
funded by the U.S. Forest Service are being deferred during the 
shutdown, despite a recordbreaking fire season. Environmental 
protection programs are suffering. EPA has halted most activities 
related to hazardous waste cleanups under its national Superfund 
Program. Enforcement activities against polluters have ground to a 
halt, as have Federal permitting efforts. States aren't receiving funds 
to operate their regulatory programs.
  Even our Nation's cherished national museums are shuttered. On 
January 2, the Smithsonian ran out of funds and closed its doors, 
preventing more than 110,000 visitors a day from accessing its prized 
collections. Its next-door neighbor, the National Gallery of Art, is 
also closed, leaving school groups, families, and everyday citizens out 
in the cold.
  Again, there is a simple solution to stop this damage. All we have to 
do is pass an appropriations bill and reopen the government.
  I want to end where I began. The President has nothing to be 
``proud'' of here. President Trump needs to stop holding Federal 
programs hostage to his demands for a wasteful, ineffective, and 
destructive wall and end this shutdown now. We can do it easily. The 
Senate can immediately take up and pass H.R. 21--the appropriations 
bill passed by the House last week. This should cause no controversy. 
These are bills drafted by Republicans with broad bipartisan support. 
In fact, the Interior bill is the exact same legislation that was 
passed by this Chamber by a vote of 92 to 6 last August--a margin that 
would override a veto of the bill, I might add.
  I call on Leader McConnell and Members of his party to let us get to 
work. We need to do what is right and immediately take up and pass the 
House bill today. There is no reason this shutdown must go on one day 
longer. The lives and livelihoods of everyday Americans hang in the 
  As a final comment, I will say that I so much appreciate working with 
Senator Leahy, who is vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee and 
who I know feels, sees, and hears from all of his Appropriations 
members how concerning this situation is.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the Appropriations Committee has worked 
extremely hard to get these bills through. We passed them almost 
unanimously. Every single bill to keep this government open has been 
passed by this Senate or the Senate Appropriations Committee and will 
be passed again if Republicans allow it to come to a vote. They passed 
almost unanimously out of committee. Senator Shelby and I worked very, 
very hard to have bipartisan bills, and we did. I think the 
appropriations bills have had more bipartisan votes than they have had 
in over 20 years.
  Now, where are we? We are on the 18th day of the Trump shutdown. For 
more than 2 weeks now, the President has withheld the paychecks of more 
than 800,000 Americans. He has held them hostage in order to extort 
Congress into funding his border wall--a wall for which he gave his 
word to the American taxpayers over and over again that Mexico would 
pay for, not the American taxpayers. Now he says: I want the American 
taxpayers to pay for it.
  For more than 2 weeks, the President has withheld vital government 
services from the American people in order to gain leverage to fulfill 
a divisive campaign promise and rally his base. He has totally ignored 
that we had passed the bills that would reopen the government. 
Shamefully, he cares more about this cynical bumper sticker symbol of 
his Presidency than he does about the millions of Americans impacted by 
his shutdown or the hardships to come if the Trump shutdown continues. 
He wants rhetoric, not reality. I want reality.
  I ask, what will the President say to the 800,000 Federal workers who 
will not get a paycheck this Friday because of this political stunt? 
What will he say to the men and women who have mortgages, families to 
feed, and bills to pay? What will he say to those forced to deplete 
their hard-earned savings or retirement funds or to those who have no 
safety net at all?
  I will give an example. Just yesterday, a man called my office. He 
has a job with the Internal Revenue Service in Vermont. He has been 
furloughed. He will not receive a paycheck this week. He fears he will 
not be able to pay his bills past mid-January if he does not get paid. 
He has already turned off the cable and most of his family's cell 
services to save money. He is concerned about feeding his family, and 
his wife has serious medical issues that require attention. 
Incidentally, I was looking at the weather report for parts of Vermont. 
Tomorrow, it will be 5 degrees below zero. He also has to heat his home 
in that weather. So he was upset, he was worried, and he was looking 
for help.
  Does the President even care about these people? The President claims 
he can relate to them, but he dismisses their fears, glibly saying they 
will ``make adjustments.'' Make adjustments for their child's medical 
bills? Make adjustments for their mortgage payments? Make adjustments 
for heating their homes when it is 5 degrees below zero? He even 
absurdly claims they support his silly wall. Really? Really? Come on. 
There are 800,000 Federal employees who are affected by the Trump 
Shutdown. Let somebody poll them and find out how many support what 
many in Vermont have called a ``dumb wall.'' I have never heard 
anything more tone-deaf from a President of the United States of 
  Perhaps for a man who was made a millionaire by his father at the age 
of 8, the idea of living paycheck to paycheck is a foreign concept, but 
it is not to the millions of Americans--both Republicans and Democrats 
alike--across this country who struggle to make ends meet. They should 
not be bargaining chips in the President's game. This is not a game for 
them, and the President should not treat it as such.
  In fact, in addition to all of the Federal employees who are 
wondering when they will get their next paycheck, vital services on 
which many Americans rely and have paid taxes to support have come to a 
grinding halt. Remember that. Americans have paid taxes for these 
services, and they have come to a grinding halt.
  Farmers can't get loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture--
USDA--to get them through the next planting season because no one is in 
the office to process the applications. We passed a 5-year farm bill. I 
am proud of the bipartisan bill that Senator Roberts and Senator 
Stabenow led through the Senate. I was one of the conferees on that 
farm bill, and it was bipartisan. It is complicated, and there are new 
rules in it, but the USDA cannot implement the new farm bill because 
all of the staff have been furloughed. How about all of the midwestern 
farmers who don't know what the rules are going to be before they start 
planting? They have to make that decision now. They paid their taxes to 
have the Department of Agriculture to help them, but it is closed now.
  Our national parks--the prize of this country since the time of Teddy 
Roosevelt--are being vandalized and littered with trash and human 
waste. Since the Trump shutdown began, seven people have died in 
national parks. The parks were left unsupervised and unstaffed.
  Homebuyers are finding out that their Federal Housing Administration 
loan applications are on hold.
  Food safety inspections are slowing. How many people are going to die 
of food poisoning?
  The Small Business Administration has stopped issuing new business 
loans, and our Federal courts are running out of money.
  This is the United States of America. We are an embarrassment to the 
rest of the world because of this. The President should be embarrassed 
because he is the one who has asked for the Trump Shutdown.
  Everyone agrees that we need to secure our borders, but there are 
smart ways to do it. A wall is not one of them. It is a 5th-century 
solution to a 21st-century problem. In 2015, the President's own acting 
Chief of Staff said that the idea of a wall was ``absurd and almost 
childish.'' He said that a ``fence doesn't stop anybody who really 
wants to get across . . . you go under,

[[Page S43]]

you go around, you go through it.'' It may be one of the few times Mick 
Mulvaney and I are in agreement.
  To do what the President wants to do would require seizing land from 
ranchers and farmers. Some of these ranchers and farmers have had that 
land in their families for years. They are proud, hard-working, 
taxpaying Americans, and we say that we are going to come in with a 
wall through their land. It would require building walls through 
wildlife refuges and nature preserves. It would forever scar the 
landscape and ecosystem of the southwest border in ways we cannot 
anticipate. After all of that and billions of wasted taxpayer dollars, 
what would we have accomplished?
  Tonight, the President will assert that the security of our Nation is 
in crisis. He will assert that criminals and drugs are pouring across 
the border. But his claims are not grounded in fact. That is typical of 
the claims he makes. The disinformation coming from the White House has 
been staggering.
  In his zeal to feign a national emergency at the border, the 
President has employed nothing short of a propaganda campaign like we 
have seen in dictatorships of the past.
  The reality is that between the year 2000 and 2018, apprehensions at 
the border have dropped. How much? They have dropped by 75 percent. The 
reality is that apprehensions at the southwest border have dropped to 
similar levels we had in the 1970s. It has dropped.
  The reality is, many southern border communities have violent crime 
rates that are lower than the national American average. The reality, 
according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, is that the vast 
majority of drugs apprehended at the border are seized at ports of 
entry so a wall between such ports would be entirely useless at 
stopping drugs.
  The demographic that is increasing in number are families--women and 
children--seeking asylum. Many are not even trying to sneak past the 
Border Patrol; they present themselves to Border Patrol agents when 
they cross. They are not here to perpetuate violence; they are fleeing 
violence, they are fleeing murder, they are fleeing rape, they are 
fleeing crime from their countries. Wasting billions of American 
taxpayer dollars to build a wall will not stop them from coming. We 
need comprehensive immigration reform--like the bipartisan bill the 
Senate passed in 2013--and smart foreign policy to address these 
issues, not fearmongering, not distortions, not lies, and certainly not 
thousands of miles of concrete or steel.
  The Constitution vests the power of the purse to Congress. It is our 
job to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. A border wall doesn't meet 
that threshold. Even if it did, the President has never provided us 
with a detailed plan for how he would spend the money, and he has been 
all over the map about how much he is demanding. The only thing he has 
said is: We are going to have a wall, and Mexico will pay for it. Fine, 
let Mexico pay for it. For someone who spent years as the host of a 
reality TV show, reality has never been his strong suit.
  We are not in the business of providing blank checks to satisfy 
Presidential whims. The President's own budget request to Congress was 
$1.6 billion for the wall, and he has never submitted an addendum. No 
matter how much he or others talk about it, he never has. Instead, he 
makes demands by tweets and through the press. I have lost track of all 
the times his demands for the wall have changed, but I still go back to 
the original request. The only request in his budget was $1.6 billion.
  This weekend, Democrats asked the Vice President for more details on 
their border wall request. The administration sent Chairman Shelby and 
me a letter asking for $7 billion in border security investments that 
the President is demanding as part of this negotiation, including $5.7 
billion for the wall. This letter came out of nowhere 3 months into the 
fiscal year and 18 days into the shutdown, and it did not come from the 
President, it came from the Acting Director of the Office of Management 
and Budget. I think I may have that letter. They are asking for $5.6 
billion more for the Department of Homeland Security than they proposed 
in their original budget request, including an additional $4.1 billion 
for the wall. This came up this weekend, but the letter included no 
budget justification, no details, and no suggestions for how to pay for 
it. The letter has a lot of cliches but does not say where the money 
comes from or what it is going to do. That is not the way we operate. 
It should not be the way we operate.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the letter be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

         Executive Office of the President, Office of Management 
           and Budget,
                                  Washington, DC, January 6, 2019.
     Hon. Patrick Leahy,
     Vice Chairman, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate, 
         Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Leahy: The President continues to stress the 
     need to pass legislation that will both reopen the Federal 
     Government and address the security and humanitarian crisis 
     at our Nation's Southwest border. The Administration has 
     previously transmitted budget proposals that would support 
     his ongoing commitment to dramatically reduce the entry of 
     illegal immigrants, criminals, and drugs; keep out 
     terrorists, public safety threats, and those otherwise 
     inadmissible under U.S. law; and ensure that those who do 
     enter without legal permission can be promptly and safely 
     returned home.
       Appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2019 that have 
     already been considered by the current and previous 
     Congresses are inadequate to fully address these critical 
     issues. Any agreement for the current year should satisfy the 
     following priorities:
       Border Wall, Customs and Border Protection (CBP): The 
     President requests $5.7 billion for construction of a steel 
     barrier for the Southwest border. Central to any strategy to 
     achieve operational control along the southern border is 
     physical infrastructure to provide requisite impedance and 
     denial. In short, a physical barrier--wall--creates an 
     enduring capability that helps field personnel stop, slow 
     down and/or contain illegal entries. In concert with the U.S. 
     Army Corps of Engineers, CBP has increased its capacity to 
     execute these funds. The Administration's full request would 
     fund construction of a total of approximately 234 miles of 
     new physical barrier and fully fund the top 10 priorities in 
     CBP's Border Security Improvement Plan. This would require an 
     increase of $4.1 billion over the FY 2019 funding level in 
     the Senate version of the bill.
       Immigration Judge Teams--Executive Office for Immigration 
     Review (EOIR): The President requests at least $563 million 
     for 75 additional Immigration Judges and support staff to 
     reduce the backlog of pending immigration cases. The 
     Administration appreciates that the Senate's FY 2019 bill 
     provides this level of funding, and looks forward to working 
     with the Congress on further increases in this area to 
     facilitate an expansion of in-country processing of asylum 
       Law Enforcement Personnel, Border Patrol Agent Hiring, CBP: 
     The President requests $211 million to hire 750 additional 
     Border Patrol Agents in support of his promise to keep our 
     borders safe and secure. While the Senate's FY 2019 bill 
     supports some Border Patrol Agent hiring, fulfilling this 
     request requires an increase of $100 million over the FY 2019 
     funding level in the Senate version of the bill.
       Law Enforcement Personnel, Immigration and Customs 
     Enforcement (ICE): The President requests $571 million for 
     2,000 additional law enforcement personnel, as well as 
     support staff, who enforce our U.S. immigration laws and help 
     address gang violence, smuggling and trafficking, and the 
     spread of drugs in our communities. This would require an 
     increase of $571 million over the FY 2019 funding level in 
     the Senate version of the bill.
       Detention Beds, ICE: The President requests $4.2 billion to 
     support 52,000 detention beds. Given that in recent months, 
     the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally 
     has risen to 2,000 per day, providing additional resources 
     for detention and transportation is essential. This would 
     require an increase of $798 million over the FY 2019 funding 
     level in the Senate version of the bill.
       Humanitarian Needs: The President requests an additional 
     $800 million to address urgent humanitarian needs. This 
     includes additional funding for enhanced medical support, 
     transportation, consumable supplies appropriate for the 
     population, and additional temporary facilities for 
     processing and short-term custody of this vulnerable 
     population, which are necessary to ensure the well-being of 
     those taken into custody.
       Counter-narcotics/weapons Technology: Beyond these specific 
     budgetary requests, the Administration looks forward to 
     working with Congress to provide resources in other areas to 
     address the unprecedented challenges we face along the 
     Southwest border. Specifically, $675 million would provide 
     Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) technology at inbound lanes at 
     U.S. Southwest Border Land Ports of Entry (LPOE) would allow 
     CBP to deter and detect more contraband, including narcotics, 
     weapons, and other materials that pose nuclear and 
     radiological threats. This would require an increase of $631 
     million over the FY 2019 funding level in the Senate version 
     of the bill.

[[Page S44]]

       In addition, to address the humanitarian crisis of 
     unaccompanied alien children (UACs), Democrats have proposed 
     in-country asylum processing for Central American Minors. 
     This would require a statutory change, along with 
     reallocation of State Department funds to establish in-
     country processing capacities at Northern Triangle consulates 
     and embassies. Furthermore, for the new procedure to achieve 
     the desired humanitarian result, a further corresponding 
     statutory change would be required to ensure that those who 
     circumvent the process and come to the United States without 
     authorization can be promptly returned home. Without the 
     latter change, in-country processing will not reduce the 
     unauthorized flow or successfully mitigate the humanitarian 
       These upfront investments in physical barriers and 
     technology, as well as legislation to close loopholes in our 
     immigration system, will reduce illegal immigration, the flow 
     of illicit drugs entering our country and reduce the long 
     term costs for border and immigration enforcement activities.
       The Administration looks forward to advancing these 
     critical priorities as part of legislation to reopen the 
                                                Russell T. Vought,
                                                  Acting Director.

  Mr. LEAHY. The President may not care about the impact the shutdown 
is having on millions of Americans, but the U.S. Senate--a body that 
should be the conscience of the Nation--should care. Stoking fear 
through misinformation in order to promote a political agenda is simply 
wrong. We could and should reopen the government this week.
  Last week, the House passed a bipartisan, six-bill minibus to reopen 
most of the government and a continuing resolution for the Department 
of Homeland Security. To show how bipartisan it is, the six 
appropriations bills the House passed originated in the Republican-
controlled Senate last Congress and had bipartisan support, including 
by Senator Shelby as chairman and by myself as vice chairman of the 
Appropriations Committee.
  I worked hard with Senator Shelby--and I admire his efforts--to 
produce these bills last summer and fall, and all of them received 
nearly unanimous support when they were considered on the floor of the 
Senate or in the Appropriations Committee. Senator McConnell should 
bring them to the floor of the U.S. Senate today and put them up for a 
vote. We have already shown virtually every Republican and every 
Democrat in this body will vote for them.
  Bring them up. Let's vote for them. End this nonsense. End it. The 
leader owes that to the American people. We owe that to the American 
people. Let us be the conscience of the Nation, not an institution that 
is simply a foil for the latest tweet or posting. We can do it. We have 
passed these bills before. Bring them up. Bring them up. Bring them up, 
and pass them again. Republicans and Democrats have voted for them in 
the past. The Republican chairman and I strongly support them. Bring 
them up. Bring them up. Bring them up and pass them and open the 
government and let 800,000 Americans stop their suffering.
  I yield the floor.
  I see the Senator seeking recognition, so I withhold my request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.

                   Congratulating the Clemson Tigers

  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I will be quick. I know we have a lot to 
do before we vote, but if you are from South Carolina, you have a lot 
to be happy about today. If you watched the football game last night, I 
thought you saw a real display of college football.
  I am a South Carolina graduate. I went to the University of South 
Carolina. I have lived near Clemson most of my life, and I am here to 
congratulate the Clemson Tigers because after last night, the Clemson 
Tigers have become the gold standard for college football, both on and 
off the field.
  What I like most about Clemson is, they believe you can't win on the 
field if you lose off the field, and it starts at the top. Coach 
Swinney is the very definition of ``all in''--with his family, his 
faith, his coaches and staff and his dedication and loyalty to his 
current and former players. He is one of the most beloved men I have 
ever met in the coaching profession. His players understand that he 
cares about them, and when he pushes them, it is only because he wants 
them to be the best they can be and the best the team can be.
  Clemson University is not a football school, for those who are 
wondering. It is one of the top-tiered, academically challenging public 
universities in the entire country--and it is not bragging if it is 
true--which happens to have a great football team and a great coach.
  To those who don't want to see Clemson versus Alabama part 5, I can 
understand that. I have some advice for you. Get better and beat one of 
them. Don't complain. These are the two best teams in the Nation.
  To my friends from Alabama, your program is going to go down as one 
of the most historic programs in the history of college football, but 
last night, the best team in the Nation was the Clemson Tigers. They 
won decisively. They won with class. The 2018 season will be remembered 
as long as there is a Clemson University.
  I live 5 miles from the stadium. I grew up in the shadow of Clemson 
University. I got an honorary degree from Clemson. That is about the 
only way I would have ever gotten a degree. I am very proud of what 
Clemson University has accomplished on and off the field. Tim and I 
will be introducing a resolution recognizing this great accomplishment 
by the Clemson Tigers.
  I just want to end with this. In these troubled times, when there is 
a lot going on in the world, and there is a lot of bad news, this is a 
chance to celebrate something very positive. America is a football 
country, and college football is one of our most beloved sports. Last 
night, you saw two quality teams. I can say, without a doubt, if you 
are going to follow college football, get to know the Clemson Tigers 
because you are going to see them again. Go Tigers.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado.

                                  S. 1

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, to my colleague from South Carolina, 
Senator Graham, we will challenge the Clemson Tigers to the NCAA skiing 
championship anytime.
  I rise to speak about the bill we are working on today, S. 1, 
Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act.
  I am proud to be a sponsor of this legislation, along with Senator 
Rubio and Senator Risch. I commend Chairman Risch for working with the 
majority leader in attempting to move this important legislation and 
effort without delay.
  I think it is important to recognize that this bill combines four 
noncontroversial pieces of legislation from the 115th Congress that are 
intended to support our strong allies, Israel and Jordan, and to impose 
sanctions against the gross human rights abuses of the Assad regime in 
  We have no stronger ally in the Middle East than the State of Israel. 
Israel has proven itself to be a resilient beacon of democratic values, 
despite facing existential threats daily since its founding in 1948.
  Our two nations have worked closely to fight terrorism, to stop the 
spread of radical Islamist extremism, and to prevent nuclear and 
chemical weapons proliferation by rogue regimes, such as Syria and 
Iran. The legislation before us today simply reaffirms our strong 
support for Israel, including $3.3 billion per year in annual U.S. 
security assistance, consistent with the 10-year U.S.-Israel memorandum 
of understanding, which was signed in 2016 by President Obama.
  In the 115th Congress, 72 Senators--72 Senators, Republicans and 
Democrats--cosponsored this legislation. It passed in the Senate 
unanimously on August 1, 2018. There is no reason why my colleagues 
across the aisle should not support this legislation today--no reason--
in order to show our strong bipartisan support to our friend and ally, 
Israel, at a time of great need.
  This package also includes provisions supporting State governments 
that have taken action against the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic 
movement known as Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, or BDS. To date, 
26 States--including my home State of Colorado--have adopted laws or 
executive orders against BDS. This legislation before us today simply 
endorses those decisions and clarifies that these measures adopted or 
enforced by a State or local government are not preempted by any 
Federal law if they comply with the requirements in the legislation.

[[Page S45]]

  This anti-BDS legislation had 48 bipartisan cosponsors in the 115th 
Congress. There is no reason it should not be passed with bipartisan 
support today.
  BDS is a vile movement--a vile movement--and should be vociferously 
opposed by Republicans, Democrats, and everyone alike. This is why, on 
December 20, I led a letter, with 14 of my Senate colleagues, to the 
majority leader and the minority leader to take immediate action 
against BDS.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that this letter be printed in 
the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                  U.S. Senate,

                                Washington, DC, December 20, 2018.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Senate Majority Leader,
     The Capitol, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Charles Schumer,
     Senate Minority Leader,
     The Capitol, Washington, DC.
       Dear Leaders McConnell and Schumer: We write today to bring 
     to your attention a disturbing development concerning the 
     anti-Israel and anti-Semitic movement known as Boycott, 
     Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Regrettably, in recent days, 
     future members of the U.S. House of Representatives have 
     publicly expressed support for this extreme movement.
       We urge you to issue a joint statement publicly condemning 
     BDS and to prioritize legislative efforts in the next session 
     of Congress to counter this destructive trend. We note there 
     were bipartisan legislative efforts, including the Combating 
     BDS Act (S. 170) and the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), 
     which were introduced in the 115th Congress.
       Israel is our country's most steadfast ally in a highly 
     volatile region of the world. The State of Israel has proven 
     itself to be a resilient beacon of democratic values, despite 
     facing existential threats daily since its founding in 1948. 
     Working closely together, our two countries have worked to 
     fight terrorism, to stop the spread of radical Islamist 
     ideologies, and to prevent nuclear and chemical weapons 
     proliferation by rogue regimes, such as Syria and the Islamic 
     Republic of Iran.
       As then-President Barack Obama stated in his speech in 
     Jerusalem on March 21, 2013: ``Israel has established a 
     thriving democracy with a spirited civil society, proud 
     political parties, a tireless free press, and a lively public 
     debate--lively may even be an understatement. And Israel has 
     achieved this even as it has overcome relentless threats to 
     its security--through the courage of the Israel Defense 
     Forces, and a citizenry that is resilient in the face of 
       Simply put, the BDS movement seeks to de-legitimize the 
     State of Israel and its people. Senator Schumer, as you so 
     eloquently stated on March 6, 2018: ``We must continue to 
     stand firm against the profoundly biased campaign to 
     delegitimize the State of Israel through [BDS] . . . While 
     Iran publicly executes its citizens, Turkey jails its 
     journalists, scores of Arab nations punish homosexuality with 
     imprisonment and torture, why does BDS single Israel out 
     alone for condemnation?''
       It is disheartening to see future members of Congress take 
     a position on BDS that is not only highly biased, but 
     contrary to fundamental facts and detrimental to U.S. 
     national security interests. We therefore respectfully urge 
     you to immediately condemn these comments and to show 
     bipartisan support for our ally Israel.
         Cory Gardner, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Chuck 
           Grassley, Ted Cruz, Susan M. Collins, Jon Kyl, John 
           Hoeven, Steve Daines, John Thune, Cindy Hyde-Smith, 
           Roger Wicker, James E. Risch, David Perdue, Tim Scott.

  Mr. GARDNER. In that letter, we asked for immediate bipartisan 
response against BDS, including moving today's legislation forward. In 
that letter, we quote the minority leader, Senator Schumer, when he 
spoke at the annual American-Israel Public Affairs Committee conference 
just this past March. Less than a year ago, here is what Senator 
Schumer told the audience at AIPAC on March 5, 2018:

       [W]e must continue to stand firm against the profoundly 
     biased campaign to delegitimize the State of Israel through 
     [boycotts, divestment, and sanctions].
       While Iran publicly executes its citizens, Turkey jails its 
     journalists, scores of Arab nations punish homosexuality with 
     imprisonment and torture, why does BDS single Israel out 
     alone for condemnation?
       When there is such a double standard, when the world treats 
     everybody one way and the Jew or the Jewish State another 
     way, there's only one word for it: anti-Semitism. Let us call 
     out the BDS movement for what it is. Let us delegitimize the 
     delegitimizers by letting the world know when there is a 
     double standard. Whether they know it or not, they are 
     actively participating in an anti-Semitic movement.

  Those are the words of the Democratic minority leader in March of 
2018. I completely agree with Senator Schumer. Yet today I understand 
that he and Members of his caucus plan to vote against the motion to 
proceed on bipartisan legislation that would condemn BDS. It is 
regrettable. It is unfortunate. It is horrible.
  It is also part of a new and disturbing trend that we see from some 
of our colleagues in the Democratic caucus. As we noted in our letter, 
several Members of the House of Representatives have now publicly 
endorsed BDS and have not been condemned by Senator Schumer and other 
Democratic leaders. We saw the manifestation of this dangerous trend 2 
days ago, when a Democratic Representative issued a statement alleging 
that the Senators who introduced the bill before us today, myself 
included, forget what country they represent. This is a reprehensible 
charge of dual loyalty utterly unbefitting of a sitting Member of 
Congress, and we all need to come together to condemn such vile 
  I am glad to see that respected, nonpartisan organizations, like the 
American Jewish Committee, AJC, have now issued strong statements 
rebuking this Democratic Member of Congress.
  The AJC statement reads in part:

       AJC is outraged at the tweet posted by [the Representative] 
     that U.S. senators who had introduced Israel-related 
     legislation ``forgot what country they represent.''
       That assertion, which completely avoids legitimate debate 
     about the content of the bill itself, insinuates that a 
     number of respected, long-serving senators are somehow more 
     loyal to Israel than they are to the United States.
       The charge evokes classical anti-Semitic tropes about dual 
     loyalty--in this case applied to some lawmakers who are not 
     even Jewish--that have no place in our political discourse.

  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
the statement from AJC dated January 7, 2019.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                   AJC Outraged by Rep. Tlaib's Tweet

                             (Jan. 7, 2019)

       New York.--AJC is outraged at the tweet posted by 
     Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) claiming that U.S. 
     senators who had introduced Israel-related legislation 
     ``forgot what country they represent.'' That assertion, which 
     completely avoids legitimate debate about the content of the 
     bill itself, insinuates that a number of respected, long-
     serving senators are somehow more loyal to Israel than they 
     are to the United States.
       The charge evokes classical anti-Semitic tropes about dual 
     loyalty--in this case applied to some lawmakers who are not 
     even Jewish--that have no place in our political discourse. 
     Ironically, it was Representative Tlaib who took the unusual 
     step of wrapping herself in a foreign flag upon winning 
     election to Congress, and who said she would serve as ``a 
     voice for'' another nation in the House of Representatives.
       Her ad hominem attack on congressional colleagues joins a 
     growing list of troubling statements by the newly elected 
     member, including her rejection of a two-state solution to 
     the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
       AJC calls on Rep. Tlaib to apologize for her offensive 

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, I believe this body can do different, so 
I ask my colleagues to put politics aside and vote yes on the motion to 
proceed to this legislation that will help enhance our national 
security and will take strong action against a reprehensible and racist 
movement known as BDS.
  I know there are some who believe we should shut down the Senate 
because of the current funding situation in the Federal Government, but 
let me remind Members of this Chamber that in 2013, under Democratic 
Majority Leader Harry Reid, what was voted on during the shutdown in 
2013--here it is--a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to 
take actions to implement the agreement between the United States of 
America and the United Mexican States concerning transboundary 
hydrocarbon reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico. Somehow, in 2013, it was 
OK to find time for that measure.
  While complaining about finding time for other measures right now, 
during the shutdown in 2013, they found time to address the Security 
Clearance Oversight and Reform Enhancement Act. They found time for the 
Small Airplane Revitalization Act. They found time to ensure that any 
new or revised requirement providing for the screening, testing, or 
treatment of individuals operating commercial motor

[[Page S46]]

vehicles for sleep disorders is adopted pursuant to a rulemaking 
proceeding and for other purposes. Now they don't want to bring up 
anti-BDS legislation because we shouldn't be talking about anything 
else, but in 2013, they had time to vote on and to consider things like 
extending the period during which Iraqis who are employed by the U.S. 
Government in Iraq may be granted special immigrant status and 
temporarily increasing the fee or surcharge for processing machine-
readable nonimmigrant visas.
  I am not downplaying the importance of these bills. I am saying that 
there seems to be a significant double standard and a significant 
partisan double standard because what is being complained about today 
is the same thing that was fine in 2013--had time to vote on a couple 
of district judges as well, but now there is no time for that.
  People are saying we shouldn't vote on this legislation until the 
government is funded. I have said it very clearly--we need to fund the 
government. What also needs to be very clear is how people will vote on 
this legislation, to not hide behind the shutdown how they would vote 
on anti-BDS legislation.
  We have heard the rhetoric. We have heard the very real comments from 
not fictitious Members of Congress but from actual Members of Congress 
who support an anti-Semitic movement. We can condemn it today with a 
simple vote to proceed. If people don't want to take too much time to 
debate it, I think everybody knows that it is right to support an anti-
BDS position. They know it is right to oppose Assad and his chemical 
attacks and the other torturous actions he has taken against his own 
people. It is a pretty simple vote on this motion to proceed--vote yes; 
support the underlying legislation. Bipartisan Members, Republicans and 
Democrats, just last year supported this legislation, voted for this 
legislation, and I hope they will not let partisan politics get in the 
way of doing what is right.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, we are now in day 18 of an unnecessary 
and shameful government shutdown. I am proud to be joined on the floor 
by my colleague and partner, the senior Senator from Maryland, Ben 
Cardin, Senator Tim Kaine and Senator Warner from Virginia, and many of 
my colleagues, to say loud and clear that the first order of business 
in this Senate should be to reopen the Federal Government because every 
day that goes by, more and more Americans are losing access to 
important government services, 800,000 hard-working Federal employees 
are going without pay and facing mounting monthly bills, 400,000-plus 
are working without pay to help protect our country, and over 300,000 
are forcibly furloughed. Small businesses that do contract work for the 
government are getting clobbered, as are the employees who work for 
  We have it within our power to vote tonight to end this shutdown by 
voting on the two bills that passed the House of Representatives last 
Thursday. They made it their first order of business, and so should we. 
I have copies of those bills.
  I have a copy of H.J. Res. 1 right here in my hand. It would reopen 
the Homeland Security Department at current levels until February 8, 
allowing us an opportunity to discuss with the President the best and 
most effective approach to border security. It is identical to what 
this Senate passed on a bipartisan basis just before Christmas.
  The second bill that passed the House--and I have that right here at 
my desk as well--would reopen the other eight Departments of the 
Federal Government for the remainder of the fiscal year and, 
importantly, at levels that were supported in this Senate on a 
bipartisan basis either through votes on this Senate floor or in the 
Senate Appropriations Committee.
  Both of these bills--H.J. Res. 1 and H.R. 21--are on the Senate 
calendar. We could bring them up, and we could vote tonight to end the 
government shutdown. Then we could have a discussion with the President 
on the best way to secure our borders. Let's stop holding the entire 
Nation and 800,000 hard-working Federal employees hostage in a 
disagreement they have nothing to do with.
  President Trump did say that he was going to be proud to shut down 
the government, and he did it. Every day that goes by in this Senate 
without a vote on the House bills to reopen the government makes this 
Senate more and more complicit in the shutdown. No Senator--no 
Senator--should be contracting out their constitutional 
responsibilities and their votes to the President of the United States. 
Let's not be an accomplice to this shutdown. Let's bring up the vote, 
bring up the bill, vote on it now--no business-as-usual tonight--and 
let's, first of all, do the people's business and reopen the 
government. Let's do it now.
  I am proud to now give time to Senator Cardin, my friend, the senior 
Senator from Maryland.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I take this time to support what Senator 
Van Hollen has said. I am here with Senators Warner and Kaine. We have 
the honor of representing Maryland and Virginia in the Senate, where 
there are so many Federal workers.
  I want to underscore one point Senator Van Hollen made about the two 
bills that are on our calendar that passed the House. These are not 
Democratic bills; these are bipartisan bills. These are bills that 
passed this body just a few weeks ago by unanimous votes to keep 
government open as we continue to negotiate on border security. They 
deal with appropriations bills that passed our Appropriations 
Committees--in one case unanimously, and in one case, all but one 
Senator voted for it. So these are bipartisan bills that have been sent 
over to us from the House that have already cleared this body once. Now 
we can pass them, keep government open for most of the agencies, and in 
the case of Homeland Security, a continuing resolution.
  This shutdown caused by President Trump is a disaster. It is hurting 
people. In this morning's Sun paper, there was an article about an 
important economic development project in Baltimore City on the east 
side that cannot move forward because HUD can't process the paperwork 
so it can go forward. We are getting hurt every day.
  Senator Van Hollen mentioned the 800,000 Federal workers. About half 
are being asked to show up and work every day without a paycheck. The 
others are being locked out and are being furloughed without pay. 
People are getting hurt.
  The taxpayers of this country expect to be able to get government 
services from their agencies, and they can't get those services. They 
are being hurt.
  Contractors are being hurt, small businesses are being hurt, and our 
economy is being hurt.
  It makes no sense whatsoever. The first order of business should be 
to take up these two bills. Let's put aside what is currently pending. 
Let's bring up these two bills. We can return to that calendar 
immediately thereafter. We can do that, but let's make sure we get 
these bills passed so we can open government now. The Senate should not 
be complicitous in the shutdown that President Trump has caused. Let's 
act in good faith. Let's open up government. Let's negotiate border 
security. If we can't get that done quickly, we could at least have a 
continuing resolution and continue our debate on border security, but 
don't hold the American people hostage. That is exactly what the 
President of the United States is trying to do.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor to Senator Warner.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator Kaine 
and I each be permitted to speak for up to 5 minutes prior to the 
scheduled vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I want to join my colleagues from Maryland 
and my friend, the Senator from Virginia, as well, to speak out on this 
manufactured crisis.
  This President is holding 800,000 Federal workers hostage, folks who 
are going to work, some of them without pay, and others who are 
furloughed. As has been mentioned, this is not just affecting Federal 
workers. Senator Kaine and I have been talked to by a number of 
contractors, small business owners.

[[Page S47]]

A couple of them are closing their doors this week because they have 
now gone for weeks without being paid. You can't put a business back 
together after you have closed its doors. So there are 800,000 Federal 
employees, there are contractors, but there is a whole slew of other 
folks who are already immediately affected.
  The complete lack of thought this administration had in this 
shutdown--they tried to say: We are not going to make it seem like a 
shutdown. We are going to leave the parks open. Now we see destruction 
going on in our parks. We see in our State that Shenandoah National 
Park has trash overfilling. We have the battlefields where people have 
engaged in inappropriate activities. We have seen as well a whole slew 
of businesses that depend upon a high volume of tourist travel during 
the holidays--none of that took place.
  I also wonder whether Donald Trump, who says this is about security--
well, if it is about security, we ought to make sure our Coast Guard is 
paid. We ought to make sure our TSA agents are paid. We are seeing 
dramatic numbers of folks calling in sick, dramatically reducing the 
ability to maintain security at our airports, where, frankly, most of 
our vulnerability on the border actually takes place. That is going to 
get exponentially worse after Friday when these employees go without a 
  The fact is, these workers don't work for Donald Trump; they work for 
America. Echoing what my colleague said, our first order of business 
ought to be making sure we get this government reopened.
  The final point I want to make is this: The heartlessness of this 
President in his comments about our Federal workers that somehow they 
can manage through without a paycheck, that somehow they can negotiate 
with their landlord if they can't pay their rent--rather than Donald 
Trump putting on a political show tonight on TV and a political trip to 
the border tomorrow, I invite the President to come anywhere in 
Virginia, Maryland, or the District and sit down with Federal employees 
and explain this crisis and why they are not getting paid.

  So my hope is that, echoing what our Senators from Maryland have 
said, the Senate shouldn't be complicit in this. We need to reopen the 
government. If we want to negotiate additional border security, I am 
all for it, but not holding hostage, literally, our Federal employees 
and countless others.
  I yield to the Senator from Virginia.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, before I begin, I ask unanimous consent 
that following my remarks, Senator Risch be permitted to speak for up 
to 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, tonight following this vote, Senator 
Shaheen and I have organized a group of more than 15 Democrats who will 
take the floor to talk about the effect of the government shutdown in 
each of our States. We will talk about the effect on workers, on 
families, and on citizens needing services. I don't want to repeat what 
I will say in about an hour, but I want to address the issue of the 
vote that is now coming before us.
  The vote is a vote to proceed to a number of issues that are 
important to the security of other nations. I am the cosponsor of one 
of bills that is before us--a U.S.-Israel security assistance bill--and 
strongly, strongly support it, but as passionate as I have been for the 
security of the nation of Israel, I am every bit as passionate about 
the security of the United States, and I think the first business of 
this Senate should be to reopen the Government of the United States.
  I think to take any other action or to focus on any other issue when 
we have bipartisan bills pending in the Senate that have been supported 
by our Republican colleagues that would reopen government--to skip by 
those bills and push them aside for another 18 days or longer--makes 
absolutely no sense.
  So I will be opposing the motion that is on the floor this evening 
because the first business of this body should be to reopen government.
  I think of the question that Abraham Lincoln raised at Gettysburg. He 
talked about this Nation dedicated to the proposition that all are 
created equal and the question about whether any nation dedicated to 
that proposition can long endure. I don't think President Lincoln, the 
founder of the modern Republican Party, would have supported a 
government shutdown for a year, for a week, for a day, or for a minute. 
This issue that is on the table before us is about the endurance of the 
United States Government and giving people confidence in us that we 
support the government's operation.
  We should not take up other items until we take up the bipartisan 
proposal before this body and make sure that the government of the 
United States is funded and that people are protected.
  I yield the floor.

                                  S. 1

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.
  Mr. RISCH. Mr. President and fellow Senators, I rise today to present 
S. 1, the Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 
  It is really a compilation of three bills, addressing three different 
issues in the Middle East. It is left over from the last Congress, the 
  It is fitting that the first piece of legislation on the Senate floor 
in the 116th Congress is made up of bills that have previously enjoyed 
the support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. This is a 
bipartisan piece of legislation--all three of them that are put 
together in this bill--with many Senators from both sides of the aisle 
having contributed to the construction of this bill.
  We need to get this important work done now, not in a month or two. 
It is leftover business, as I said, and it is about as unanimous as 
anything around here gets.
  Now, I understand that there is friction around here at the moment, 
as my good friend from Virginia just talked about. But, look, we are 
the U.S. Senate. We can walk and we can chew gum at the same time.
  These issues that are in this bill desperately need our attention, 
and it is disheartening to see that there is going to be a vote against 
this simply because the parties want to focus on just one issue. That 
isn't the issue in front of us. If it were, of course, we could vote 
that way.
  I don't think there is anybody on this floor that wants to see the 
government shut down. There are a lot of us that would like to see a 
smaller government, a less intrusive government, and a less regulatory 
government, but we were elected to govern. We were not elected to not 
govern, and it is important that we do resolve that.
  But in the meantime, we have these important matters left over from 
the last Congress, and I hope we can move to them and get them done.
  Israel and Jordan have been steadfast allies and friends of the 
United States. This legislation reaffirms our strong friendship with 
these countries and extends critical aid to these two allies. Israel 
and Jordan deserve the support and cooperation that this legislation 
would extend. We should not let them down.
  Also included in this legislation is the Caesar Syria Civilian 
Protection Act, which very nearly passed in the full Senate by 
unanimous consent in the closing hours and minutes of the last 
Congress. There was only 1 objection to it, but 99 Senators agreed to 
this act.
  The Caesar bill declares that it is U.S. policy to use all diplomatic 
and economic means to compel the government of Bashar al-Assad to stop 
the slaughter of the Syrian people and to work toward a democratic 
  Sanctions are an important tool of U.S. foreign policy. Carefully 
designed sanctions allow the United States to create the conditions to 
influence decision-making and serve U.S. national security interests 
without having to implement additional military measures and put U.S. 
troops in harm's way. The sanctions method has been particularly 
effective in some very important situations.
  The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act includes strong financial 
sanctions to target those individuals responsible in the Assad regime 
for the terrible loss of life and destruction in Syria. Further, it 
extends sanctions to those who would support the Syrian regime's 
actions in the war in Syria, such as Iran and Russia.

[[Page S48]]

  In order for us to bring a permanent defeat of ISIS, which 
necessitates getting Iran out of Syria, we should encourage politically 
negotiated solutions that will bring major change to the current Syrian 
regime structure.
  With nearly 500,000 killed in Syria, this legislation is deserved, 
and it is long overdue. We must exert maximum pressure in coordination 
with our allies and friends to bring the Syrian dictator, Assad, and 
his Iranian friends and their allies to account.
  It is my hope that the Senate can move to this bill and take up this 
important legislation with its three-pronged approach that supports our 
important allies. Let's not let these allies down.
  Again, I come back to I understand that there is some friction here 
on other issues that we should be addressing, but right now the vote is 
this: Do you or do you not support the allies and the civilian 
population of Syria, who are being slaughtered in the fashion that they 
  My fellow Senators, I urge an affirmative vote on this good piece of 
  I yield the floor.

                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Rubio). Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair 
lays before the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will 
  The 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 the motion to 
     proceed to Calendar No. 1, S. 1, a bill to make improvements 
     to certain defense and security assistance provisions and to 
     authorize the appropriation of funds to Israel, to 
     reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act 
     of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian 
     people, and for other purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, John Barrasso, Cory 
           Gardner, John Hoeven, Mike Rounds, Mike Crapo, Roy 
           Blunt, Tom Cotton, John Boozman, John Cornyn, John 
           Thune, Roger F. Wicker, Marco Rubio, Bill Cassidy, 
           Shelley Moore Capito.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to proceed to S. 1, an act to make improvements to certain 
defense and security assistance provisions and to authorize the 
appropriation of funds to Israel, to reauthorize the United States-
Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale 
slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other purposes, shall be 
brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  The yeas and nays resulted: yeas 56, nays 44, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 1 Leg.]


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 56, the nays are 
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted 
in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.
  The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I enter a motion to reconsider the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The motion is entered.