(Senate - January 16, 2019)

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[Pages S247-S265]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                     ACT OF 2019--Motion to Proceed

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I move to proceed to Calendar No. 11, 
S. 109.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to the consideration of S. 109, a bill to 
     prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.

                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I send a cloture motion to the desk on 
the motion to proceed.
  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

[[Page S248]]

     Standing Rules of the Senate, do hereby move to bring to a 
     close debate on the motion to proceed to Calendar No. 11, S. 
     109, a bill to prohibit taxpayer funded abortions.

 =========================== NOTE =========================== 

  On page S248, January 16, 2019, first column, the following 
appears: Standing Rules of the Senate, do hereby move to bring to 
a close debate on the motion to proceed to Calendar No. 11, S. 
109, a bill to prohibit taxpayer funded abortion.
  The online Record has been corrected to read: Standing Rules of 
the Senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the 
motion to proceed to Calendar No. 11, S. 109, a bill to prohibit 
taxpayer funded abortions.

 ========================= END NOTE ========================= 

         Mitch McConnell, Mike Crapo, Mike Rounds, James M. 
           Inhofe, John Barrasso, David Perdue, John Kennedy, John 
           Thune, Thom Tillis, James E. Risch, Cindy Hyde-Smith, 
           Pat Roberts, John Boozman, James Lankford, Michael B. 
           Enzi, Roger F. Wicker, John Cornyn.

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum call 
be waived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Wyoming.

                            Border Security

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, following the September 11, 2001, 
attacks on the United States, the National Institutes of Health, which 
is the Nation's medical research Agency in Bethesda, MD, needed to 
secure its campus. The NIH's grounds were always open to the public 
before that. Anybody could walk or drive through the 300-acre campus 
and could do it freely, but in its facing heightened threats, officials 
planned to restrict public access and to build a wall. It was completed 
in 2005. The wall, with the black metal perimeter fence with guarded 
checkpoints, became the centerpiece of NIH's new perimeter security 
system. Signs were posted that said ``No Trespassing.''

  On its website, NIH states that the purpose of this border barrier is 
``to ensure the safety of our patients, employees, guests and 
  NIH wasn't alone in building a barrier after the attacks in 2001. 
Across the street, the National Naval Medical Center, now known as 
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, also walled off its 243-
acre campus. These walls have worked. Both NIH and Walter Reed remain 
safe and secure.
  Now we need to deal with a security crisis at our southern border. 
President Trump has requested $5.7 billion--it is about one one-
thousandth of the Federal spending. The President wants to build more 
physical barriers--a proven border security solution. Thirty percent of 
the border already has a secure barrier.
  Congressional leaders from both parties have supported a border wall 
in the past. In 2006, Senate Democrats, including then-Senator Barack 
Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Joe Biden, and Senator Chuck 
Schumer voted to construct a physical barrier on our southern border. 
But Democrat leaders now refuse to back the President's border security 
effort, prolonging the partial government shutdown that is going on 
  Meanwhile, the Democrats and media fact-checkers are out in force to 
attack President Trump. They insist there is no border crisis. The 
facts are that this January 10 Investor's Business Daily editorial 
says: ``Yes, There Is A Crisis At The Border--The Numbers Show It.''
  First, in terms of how the numbers show it is that illegal crossings 
are climbing, last year, Border Patrol stopped more than one-half 
million people trying to enter the country illegally--more than 100,000 
in October and November alone this past year. That is a huge increase 
from the same 2 months in 2017.
  Second, apprehensions don't account for all illegal crossers. The 
Homeland Security Department estimates that about 20 percent of our 
crossers enter, which means about 104,000 illegal immigrants entered in 
2018 alone.
  Third, the U.S. illegal immigrant population right now is massive. 
Currently, over 12 million illegal immigrants reside here, comparable 
to the entire population of countries like Chile, the Netherlands, and 
  Fourth, illegal crime levels are higher than expected. The Center for 
Immigration Studies has found that noncitizens accounted for more than 
20 percent of Federal convictions, although they represent only 8.4 
percent of the population.
  Fifth, Presidents Reagan through Obama have acknowledged the crisis. 
In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama said: ``We simply cannot allow 
people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, 
unchecked.'' In 2014, President Obama described the border situation as 
a crisis, but he failed to fix it.
  Even President Obama's last Border Patrol Chief, Mark Morgan, 
supports President Trump. He was actually on television just today. 
Trump didn't keep him in the job, but Morgan says that building the 
wall is key to solving the security crisis, and the President should, 
as he says, ``stay the course.''
  Still, Democrats refuse to negotiate with this President, so we can't 
reopen those Federal Agencies that have been closed for more than 3 
  Here is the Homeland Security Department's latest assessment of the 
southern border situation. They say that each month, 60,000 illegal 
immigrants reach the border. Drug smuggling spiked in 2018, with a 38-
percent increase in methamphetamine, a 22-percent increase in heroin, 
and a 73-percent increase in fentanyl. We also saw a huge surge in 
arrests of dangerous criminals, including 17,000 adults with criminal 
records and 6,000 MS-13 and other gang members.
  In 2018, 60,000 unaccompanied children and 161,000 families reached 
the border--a dramatic increase from 2017. Many were victimized on 
their journey.
  Border Patrol areas that have enhanced or expanded physical barriers 
have actually seen a dramatic decrease in illegal traffic. That is why 
the President has requested additional funds to construct more 
  The facts are the facts. We have a national security and humanitarian 
crisis at the southern border. The problem is the rise in illegal 
entries. We need to solve it. Walls work.
  The question is this: Do U.S. citizens living in at-risk border 
communities deserve the same protection as NIH patients and the staff 
in Bethesda, MD?
  All Americans want a healthy immigration system that enforces the law 
and keeps families together. Democrats shouldn't be playing politics 
with border security. It is time to work together to secure the border, 
reopen the government, and protect the American people.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.

                           Government Funding

  Ms. WARREN. Mr. President, today is the 26th day of the longest 
government shutdown in American history.
  Weeks ago, the Senate voted unanimously to keep the government open. 
The House has now passed multiple bipartisan bills to end the shutdown, 
but President Trump refuses to come to the negotiating table, and 
Leader McConnell refuses to let the Senate vote on these bipartisan 
bills. As a result, over 800,000 people across this country have been 
sent home or are working without pay.
  Senate Democrats are here to share the stories of people whose lives 
are being upended. I want to thank Senator Murray for organizing these 
speeches and Leader Schumer for leading our efforts to reopen the 
  I am speaking today on behalf of 8,200 Federal workers in 
Massachusetts who have been affected, including TSA workers at Logan 
airport, servicemembers, air traffic controllers, healthcare providers, 
and staff at our national parks.
  Janelle, one of my constituents, works at Native American Lifelines 
of Boston, an urban Indian health program. This program does crucial 
work helping to meet the health, dental, and behavioral health needs 
for Native people in the Boston metropolitan area. It is a contract 
site with the Indian Health Service, an Agency whose funding has been 
cut off by the shutdown.
  Janelle loves her job, and she cares deeply about the people she 
serves. She doesn't want them to go hungry. She doesn't want them to 
miss their appointments. She doesn't want them to be unable to fill 
their prescriptions, but she worries about what will happen if the 
government doesn't open up soon. A prolonged shutdown would be a major 
hardship for Janelle, but it could mean a health emergency, even life 
or death, for her clients.
  Don, another constituent, is helping Coast Guard families in 
Massachusetts make ends meet. His organization, the Massachusetts 
Military Support Foundation, has distributed over 5,200 pounds of food 
since the start of the shutdown. He knows that if the shutdown 
continues, he will have to start draining his organization's budget, 
and that could mean he will not be able to help military families 
afford food supplies come September.
  Janelle's and Don's stories are just two examples of how President 

[[Page S249]]

is holding Massachusetts families hostage while he demands a border 
  Let's be perfectly clear about what the President is doing. The 
shutdown is not about border security. It is not about protecting 
anyone. It doesn't make us any safer that President Trump has padlocked 
the doors at the Department of Homeland Security or that he is asking 
our Coast Guard, our FBI agents, our airport security, and even our 
Border Patrol agents to work without pay.
  No, this shutdown is a manufactured crisis that the President is 
using to fan the flames of racism and bigotry--all so he can distract 
the American people from demanding a government that works for them.
  This isn't a new playbook. It is one the Republicans and the 
President have been using for years. Over and over again, they try to 
pit White working people against Black and Brown people, gay people 
against straight people, young people against older people, people born 
in the United States against people who came here in search of a better 
life--pit them all against each other so they don't band together, so 
they don't demand real change.
  Here is the deal: The American people are onto this twisted strategy. 
They know that this government works just great for the rich and the 
powerful but not for everyone else.
  Across this country, people are insisting on a government that is not 
just open for business but a government that actually works for them--a 
government that expands healthcare coverage instead of ripping it away 
from grandparents and newborns, a government that tackles the 
skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs instead of selling out to giant 
drug companies that put profits ahead of patients, a government that 
ends the stranglehold that money has on Washington instead of stacking 
the government with public officials who are more interested in lining 
their own pockets than serving the public. I could go on and on with 
this list.
  I came to the U.S. Senate 6 years ago to fight for working families 
and to tackle these problems head-on, to end a rigged system that 
created two sets of rules--one that applies to the rich and the 
powerful and one for everybody else.
  Republicans are trying to divide Americans in order to stop us from 
getting to work ending this rigged system, but we are onto their game. 
The President and Republicans must end this shutdown now so that 
hundreds of thousands of Federal workers can get their paychecks and 
get back to work. If they don't, hard-working people like Janelle, Don, 
and thousands more across Massachusetts will continue paying the price.
  Thank you.
  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. GRASSLEY. 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. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, tax filing season is just around the 
corner. This has never been anyone's favorite time of the year, paying 
taxes, but the uncertainty created by the current partial government 
shutdown has understandably created a bit more angst than in a usual 
tax filing season.
  The Treasury Department and IRS have been proactive in taking steps 
to minimize the burden of the shutdown on taxpayers. They recently 
announced that tax season will start as planned, on January 28. The IRS 
has confirmed that taxpayers can expect refunds to be sent out as usual 
should this shutdown drag on. Of course, this is the right conclusion, 
legally, and the right call for the taxpayers, as I had an opportunity 
to tell IRS Commissioner Rettig when we spoke recently.
  Congress has explicitly provided for a permanent appropriation for 
the IRS to pay tax refunds. This makes common sense. A tax refund 
represents the taxpayer's money--not Congress's, not the government's 
but the taxpayers'--despite what some people in Congress seem to think; 
that this money belongs to the government. It should be returned then 
in a timely fashion and, thank God for their decision, that is going to 
be the case.
  With around 75 percent of individuals receiving a tax refund on an 
annual basis, many have come to look to their refund to make important 
purchases, whether that is to replace an old water heater, make a 
downpayment on a reliable vehicle to get them to work, or just to make 
ends meet generally. It would be wrong for the government to impose 
undue financial strains on families across the country because Congress 
and the President can't get their act together.
  As we continue to work through our differences, the least we can do 
is return to taxpayers their own money.
  This tax season, of course, is a little different, not only because 
of the shutdown but also because it is the first tax filing season 
under the tax reforms and tax cuts enacted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs 
Act. A lot of work has gone on to get us here. Treasury and the IRS 
have been working diligently and swiftly to ensure taxpayers have the 
information they need. In a little over a year, they have put out 16 
proposed regulations, 2 final regulations, 45 notices, 21 revenue 
procedures, and updated countless forms, publications, and other 
guidance--all of this geared toward implementing the law and addressing 
taxpayer questions.
  Right out of the gate, Treasury and IRS went to work updating the 
annual withholding tables so taxpayers could immediately begin seeing 
the benefits of lower taxes in their paychecks. Of course, whether a 
taxpayer had less or more withheld from their paycheck is not the final 
word on whether one received a tax cut.
  Also, due to changes in withholding, a smaller or larger refund than 
usual may not tell the whole story. I encourage taxpayers to compare 
their 2019 tax return with that of the previous year to see the 
difference. At the end of the day, the vast majority of taxpayers will 
see that less of their hard-earned money is going to the government.
  A chief priority for the new withholding tables was, of course, 
accuracy. Extensive analysis was done to help taxpayers get the right 
amount withheld from their paycheck--not too much, not too little. 
However, as we all know, no withholding table will ever be perfect. 
Every taxpayer may be affected a little differently under the new law 
based on their personal circumstances. The IRS continues to consider 
whether future improvements to the withholding structure may be 
necessary, which I support and will be monitoring as chairman of the 
Finance Committee.
  The IRS has also embarked on an extensive campaign to alert taxpayers 
to check and update their withholding. This included establishing an 
online withholding calculator to help taxpayers determine what, if any, 
adjustments to their withholding may be necessary.
  That said, there are still going to be some taxpayers who may 
discover that they were underwithheld due to changes in the law and owe 
taxes at the end of the year. A subset of these taxpayers could be 
subject to a penalty for underpayment.
  The ranking member of the Finance Committee, Senator Wyden, raised 
this concern in a letter to Commissioner Rettig on January 3, 
requesting that penalty relief be granted. I generally agree with the 
ranking member and have encouraged the IRS to be lenient on penalties, 
especially with this first time through a filing season under the new 
tax law. If a taxpayer has underwithheld as a result of the changes in 
the law, and not through the fault of their own, the IRS should 
consider what actions the Agency can take to provide penalty relief, 
but the issue of underwithholding due to the passage of tax reform 
should not be exaggerated. Yes, as the ranking member claims in his 
letter to the Commissioner, it is estimated that as many as 30 million 
taxpayers may have had taxes underwithheld from their paychecks, but 
what hasn't been said is that 30 million is actually only about a 3-
percentage point increase from how many taxpayers would be 
underwithheld under the old law.
  Moreover, just because a taxpayer was underwithheld during the year 
does not automatically mean they will be subject to a penalty tax. Safe 
harbors have long been in place to protect taxpayers whose withholding 
is slightly off from being penalized.

[[Page S250]]

  It is quite possible that some issues will arise this filing season 
that we did not anticipate and will need to be fixed as we go forward. 
We already identified a number of those issues, which I am hoping my 
Democratic colleagues will allow us to fix to further help as many more 
constituents as possible.
  That doesn't detract from the fact that we have delivered real tax 
relief to middle-income families, small business owners, and the family 
farmer, nor does it undermine the fact that we modernized our outdated 
international tax system and improved America's business 
competitiveness in the global economy. Of course, that is going to 
benefit the American worker.

  These efforts have contributed to a strong and growing economy. The 
unemployment rate is at a half century low. Wages are rising at the 
fastest rate in nearly a decade. Workers, employers, and small business 
owners are all more optimistic than ever.
  Unfortunately, I hear increasing calls from the new House majority 
pledging to erase the progress made with the tax cuts and reforms that 
we enacted 13 months ago. At least one new Democratic Member has 
suggested bringing back top tax rates as high as 70 percent to pay for 
a wish list of far-left, Big Government programs. Such a confiscatory 
tax rate targeted at a relatively small number of wealthy taxpayers 
would barely make a dent in the cost of programs they wish to 
  Policymakers across the globe abandoned such punitive tax rates over 
the past several decades for their negative effect on economic growth, 
investment, and incentives to work. While tax rates at 70 percent or 
higher may have been fairly common in the 1960s, today, not a single 
OECD country boasts such high rates. How soon people forget about the 
prolonged economic stagnation and high unemployment of the 1970s when 
we last had tax rates as high as 70 percent.
  I am going to detract here to show a chart. How soon we forget that 
just raising tax rates doesn't automatically bring in more money. For 
the benefit of my colleagues and for the benefit of the public watching 
on C-SPAN, I should have had this blown up. I doubt it is going to do 
much good for me to just hold up a small sheet of paper.
  This goes back to the year 1955, ending in 2017. The blue line shows 
the marginal tax rates over a period of about 60 years. You can see 
high tax rates in the 1960s, going down, up, generally down, generally 
down, staying pretty low in recent years. You can see that the red line 
is the amount of money that comes in from taxes, whether you have high 
tax rates or low tax rates, which kind of tells me that the taxpayers 
are a lot smarter than the Congress of the United States because when 
you talk about high marginal tax rates, they want you to believe more 
money is going to come in. They are probably going to take the position 
that if you lower tax rates, less money is going to come in. But you 
see, in the 1950s top rate was 90 percent. Can you imagine Americans 
being dumb enough to work hard to only keep 10 percent of their income? 
No. What you do is you change people's behavior. They decide, I am 
going to work only so much. Why should I work harder and give more 
money to the Federal Government? You see, higher tax rates don't do 
what a lot of people want you to believe they are going to do.
  I would like to give a little history on this, because you kind of 
think that if we have lower marginal tax rates, and Republicans are the 
ones who want lower tax rates, that you would give Republicans a lot of 
credit for reducing these marginal tax rates. I can remember the work 
of Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey--probably at least a moderate 
Democrat. He was probably as responsible as anybody in the 1980s for 
reducing these marginal tax rates, because Republicans didn't have guts 
enough to do it, and we might not be where we are right now. So it is 
not just Republican thinking that got these marginal tax rates down. It 
is not just Republican thinking that has kept this red line where it 
has been for 60 years, at approximately 16 to 20 percent of gross 
national product--the amount of the economy that is coming into the 
Federal Government.
  I hope the talk of such confiscatory taxation truly is a talk of a 
few rogue Members and not representative of things to come. I wish to 
think there will be opportunities for us to work together in a 
bipartisan way.
  I am firmly in the camp that the tax reform and tax cuts enacted by 
the last Congress represent important revisions to our tax laws, but I 
also understand that no major piece of legislation is entirely perfect. 
To the extent there is legitimate interest in improving tax laws, as 
chairman of the Finance Committee, I am going to be all ears.
  When it comes to making modifications to tax reform, our first order 
of business should be focused on examining how the law affects 
individuals, families, and the businesses in our States that provide 
the jobs and benefits they rely on. When necessary, we should work 
together to take action and ensure that the law is fulfilling its 
potential. A key part of this discussion should be enacting technical 
corrections to the tax law--revisions to ensure that the bill does what 
Members thought it did when they voted on it. Some of these are related 
to just poor drafting, honest mistakes that were made.
  I also hope that there will be plenty of opportunity to work on a 
bipartisan basis on tax issues involving everything from education, to 
renewable and alternative energy, to consumer-directed healthcare 
  However, I fear opportunities to work together could be put at risk 
should my colleagues become fixated on tearing apart tax reform, hiking 
taxes, and, of course, going after the President's tax returns.
  I want to put my Democratic colleagues on notice that I have no 
intention of undoing structural changes implemented as part of the tax 
reform. This would include the lower tax rates and family benefits, 
such as the increased child tax credit and standard deductions.
  I am also not interested in eliminating the cap on the deductibility 
of State and local taxes, backtracking on our move toward a more 
territorial tax system, or raising tax rates on passthrough business 
owners and farmers or corporations, all of which provide critical jobs 
and contribute to economic growth across the Nation.
  For the first time in probably about 30 years, our businesses are 
competitive with the rest of the world. When we have a 35-percent tax 
rate--as we did for decades--on corporations, and the world average is 
about 23 percent, how can we expect American corporations to compete? 
We are now at 21 percent. It wasn't long after we went to 21 that we 
read about China maybe feeling they were uncompetitive and were going 
to have to lower their tax rates. Other countries are thinking about 
doing it as well. Just like with the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s, the 
United States is plowing ahead, setting a standard for the rest of the 
  Lower tax rates, with businesses and individuals making decisions on 
where they earn their money, how much they are going to spend, and how 
much they are going to save, is a heck of a lot better than 535 Members 
of Congress making that decision. When we make decisions about stuff 
like this, they are political decisions. When most of the individual 
taxpayers and the corporations of America make decisions, it is 
strictly economic and does much more economic good.
  Another one that I don't want to mess with is efforts to weaponize 
the authority of tax-writing committees to access tax returns for 
political purposes. Such an action would be unprecedented.
  I am optimistic that we can continue to make progress helping 
Americans improve their lives by keeping more of their hard-earned 
wages, taking the chance of starting a new business or continuing to 
expand an existing one--in short, building an opportunity economy. I 
invite my colleagues to join me.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.

                           Government Funding

  Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I come to the floor to join my 
colleagues who were speaking earlier today about the many U.S. citizens 
who are Federal employees who are impacted by the shutdown. Coast Guard 
PO2 Amy-Erin Hamilton, stationed in Seattle, WA, is one of those 
individuals. She is the mother of three children: Sienna, age 10; 
Tucker, age 9; and Annabella, age 5. Amy-Erin is married to Dan 
Hamilton, who is also an Active-Duty member.

[[Page S251]]

  Amy-Erin is a shining example of the service and leadership we see in 
our Coast Guard today. In December, she was given a meritorious 
advancement, which is rare and an incredible honor. Despite this, 
though, she is working without pay and has had to seek outside income 
to support that family I just mentioned.
  This is the 26th day of a Federal Government shutdown. Yesterday, 
55,000 Coast Guard personnel did not receive their midmonth paychecks. 
The Coast Guard Commandant issued a letter to the workforce explaining 
what was happening, explaining that this is the first time that a 
branch of our military has not been paid during a government shutdown.
  There are 41,000 Active-Duty members, 6,200 Reservist members, 8,500 
civilians, and 50,500 Coast Guard retirees. That is the U.S. Coast 
Guard family. Thirty-one percent of the Coast Guard families do not 
have enough emergency savings to make it through the shutdown. A junior 
enlisted Coast Guard member with less than 2 years of service makes 
only $23,200 a year in base pay. That is below the poverty level. Coast 
Guard members are currently being deployed overseas--they could be in a 
combat zone--and these members are not receiving pay.
  I hope our colleagues will take into consideration this issue with 
our Coast Guard families. They are working hard to provide great care 
for us throughout our country and overseas. When I think about the fact 
that a Coast Guard member could be deployed overseas in an area that 
has seen combat, an unstable region of the world, and that they are not 
even receiving the childcare subsidy and support to make sure their 
families are taken care of while they are gone taking care of us, that 
is just wrong.
  So I come here to join my colleagues who were here earlier today on 
the floor giving examples of Americans throughout the United States who 
are working hard for us. It is time we work to get them their paycheck 
and continue to support them so they can support us.
  I know my colleague from Connecticut is here and would like to speak 
as well, and I thank him for allowing me to fit in this time to talk on 
behalf of the Coast Guard families.
  I hope the Commandant's letter can now be seen as an example of why 
we need to act. We need to act to give these Coast Guard families their 
pay and to make sure we are addressing the shutdown and reopening 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I am honored to follow the Senator, 
our neighbor from across the country. We share a common interest and 
commitment to one of the great military services in this country, the 
U.S. Coast Guard.
  Connecticut is proud to be the home of the Coast Guard Academy and 
numerous Active-Duty-serving Coast Guard men and women. Not only are we 
proud of them, but we are deeply mindful of the debt we owe them. It is 
a debt that is immeasurable in dollars and cents. It is a debt we owe 
them for the safety and security they provide this country and the 
blood they have shed in defense of the country.
  Failing to pay them is a moral failure, and that is why I am proud to 
be joining the Senator from Washington as well as Senator Thune in a 
measure to provide payment for the Coast Guard, and I hope we will meet 
this obligation as soon as possible.
  We also have an obligation to other Federal workers because they are 
suffering and sacrificing during this shutdown, now 26 days long.
  One of them, among the workers I met just last Monday, is Adrian 
Pellot. He served in the Air Force. He has worked as a behavior 
detection officer for more than a decade. He is also one of the TSA 
workers at Bradley not receiving pay.
  He said to me:

       We have no income right now. We are bleeding money. Just 
     day-to-day things. Food. I still have to pay the bills. The 
     electric company, the cell phone company--they don't care. 
     They are brutal. To feel like we are poker chips or leverage 
     is very, very infuriating. We are people--we have lives--not 
     just a number to throw around. I want the government to 

  Nothing I say here expresses more eloquently and powerfully the 
obligation we are failing to meet.
  I will be proposing legislation to provide workers like Adrian 
unemployment benefit compensation. States like Connecticut now must 
seek approval from the Department of Labor of the United States to 
provide unemployment compensation for workers who are on the job but 
  The workers who are furloughed and unpaid can receive that 
compensation. The folks showing up to work, keeping us safe in the 
skies, assuring that our security is met at the TSA lines, are unpaid, 
and they are uncompensated out of the State workers' compensation 
system, and they should be.
  That is why I will propose legislation for fundamental fairness and 
necessary benefits for workers like Adrian and his partner, Sarah 
Small, who has been a TSA officer for over 11 years. She currently 
works part time at Bradley as a TSA officer, and she is in nursing 
  She said to me: ``It's more nerve-racking because of the fact that if 
this shutdown lasts any longer, one of us is going to have to find 
  They are just two examples of thousands across the country. My 
colleagues, every one of you has an Adrian Pellot or a Sarah Small or a 
Coast Guard service man and woman or someone like them who are working 
without unemployment compensation, having to pay bills, mortgages, put 
food on the table. They are unable to do it because the government is 
shut down.
  Let us reopen the government. Let us meet our obligation. Let us do 
our job, and the man down the street on Pennsylvania Avenue in the 
White House ought to be doing his job too.
  In the meantime, let's help them meet their bills and save them from 
debts much as we do servicemembers with their relief fund; another 
legislative measure I will be advocating and advancing. We owe it to 
them. We owe it to the country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.

                             March for Life

  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, I am pleased to be joined on the floor by 
Senator Blunt, Senator Wicker, and Senator Fischer to speak about the 
importance of protecting and celebrating life.
  This Friday, Americans from every State in our Nation, from our tiny 
rural towns to our bustling urban cities, will gather in our Nation's 
Capital to participate in the 46th annual March for Life.
  Each year, I am amazed and inspired by the immeasurable strength, 
compassion, and support demonstrated by the pro-life community, as 
hundreds of thousands of its members come to Washington, DC, and 
tirelessly work to protect the most vulnerable in our society--the 
  As members of the Senate Values Action Team, throughout the year, we 
are blessed with the opportunity to work with and hear from so many who 
are committed to protecting human life at all stages.
  I thank my colleagues for sharing this message of life today, and at 
this time I would like to yield to the Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Ernst for yielding 
and for her leadership in these issues.
  All of us here today are here at a time when thousands of people from 
around the country, including hundreds from Missouri, will be here to 
participate in the annual March for Life. They see it, as we do, that 
an unborn child is not a potential person, but it is a person with 
potential, a whole living, distinct human being.
  Polling reflects that the American people understand that in a 
significant way. It is not a celebration but a powerful reminder that 
we value life as people come here this time of year. More Americans are 
coming all the time to support life. We just had a meeting with someone 
who was going through the recent Knights of Columbus and Marist poll. 
Three in four Americans say abortion should be limited to, at most, the 
first 3 months of pregnancy. These numbers continue to move in the 
direction of understanding that life begins at conception, and more and 
more people believe that life deserves to be protected just like any 
life would.
  A majority of Americans oppose using taxpayer dollars to pay for any

[[Page S252]]

abortion at any time. Seventy-five percent of Americans oppose using 
taxpayer dollars to fund abortion overseas. This includes 64 percent of 
self-identified, pro-choice Democrats who say they are not for spending 
taxpayer dollars to fund abortions overseas. Fifty-six percent of 
Democrats and 80 percent of Independents comprise that as well as, as I 
said before, 64 percent of pro-choice individuals collectively say they 
are not for that.
  Preventing taxpayer funding for abortion has been longstanding law 
and has had a bipartisan consensus until just recently. Now, this is an 
important issue that the country disagrees on, but the one thing we 
reached agreement on is, those people who think there is nothing wrong 
with abortion shouldn't force the tax dollars of people who believe it 
is the most fundamentally wrong thing you can do to be used for 
  So the Hyde amendment prevents taxpayer funding of abortions or 
abortion coverage in various Federal healthcare programs, including 
Medicaid and Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program. All 
of those programs are, in effect, walled off from Federal support if 
abortion is involved.
  A bill I initially passed as chairman of the Labor, Health and Human 
Services Appropriations Committee, renewed again this year the Hyde 
amendment, as it has been renewed every year since 1976 and signed into 
law in every year since 1976 by Republicans and Democrats in the White 
  Recent calls to appeal the amendment, however, in the Democratic 
Party platform and from a number of my friends on the other side of the 
aisle, are just simply out of touch with where a majority of Americans 
are and where 100 percent of the people coming here for the March for 
Life are.
  Instead, far from being repealed, the Hyde amendment, in my view, 
needs to be made permanent, and it needs to be applied across the 
entire Federal spending spectrum, as it was initially anticipated. I am 
proud to be an original cosponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for 
Abortion Act, which would do just exactly that.
  I also want to take a moment to recognize the efforts of what has 
become one of the most pro-life administrations in our Nation's 
  One of the first Executive orders President Trump signed was to 
reinstate and expand the Mexico City policy. In fact, he wanted to 
expand it to the point that he even wanted to retitle it to the 
Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy. The policy prevents 
Federal tax dollars from funding foreign NGOs--foreign nongovernmental 
organizations--that perform or promote abortion.
  I also want to call attention to the efforts the administration has 
taken proposing regulations that would first of all prevent title X 
family planning grantees from colocating with abortion clinics or from 
promoting or referring clients for abortions. None of that money was 
ever to be used for those purposes, but it is pretty hard when you are 
in the same facility, funded by the same overall group, not to suggest 
there is some connection.
  President Trump and his administration have said that would not be 
allowed. They have passed regulations to further protect the right of 
conscience. In a famous letter written in the last year of his 
Presidency, President Jefferson said that the right of conscience--the 
right to fervently believe what you believe is the right thing--should 
be the right we hold the most dear, and the President is trying to be 
sure that applies in every possible case to Federal law as well.
  They also voted to separate payment requirements from abortion 
coverage in ObamaCare and have really continued to do exactly what the 
President said he would do in these areas.
  I know we all also want to encourage those who are participating in 
the March for Life on Friday. Every human life matters. The advocacy of 
people who come here year after year or perhaps are coming for the very 
first time makes a difference.
  So for the efforts of the thousands who defy the weather--and the 
anniversary of the decision just happens to be in what almost always 
turns out to be the worst weather we have in Washington during the 
year, but that doesn't seem to deter those who are marching here or 
those who are speaking to those who come here to defy the weather and 
to March for Life.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. WICKER. On the Senator from Iowa's time, let me join her and the 
Senator from Missouri, and I associate myself with their remarks and 
their support, not only for the March for Life, which will occur on 
Friday, but also for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which I 
am proud to be the principal cosponsor of and which will, we hope, have 
a vote on the Senate floor by tomorrow afternoon.
  I was a pretty young staffer for then-Congressman Trent Lott in 1981 
when I first became aware that there was such a thing as the March for 
Life. I can assure you that it will be much more massive this year then 
it was back in those early days when Americans were struggling with 
what Roe v. Wade meant and when they weren't quite so sure about what 
the science was about this practice of abortion.
  As each year passes, as more and more parents see that sonogram, as 
more and more grandparents--and I am a grandparent to six now; I am 
buddy to six beautiful grandchildren--see the sonograms early on and we 
see the feet and we see the heartbeat and we see the faces of these 
children, we realize as Americans--and more and more Americans are 
coming to the realization--that this is a living human that deserves 
  Senator Blunt was accurate in saying we have good polling. Polling is 
coming around to our way. Even if some people consider themselves to be 
pro-choice, when you delve down into the figures and ask them the 
questions, it turns out they are not quite so pro-abortion as we might 
  When we ask the question that the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion 
bill goes to centrally--Do you support taxpayer funding for abortion?--
the polls show that 24 percent oppose and 30 percent strongly oppose. A 
majority, or 54 percent of Americans--some of whom would actually check 
the box and say they are pro-choice--say no, we shouldn't go so far as 
to provide taxpayer funding for abortions. That is what this 
legislation, which tomorrow afternoon will be considered on the floor 
of the Senate, would do.
  When asked another question: Should abortions be banned after 20 
weeks, with the exception of risking the life of the mother? And 59 
percent of Americans say yes, they strongly support that or support 
banning abortions after the 20th week.
  So I would say that the March for Life is working, year after year, 
step after step, and I hope we get a good vote on the floor of the 
Senate tomorrow.
  Do I think this is going to sail through the House of Representatives 
and be sent by Nancy Pelosi's House to the President for signature? 
Probably not, but we make the case. We warmly welcome these marchers 
for life each and every year, and we appreciate what they have done to 
move the needle of public opinion and to protect those innocent people 
who have no way of protecting themselves.
  I see that we are joined by my distinguished colleague, the senior 
Senator from Nebraska, and perhaps she might have some remarks to say.
  I will yield the floor at this point.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise today in support of the thousands 
of people who will travel to our Nation's Capital this week to join us 
in the March for Life. Marching proudly among them will be many, many 
Nebraskans--families, neighbors, student organizations, and church 
groups. They are going to brave the snow and freezing temperatures to 
march along the National Mall as part of a peaceful rally that draws 
attention to pro-life and pro-women policies.
  Since I first started my career in public service, I have supported 
commonsense pro-life measures that protect women and unborn children. 
All too often, women are faced with unplanned pregnancies, and they 
experience condemnation instead of compassion. These women shoulder 
despair, pain, and judgment when they should receive comfort, 
assistance, and reassurance. These mothers should always know that they 
have support as they face challenging years ahead.
  In the Senate, I am proud to pledge my support for several pro-life 

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This afternoon, I would like to highlight a few of them.
  Once again, I am cosponsoring the Pain-Capable Unborn Child 
Protection Act. This legislation would prohibit abortions after 20 
weeks unless it is necessary to save the life of the mother or the 
pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Twenty weeks, as advances in 
science and medical technology tell us, is the point at which an unborn 
child is capable of feeling pain.
  When I served in the Nebraska Legislature, we passed the first ban on 
abortions after 20 weeks. Republicans and Democrats, pro-choice and 
pro-life Senators, voted in its favor because it is sound policy. We 
should enact this commonsense legislation at the Federal level as well.
  I am also a cosponsor of the Protect Funding for Women's Health Care 
Act. This bill would prevent the Federal funding of Planned Parenthood 
or any of its affiliates. In 2016, Planned Parenthood received nearly 
$544 million from the Federal Government. I believe that Congress must 
redirect this funding to where it belongs, and that is to our community 
health centers.
  In Nebraska we have seven community health centers, with 44 clinic 
sites all across our State. I have had the opportunity to visit these 
sites, and I have seen firsthand the high-quality, compassionate care 
they provide to women in need. Our patients in Nebraska would be better 
served if this Federal funding were directed toward these centers and 
also these clinics, which serve all Nebraskans--all Nebraskans 
everywhere in our State--not Planned Parenthood.
  The Protect Funding for Women's Health Care Act is another 
commonsense solution that will protect life and help provide 
comprehensive healthcare for women. Finally, I will once again support 
the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full 
Disclosure Act, introduced by the senior Senator from Mississippi. 
Since the 1970s, the Hyde amendment has prohibited Federal funds for 
abortions, but it requires a yearly passage through Congress. This 
measure would permanently establish in statute the protections of the 
Hyde amendment. These are a few of the important pro-life policies that 
I am working on in the Senate.
  Again, I want to welcome all of the Nebraskans who are traveling over 
1,000 miles to take part in the March for Life. It is great to see the 
pro-life movement building such momentum. More and more young people 
are joining the cause and standing tall for this timeless value, and I 
want to thank each and every one of them for their courage and for 
taking a stand for what they believe in and for what science tells us.
  They march not with anger or condemnation, but with love and hope. 
They will be living out the direction of Mother Teresa, when at the 
1994 National Prayer Breakfast she said:

       A sign of care for the weakest of the weak--the unborn 
     child--must go out to the world. . . . then really you will 
     be true to what the founders of this country stood for.

  So to all of the Nebraskans and to all Americans who will gather here 
in Washington for the March for Life, please know that I support your 
every step.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sentor from Iowa.
  (The remarks of Ms. Ernst pertaining to the submission of S. 141 are 
printed in today's Record under ``Submitted Resolutions.'')
  Ms. ERNST. 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. SASSE. 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. SASSE. Mr. President, I am going to speak again shortly from the 
floor, but, very briefly, I want to associate myself with the comments 
of my senior Senator, Deb Fischer from Nebraska, who just spoke and 
welcomed Nebraska's pro-life students to the Capitol over the next 3 
days. It is wonderful to be associated with a movement that is 
fundamentally about love and is about the dignity of every baby. So I 
join my senior Senator in welcoming Nebraska's pro-life students to the 
Capitol and to Washington, DC, for the March for Life on Friday.
  I thank the President.
  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. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). Without objection, it is so 

                           Government Funding

  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I was just over in the Russell Senate 
Office Building, and a group of freshmen from the House intercepted me 
and handed me this piece of paper, this document, and asked that it be 
made part of the Record of the Senate, and I have come to do that.
  Let me explain that these freshmen House Members want to see the 
Senate engaged in debate on how to end this shutdown of our government. 
They see in their home districts across this country tremendous damage 
occurring in all kinds of fashions--damage to security; damage to the 
economy; damage to families trying to get a home mortgage, and they 
can't get their FHA approval; damage to farmers who are seeking that 
loan that is necessary to prepare for the next farming season; damage 
in the preparation for next summer's forest fires.
  I have been hearing about this from my home State. In Oregon, we just 
had a training for fighting fires canceled. We have prescribed burns 
that need to be done during the winter that are being canceled. We have 
thinning, which makes the forest more fire-resilient, that is being 
canceled. We have the reduction of fuels on the forest floor that add 
to the intensity of fires--the removal of those--being canceled. These 
just add more to the list of so many ways that folks are being affected 
across the country.
  I am going to share this letter with the Presiding Officer and our 
colleagues. It says:

       Dear Senator McConnell:
       We write as Members of the Freshman Class of the 116th 
     Congress, an historic group that has the distinction of being 
     the first Congress to be seated in the midst of a partial 
     government shutdown.
       We as a legislative branch have the power to end this 
     shutdown now. In December, the Senate unanimously passed 
     legislation that would have kept the government open. In 
     January, the House then passed those same bipartisan bills 
     and sent them to the Senate. If the Senate were to pass these 
     bills, we would be able to reopen the government and then 
     proceed to debate about immigration reform and border 
       However, it is impossible to have a meaningful policy 
     discussion while the executive holds public servants hostage. 
     We respectfully request that you allow the Congress to work 
     its will and allow a vote on this bipartisan legislation to 
     end this shutdown so that we can end this manufactured crisis 
     and allow our devoted federal workers to get back to work for 
     the American people.
       Sincerely Susie Lee, Member of Congress; Abby Finkenauer, 
     Member of Congress; Mikie Sherrill, Member of Congress; Mike 
     Levin; Jahana Hayes; Lori Trahan; Katie Hill; Ayanna 
     Pressley; David Trone; Ed Case; Gill Cisneros; Rashida Tlaib; 
     Kendra Horn; Angie Craig; Joe Cunningham; Chris Pappas; Andy 
     Levin; Susan Wild; Sylvia Garcia; Katie Porter; Debbie 
     Mucarsel-Powell; Ilhan Omar; Madeline Dean; Haley Stevens; 
     Greg Stanton; Josh Harder; Lucy McBath; Abigail Spanberger; 
     Chrissy Houlahan; Donna Shalala; Lauren Underwood; Alexandria 
     Ocasio-Cortez; Veronica Escobar; TJ Cox, Dean Phillips; 
     Jahana Hayes; and then a few more people who have added their 
     names in script that I may not be able to read accurately.

  In total, there are an estimated 46 signatures on this letter 
addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  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:

                                Congress of the United States,

                                 Washington, DC, January 16, 2019.
     Hon. Mitch McConnell,
     Majority Leader, U.S. Senate,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator McConnell: We write as Members of the Freshman 
     Class of the 116th Congress, an historic group that has the 
     distinction of being the first Congress to be seated in the 
     midst of a partial government shutdown.
       We as the legislative branch have the power to end this 
     shutdown now. In December, the Senate unanimously passed 
     legislation that would have kept the government open. In 
     January, the House then passed

[[Page S254]]

     those same bipartisan bills and sent them to the Senate. If 
     the Senate were to pass these bills, we would be able to re-
     open the government and then proceed to a debate about 
     immigration reform and border security.
       However, it is impossible to have a meaningful policy 
     discussion while the executive holds public servants hostage. 
     We respectfully request that you allow the Congress to work 
     its will and allow a vote on this bipartisan legislation to 
     end the shutdown so that we can end this manufactured crisis 
     and allow our devoted federal workers to get back to work for 
     the American people.
         Susie Lee, Abby Finkenauer, Mikie Sherrill, Mike Levin, 
           Jahana Hayes, Lori Trahan, Katie Hill, Ed Case, Gil 
           Cisneros, Rashida Tlaib, Kendra Horn, Angie Craig, 
           Chris Pappas, Andy Levin, Susan Wild, Sylvia Garcia, 
           Katie Porter, Ilhan Omar, Madeleine Dean, Josh Harder, 
           Debra A. Haaland, Lucy McBath, Abigail Spanberger, 
           Chrissy Houlahan, Donna Shalala, Lauren Underwood, 
           Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Veronica Escobar, TJ Cox, 
           Dean Phillips, Elaine G. Luria, Tom Malinowski, Steven 
           Horsford, Sharice Davids, Joe Neguse, Cynthia Axne.

  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, the freshmen of the House are speaking a 
lot of common sense in this letter. They are saying: Here we are, 
looking at bills that the Senate passed under Republican leadership and 
that the House has passed under Democratic leadership. That is the 
foundation for going forward. Let not the Senate leadership be the 
obstruction to common sense. Let not this Chamber sit empty, sit quiet, 
and sit without votes on these bills to put our government back to 
  They want to see the Senate have the courage to take positions, to be 
here and argue, to say yes or no, but we don't say yes or no if there 
is no bill before us, and that must confound these 46 freshmen, who 
kind of expected that after more than 200 years of organizing, we would 
have a Senate that could actually operate as a legislative body, not 
sit here vacant and quiet in the midst of a national catastrophe--a 
catastrophe of the Trump shutdown affecting so many families.
  There are 800,000 families of Federal workers, hundreds of thousands 
more families of contractors, millions of Americans who simply want a 
core government service so that they can proceed with their lives--a 
business permit, a home mortgage, an agricultural loan, work being done 
to prevent forest fires, and a compromise to our national security in 
terms of our Coast Guard and our TSA agents. It makes no common sense 
for us to sit here without action.
  I praise the House freshmen for bringing a fresh, intense, 
commonsense view to the conversation on Capitol Hill. Let their words 
be heard in this Chamber.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.

                       Nomination of William Barr

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to discuss the 
nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General.
  Today, I want to make clear that I will be opposed to this nomination 
for several reasons. I am just going to outline some of my key concerns 
that really haven't been addressed much over the last few weeks.
  I am specifically concerned about his view that the President of the 
United States is effectively royalty, in his book, and he seems to 
believe that the President is unaccountable to the laws of our Nation 
or to the normal constraints imposed by the Congress. Today, I am going 
to focus on what I consider to be Mr. Barr's dangerous views on 
surveillance and his contempt for surveillance laws and the Fourth 

  It is my view this is not a partisan issue. There has been, for some 
years, a bipartisan coalition in the Senate that has battled to protect 
the privacy and constitutional rights of Americans, but Mr. Barr's 
views, after I have laid them out today, ought to frighten every Member 
of this Senate. What Mr. Barr has said is that whether the Congress 
supports broader or narrower surveillance authorities and regardless of 
whether Congress votes for more checks and balances and oversight, it 
really doesn't matter. He has made the judgment, based on the 
proposition which he has stated very clearly, that the President can 
essentially do what he wants.
  This nominee, in my view, poses a unique threat to the rule of law 
and the Fourth Amendment. His long-held views, which presumably he 
would put in practice if confirmed, threaten the very notion that 
Congress or the courts have any say in who in America gets spied on. If 
he is confirmed as Attorney General, he could take us back--and not 
just 12 years to an era of warrantless wiretapping. As Mr. Barr himself 
has made clear, he would be taking us back 40 years, to an era before 
the Church Committee, when neither Congress nor the courts had any role 
at all in checking or overseeing an abusive, out-of-control government.
  Before the reforms of the 1970s, as has now been well documented, the 
government committed one horrific abuse after another. It spied on 
hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans. It spied on Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr. It spied on activists. It spied on Congress. When 
these abuses finally came to light, Congress acted by passing the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court 
to issue warrants against spies and terrorists.
  Unfortunately, as we now know, the government violated the law when 
it implemented its warrantless wiretapping program in 2001. The program 
included warrantless collection of the content of private 
communications, including through warrantless targeting of phone 
numbers and email addresses of people in our country. The program also 
included the bulk collection of phone and email records of enormous 
numbers of innocent, law-abiding Americans. All of this occurred in 
secret, without warrants or any judicial oversight at all, and almost 
no one--no one in the Congress, nor even most members of the 
Intelligence Committee--knew anything about it.
  The secrecy didn't even end when the bulk phone and email record 
programs were moved under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 
The Obama administration, just like the Bush administration, kept this 
abusive program and the secret legal interpretations behind it from the 
American people, even lying about it in public testimony.
  How did these abusive and illegal programs get their start? With 
secret determinations made at the Department of Justice that the law 
didn't matter and that the President can do what he wants.
  That brings us to Mr. Barr. His dangerous views on Executive power 
have long been consistent--consistent--throughout his career, from his 
writings at the Department of Justice in the late 1980s to the present, 
but in October of 2003, he laid out in public testimony his position 
that, in Mr. Barr's view, the President is not accountable to 
surveillance laws and that the President enjoys huge loopholes in the 
Fourth Amendment.
  October of 2003 was shortly after Congress had passed the PATRIOT 
Act, legislation that many in Congress have come to view as granting 
too much authority with too little oversight, but from Mr. Barr's 
perspective, the PATRIOT Act was too limiting and too constraining, and 
that wasn't even the most troubling part of his testimony. Right up 
front, he asked himself the question of whether the law was adequate to 
fight terrorism. Here is what he said. He said he wasn't worried about 
the law, and this is a direct quote: ``The critical legal powers are 
granted directly by the Constitution itself, not by Congressional 
enactments.'' In other words, Mr. Barr's view of surveillance is that 
the laws passed by Congress do not matter. If the President wants to 
violate them, it is Mr. Barr's position that he can just go out and say 
he has constitutional authority and do it.
  Here is a direct quote from Mr. Barr's testimony. Talking about laws 
going back to the 1970s, he said: ``Numerous statutes were passed, such 
as [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], that purported to 
supplant Presidential discretion with Congressionally crafted schemes 
whereby judges become the arbiter of national security decisions.''
  I am going to unpack that sentence for a minute. From Mr. Barr's 
perspective, decades of laws passed by the U.S. Congress are nothing 
but schemes--schemes. He is talking about the Foreign Intelligence 
Surveillance Act, a fundamental framework of checks and balances that 
Congress has relied on

[[Page S255]]

for four decades to ensure congressional and judicial oversight of 
surveillance. He is talking about every modification of the Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act, from the PATRIOT Act to what is called 
section 702, reauthorized last year, to the USA Freedom Act, which was 
intended to stop the collection of millions of innocent Americans' 
phone records. Whatever you think of these statutes, they are how 
Congress determines the extent of the government's surveillance powers 
and exercises its responsibility to protect the rights of Americans. 
Mr. Barr notwithstanding, these duly enacted laws of Congress are not 
mere schemes.
  Worse still, it is Mr. Barr's contention that all of these laws only 
purport to have any effect. The President, says Mr. Barr, has the 
discretion to ignore them. By definition, if you are saying that the 
President can just ignore the laws, in effect, that is a position that 
is in favor of tyranny. This is as dangerous a position as I have heard 
in congressional testimony. It is very similar to the language that was 
concocted in the Department of Justice to justify warrantless 
wiretapping--and these are the views coming from the man who might be 
Attorney General of the United States.

  Mr. Barr is correct that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 
gives judges some say in when the government can spy on Americans. It 
is a secret system, one that greatly advantages the government and 
almost always precludes challenges from those who are spied on. The 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has been abused through secret 
interpretations of law, but the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 
does involve judges considering the Fourth Amendment rights of 
Americans, and that is what Mr. Barr objects to.
  Based on his own testimony, it is clear to me that Mr. Barr has 
fundamental problems with the Fourth Amendment or at least its 
application to anything the President might unilaterally decide 
involves national security. He believes that if the government 
determines there is a threat, there is no need to ask a judge for a 
  The Fourth Amendment protects the rights of the people to be secure 
against unreasonable searches and seizures unless there is a probable 
cause warrant. That is what the Constitution says. Mr. Barr, however, 
has found two very big loopholes in the Fourth Amendment.
  First, he insists that if the government decides a foreigner in the 
United States is ``apparently acting as a terrorist,'' then he or she 
is not one of the ``people,'' and the government can just throw out the 
Fourth Amendment.
  Second, Mr. Barr argues that so long as the government says there is 
a threat, a warrantless search is not unreasonable, and the warrant 
requirement under the Fourth Amendment simply doesn't apply.
  At the core of Mr. Barr's philosophy is that no one--not Congress and 
certainly not judges--has any business assessing the government's 
assertion about threats.
  Here is another quote from Mr. Barr: These are ``assessments judges 
are not competent to make or responsible for making under the 
  For 40 years, judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 
Court have been making these determinations, but, from Mr. Barr's 
perspective, the courts are not competent to decide who gets spied on; 
only the President gets that power.
  Some might ask whether Mr. Barr has had a change of heart, 
particularly since Congress has passed additional surveillance 
authority in the year since his testimony. I hope we see in the days 
ahead where he stands, whether he now believes that spying on Americans 
and people in the United States has to be consistent with the laws 
passed by Congress, but his 2003 testimony suggests that even new, 
sweeping, bipartisan laws that have passed wouldn't satisfy him.
  A little over a decade ago, Congress created section 702 of the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That allows for warrantless 
spying on foreigners overseas. I have said our country faces real 
threats from foreigners overseas, so I stipulate that is something that 
is important to the safety of the law-abiding people whom we all 
represent. I have had serious concerns about the number of innocent 
Americans whose communications are being swept up under section 702 
collection, but at least the targets of the surveillance are overseas.
  Mr. Barr would go further in his testimony, calling for the 
warrantless targeting of people inside the United States. According to 
Mr. Barr, there are individuals right here in the United States who 
have no Fourth Amendment rights. This is an important issue today, and 
it will become more important in the days ahead.
  I have already stipulated that I think there are serious threats to 
our country overseas. What troubles me is, as telecommunication systems 
around the world become more globally interconnected, more and more 
innocent Americans are going to get swept up in these searches. To me, 
when you are talking--as Mr. Barr seems to be doing--that there are 
individuals in our country who have no Fourth Amendment rights, that is 
why I think all Senators should be troubled about these positions he 
has long espoused.
  There is also the matter of collecting business records, sensitive 
information about Americans that are in possession of a third party. 
Here, we are talking about your purchases, who you are communicating 
with, where you are located at any time of the day.
  Mr. Barr believes that the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to any 
records held by a company or other third party, no matter how sensitive 
that information is. This view has actually been rejected recently by 
the U.S. Supreme Court. What Mr. Barr has been saying is actually out 
of sync even with the current thinking of the Supreme Court. The 
Supreme Court most recently held that the Fourth Amendment does apply 
to the government's collection of location data from wireless carriers.
  Apparently, yesterday Mr. Barr said he had not read that Supreme 
Court decision. Colleagues. I think that ought to be really troubling 
to the Members of this body. We are talking about location data. 
Location data can be a personal safety and national security nightmare.
  We saw what happened just last week. In 2018, the wireless companies 
all made promises to me that they wouldn't make available precise 
location data to hedge funds, bail bondsmen--all kinds of bottom 
feeders just looking to make a buck. What happened was, in 2018, those 
wireless companies said they wouldn't make that data available any 
longer to these location trackers and bail bondsmen and the like, and 
then last week, a bounty hunter got 300 bucks and found out those 2018 
promises to me meant nothing. So last week, the wireless companies 
promised again that they wouldn't make location data available to all 
of these financially interested parties. I appreciate their saying it, 
but I will tell you, I will believe it when I see it, because we got a 
promise in 2018 that they would be serious about protecting location 
data, and we saw last week that they weren't.
  We have the Supreme Court now making it clear that the Fourth 
Amendment applies to the government's collection of location data from 
wireless carriers, but the person who is up for nomination, Mr. Barr, 
has not been willing to or doesn't find it important enough to even 
read the Supreme Court decision on this case.
  The government's collection of business records is authorized by 
section 215 of FISA, which was part of the PATRIOT Act. There are 
serious concerns about 215. It was abused for years to carry out a 
secret program that swept up the phone records of millions of innocent, 
law-abiding Americans. Even after the USA FREEDOM Act, which was 
intended to end bulk collection, it has been used to collect hundreds 
of millions of phone records. All the government needs to collect these 
records is to show the FISA Court that the records are relevant to an 
investigation. There is no requirement for a probable cause warrant.
  This important law sunsets this year, so the Congress will have a 
debate about whether these authorities are too broad, whether there is 
a need for more checks and balances. I see my colleague from Texas, who 
also serves on the Intelligence Committee. We are going to have a 
debate on it. That is the way it ought to be.

[[Page S256]]

  Today, we are talking about what I consider to be dangerous views 
espoused by Mr. Barr. What Mr. Barr believes is that the government 
shouldn't have any court oversight at all when it comes to collecting 
the records on Americans. He thinks the government should just 
unilaterally issue a subpoena and collect those records and that there 
would be no oversight whatever. The foundation of Mr. Barr's beliefs 
when it comes to surveillance is that the President can do whatever he 
wants if he believes national security is at stake.
  I am going to close by simply talking for an additional minute or two 
about what it will mean if Mr. Barr is confirmed as Donald Trump's 
Attorney General.
  Right now, the President is openly considering a declaration that he, 
Donald Trump, has emergency powers to override the will of the 
Congress, and he is doing this while relying on a baseless assertion 
that there is a national security crisis.
  Until he was fact-checked, he was making very far-fetched claims 
about terrorists coming over the border. He also regularly calls 
journalists ``enemies of the people'' and calls for investigations of 
his political enemies.
  I would oppose the nomination of anyone with William Barr's views on 
Executive power regardless of who was President, but the kinds of 
threats I am talking about are too serious to ignore.
  Donald Trump has openly said and said specifically how much he would 
enjoy unchecked surveillance power. During the 2016 campaign, when the 
Russians were hacking his opponents, the President of the United 
States, our current President, said: ``honestly, I wish I had that 
power. I'd love to have that power.''
  If Donald Trump decides that national security is at stake and 
William Barr is the Attorney General, it would be Mr. Barr who might 
give him that power--power he could use with no oversight from the 
courts and without regard to what Mr. Barr has dismissed as ``the 
schemes''--our laws--of Congress.
  In case anyone thinks Mr. Barr would himself serve as a check on the 
President, he has also written that that is not the Attorney General's 
job. Just last year, he wrote that all Executive power rests in one and 
only one person--the President--and that the President doesn't have to 
convince his Attorney General that his orders are legal.
  Let me be clear. The issues I have raised with respect to Mr. Barr's 
views on surveillance are not kind of conjecture or possible theories. 
What I have been talking about this afternoon are the views outlined in 
Mr. Barr's own testimony. I hope every Member of this body will take 
the time to read Mr. Barr's testimony and consider what is at stake.
  There are Members in both political parties in this Chamber who have 
long been concerned about the expansive surveillance authorities under 
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the possible abuse of 
that law. Those concerns are, in my view, small potatoes compared to 
what Mr. Barr has proposed, which is that the law need not constrain 
the President whatsoever. For example, some Members of this body have 
expressed concern about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants 
in connection with the Russia investigation and whether all relevant 
information has been provided to the FISA Court. Consider a world in 
which the government doesn't need a warrant and doesn't have to justify 
its surveillance to any court. Consider the possibility of abuse in 
that world. That is the world Mr. Barr has testified he wants.
  I also would appeal to my colleagues with whom I have had some pretty 
vigorous debates over the years about surveillance and who may have no 
concerns about the current framework of our laws. We can have our 
disagreements about how to write the law. Here in the Senate, we do 
agree that the laws passed by the Congress mean something. They are 
binding, and they are not, as Mr. Barr has stated, ``schemes'' that the 
President can just ignore whenever he feels like it.
  This nominee has been more than clear about where he stands. He 
believes that the President alone decides when there is a threat and 
that when he does, he doesn't have to worry about Congress, judges, or 
the laws, or the Constitution. In my view, that is a prescription for 
trouble, a prescription for more abuses--abuses that Congress may or 
may not even be told about. But we have been warned. We have been 
warned by Mr. Barr's testimony.
  I also would like to note that I have concerns about Mr. Barr that 
relate to classified matters, and I am currently seeking 
declassification of those matters and hope that this will be resolved 
prior to any votes on the nominee.
  I see colleagues are waiting.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee 
began to hear witnesses on the nomination of Bill Barr to be the next 
Attorney General of the United States. We heard first, of course, from 
Mr. Barr himself all day yesterday and today from additional witnesses.
  By any standard, Mr. Barr is an exceptionally qualified individual, 
in part because 27 years ago, he was Attorney General, nominated and 
confirmed unanimously--nominated by President George Herbert Walker 
Bush. Under his leadership at the time, the Department of Justice 
focused on some of the most important law enforcement challenges facing 
our country at that time. They worked to fight violent crime and combat 
the drug epidemic, both of which continue to do great harm to 
communities across the country still today.
  As significant as the work done under his leadership was, I was more 
impressed with the fact that after 27 years, he was willing to take on 
the task of becoming Attorney General once again. He said he was sort 
of semiretired. He and his wife were looking forward to spending more 
time with their children and grandchildren. But he answered the call to 
public service, and I am grateful that he did. He knows that our Nation 
needs a strong law-and-order Attorney General at the Department of 
  When he spoke at his confirmation hearing more than 2\1/2\ decades 
ago, he said:

       The Attorney General must ensure that the administration of 
     justice--the enforcement of the law--is above and away from 
     politics. Nothing could be more destructive of our system of 
     government, the rule of law, or the Department of Justice as 
     an institution, than any toleration of political interference 
     with the enforcement of the law.

  He repeated that commitment yesterday, and I think the need for that 
sort of strong statement is more important today than ever.
  I believe Attorney General Barr will be a good Attorney General, 
assuming what is one of the most challenging positions in the Cabinet 
because you are a political appointee but you are also the chief law 
enforcement officer in the country. That sometimes can be difficult to 
  As the nominee noted, doing the job and doing it well sometimes 
requires being prepared to burn your political capital in order to 
preserve the rule of law. I believe this is the most fundamental 
quality of a good Attorney General, and having a leader at the helm of 
the Department of Justice with the right temperament and a fundamental 
understanding of this responsibility is critical now and forever. In 
recent years, we witnessed some Attorneys General carrying out actions 
that repeatedly toed that political line, sometimes crossed it.
  Under the Obama administration, the Department of Justice began to 
veer increasingly away from the impartial administration of law and 
toward politics. That shift undoubtedly occurred at the hands of 
President Obama's Attorneys General who were in the driver's seat 
during his administration, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.
  Both Holder's and Lynch's conduct has come under a great deal of 
scrutiny--even now, after they have left--and for good reason.
  For example, under then-Attorney General Holder, there was something 
called Operation Fast and Furious in which the Bureau of Alcohol, 
Tobacco, and Firearms and the Department of Justice purposefully 
allowed the illegal sale of firearms in Mexico in the hopes of being 
able to track them. Unfortunately, there were a number of casualties, 
including Border Patrolman Brian Terry, who was killed with one of 
those firearms in 2010. Attorney General Holder never accepted 

[[Page S257]]

for Brian Terry's death or ever admitted that allowing these guns to 
walk into Mexico, into the hands of some criminal organizations, was a 
terrible mistake.
  Under his watch, the IRS targeting controversy occurred in which 
politically aligned groups applying for tax-exempt status faced 
official oppression based upon their political affiliation.
  Then, of course, more recently, let's not forget then-Attorney 
General Lynch's handling of the Clinton email scandal--something even 
James Comey, the FBI Director, objected to--along with her famous so-
called tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton when his wife 
was under an active FBI investigation. The conduct of both Holder and 
Lynch undermined the public's confidence in the impartial 
administration of justice and law at the Justice Department.

  Under the leadership of my friend and our former colleague, Jeff 
Sessions, the Department of Justice has begun to right the ship and 
again separate politics from the impartial administration of the law, 
and I am confident that Mr. Barr will continue to do the same.
  During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Barr reaffirmed that politicians 
should not interfere with criminal investigations, and he likewise 
committed not to interfere with the special counsel's investigation. He 
assured us that his allegiance will be to the rule of law, to the 
Constitution, and to the American people, and that, above all else, he 
will work to protect the professionalism and integrity of the 
Department of Justice and the thousands of dedicated public servants 
who work there.
  Not only is Mr. Barr exceptionally qualified for the job, he is 
prepared on day one to step in and lead with distinction.
  The Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination to three different 
positions at the Department of Justice, and I hope we can work 
expeditiously to get this fine man to the Department of Justice once 
  I thank Mr. Barr and his entire family for agreeing to bring his 
talents and his temperament to the Department of Justice at a time when 
those qualities are so desperately needed, and I look forward to voting 
yes on his nomination.

                       Remembering Herb Kelleher

  Mr. President, on another matter, I want to share a few words about 
the passing of one of the airline industry's most unconventional and 
most successful executives. That would be Herb Kelleher, who cofounded 
Southwest Airlines.
  Herb was born in 1931 in New Jersey, and his young life and early 
career kept him on the east coast. He graduated from Wesleyan 
University and New York University School of Law and served as a law 
clerk for 2 years at the New Jersey Supreme Court and then joined a law 
firm in Newark. But as fate intervened in this promising young lawyer's 
career, he met his wife Joan, a native Texan, and they decided to move 
to the Lone Star State, something he later referred to as the greatest 
business decision he ever made.
  Building America's largest domestic airline carrier was never on 
Herb's to-do list. In the late 1960s, he was an attorney in San 
Antonio, when one day his client approached him with an idea about a 
low-fare airline serving three Texas cities. Tired of spending so much 
time in the car traveling between San Antonio and Houston and Dallas, 
he believed they could make point-to-point intrastate travel faster and 
much cheaper by flying, and also cheaper than other airlines.
  Getting their innovative idea off the ground wasn't easy. These men 
who founded Southwest Airlines slogged through years of legal battles 
before the airline operated its first flight. Their vision not only led 
to the creation of a budget airline but also drove down the cost of 
their competitors, as competition will do.
  To maintain their edge, Southwest tried some interesting ideas along 
the way. After another airline ran an ad calling Southwest a cheap 
carrier, Herb responded by filming a commercial where he wore a brown 
paper bag over his head and promised that the airline would gladly 
provide one to any customer too embarrassed to be seen flying on 
Southwest Airline.
  At one point, to compete with the low fares of other airlines, 
Southwest started a program to keep customers, and they said: You can 
either pay the lowest fare or pay full fare and get a full premium 
bottle of liquor in the process. Well, apparently it worked, and for a 
short time, I am told, Southwest was the largest liquor distributor in 
the State of Texas.
  I think one of the most distinctly Herb Kelleher stories is of a 
battle called ``The Malice in Dallas.''
  In 1992, Southwest Airlines and another company realized their 
slogans--``Plane Smart'' and ``Just Plane Smart''--were similar. Rather 
than settling the matter in court, they settled it by holding a public 
arm wrestling match.
  The 61-year-old, with the cigarette fixed between his teeth, gave his 
much younger competitor a run for his money, but he couldn't pull off a 
win. At the end of the match, the two men made donations to each 
other's chosen charities. They agreed to share the slogan and called it 
a day.
  Each of these stories has Herb Kelleher written all over it. He was 
known for his gregarious personality, his incredible work ethic, and 
his penchant for the nontraditional, not to mention his affinity for 
Wild Turkey.
  I first met Herb when I represented him in a lawsuit early in my 
legal career in San Antonio. He had a larger-than-life personality, and 
it was a pleasure to know him.
  We can all learn a lesson from Herb about the importance of working 
hard, treating people with respect, and not being afraid to have a 
little bit of fun along the way. His entrepreneurial spirit was 
credited with democratizing the skies by disrupting the airline 
industry, and I believe he was one of the most consequential leaders in 
American aviation, and we have all benefited from that.
  So I join Herb's wife Joan, his children, his grandchildren, his many 
friends, and, of course, his beloved Southwest Airlines family in 
mourning the loss of this larger-than-life figure.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.

                           Menthol Cigarettes

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I also mourn Herb's loss. It is odd that I 
would be here to protect his ability to have that cigarette in his 
mouth as he was negotiating.
  I rise today to discuss the recent announcement by the Food and Drug 
Administration to move forward with a ban on menthol cigarettes. This 
announcement, to say the least, is surprising. In an administration 
claiming to decrease regulation on the American people, this 
announcement works completely counter to that goal--increasing 
regulation and decreasing the choices for adult consumers in America.
  Making matters worse, the announcement comes from an Agency that the 
American people trust. They trust them to make decisions based upon the 
most sound and reliable science available. Unfortunately, the FDA has 
not provided a sound scientific argument to move forward with the ban 
on one type of product that Americans consume understanding fully the 
  On November 30, 2018, I raised this concern with the Food and Drug 
Administration. As a part of their announcement, the FDA claimed that 
their regulatory actions are based on information released by the 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.
  When I asked for the data supporting this menthol decision, I was 
informed that this data would be made available later this year. I also 
asked the FDA to explain to me whether the Agency has determined that 
menthol cigarettes make more children try smoking or whether these 
products make it more difficult for children to stop smoking.
  I pause here because I am sure the Presiding Officer is remembering 
that it is illegal for people under 18 to purchase tobacco products.
  The FDA simply informed me that the information I requested would be 
part of a proposed rule available for stakeholder comment.
  Now, I think you would agree that it is highly unusual for a science-
based Agency to refuse to provide the data informing its regulatory 
decisions to a seated Member of the U.S. Congress. This should set off 
alarm bells. Any product regulated by the FDA might

[[Page S258]]

fall into this category of ``no Member of Congress being able to 
  Well, it may seem odd, but the FDA regulates 25 cents of every dollar 
of the U.S. economy--no wonder it takes so long and costs so much for 
new drugs and devices to come to market.
  As a result, I did my own research. The chart behind me, with 2017 
data from the CDC, shows that children's use of traditional menthol 
cigarettes has decreased 3 percent since 2011. Let me say that again. 
Since 2011, usage by youth in America of menthol cigarettes has reduced 
from 5.8 percent to 2.5 percent.
  This data runs counter to the need for increased regulation and 
decreased choices for consumers and calls into question the FDA's own 
  In 2009, Congress debated the regulation of tobacco products. I was 
here for the entire debate and was an active participant in the 
dialogue. I alone provided over 16 hours of remarks on the Senate floor 
so that my colleagues understood my concerns with this type of 
legislation and to ensure, quite frankly, that the voice of North 
Carolinians was clearly and deeply understood in the U.S. Senate.
  One issue discussed during that debate was actually the banning of 
flavors in cigarettes, including menthol. Congress struggled to come to 
a consensus on this issue, offering many iterations at the time of the 
legislation, taking different approaches to the ban of any, all, or 
none of the flavors available in cigarettes at the time.
  Ultimately, the decision was made for the FDA to thoroughly study the 
effects of menthol cigarettes.
  The Agency issued its report in 2011 and commissioned a third-party 
entity to study the science behind menthol cigarettes, for which a 
report was issued in 2013.
  Now, what resulted from the results of that study?
  For the remainder of President Obama's terms in office, which ended 
in 2016, their FDA never attempted to move a menthol ban. Why? Because 
the results of that information--that scientific data--did not 
substantiate what, in fact, that would accomplish.
  In the 5 years since the publication of these studies, the science 
has not changed to justify the ban of an entire product category by the 
  Each year, the CDC issues the latest data from the National Youth 
Tobacco Survey. This survey asks about 20,000 children about their 
tobacco use, and it has been conducted since 1999. This survey covers 
details of middle and high schoolers' use and exposure to a variety of 
tobacco products, and it includes specifics on the use of different 
product categories, like traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, as 
well as data on the percentage of survey participants who tried 
  The CDC data shows that there has been a 12-point decrease in the 
percentage of children trying traditional cigarettes since 2011.
  Let me state that again.
  The CDC's own data shows that there has been a 12-percent reduction 
in the percentage of children trying traditional cigarettes since 2011.
  Now, this is good news. The use of cigarettes among children is 
decreasing, showing that our education and our public health efforts 
are, in fact, working.
  As I mentioned before, the survey shows that the use of menthol 
cigarettes by children has also declined, decreasing 3 percent since 
  Even the FDA's own data shows the decline in children's use of 
traditional cigarettes.
  Now, this chart I have basically shows that traditional cigarettes 
have fallen 12 percent since 2011, compared to the latest survey data 
of 2017. It is probably difficult for some to see, but the red arrow 
pointing down certainly indicates a decrease. The red arrow pointing up 
shows an increase. Now, that should be alarming, and it is an area that 
we will talk about in a second.
  But the solution here is simple. Data released by the CDC and the FDA 
provide a clear marker that the FDA's focus should be on areas where 
children's use is increasing rather than in areas where we are already 
making significant progress.
  I might pause and say that if a product is illegal for somebody under 
18, I don't know how you ban a product and believe that it wasn't 
already banned if it was illegal.
  The FDA's decision does not pass the commonsense test. It is time for 
the FDA to focus on the things where there is an increase for children. 
I give them examples: marijuana, opioids, fentanyl, meth. We have 
debated it on the floor of the Senate. While we are looking at one 
thing and the FDA has got us focused on it, look at how many children's 
lives are devastated in this country--again, with illegal products.
  One can only conclude by what we are doing, which is banning menthol, 
that we are emulating Canada. Several years ago they banned menthol, 
and last year they legalized marijuana. That may be the route we are 
on. I am not sure. Nothing surprises me anymore in Washington.
  June of this year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Tobacco 
Control Act, which provided the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco 
products. The law gave the FDA broad authority to regulate these 
products and was intended to provide a path forward for innovative 
products--tobacco products, as well--placing hope in advancements in 
research and development to provide new options for American consumers 
that are down the continuum of risk for those individuals who choose, 
potentially replacing their use of combustible cigarettes with 
electronic ones.
  The FDA does not have a single governing regulation for the review 
and the approval of the products Congress put under its regulatory 
watch. Almost a decade after enactment and more than $5 billion later, 
the FDA has failed to issue one foundational regulation governing the 
viable review of any tobacco product.
  Let me state that again. Almost a decade after enactment and $5 
billion later, the FDA has failed to issue a foundational regulation 
governing the viable review of any tobacco product. This failure would 
be unacceptable from any other regulated industry. The Center for 
Tobacco Products receives hundreds of millions of user-fee dollars each 
year and is still falling behind the other product review centers at 
the FDA. The FDA has a responsibility to develop clear rules of the 
road for innovation and potentially less harmful tobacco products--some 
of the very products that are under scrutiny today because they are in 
regulatory limbo 10 years later. The Agency has had ample time to act 
and, instead, focused its efforts and resources on banning a legally 
marketed product without the data to support their own actions.
  I urge my colleagues to take a serious look at the FDA's decision to 
ban menthol cigarettes. The FDA chose to decrease choices for the 
American consumer while their counterpart, the CDC, continues to show a 
decline in children's use of menthol cigarettes. These two Agencies 
should, in fact, be in alignment, using the CDC's highly regarded 
public health data to fully inform the FDA's approach to regulate these 
products. The information it released on November 18, 2018, shows a 
steep increase in the use of all tobacco products. However, the FDA has 
not provided the data to show that traditional cigarettes have 
contributed to this increase from 2017 to 2018 in any way or that 
menthol played a part in this increase. If it had--I will take you back 
to the original chart--we would see a significant change in the trend 
line of menthol usage of youth.
  I would bet my colleagues today that when you get to 2018, you will 
continue to see a decline in menthol. It begs the question of whether 
the leadership at FDA is making decisions with any regard for years of 
public health data, coming at the cost of choices for the American 
  This argument comes down to whether you believe Americans have a 
right to choose. As long as I am an elected official, I will advocate 
for adult consumers to have these choices.
  I realize this is the floor of great debate, and I am not scared to 
have a debate on whether tobacco is a legal product. As long as it is a 
legal product, why would we encumber the consumer with choice when, in 
fact, we see a trend line like this as it relates to youth?
  So I say to the FDA and I say to my colleagues: Don't hide behind our 
children and tell us that is the reason, because the data doesn't 
support it. The data says that what we are doing in education, what we 
are doing as parents is convincing the next generation

[[Page S259]]

that this is not a product they want to use. But when you ban menthol 
cigarettes, you take many adults who choose to purchase and to use a 
legal product with full understanding of the risk and tell them: No, we 
are going to eliminate the choice of this product.
  That is wrong. It is wrong for Congress to do; it is wrong for a 
regulatory Agency to do; and it is a blemish on this administration to 
announce that they are reducing regulation when, in fact, they are 
going out and instituting some of the most onerous regulations on 
America's consumers, the American people who choose.
  I urge my colleagues to become educated on this. I will give them an 
opportunity on multiple occasions for the balance of this year to hear 
more about this industry.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). The assistant Democratic 

                           Government Funding

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, last Saturday was a historic day in 
Springfield, IL, my hometown. It was the biggest snowfall in one day in 
our city's history. I spent that Saturday not shaking hands with my 
constituents but shaking hands with my shovel, trying to shovel snow 
away. It was a historic day in Springfield but, sadly, it was a 
historic day for America too.
  Saturday marked the longest shutdown of the U.S. Government in the 
history of the United States. As of today, the shutdown has continued 
for 26 days. Day by day, the harmful effects of this government 
shutdown are getting worse. Alarmingly, the President seems not to 
really understand or appreciate the real-life impact this shutdown is 
having on many Americans.
  In all, more than 8,000 Federal workers in my home State of Illinois 
are going without a paycheck during this shutdown--8,000 people who are 
concerned about paying their bills, as most working families are. These 
are hard-working Americans.
  I want to show you a photo of one of them. He happens to be a friend 
of mine. His name is Toby Hauck. This is Toby here. Toby is a veteran 
of the U.S. Air Force. His job in Aurora, IL, is to make sure that my 
plane, when it arrives at O'Hare, lands safely. Toby Hauck is an air 
traffic controller. Air traffic controllers have some of the most 
important and most stressful Federal jobs in America, and this shutdown 
is a kick in the gut to Toby Hauck and all of these air traffic 
  Many air traffic controllers, like Toby, are already working 6 days a 
week. I am not happy to report that. Pushing them to the limits of 
physical exhaustion isn't in the best interest of safety when it comes 
to our aircraft, but because of staffing shortages, that is what they 
are faced with, working 6 days a week. The shutdown is making staff 
shortages in the air traffic control facilities across the United 
States even worse.
  The shutdown has closed down the FAA academy where new air traffic 
controllers are trained and has stopped training in each facility to 
implement new procedures and new equipment.
  Toby's father and grandfather, incidentally, served in the U.S. 
military, as he did. This picture depicts his great son and Toby's 
granddaughter. I wanted to bring another point home. Toby's son is 
deploying overseas this month. Toby and his wife will be looking after 
their 2\1/2\-year-old granddaughter during the 10-month deployment. 
Toby's lack of a paycheck since December 31 of last year adds stress to 
an already hectic life.
  Toby says:

       Veterans are very proud of our heritage and what we have 
     done for the country. And those of us who continue to serve 
     the Federal Government as Federal employees continue that 
     pride throughout their careers.

  Toby says:

       We are hardworking, proud American employees doing a job 
     for the American public that is essential as an air traffic 
     controller. It's not acceptable as a veteran, as a federal 
     employee, as an air traffic controller to use my profession 
     and my livelihood as a political football.

  Toby doesn't stand alone as a veteran working for the Federal 
Government. Veterans are some of the hardest hit Federal employees of 
the Trump shutdown. Today as many as 250,000 Federal workers and 
Federal contractors are going without pay during the shutdown. 
According to the Office of Personnel Management, as of the end of 
fiscal year 2016, veterans represented 31 percent of the Federal 
workforce. This is more than a 5-percent increase since 2009, when 
President Obama encouraged veterans to apply for employment with the 
Federal Government to boost the hiring of men and women who served our 
country in uniform.
  In Illinois, we have 50,000 Federal workers, and almost 28 percent of 
them are veterans. More than one-quarter of all veterans working in the 
Federal Government also have a Department of Veterans Affairs 
disability rating.
  For example, if SNAP, the food stamp program, runs out, 38 million 
Americans could lose their food stamp benefits. That includes veterans 
living in households that participate in SNAP. You don't think about 
that very often, do you? Do you mean there are veterans on food stamps? 
The figure has averaged about 1.4 million veterans a year between 2015 
and 2017, according to the Census Bureau. Illinois is home to nearly 
50,000 veterans who are beneficiaries of food stamps and HUD rental 
assistance programs on an annual basis as well. So the very programs 
that are going to be hampered, slowed down, and stopped because of the 
Trump shutdown affect veterans across my State of Illinois and across 
the Nation. About 1,150 contracts under the project-based rental 
assistance program have lapsed, with hundreds more scheduled to expire 
because of this shutdown. People are suffering around the country.
  Federal workers are suffering. Their workers are suffering and 
veterans are suffering because of this Trump shutdown. More than 
380,000 Federal workers have been furloughed; 450,000 or more are being 
forced to work without pay. These are hard-working Americans like the 
TSA officers I met last week at O'Hare and met just a few days ago when 
I flew to St. Louis Lambert Airport. They go to work every single day, 
and their job is to make sure that dangerous people don't get on the 
airplanes with you, your children, and your family. They can't afford 
to have their paychecks held hostage by a manufactured crisis.
  These families of Federal workers have bills to pay. A worker at the 
Environmental Protection Agency, Cynthia Colquitt, is going without a 
paycheck after serving 26 years as a Federal employee. How hard is it? 
She is a single mom, and she says, quite honestly: I get by paycheck to 
paycheck. She has never missed a mortgage payment; she is very serious 
about those things. But now she is worried the shutdown will impact her 
credit rating if she doesn't have a paycheck to pay her bills on time.
  Shutdowns not only hurt our Federal workers, but the impact is also 
felt by small businesses around the country that rely on the business 
of Federal workers and the government. This shutdown is hurting our 
economy and only adding to economic uncertainty. Remember what happened 
in December? If you happen to have a retirement account with 
investments in stocks, you noticed that December was a pretty horrible 
month. There was an 8.7-percent drop in the stock market in December--
the worst December for the stock market since 1931, during the Great 
  The CEO of JPMorgan Chase is now warning that if this shutdown lasts 
another several weeks, it could reduce our Nation's quarterly growth to 
zero. The victims of the shutdown will not be the Federal employees; it 
will affect the entire economy because the input into the economy--the 
things they buy and pay for--will be diminished.
  Just why are we in this mess? Well, as the President said several 
weeks ago on camera in the Oval Office, it is his shutdown and he is 
very proud of it. He said that he was going to hold the hard-earned 
paychecks of Americans hostage in an attempt to fulfill his campaign 
promise to build a wall on the southern border of the United States, a 
concrete wall, as he described it, ``from sea to shining sea,'' which, 
incidentally, he promised would be paid for by the Mexicans.
  Let me say that again. All of the pain of this shutdown is caused 
because the President made a campaign promise to build this almighty 
wall. Well, we know something about walls. They don't work very well. 
We know it

[[Page S260]]

might have been a great response several hundred years ago to build a 
wall--not so much today. There are better ways to make America safe, 
other than building a wall. Yet the President said: It is my wall or a 
  If we have a debate about border security, I want to be a part of it, 
but we shouldn't do it while holding the Government of the United 
States hostage. Every day of the government shutdown is another day 
that President Trump is harming innocent Americans, preventing hundreds 
of thousands of Americans from getting their paychecks and millions 
more from getting access to vital Federal services.
  We should reopen this government and we ought to do it this afternoon 
and we can. One phone call from the President to Senator Mitch 
McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate, is all it takes. Nancy 
Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, has already passed the spending 
bills to open the government. She did it last week. She sent them over 
here. They are sitting at the desk up here. We are not touching them 
because Senator McConnell said: I am not going to solve this problem 
until the President gives me permission. A little reminder to my 
colleague Senator McConnell, under the Constitution, we are a separate 
branch of government. We don't wait for a permission slip from the 
President of the United States to do the job we were elected to do.
  Today we had a vote earlier, and I looked at the other side of the 
aisle and talked to a number of my Republican colleagues. I wasn't a 
bit surprised to find so many of them fed up with this government 
shutdown. They want it to end today, and so do I. Then we can sit down 
and negotiate border security and do it the right way, not with a gun 
at our head--I should say, a gun to the head of 800,000 Federal 
employees. Let's reopen the government and then continue to negotiate. 
House Democrats have given us the bills we need to do that. Now it is 
up to Senator McConnell. Will he come forward through that door onto 
the floor, call these bills, and end this shutdown before 5 p.m. today?
  He could. He has the power to do it. He can pass the spending bills. 
He warns us that President Trump may not sign these bills. Well, 
Senator McConnell has been around the Senate for decades. He has been 
around so long that I am sure he is familiar with our Constitution. Do 
you know what? If the President vetoed these spending bills, we have 
the constitutional authority and opportunity to override his veto--to 
come up with 67 votes in the Senate, two-thirds in the House to 
override any Presidential veto. I think the votes are there, and I 
think that is the reason Senator McConnell is afraid to call the bills.
  It is time for the Senate to act. Let's not wait for a permission 
slip from President Trump. Let's do what we were elected to do. Let's 
spare Toby Hauck and 800,000 Federal employees, including many 
veterans, the hardships their families are facing.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.

                            National Defense

  Mrs. FISCHER. Madam President, I rise to discuss the state of our 
national defense. First, I want to recognize the brave Americans who 
were killed in a suicide attack in Syria today. Our deepest sympathies 
are with the families of those killed and the injured. We are so 
grateful to these Americans for their service and for their sacrifice.
  As I enter my seventh year on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I 
can't help but reflect on our past successes. I am proud of what we 
have accomplished by working together to fulfill the first 
responsibility of our Federal Government to provide for the common 
defense. Together, we have continued the committee's longstanding 
bipartisan tradition of working to strengthen our military, and we have 
been effective on a variety of fronts.
  We have provided our brave men and women in uniform with the 
resources they need to carry out the missions we give them every year 
through the National Defense Authorization Act.
  Importantly, for the last 2 years, Congress and the administration 
have worked together to rebuild the Department of Defense and reorient 
it to today's threats. As the administration's National Defense 
Strategy correctly identifies, the primary challenge to U.S. interests 
today comes not from terrorist groups but from Russia and China.
  In recognition of this fact, Congress increased funding to restore 
readiness and expand force structure from near-historic lows. While 
progress has been made, significant challenges remain.
  The bipartisan support for increased defense spending must continue, 
and Congress must ensure our service men and women have the necessary 
training and equipment for the great power competition that defines the 
current geopolitical landscape. As part of this effort to ensure our 
military is prepared for the new threat environment, we must continue 
modernizing our nuclear forces.
  Once again, this Congress I will chair the Armed Services Committee's 
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, and this issue will be my top 
priority. Since the end of World War II, our nuclear deterrent has 
formed the bedrock of our Nation's security. With Russia and China 
increasingly seeking to challenge U.S. interests and to reshape the 
geopolitical landscape in their favor, the unique role our nuclear 
forces play in deterring conflict and preventing war is becoming 
increasingly important.
  Meanwhile, our warheads and delivery systems age toward obsolescence, 
as does the infrastructure that maintains our deterrent. Many of these 
systems have aged far beyond their designed lifetimes. They cannot be 
sustained indefinitely. Put simply, as our nuclear deterrent becomes 
more important to our Nation's defense, the need for nuclear 
modernization only grows.
  This conclusion is echoed in the administration's National Defense 
Strategy, its Nuclear Posture Review, and the bipartisan National 
Defense Strategy Commission, which described nuclear modernization as a 
``critical imperative.''
  The previous administration, under President Obama, also recognized 
the need for modernization and began an effort to recapitalize our 
nuclear forces. Right now, major programs are underway to replace our 
legacy systems. This includes the B-21 bomber, which will replace the 
B-52 and B-2 bombers, and the long-range standoff weapon, which will 
replace the existing nuclear-armed, air-launched cruise missile. The 
ground-based strategic deterrent is replacing the Minuteman III 
intercontinental ballistic missile. Finally, the Columbia-class 
submarine will replace the Ohio-class submarines that are currently in 
  The command and control networks on which our nuclear forces rely are 
also in need of replacement, as is the scientific infrastructure that 
maintains our stockpile of aging warheads.
  In some cases, such as with the production of plutonium pits--
essentially the cores of our nuclear weapons--we must reconstitute lost 
capabilities. Adding to the challenge, as a result of decisions to 
delay and defer funding, there is no margin for error in the schedule.
  This is the position we find ourselves in. Our existing platforms are 
simultaneously aging out just as their replacements are scheduled to be 
ready. Something General Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs 
of Staff, refers to as just-in-time modernization. That means any 
delay, any error, could put at risk our ability to field an effective 
nuclear deterrent in the future. We cannot allow that to happen. In the 
face of growing threats, our deterrent must remain strong.
  As chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee, I understand I 
carry the solemn responsibility to make sure the nuclear forces that 
have deterred conflict, safeguarded our livelihoods, and preserved our 
Nation's power for decades continues to protect the next generation of 
Americans. While U.S. Strategic Command is located in Sarpy County, NE, 
it is a national asset with a global mission--over 180,000 soldiers, 
sailors, airmen, marines, and civilians are working every day around 
the world in support of the command's mission.
  During this Congress, I am looking forward to working with my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this key priority and 
continuing our work in providing for a strong national defense.
  Thank you.

[[Page S261]]

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.

                           Government Funding

  Mrs. MURRAY. Madam President, we are 26 days into President Trump's 
completely unnecessary government shutdown--26 days of pain and 
uncertainty; 26 days of missed paychecks and missed bills--26 days, the 
longest in our country's history.
  I have heard from so many constituents in my home State of Washington 
who have been impacted by this shutdown. These are heart-wrenching 
stories of workers who do not know how much longer they can make it 
without a paycheck. Members of our U.S. Coast Guard--the very men and 
women who stand ready 24/7 to make harrowing rescues and keep our 
country safe--didn't get paid yesterday. They did not get paid 
yesterday, marking the first time ever that servicemembers have not 
been paid because of a shutdown.
  There are small business owners who don't know when their SBA loans 
will come through; people who are dedicated to our national parks--our 
national treasures--who are in despair as they hear about trash piling 
up and irreparable damage being done; people waiting in lines at 
airports; people worried about food inspections; worried about losing 
their homes or their cars or their jobs. Entire families, entire 
communities are impacted, uncertain, and scared.
  In my home State of Washington and in every State in this country, I 
have come to the floor time and again to share these stories, along 
with many of my Democratic colleagues. We have called on Republican 
leaders to stand with us, stand with their constituents, and schedule a 
vote to end the shutdown. All it would take is a vote. We know it would 
pass, and we can move it through the House and send it to the 

                                 S. 109

  What have Republican leaders done, instead of scheduling a vote to 
help workers and families and small business owners and our economy; 
what have they done, instead of standing with their constituents to 
reopen this government and end this madness? Well, they have done what 
they have always done when they don't know what else to do. They 
scheduled a vote to attack women and their healthcare.
  I almost couldn't believe it when I heard it. This government is shut 
down. People are hurting. They want solutions. They want the government 
to open, and Republicans are going to vote to effectively ban abortion 
coverage. That is the business on the floor.
  Instead of voting to pay Federal workers, they are trying to tell 
women what kind of health insurance they can or can't have. Instead of 
working to make sure our airports are secure, they want to undermine 
women's access to the healthcare they choose. Instead of ending the 
chaos and dysfunction and getting our country back on track, they want 
to chip away again at every woman's constitutionally protected right to 
make her own healthcare decisions. Instead of working with us to end 
the shutdown and then having a debate on border security or anything 
else they want to talk about, they are planning a vote that will not do 
anything but tell women across the country what they already know: 
Republicans in Washington, DC, think they know better than you about 
your healthcare.
  Let me be clear. They don't.
  This is disgusting. Women and men across the country are not going to 
stand for it. We can vote right now to open the government. We can vote 
right now to help our workers and our families. We can vote right now 
to end governing by Presidential tantrum. If Republicans don't do 
this--if they choose, as they have, to attack women and to throw their 
healthcare under the bus instead of doing their basic jobs--then the 
people across this country are going to see exactly where they stand--
not with them, not with their families, not with their constituents, 
and certainly not with women.
  I urge the Republicans to end this madness--to pull this anti-women 
health vote--and to, instead, schedule a vote to reopen the government. 
That is what we should be focused on. That is what Americans want us to 
do. We need to end this. Let's reopen the government, not attack women 
one more time.
  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. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). Without objection, it is so 

                             March for Life

  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, more than 100,000 people and families will 
join together in the March for Life in Washington that is going to take 
place tomorrow. They will brave the cold--there is supposed to be sleet 
and bad weather--for one simple reason, to give voice to the voiceless, 
the unborn, our most vulnerable among us but are still deserving of the 
right to life.
  Jeremiah 1:5 says:

       Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
       Before you were born I sanctified you.

  To everyone who comes to the March for Life, know that we hear you, 
and we are standing with you, just as we have in the past.
  This is not a new topic, not for me to speak on either. Twenty-five 
years ago, I came down to tell a story. At that time, I was in the 
House. This has been going on for a long period of time. I came down 
here to tell the story of Hannah Rosa Rodriguez. This is a quote from 
  Mr. Chairman, there is a big misconception regarding abortion and the 
issue of women and their right to protect their bodies. It is not that 
right that I object to but the right that is given them to kill an 
unborn fetus--an unborn child.
  I want to share with you a story that my colleague Chris Smith told 
me some time ago on this floor. That was 1992.
  Ana Rosa Rodriguez is an abortion survivor. This is another group of 
people we haven't talked about very much on the floor. At birth, she 
was a healthy 3-pound baby girl, except for her injury; she was missing 
an arm. Ana survived a botched abortion.
  Her mother attempted to get an abortion in her 32nd week of pregnancy 
when she was perfectly healthy--8 weeks past what New York State law 
legally allows. In the unsuccessful abortion attempt, the baby's right 
arm was ripped off. However, they failed to kill Ana Rosa. She lived. 
Pro-life supporters agree that nightmare situations like the Rodriguez 
case are probably not common, but abortion-related deaths and serious 
injuries occur more frequently than most people are aware.
  It is amazing that we can pay so much attention to issues such as 
human rights abroad and can allow the violent destruction of over 26 
million children here at home. We are fortunate that Ana was not one of 
those children. She survived.
  That was 1992, but today we still don't have Federal protections for 
the babies who survive the brutal abortion process. I am working with 
Senator Sasse, who is leading the effort this year to reintroduce the 
Born Alive Abortion Survivor Act, which would ensure that a baby who 
survives an abortion will receive the same treatment as any child 
naturally born premature at the same age, without prescribing any 
particular form of treatment. That is just morally right, and I don't 
see how anyone could vote against something like that. We will find 
  Just a few years later, in 1997, I was on the floor of this body, the 
U.S. Senate, with my good friend former Senator Rick Santorum, to try 
to pass the partial birth abortion ban and end the horrific practice of 
late-term abortions. I remember how active Senator Rick Santorum was at 
that time, a real leader in the pro-life cause. I spoke then, 1997, on 
the floor:
  I thank the Senator from Pennsylvania for yielding time. I think he 
made one of the best presentations I have heard on the floor of this 
body. I want to say that, when he deals with the facts, he is dealing 
with the facts but, you know, we are also dealing today with 
  I tried to make a list of those things I have heard over and over. 
There is a lot of redundancy on this floor, but there are some things 
that have not been stated. I would like to share a couple of those with 

[[Page S262]]

  I am going to do something that is a little unusual because I am 
going to read some Scriptures to you. It is not totally unprecedented 
in this body. In fact, I have done it many, many times. The 
distinguished Senator from West Virginia does it quite often.
  I was talking about Bob Byrd. We remember Bob Byrd. He is deceased 
now, but this was 1997, and he read Scriptures every day on the floor 
of this Senate.
  So I would like to read a couple of Scriptures, just for those who 
care. Anyone who does not, just don't listen.
  First of all, I have used this a number of times. Jeremiah 1:35 says: 
``Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I 
sanctified you.'' The 139th Psalm, no matter which interpretation you 
use, makes it very clear when life begins. Life begins at conception.
  Then I was, not too long ago, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. 
I had been to the museum in Jerusalem, and I found the same thing was 
printed on the last brick as you are going through. This is Deuteronomy 
30:19. It said: ``I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against 
you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; 
therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.''
  Last, I am also concerned that something that is as dramatic and as 
significant as this issue is going to go unnoticed; that maybe there 
are Senators out there who are not really into this issue, and they 
might want to vote the party line or they might want to say, well, 
maybe there aren't as many of these procedures out there, so they just 
really are not knowledgeable on the subject. So I will read Proverbs 

       Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't 
     stand back and let them die. Don't try to disclaim 
     responsibility by saying you didn't know about it. For God, 
     who knows all hearts, knows yours, and He knows you knew.

  That is pretty specific.
  Mr. President, I was listening to the Senator from Massachusetts who 
said it does not do any good if we pass this because the President is 
going to veto it anyway.
  That was actually in 1997. The President, if you remember, at that 
time, I advised the chairman, was Bill Clinton.
  But I suggest to you that the President may not veto it, and if he 
does veto it, maybe some people will come over who were not here a year 
ago on this side of the aisle.
  See, this was 1997. It was pretty close back then. It could have gone 
either way.
  One individual at the time was Ron Fitzsimmons, who just last year 
insisted that the number of partial birth abortions were a relative 
handful now admits: ``I lied through my teeth.'' He was lying. So if 
the President is predicating his decision to veto this ban on the basis 
of what was told to him by Ron Fitzsimmons, there is every reason to 
believe he could turn around on the issue. I suggest also that we are 
talking now not just about a procedure but a culture.
  I have a very good friend by the name of Charles Colson. We all 
remember Chuck Colson. He is the guy who started the Campus Crusade for 
Christ. He gave these remarks upon winning the prestigious Templeton 
Prize for a contribution to religion. Listen very carefully. He puts it 
all together, not isolating one procedure or one issue. He said:

       Courts [like to] strike down even perfunctory prayers, and 
     we are surprised that schools, bristling with barbed wire, 
     look more like prisons than prisons do. Universities reject 
     the very idea of truth, and we are shocked when their best 
     and their brightest loot and betray.
       Celebrities mock the traditional family, even revile it as 
     a form of slavery, and we are appalled at the tragedy of 
     broken homes and millions of unwed mothers. The media 
     celebrate sex without responsibility, and we are horrified by 
     plagues. Our lawmakers justify the taking of innocent lives 
     in sterile clinics, and we are terrorized by the disregard 
     for life in blood-soaked streets.

  I think that puts into context what we are now approaching--that it 
is not just a normal type of abortion.
  I have a great deal of respect for one of the most intellectual 
Members of this body. Keep in mind that this is 1997. His name is 
Patrick Moynihan--a very good man. He is from New York. Not many people 
know that he actually lived in his early years as my neighbor in Tulsa, 
OK. Again, at that time, nobody knew it until I mentioned it.
  He was a self-proclaimed pro-choice Senator. He said: ``And now we 
have testimony that it is not just too close to infanticide; it is 
infanticide, and one would be too many.''
  That is Patrick Moynihan. He is thought of and respected as one of 
the great liberal scholars of this body.
  This is where we get the numbers game. I heard it said on the floor 
many times that we are talking about maybe 1 percent or that maybe 
talking about those who are in the ninth month may be an infinitesimal 
number, but in fact, one is too many. It was said on the floor that we 
may be only talking about 200 lives being taken during the normal 
delivery process. That is when a baby is given a natural birth and, 
yet, they take the life by using this barbaric procedure. We have all 
kinds of documentation that it is being done in the ninth month and 
during the normal birth process. They say only 200--only 200 lives are 
  I agree with Patrick Moynihan. I am totally in a different philosophy 
than he is, but one is too many.
  I am from Oklahoma, and some of you remember that we lost 168 lives 
in the Murrah Federal Office Building bombing. This was the largest 
domestic terrorist attack in American history. Did anybody say that is 
only 168 lives that were lost in Oklahoma City? No, the entire Nation 
came with compassion and mourned with us.
  One life--I agree with Senator Moynihan--is too many.
  One other issue that has not been discussed in this debate this 
year--keep in mind that is 1997--is that of pain. Rather than go into 
it--I do not think anyone refutes the fact that a small baby, if that 
baby is certainly past the second trimester, feels pain every bit as 
much as anybody who is in here, as any Member of the U.S. Senate would 
feel pain.
  There was a study conducted in London, and I have the results here, 
but I think everyone understands that this is something that is very 
real--that these babies do feel pain.
  My junior Senator gave an excellent speech on the floor, and he 
talked about all of these issues in a different way, but he is doing it 
currently, and we are talking about now quite a number of years ago.
  I have a picture of a good friend of mine with me. His name is Jase--
James Edward Rapert.
  Back when people our age were having babies--I am talking about 
myself now. Kay and I have been married 59 years. We have 20 kids and 
grandkids. We know a little bit about this. Back at that time when they 
were having babies, they wouldn't even let you in the hospital, let 
alone the delivery room.
  When my daughter Molly called up and said, ``Daddy, the time is here; 
could you come over,'' I went over to the hospital, and she said: Would 
you like to come into the delivery room?
  I said: Yes, I would.
  I saw for the first time what many of you in this room have seen and 
many of the women have experienced firsthand. I was there when this 
little guy was born. It is hard to describe to some of the men here who 
have not been through that experience of seeing this wonderful life 
begin, and I can remember when, in that room where the delivery took 
place, it occurred to me that when baby Jase, my grandson, was born, 
that is the moment when they could have used this procedure inflicting 
all of the pain you have heard described so many times: going into the 
cranium with the scissors, opening the scissors, sucking the brains 
out, and the skull collapses.
  That is pain, and there are individuals who want to keep a procedure 
like this legal. If you did that to a dog, they would picket in front 
of your office. Somehow, we have developed a culture that puts a 
greater value on the lives of critters than human life. I watched baby 
Jase being born. I suggest to those of you who are concerned about 
choice that this is really the choice. It is either that choice or this 
choice, and these choices we are facing today.
  This is something on which I agree with the Senator from 
Pennsylvania. I was talking at that time about Rick Santorum.
  We should not be having to talk about it. To think that 100 years 

[[Page S263]]

now they may look back and talk about that barbaric society that killed 
their own young, and here we are just trying to save a few lives from a 
very painful death. Nonetheless, that is the issue we are faced with 
  I gave that speech in 1997 and again in 1998 and year after year 
until we won the battle and finally ended the practice of partial-birth 
abortion in 2003--a ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2007. 
There is still much more that needs to be done to end abortion on 
demand culture.
  President Trump gets this. He was the first sitting President to 
speak at March for Life, and his administration has made real progress 
to advance the pro-life agenda. He has reinstated the Mexico City 
policy. We remember what that was. It was the one that bans taxpayer 
money from funding abortions abroad and directed the Justice Department 
to formally investigate Planned Parenthood.
  President Trump also directed the Department of Health and Human 
Services to expand religious and conscience exemptions to protect 
individuals' religious liberty.
  I am working in Congress to end the practice of abortion on demand 
that strips opportunity away from unborn babies and deprives them of 
the right to life.
  This week I have joined my colleagues in introducing five commonsense 
bills--this is taking place right now, as we speak--in addition to the 
Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act, by Senator Sasse, which I mentioned 
earlier in this presentation. The No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act, 
working with Senator Wicker, would establish a governmentwide statutory 
prohibition on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage--
simple enough. I am pleased that Majority Leader McConnell has set up a 
procedural vote for this bill today.
  There is the Life at Conception Act, which Senator Paul has, which 
would recognize that life begins at conception.
  The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, led by Senator 
Blackburn--one of our brand-new freshman Senators--would prohibit title 
X family planning funds. Those are taxpayer funds now being used to 
subsidize abortions.
  You might be wondering how that is different from the one just talked 
about. Here is how. Every year, Planned Parenthood receives nearly $60 
million from the American taxpayer through title X family planning 
program. The program is intended to assist low-income women with family 
planning services. Unfortunately, this money is being used to subsidize 
massive organizations that engage in abortion activities, such as 
Planned Parenthood, and we need to stop that.
  The Protect Funding for Women's Health Care Act, led by Senator 
Ernst, would prohibit all Federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
  I also cosponsored the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, 
led by Senator Rubio, which would prohibit individuals from taking 
minors across State lines where they have lax laws just to have an 
abortion, stopping their States from having the jurisdiction.
  Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I am cosponsoring Senator 
Graham's Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would prohibit 
abortions from being performed on unborn babies after 20 weeks, when we 
know they can feel pain. Only five countries allow abortions after 20 
weeks, including the United States and North Korea, and that is 
  I wish to acknowledge a very important day. Religious Freedom Day is 
today. It is clear that our Founding Fathers recognized and enshrined 
the importance of religious liberty--one of our most precious and 
foundational religious freedoms, which allowed them to live their lives 
according to the teachings of the Bible.
  I have long been a strong advocate of the basic human right to freely 
worship, and I am glad we can take a moment today to recognize that.
  Anyway, all from speeches from 1992 and 1997--it is as true today as 
it was then. We are ready to start saving lives instead of taking the 
most vulnerable little lives, and we are ready now.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.

                           Government Funding

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, a few minutes ago, I got off the phone with 
Jasmine Tool, who is an Oregonian living with an inoperable brain 
tumor. As the shutdown lingers on, I want to share her story because 
she has been bearing the unthinkable consequences of her illness.
  I am going to start today by asking: How can a country as rich and 
good and strong as the United States of America let Jasmine Tool suffer 
this way?
  She is a 34-year-old mother of two young children. She lives in Lake 
County, a rural community in south central Oregon. She is a public 
servant, an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She has 
been living with an inoperable brain tumor. The cancer has caused 
related debilitating conditions. She is in and out of hospital 
emergency rooms. Her digestive system is impaired. With the invaluable 
care provided by a home health worker, she takes in liquids and 
nutritional infusions through tubing that is plugged into her abdomen.
  Because she lives in a rural area, her treatment can require long-
distance travel. That is hard to deal with when you are suffering from 
the flu. Just imagine how hard it is with a brain tumor, a broken 
digestive tract, and feeding tubes attached to your body that prevent 
you from eating or drinking normally.
  She is confronting this health challenge with remarkable bravery, and 
I don't believe there is a single Member of the U.S. Senate who would 
wish Jasmine's struggle on their very worst enemy.
  Then comes the government shutdown.
  Jasmine was due to travel to Nevada this month for treatment related 
to her tumor, but last week, as she was prepared to go, she was 
informed that her health insurance had lapsed. Initially, she thought 
it might be--we all know with insurance--kind of a recent hiccup or 
recent problem, something that could be corrected quickly.
  This week, she learned that it lapsed in October--October, months 
ago--and her insurance company told her that only her employer could 
fix it.
  Jasmine's employer is shut down. Nobody is answering the phones. 
Right now, Jasmine Tool is suffering--this mother of two--and is unable 
to determine what caused the lapse in her coverage or what can be done 
to get it fixed.
  The most immediate threat is this: Jasmine was told that her home 
health assistant cannot continue to help her if she doesn't have 
insurance. That means that within days this 30-year-old mom will not be 
able to get the infusions she needs to stay alive.
  Now, if that isn't enough, Jasmine has been failed by the government 
on multiple occasions. Shortly after she went on medical leave in early 
2017, she began the process of applying for disability--disability 
retirement. She worked with the appropriate human resources official to 
prepare the paperwork to send to the Office of Personnel Management. 
She thought, as anybody would, that the process was underway and she 
would hear back soon about the results of her application.
  She just learned recently that the official who prepared the 
documents retired without sending them in. For a year and a half, while 
Jasmine fought cancer and was just hoping to get some positive news, 
her disability paperwork sat in an unused office--just sat there 
collecting dust.
  She had to travel to that office against her doctor's orders to 
finalize the paperwork once more and prevent a loss of benefits. But 
the Office of Personnel Management--that is shut down too. Jasmine 
hasn't been able to learn where her benefits stand.
  It is too cruel already that thousands and thousands of American 
workers are going without paychecks. This shutdown is making victims of 
those who do public service. But consider what it is doing to this 
young mother of two, a woman who is currently fighting for her life 
right now.
  Because of this shutdown, she can't figure out how to restore her 
health insurance. She can't get the status of her disability 
application. She could be cut off--I just talked to her--from her 
nutritional supplements in a matter of days. That means Jasmine could 
starve. That is what she just told me.
  So I have been talking to people who have suffered from health 

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for a long time--director of the Grey Panthers about 7 years at home. I 
listened to Jasmine and I just said: How can it be that there is no 
outbreak of conscience here--no outbreak of conscience here in this 
Senate? How can a country as rich and powerful as ours fail Jasmine in 
such a shameful way?
  Our country is going to spend $3.5 trillion on healthcare--$3.5 
trillion on healthcare--this year. It is not a lack of money that is 
causing this nightmare for Jasmine Tool in rural Oregon.
  With the government reopened, things would be different. Things would 
be very different for Jasmine. There would be somebody on the other end 
of the phone line to tell Jasmine what happened to her insurance, and 
because of the professionalism of those in these positions, I think 
they could tell her how to renew that insurance. There would be 
somebody to tell her what is happening with her disability application. 
Jasmine could bring back her home health aide and get the infusions she 
needs to survive.
  So I am asking the Senate, how can this be allowed to continue? How 
can this be allowed to continue? The Senate passed a bipartisan 
government funding bill by voice vote just 2 weeks ago in the previous 
  I see Senator Collins. She has a longstanding interest in these 
healthcare issues. Senator Sasse also, I know from our conversations, 
has a heart and cares about people.
  The House passed this legislation. The pathway out of this shutdown 
is right in front of us if the majority leader would decide when to 
bring up the legislation again, and we could do it tonight. Jasmine 
Tool could get the lifesaving healthcare that she needs, based on our 
conversation, by week's end, so she will not starve.
  Otherwise, unless the majority leader calls it up, it seems to me the 
White House has no plan to end this shutdown. So I just think it has to 
end right here--right here in the U.S. Senate, where all of us say: 
This cannot go on any longer.
  I just spoke to a young mom in rural Oregon who is in a fight for her 
life, a fight for her survival.
  Colleagues who are here, I am sure Jasmine is not the only such case 
in America. Jasmine Tool--my guess is, there are plenty of others in 
communities across the country. Jasmine Tool does not have the luxury 
of time.
  I am going to go back to my office. My staff here, my staff folks in 
Oregon--we are just going to be pulling out all the stops now because 
it really is a matter of hours to get Jasmine the help she needs. We do 
it recognizing that there is only one immediate solution: The shutdown 
must end, and it must end now.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, government shutdowns are never the 
answer. No matter how difficult the problem, we should never resort to 
shutting down government. It harms too many innocent Federal 
employees--in this case, 800,000 Federal employees and their families--
and it hampers the ability of American citizens to deal with their 
  At the same time, we do have a problem at our southern border. We do 
need to strengthen our border security and fix our broken immigration 
system. We need to address the issue of the Dreamers population, those 
young children brought to this country through no decision of their own 
who are now, often, young adults and who are going to school or working 
or otherwise serving in the military or contributing to our country.
  The outlines of a compromise are evident, but in order to get there, 
I believe we need to assure the President that we will seriously 
consider his supplemental request for border security, a request that 
includes not just funding for additional physical barriers to 
supplement the more than 600 miles of physical barriers--walls, 
fences--that were built during two previous administrations but also 
includes $800 million to meet the humanitarian needs of those who are 
crossing the border. It also includes additional funding for Border 
Patrol agents and for Immigration and Customs and Border Enforcement.
  This simply cannot continue. We need to come together in good faith, 
reopen government for a limited period of time at least, and negotiate 
a package that will strengthen security on our borders, and that is 
what I would urge the President, his administration, and my colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle to do.
  In the meantime, we also need to get back to the work of the Senate. 
That, too, is important, and today I rise to introduce a bill that 
would help Americans who are struggling with high healthcare expenses. 
The tax deduction for certain unreimbursed, out-of-pocket medical 
expenses affects many taxpayers significantly.
  Regrettably, the threshold to claim this important tax deduction rose 
from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of income at the end of 2018, ending its 
value for many American taxpayers who simply will no longer qualify.
  Today, I reintroduce legislation, which I have sponsored with my 
colleague Senator Cantwell, that would reinstate and make permanent the 
lower income threshold for the medical expense deduction. Our bill, the 
Medical Expense Savings Act, would once again allow taxpayers to deduct 
unreimbursed healthcare costs that exceed 7.5 percent of their income.
  For those who suffer from preexisting medical conditions, have 
chronic illnesses, experience unexpected sickness or injuries, or 
require long term care, out-of-pocket healthcare expenses can quickly 
become an unbearable burden. Too many Americans are forced to choose 
between medical services and other equally necessary expenditures or 
they find themselves going deeply in debt.
  The Affordable Care Act increased the income threshold for taxpayers 
to deduct their medical expenses from 7.5 percent to 10 percent. I very 
much opposed that provision of the ACA. For individuals under 65, the 
increase went into effect in 2013, but for those over 65, individuals 
would have been exposed to this higher threshold for the first time in 
2017. Fortunately, we were able to remedy that for those over age 65.
  When the ACA increase was phased in, many individuals struggling with 
serious health conditions saw their financial health worsen. For 
example, a 2016 study estimates that parents, including many with 
limited means, already provide nearly $36 billion annually in 
uncompensated medical care at home to children with special healthcare 
needs, such as muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis.
  A 2016 survey of cancer survivors showed that one-third go into debt, 
and of those, more than half incurred more than $10,000 in unreimbursed 
  For seniors with significant long-term care needs, the deduction 
helps with the cost of home health or personal care services or, when 
needed, the cost of a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home. 
The deduction can also be used for other expenses that Medicare 
generally does not cover, including dental treatment, vision care, and 
certain transportation costs. Seniors can also use the medical expense 
deduction for expenses like wheelchair ramps, installing railings and 
support bars in bathrooms, and lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets 
and equipment and other home modifications made for medical reasons. 
These improvements can allow seniors with medical conditions or 
disabilities to live at home in the safety, comfort, and familiarity of 
their own home.
  Some seniors find that their savings become rapidly depleted. They 
may spend down their financial resources in order to receive the 
services and support they require through the Medicaid Program. 
According to Genworth's 2018 Cost of Care Survey, home health aide 
services can cost $50,000 annually, while a private room at a nursing 
home can cost nearly $100,000. By retaining a lower threshold for the 
medical expense tax deduction, some families would be able to continue 
to pay these essential costs themselves.
  Some erroneously believe that this deduction only benefits the 
wealthy, when, in fact, it is mainly lower and middle-income Americans 
who have been hurt. According to AARP, nearly 70 percent of taxpayers 
taking the deduction in 2014 reported income of $75,000 or less, and 
nearly half reported incomes of $50,000 or less. In Maine, according to 
AARP, almost 36,000 of our residents claimed this deduction in 2014, 
and nearly 19,000 of these individuals reported an income of $50,000 or 

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  That is why, during the tax reform debate in 2017, I introduced a 
successful amendment that rolled back the income threshold to 7.5 
percent for taxpayers to deduct their medical expenses in 2017 and 
2018. My amendment expanded upon the efforts of Senators Rob Portman 
and Sherrod Brown, who had worked to prevent this increase from going 
into effect for individuals over 65. As I said, my amendment was 
incorporated into the new tax law, and thus, for 2017 and for 2018, the 
threshold for deducting these out-of-pocket medical costs was 7.5 
percent of income. But at the end of last year, that expired.
  The AARP and 44 other consumer groups have strongly endorsed the 
effort undertaken by Senator Cantwell and me, stating that ``it 
provides important tax relief which helps offset the costs of acute and 
chronic medical conditions for older Americans, children, pregnant 
women, disabled individuals, and other adults as well as the costs 
associated with long-term care and assisted living.''
  This is a step we can take to reinstate an expired tax deduction that 
will make a real difference to people who are struggling with high out-
of-pocket medical costs.
  I urge my colleagues to support our legislation that will help our 
families cope with high medical costs by making sure that this 
important deduction remains available for future tax years.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a letter from AARP dated January 15, 2019, endorsing the Collins-
Cantwell legislation.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:


                                     Washington, January 15, 2019.
     Hon. Susan Collins,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
     Hon. Maria Cantwell,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senators Collins and Cantwell: On behalf of our 
     members and all Americans age 50 and older, AARP is writing 
     to thank you for introducing the Medical Expense Savings Act 
     (S. 110), legislation to permanently extend the 7.5 percent 
     income threshold for the medical expense deduction AARP, with 
     its more than 38 million members in all 50 states, the 
     District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories, represents 
     individuals seeking financial stability while managing their 
     health care and every effort should be made to keep the 
     threshold for the deduction as low as possible to help 
     protect those with high medical costs.
       The medical expense deduction provides important tax relief 
     that helps offset the cost of acute and chronic medical 
     conditions for older Americans, children, and individuals 
     with disabilities. For many, the medical expense deduction 
     can help offset high out-of-pocket expenses--expenses that 
     qualify include money paid for diagnosis, treatment, 
     equipment, long-term care services, and long-term care 
     insurance premiums.
       The tax filers who claim the medical expense deduction have 
     historically been age 50 or older and living with a chronic 
     condition or illness. The average Medicare beneficiary spends 
     about $5,680 out of pocket on medical care. The medical 
     expense deduction makes health care more affordable for 
     people with significant out-of-pocket expenses.
       Furthermore, older Americans often face high costs for 
     long-term services and supports--which are generally not 
     covered by Medicare--as well as hospitalizations and 
     prescription drugs. The median cost for a private room in a 
     nursing home is over $97,000 annually, while the median cost 
     for even more cost-effective home-based care is still over 
     $30,000 per year (for 20 hours of care a week). In 2013, 
     roughly 25.8 million beneficiaries in traditional Medicare 
     spent at least 10 percent of their income on out-of-pocket 
     health care expenses. Tax relief in this area can provide 
     needed resources, especially important to middle income 
     seniors with high long-term care and medical costs.
       The medical expense deduction is a critical tool in 
     managing health care cost for Americans with high out-of-
     pocket expenses. For these reasons, we are pleased to endorse 
     this legislation and look forward to working on a bipartisan 
     basis with you to enact this legislation into law. If you 
     have any questions or need additional information, please 
     feel free to contact me or Jasmine Vasquez.

                                              Joyce A. Rogers,

                                            Senior Vice President,
                                               Government Affairs.

  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.