STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ACT OF 2019; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 18
(Senate - January 29, 2019)

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[Pages S732-S736]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




    STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ACT OF 2019

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill.
  The assistant bill clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 1) to make improvements to certain defense and 
     security assistance provisions and to authorize the 
     appropriation of funds to Israel, to reauthorize the United 
     States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt 
     the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other 
     purposes.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.


                            Amendment No. 65

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I call up my amendment No. 65.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The senior assistant bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Kentucky [Mr. McConnell] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 65.

  Mr. McCONNELL. I ask unanimous consent that the reading be dispensed 
with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

  (Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate that the United States 
 faces continuing threats from terrorist groups operating in Syria and 
Afghanistan and that the precipitous withdrawal of United States forces 
from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and United States 
                           national security)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

[[Page S733]]

  


     SEC. ___. SENSE OF SENATE ON WITHDRAWALS OF UNITED STATES 
                   FORCES FROM SYRIA AND AFGHANISTAN.

       (a) Findings.--The Senate makes the following findings:
       (1) The foreign terrorist organization al Qaeda, 
     responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001, maintains 
     a presence in Afghanistan.
       (2) The Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham, better known by 
     its acronym ISIS, flourished in the chaos unleashed by the 
     civil war in Syria and at one point controlled extensive 
     territory in Iraq and Syria.
       (3) Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates have murdered 
     thousands of innocent civilians.
       (4) Al Qaeda, ISIS, and their affiliates have proven 
     resilient and have regrouped when the United States and its 
     partners have withdrawn from the fight against them.
       (b) Sense of Senate.--The Senate--
       (1) acknowledges that the United States military and our 
     partners have made significant progress in the campaign 
     against al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham 
     (ISIS), and honors the contributions and sacrifice of the 
     members of the United States Armed Forces who have served on 
     the front lines of this fight;
       (2) recognizes the continuing threat to the homeland and 
     our allies posed by al Qaeda and ISIS, which maintain an 
     ability to operate in Syria and Afghanistan;
       (3) expresses concern that Iran has supported the Taliban 
     in Afghanistan and Hizballah and the Assad regime in Syria, 
     and has sought to frustrate diplomatic efforts to resolve 
     conflicts in these two countries;
       (4) recognizes the positive role the United States and its 
     partners have played in Syria and Afghanistan fighting 
     terrorist groups, countering Iranian aggression, deterring 
     the further use of chemical weapons, and protecting human 
     rights;
       (5) warns that a precipitous withdrawal of United States 
     forces from the on-going fight against these groups, without 
     effective, countervailing efforts to secure gains in Syria 
     and Afghanistan, could allow terrorists to regroup, 
     destabilize critical regions, and create vacuums that could 
     be filled by Iran or Russia, to the detriment of United 
     States interests and those of our allies;
       (6) recognizes that al Qaeda and ISIS pose a global threat, 
     which merits increased international contributions to the 
     counterterrorism, diplomatic, and stabilization efforts 
     underway in Syria and Afghanistan;
       (7) recognizes that diplomatic efforts to secure peaceful, 
     negotiated solutions to the conflicts in Syria and 
     Afghanistan are necessary to long-term stability and 
     counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East and South Asia;
       (8) acknowledges the progress made by Special 
     Representative Khalilzad in his efforts to promote 
     reconciliation in Afghanistan;
       (9) calls upon the Administration to conduct a thorough 
     review of the military and diplomatic strategies in Syria and 
     Afghanistan, including an assessment of the risk that 
     withdrawal from those countries could strengthen the power 
     and influence of Russia and Iran in the Middle East and South 
     Asia and undermine diplomatic efforts toward negotiated, 
     peaceful solutions;
       (10) requests that the Administration, as part of this 
     review, solicit the views of Israel, our regional partners, 
     and other key troop-contributing nations in the fight against 
     al Qaeda and ISIS;
       (11) reiterates support for international diplomatic 
     efforts to facilitate peaceful, negotiated resolutions to the 
     on-going conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan on terms that 
     respect the rights of innocent civilians and deny safe havens 
     to terrorists;
       (12) calls upon the Administration to pursue a strategy 
     that sets the conditions for the long-term defeat of al Qaeda 
     and ISIS, as well as the protection of regional partners and 
     allies, while ensuring that Iran cannot dominate the region 
     or threaten Israel;
       (13) encourages close collaboration between the Executive 
     Branch and the Legislative Branch to ensure continuing 
     strong, bipartisan support for United States military 
     operations in Syria and Afghanistan; and
       (14) calls upon the Administration to certify that 
     conditions have been met for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda 
     and ISIS before initiating any significant withdrawal of 
     United States forces from Syria or Afghanistan.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.


                            Houston Shooting

  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I would like to start by saying a few 
words about the horrific shooting that occurred in Houston, TX, at 
about 5 o'clock yesterday.
  A team of narcotics patrol officers from the Houston Police 
Department were serving a warrant. As soon as they breached the door at 
the home in southeast Houston, the suspects opened fire. Four officers 
were hit; one critically, and one other was injured as a result of an 
unrelated mishap. Three of these officers were in good condition, and 
two remained in critical but stable condition in the hospital.
  For the case agent, the most senior officer on the narcotics squad, 
this was the third time he had been shot in the line of duty--once in 
1992 and again in 1997. He told Chief Art Acevedo: ``I had to get in 
there because I knew my guys were down.''
  I echo the Houston Police Union President Joe Gamaldi, who said last 
night that enough is enough. This type of attack against law 
enforcement is unconscionable and unacceptable. These are dedicated 
public servants who have taken an oath to serve and protect our 
communities and who potentially sacrifice their very lives every day to 
keep our families safe.
  Today, with a heavy heart, I want to thank the Houston Police 
Department and law enforcement officers across the country who put on 
the uniform each morning, never knowing what the day might bring. We 
are incredibly grateful for their service and the tremendous sacrifices 
they make.
  I also want to acknowledge the work of the Houston Fire and EMS 
Department who moved Heaven and Earth to ensure these heroic, wounded 
officers got the medical care they needed as soon as possible.
  I thank my friends Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Chief Acevedo 
for their leadership during this very difficult time for the city of 
Houston and our entire State.
  My wife Sandy and I are praying for the officers, their families, and 
their brothers and sisters in blue.


                                  S. 1

  Madam President, on another matter, the Senate is, of course, 
considering S. 1, a package of four bills that were considered in the 
115th Congress, but the clock ran out before these bills could be voted 
on, on the Senate floor.
  Each of these bills enjoys broad, bipartisan support, and I am glad 
we have the opportunity to push this legislation over the finish line 
this week.
  The administration recently announced that U.S. troops will begin a 
conditions-based withdrawal from Syria. While we await additional 
details on the timeline and extent of this move, we must take action to 
ensure the stability of the region during the process and reassure our 
allies of our commitment.
  My friend and colleague Senator Rubio, the lead sponsor of this bill, 
once compared the threat of ISIS to a tumor. He said: If you treat a 
tumor with radiation, it will get smaller and smaller and smaller, but 
if you stop before it is completely gone, it will come back. So it is 
with ISIS.
  First and foremost, the Strengthening America's Security in the 
Middle East Act supports our allies in the region, including Israel and 
Jordan. With Israel in particular, the bill authorizes the United 
States to provide military assistance to support funding cooperative 
programs to develop, produce, and procure essential military equipment, 
such as defensive missiles and rockets. This will help Israel maintain 
its qualitative military edge against increasingly well-equipped, 
Iranian-backed forces.
  This bill also provides U.S. State and local governments with greater 
flexibility to counter the boycott, divestment, and sanctions, or BDS, 
movement. This anti-Israel crusade has waged economic war against the 
Jewish State by pushing companies around the world to boycott any 
business with Israel or its entities.
  This does not outlaw BDS activity but instead provides State and 
local governments with the same flexibility afforded to private 
companies. They can decide not to do business with companies that are 
boycotting or divesting from Israel.
  To support our ally Jordan, this bill authorizes legislation to 
strengthen our defense cooperation. With an estimated 740,000 refugees 
in Jordan--a very small country--this legislation recognizes the 
immense impact the ongoing conflict in Syria continues to have on 
neighboring countries, including Jordan, and it supports that 
government's effort to provide ongoing humanitarian support.
  The final piece of the bill speaks to the ongoing conflict and 
humanitarian crisis in Syria, which has claimed the lives of some 
400,000 people--400,000 people. It provides aid to impacted communities 
and condemns the heinous human rights violations committed by the Assad 
regime. Notably, it imposes new sanctions on anyone who does business 
with or otherwise financially supports the Syrian regime.
  This is certainly not an effort to put Humpty Dumpty back together 
again.

[[Page S734]]

Unfortunately, Syria has been broken by the civil war and the fact that 
Iran, Russia, and terrorist organizations are all vying for space and 
influence, but it is an important step to protect U.S. interests in the 
region. That is what this bill represents.
  Notably absent are strong measures focused on addressing the region's 
primary antagonist, the nation of Iran--the world's leading state 
sponsor of terrorism.
  Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, is a branch of 
Iran's Armed Forces with an unconventional role. Unlike military 
operations that promote national security, the IRGC tries to squash 
democracy movements both at home and abroad by pushing its extreme 
ideology beyond Iran's borders. This branch wields vast power and 
influence, and it uses its capabilities to spark turmoil throughout the 
Middle East.
  What I find particularly concerning is that the IRGC, the primary 
military appendage of the Ayatollah, is the one in control of Iran's 
ballistic missile system. That is the same program which, 
unfortunately, only accelerated under the previous Presidential 
administration of President Obama.

  The primary enemy of the IRGC is Israel, which it threatens both 
directly through its land bridge across Iraq and Syria and indirectly 
through its support of terrorist groups, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, 
Hamas, and other Palestinian militant groups. The IRGC funds terrorist 
proxies by providing heavy weapons, training, and funds to advance the 
Iranian regime's goal of regional domination. It has helped Hezbollah 
alone to amass more than 100,000 missiles capable of striking virtually 
anywhere in the State of Israel.
  The financial machines that keep these operations afloat consist of a 
clandestine network of front companies, including energy, construction, 
telecommunications, banking, and financial sectors. We are not talking 
about just a handful of small businesses here. It is estimated that the 
IRGC alone controls one-quarter of Iran's economy.
  So, yes, this legislation does take important steps to promote U.S. 
interests in the Middle East, but actions against the IRGC are 
desperately needed.
  In addition to the threat already posed by this group, we cannot 
allow our withdrawal from Syria to open up the window to Iran and its 
terrorist proxies. Today, I am offering an amendment to this 
legislation that will address the actions of the IRGC. This amendment 
enjoyed bipartisan support last Congress with 8 bipartisan cosponsors 
in the Senate and more than 220 cosponsors in the House. This amendment 
is entitled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Economic Exclusion 
Act, and it will take steps to increase economic pressure on the 
aggressive actions taken by Iran and executed by the IRGC.
  The bill will impose additional sanctions on the IRGC by lowering the 
threshold to sanction entities supporting these activities. That means 
the front companies that are bankrolling the IRGC's attacks against our 
allies can now be sanctioned, effectively cutting off their cash flow. 
In addition, it penalizes any other person or company that supports the 
IRGC, including a complete ban on transactions with U.S. businesses or 
individuals.
  Of course, in order to sanction any entity, we first have to know 
that they are associated with the IRGC. This bill would require that 
entities for which there is a reasonable basis to believe IRGC owns at 
least 33 percent be reported and included. It also requires a report 
analyzing foreign and domestic supply chains that in some way support 
or aid the IRGC and its activities.
  I hope my colleagues will support this amendment, which takes a 
strong stand against Iran, the No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism, and 
its military arm, the IRGC. This group has supported the genocidal 
Assad regime and has the blood of countless innocent civilians on its 
hands.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, I am very happy to be joined by my 
colleague from New Hampshire, Senator Hassan. I ask unanimous consent 
that she be recognized to speak at the conclusion of my remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, we are here to talk about the risks 
to our New England coastal communities from the climate changes coming 
our way.
  Despite the really dirty efforts of the fossil fuel industry to keep 
the truth at bay, the tide of public understanding is turning. A recent 
survey by Yale and George Mason Universities found that 73 percent of 
Americans now see global warming happening. That number is up 10 
percentage points since 2015. Similarly, the percentage of Americans 
who consider global warming an important issue rose from 63 percent to 
72 percent in the past 10 years. In just the past year, the number of 
Americans who say they are worried about global warming jumped from 61 
to 69 percent. One author of this research explained the results to the 
New York Times this way:

       People are beginning to understand that climate change is 
     here in the United States, here in my state, in my community, 
     affecting the people and places I care about, and now. This 
     isn't happening in 50 years, 100 years from now.

  Dr. Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University echoed these 
sentiments, saying: ``Today, nearly everyone can point to a way that 
they are personally witnessing and are being personally affected by the 
impacts of a changing climate in the places where they live.''
  Perhaps nowhere is this more true than along our coasts, where 
manmade climate change is already flooding towns, driving fisheries 
away from traditional fishing grounds, and bringing ashore stronger 
storms riding on higher seas.
  Last Tuesday, I picked up my home State paper, the Providence 
Journal, and I saw this headline splashed across the front page 
regarding climate change: ``Washed Away. . . . Home values lost to 
rising sea levels.''
  This is a study I have mentioned before. It was done by the First 
Street Foundation and researchers at Columbia University and looks at 
what escalating flood risk is doing to coastal housing markets. That 
study started in Florida--peer-reviewed work in Florida--and they took 
that methodology and have been working their way up the gulf coast and 
the New England coast since then. They just reached my State and 
Senator Hassan's State, and the report is not pleasant. They found that 
Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island lost a total of 
$403 million in expected property value between 2005 and 2017 due to 
increased tidal flooding risks. Just between 2005 and 2017, Rhode 
Island coastal properties lost nearly $45 million in expected value. 
The study called out these particular properties in Warren, RI, that 
lost over one-third of their value during that timeframe. Rhode 
Islanders in the town of Warwick lost over $4 million in home values 
due to the threat of climate change-driven sea level rise.
  Several studies warned how climate change will affect coastal 
property values. The First Street Foundation study is the first to 
demonstrate value loss that has already occurred, as the study itself 
says. A Columbia University researcher who worked on the First Street 
study said this:

       Each time we analyze a new state we see the same 
     phenomenon. Increased tidal flooding leads to a loss in home 
     value appreciation. As sea level rise accelerates, we expect 
     the corresponding loss in relative home value to accelerate 
     as well.

  That hits home indeed. The latest scientific evidence shows sea 
levels rising at a faster pace than expected. NOAA data shows that 
Greenland lost around 280 billion tons of ice per year from 2002 to 
2016. A National Geographic article covering this study noted: ``The 
Greenland ice sheet is 10,000 feet thick in places and contains enough 
ice to raise sea levels 23 feet.''
  Another study shows that the Antarctic ice sheet has lost around 252 
billion tons of ice per year over the last 10 years. Again, according 
to National Geographic, full melting of the Antarctic ice sheet could 
mean nearly 187 feet of sea level rise.
  In Rhode Island, our Coastal Resources Management Council has been a 
longtime leader in modeling flooding and sea level rise risks for Rhode 
Island's coastal businesses, communities, and decision makers. Earlier 
this month, CRMC partnered with the University of Rhode Island to 
release a series of highly detailed risk maps for several coastal Rhode 
Island towns.

[[Page S735]]

These maps provide a damage assessment for individual structures due to 
flooding and storm waves for homes and businesses and critical 
infrastructure, like the Warren wastewater treatment plant, which is 
right there on the coast of Warren, RI; the facility will be almost 
totally wiped out. CRMC's maps turn these general risks facing our 
communities from a hazy sketch to a vivid, living-color, 3-D picture, 
and that picture is grim for these coastal communities.
  Rhode Island officials are currently preparing for a worst case 
scenario of more than 9 feet of sea level rise overtaking our 400 miles 
of coastline by the end of the century. This map is from Rhode Island's 
CRMC's interactive STORMTOOLS application, which overlays the sea level 
rise projections over our current topography. The blue all through here 
is currently land that is flooded when 10 feet of sea level rise come. 
This extra little rim of green on some of the edges is when you push it 
up to 12 feet. As we see all of the blue here, think of homes and 
businesses and properties that are owned by people and that are going 
to literally disappear into the ocean if we don't pay attention. These 
are the homes and businesses of my constituents.
  A 2017 report from the real estate database company Zillow identified 
over 4,800 homes in Rhode Island, valued at near $3 billion, that would 
be underwater by 2100, using an optimistic estimate of only 6 feet of 
sea level rise.
  In this snapshot from Upper Narragansett Bay, you can see some of 
Rhode Island's larger coastal communities stranded as a scattered 
series of new islands, a Rhode Island archipelago. Today's map of Rhode 
Island--the map that we have known since our founding--will become 
unrecognizable as Warwick Neck here breaks off to become its own 
island, Newport south of this map splits, and Bristol through here 
comes apart.
  A recent report from Climate Central and Zillow looked at new homes 
being built in risky coastal areas--ones expected to suffer from annual 
floods by 2050 under a moderate greenhouse gas emissions model--and 
they show Rhode Island has seen more growth in risk areas than in safe 
areas. Obviously, if emissions don't meet these moderate goals, things 
are going to get a good deal worse, and well before water actually 
overtakes your home, well before the water is coming through the front 
door will come the economic effects of rising oceans, and they will be 
big.
  In 2017, GAO reported that coastal areas face particularly high 
financial risks and that annual coastal property losses from sea level 
rise and increased storms will run into the billions of dollars every 
year in the short run and over $50 billion every year by late century. 
EPA has estimated ``$5.0 trillion in economic costs to coastal property 
from climate change through 2100''--$5 trillion, and that is the Rhode 
Island part of that. The Union of Concerned Scientists reports that sea 
level rise will double the number of coastal communities facing what 
they call ``chronic inundation and possible retreat''--meaning you are 
out of there--by 2035.
  The market is awakening to these risks. Moody's evaluates municipal 
bonds. It has begun evaluating the bonds of coastal communities with an 
eye to this flooding risk. Banks, mortgagors, insurance companies, and 
appraisers are starting to incorporate these risks into their work for 
coastal properties.
  A recent issue of the Appraisal Institute's Valuation magazine quoted 
Rhode Island appraiser Brad Hevenor, warning that homes that receive a 
30-year mortgage this year ``might be completely different types of 
property [by the end of their mortgage] than they are today.'' Good 
luck getting a 30-year mortgage on a property that the bank believes 
will be ``completely different'' by the end of the mortgage.
  The coastal housing market is on the precipice of a dangerous 
financial cliff. First Street, Zillow, NOAA, GAO, EPA, Climate Central, 
the Union of Concerned Scientists, and others all make the same 
warning.
  Federal home mortgage giant Freddie Mac said it this way: ``The 
economic losses and social disruption may happen gradually, but they 
are likely to be greater in total than those experienced in the housing 
crisis and Great Recession.''
  The editor of the insurance industry trade publication Risk & 
Insurance said this: ``Continually rising seas will damage coastal 
residential and commercial property values to the point that property 
owners will flee those markets in droves, thus precipitating a mortgage 
value collapse that could equal or exceed the mortgage crisis that 
rocked the global economy in 2008.''
  These are serious warnings, and they are deadly serious warnings for 
our coastal States. Here in Congress, these warnings fall on deaf 
ears--ears plugged deaf by the fossil fuel industry's persistent 
mischief.
  We have to get serious about our duty to our constituents. Polling 
shows that millions of Americans want us to face up to this threat, to 
safeguard their coastal property, and to curb the carbon pollution that 
is distorting our Earth's climate and raising our Earth's oceans. It is 
seriously time for us to wake up.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. HASSAN. Madam President, I want to start by thanking my 
colleague, Senator Whitehouse from Rhode Island, not only for his 
remarks today but for his leadership on this issue. I rise today to 
join him in highlighting the toll climate change is taking on coastal 
communities throughout New England. Senator Whitehouse has been a 
fierce advocate, and he is dedicated to and continues to push our 
colleagues to address the dire reality of climate change. I am here to 
join him in that effort.
  In New Hampshire's Seacoast region, our State's beautiful coastline 
helps propel our economy forward, supporting industries such as tourism 
and commercial fishing and contributing to our high quality of life. 
Just as proximity to the ocean provides vital opportunities, our 
communities are finding that as climate change intensifies, these 
communities are increasingly at risk.
  As you can see from this photo that was taken last year in Rye, NH, 
stronger storms and rising sea levels are leading to increased flooding 
in our coastal areas. As Senator Whitehouse mentioned, our communities 
are already feeling the direct economic impacts of rising sea levels.
  According to the First Street Foundation and Columbia University, the 
increased risk of flooding and damage is hurting property values 
throughout New England. That report states that New Hampshire has 
already seen a $15 million loss in property value, particularly in 
areas such as Hampton, Exeter, Dover, and Portsmouth. Combined with the 
rest of the New England States, coastal properties have experienced 
approximately $400 million in property value losses just between 2005 
and 2017.
  The extent of those losses is just the beginning of the damage. The 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has estimated that New 
Hampshire's sea levels are expected to rise between 0.6 and 2 feet by 
2050 and between 1.6 and 6.6 feet by 2100. According to the Union of 
Concerned Scientists, rising seas could threaten more than 5,000 homes 
on the seacoast of New Hampshire by the end of the century.
  Our climate is changing. Sea levels are rising. This is undebatable. 
Climate change and sea level rise are not threats to some distant time 
in the future; these threats--this damage--are here. These threats are 
taking their toll now. The people of New Hampshire know this. We are 
witnessing climate change in our communities in real time as storms get 
more intense and the floodwaters go higher.
  It is our responsibility to help our communities adapt to these 
changes. This starts with focusing on planning for resiliency to help 
vulnerable communities prepare and on improving our infrastructure and 
developing strategies to help plan ahead for storms and extreme weather 
events.
  At the local level, Granite Staters on the seacoast are already being 
proactive on this front. Community members have formed advocacy groups, 
and local governments have focused on addressing these challenges head-
on and developing resilient strategies. We have to support their 
efforts.
  We also must do more. We need to redouble efforts to cut carbon 
emissions, conserve and protect our natural resources, and build a 
stronger, clean energy future. People are calling on us to

[[Page S736]]

act. Study after study has shown that as more Americans see the direct 
threats from climate change in their own communities and in the lives 
of their fellow citizens, they are becoming increasingly worried. It is 
time for us to start dealing with reality and to address their 
concerns.
  I will keep working to address climate change and to achieve a 
cleaner environment and stronger energy future that will help our 
citizens, our economy, and our businesses thrive. I urge my colleagues 
to join us in those efforts.
  Again, I thank Senator Whitehouse for being a leader in those 
efforts.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Tennessee.


                       Tribute to Charlie Daniel

  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, late in December, I announced that I 
would not be a candidate for reelection to the U.S. Senate in 2020, and 
that prompted this cartoon in the Knoxville News Sentinel by Charlie 
Daniel:

       He says his name is Alexander. He says he is going to walk 
     across the State. Wonder how far he will go.

  Here is some character wandering across the State in a red and black 
shirt, which is what I did 40 years ago when I walked across the State 
running for Governor.
  I would like to return the favor to Charlie Daniel because he 
announced last week that he is retiring from drawing cartoons in the 
Knoxville News Sentinel, which is a much more significant event than 
anything I might do because Charlie Daniel has been a fixture in 
Tennessee for a long time with his gentle skewering of politicians in 
the Knoxville newspapers.
  Charlie's cartoons have been the first things I have looked for in 
the Knoxville newspapers since the year I graduated from Maryville High 
School in 1958. That is when Charlie first began drawing for the 
Knoxville Journal.

  Charlie is a self-taught artist who says he has been drawing ever 
since he ``picked up a pencil.'' After a stint in the Marine Corps, 
Charlie studied political science at the University of North Carolina, 
and he started drawing for the school newspaper. He moved to Knoxville, 
where he started drawing at what was known as the Knoxville Journal in 
1958. That is when I first saw Charlie Daniel's cartoons. He worked at 
the Journal until it closed in 1992 and then moved to the Knoxville 
News Sentinel, where he has been ever since. Some of his main subjects 
for his cartoons have been sports, social causes, and, of course, 
politics.
  Over the years, Charlie has had plenty of opportunity to skewer me, 
and he has done it with vigor. Actually, it has been honest, usually 
gentle, and always effective. For example, as I was working on 
legislation, which became law this past year, to ban the use of cell 
phones on airplane flights, Charlie drew a cartoon characterizing cell 
phone yappers on long flights as the ``perfect hell,'' with the Devil 
asking why he didn't think of that.
  Charlie's drawings are well known not just in Tennessee but all 
across our country. In 2016, the National Cartoonists Society honored 
Charlie with a proclamation recognizing his career. He was inducted to 
the sixth class of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame last year, and 
the University of Tennessee library has a special collections 
department with more than 20,000 of these drawings. There are about a 
dozen that the University of Tennessee doesn't have because I have them 
in my office or in my home.
  Charlie's contributions have been recognized by Tennesseans for 
decades. Our former Governor, Bill Haslam, said: ``For as long as I can 
remember, Charlie has been making us laugh and think.'' Former Senate 
Majority Leader Howard Baker, Jr., also from Knoxville, as is Governor 
Haslam, said Charlie was ``the personification of civilized relevant 
political humor.'' Former Knoxville mayor and Ambassador to Poland, 
Victor Ashe, said: ``Charlie Daniel has been an icon and institution 
across the country.''
  East Tennesseans have been fortunate that Charlie and his family have 
called our region home. For over six decades, Charlie's drawings have 
been the first thing that I and many others have looked for in the 
newspaper, and it is going to be harder to start each day without the 
humor and the touch of Charlie Daniel.
  Thank you, Charlie. Congratulations to you on your retirement. I wish 
you and Patsy and your family the best on behalf of grateful 
Tennesseans.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. McSally). The majority leader.


                             Cloture Motion

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I send a cloture motion to the desk 
for Senate amendment No. 65.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The cloture motion having been presented under 
rule XXII, the Chair directs the clerk to read the motion.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the Senate 
     amendment No. 65 to Calendar No. 1, S. 1, a bill to make 
     improvements to certain defense and security assistance 
     provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to 
     Israel, to reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense 
     Cooperation Act of 2015, and to halt the wholesale slaughter 
     of the Syrian people, and for other purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, John Thune, Thom Tillis, John Cornyn, 
           Mike Crapo, Roy Blunt, Josh Hawley, Rick Scott, Deb 
           Fischer, David Perdue, Mike Rounds, John Barrasso, 
           Johnny Isakson, Cory Gardner, Dan Sullivan, Steve 
           Daines, Todd Young.

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