STRENGTHENING AMERICA'S SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ACT OF 2019-- Resumed; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 21
(Senate - February 04, 2019)

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[Pages S819-S830]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




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

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of S. 1, which the clerk will report.

[[Page S820]]

  The 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.

  Pending:

       McConnell amendment No. 65, 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.
       Menendez amendment No. 96 (to McConnell amendment No. 65), 
     to clarify that the amendment shall not be construed as a 
     declaration of war or an authorization of the use of military 
     force.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maine.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, notwithstanding the previous order, I ask 
unanimous consent to speak as in morning business in order to introduce 
two bills.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Ms. Collins and Ms. Hassan pertaining to the 
introduction of S. 321 and S. 322 are printed in today's Record under 
``Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions.''
  Ms. COLLINS. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.


                               INF Treaty

  Mrs. FISCHER. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the Trump 
administration's decision to suspend compliance with the Intermediate-
Range Nuclear Forces--or, the INF--Treaty and begin the process of 
withdrawing from this accord.
  Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty banned all ground-launched cruise and 
ballistic missile systems with intermediate ranges between 300 and 
3,400 miles. This landmark agreement led to the destruction of 
approximately 800 U.S. and 1,800 Soviet ground-launched missiles, along 
with their supporting equipment.
  This is an issue I have been following closely since I joined the 
U.S. Senate in 2013. While concerns about Russia's compliance with the 
INF Treaty began long before then, 2013 was the first year U.S. 
officials formally raised the issue with their Russian counterparts. 
The following year, the Obama administration declared Russia to be in 
violation of the treaty and accused Russia of possessing an 
intermediate-range, ground-launched cruise missile.
  After affirming Russia's violation of its INF obligations, the Obama 
administration continued to raise Russia's noncompliance at numerous 
bilateral and multilateral diplomatic engagements. In 2016, the Obama 
administration also resurrected the Special Verification Commission, a 
mechanism set up under the treaty to resolve compliance issues, which 
had not held a meeting since the year 2000. The Trump administration 
continued to exert diplomatic pressure on Russia, raising this issue at 
all levels of the Russian Government. Additionally, this administration 
began treaty-compliant research and development work on conventional, 
ground-launched missile systems to demonstrate to Russia that the 
United States would pursue additional military capabilities if Russia 
persisted in producing these illegal systems.
  To further impose costs on Russia for its behavior, the 
administration sanctioned Russian companies involved in the development 
of the illegal missile system in December of 2017. Diplomatic 
engagement continued in 2018, and, despite multiple ultimatums, Russia 
continues to deny its violation of the treaty.
  The United States has led a sustained, deliberate effort to 
methodically increase pressure on Russia, which has had every 
opportunity to return to compliance, but instead it continues to 
produce and deploy illegal systems in greater and greater numbers. Just 
last week, reports surfaced, alleging Russia has deployed another 
battalion equipped with the banned missile system. Instead of moving to 
correct its violation, Russia is going in the opposite direction. The 
evidence is clear, Russia has no intention of returning to compliance, 
and the United States cannot remain party to an agreement that amounts 
to a unilateral limitation on our Nation. It would certainly have been 
easier to ignore this issue and let another year pass with U.S. 
diplomats renewing their appeals while Russia builds more illegal 
weapons. However, this administration understood that maintaining U.S. 
compliance in order to prop up the illusion of an effective arms 
control agreement does not make our Nation safer. I applaud the Trump 
administration for making the tough but correct decision to withdraw.
  The administration also deserves credit for its coordination with our 
NATO allies on this topic. A statement released by NATO last Friday 
expressed solidarity with the U.S. position, and NATO Secretary General 
Jens Stoltenberg stated:

       All allies agree with the United States, because Russia has 
     violated the treaty for several years. They are deploying 
     more and more of the new nuclear capable missiles in Europe.

  Let me repeat this point. As NATO has expressed solidarity with the 
U.S. position to withdraw from the INF treaty, our allies support us. 
Our NATO allies understand the Russian threat increase due to their 
treaty violation because they are at the most risk.
  Some want to use this issue as an opportunity to debate the 
temperament of this administration and paint its decision to withdraw 
as a symptom of its contempt for arms control treaties. Others say the 
decision is motivated by China, as though Russia's violation and the 
deployment of a new nuclear-capable weapons system designed to hold our 
allies and our forces in Europe at risk is not relevant or is a 
secondary consideration, at best. Others have even gone so far as to 
argue that the decision to withdraw benefits Russia by liberating them 
from the limitations of the treaty. This is a deeply misguided view 
that overlooks the fact that Russia is already ignoring the treaty's 
limitations.
  Let's be absolutely clear about what Russia wants. Russia wants the 
United States to stay in the treaty and maintain the status quo because 
it benefits them. They are building banned weapons systems while we are 
not. Their diplomats have sustained a campaign of denial and deception 
in order to put pressure on the United States to remain in this treaty. 
The notion that leaving the treaty is a windfall for Russia is a 
mistaken one.
  Those who oppose the administration's decision must answer one basic 
question: How does remaining part of an agreement that Russia has 
already walked away from enhance U.S. security?
  The answer is simple. It doesn't. The administration is right to 
leave the agreement, and responsibility for the failure of the INF 
Treaty lies squarely with Russia. The United States must now take 
additional steps to ensure that Russia derives no military advantage 
from its blatant violation of this accord.
  Last year, the administration proposed developing a sea-launched 
cruise missile to ensure that our Nation has credible options to deter 
Russia's expanding arsenal of nonstrategic nuclear weapons. This effort 
must go forward, but it is years away from delivering such capability. 
Existing research and development efforts into ground-launched systems 
should be accelerated as part of a near-term response to Russia's 
actions.
  Some will surely criticize these steps as an arms race and ridicule 
them as a symptom of outmoded ``Cold War'' thinking. Indeed, there are 
people who would prefer that we do nothing. I think that is dangerous. 
We must impose costs on Russia for its violation and create incentives 
for Russia to halt its destabilizing behavior. Again, they are building 
banned weapons systems. We are not. For years, we have used diplomatic 
appeals and sanctions to encourage Russia to stop production of these 
systems and to return to compliance. Yet they continue to blatantly 
violate the accord. Clearly, a firmer approach is needed.
  Developing additional military capabilities in response to Russia's 
actions demonstrates to Russia that its pursuit of illegal systems will 
only result in a more lethal and a more capable U.S. military. In this 
way, we clearly indicate to Russia that violating treaties and building 
illegal weapons will ultimately harm its own national security 
interests. If we fail to respond sufficiently, Russia is likely to 
conclude

[[Page S821]]

that it can break treaties and favorably affect the balance of military 
power in the European theater at a modest cost. This will only 
encourage additional misbehavior, which could put the broader 
nonproliferation regime at risk.
  The Trump administration's decision to withdraw is not the end of 
this process. The more important question is what comes next. Congress 
and the administration must ensure that the consequences of Russia's 
cheating outweigh any benefits it has obtained by violating this 
treaty.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Ernst). The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, I would like to begin by expressing my 
appreciation to the Senator from Nebraska for her comments on the INF 
Treaty that President Trump has withdrawn the United States from. There 
wasn't much of a treaty left, really, after Russia repeatedly violated 
it, and China is not even bound by it. It is very important, when we 
are talking about these issues, that we understand the facts and the 
state of the world as it is.
  I read a recent summary by the RAND Corporation of their analysis of 
Russia and China. They called Russia a rogue, not a peer, and China a 
peer, not a rogue. There is a lot behind that, but I think it really is 
true that the only way we are going to deter the Russians is by 
maintaining our strength. The way we do that is by doing what is 
necessary to protect the United States and our allies. In this case, 
that means taking a treaty that has already been violated by the 
Russians and no longer bounds China and building the appropriate 
missiles to deter anybody from taking advantage of any perceived 
weakness in the United States, insofar as it comes to protecting 
ourselves or our allies.
  I would like to express my appreciation for those comments and 
support them.


                          Honoring Donna Doss

  Madam President, it is with a heavy heart that I come to the Senate 
floor this morning to express my deepest condolences for the friends, 
family, and colleagues of U.S. Border Patrol agent Donna Doss, who was 
killed in the line of duty this last weekend.
  On Saturday, February 2, Agent Doss responded to a call for 
assistance from a Texas Department Public Safety trooper on Interstate 
Highway 20, near Abilene, TX. While on the scene, she was struck by a 
passing vehicle and died shortly thereafter of her injuries.
  During her more than 15 years of dedicated service, Agent Doss has 
made immeasurable contributions to public safety, both in Texas and 
beyond. Her career with the Border Patrol began at the Brackettville 
Station in the Del Rio Sector, where she worked to disrupt and 
dismantle several of our narcotic organizations as a Drug Enforcement 
Administration task force officer.
  Her career then led her to Washington State, where she led the 
Criminal Alien Prosecutions Unit for the Spokane Sector.
  Then, in 2011, Agent Doss made her way back to Texas to serve in the 
Laredo Sector, first, as supervisory Border Patrol agent and, later, as 
operations officer.
  Since March of 2017, she served as resident agent in Abilene, where 
she was responsible for all of the enforcement operations across eight 
counties.
  In addition to leading a distinguished career, Agent Doss was a 
loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother. Her loss is another 
solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers 
and their families make every day. We are grateful to all of those who 
put their lives on the line when they put on their uniform every 
morning, ready to face the unknown challenges that lie ahead. I am 
particularly grateful to the men and women in green who make up our 
Nation's Border Patrol, like Agent Doss.
  I want to thank Agent Doss' family for her selfless service and 
sacrifice, and I send my heartfelt condolences to Agent Doss' family, 
friends, Acting Sector Chief Matthew Hudak, the agents of the Border 
Patrol Del Rio Sector, where she honorably served, and the entire 
Border Patrol family during this difficult time.


                                  S. 1

  Madam President, in a moment we will hold a cloture vote on the 
strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act and soon have 
an opportunity to pass this legislation, which has been balled up for 
some time because of the intervening shutdown. Importantly, it 
reaffirms our longstanding commitment to the stability in the Middle 
East. This vote has been a long time in coming. The four bills that 
comprise this legislation enjoyed bipartisan support last year, but we 
ran out of time before we could get them passed.
  Exactly 1 month ago today, as we were kicking off this new Congress, 
the majority leader announced his intent to package these four 
noncontroversial bills together and bring them to the floor. Here we 
are a month later, and this is how noncontroversial things get handled 
in these strange times we live in. For weeks, our Democratic colleagues 
have blocked us from voting on this legislation, not because they 
disagreed with the contents but because they claimed no work should be 
done during a governmental shutdown, even though 75 percent of the 
government was up and running and funded, including the legislative 
branch, of which Congress is a part.
  They used this as an excuse to showboat and to not do their job. Of 
course, something changed when they saw an opportunity to take a vote 
on an entirely political matter involving Russia. All of a sudden, they 
decided it was OK to do other things during the shutdown as long as it 
had the potential to embarrass our political adversaries, including 
President Trump. Nevertheless, I am glad that today we will finally be 
able to vote on this bill.
  In the face of the ongoing troubles in the Middle East, it is 
important to reaffirm our commitment to our allies and condemn the 
brutalities of our enemies. While this legislation is far from the 
comprehensive solution to the challenges faced in the Middle East, it 
is important to take steps in the right direction where we can.
  First, this bill strengthens our relationship with Israel, the lone 
democracy in the region. Israel faces near-constant attacks from Iran, 
Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist groups. To ensure that 
Israel is poised not only to withstand but to counter threats from 
these shared adversaries, this bill authorizes needed military 
assistance, including things like missile defense and loan guarantees.
  It also includes measures to enhance Israel's ability to address 
threats in its vicinity, like drones, which are increasingly used by 
Iran, which is bent on the destruction of the State of Israel. This is 
a major step to ensure that the nation of Israel is poised to tackle 
both the threats of today and tomorrow.
  Secondly, this bill provides support to Jordan by reauthorizing 
legislation to deepen our defense cooperation. Jordan has borne the 
brunt of much of the upheaval in the Syrian civil war, with many 
refugees calling Jordan their home temporarily because they are 
displaced from their home country. Jordan continues to face grave 
challenges posed by the chaos in Syria, and our assistance is 
desperately needed.
  As I said, Jordan has absorbed a disproportionate number of refugees 
who have been escaping the Syrian civil war. Some 740,000 refugees are 
currently in the relatively small country, making it the second highest 
refugee host per capita in the world. The impact of the Syria crisis is 
immense, and our assistance with humanitarian relief is critical.
  Third, this legislation provides flexibility for State and local 
governments that disagree with the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions, or 
BDS, movement. This movement is designed to isolate Israel, both 
economically and politically, by encouraging governments and 
businesses, including academic institutions, to cut ties with the 
Jewish state.
  At least 34 States, including mine--the State of Texas--have already 
enacted legislation to combat BDS. This legislation doesn't require 
States to take any sort of particular stance. It simply clarifies the 
right to counter boycotts of Israel without fear that they are somehow 
in jeopardy of Federal law.
  Finally, this bill takes steps to address the ongoing crisis in Syria 
at large. It holds accountable those responsible for the crisis in 
Syria by imposing new sanctions on anyone who supports Syria either 
financially or

[[Page S822]]

militarily, specifically targeting military aviation, 
telecommunications, and energy industries. It also provides needed aid 
to impacted communities and condemns the heinous human rights 
violations of the Assad regime.
  In addition to these four pillars of this legislation, I am glad we 
have the opportunity to vote this afternoon on an amendment to affirm 
that American leadership is needed in our ongoing fight in Syria and 
Afghanistan. We simply cannot afford to leave a vacuum in places where 
terrorists flood when they take advantage of the chaos and the upheaval 
in the Syrian civil war. These are places where they can lodge, grow, 
and train and then export their terrorist attacks, not only around the 
region but, as we saw 9/11, even around the world.
  There is no doubt that we made great progress on our fight against 
ISIS and al-Qaida, but as the majority leader noted when he offered 
this amendment last week that ``our response to this progress must not 
be to take our foot off the gas pedal, but rather to keep up those 
strategies that are working.''
  One of our colleagues, the Senator from Florida, Mr. Rubio, said that 
terrorism is like a tumor. It is like a cancer. You can try to 
eliminate it, but if you are unsuccessful in eliminating it, even 
though you have shrunk it, it will come back as soon as you remove the 
pressure. Though we made incredible gains in the fight to eradicate 
these terrorist groups, the threat has not been entirely eliminated, 
and our job may never be finished. This is what some people have called 
the ``long war.'' Sadly, it is necessary in order to keep ourselves 
safe, as well as our allies.
  Fully defeating these groups and the radical ideology will require 
our continued commitment. We simply can't unremember the lessons of 9/
11, which are that things that happen overseas don't stay overseas and 
that when you have power vacuums or safe havens for terrorist 
organizations to exploit, that endangers not only people in the region 
but also us here at home. We cannot allow a resurgence of ISIS or al-
Qaida and somehow let the gains we have fought so hard to make slip 
through our fingers.
  During a time of ongoing instability in the Middle East, it is 
imperative that our allies remain confident in our commitment and our 
partnership and stand ready to continue to fight for our shared 
interests.
  As I indicated, this bill will not solve all the problems in the 
Middle East. It will not provide justice for innocent civilians killed 
by the Assad regime or rebuild the communities destroyed at the hands 
of terrorist groups. But it is an important step to ensure our allies 
are prepared to fight alongside us and defend our shared national 
security interests.
  This legislation will support and protect our allies, safeguard U.S. 
interests in the Middle East, and take a stand against the despicable 
human rights violations committed by the Assad regime. I look forward 
to supporting the majority leader's amendment this afternoon and voting 
yes on this legislation when that opportunity arises.
  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. LEE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


              Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

  Mr. LEE. Madam President, on the morning of April 5, 1977, a 17-year-
old girl--scared, alone, and 7\1/2\ months pregnant--set foot inside of 
a Los Angeles abortion clinic. She had been advised to get a saline 
abortion--a procedure in which an injected saline solution burns a baby 
inside the womb, who is then delivered dead 24 hours later. So she 
signed some papers, received the injection, and then waited for the 
poison to run its course.
  But the child, little Gianna Jessen, had other ideas. Triumphantly, 
defiantly, and against all odds, Gianna Jessen entered this world after 
her own abortion. She was delivered--alive--in that same abortion 
clinic on April 6. She should have been burned. She should have been 
blind. She should have been dead. Yet, at 2\1/2\ pounds, little Gianna 
Jessen was very much alive, albeit suffering the effects of the saline 
solution, which was intended to be lethal.
  The nurse could have left her to die that day, but mercifully she 
instead decided to call an ambulance. Little Gianna was transferred to 
the hospital, and her life was saved. This was indeed an act of mercy. 
Even more importantly, it was just the beginning of Gianna's story, 
comprising only the first chapter of her amazing life. The saline 
solution that had been injected to take her life did not have its 
intended effect, but it starved her brain of oxygen, so she was born 
with cerebral palsy, which left her with physical and cognitive 
disabilities.
  Doctors said that this child, who was not supposed to live in the 
first place, would also never be able to lift her head, let alone walk. 
Yet, here again, Gianna beat the odds. With the help of a loving 
adoptive mother, a walker, and some leg braces, she was walking by the 
time she was 3 years old. By the time she was just 14 years old, she 
was speaking to audiences about her extraordinary birth and the 
exceptional life it made possible.
  Since then, Gianna has literally run marathons and trained to climb 
mountains. For years, she has traveled around the country and, in fact, 
around the world speaking and marching, limping one step at a time, for 
the unborn children who cannot.
  Her accomplishments, especially in light of her disabilities, are 
breathtaking. Yet, because of those disabilities, she was exactly the 
kind of baby some would say should have been allowed to die after a 
botched abortion, exactly the kind of baby some might dismissively 
characterize as a ``burden'' on society.
  Gianna Jessen's life shows that she is quite the opposite of a burden 
on all of those who have the good fortune to know her. As she puts it, 
she has been blessed with the ``tremendous gift'' of cerebral palsy. 
She adds, ``I have more joy than I can ever articulate because of the 
obstacles I have overcome.'' But perhaps that is her truest and 
greatest achievement, for Gianna lives with a deep, authentic, and 
contagious joy that she spreads wherever she goes. To listen to her, to 
talk to her, to know her is truly to know the joy of life--a woman 
fully alive indeed.
  It is good that Gianna Jessen exists--very good. Good for her and 
good for all of us. Her life is not defined by what she can do. It is 
not defined but what she cannot do or by whether she was originally 
wanted. Her life is unrepeatable, irreplaceable, and of infinite and 
immeasurable worth. She has made an indelible mark on the entire world, 
as only she could.
  Today, we have a chance to stand up and defend the truth that 
Gianna's life is, in fact, worthwhile, that all babies' lives are 
valuable and worth living, just like Gianna's. Women, like Gianna's 
birth mother, deserve better than what many in our society have told 
them. They deserve to be protected right alongside their babies.
  Pro-life Americans like me believe that children like Gianna should 
be protected within the womb. Both the essential moral principle of 
human dignity and the undisputed scientific facts of human biology 
insist on this very point. But the bill I am here to discuss today does 
not. This bill, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, takes 
no position on abortion or on the rights of the unborn child. It simply 
says that in this country, when a child is born, even if by accident, 
even in the most dangerous place in the world for an infant--that is, a 
Planned Parenthood clinic--he or she becomes a citizen of the United 
States under our Constitution and is entitled to the full protection of 
our laws.
  Boy or girl, Black or White, rich or poor, each deserves--
paraphrasing the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln--an unfettered start 
and a fair chance in the race of life. This is the essence of what it 
means to have rights and to be entitled to the equal protection of our 
laws. Among our inalienable rights is the right to ``life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness''--a concept that clearly encompasses the 
right not to be murdered. This bill will simply reaffirm that such 
fundamental rights extend not simply to the rich and the powerful but 
even to the furthest margins of our society and even to the

[[Page S823]]

most vulnerable and newest citizens of our great Nation.
  This legislation should not be controversial. In fact, if you think 
about it, what is more remarkable here is the fact that outlawing the 
murder of the innocent--in the first moments of life, no less--is even 
controversial among many Members of this body. Those objecting to this 
legislation, including the political media covering up the scandal, 
will say otherwise, but we know the truth, and so do they.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Madam President, last week, Governor Northam of Virginia 
gave chilling remarks that defended a law legalizing abortion to the 
point of birth--and even after. In fact, these were Governor Northam's 
exact words:

       If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would 
     happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be 
     kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's 
     what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion 
     would ensue between the physicians and the mother.

  I was asked by many what I thought about those words. The word 
``evil'' comes to mind. ``Chilling.''
  On January 23, my wife Cindy and I celebrated the birth of our first 
grandchild. Little Emma Rae Daines was born in Denver. She was about 10 
days early. Her due date, in fact, was Groundhog Day. She is doing 
wonderfully--a healthy, beautiful granddaughter, our first grandchild.
  When I think about what the Governor said, I can't help but think 
about looking at the pictures we receive. I think on darn near an 
hourly basis, we are getting new pictures of our new, beautiful, little 
granddaughter. But these comments the Governor made pull back the 
curtain on an extreme and dangerous abortion agenda that shows callous 
disregard for human life.
  What the Virginia Governor is defending and what these ghoulish 
abortion-up-to-birth laws enable is the free rein of brutal killers 
like Kermit Gosnell. Babies who survive the violence of an attempted 
abortion must not be subject to further violence or neglect, and that 
is why we are here this afternoon.
  Soon, Senator Sasse will be offering his legislation, the Born-Alive 
Abortion Survivors Protection Act. What Senator Sasse is proposing is 
that it would be a Federal law that born alive--let me say that again 
on the floor of the U.S. Senate--what this law says is that born-alive 
babies who survive an abortion must be treated the same as every other 
living baby--with dignity.
  As a nation, how is it that we can go to the OB-GYN, the delivery 
section of our hospitals, and see the NICU areas where they are doing 
all they can to save the lives of these preemies, and yet we are going 
to hear--I think our colleagues across the aisle are going to object to 
this law that would protect a baby who is born alive.
  If we can't agree on something so fundamental--that babies born alive 
deserve the right to life--I fear deeply for the direction that some 
are taking our country. I implore my colleagues on the other side of 
the aisle not to block legislation that would bring much needed 
protections for the most vulnerable among us.
  I found it interesting that at the March for Life, one of the best 
tweets I saw that day was by someone who, in essence, said: It is the 
only march in America where those who are showing up to march are not 
marching for their rights; they are marching on behalf of those who 
don't have a voice. That is worth standing up for on the floor of the 
Senate today. Every human life must be valued. Every human life must be 
protected from conception until death.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.


                           College Financing

  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, a college graduate who pays more than 
$1,000 a month on student loans recently wrote the New York Times, ``I 
was told to chase down a bachelor's degree by any means necessary. But 
no one mentions just how expensive and soul-crushing the debt will 
be.''
  The United States, our country, has most of the best colleges in the 
world, but we also have the most graduates paying off college debt. 
Roughly 40 million borrowers owe $1.5 trillion in collective student 
loan debt.
  The questions I hear most often about college are, No. 1, can I 
afford it? No. 2, is it worth it? And No. 3, can you make applying for 
financial aid and repaying student loans simpler? And from 
administrators, as well, I hear: Can't you do something about the 
jungle of red tape that makes it so hard to apply for Federal financial 
aid, to pay back student loans and that wastes money on overhead that 
ought to be spent on students?
  Today, I addressed a group at the American Enterprise Institute, and 
I made three proposals to help make the answer to all four of those 
questions a yes. I want to briefly discuss those proposals today and 
other work that is going on in the Senate Education Committee, which I 
chair, and on which Senator Murray is the senior Democrat from the 
State of Washington. I will discuss what we are doing to answer those 
questions. Then I will ask at the appropriate time to submit most of my 
remarks at the American Enterprise Institute into the Record.
  My first proposal was to simplify the FAFSA.
  I ask unanimous consent to use a piece of demonstrative evidence in 
my speech.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Thank you.
  This is a FAFSA. You may say that nobody knows what that is. Well, 20 
million American families know what this is because 20 million American 
families fill this out every single year.
  If you want a Federal loan to help you go to college or if you want a 
Pell grant that you don't have to pay back--60 percent of the 20 
million students who go to college receive a Federal loan or grant--to 
do that they first must fill out this Federal student aid application 
form.
  In our first hearing on this subject in 2013--I can remember it as if 
it were yesterday--we had four excellent witnesses who came from 
different parts of the country, with different directions. They weren't 
all singing the same song. One of them was Kim Cook from the National 
College Access Network. She said that simplifying the FAFSA would 
encourage as many as 2 million more Americans to go to college and make 
it more affordable for them.
  In our State of Tennessee, we became the first--thanks to the 
leadership of Governor Bill Haslam in our State legislature--to make 2 
years of college tuition-free for high school graduates and now for 
adults as well. But in order to get the money from the State to make 
your tuition free, you first have to fill out this FAFSA. Those who 
help students file FAFSA at the community colleges and in the high 
schools tell me that it is the single biggest impediment for low-income 
Tennesseans to have a chance to go to college.
  The President of Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis 
told me that he thinks he loses 1,500 students a semester because the 
families say to him: Well, we don't know how to fill this out. We are 
uncomfortable with the information. We have already given the same 
information to the Internal Revenue Service, so why should we give the 
same information to two governmental Agencies?
  Here we have an opportunity in our State for every single student who 
wants to have 2 years tuition-free, and this form is the biggest 
impediment. From what I can remember of the testimony in 2013--and 
Senator Bennet of Colorado and I really came to the same conclusion--
all four witnesses said that these 108 questions are unnecessary. They 
also agreed that they could probably be reduced to two questions. Ms. 
Cook said that if that were done, as many as 2 million more students 
would apply for student aid.
  So Senator Bennet and I went to work. We worked with counselors in 
high schools. We worked with college aid specialists. We worked in a 
bipartisan way, and we came to a conclusion that we could reduce the 
amount of questions from 108 to between 15 and 25.
  Senator Bennet is now on the Finance Committee and not on our 
education committee, but he stays very involved. Soon Senator Bennet 
with Senator Doug Jones of Alabama, Senator Susan Collins, and I, are 
all going to introduce this legislation this year as one way of making 
college simpler and more affordable for students.

[[Page S824]]

  The second proposal that I hope to make and that I will talk about 
today is a new system of repaying loans. Today, there are nine 
different ways to repay student loans. Senators Burr and King, among 
others, have introduced legislation to make that simpler.

  Well, my proposal is to scrap the current system that has been called 
by Dr. Susan Dynarski a ``rigid archaic payment system that 
unnecessarily plunges millions into financial distress'' and reduce it 
to two new options. The first new option would be based on a student's 
income. If you were to get a student loan under this option--which is 
the option I think most students will take--you would never be required 
to pay back more than 10 percent of your discretionary income. Your 
payments each month would be deducted from your paycheck, and you would 
continue to make those payments until your loan was paid off.
  If you didn't make enough money to make your monthly payment, you 
would owe nothing, and if you would pay nothing, it would not reflect 
on your credit.
  Let me give you one example of how this income-based repayment system 
would work. Let's take Joe, who earns a bachelor's degree in 
engineering. He has an average loan for college graduates, which is 
$28,500. That is the average loan for an American graduate with a 4-
year degree. Joe makes about $60,000 in his new job as an engineer. 
That is what the Census Bureau says is the median starting salary for 
someone with an engineering degree.
  Joe is unmarried and has no children. Here is the way the repayment 
plan works for him. We deduct a portion of Joe's income that is needed 
for necessities under a government formula; that is, about $18,700. 
What is left we call his discretionary income; that is, $41,265. So Joe 
will pay no more than 10 percent of that $41,000, which is $4,127 to be 
exact, or $343 a month. That is Joe's payment on a student loan. Under 
this proposal, if Joe, the engineer, never gets a raise, he will pay 
back his loan in 9 years.
  There are other examples, which I will submit later for the Record, 
but here is one more example. For Maya, who earned a bachelor's degree 
in economics, the average salary for that degree is less, according to 
the Census Bureau--closer to $43,000. The same amount for living 
necessities and expenses is deducted. She will pay 10 percent of a 
lesser amount, which will be $202 a month, in her case. Now it takes a 
little longer to pay off her loan, but if she never gets a raise she 
will still be able to pay it off within 16 years.
  What if you can't pay off your loan? What if you don't make enough 
money to pay toward your loan? What if you drop out, and you owe money? 
Well, if you don't earn anything, you don't pay anything. And if it 
isn't paid off at the end of 20 years, your loan is forgiven under 
current laws, and we don't propose to change that.
  My new loan repayment system should make it possible for students to 
avoid nightmares about paying back their student loans. Since the money 
to repay the loan is deducted from the paycheck each month, it should 
make the taxpayer whole. Under my proposal I believe most students will 
choose the option I just described. But if they want to choose to pay 
their loan in 10-years--like a mortgage loan with a flat payment--they 
can still do that and they will pay their loan off a little faster. The 
money will be deducted from their paycheck too, and it will be paid off 
a little faster.
  The third proposal is a new accountability system for colleges based 
upon whether borrowers are actually repaying their student loans. This 
should encourage lower tuition for some programs or even discourage 
schools from offering programs that are not worth it to students.
  So all three of these proposals--simplifying the FAFSA application 
form from 108 questions down to 15 to 25, No. 1; No. 2, scrapping the 
current method of paying back student loans from this archaic system we 
have now and replacing it by giving the students the option of an 
income-based repayment program with monthly payments deducted from 
their paychecks that are never more than 10 percent of their 
discretionary income or keeping the 10-year mortgage style payment, if 
they prefer, with monthly payments deducted from their paychecks; and 
the third is a new accountability system based upon whether borrowers 
are actually repaying their loans.
  Now before I submit the rest of my speech for the Record, let me just 
mention the activity in our Senate education committee.
  During the last 4 years, we have held 27 hearings on the Higher 
Education Act, and there are a number of bipartisan proposals that have 
emerged from that.
  I mentioned the proposal by Senators Jones and Bennet and Collins and 
I to simplify the FAFSA.
  There is another proposal to simplify the FAFSA that Senator Murray 
and I passed in the Senate last year and that we plan to introduce this 
year. It allows a student, with one click, to answer 22 questions.
  Senators Burr and King have proposed ways to simplify loan repayment.
  Senators Murphy, Enzi, and Hassan are interested in expanding 
competency-based education programs. Professor Walter Russell Mead 
describes these programs as ``measuring whether a student is learning 
stuff instead of measuring how long he or she sits in their seat.'' In 
other words, if you show up and already know how to be a welder, you 
don't have to stay there just because of the Federal dollars it is 
giving out based on how long you sit in your seat.
  Senators Grassley and Smith have a bill that would require 
institutions to tell you exactly whether the money you are being 
awarded when you are admitted is a loan you have to pay back or is a 
grant you don't have to pay back. Financial aid letters are confusing 
for many students. Senators Cassidy and Warren have legislation about 
data. Senators Grassley and Smith have other legislation to counsel 
students about how much money they should borrow. Senators Murphy and 
Warren want to expand Pell grants to prisoners, which I think is a good 
idea. Senators Young and Hassan are interested in experimental sites. 
Senator Kaine and I have discussed allowing students to use their Pell 
grants to pay for shorter programs.
  In 2013, Senators Bennet, Burr, Mikulski, and I asked a distinguished 
group of college administrators to give us specific steps to simplify 
and to make more effective the thousands of pages of regulations that 
govern our 6,000 institutions. The result was the Kirwan-Zeppos report 
that gave us 59 grant recommendations to eliminate the jungle of red 
tape.
  In conclusion, this year, I have met with Senator Murray several 
times and with most of the members of our committee. We want to work on 
a broad piece of legislation that would update the Higher Education 
Act. Our goal would be to have it ready for the committee this spring 
so the Senate can consider it this summer. That schedule should permit 
a conference with the House of Representatives that would produce a 
Christmas present for 20 million families by the end of the year.
  Our Federal aid for students began with the GI bill for veterans in 
1944, when only about 5 percent of students attended college and had 
bachelor's degrees. Today 35 percent of students have bachelor's 
degrees, and 60 percent of our country's 20 million college students 
receive Federal aid--$28 billion in grants and $90 billion in new 
loans.
  It is time for us to update our Federal laws on higher education. My 
proposal is to simplify the FAFSA--to scrap the current system of 
repaying student loans with an income-based option, by which a student 
would never pay more than 10 percent of his discretionary income, and 
create a new accountability system that would apply to all colleges and 
all programs that would be based on whether students are actually 
repaying their loans, which would tend to discourage colleges from 
offering programs in which students couldn't earn enough to pay back 
their loans and could encourage lower tuition. All of those, along with 
the other proposals we have seen in our committee, should give the 
Senate plenty to work on.
  First, simplifying the FAFSA.
  The cumbersome FAFSA is one major impediment to low-income students 
who want to go to college.
  They and their parents are intimidated by the complexity, are wary of 
the government form, and don't see

[[Page S825]]

why they should have to give the Education Department information they 
have already given to the IRS.
  The former president of Southwest Community College in Memphis told 
me he believes that he loses 1,500 students each semester because of 
the complexity of the FAFSA.
  A woman who has mentored with Tennessee's free tuition program, the 
Tennessee Promise program, said the complex form has a ``chilling 
effect''--intimidating parents who may themselves never have attended 
college and have no experience navigating the process.
  And over and over families have asked me, ``I've already given most 
of this information to the federal government when I paid my taxes. Why 
do I have to do it again? Once is enough.''
  To make matters worse, there is a verification process that stops the 
payments of Pell Grants while the family scrambles to resubmit its tax 
information again and the government checks to make sure that the 
information is correct.
  I recently talked with another administrator from Southwest Community 
College who told me that over one third of the applicants who put down 
the school as an option on their FAFSA applications were selected for 
verification last fall.
  At a school where over 60 percent of students receive a Pell Grant, 
this is a huge burden for the low-income students who we want to fill 
out the FAFSA the most.
  This is happening across Tennessee--the President of East Tennessee 
State University told me one third of his students who receive federal 
financial aid were subjected to this verification procedure this year.
  I have two proposals to simplify the FAFSA:
  First, Senator Jones and I, along with Senators Bennet and Collins, 
are reintroducing legislation soon that would reduce the number of 
questions from 108 to 15-25 basic questions about students, their 
families, and their plans for college.
  We would keep providing the information that States and institutions 
use to calculate additional aid to prevent students and families from 
having to complete additional paperwork down the line.
  Senator Jones's and my legislation would allow students as young as 
middle school to easily learn about their likely Pell Grant awards with 
a phone app or a chart so they can begin to think about and plan for 
college.
  The second way to simplify the FAFSA is legislation the Senate passed 
last year and that Senator Murray and I plan to reintroduce this year, 
which would allow families to answer up to 22 FAFSA questions with just 
one click.
  It does this by ending the need for families to give the same 
information to two different federal departments--the Department of 
Education and the Internal Revenue Service.
  It would also:
  Simplify the burdensome application process for the 40 percent of 
applicants who do not file Federal income taxes but likely qualify for 
Pell Grants;
  Dramatically decrease the number of students whose aid is tangled up 
when they are selected to be verified; and
  Eliminate the $6 billion in mistakes that the Treasury Department 
estimates are made each year by awarding an applicant too much or too 
little aid.
  My second proposal, to help make federal loans more affordable once 
students graduate, will simplify the nine different ways to repay loans 
into two options.
  The current system is so complex that even college administrators 
struggle to navigate it.
  At a roundtable at the University of Tennessee--Martin, a Tennessee 
college president, told me it took him months to figure out how to help 
his daughter pay off her Federal student loans in full even with the 
money in hand.
  This proposal would streamline those nine plans into a new option 
that guarantees that borrowers would never have to pay more than 10 
percent of their income that is not needed for necessities.
  And if a borrower loses his job or does not make enough, he would not 
pay anything, and it would not hurt his credit score.
  The monthly payment would be automatically withheld from borrowers' 
paychecks, just like Federal taxes.
  I believe all students will want to take advantage of this simple and 
affordable new option, but if not, they will still be able to opt to 
pay on the existing 10-year loan repayment plan schedule, which, for 
many borrowers, will help them pay off their loans faster.
  Just like the new repayment plan, borrowers who wish to pay their 
loans off faster would have their payments automatically deducted from 
their paychecks.
  Let's talk about how the new income-based repayment plan would work:
  Joe earned his bachelor's degree in engineering.
  He has the average loan for college graduates of $28,500.
  He makes $60,000--that is what the Census Bureau says is the median 
starting salary for someone with an engineering degree.
  He is unmarried and has no children.
  So that year, we deduct the portion of his income that is needed for 
necessities--that is $18,735--and what is left is what we call his 
discretionary income--$41,265.
  He will pay ten percent of that $41,265 a year, which is $4,127--or 
$343 a month.
  Under this proposal, even if he never gets a raise, Joe will pay back 
his loan in 9 years.
  Now let's take Maya, who earned a bachelor's degree in economics.
  She also has the average loan of $28,500.
  Her starting salary is $43,000--the median starting salary for 
someone with a degree in economics, according to the Census Bureau.
  She is also unmarried and has no children.
  So, that year, we deduct the same thing for necessities--$18,735--and 
that leaves her discretionary income at $24,265.
  Maya will pay 10 percent of that $24,265 a year, which is $2,427, or 
$202 a month.
  Under this proposal, even if she never gets a raise, Maya will pay 
back her loan in 16 years.
  Stephanie earned her associate's degree from a local community 
college.
  She has $10,400 in student loan debt--the median amount a recent 
community college graduate would expect to have.
  Her starting salary is $39,000--the median salary for a 25-29-year-
old with an associate's degree.
  She is unmarried and has one child.
  So the portion of her income that is needed for necessities--
$25,365--is larger because it is supporting two people. That leaves her 
discretionary income at $13,635.
  Stephanie will pay 10 percent of that $13,635 a year, which is 
$1,364, or $114 a month.
  Under this proposal, Stephanie will pay back her loan in 10 years 
even if she never gets a raise.
  Finally, let's look at someone who isn't able to repay his loan.
  John went to community college for a year, took out $7,500 in student 
loans, but dropped out after his first year.
  He makes $20,000 a year.
  He is unmarried and has no children.
  So we deduct the portion of his income that is needed for 
necessities--$18,735--and that leaves his discretionary income at 
$1,265.
  John will pay 10 percent of that $1,265 a year, which is $127.
  Under this proposal, assuming he never gets a raise, John will have 
not repaid his loan in 20 years.
  In three out of these four examples, the borrowers were able to pay 
back their loans in 20 years.
  And if these students have reasonable salary increases, they would 
pay off their loans even sooner.
  But for those undergraduate students like John who never make enough 
to pay back their loans in 20 years, the amount that hasn't been paid 
after 20 years is forgiven under current law, and that seems like a 
policy we should keep.
   Under this new repayment system, students will have manageable 
payments and most will completely pay off their loans, which is good 
for the students and is good for the taxpayers.
  This new option should end the nightmare that many students have of 
never being able to afford their student loan payments.
  My third proposal is a new accountability system for colleges to make 
sure the degrees they offer are worth students' time and money.

[[Page S826]]

  This new accountability system would measure whether students are 
actually paying off their loans.
  The proposal would simplify and expand what the gainful employment 
rule--proposed in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education--tried to 
accomplish.
  What is different is it would apply to every program at every 
college--public, private, and for-profit--and the measure will be much 
simpler.
  For some programs, this should provide colleges with an incentive to 
lower tuition and help their students finish their degrees and find 
jobs so they can repay their loans.


                                Title IX

  There will be other good ideas, and some of them are difficult.
  One of these is a rule about campus safety.
  The U.S. Department of Education has proposed a rule addressing 
campus safety by clarifying what is required by title IX.
  I'm glad to see the Department is going through the rulemaking 
process, which allowed the public to submit comments.
  It is my belief that Congress can also address some of these issues, 
and I am committed to trying to do that.


                               Conclusion

  We have a committee with many different voices and diverse views, but 
we have been successful in bringing legislation with broad bipartisan 
support, including with a divided government, including fixing Federal 
student loans, the law fixing No Child Left Behind, the 21st Century 
Cures Act, and legislation to combat the opioid crisis.
  In my conversations with Democrat and Republican Senators, I have 
found a remarkable degree of bipartisan consensus about the directions 
we should take to make college affordable and make students' degrees 
worth their time and money.
  Of course, there will be differences of opinion, and if there are, we 
will resolve them the traditional way: by voting.
  And if we cannot agree on one thing, I would be willing to do, as our 
committee has in the past, which is to move forward on those important 
matters on which we can agree.
  There has never been a time when more Americans have agreed that 
education and training beyond high school is essential to a good life 
and a higher income.
  It is our responsibility to take whatever steps we can to help 
students afford college and make sure that the degrees they earn are 
worth the time and money they pay for them.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). The Senator from Kentucky is 
recognized.


                       Unanimous Consent Request

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I compliment President Trump on being bold 
enough and strong enough to do something no President has contemplated 
in decades, Republican or Democratic, and that is to end the war in 
Afghanistan.
  We have been there for 17 years. We voted on a resolution initially 
that said we would go after the people who attacked us on 9/11 and 
anyone who aided or abetted them. We did that. Today there is no one 
living who attacked us on 9/11 or who is free. There is no one living 
who aided or abetted the people who attacked us on 9/11. By any 
measurement, we are victorious. We killed bin Laden. We have disrupted 
the terror camps in Afghanistan. Is Afghanistan a mess? Sure, it is a 
mess. It has always been a mess and always will be a mess, but now our 
mission has changed to nation-building.
  I compliment President Trump for being bold and brave in saying 
enough is enough. Let's spend that money at home. We spend $51 billion 
a year in Afghanistan. That money could be spent at home. I have three 
members of my family who are in the military. I don't want them to go 
to Afghanistan. Every one of our political and military leaders--
Republican, Democratic, and Independent--will tell you there is no 
military mission in Afghanistan. Yet we stay. Some of the very same 
people who say we have no mission, in their next breaths say we need to 
send more troops there. We sent 100,000, and we completely had victory. 
Then they came back as our troops came down. Are we to send 100,000 and 
keep them there forever?
  This resolution is an insult to the President, and I will oppose it. 
This resolution has been put forward by Republicans, who say to 
President Trump: You are leaving precipitously from Afghanistan. How do 
you leave precipitously after 17 years? We are no longer fighting 
anyone who attacked us on 9/11. The people we are fighting were not 
even born when 9/11 happened. The war over there has nothing to do with 
9/11. It has to do with nation-building. I will tell you what one Navy 
SEAL, whom I met a year or two ago, told me. He said: We will go 
everywhere. We will kill our enemy. We will do what you ask of us, but 
the mistake is when you ask us to stay, plant the flag, and become 
policemen. They don't want to be policemen. Our military members do not 
want to be the policemen of the world.
  We fight when we have to, and we should come home. That money should 
be spent here at home. I completely and vigorously oppose this 
condemnation of the President. They say we are leaving precipitously. 
We have been there 17 years. The same people in the war caucus--and 
they are on both sides of the aisle--will also tell you, if you 
announce that you are leaving in 6 months, then you are telegraphing to 
the enemy that you are leaving. So they don't want us to leave 
precipitously, but they don't want us to leave in a planned way. They 
have left us no way to leave.
  People talk about bipartisanship. What is the one thing that brings 
Republicans and Democrats together? War. They love it--the more the 
better, forever war, perpetual war. We are spending $51 billion a year 
in Afghanistan. We spend it on luxury hotels that are half completed. 
The contractors have run off with the money. One of the hotels that 
sits across from our Embassy serves as a place for snipers to shoot at 
our soldiers. We have to now patrol this half-built hotel, and the guy 
who was building it ran off with the money. The government we supported 
for a decade--the Karzai government--grew more poppy than anybody in 
the world. The guy's brother was a drug dealer, and his other brother 
was a thief and ran off with the money. Is it any wonder that the 
Afghan people turn away from the government we have given them? It is 
time to declare victory and come home.
  This resolution, like so many resolutions, could be misinterpreted as 
being another affirmation that we stay forever. So I also support 
language that should be added to this resolution that says: Nothing in 
this resolution is to be construed as an authorization for war. Why? 
Because we had an authorization like this about Libya that didn't give 
power to the government to commit war. It passed on a Thursday evening, 
when many Members were traveling back to their States, and President 
Obama, at that time, used it and said: Oh, everybody is in favor of the 
new war in Libya, which also turned out to be a disaster.
  With regard to the troops in Syria, President Trump said: I will 
defeat ISIS, and we will come home. Now the people are changing the 
mission. They say: We have to stay there until the Russians leave. We 
have to stay there until the Iranians leave. They have been there a 
long time. They are not leaving. That means we stay there forever. We 
have 2,000 troops compared to tens of thousands of other troops, 
compared to a couple hundred thousand Turkish troops along the border. 
Do we really want to be involved in another enormous land war in the 
Middle East? To what end?

  The great irony of this is, the war caucus on both sides--Republicans 
and Democrats, those who will not ever let the soldiers come home--
typically vents its anger and says: The President has unlimited power, 
and how dare Congress get in his way with regard to war. Here is the 
irony. We now have a President who wants to use his power to come home, 
and they are stepping in and saying: Oh, no. We need to make sure he is 
consulting with Congress because we want to stay at war forever, and 
the President wants to bring troops home. So this is a resolution to 
condemn the President for trying to bring troops home for the first 
time in 17 years.
  What are we spending the money on--$51 billion a year? We have spent

[[Page S827]]

over $6 trillion between the Iraq war and the Afghan war--$6 trillion. 
The $51 billion a year we are spending in Afghanistan is being spent on 
a luxury hotel, and we have spent $45 billion on a gas station. I think 
we spent about $90 million on the hotel and $45 million on the gas 
station. Do you know what kind of gas they pump? Natural gas. How many 
people have a car in America that runs on natural gas? Virtually 
nobody. How many people in Afghanistan have a car that runs on natural 
gas? Zero. So we bought them some cars. Then they didn't have any 
money, so we gave them credit cards so they could use the gas pumps. I 
sent my staffers to see if the gas station even existed, but they 
couldn't get there because it was too dangerous. After 17 years, you 
can't travel more than a few blocks in Kabul except without helicopter 
warships and an escort of dozens of marines.
  It is completely a disaster. More poppy was grown there last year 
than in any recent year, and the people say: We shouldn't give up. All 
we have to do is send more soldiers. All we have to do is fight longer. 
When are they going to fight? They have 300,000 people in their army. 
When are they going to fight? If they want their homeland, stand up and 
fight for it. I am tired of America always doing everybody else's 
fighting. I am tired of America always paying for everybody else's war.
  People say: Oh, they might come and attack us. We should be prepared. 
We should have robust intelligence. We should know what is going on, 
and we should disrupt terrorist camps if we have to. Yet every person 
out there who believes in this radical Islam, in this radical jihad is 
not coming over here. Every misbegotten village in Africa is not a 
threat to the United States, and that is the debate we should be 
having.
  They say: It is in our national security interests. Really? To go to 
Niger to go to Mali? to be fighting in Somalia? to be fighting in 
Yemen? to be fighting in Afghanistan and in Iraq? That is not in our 
national interest.
  People say: We must fight them there or they will come here. Well, 
guess what. They have been coming here since 9/11. We have arrested 
over 300 terrorists in our country. It was only a year ago that a dozen 
people were killed in New York by a terrorist, so it is not as if they 
haven't been coming. In fact, we don't condone terrorists' reasons for 
coming, but if you look at their reasons for coming, they say it is 
because we are over there.
  So we are trapped by this platitude. This platitude is: We must fight 
them over there so they will not be over here. Well, they are over 
here, and when they tell you why they are over here, they say they are 
over here because we are over there. I am not saying we do nothing. I 
am not saying we don't have counterterrorism, but I will tell you that 
when in some remote village in Yemen we swoop in at night and kill 15 
people, including women and children, the surrounding neighborhood and 
countryside, for 100 years, will speak to an old tradition of the night 
the Americans came.
  Ultimately, Islam must police Islam. They are never going to accept 
Americans coming in and telling them how to live or how they should 
behave or getting rid of even the bad elements among them. They need to 
step up and do it.
  We have taken 99 percent of the land back from ISIS. That is not 
enough. People say there are still suicide bombers. Yes, there will be 
suicide bombers in the Middle East until the end of time. If we are 
waiting until there are no suicide bombers in the Middle East, we will 
wait forever. Can the people there do nothing to take care of 
themselves? Is there nobody there who can stop the 1 percent from 
coming back? Will people not step up and fight their own wars?
  We have given them trillions of dollars--the uniforms, the weapons. 
Everything has been ours. Every time we say we have to be involved, 
there are unintended consequences. In Syria, we gave arms to people who 
were radical extremists. We gave arms to people who were actually 
allied with al-Qaida. Some say there is no difference between al-Qaida 
and the people to whom we gave arms. At one point in time, it was said 
that ISIS had $1 billion worth of humvees that were from the United 
States. The arms that were coming out of Libya--and Hillary Clinton 
supported taking those arms into Libya--were going to the wrong people. 
We were taking them to one set of bad people and giving them to another 
set of bad people.
  Maybe, sometimes, there isn't a lesser of two evils. Maybe, 
sometimes, we have to be concerned about America. What I am saying with 
this resolution is I am for replacing it completely and saying to 
President Trump: We think we are doing a great job, and thank goodness 
for being bold enough to say it is time to start thinking about America 
first.
  I ask unanimous consent that we get rid of the resolution condemning 
the President and that we replace it with the resolution that simply 
says that we applaud President Trump for being bold and brave enough to 
consider bringing our troops home, declaring victory, and ending 
America's longest war.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Idaho is recognized.
  Mr. RISCH. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, first of 
all, I want to respond to a number of things said by my distinguished 
colleague from Kentucky.
  He makes a number of points that he has been making over the years 
that deserve serious consideration. I say this is something that 
deserves a debate. I agree with him that the President of the United 
States should be commended, not condemned, for raising these issues for 
a debate. Indeed, that is the purpose of this resolution.
  As you know, this resolution is made up of many different parts, the 
most recent of which is the resolution that talks about the very things 
my good friend was speaking about. This resolution we have in front of 
us is not a rebuke or an insult to the President of the United States. 
Indeed, as I read it, it recognizes the President's efforts in this 
regard and recognizes his efforts for us to examine exactly what we are 
doing in these places, as Senator Paul has already so eloquently talked 
about.
  I think there are a lot of people both in Congress and outside of 
Congress who recognize that after World War II, the United States was 
very successful in nation building. Whether or not you agreed with it--
and there is always a debate as to what our obligation is, how far we 
should go, and how much of the American taxpayers' money we should 
spend on nation building--we rebuilt Germany, we rebuilt Japan, and 
after the Korean war, we rebuilt South Korea, and we were very 
successful in that regard. Not only did we rebuild the nation itself, 
but we also trained the necessary police efforts there and military 
efforts for ongoing work.
  Now, fast-forward to the Middle East and the difficulties we have had 
there. I don't think there is anyone who could stand up and 
successfully defend that this has been a successful nation-building 
effort in the areas Senator Paul referred to. Indeed, they have not 
been. My view is that before you can give something to somebody, they 
have to want it.
  I think we have spent a couple of trillion dollars in Afghanistan. As 
Senator Paul pointed out, there are things going on there that are very 
difficult and no better than when we got there 17 years ago. Indeed, in 
some places, it is probably worse than when we got there 17 years ago. 
It is appropriate to have that debate as to whether we should continue 
nation building and whether we should continue to try to stand up and 
train fighting units in Afghanistan or, for that matter, in other 
places.
  Senator Paul referred to only a minimum number of places where we 
have attempted to train fighters to fight like Americans. The fact is, 
they just don't. No matter how much training you give them and no 
matter what kind of equipment you give them, they just don't fight like 
America's finest.
  In addition to that, Senator Paul correctly pointed out that in some 
instances in the Middle East, there are places where tribal disputes 
have gone on for centuries, and they are still going on. When you try 
to stand them up to do something else, they just don't do it. They may 
train, but they will not train to fight for what we want and for the 
kinds of values and cultures we have.
  Having said all of that, again, I come back to what we are attempting 
to do

[[Page S828]]

here with the resolution we have in front of us, and that is, we are 
recognizing that President Trump has started this conversation, and we 
are encouraging him in that regard.
  I note that in recent days the national media has delighted in saying 
that Congress is rebuking the President of the United States. I have a 
different view of this. The President of the United States, as the 
Commander in Chief, as the Chief Executive, started this conversation, 
and after the conversation was started, there have been numerous 
discussions--both internally within the executive branch and between 
the legislative branch and the executive branch--as to the issues the 
President raised and the issues my good friend Senator Paul was talking 
about. The result of that is the language we have in front of us that 
recognizes that the President of the United States started this 
conversation. It recognizes that he thinks we ought to be talking about 
some of these things, just as Senator Paul has raised and has debated, 
and we should continue talking about those.
  So the purposes of the resolution are, I would urge, pretty much the 
opposite of what Senator Paul talks about when he says we are rebuking 
the President or criticizing the President or in any other way 
insulting the President. Indeed, nothing could be further from the 
truth. This progress--this process is working exactly the way it was 
intended to work, and that is for someone--in this case, the leader of 
the Nation--to raise these issues, and then discussions take place 
amongst all of the people who have an interest in this and everyone who 
believes they have some input into this, recognizing both the 
shortcomings and the successes of what we have had.
  Certainly, the President is to be commended for what he has said 
about defeating the vast majority of ISIS. That group is a shadow of 
its former self. As Senator Paul noted, the vast majority of the land 
holdings it had have been taken back, so there is a great victory 
there. There is certainly more work to be done.

  I agree with Senator Paul that this is a little bit like the 
laundry--it is never going to be completely done. As long as the Middle 
East exists, as long as there are people who are inclined to do this 
sort of thing, people who are radicals, this sort of thing is going to 
go on. Where I part company a bit with Senator Paul is that we can do 
things over there that will make us safer here.
  Senator Paul is right. Intelligence plays a huge role in this. 
Indeed, had we had a better handle before 9/11, that could have been 
disrupted, just as we have disrupted many other efforts to attack the 
homeland, the vast majority of which the American people will never 
hear about.
  In any event, I think we should all get behind this particular 
resolution. I think it encourages the President for the road that he is 
going down to take each of these elements, to look at them critically, 
and to determine what we need to do to continue to protect Americans.
  When the President first rolled out this idea, one of the things I 
think is important is that I don't think he ever indicated that he was 
somehow going to withdraw from the Middle East and give up all the 
platforms that we have and that we must have if, indeed, we get 
something going on to a point like we had right before 9/11 where there 
were these training camps in Afghanistan that were training people to 
come to America and do what they did. If the intelligence people are 
able to determine that, then I think we need to be able to hit that 
with an operation that will dismantle it. It doesn't have to be a war 
that goes on for very long; indeed, many of these are 1-night 
operations. That is the way these things need to be handled.
  In any event, I would urge everyone to get behind this particular 
resolution we have encouraging the President and encouraging people on 
all sides of the issue who have strong feelings about it, just as my 
good friend Senator Paul has, to get their two cents' worth in here and 
then we all work together to make this work right and not be pulling at 
each other and encouraging our enemies in that regard.
  Mr. President, I object to the request made.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is heard.
  The Senator from Kentucky.


              Unanimous Consent Request--Amendment No. 102

  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, one of the things that I think are 
fundamental to our country is the freedom to protest, the freedom to 
dissent, and the freedom to boycott if you so choose. Our country was 
actually founded with a boycott. The boycott was dumping English tea 
into the ocean. In my State, Henry Clay was famous for passing 
legislation boycotting British goods so that people could wear American 
clothing. He actually fought a duel over that and became famous and 
then became one of the most famous U.S. Senators.
  The idea that you should be allowed to boycott, that it is an 
extension of your speech, that it is an extension of the First 
Amendment, I think goes to the very heart of who we are as a people. It 
is hard for me to believe that part of this bill they are putting 
forward would affirm State law that says you can't do business with the 
government if you are involved with the boycott against Israel.
  I am not really making a point on whether the boycott is good or bad 
or with regard to Israeli policy; my point is whether it is good or bad 
with regard to the First Amendment. You see, the First Amendment isn't 
really about hearing from people about things that you like. If it is 
speech that you like and people say you are a great guy, you are not 
going to be offended by that speech. It is when people are critical of 
you or critical of your thoughts or have different thoughts--that is 
what the First Amendment is about.
  It is an extraordinary thing in our country that people can actually 
speak up and speak their minds. If people don't think the settlements 
on the West Bank are a good idea, should they be allowed to speak their 
mind? Should they be forbidden from doing work for the government?
  The problem is that the government has gotten so big. There is a 
teacher in Texas who is Muslim. I think she teaches autistic or special 
needs kids. She is a contractor. She was asked to sign a statement 
saying that she would never boycott goods made in Israel. Well, she 
objects to some of the policies, I presume, on the West Bank. I don't 
agree with her, but that is a fundamentally American thing--to be able 
to object. Should we have a law that says you can't boycott your 
government and that you can't boycott your government's policy? To me, 
that is a real danger.
  I have an amendment to this overall bill that would simply say that 
we remove any kind of affirmation of anti-boycotting legislation, that 
boycotting or protesting is something so fundamentally American, so 
fundamentally associated with the First Amendment that even if we don't 
like what you are boycotting, even if we don't like what you are 
saying, that in America we allow that to happen because that is what 
freedom of speech is about.
  Freedom of speech is not about the easy stuff. It is not about the 
language you like. It is not about saying ``Oh, if you are a Republican 
and everybody is saying Republican things, that is fine, but we are not 
going to hear from Democrats,'' or if you are a Democrat, it is not 
about saying ``Well, the First Amendment is fine for Democrats, but we 
don't want to hear from those Republicans.'' It is about speech, 
whether you like it or not. Boycotting is speech.
  I went to a Baptist college. I remember when I was in college that 
the Baptist women of the Southwest Baptist Convention didn't like 
pornography being out in front at the store where kids could view it. 
Do you know what they did? They marched. They didn't hurt anybody. They 
didn't commit violence. They did nonviolent protests by marching in 
front of the utility stores until--guess what--because of the economic 
boycott and the bad press, the people put the pornographic magazines 
behind the counter, and only adults were allowed to buy them and look 
at them. That is from a boycott.
  We boycotted English tea to found a country.
  Does anybody remember the boycotts in Montgomery? Rosa Parks didn't 
like the fact that she was being separated and told to sit in the back 
of the bus, so African Americans from around the country but definitely 
across Alabama

[[Page S829]]

and Montgomery boycotted the bus system.
  Are we here to say that we are going to forbid boycotting, that you 
can't do business with the government? Here is the problem. People say: 
Oh, it is a privilege to do business with the government. What if you 
are a physician and half of your business is with the government? What 
if you are a nurse? Half of the healthcare in our country is paid for 
by the government. What if you are a teacher and you work in the public 
schools? Are we going to ask all of these people to take a litmus test 
that they are not going to boycott or protest against their 
government's policy? What kind of country would we live in? Yet it is 
groupthink around here. Everybody is so paranoid and saying: Oh, we 
can't object to this lobby. Because this lobby is so powerful, we can't 
object to them.
  Look, it isn't about the ideas; it is about the freedom of speech.
  I ask unanimous consent that my amendment be put forward, which is a 
germane amendment.
  Listen to what you will hear here. There is going to be an objection. 
They are not going to let me vote on this. So not only are they going 
to ban boycotting, they are banning the idea that, in the Senate, we 
would vote on whether we would allow boycotting in our country.
  My amendment is to take out the language that supports banning 
boycotts and reaffirms the First Amendment. It will be denied because 
nobody wants to vote on this. Nobody wants to have a debate over the 
First Amendment.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending 
amendment and call up my germane amendment that has everything to do 
with the bill, amendment No. 102.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. RISCH. Reserving the right to object.
  Mr. President, fellow Senators, again I part ways with my good friend 
Senator Paul on this one, to a large degree.
  The speech he gave, I am in absolute agreement that the government 
should not be stopping any individual from boycotting whatever they 
want to boycott for whatever reason they want to boycott. This is 
America. You have the First Amendment right to do that, but I would 
draw attention to section 402, which simply states: ``Nonpreemption of 
measures by state and local governments to divest from entities that 
engage in certain boycott, divestment, or sanctions activities 
targeting Israel or persons doing business in Israel or Israel-
controlled territories.''
  Look, if an individual wants to do this, this is America. People can 
do what they want, but if a government--State or local government--is 
going to use taxpayer dollars to engage in anti-Israel activities, that 
is a different ball game. They are then using people's funds who 
disagree with what they want to do, and that is not right. State and 
local governments should not in any way be involved in boycotting other 
countries, particularly--particularly--a country that is one of the 
best friends we have in the world, really the only democracy in the 
Middle East, and they are doing it, why? Because they are Jewish 
people. This is wrong. This is very wrong.
  The BDS Act we have here prohibits State and local governments from 
doing that. Any person who wants to do that has the First Amendment 
right to do that.
  In any event, we think this is a good measure that prohibits State 
and local governments from spending taxpayers' money in a way that many 
taxpayers don't want it spent. I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have 20 seconds.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. PAUL. I think this is an important debate, and time will tell. 
This will go to the Supreme Court, and I expect the Supreme Court will 
rebuke this body for not carefully considering the First Amendment.


                        Vote on Amendment No. 96

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. If there is no further debate, the question is 
on agreeing to amendment No. 96, offered by the Senator from New Jersey 
[Mr. Menendez].
  The amendment (No. 96) was agreed to.


                        Vote on Amendment No. 65

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 
65.
  Mr. RISCH. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Colorado (Mr. Gardner), the Senator from Alaska (Ms. Murkowski), 
and the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Perdue).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Washington (Ms. 
Cantwell) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 70, nays 26, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 14 Leg.]

                                YEAS--70

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blackburn
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Braun
     Burr
     Capito
     Carper
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Coons
     Cornyn
     Cortez Masto
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crapo
     Daines
     Duckworth
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Feinstein
     Fischer
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hassan
     Hawley
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Jones
     Kaine
     King
     Lankford
     Manchin
     McConnell
     McSally
     Menendez
     Moran
     Murray
     Peters
     Portman
     Reed
     Risch
     Roberts
     Romney
     Rosen
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Shaheen
     Shelby
     Sinema
     Stabenow
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Warner
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--26

     Baldwin
     Booker
     Brown
     Cardin
     Cruz
     Durbin
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Kennedy
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Lee
     Markey
     Merkley
     Murphy
     Paul
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Smith
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warren
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--4

     Cantwell
     Gardner
     Murkowski
     Perdue
  The amendment (No. 65), as amended, was agreed to.


                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on Calendar No. 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, Pat Roberts, Shelley Moore Capito, Mitt 
           Romney, Richard Burr, John Cornyn, Rick Scott, Mike 
           Crapo, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Michael B. Enzi, Kevin Cramer, 
           Mike Braun, John Boozman, Steve Daines, James M. 
           Inhofe, Thom Tillis, Joni K. Ernst.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on S. 1, 
an act to make improvements to certain defense and security assistance 
provisions and to authorize the appropriation of funds to Israel, to 
reauthorize the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015, 
and to halt the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people, and for other 
purposes, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Colorado (Mr. Gardner), the Senator from Alaska (Ms. Murkowski), 
and the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Perdue).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Washington (Ms. 
Cantwell) is necessarily absent.

[[Page S830]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 72, nays 24, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 15 Leg.]

                                YEAS--72

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Bennet
     Blackburn
     Blumenthal
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Braun
     Burr
     Capito
     Cardin
     Casey
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Coons
     Cornyn
     Cortez Masto
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Duckworth
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hassan
     Hawley
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Jones
     Kennedy
     King
     Klobuchar
     Lankford
     Lee
     Manchin
     McConnell
     McSally
     Menendez
     Moran
     Murray
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Romney
     Rosen
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Schumer
     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Shelby
     Sinema
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Sullivan
     Tester
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Warner
     Whitehouse
     Wicker
     Wyden
     Young

                                NAYS--24

     Baldwin
     Booker
     Brown
     Carper
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Kaine
     Leahy
     Markey
     Merkley
     Murphy
     Paul
     Peters
     Reed
     Sanders
     Schatz
     Shaheen
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warren

                             NOT VOTING--4

     Cantwell
     Gardner
     Murkowski
     Perdue
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 72, the nays are 
24.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.


                            Amendment No. 97

  Mr. RISCH. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 97.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Idaho [Mr. Risch] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 97.

  Mr. RISCH. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the amendment 
be waived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

    (Purpose: To clarify the deadline for the reporting requirement 
       relating to the establishment of a Jordan Enterprise Fund)

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. __. CLARIFICATION OF DEADLINE FOR REPORT ON ESTABLISHING 
                   AN ENTERPRISE FUND FOR JORDAN.

       For purposes of section 205(a), the term ``establishment of 
     the United States Development Finance Corporation'' means the 
     end of the transition period, as defined in section 1461 of 
     the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development 
     Act of 2018 (division F of Public Law 115-254).

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.


                  Amendment No. 98 to Amendment No. 97

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I call up an amendment numbered 98 to 
amendment No. 97.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New Jersey [Mr. Menendez], for Mr. Risch, 
     proposes an amendment numbered 98 to amendment No. 97.

  Mr. MENENDEZ. I ask unanimous consent that the reading of the 
amendment be waived.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To provide for a classified annex to be submitted with the 
report on the cooperation of the United States and Israel with respect 
                 to countering unmanned aerial systems)



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

  
  On page S830, February 4, 2019, second column, the following 
appears: (Purpose: To provide for a classified annex to be 
submitted with the report on the cooperation of the United States 
and Israel with respect to countering unmanned serial systems)
  
  The online Record has been corrected to read: (Purpose: To 
provide for a classified annex to be submitted with the report on 
the cooperation of the United States and Israel with respect to 
countering unmanned aerial systems)


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

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. __. FORM OF REPORT ON THE COOPERATION OF THE UNITED 
                   STATES AND ISRAEL WITH RESPECT TO COUNTERING 
                   UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS.

       The report required under section 123(d) shall be submitted 
     in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Idaho.

                          ____________________