NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED--Resumed; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 23
(Senate - February 06, 2019)

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[Pages S876-S908]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




      NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT ACT--MOTION TO PROCEED--Resumed

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 47, which the clerk 
will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to S. 47, a bill to provide for the 
     management of the natural resources of the United States, and 
     for other purposes.

  Mr. McCONNELL. 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. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.


                       State of the Union Message

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, last night President Trump had the 
opportunity to bring our parties together and offer the Congress and 
the country a new vision for the next 2 years of divided government. 
President Trump squandered the opportunity with a forgettable and, 
oftentimes, incoherent speech. At times, he called for unity without 
specifics, and at other times he served up divisive campaign rhetoric 
that he has used so frequently in the past.
  The President's speech was like a 90-minute performance of ``Dr. 
Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,'' calling for comity but lacing it throughout with 
invectives. Unfortunately, President Trump seemed more excited and 
placed more emphasis on the Mr. Hyde parts of the speech than on the 
Dr. Jekyll parts.
  Listen to a few of the contradictions in the speech. There were so 
many that I can't mention all of them.
  President Trump says he believes in legal immigration but not illegal 
immigration, but every bill he has pushed on immigration has cut legal 
immigration as well as illegal immigration, including the proposal he 
has now sent over, in the debates, where he changes the asylum process 
dramatically.
  President Trump said he would only work with us in Congress if we 
abandoned our oversight duties. He is back to his old tricks--hostage-
taking. He said: I am not going to advance the causes of the American 
people if Congress investigates me.
  Congress is supposed to do oversight of the executive branch. It is 
one of the things the Founding Fathers put in the Constitution. They 
were weary of overweening Executive power. They wanted Congress to be a 
check.
  What is President Trump afraid of? If he weren't afraid of these 
investigations and if he weren't afraid of something that might be 
there that he did that was wrong, he would shrug his shoulders and say: 
Let them go forward.
  But, instead, he threatens. He threatens the American people by 
saying: Unless these investigations stop, I am not going to move 
forward on anything.
  How about this one? This one made everybody's eyes roll, even on the 
Republican side. He said if he weren't elected President, we would be 
in a war with North Korea--what hyperbole. It is not just hyperbole--
what untruth, what selective memory. President Trump began his time in 
office by precipitously ramping up tensions with North Korea. They were 
much lower under President Obama than they were with President Trump.
  Maybe the most blatant contradiction of all, which makes you just 
lose respect for the integrity and honesty of the President, was when 
President Trump spoke about the need to defend protections for 
Americans with preexisting conditions, while at the very same time his 
administration is waging a lawsuit that would eviscerate protections 
for preexisting conditions. How can the President have the nerve to get 
up on the podium last night and say he wants to preserve preexisting 
conditions and wage a lawsuit, support a lawsuit that tries to undo 
them? It is shocking hypocrisy--that one maybe most of all for a speech 
that had many.
  Of course, there were a whole lot of omissions in the speech that 
many Americans felt should have been placed in. Let me give an example. 
The President did talk about a few potentials for bipartisan 
compromise. We Democrats would love to compromise with the President 
and come up with some things that would advance the causes of working 
families in America.
  He mentioned infrastructure and prescription drugs, but instead of 
offering substantive ideas and spending some time on these issues, he 
delivered a couple of lines about each and then moved on. It seemed 
obligatory and perfunctory. There was no new sinew, no real way to 
figure out if there is a way we can come together and get something 
done, because he really didn't seem interested.
  He talked about the future of America and didn't even mention climate 
change. How could you do that? Every scientist who has studied it knows 
that in the next 10, 20, 30, or 40 years, climate change is going to 
evoke huge changes in our country and in our world. If you believe in 
the future and you want to have a good future for our children and 
grandchildren, which we all do, you can't ignore climate change. You 
may have different views on it, but you can't ignore it.
  He also talked a great deal about the safety of the American people, 
but there was not one mention about gun safety--not one. Again, maybe 
not to President Trump, maybe not to his hard-core supporters, but to 
the rest of America, to talk about the need for security and the safety 
of Americans and not to talk about gun safety misses the mark badly.
  Then he rattled off economic statistics--how great everything is--but 
completely ignored the difficult economic realities of working 
Americans. Why do so many Americans not have faith in the future? Why 
do so many Americans worry that their children

[[Page S877]]

will not have as good a life economically as they do? It is because so 
much of what the President has done economically has benefited the top 
10 percent. Those improve the overall statistics, but they don't 
improve the lives of the average middle-class person.
  Let's take the tax cut, a huge tax cut geared to the wealthy and the 
powerful corporations. The President said each worker will get about a 
$4,000 increase. It didn't happen. Wages are going up by a small 
amount. They are still way behind where they were in the past. What did 
these companies do with all of this huge tax break? They got $1 
trillion in buybacks--buybacks, which benefit the corporate CEOs, which 
benefit the shareholders but do nothing for the workers, since so many 
of them don't own stock.
  In fact, the stock market has become more skewed. About 85 percent of 
the value of the shares is held by the top 10 percent of Americans.
  Then, of course, on the wall, he demanded that Congress fund his wall 
but showed no signs of remorse over the pointless Trump government 
shutdown that he precipitated. He didn't mention the pain he caused to 
800,000 Federal workers, even though many of them were in the Galleries 
listening.
  I brought as a guest a man named Ronan Byrne. He works in the TRACON, 
our control tower in New York. He just had two twins. He has two other 
kids. I saw the nice pictures. He came with his wife. She quit her job 
when the twins came along.
  He lost his salary at an intense job like that, where you have to be 
on all the time. I have been up there in the TRACON. It is dark. You 
see little dots, and you can't have them get too near each other 
because that is a safety issue for the people on the planes, and here 
he was worried about paying the bills and providing for his children.
  Well, there was no mention of people like that. No, it was just about 
his wall.
  It didn't work for the President. We know that. Our Republican 
colleagues and Leader McConnell know that. I think even in his 
situation, where he is often in a bubble that is often only aimed at 
the narrow band of his supporters, he touched a hot stove, and I don't 
think he wants to do it again.
  But there was no mention of it. He should have used his speech to 
say: We are not going to have another government shutdown. There was no 
word.
  There was no plan to tackle our opioid problem. There was no plan to 
increase wages for the middle class. There was no plan to increase 
manufacturing jobs.
  So anyone who hoped that the President would change course and offer 
some new bipartisan ideas with some meat on the bone where we could 
discuss it and begin to move forward to help the American people was 
sorely disappointed. As I said, his real excitement came in the most 
divisive parts of the speech on immigration and abortion.
  So let's contrast his speech with Stacey Abrams'. The contrast 
between the President's speech and Stacey Abrams' speech was stunning. 
The President was political, divisive, calculating, and, at times, even 
nasty. Ms. Abrams was compelling, warm, and uplifting, showing real 
compassion for the plight of our average families but also filled with 
hope and inspired by the promise of the American dream. It was an 
uplifting speech. Ms. Abrams' speech represented the kind of unifying 
vision--understanding our challenges but also having some confidence in 
our ability to solve them--that the President failed to deliver. In 
short, last night, Stacey Abrams gave President Trump a lesson in how 
to lead.

  Xavier Becerra, speaking from the high school he graduated from in 
Sacramento, McClatchy High School, gave a wonderful response in 
Spanish.
  We all knew the President would say that the state of our Union was 
strong, but the American people know the unfortunate truth. On the 
economy, on healthcare, on governance, and on foreign policy, it is 
abundantly clear that the Trump administration has been getting failing 
grades from the American people.
  The state of the Trump economy? Failing the middle class. Wealthy 
shareholders and corporate executives cashed in from the Trump tax 
bill, while American workers have been left behind.
  The state of the Trump healthcare system? Failing American families. 
Coverage is getting more expensive, and the amount of coverage is 
declining. Due to the sabotage this administration has done to our 
healthcare system, this is the first year that fewer Americans have 
healthcare than they did the year before--the first time in a while.
  The state of the Trump administration? Chaos. President Trump has had 
the most Cabinet turnover in more than a century. He has failed to 
nominate anyone to one-fifth of our government's top positions. This 
has nothing to do with the Senate; for one-fifth of the positions, 
there are no nominations. This is 2 years into this Presidency. The 
Senate had nothing to do with all the Cabinet members who quit or 
resigned under a cloud--nothing to do with that either. President Trump 
likes to blame somebody else for the problems he creates; that is one 
of his MOs.
  The state of President Trump's foreign policy? Inside out. Inside 
out. Our longstanding allies--countries of NATO--have been alienated. 
Our adversaries--Russia, China, North Korea--have been emboldened 
because President Trump doesn't stand up to them. During the national 
security section of the President's speech last night, the first item 
he mentioned wasn't Russia's malign activities, North Korea's nuclear 
program, or even the crisis in Venezuela; it was criticism for our NATO 
allies. That says it all.
  The President's State of the Union last night did something rare for 
a State of the Union Address: It revealed just how much repair the 
state of our Union requires; just how much work we still have to do to 
aid working Americans left behind by an economy that only seems to work 
for the wealthy and well-connected; to provide American families 
everywhere with affordable healthcare; to bring stability and 
accountability to a government too short on both--a government that 
seems to have made the swamp deeper and more odorous and to further 
isolate our enemies and give comfort to our allies abroad.
  Let us hope and pray that the country can heal. President Trump did 
nothing to move that forward last night.
  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. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                                 China

  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, a number of us have been coming to the 
floor for quite some time now, talking about challenges posed by 
China--the big geostrategic challenges for the United States posed by 
China.
  What has happened over the last couple of years--and I think it is 
very important--is that this issue went from an issue where not many 
Senators 2, 3, or 4 years ago were talking about it to now, when 
Democrats, Republicans--all of us--have recognized that literally for 
the next 50 to 100 years, the biggest challenges we have in terms of 
national security and economic security for our Nation are the 
challenges posed by the rise of China. I think that is an important 
course correction that we have seen in the Congress and, importantly, 
from the executive branch.
  The Trump administration put out a national security strategy, and 
that national security strategy said: Yes, we still have very 
significant challenges with regard to violent, extremist organizations 
like al-Qaida, like ISIS, but long-term we are shifting to a period in 
which the most significant economic and national security challenge we 
face as a nation involves the rise of great powers, particularly China 
as the pacing threat.
  I think the administration deserves a lot of credit for this course 
correction. It is in the national security strategy of the 
administration. It is in the national defense strategy of the 
administration. I believe it is strongly supported by Democrats and 
Republicans in this body.
  You may have seen, for example, that Vice President Pence gave a 
speech at the Hudson Institute a couple of

[[Page S878]]

months ago. For anyone in America interested in U.S.-China relations, I 
commend that speech to you. It was an outstanding speech. In my view, 
it was probably the most important speech on U.S.-China relations since 
a former Deputy Secretary of State, Bob Zoellick, gave the speech 
called the Responsible Stakeholder Speech. That was over a decade ago, 
and Deputy Secretary Zoellick essentially said to China: You have risen 
in large measure because of the international system that the United 
States established after World War II, and you benefited from that. 
What you need to do now is to become a responsible stakeholder in that 
system. Here is your opportunity. The system that benefited you more 
than anybody, the system that the United States led--China, you now 
have the opportunity to become a responsible stakeholder in that 
system. We are inviting you into it.
  Well, I think pretty much everybody--whether Trump administration 
officials, Obama administration officials, former Bush administration 
officials--recognizes that China rejected that offer. They are saying: 
We don't want to be part of the responsible--we do not want to be a 
member of the system that the United States has led. We are going to do 
something different.
  They rejected it. Again, I think that is not a controversial 
statement. China experts--Democrats, Republicans, Trump, Obama, Bush--
all pretty much agree that is what has happened. So we need a different 
approach.
  Right now, there are very serious negotiations going on between the 
Trump administration officials and senior Chinese officials, mostly on 
economic issues. But this relates to broader challenges we have with 
China, and I have had a number of discussions with Ambassador 
Lighthizer, Larry Kudlow, who is the NEC chairman at the White House, 
Secretary Mnuchin, the Vice President, and the President on this topic. 
I would say again--because it is important not only for the American 
people but for the Chinese to know--that there is strong bipartisan 
backing for what is happening right now in terms of our reorientation 
of the U.S.-China relationship and what we are finally demanding of 
them.
  Not everything is agreed to. There are some people, I think with good 
reason, who have some concerns about the use of tariffs, but, overall, 
I think there is broad bipartisan support in this body--having talked 
frequently with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle--for what the 
Trump administration is trying to do with regard to China.
  As they look to address these issues--and they just had these high-
level negotiations just last week--I thought it would be important to 
lay out a couple of things that I know many Members of the Senate are 
interested in. Again, this is to show our backing of these negotiations 
but also to make sure China knows that it isn't just the Trump 
administration that is focused on these issues. The Congress and Senate 
of the United States of America also hold similar goals.
  Obviously, the most important goal is to have a relationship in terms 
of economics and trade and investment that focuses on fairness, 
reciprocity in terms of open investment and a trading relationship with 
China. Fairness, reciprocity, open trade, and investment with China--we 
do not have that right now. That is one of the big challenges.

  As they are looking to continue these negotiations and possibly come 
up with an agreement with China, I thought it would be important for 
the Chinese to hear what a number of Members of the Senate believe is 
important in my discussions. Let me review some of these.
  First, we need to ensure that China commits to structural changes in 
their economy, not just pledges to increase purchases of U.S. goods. 
Increasing purchases of U.S. goods--whether they are Nebraska farm 
products, which I know the Presiding Officer cares a lot about, or 
clean burning Alaska natural gas, which I certainly care a lot about--
would be positive. But it is certainly not enough. Structural changes 
to the way in which they run their economy, to the way in which they 
treat other countries are critical. It was good to see the President 
last night in the State of the Union say exactly that.
  Structural changes--what do we mean by structural changes? First, 
China, for decades now, has required American companies that invest in 
China to essentially transfer their technology in exchange for access 
to their market. No other country in the world does that. China says 
they don't do it. They do it. They need to stop that. It is against WTO 
rules.
  Secondly, I am going to talk more in detail about how China 
consistently steals intellectual property from American and other 
countries' companies around the world.
  Third, they heavily subsidize their state-owned enterprises, which 
gives them an unfair competitive advantage against our companies and 
impacts negatively our workers and our families.
  No. 1, structural changes have to come, and if they don't, we should 
not accept this kind of deal.
  No. 2, China needs to end the ``promise fatigue'' that we have had 
with China by enabling us, through some kind of trade agreement, to 
hold them accountable for the commitments they make. What do I mean by 
that? We need assurances from the Chinese that will ultimately be 
fulfilled that an agreement that is reached at the end by this 
administration can be enforced. Why is that so important? As I 
mentioned, these kinds of negotiations have been going on for years. 
The Obama administration, Bush administration, Clinton administration, 
all in good faith, have tried to get China to commit to the promises 
and commitments they have already made and hold to them, whether 
through their WTO commitments or all kinds of other commitments.
  Here is the problem. The talk, the agreements, the WTO, the strategic 
economic dialogues with China--they all sound good, but for the most 
part, China has not kept its commitments.
  In the United States, we are suffering from promise fatigue. We get 
commitments from China. They make promises, and then they don't keep 
them. Promise fatigue--the American people, the U.S. Congress, this 
administration, and I believe other administrations are tired of that. 
Whatever agreement the Trump administration is working on should 
address this issue of promise fatigue.
  Let me give you a couple of examples of promise fatigue. Many years 
ago, I had the honor of serving on the National Security Council staff 
at the White House under Condoleezza Rice. We were at a meeting. I was 
a staffer for Secretary Condoleezza Rice, who, at the time was National 
Security Advisor, and President George W. Bush was in the Oval Office 
with a senior administration official from China, Madame Wu Yi. She was 
the Vice Premier. She was a very important person from that country. In 
this meeting, the President--as President Obama has done, as President 
Trump has done, as President Clinton has done--President Bush really 
pressed Madame Wu Yi on intellectual property theft. This was in the 
Oval Office. This was in a meeting in 2003, over 15 years ago. Madame 
Wu Yi looked the President of the United States in the eye and said: 
Mr. President, we are going to fix this. Protecting intellectual 
property is very important to my country. We know it hurts your country 
when we steal it. We are going to fix this. I am in charge.
  That was pretty powerful. She said it directly to the President of 
the United States in the Oval Office. I witnessed this.
  Let's fast forward to 15 years later. Have they fixed it? No. Has it 
actually gotten worse? Yes. Promise fatigue.
  Let me give a couple of other examples of promise fatigue. In 2015, 
in the Rose Garden, President Xi of China was standing next to 
President Obama, and he made essentially two commitments: We are going 
to stop the cyber theft of industrial products in the United States; we 
are going to not steal, through the internet, your intellectual 
property and other valuable trade secrets from American companies--
whether related to defense, whether related to other issues--and China 
will not militarize the South China Sea.
  This is 2015--less than 4 years ago--standing next to the President 
of the United States, the President of China made these commitments in 
the Rose Garden. Has China kept these commitments? No. They have 
massively militarized the South China Sea, and they continue their 
industrial-scale cyber

[[Page S879]]

theft. Great countries, particularly in these kind of settings, need to 
keep their word. China should know this. A key element of any deal that 
we as a country strike with China needs to take into account this 
promise fatigue and have real mechanisms to keep their commitments.
  Third, we need to make sure China commits to end its global corrupt 
practices. What do I mean by that? Predatory Chinese infrastructure 
financing and bribery of foreign officials are trapping countries 
around the world in debt and marginalizing outside competition by 
foreign investors.
  There was an article recently in the Wall Street Journal that went 
into very minute detail of how Chinese officials at the highest levels 
were bribing senior officials from Malaysia to get investment 
opportunities with regard to infrastructure in that country.
  This is essentially official policy in China to bribe and pay off 
officials in other countries to help their companies, which are often 
state-owned and compete against other companies. Is this fair? No. Is 
this good for the international economic system? No. Does China do it 
on a regular basis? Yes. Do our companies or the U.S. Government engage 
in this kind of systematic corruption globally? No.
  If the U.S. companies do this, their leaders can go to jail for 
violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. China has no such 
prohibitions. To the contrary, they do it as part of official state 
policy.
  Whatever agreement we have with regard to the Chinese on this issue 
also needs to include addressing this challenge globally of foreign 
corrupt practices. This kind of state-sponsored corruption should not 
be tolerated or overlooked. Again, in my discussions with the 
administration's senior officials, I have encouraged them to make sure 
this is part of the negotiations in the agreement.
  Finally, an important element of our strategy with regard to China 
has to involve our allies. All of the issues I just talked about--
promise fatigue, industrial cyber theft, intellectual property theft--
aren't just issues the United States is dealing with. They are issues 
all of our key allies are dealing with--the Germans, the European 
Union, Japan, Korea, Canada. Everybody is dealing with these same 
challenges with regard to China. What does that mean?
  The good news is, strategically, the United States is an ally-rich 
nation, and our adversaries and potential adversaries are ally-poor. We 
have built a system of alliances. Since World War II, that provides 
strategic advantage to our Nation. As a matter of fact, one of the most 
strategic, important advantages we have is our system of alliances, 
which we need to deepen and broaden. There are many countries in Asia--
many countries in Asia--that want a closer relationship with the United 
States because of the rise of China. This administration needs to seize 
that because it makes strategic sense for us, but they also need to 
coordinate with these countries as we are working on these broader 
global economic issues as it relates to China. Why? Because if we come 
to the table, not just the United States but with the Europeans, with 
the Japanese, with the Koreans, with the Canadians, this provides 
leverage.
  The countries I just named, including ours, constitutes well over 
two-thirds of the global GDP. If we come together with these demands, 
we will have much more leverage to get a better deal.
  The time is right. I have had the opportunity to talk to senior 
officials from all of these countries. Every single one of them has 
challenges like we did with regard to China, and every single one of 
them wants to work with us.
  I commend Ambassador Lighthizer for starting an alliance on trade, as 
it relates to China, on a regular basis with the EU and Japan. The EU, 
Japan, and the United States are coordinating on these issues. I think 
it makes sense for the Ambassador to broaden that coalition--the 
coalition of the willing on these issues. It does bring significant 
leverage, and countries are ready for the United States to lean on us. 
As a matter of fact, the number of countries and Ambassadors whom I 
have heard who have cited Vice President Pence's speech on how we have 
to deal with China has been remarkable. They are looking for U.S. 
leadership. The administration needs to provide it. Using and making 
sure we are coordinating with our traditional allies on this issue is 
vital, and that is how we are going to come to a successful conclusion.
  There is a lot we need to do with regard to the challenges posed by 
China. They are not all negative. A lot of them can be positive. If we 
had Chinese investment, greenfield investment, in our country, that 
could help with jobs. That could help ease tensions. It is something I 
have been encouraging Chinese officials to do for a long time. It is in 
their interests. I think it is in our interests. We need to take 
seriously these challenges.
  It is an issue. You often hear about some of the tensions or some of 
the conflicts that exist in this body. In my view, a lot of that is 
overblown. There is a lot of bipartisan work that goes on in the 
Senate. The vast majority of the work that goes on in the Senate is 
bipartisan.
  One area of bipartisan agreement, I believe, is the need to focus on 
this very important geostrategic challenge that our country faces with 
regard to the rise of China. We are off to a good start in that regard. 
I want to encourage the administration to continue to focus on this 
issue and focus on these four points I highlighted this morning on the 
Senate floor.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


              Tribute to Tricia Peebles and Adrian Deveny

  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I want to begin by recognizing two 
members of my team who will be leaving at the end of this week--Tricia 
Peebles and Adrian Deveny--who are on to new adventures and new 
opportunities to make the world a better place.
  Tricia has been with me on my Senate team for over 10 years--since I 
came to the Senate just over 10 years ago. Before that, she was with me 
on my team when I was speaker in Oregon for 2 years. So it has now been 
a dozen years of working together. From the very beginning of this wild 
ride, she has been with me as my State scheduler. I don't know how I 
could have done any of it without her.
  When you are inventing a State Senate office from the ground up and 
you need someone with imagination, creativity, and commitment, well, 
Tricia has all of those in spades. Out in Oregon, she is not only the 
gatekeeper and defender of my schedule, she is a real advocate, making 
sure I connect with and hear from and work with Oregonians from all 
walks of life, Oregonians from every corner of our beautiful State. She 
has used her uncanny knowledge of the map of Oregon and small cities to 
get me to townhalls in each of Oregon's 36 counties year after year for 
10 years straight. She has done so with military precision. Seriously, 
it is amazing. Name any two cities in the State, and Tricia can tell 
you how long it takes to drive between them, any potential road 
hazards, and most importantly, the nearest Subway sandwich shop so the 
team can stop and get a bite to eat.
  It is always tough to lose an original member of a team, and I 
honestly don't know how we are going to fill the very large space that 
will be left in her absence, but I am very excited for her as she takes 
on her next adventure and wish her nothing but the best.
  Adrian Deveny joined my office back in March of 2011. Here we are, 
almost 8 years later, and he has been an indispensable member of my 
team. In his 8 years, he has been leading our efforts to tackle the 
greatest challenge facing humankind on this planet--the challenge of 
carbon pollution and climate chaos.
  He has taken us through initiatives, such as the Keep It in the 
Ground Act, which said that we as citizens of the United States must no 
longer profit from leasing out the fossil fuels that we own for 
extraction and combustion because it contributes to the problem, and 
the 100 by `50 Act, which said that we need to get to 100 percent 
renewable energy and that we need to do so by the

[[Page S880]]

year 2050 or earlier and laid out a detailed roadmap on how to do so in 
each section of the energy economy.
  He tirelessly advocated for programs that had real, direct impacts on 
people's daily lives, whether it was the Rural Energy Savings Program, 
which created the opportunity throughout rural America for families to 
upgrade the insulation in their homes and businesses to save energy and 
have it paid for in large part by those savings in energy, or reforming 
our Nation's outdated chemical laws with the significant reform of 
TSCA, where he played a central negotiating role to try to get us from 
the starting line to the finish line, or helping make electric cars 
more affordable.
  He did all of this and so much more and always with the type of 
steady disposition, cheerful attitude, nothing but kind words, and 
support for his teammates that really helped him to be a key 
facilitator with staff throughout the Senate. He has been the calm in a 
chaotic storm of a Senate office. It will be tough to see him go, but 
he won't be going too far away--just moving over from our office in the 
Hart Office Building to the minority leader's office, Chuck Schumer's 
office, here in the Capitol to help lead the Democratic caucus's 
collective efforts on issues related to energy and the environment. So 
our loss on Team Merkley is the Senate's gain.
  A big thank-you to Adrian for all of his hard work on behalf of the 
people of Oregon and on behalf of a better world, a better energy 
policy, a better environmental policy, a policy that points at taking 
on the biggest challenge facing human civilization on this planet.
  Thank you, Adrian, for all of your work to save our beautiful blue-
green planet.


                             Climate Change

  Mr. President, the most important words in our Constitution are the 
first three, ``We the people,'' written in supersized font so we won't 
forget about the core mission of our Constitution--a nation that, in 
President Lincoln's words, is designed to be ``of the people, by the 
people, for the people.'' Well, in a ``we the people'' nation, it is 
the responsibility of government and its leaders to put the interests 
and well-being of its citizens first.
  In July of 1932, while accepting his party's nomination for the 
Presidency in the height of the Great Depression; after the stock 
market had crashed, losing almost 90 percent of its value; after 11,000 
American banks went bust; after nearly a quarter of the United States 
was unemployed, Franklin Roosevelt called for ``a new deal for the 
American people.'' He said that they were living in ``unprecedented and 
unusual times'' in which we must ``highly resolve to resume the 
country's uninterrupted march along the path of real progress, of real 
justice, [and] of real equality.''
  Well, in our ``we the people'' Nation, we are once again finding 
ourselves in unprecedented and unusual times, and a big factor is the 
ravages of climate chaos, carbon pollution and the chaos that ensues 
from that wreaking havoc not only on the environment but on the lives 
of Americans all across our Nation. We see it in the wildfires that are 
burning longer and hotter than ever before, not just affecting our 
forests and the jobs in our forests and our forest economies but at 
times incinerating entire communities, such as Paradise, CA. Even when 
such a dramatic event doesn't occur, there is significant damage to our 
cities, their economies, and their people's health from the smoke.
  We have seen over time that the average number of large wildfires has 
grown. Back in the decade of the 1980s, there were about 140 per year. 
Now here we are after the turn of the century looking at nearly twice 
that--250 major wildfires per year on average. And the fire season has 
gone from roughly 5 months in the early 1970s to 7 months. This is just 
characterizing the impact of longer, hotter summers--one impact of 
climate chaos.
  We also see climate chaos in the oceans. They are growing hotter year 
by year. They are growing more acidic year by year as carbon dioxide 
becomes carbonic acid, actually changing the chemistry of the ocean. We 
have found that the oceans are about 30 percent more acidic than they 
were before the Industrial Revolution, affecting our coral reefs and 
our shellfish.
  A recent study found that the planet's oceans are heating up even 
faster than we anticipated--40 percent faster than we thought just 5 
years ago. Now, 2018 broke the record for the warmest ocean 
temperatures. It beat out the previous record holder of 2017, and that 
2017 record broke the previous record holder of 2016. Rising 
temperatures don't just harm our sea life; they are impacting citizens 
through impacts on the fishing industry, impacting the coastal 
communities for which coastal activities are their lifeblood.
  I was down on the gulf coast of Florida where they had a red tide 
that has been in place for 10 of the last 12 months. A red tide 
essentially is toxic algae that produces toxins that float inland and 
irritate the lungs and aggravate the asthma of those living near the 
seashore, and it kills sea life. In addition to the toxins from the red 
tide, they have dead manatees, dolphins, fish, and turtles washing up 
on the shores and decomposing, adding to the stench. People on the gulf 
coast of Florida take inland vacations that at times extend to months 
to escape the consequence of the red tide, and it causes a huge impact 
on the economy of those coastal cities.
  We see chaos in extreme weather events, massive storms like Harvey 
and Irma and Maria, which in that year cost our country $265 billion in 
damages, took the lives of thousands--thousands in just Puerto Rico--
and destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes in the gulf and the 
Caribbean. We also see it in wild temperature swings in communities 
like Chicago. Last summer, Chicago experienced recordbreaking heat and 
then was hit with a recordbreaking polar vortex. This is climate chaos.
  We the people, we the farmers, we the foresters, we the fishermen, 
and, of course, we the frontline communities of America, minority and 
low-income communities, whose health is being impacted, feel the 
impact, a devastating impact, and bear the brunt of climate chaos.
  So it is now another time for a new deal for the American people to 
take on this massive, immediate threat to our people and our planet--a 
threat we cannot delay responding to.
  This time, it must be a Green New Deal--a Green New Deal that not 
only transitions America to an energy economy that is powered by 100-
percent noncarbon, clean, renewable energy, but a Green New Deal that 
creates millions of good, living-wage jobs in the process and continues 
our Nation's march along the path of real progress, real justice, and 
real equality.
  Let's think, for a moment, of what the core principles are when we 
say the words ``Green New Deal.'' Here are some of the core issues.
  The first is an energy shift that utilizes today's technology and 
utilizes and improves our electric grid and our transportation system 
from ones powered by fossil fuels to ones powered by renewable energy. 
A key principle of the Green New Deal is that of an energy shift to 
solar and offshore wind, wave energy, tidal energy, and geothermal 
energy--all potentially contributing to the noncarbon electricity to 
power our Nation.
  Here is the good news. The cost of noncarbon, nonfossil fuel energy 
has dropped. It has fallen about 90 percent over the last decade. It 
has gone from 35 cents per kilowatt hour with solar energy to about 3 
to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. That is a massive change. Wind has fallen 
about 70 percent, and now it is down to 2 to 4 cents per kilowatt hour. 
What does this mean? This means that a decade ago, the costs were above 
the costs of burning fossil fuels. Now they are below or are even with 
the costs of burning fossil fuels because it is about 10 cents per 
kilowatt hour to create electrons from coal, and it is about 5 cents 
from natural gas. When you have wind at 2 to 4 cents and solar at 3 to 
5 cents, you are competitive, and that means we can choose not only the 
energy that is best for the planet and best for our health but that is 
also the smartest investment for our economy.
  This is where we are now. We can pursue the smartest investment. If 
you don't have any understanding of the impact of the climate chaos 
that is devastating our resources and our cities and our people, you 
can still choose green power, because it is the smartest economic 
decision.
  The second core principle of the Green New Deal is to create millions 
of

[[Page S881]]

jobs. Our President likes to talk about jobs, and we need his help in 
actually creating jobs by renovating our energy economy, by investing 
in these technologies, and by advancing these technologies. It is so we 
are selling them to the world rather than buying them from the world. 
It is so they are employing people in the United States of America 
rather than employing people in China. We want this revolution to be 
here, driven by the United States of America--by red, white, and blue 
ingenuity and innovation. It is not for us to be on the receiving end 
of technologies that are developed elsewhere, and it is not for us to 
be on the receiving end of products made elsewhere.
  In creating these jobs, we need strong protections for American 
workers. We want these jobs to be living-wage jobs. We want to see 
workers able to organize and able to unionize so as to make sure these 
are family-wage jobs, because a good-paying job is better than any 
government program for a family's foundation to thrive.
  Right now, renewable industries are booming. Jobs in solar and wind 
are growing 12 times faster than is the rest of the economy. Over 3 
million Americans now work in renewable energy and energy efficiency, 
outnumbering fossil fuels 3 to 1. This is the future of jobs in the 
United States of America. This is the future of good-paying jobs in the 
United States of America. Just think of how many more jobs we can 
create down the road if the United States is leading the world, not 
following. Let's be the leaders in this green technology revolution. 
Like Roosevelt's New Deal with the Works Progress Administration, which 
created jobs that paved a path for the economy to recover, the Green 
New Deal will drive tens of millions of good-paying jobs for Americans 
in the decades ahead.
  The third big principle is that no one gets left behind in this 
revolution. It ensures that all Americans have the benefits of the new 
green economy and that the hard-working Americans who are in the fossil 
fuel industry and have provided the power that has taken our Nation so 
far forward have the respect for what they have accomplished and have 
the opportunity for jobs in the future. It is a just transition into 
good-paying careers and for communities that have been stumbling in 
their efforts toward economic progress but have been bypassed in the 
economy of the past.
  They will not be bypassed in the green economy of the future because 
the point is to design that economy so that those communities can 
benefit from the clean energy and can benefit from the jobs that the 
Green New Deal creates. That includes there being access to clean 
public transportation, community development investments, and the 
ability of low-income families to not only receive clean energy but to 
get the clean energy jobs and job training and apprenticeship programs 
and healthcare and housing that everyone in America should have access 
to.
  Those are the three core principles of this vision. They are the 
three core principles that will take us forward quickly and 
productively and will put us in the economic lead of the world. It is a 
lead we are losing as we stumble--trapped by fossil fuel special 
interest money and its control of Congress. There are those who say 
this vision is too bold, that this vision is too far-reaching, but let 
us think of what Robert Kennedy once said: ``Only those who dare to 
fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.''
  For the sake of our planet and our Nation and our families and the 
``we the people'' vision of our government, let us dare, and let us 
dare greatly.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Missouri.


                                 S. 47

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I want to talk about the bill that we are 
considering this week. This is a bill that for sportsmen and for those 
who are interested in public lands is going to have a big impact. It 
will have big benefits for our country and big benefits for my State of 
Missouri.
  This package includes a number of important provisions to expand 
hunting and fishing access--something that, I think, every Congress, 
over a handful of Congresses now, has tried to do and failed to do. It 
has provisions to protect natural resources and provisions to improve 
public lands. In my State of Missouri, we have more than 1.2 million 
hunters and fishermen. They spend about $1.67 billion annually and 
support almost 30,000 jobs in our State.
  For the first time, this bill makes it clear in statute that all 
Bureau of Land Management and National Forest System lands will be open 
to hunting, to recreational shooting, and to fishing unless they are 
explicitly closed. They can be closed, but they have to be explicitly 
closed for safety reasons or other justified reasons that are 
established not just by the Bureau of Land Management or by the 
National Forest System but through a public process. In other words, 
they are going to be open unless they are closed instead of the current 
situation of their being closed unless they are open. This will create 
an opportunity for people who want to use public lands for those 
purposes to be able to do so unless those who are responsible for 
managing those lands can make a real case that they shouldn't be able 
to do so.
  This bill includes important provisions that will improve the visitor 
experience in two of Missouri's U.S. National Park Service units. One 
is the provision that would really enhance one's opportunity to learn 
more about the personal life of the Nation's 33rd President, Harry 
Truman. I am standing here behind the desk I use every day, which was 
also the desk that President Truman used when he was in the Senate.
  Particularly, there are lessons that can be learned from his life at 
the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site, which was first dedicated 
in May of 1983. It preserves the history of the person who has 
sometimes been called the people's President. He was the President who, 
when he was retiring and the press asked him ``What is the first thing 
you are going to do when you get home?'' thought for only a minute and 
said, ``I guess the first thing I will do is take the suitcases to the 
attic.'' In his 7\1/2\ years of being President, he was a guy who had 
not lost the sense of the kinds of commonsense things that real people 
deal with.
  His story is really well told at his family home in Independence. It 
is a site that includes not only the home that he and Bess, his wife, 
shared through their entire marriage, from 1919 until his death in 
1972, but some adjacent family properties and some nearby properties of 
Truman's farm home, which was the home in which he grew up in 
Grandview, MO.
  This is a bill that, in many cases, does really simple things. In 
this case, it just takes the money, frankly, that the city of 
Independence wants to give to the Federal Government so the Federal 
Government has the money to build a new visitors center. The National 
Park Service would like to build it on this piece of land, but before 
it can do that, we have to accept the piece of land. That is something 
that will happen in this bill when we pass it.
  There is another provision that would enhance the visitor access to 
Ste. Genevieve, which is at least the newest historic park in Missouri 
if not, certainly, one of the newest in the country. This is something 
we did last year in transitioning some property to the National Park 
System from the State park system.
  Ste. Genevieve, which is on the banks of the Mississippi River, was 
established in the 1750s by French settlers who were attracted to the 
area because of the water access, the rich soil, and the ability to 
make a living there. In fact, the historic park encompasses what was 
called the common field in the Mississippi River Valley, where citizens 
would own or be allocated a plot in that field and would farm in that 
plot. It was not part of the settlement community itself but was at the 
river bottom, which meant that for flood reasons, you wouldn't want to 
build a house there, but you could grow some of the most incredible 
crops that could be grown then or now. In fact, the common field in 
Ste. Genevieve is recognized as being the oldest continuously farmed 
piece of land west of the Mississippi River.
  Ste. Genevieve had been governed by the French, then the British, 
then the Spanish, and then the United States in its history as it came 
into the United States as part of a territory with the Louisiana 
Purchase. The imprint of each of those countries is still evident in 
that community today. That is partly thanks to the State of Missouri. 
It is

[[Page S882]]

thanks to dedicated historic preservation groups, including the 
National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the Foundation for 
Restoration of Ste. Genevieve, Les Amis, and the Ste. Genevieve Chamber 
of Commerce. They have all worked hard to recognize the unique 
architecture they have there, some of which dates back to the late 18th 
century. More of it dates back to the years right after the turn of the 
19th century and the very early 1800s.
  This bill would allow significant things to happen in that park, 
including acquiring a standing visitors center that wouldn't happen 
otherwise.
  The bill also permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund. Many of those hunters and fishermen whom I mentioned 
earlier are, appropriately, big advocates of this Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, which allows property to be available to them and to 
be preserved through this fund in a way that doesn't allow it to be 
developed but still to be available to hunters, fishermen, 
birdwatchers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
  That fund is largely funded from Federal receipts from the offshore 
oil and gas leases. In 2018, $487 million was appropriated by the 
Congress to continue to maintain and enhance that fund. It supports 
Federal and State land acquisition, planning grants, and outdoor 
recreational programs. That has been a program that, for a long time 
now, the Federal Government has periodically extended. This is the 
first time that it would be permanently authorized.
  This bill reauthorizes the partners in Fish and Wildlife. It 
reauthorizes the National Geological Mapping Program, the Public Lands 
Corps program, and, for the first time, the Invasive Species Program at 
the Corps. The wildlife response activities, as it involves drones, are 
described here and defined in a new and better way.
  It also requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to declare the 
attorney fee payments they make and, maybe even more importantly, to 
declare publicly the awards they make to individuals and groups that 
have filed a civil case and are doing that under the Endangered Species 
Act. A lot of determinations have been made there that the public was 
not aware of and, frankly, in my view, that would not have been made if 
they had to stand the test of public scrutiny that they now have to 
stand under with this law.
  I want to congratulate Senator Murkowski and Senator Cantwell for 
bringing this bill to the floor. As we work hard now to do what is 
necessary, I look forward to passing it here, sending it back to the 
House, getting it on the President's desk, and doing these things that, 
in so many cases, have been years now in the making.
  This bill brings together about 100 separate pieces of legislation, 
each of which will make an important difference--no matter how small 
they are--in the community or the area that they will impact.
  With that, 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. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                       State of the Union Message

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, last night, most of America was tuned in 
to the President's State of the Union Address, and I attended it with 
most of my colleagues in the U.S. Senate.
  The State of the Union Address is an opportunity for the President, 
once each year, to speak directly not just to Congress but to the 
American people. The President had an opportunity last night to bring 
us together and to talk about ways we can solve the challenges facing 
our great Nation. Sadly, time and again, the President chose to use 
divisive language when he could have used unifying language.
  What is the state of the Union under this President?
  Affordable health insurance is at risk. Last night, President Trump 
said he wanted to protect healthcare for people with preexisting 
conditions like cancer, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. What he 
did not say was that at this very moment, his administration is trying 
to eliminate those protections for people with preexisting conditions. 
That is right. A lawsuit--filed by Republican attorneys general, led by 
the Texas Republican attorney general--is supported by the 
administration and the President, and it would declare the entire 
Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, including those provisions that 
protect people with preexisting conditions. The President can't stand 
before us and give a speech to the American people and say: I am all 
about preexisting conditions--and then tell his Attorney General to 
join in a lawsuit and try to eliminate that protection. That is exactly 
what is happening at this moment.
  Last night, President Trump said he wanted to help people with HIV/
AIDS and children with cancer. Who could argue with those goals? But 
people with HIV/AIDS and children with cancer are some of the people 
who stand to lose the most if President Trump sabotages the Affordable 
Care Act.
  Let me say a word about the childhood cancer issue. What a 
heartbreaking, tender moment it was to look up into the Gallery and see 
that little girl, that 7-year-old girl, who, fighting a brain tumor, 
was still out raising money for St. Jude's Hospital. It was beautiful, 
and she was just as pretty and loveable as any child can be as she 
applauded everyone and had what is clearly the night of her life to be 
at that joint session. I looked up there, and I am sure every parent 
and grandparent in the audience saw in her exactly what we love about 
little children.
  Let's be honest about what the President said last night. When he 
said he wanted to fight childhood cancer, he said how much he would 
spend. That is an important thing because your values in Congress and 
in the government are often measured by how much you are willing to 
invest in your values.
  The President suggested that he wanted to spend $500 million on 
childhood cancer. That is breathtaking, $500 million, until you listen 
to the rest of the sentence--over 10 years, so $50 million a year. To 
the outsider, that may seem like a significant amount of money, but in 
the context of medical research, it is not.
  The annual budget for the National Institutes of Health, the major 
medical research organization in the world, nears $35 billion; $50 
million against $35 billion pales in comparison. Look at this. Each 
year, the National Institutes of Health spends almost $500 million on 
childhood cancer. I want to make sure they pay more, spend more, 
research more.
  I thank Roy Blunt, the Senator from Missouri--Republican Senator from 
Missouri; Lamar Alexander, Republican Senator from Tennessee; and, of 
course, Patty Murray, our champion when it comes to medical research on 
the Democratic side. What they have done for 4 successive years is have 
a 5-percent real increase in medical research. That is amazing. That is 
almost 30 percent more being spent on medical research because this 
bipartisan team--which I am a cheerleader for--has done that kind of 
investment
  So when the President talks about, now he is going to tackle 
childhood cancer, I can't wait to see the next budget for the National 
Institutes of Health. It is Congress that has been pushing the 5-
percent real growth every year, not President Trump.
  So, yes, I am glad he is on board for childhood cancer. If we can 
help that little girl, and so many others like her each year who are 
battling cancer, we need to do it and put party aside, but $50 million 
a year is hardly a moonshot against cancer when it comes to children. 
If we are going to make a massive investment to make this work, it will 
take a lot more of an investment than that.
  For the past 2 years, President Trump has proposed cuts--cuts--in the 
National Institutes of Health. Mr. Mulvaney, who is now his Acting 
Chief of Staff, is pretty good as a budget cutter. He is not very good 
when it comes to investing in research. He suggested an 18-percent cut 
and a 6-percent cut to the very Agency responsible for medical research 
increases. Thank goodness, the team of Senators I mentioned to you 
earlier ignored the President's request and Mr. Mulvaney's directive to 
cut spending when it came to medical research. We need to make sure we 
invest in medical research for the future, finding new cures for 
diseases and conditions, including childhood cancer and HIV/AIDS.

[[Page S883]]

  The basic services of our government are at risk, unfortunately, 
despite the President's statement last night. You see, the President 
authored the longest government shutdown--35 days--in the history of 
the United States, and after he relented and allowed the government 
Agencies to go back into business and pay their employees--some 800,000 
Federal employees--he dangled again the possibility that next week he 
will do it all over again, shut down the government again, God forbid. 
We have seen enough of this.
  My guest last night was from Illinois. His name is Toby Hauck. Toby 
is head of the air traffic controllers in our State. We have almost 
1,000 or more across our State. When they reached a point of 35 days 
with no pay, the air traffic controllers announced they would have to 
slow down air traffic operations across the United States.
  I believe that was the decisive moment in the government shutdown. It 
was shortly thereafter that the President relented and said he will 
allow the government to reopen again. Now, he says if he doesn't get 
his way about his almighty wall, he is going to do it all over again. I 
hope he doesn't. For the good of this Nation, I hope he doesn't. For 
air traffic controllers, and for people who work at the Food and Drug 
Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Environmental 
Protection Agency, and so many other Agencies, not to mention TSA, I 
would hate to see them face another period of not being paid while 
being called into work.
  Our national security is at risk at this moment too. When you look 
for the reasoning behind it, you can see the President's view of 
foreign policy is part of the problem.
  I was glad to stand last night when the President recognized the 
heroes of World War II. Those three men--in their nineties, I am sure--
really were a part of the ``greatest generation.'' The sacrifices they 
made for America, the sacrifices they made to defeat the forces of 
authoritarianism in Germany, Italy, and Japan have left a better world. 
It also led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization 
after World War II. The nations that were victorious in World War II, 
led by the United States, came together and said: Our goal is never to 
have another World War; to stop a war from breaking out again in 
Europe, as it had twice in the last century. The North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization was the organization they chose to make sure we were 
prepared to fight communism or other forces that might lead to war. It 
has been dramatically successful not just in keeping the peace but in 
building a community of interest between the United States and Europe, 
which endures to this day.
  I don't disagree with the President. Those who are allies should pay 
their fair share for NATO, but, clearly, many of those countries in 
Europe today wonder if the United States still has an interest in their 
future, as it once did many years ago. That uncertainty, when it comes 
to dealing with Russia, is emphasized on a daily basis as we try to 
understand this President, who one day is admonishing the Russians for 
failing to live up to a nuclear arms treaty and the next day is 
ignoring Russia's cyber act of war as it tries to take over the 
election process in the United States. I can't follow where this 
President stands when it comes to Russia, and a lot of our NATO allies 
are curious, too, as to what he is trying to achieve.
  It isn't just NATO. Beyond that, we know the President walked away 
from this nuclear agreement with Iran. He talked about it last night. I 
couldn't disagree with the President's position more. When we had the 
major countries on Earth come together and devise a way with inspectors 
to make sure Iran did not develop a nuclear weapon, that made the 
Middle East safer; that made Israel safer. The President opposed it 
from the start. Despite his opposition, President Obama was able to get 
it through, approved in Congress, and it became the law of the land. 
When the reports came back, Iran was complying with the nuclear 
agreement. They weren't developing nuclear weapons. They were 
destroying centrifuges and other equipment that could lead them to 
develop a nuclear weapon. Unfortunately, the net result of it was 
destroyed when the President stepped away from this treaty. Iran still 
lives by its terms, but we don't know what tomorrow might bring.
  The nuclear arms race with Russia is on again because of their 
violation of a nuclear arms treaty that dates back to President Reagan. 
Instead of negotiation, we walked out and said we are just not going to 
live by it anymore. We need to stop a new arms race, and we need to 
engage China, as the President suggested last night, in that process.
  I also want to say the state of our Union sees our planet at risk. 
This President withdrew the United States from the Paris climate 
accord, an agreement signed--listen carefully--by every country in the 
world, but it doesn't include the United States. The rest of the 
world--those who are political foes and friends alike--came together 
and said: We have to do something to make sure this planet is loveable 
for our children and grandchildren but not President Trump. He walked 
away from that. As a consequence, the United States is not doing what 
it should to show leadership in this critical life-or-death issue.
  Finally, when it comes to America's confidence in our government, it 
has been shaken by a President who refuses to disclose his tax returns, 
refuses to be open about his business dealings around the United States 
and around the world, and, unfortunately, has seen a Cabinet riddled 
with corruption and conflicts of interest. We have never seen anything 
quite like this. In the 8 years of President Obama, there were no 
scandals that even came close to match what is happening under the 
Trump administration. Is it any wonder that people are skeptical about 
their leadership and their commitment to the common good as opposed to 
their own personal gain?
  The last point I will make is our economy. It is true, there are more 
jobs. We have had economic growth since President Obama brought us out 
of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and that growth and 
job creation is a good thing for America. I applaud it. I want to see 
it continue, but when we had a chance to rewrite the Tax Code in a way 
to help working families and those who are in the lower and middle-
income categories, this Congress and this President did just the 
opposite, creating massive tax breaks for the wealthiest people in 
America. I know it is part of the Republican playbook that if the rich 
can just get a little bit richer, America will be better off, but it is 
counterintuitive. Too many working families across the United States 
have seen their wages--their real wages--fall behind, even though 
productivity and profits in corporations have increased. We have to 
make sure this is a fair economy when it comes to our workers and our 
taxpayers. Unfortunately, the President's position on taxes has not 
helped that in any regard whatsoever.
  So last night's State of the Union Address, unfortunately, divided us 
instead of united us. It didn't point out the real challenges we face 
and need to deal with. I hope still that we can come together, 
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and the House, to deal with the 
major challenges it faces--the challenges we were elected to confront 
and deal with.

  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I never cease to be amazed how the 
politics here inside the beltway remind me of two ships passing in the 
night, where we can all be looking at exactly the same thing and 
describe it in such remarkably different ways.
  I have been amazed at the Democratic leader's negative comments about 
the President's speech last night, and I listened to comments of my 
friend the Democrat whip. They found virtually nothing to like about 
what the President had to say last night.
  So I was a little bit surprised to see a CBS News poll that indicates 
that 70 percent of the viewers approved of what they heard in President 
Trump's speech last night at the State of the Union, and 72 percent 
said they approved of President Trump's ideas on immigration, one of 
the most contentious and divisive issues that faces our country.
  One conclusion might be that it is because our Democratic colleagues 
are simply unwilling to do anything to

[[Page S884]]

work with President Trump and are determined to do everything they can 
in order to defeat him or that anything that he happens to be for they 
are reflexively against. That seemed to be what gave us the 35-day 
shutdown, where Nancy Pelosi said that building a physical barrier 
along the southwestern border was immoral, even though Democrats and 
Republicans had routinely voted for fencing, extending the hundreds of 
miles there in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and 2008. Barack Obama, 
Hillary Clinton and Senator Schumer, the Democratic leader, all voted 
for that. Now Nancy Pelosi woke up one morning and decided it was 
immoral to build any physical barrier at all along the southwestern 
border.
  I agree with those who say the real immorality here is to see the 
scourge of human trafficking, sex slavery, women and children being 
held against their will by the traffickers who transfer people up and 
across the southwestern border. What is really immoral is to stand by 
and do nothing and watch 70,000 Americans die of drug overdoses last 
year alone, with a significant amount of that due to opioid addiction, 
including the 90 percent of the heroin that comes into the United 
States from Mexico. To me, that is the immorality, not some fence or 
wall or pedestrian bridge or whatever the physical barrier may be.
  I agree with those who were polled in the CBS News poll who believe 
that what we heard last night from the President was a strong message 
in his second State of the Union address. Since President Trump took 
office 2 years ago, the American people have seen real results and a 
shot of adrenalin has been given to our economy, allowing millions of 
Americans to get back to work.
  Yes, our economy is booming. We have gotten our optimism and 
confidence back again. Wages are on the rise. People are getting to 
keep more of what they earn, and middle-class Americans are seeing 
their paychecks expand.
  We have heard the remarkable statistics that people who have 
disabilities are now reentering the workforce because there is such 
demand for workers that even people who previously weren't able to find 
work are now able to get that work.
  Yes, in addition to the low unemployment rate, we are seeing minority 
unemployment and African-American and Hispanic unemployment lower than 
it has ever been in recorded history. You would think that would be 
something that people would want to applaud on a bipartisan basis.
  But time and again, we saw our friends across the aisle last night 
sitting on their hands with a grim and sort of discontented look on 
their face. That is another reason why I think so many people believe 
that Washington, DC, and what happens here and the politics that take 
place here are completely removed and disconnected from their 
experience across the breadth of this country.
  We have done some pretty significant things in the last year 
together, on a bipartisan basis. We combatted the opioid crisis. We 
improved our criminal justice system just this last December by huge, 
overwhelming margins. We repealed taxes on low- and middle-class 
Americans, known as the ObamaCare individual mandate, punishing people 
simply because they could not afford the high premiums and deductibles 
of the so-called Affordable Care Act, and we restored much needed 
funding to our military in a still very dangerous world and provided an 
overdue pay raise for our troops.
  But President Trump wasn't there just to tout his accomplishments. He 
was there to assure the American people that we are not going to rest 
on our laurels. There is still work to be done, and we are eager to get 
moving. The President offered up some constructive ideas about what 
that might be: rebuilding America's infrastructure, making healthcare 
and prescription drugs more affordable, and, finally, eliminating the 
scourge of HIV over the next decade.
  I remember being at the dedication of the George Bush Library at SMU 
a few years ago, when they had all the living Presidents speaking at 
that dedication. President Jimmy Carter, surprisingly--to me, anyway--
applauded President George W. Bush for saving millions of lives in 
Africa as a result of the PEPFAR program, providing new, incredible 
drugs to help reduce and eliminate the scourge of HIV in Africa. The 
President now wants to do that in the United States, and I applaud him 
for it.
  To address these and other countless challenges before us, the 
President stressed the need for unity. As much as we would like to, 
nobody gets everything they want in Congress. In a country where 
democracy prevails, we know that means that we are going to have to 
negotiate and compromise, but there are 80-percent solutions that when 
we see them, we ought to grab them. Just turning on the news or social 
media, it is easy to think there is more that divides us than unites us 
as a country, but the President reminded us that citizens of goodwill 
share the same goal, and that is to build a stronger and better 
America.
  As the President said last night:

       There is a new opportunity in American politics, if only we 
     have the courage to seize it. Victory is not winning for our 
     party. Victory is winning for our country.

  I hope all of us will answer the President's call to work together to 
respond to the better angels of our nature and to build on the 
successes of the last 2 years for the benefit of all the American 
people.


                        Nomination of Neomi Rao

  Mr. President, yesterday, we had the Judiciary Committee hold a 
hearing to consider an important nomination, and that is of Neomi Rao 
to the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, what some have called the 
``second highest court in the land.'' This is the seat, of course, that 
has been vacated by the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. 
Supreme Court.
  Ms. Rao is currently the Administrator of the Office of Information 
and Regulatory Affairs, an obscure but important Agency--probably the 
most powerful Agency nobody has ever heard of here in Washington, DC. 
She was confirmed to that position on a bipartisan basis in 2017, and 
since taking the helm at OIRA, Agencies have reduced regulatory costs 
by more than $23 billion, which has been another spur to the American 
economy.
  Ms. Rao is currently an associate professor at the Antonin Scalia Law 
School at George Mason University and a leading scholar in the field of 
administrative law.
  Through her career, Ms. Rao has served in all three branches of the 
Federal Government. She clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas on the 
Supreme Court and Judge Harvie Wilkinson on the Fourth Circuit. She 
served as an Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to President 
George W. Bush, and she has also worked here in the Senate as a counsel 
for the then-chairman of the Judiciary Committee, our friend, Orrin 
Hatch.
  Suffice it to say that she has a vast understanding of the workings 
of the Federal Government, as well as the rulemaking process. In a 
court that frequently hears challenges to Federal regulations, her 
unique experience and knowledge of administrative law will be an 
incredibly valuable asset.
  Unsurprisingly, I am not the only one who holds that view. Two dozen 
former Supreme Court clerks who worked alongside Ms. Rao sent a letter 
to the Judiciary Committee touting her qualifications. They noted:

       Many of us have worked in government, at both federal and 
     state levels, some for Democrats and some for Republicans.

  They went on to say:

       While our professional and personal paths have thus 
     diverged, one of the things we have shared is admiration for 
     Neomi. We are confident she will serve our country well on 
     the D.C. Circuit.

  We have seen similar letters from her classmates at both Yale and the 
University of Chicago Law School, as well as from her former students.
  Adding to the list of her glowing recommendations, Ms. Rao has 
received a unanimous ``well qualified'' rating from the American Bar 
Association. My colleagues, Senator Schumer from New York and Senator 
Leahy from Vermont, once referred to this rating as ``the gold standard 
by which judicial candidates are judged.''
  But despite her outstanding qualifications, Ms. Rao has faced some 
unconvincing attacks by opponents of this administration. I am 
convinced that some of our colleagues would oppose any judicial nominee 
by this

[[Page S885]]

President just because they were nominated by President Trump.
  On Monday, the day before her hearing, I was surprised to see a 
headline from POLITICO. The story was entitled: ``Dems hope to draw 
blood from potential Trump SCOTUS pick.'' What they were referring to, 
I assume, is that Ms. Rao, as qualified as she is and nominated for the 
court of appeals, once confirmed, she could possibly in the future be a 
candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court. So the goal is to rough her up 
now, tarnish her reputation the best you can, in preparation for that 
potentiality in the future.
  This is not entirely surprising, but it is regrettable. Before we 
even had a chance to hear from the nominee and discuss her 
qualifications for a circuit court seat, some on the other side are 
sharpening their claws, and the special interests are unfairly trying 
to undermine her nomination. This war being waged against Ms. Rao is 
not because she is unqualified for the job, but it is because some fear 
her commitment to the rule of law and speculate, as I said, that 
someday she might be a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  A Wall Street Journal editor last week warned that Ms. Rao might get 
``Kavanaughed.'' That is a new verb. It used to be called to get 
``Borked,'' after Robert Bork. But of course, they said she could get 
``Kavanaughed'' because of her writings in college newspapers more than 
two decades ago. So the term ``Borked'' has now been supplanted by the 
term ``Kavanaughed'' as a description of the scorched earth tactics of 
the radical left.
  A young conservative at the time, her biweekly column for the Yale 
Herald was called ``Against the Current,'' and it challenged the 
politically correct, although poorly reasoned, views of some of her 
classmates at the liberal Ivy League school. I guess, when you consider 
what happened to Brett Kavanaugh, at least we moved on from high school 
yearbooks now to things that somebody has written in college. I don't 
know whether that represents progress or not.
  Ms. Rao has said repeatedly, however, that she no longer holds the 
same views she held more than 20 years ago. That is called growing up 
and maturing. In any event, she said she wouldn't substitute her 
personal views for the laws of Congress or the precedents of the 
Supreme Court. Of course, the flimsy suggestion is that these articles 
are enough to deny her a seat on the Federal bench. The left's attempt 
to block this qualified nominee by any means necessary reminds me of a 
comment made by Judge Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
  He noted that many members of the committee are taking our job of 
``advice and consent'' to mean ``search and destroy.'' We have before 
us a highly qualified nominee with an almost unparalleled understanding 
of administrative law. She has received positive remarks from the 
American Bar Association, the so-called gold standard for nominees. She 
enjoys high praise from former colleagues and students who represent 
both liberal and conservative viewpoints.
  I hope our colleagues can look objectively at these endorsements and 
all she has accomplished during her career rather than follow the 
radical voices down some rabbit trail. I believe Ms. Rao is 
exceptionally qualified for a seat on the DC Circuit Court, and I thank 
her for answering the call to serve despite the divisive political 
times in which we live.


                                 S. 47

  Mr. President, on a final matter, I am pleased that the Senate will 
begin consideration of the Natural Resources Management Act. This 
package contains more than 100 individual land bills that enjoy broad 
bipartisan support, with nearly 90 Senators cosponsoring various 
components. I believe the bill will create positive changes at the 
State, Federal, and local levels by improving public lands management 
and allowing for greater public use of America's beautiful landscapes.
  I have worked with my colleague Senator Cruz and members of the Texas 
delegation in the House to ensure that two bills we introduced last 
Congress were included.
  First, the Lake Fannin Recreation Area Conveyance Act would reduce 
the Federal estate in Texas and restore local control of more than 200 
acres in Fannin County. The residents of Fannin County know better than 
the Federal Government how to care for the land, and this will allow 
them to utilize this land for public recreation purposes.
  Also included is the Red River Gradient Boundary Survey Act, which 
will protect private property along the Red River, which separates 
Texas from Oklahoma. This will deliver certainty for Texas families who 
live and own land along the Red River that the Federal Government has 
no rightful claim to their property.
  I am glad we will have the opportunity to vote on this package, which 
will make responsible changes to Federal land management and benefit 
Texans.
  Mr. President, with that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Romney). The chair recognizes the Senator 
from Hawaii.


                        Nomination of Neomi Rao

  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, as a fellow member of the Judiciary 
Committee, along with my colleague from Texas who just spoke, it is not 
our job as members of this committee to cast aspersions on the motives 
of those of us who ask probing questions of judicial nominees for 
lifetime positions. Many of these nominees have very strongly held and 
long-held views on a number of issues that may come before them as 
judges, and the probing questions we ask go to whether they can 
separate their ideological and personal views when they are confronted 
with issues they have taken public positions on and whether they can be 
fair and objective and follow the rule of law. Those are the kinds of 
probing questions we ask.
  I hope that when my friend from Texas mentioned that some of us seem 
to--that many of us on this side of the aisle will not vote for any 
nominee from this President, I certainly hope he wasn't referring to me 
because I have, in fact, voted for a number of those nominees.


                                 S. 47

  Mr. President, having clarified that, I want to talk about the 
Natural Resources Management Act that is coming before us. This is a 
great example of what the Senate can accomplish when we come together 
on a bipartisan basis to get things done.
  Although we certainly have disagreements on energy and climate 
policy, a broad bipartisan consensus supports strengthening and 
expanding conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund--better known as LWCF--a program whose transformative impact is 
felt in every State in the country.
  Over the past 50 years, the LWCF has provided nearly $250 million in 
funding for Hawaii to protect some of its most cherished public spaces, 
including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hanalei National Wildlife 
Refuge, and the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. LWCF funding has 
also gone toward protecting State and private forests, as well as 
efforts to protect our native species and watersheds.
  I saw the benefits firsthand last April when I joined Keith Unger and 
his family for a blessing ceremony to mark the sale of the McCandless 
Ranch to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Financed through the LWCF, 
the $22 million purchase significantly expanded the Hakalau Forest 
National Wildlife Refuge on Hawaii island.
  After a slow, 45-minute ascent up the slopes of Mauna Loa, I saw a 
beautiful property that the McCandless family had faithfully stewarded 
over six generations and 100 years. According to Keith, the property's 
forests ``represent some of the most intact and pristine native forests 
in the state and provide habitat to many of Hawaii's unique flora and 
fauna.''
  During the time I spent with Keith and his family, their passion for 
the land and the plant and animal species that call it home was quite 
evident. Keith shared his family's efforts to conserve and rehabilitate 
the alala--the critically endangered Hawaiian crow. The McCandless 
Ranch was the last place the alala was seen in the wild.
  In the late 1990s, the McCandless Ranch entered into a conservation 
partnership with the Fish & Wildlife Service to protect the alala. When 
Keith decided to sell a portion of his land years ago, he wanted to 
find what he called a ``like minded buyer, someone who would continue 
our legacy of

[[Page S886]]

conservation and well managed forests. This was easier said than done. 
The majority of our buyer prospects were loggers or developers.'' Keith 
and McCandless Ranch began talking with the Fish & Wildlife Service 
about selling a portion of their property to add to the national 
wildlife refuge. Through his past experience working with the Agency, 
he ``knew that their conservation philosophy aligned with ours.''
  The Fish & Wildlife Service began seeking money to acquire the 
property in 2011 and made it their top priority for acquisition in the 
Pacific region for fiscal years 2013 through 2015. Funding to acquire 
the McCandless Ranch became possible because of the collaborative work 
to develop the State of Hawaii's ``Island Forests at Risk'' proposal. 
Developed through engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, 
``Island Forests at Risk'' was a comprehensive proposal to protect 
endangered or threatened species, safeguard water resources, improve 
ecosystems, and preserve Native Hawaiian cultural resources. This 
proposal included a number of land acquisitions to add to existing 
national parks and wildlife refuges in Hawaii, including the McCandless 
Ranch addition to Hakalau.
  In addition to Federal land management agencies such as the National 
Park Service, the Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Forest Service, 
``Island Forests at Risk'' incorporated input and perspectives from 
Hawaii's State agencies, such as the Department of Land and Natural 
Resources, local organizations, such as The Nature Conservancy Hawaii 
and The Trust for Public Land, and local landowners, such as Keith 
Unger with the McCandless Ranch.
  Beginning in fiscal year 2016, after many meetings between myself and 
the principals overseeing the LWCF proposals, Hawaii's land acquisition 
within ``Island Forests at Risk'' began to receive Federal funding. 
Between fiscal years 2016 and 2018, nearly $40 million was awarded to 
acquire land to add to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Haleakala 
National Park, and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.
  In addition to facilitating the purchase of land such as the 
McCandless Ranch, the LWCF also funds the Fish & Wildlife Service's 
Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. In Hawaii, we have 
over 500 threatened and endangered species--more than any other State. 
One-third of all endangered birds in the United States are found in 
Hawaii. LWCF funds are essential for protecting and reintroducing these 
species, including the alala.
  The LWCF also funds the Forest Legacy Program, which helps States and 
private owners protect and enhance forest habitats. The program has 
leveraged over $22 million of Federal funding for Hawaii's forests over 
the past 50 years.
  Most recently, the Forest Legacy Program helped facilitate the 
acquisition of the Helemano Wilderness Area on Oahu. This land includes 
high-quality native forests that are home to the endangered Hawaiian 
hoary bat and a watershed that is a primary source of drinking water 
for one-third of the people on Oahu.
  Program funding will facilitate invasive species' removal and 
reforestation. It will also provide public access to hunting and 
camping areas, which are limited on Oahu. Oahu is the island on which 
the majority of the people of Hawaii live. Eighty percent of the people 
live on Oahu.
  Forest protection and conservation are particularly important as we 
face the threat of catastrophic climate change. Protecting these lands 
and forests can help mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon 
dioxide, cooling the Earth, and regenerating our watersheds.
  Aside from helping mitigate climate change, the LWCF provides 
numerous downstream benefits to local economies. In 2003, for example, 
the LWCF funded the $22 million addition of Kahuku Ranch to Hawaii 
Volcanoes National Park--almost doubling the park's size.
  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a pillar of our tourism economy in 
Hawaii. It contributes nearly half a million dollars every day--or $166 
million annually--to the economy and attracts approximately 2 million 
visitors per year. That is just one park--Hawaii Volcanoes National 
Park.
  Aside from the LWCF, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has also 
benefited from programs and organizations like KUPU that educate and 
inspire youth to become stewards of our natural resources. KUPU 
provides hands-on training for youth in the areas of conservation, 
sustainability, and environmental education. It has also placed youth 
workers within various units of the National Park System in Hawaii to 
conduct trail repair, vegetation management, interpretation, et cetera.
  The 21st Century Conservation Service Corps bill included in the 
Natural Resources Management Act that will come before us supports 
programs like KUPU that seek to nurture the next generation of 
environmental stewards.
  In testimony before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee last 
Congress, KUPU CEO John Leong spoke to the transformative impact of 
participating in a conservation program. He cited two inspiring 
examples of Corps members who have gone on to do meaningful work in the 
environmental and conservation space. He shared the story of John Brito 
from Molokai, who was awarded the White House Champion of Change Award 
in the years following his participation in KUPU programming and who 
has since chosen a career in conservation. Another KUPU Corps 
participant, Justine Espiritu, recently helped to launch Honolulu's 
popular and revolutionary Biki bike share.
  More adults in Hawaii and across the country will have their own 
transformative experiences if we pass this legislation.
  The Natural Resources Management Act also includes legislation 
Senators Murkowski, Cantwell, and I passed last Congress to improve our 
country's capacity to monitor and respond to volcanic activity across 
the country.
  Last year, the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, HVO, was instrumental in 
studying and responding to the 3-month-long eruption of Kilaeua on the 
Big Island. The eruption devastated a number of communities, destroying 
more than 700 homes and displacing thousands of people, including 
United States Geological Survey staff and scientists who operated out 
of the HVO facility in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
  Over the coming months and years, impacted homes, farms, and even the 
observatory will need to be rebuilt.
  At the same time, it will be critically important to have the most 
updated monitoring and communications technology to alert and protect 
impacted communities from future events.
  Our legislation will unify and connect the Hawaiian Volcano 
Observatory with the other four observatories across the country into 
one national volcano early warning system.
  It will also create a volcano watch office that will operate 24 hours 
a day, 7 days a week, to provide continuous situational awareness of 
all active volcanos in the United States and its territories, including 
Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes on Hawaii island.
  Our legislation will also create a grant program for the research and 
development of emerging technologies for our volcano monitoring.
  During yesterday's cloture vote, the Natural Resources Management Act 
earned the support of 99 out of 100 Senators. I don't know what 
happened to that lone Senator, but we need to bring that person in. I 
am eager to vote on its final passage as soon as possible.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.


                     Fairness for Every Driver Act

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, today U.S. taxpayers are subsidizing the 
electric car industry. The cost to these taxpayers is billions of 
dollars, and the subsidies have lasted now for nearly 30 years.
  In 2008, Washington added a tax credit for purchases of electric 
vehicles. The market was very small at that time, and it was worth 
encouraging that market, but today the electric market for vehicles is 
well established. The auto industry no longer needs these pricey 
subsidies for electric vehicles, and I believe it is time to pull the 
plug on subsidies for electric vehicles.
  Leading manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, and 
Volkswagen, have announced plans to massively increase investment in 
the electric vehicle market. Global automakers are

[[Page S887]]

promoting electric car luxury brands, such as Bentley, Aston Martin, 
Maserati, Porsche, and Cadillac, but with these new electric vehicles 
coming to the market, the subsidy program is going to continue to run 
at an enormous cost to American taxpayers.
  Congress first passed legislation to provide subsidies for electric 
car buyers back in 1992. The purpose was to temporarily support a 
promising, environmentally friendly market. For decades now, Washington 
expanded this program of tax credits. At the same time, many States 
enacted similar subsidies.
  Between 2011 and 2017, electric car buyers received more than $4 
billion in Federal credits alone, costing taxpayers up to $7,500 for 
each vehicle. This program disproportionately subsidizes wealthy buyers 
because nearly 80 percent of the tax credits go to households earning 
at least $100,000 a year. Well, these car buyers don't need a taxpayer 
subsidy.
  The program has served its purpose, and I say that because today a 
million electric vehicles travel our highways. The global demand for 
electric vehicles is rising as well. Now nearly every automaker is 
entering the market. In fact, the U.S. Energy Information 
Administration projects that sales of light-duty electric vehicles will 
reach 4 million vehicles by 2025.
  So here is exhibit A. This past weekend was Super Bowl weekend. They 
had so many commercials, and it cost about $5 million to run an ad 
during the Super Bowl. Well, the automaker Audi ran a commercial saying 
that by 2025 one-third of their cars--one out of every three cars--will 
be an electric vehicle. So I use that as exhibit A to say this market 
is firmly established. As a matter of fact, this market is positioned 
for expansion--which means so will the cost of subsidies. I believe it 
is time to take taxpayers off the hook.
  I have introduced legislation, the Fairness for Every Driver Act, and 
it is to end the electric vehicle subsidy program. My legislation has 
three key goals; first is to the save taxpayers billions of dollars 
through the subsidy program; second is to help maintain our aging roads 
and bridges; and the third is to reduce wasteful Washington spending. 
According to the Manhattan Institute, ending this subsidy will save 
taxpayers an estimated $20 billion dollars--$20 billion.
  The electric car market can thrive without Washington subsidies. We 
see it is thriving. It is growing. Nearly every State now provides its 
own subsidies and added incentives.
  California even mandates the percentage of cars that must be zero 
emission. This category is almost exclusively electric vehicles. In 
2017, Californians purchased 95,000 electric vehicles. Now, residents 
in my home State of Wyoming, where distances are long and recharging 
stations are few, purchased only 51. Hard-working Wyoming taxpayers 
shouldn't have to subsidize wealthy California luxury car buyers.
  Ending the electric car subsidies isn't just about saving taxpayers 
dollars, it is about our shared responsibility to maintain our highway 
system. The highway trust fund is depleted. The highway trust fund pays 
for road and bridge projects. Its main source of funding is the Federal 
gas tax.
  Drivers of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles pay this tax every time 
they pull up and fill up at the pump. Electric car drivers never pay 
these fees. Although a Tesla puts as much strain on the highways as a 
Ford Focus, the Tesla driver pays next to nothing to fix the roads.
  Without congressional action, the highway trust fund will be 
exhausted by 2021. This legislation ensures all drivers pay their fair 
share to improve America's roads. It establishes an annual highway user 
fee for these alternative fuel vehicles. Comparable to the gas tax, 
this user fee will result in billions of dollars over the next decade 
to fund needed road projects.
  All drivers use the roads. All drivers should contribute to 
maintaining them. Electric cars are here to stay. The market is poised 
for growth, with or without the subsidies. Congress should pull the 
plug on this program. It is time to end this subsidy. It is time to 
stop wasting taxpayer dollars, and it is time to level the playing 
field for all drivers when it comes to repairing our roads and bridges.
  It is time to pass the Fairness for Every Driver Act.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I am delighted to follow on the floor the 
chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, who is now 
hastening for the exit before I can say nice things about him. I want 
to say he represents Wyoming. We have a place called Wyoming in 
Delaware just south of Dover--Camden Wyoming--and I go there every 
week, just as he goes home to Wyoming every week.
  His colleague from Wyoming is Mike Enzi, whom our new Presiding 
Officer, a former Governor, is well familiar with. Mike Enzi had 
something called the 80-20 rule, and the 80-20 rule goes something like 
this. I used to ask him: How do you get so much done with Ted Kennedy 
on the HELP Committee, that you now serve on, Mr. President, and he 
said: Ted and I agree on 80 percent of the stuff. We disagree on 20 
percent of the stuff. He said: Ted and I focus on the 80 percent where 
we agree and we set aside the other 20 percent to another day.
  So I want to just talk about the 80 percent Chairman Barrasso and I 
agree on and then maybe the 20 percent we can agree to disagree until 
another day. I appreciate your staying here, but you don't have to. I 
know you have better things to do than to listen to me.
  Something that is being lost in this conversation is, at least to 
this point in time, there is a reason we have a policy that encourages 
people to buy electric-powered vehicles. There is a reason we have a 
tax policy and other policies to encourage people to buy fuel-celled 
powered vehicles that are fueled by hydrogen. The reason why is because 
we have way too much carbon dioxide in the air, and it is creating 
great challenges for these young pages who are sitting down here at 
your feet, Mr. President. They have a planet to worry about. I will be 
around for maybe 30 years or more, but I will not be here in the 
Senate, I assure you, for 30 years or more. They are going to be around 
here for, gosh, 70, 80, 90 years or more, and they have to worry about 
this planet, and we have to worry about this planet for them and for 
our own kids and, eventually, hopefully, for my wife and me, our 
grandchildren.
  We want to make sure they have a planet to live on and to grow up on, 
and we have way too much carbon, and if we are not careful, it is going 
to continue to get worse rather than better.
  Here recently, just in the last several months, we have had 13 
Federal Agencies that have come together to say the situation is even 
more dire with respect to the threat of climate change, global warming, 
severe weather than we thought. A month or so before that, an arm, if 
you will, of the United Nations had a similar kind of report, and the 
forecast was equally daunting and really frightening.
  So the reason we are trying to encourage people to buy electric-
powered vehicles and to buy hydrogen-powered vehicles is to reduce 
carbon in the air.
  Why do we care about cars, trucks, vans, and their emissions? The 
largest source of carbon emissions in this country today is not coal-
fired utility plants. It is not cement plants. It is not our buildings. 
It is our vehicles, our mobile sources, and so that is why we focus on 
these issues.
  The question of whether we need tax incentives forever, permanently, 
for electric vehicles, I think you can argue we probably don't. The 
battery technology in this country and this world is getting better and 
better.
  I just want to say to the Presiding Officer who was from 
Massachusetts and was the Governor there for a number of years, there 
is a company there--and I think they are still in the Cambridge area--
A123 battery, and they are one of the earlier pioneers in battery 
technology for vehicles and others.
  My son actually was offered an internship there when he was at MIT 
one summer. So we have been interested in this industry for quite some 
time.
  I go to the Detroit Auto Show just about every year. People ask: Why 
do you go to the Detroit Auto Show? Up until about 6, 7, 8 years ago, 
Delaware built more cars, trucks, and vans per capita than any State in 
the Nation. Think about that. More cars, trucks, and vans per capita 
than any State in the Nation.

[[Page S888]]

  We had a Chrysler plant at one time--4,000 employees in Newark, DE, 
near the University of Delaware. We had a GM plant--4,000 employees at 
one time,--very close to Wilmington, DE. We lost them both, like that, 
at the bottom of the great recession when Chrysler and GM went into 
bankruptcy, which was a huge blow to the economy of a small State, as 
you can imagine.
  The reason I used to go to the auto show all the time in Detroit was 
so I would know whoever was running GM, I would know who was running 
Chrysler, so that if they ever thought about closing our plants, we 
would have somebody to call and to go see and say: You don't want to do 
that. We lost them both at the bottom of the great recession.
  The reason I tell that story is to explain why I have an interest in 
the Detroit Auto Show. Eleven years ago at the Detroit Auto Show, at 
the beginning of the auto show on Monday--it is about a 5-day event--
they have what they call the reveals, and they show all the new cars 
and the concept cars and everything, all the new technology. Eleven 
years ago, the car of the year was a Chevrolet Volt, V-o-l-t. The 
Chevrolet Volt is a classic hybrid. You get about 38 miles per gallon 
on a charge, and then it ran on gasoline for the rest of maybe 300 
miles. That was the car of the year, and they sold a number of them but 
not huge numbers--not huge numbers.
  Ten years later, about a year ago, the car of the year was the 
Chevrolet Bolt, B-o-l-t. The Chevrolet Bolt is a classic electric 
vehicle, and it gets about 140 miles--or it did at the time when it was 
debuted--about 140 miles on a charge, and now more than that, I think.
  When I was at the Detroit Auto Show last month, we saw electric-
powered vehicles from American car companies, Korean car companies, 
Chinese companies that get up to 250 miles per charge--250 miles per 
charge. That is encouraging. What it is going to do is encourage a lot 
of people who hadn't even thought about buying them to do that.
  One of the reasons folks are still reluctant to buy them is because 
when you drive around the country and you have your electric vehicle or 
a hydrogen-powered vehicle for a fuel cell, when you are driving 
around, you need a place to refuel and to recharge, and you can't take 
the time--well, I have 6 hours to recharge my battery. People don't 
want to do that. They might be willing to spend 30 minutes to do that 
and grab something to eat, but they want to be able to recharge their 
batteries conveniently. They may want to refuel with hydrogen 
conveniently, but we don't have nearly enough places around the 
country. We are trying to create new corridors, densely populated 
corridors, places to recharge batteries and to refuel hydrogen tanks, 
but we have a lot of work left to do.
  So you put that in sort of the mix. I think not just as Americans but 
as inhabitants of this planet we want to reduce carbon emissions from 
the largest source of carbon emissions on our planet--mobile sources.
  Among the incentives for that right now--I am looking for a new car.
  In my minivan, my Chrysler Town & Country, which I bought the year I 
stepped down as Governor, I just went over 498,000 miles this week. I 
promised my wife that I would buy a new vehicle when this one went over 
one-half million miles. I want it to be an electric vehicle, and I want 
it to have a great distance between charges. I want to make sure we 
have a lot of charging stations around, not just in Delaware but all 
over the country, so I can refuel that baby when I save enough money to 
buy it.
  We have this tax credit in place for the first people who buy these 
cars, and then, basically, we need to make sure we have an investment 
tax credit around for a good while, and maybe phase it out over time, 
in order to encourage people and businesses and so forth--like Wawa, 
for example, and other gasoline stations--so they will be putting in 
their own money to put in those hydrogen fueling stations and the 
electric charging stations.
  Why is this important? Here is why it is important. We used to 
measure our rainfall in the country by the inch; we now measure it by 
the foot. I was speaking with a farmer earlier today, and he told me 
that last year in Delaware we had twice as much rain as we normally 
have. They planted their crops in the spring. We raise a lot of 
soybeans and corn in Delaware. They planted a good crop in spring, and 
it was washed out. They came back after it dried out and planted a 
second crop again, and a couple weeks later, it got washed out from the 
rain, and again the third time. Finally, they just kind of gave up. 
They gave up, and that is not a good thing.
  We had wildfires out in the great Northwest--Northern California, 
Oregon, Washington, Montana--this last year that were bigger than my 
State of Delaware.
  Right here in Ellicott City, in Maryland, where they have--have you 
heard of the term ``100-year flood''? A 100-year flood is something 
that occurs about every 100 years. A 500-year flood is something you 
would expect to occur every 500 years. In Ellicott City, MD, in the 
last year or so, they had two 1,000-year floods. Think about that. 
These are floods that are supposed to occur every 1,000 years. They had 
two of them in 18 months. That is not good.
  It is not just Ellicott City; it happens in other places as well. We 
have had more category 5 hurricanes than we have ever seen. I think the 
last 4 years have been the hottest 4 years on our planet. We know that 
climate change is happening, and this is real. We see the vestiges 
every day, and we need to do something about it and continue to do more 
about it going forward.
  The good thing about it is, we can do more about it and create 
economic opportunity. We can reduce bad emissions from cars, trucks, 
and vans and create economic opportunities.
  The auto industry in this country has basically let it be known that 
they would like to see the regulation put in place by the Obama 
administration about 3 years or so ago on fuel efficiency standards for 
cars, trucks, and vans. The auto industry says: You know, we would like 
to have some flexibility on those standards so that the monitor 
requirement gets more stringent going forward under the Obama 
regulation. Other companies have said they would like to have greater 
flexibility in the near term, maybe 2021 to 2025, and the Obama 
regulation was silent after the year 2025. They said: We would be 
willing to handle greater, more rigorous standards going forward after 
2025, but give us flexibility in the near term.
  I think that is not a bad idea. They say that if we will do that, 
they can avoid a lawsuit with California and 12 other States that want 
to make sure California and other States have the ability to set their 
own fuel efficiency mileage requirements.
  The auto industry doesn't want to be involved in litigation with 
California or anybody else in the next 5 years. They ought to have 
certainty about the fuel efficiency standards their cars, trucks, and 
vans are going to have to meet in the years to come. The reason is that 
they need to make huge investments, and they need a long lead time for 
these investments. They are competing in an international marketplace 
against the rest of the world. The rest of the world is going to be 
willing to produce very efficient electric-powered and hydrogen-fueled 
cars, and they want to be able to compete with them.
  So here is a situation where we can do good things for our planet--
clean our air with respect to climate change--and we can do good things 
for the auto companies.
  (Mr. SCOTT of Florida assumed the Chair.)
  I see our new Presiding Officer, who just slipped into his seat. He 
used to be a Governor, and he used to do a lot of customer calls in 
Florida. I have done a lot of customer calls in Delaware, asking my 
businesses three questions: How are you doing? How are we doing? What 
can we do to help?
  When I ask the auto manufacturers what we can do to help, they say: 
Don't get rid of the electric vehicle credit. The idea of phasing it 
out over time might be OK--not overnight but over time
  The other thing is to make sure we put in place investment tax 
credits for fueling stations for hydrogen and charging stations for 
electricity.
  The current administration does not take the threat of climate change 
and severe weather as seriously as the rest of us. In my State we see 
it every day. Delaware--which, you know, may be 70,

[[Page S889]]

80 miles to our east--is the second smallest State. I like to say it is 
the 49th largest State in America. But we are sinking, and the seas 
around us are rising. If you go down the east coast as far as Florida, 
you will find that in Florida, especially southern Florida, they have 
similar kinds of problems and concerns. This is real.
  What should we do about it? Well, the current administration should 
not lead a fight, in my judgment, to get rid of the current regulations 
that I described earlier and put in its place a regulation that 
basically says there will be little to no increase in fuel efficiency 
standards as we go forward. I just don't think that is smart, and, in 
the auto industry, that is not what they are asking for. They are 
asking for near-term flexibility, longer term certainty, and more 
rigorous standards. They think that would be good for their bottom 
line, and they could sell more vehicles.
  We had a committee hearing yesterday--actually a markup and business 
meeting in the Environment and Public Works Committee for the 
nomination of Andrew Wheeler to be the Administrator of the EPA. We 
haven't had a Senate-confirmed Administrator for just over--about 1 
year, maybe a little more than 1 year.
  Scott Pruitt was the first EPA Administrator for this 
administration--not a friend to the environment and someone who turned 
out, I think, to be ethically corrupt. He is gone, and Andrew Wheeler 
is the Acting Administrator; he was the assistant administrator. He has 
been nominated by the President to be the Administrator for the EPA.
  I didn't realize this a couple months ago, but when somebody is in a 
position like this, when they are the assistant administrator--in this 
case the EPA--and the person who leaves as the Administrator leaves a 
vacancy, the President can appoint the assistant administrator as the 
Acting Administrator. It is kind of like a promotion but in an acting 
form. That is good for 210 days. Sometimes you may have a situation in 
which someone is not the assistant administrator of the EPA or an 
Agency but is just plucked out of the air by the President and plopped 
in as the Acting Administrator. That person doesn't have 210 days--a 
period in which they can stay there and do the job as Acting 
Administrator. Andrew Wheeler does. For all intents and purposes he 
will be the Administrator in an acting capacity for 210 days.
  So we are saying to the administration, to our colleagues on the 
Environment and Public Works Committee, there is no real need to rush 
through the nomination until we resolve our differences in a couple of 
areas, and one of those areas deals with emissions from mobile sources, 
the greatest source of carbon in our air.
  Another issue we have a lot of interest in--the automobile industry 
does; so does the utility industry; so does the Chamber of Commerce--is 
a regulation from the last administration that was actually promulgated 
in 2012. It is called MATS, mercury and air toxics standards. The 
mercury and toxics standards regulation, basically put in place in 
2012, says to the utility industry: You have to reduce your emissions 
of mercury by 2050.
  Why do we care about mercury emissions? Because if you are a pregnant 
woman and you ingest fish with large amounts of mercury, you may do 
serious damage to your unborn child. It can also do serious damage to 
the life of the woman, but the real concern is brain damage for unborn 
children because of high levels of ingestion of mercury by pregnant 
women of childbearing age.
  We are not talking about something that affects 100 or 1,000 women a 
year. We are not talking about tens of thousands but literally hundreds 
of thousands of people who are at risk. So we have in place a MATS 
mercury and air toxics rule. It was adopted in 2012. The utility 
companies initially said: Well, we don't like that. We don't want to do 
that.
  Guess what. They did--and at one-third of the cost they expected. It 
was implemented more quickly than they expected, and the health 
benefits are greater than they expected.
  Now the utility industry, including the rural electric co-ops, 
including their trade association for utilities, chamber of commerce, 
National Association of Manufacturers, a whole host of environmental 
groups and clean air groups--everybody said: Well, we know this MATS 
rule, the mercury and air toxics rule we are familiar with, and we are 
complying with it. It is OK. Leave it alone.
  The current administration wants to take some steps that would really 
undermine the ability to uphold that 2012 regulation in a court of law. 
They are saying they are not doing that, but actually that is the 
effect of what they are trying to do.
  In order to move expeditiously on the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to 
be the Administrator of EPA, we want to make clear that the mercury and 
air toxics standards rule does not go away. We are going to comply with 
what the industry has asked us to do.
  The third front I will mention is HFCs--we are really good with 
acronyms--hydrofluorocarbons. We have refrigerants, and we all have air 
conditioning in our cars and homes--most of us. We used to use 
perfluorocarbons in the cooling systems, in our refrigerator systems. 
They have created real problems for the environment and the atmosphere.
  The follow-on product was called HFCs, hydrofluorocarbons. We found 
this was better for the atmosphere, better for the environment--but not 
great--and American companies, American technologies have come up with 
another product to replace HFC. That form of technology is American-
owned, and American technology creates American jobs.
  We need to adopt and pass a treaty in this country called the Kigali 
treaty, which makes it clear that the current HFCs, which are coolants 
for refrigerants, are still a problem, but they can be phased out, and 
this new technology by American companies can be phased in to take its 
place. This involves job creation in this country. We are not talking 
about a couple of hundred jobs; we are talking about thousands of 
jobs--good-paying jobs in this country, bringing economic value to 
American companies--not measured in millions of dollars but billions of 
dollars every year. It is there for us.
  This is a situation in which American technology can do good things 
for our environment, for our atmosphere, for our air, and at the same 
time create jobs, American jobs using American technology.
  I might mention one more, something called--and I just want to say 
that the EPA is standing in the way of the administration's submitting 
for our approval in the Senate this treaty called the Kigali treaty. 
Apparently, the State Department wants to submit the treaty for our 
consideration. The Commerce Department wants to submit the treaty for 
our administration, and the EPA is standing in the way. I don't really 
understand why, but before we move expeditiously on the nomination of 
Mr. Wheeler, the administration should say: OK, we are not messing with 
the treaty.
  Most of the administration thinks they ought to submit it, and, 
frankly, so do the rest of us. It is one of those deals, again, that is 
good for environment, good for public health, creates jobs--win-win.
  The last one I want to mention is PFOA. I wish I can tell you what it 
stands for, but it is a long name. One of the things we found out is 
that in places where we have military bases--where we have firefighting 
equipment for planes, air crashes and so forth, and we use that type of 
firefighting equipment--sometimes the water runs off the tarmac, off 
the runways and the parking areas, and it gets into groundwater and 
creates problems with our drinking water. These are substances that are 
known carcinogens, and we have seen in places around the country--
including places like West Virginia, where I was born, and North 
Carolina, where my wife is from--this is a real problem. We are not 
saying--nobody is saying, at least to my knowledge--that it ought to be 
completely banned. This family of elements, the PFAS and PFOA--we are 
not asking for a ban; we just want a clean water drinking standard 
established by the EPA. That is what we want in 2 years--not today, not 
tomorrow, but in 2 years, creating clean water so that people can be 
protected.
  Those are four things we are asking for the administration to take 
action on and to make clear. To the extent it

[[Page S890]]

does, we are then prepared to move forward on the nomination, right 
here, for Andrew Wheeler. My guess is, he will get confirmed, but I 
think it is important for us to address those particular issues.
  At the end of the day, we will improve the quality of life for the 
people in our country. At the same time, we will create jobs. That is a 
great combination. It is a real win-win. We can seize the day and win 
on behalf of our young people and our not so young people. At the same 
time, we can create a lot of jobs and enhance economic activity. We 
ought to do that. If we do, the EPA will end up with an Administrator--
one who will be a lot better than the last one. Let's do that.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I yield to my friend, the chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator 
Grassley.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa is recognized.


                      Remembering Ernie Fitzgerald

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I pay tribute to an extraordinary 
American. I stand here today to pay my respects to a World War II 
veteran who dedicated his life to public service.
  After serving his country in uniform in the Navy, this gentleman from 
Alabama served the American people as a civil servant. For more than 
four decades, he was a tenacious watchdog who chased down fraud, waste, 
and abuse at the Pentagon. A hero for taxpayers and a war hero against 
waste, Ernie Fitzgerald recently passed away at the age of 92. I, 
today, sing the unsung praises of this remarkable champion of 
whistleblowers.
  He was a fiercely independent watchdog. He was one of the rarest of 
breeds. He brought an uncommon devotion to his work. He prevailed 
against the muzzles of many of his handlers whom he called ``over-
dogs.'' They used to try and silence him. He prevailed over those 
muzzles--it didn't work--because when Ernie sniffed wrongdoing, he 
would sink his teeth in and never let go. He was a bulldog. His 
superiors squirreled him away in a farflung cubbyhole at the Pentagon. 
Basically, they exiled him to the Pentagon's attic. The big dogs at the 
Pentagon didn't want this watchdog's work seeing the light of day.
  As Americans, we are blessed to have constitutional protections for 
freedom of speech and freedom of the press. These beacons of liberty 
worked to Ernie's advantage. Our system of checks and balances also 
helped to make sure wrongdoing was never swept under the rug.
  Throughout my public service, I have paid close attention when I have 
gotten a whiff of wrongdoing. I have learned that a pervasive stench is 
often not far behind. As a lifelong Iowa farmer, I know what a load of 
manure really smells like. So when I ran into a bit of institutional 
gridlock in my efforts to freeze the defense budget back in the early 
eighties, I wanted to talk to a pair of analysts at the Pentagon. Their 
efforts exposed the Federal money hose that showered unbridled tax 
dollars over bloated defense contracts.
  Ernie Fitzgerald and a fellow named Chuck Spinney aren't household 
names, of course, but their crusade to fix the fiscal mess at the 
Department of Defense has inspired this Senator to conduct robust 
oversight over the last four decades. Ernie's body of work has helped 
me to derail the Pentagon's gravy train.
  Do you remember back three decades ago--and there are probably 
examples today--when there were $450 hammers, $640 toilet seats, and 
$7,600 coffee pots? Those were real items, and those were real figures. 
Those pricetags for spare parts gave taxpayers sticker shock and ought 
to have for good reason. Americans know the price of everyday household 
items. They sure know what a hammer or a toilet seat costs at their 
local hardware stores.
  As Ernie Fitzgerald explained, Americans aren't expected to know what 
a B-1 bomber or an F-15 fighter should cost, but when you add all of 
that up, you get a boondoggle of ``overpriced spare parts flying in 
close formation.'' Those were Ernie's words. Ernie's fiscal forensics 
uncovered mountains of mismatched receipts and invoice gaps that left 
taxpayers footing the tab for rampant waste and unchecked spending 
sprees. Ernie Fitzgerald was a sleuth for truth. His quest gave 
Pentagon officials heartburn. His work gave me the leverage I needed in 
Congress to enact an across-the-board spending freeze, but I am getting 
a bit ahead of Ernie's story.
  For the record, Arthur Ernest Fitzgerald was a patriot, a 
whistleblower, and a watchdog. He had a heart of gold, but it was as 
tough as nails. He outmaneuvered top military brass by getting down to 
brass tacks. He was a gentleman's gentleman who had a big southern 
drawl and a bone-deep genetic allegiance to the truth. In fact, his 
allegiance to the truth was a big bone of contention between him and 
those on the highest rungs of power of the U.S. Government--from the 
President of the United States to the most highly decorated brass in 
the U.S. military. Ernie had uncommon courage to stand up for the truth 
at great expense to his career. He put integrity and pride above saving 
his own hide. He spoke truth to the powers that be, and he lost his job 
for doing it.
  As I mentioned, our acquaintance started during my first term in the 
Senate. I was awfully wet behind the ears. I was a dyed-in-the-wool 
fiscal conservative. At the same time, I was cutting my teeth as a 
congressional watchdog. Ernie Fitzgerald, at that time, was on a short 
leash at the Pentagon in his having been rehired--can you believe 
this?--under court order after having been fired for having blown the 
whistle on fiscal mismanagement at the Pentagon. That is how 
whistleblowers were treated then, and they are treated the same way 
today.
  I remind my colleagues and the American people where Ernie's 
earnestness for truth landed him. The 37th President of the United 
States referred to Ernie Fitzgerald in those infamous Watergate tapes. 
You know who that was--Nixon. In Ernie Fitzgerald's quoting of Nixon, 
Nixon said: ``Get rid of that SOB.'' Those marching orders were 
delivered after Ernie spilled the beans at a Joint Economic Committee 
hearing on November 13, 1968. He testified before Senator Proxmire's 
panel that taxpayers were on the hook for a $2 billion cost overrun on 
the C-5 aircraft. For this transgression of truth-telling, he was fired 
by the Air Force.

  Let me be clear. Ernie Fitzgerald lost his job for committing the 
truth, and that reveals the big-time risk whistleblowers face even 
today if they step forward to expose wrongdoing.
  Thanks to Ernie's characteristic resilience, sheer determination, and 
our system of checks and balances, Ernie got his job back. He filed a 
lawsuit that made its way through the courts. It took a dozen years for 
him to get his job back. On June 15, 1982, Ernie returned to work at 
the Pentagon but in the attic of the Pentagon. That was 14 years after 
he testified about the C-5 and its $2 billion cost overrun. Although 
Ernie held a very senior position in the Air Force--with the job title 
of Management Systems Deputy--at the Pentagon, he was kept at arm's 
length. His job description was spelled out in a court order, but he 
was never allowed to do that job that the court said he ought to have 
had.
  That is how whistleblowers are treated. You ignore them. You put them 
in the attic. They go nuts. He was treated as an outcast, as I am sure 
I am demonstrating to you. He was snubbed by his superiors and was left 
to his own devices to make a difference.
  Once again, the genius of our system of checks and balances came into 
play. Ernie was not snubbed by this U.S. Senator. In fact, we 
discovered we shared a bone-deep genetic aversion to waste. Like many 
Midwesterners, I don't like to waste time or money. That is why, as a 
U.S. Senator, I try to keep a tight-fisted grip on the Federal purse 
strings. It is why, as a taxpayer watchdog, I take oversight work very 
seriously. Every Member of Congress has a constitutional duty to 
conduct oversight--every Member of Congress. We need the eyes and ears 
of whistleblowers to root out the truth. That is why I want to hear 
what whistleblowers have to say.
  As a new Senator in a Republican administration, the Reagan 
administration, I previously mentioned my proposal to enact a yearly 
across-the-board budget freeze. An across-the-board spending freeze 
guarantees shared sacrifice. I wanted to make sure it could be done 
without harming national security, so I needed answers from people who 
could tell the truth. I called on the Secretary of Defense at that 
time, Weinberger, and asked if I

[[Page S891]]

could talk to a Pentagon budget analyst named Chuck Spinney. I was 
told, yes, he could come to my office.
  It turns out the Pentagon didn't want Chuck Spinney, a civil servant, 
briefing me. At that time, I had an orange Chevette, so I jumped in it 
and drove from the Capitol over to the Pentagon. Even then, Chuck 
Spinney was not allowed to see me. As I watched the Pentagon disappear 
in my rearview mirror, I thought the Pentagon was making a mistake, 
though I didn't realize the publicity blunder it would turn out to be. 
What I did know was that one way or another, this Senator was going to 
talk to that civil servant, Mr. Spinney, whom the Pentagon didn't want 
me to talk to.
  Six weeks later, Chuck Spinney testified before a standing-room-only 
joint hearing of the Senate's Budget and Armed Services Committees. It 
was held in the ornate Russell caucus room. Chuck Spinney exposed the 
mismanaged fiscal mess at the Department of Defense. The Pentagon was 
front-loading the budget, effectively stuffing 10 pounds of manure into 
a 5-pound sack. The following Monday, Chuck Spinney's photo was on the 
cover of TIME magazine.
  The next time I wanted more answers about ongoing fiscal 
mismanagement at the Defense Department, I took a second road trip, in 
my orange Chevette, to the Pentagon. This time, I wanted Mr. Ernie 
Fitzgerald to testify before my subcommittee. Needless to say, the 
Pentagon didn't roll out the red carpet for me, but there were about 50 
members of the press crammed into Ernie's attic cubbyhole to witness 
this U.S. Senator handing Ernie Fitzgerald a subpoena.

  Courageous truthtellers can make all the difference, and Ernie was 
such a courageous truthteller. Ernie's evidence showed that contracting 
waste was bloating defense budgets and not beefing up military 
readiness. Instead, they were padding contractor profits at taxpayers' 
expense.
  Ernie Fitzgerald's pursuit for truth is one of the primary reasons I 
also worked to strengthen whistleblower protections. What I like to 
call committing the truth often comes with a steep price.
  Whistleblowers, like Ernie Fitzgerald, put their jobs, their 
livelihoods, and their reputations on the line. The pressure in this 
bureaucracy and in this government to ``go along to get along'' is 
entrenched in a culture in both the public and private sectors, but, of 
course, it is a way of life in the Pentagon.
  In the late 1990s, I borrowed Ernie for a couple of years to work in 
my Senate office. He was assigned as an Air Force representative and 
expert who worked side by side with my staff. Together, we investigated 
vendor payments and bookkeeping, particularly in the Defense Finance 
and Accounting Services. This was in their accounts payable operations. 
It was tedious and time-consuming work, but Ernie Fitzgerald's 
unwavering work ethic was up to that task to restore the public trust.
  Ernie Fitzgerald never minced words. He attributed lax procurement 
rules and, of course, cronyism as the reasons the taxpayers were being 
fleeced, and he was bound and determined to stop these shenanigans. As 
Ernie once said, ``government officials, from the majestic office of 
the president to the lowest, sleaziest procurement office, lie 
routinely and with impunity in the defense of the system.''
  In 1998, Ernie testified at a congressional hearing I conducted to 
examine two audits freshly prepared by what was then called the General 
Accounting Office. The hearing was called ``License to Steal: 
Administrative Oversight of Financial Controls at the Department of 
Defense.''
  The audits revealed nonexistent internal financial controls. 
Basically, the Defense Department's bookkeeping system was on auto 
pilot. It allowed for a freewheeling spending spree. The absence of 
basic financial controls fostered fraud, outright theft, and 
mismanagement of tax dollars. It was a story of rinse and repeat. 
Costly accounting errors were masked by a fundamentally flawed payment 
system that can't be audited, even today.
  Working from within this bureaucratic behemoth, Ernie Fitzgerald 
devoted his life to exposing the abuse of power within the military-
industrial complex. Outsized, but not outmatched, Ernie Fitzgerald 
evokes the image of David versus Goliath. At the height of the Cold 
War, he helped to freeze a galactic defense buildup and shielded 
taxpayers from massive, unaccountable expenditures.
  America owes a debt of gratitude to this now-deceased Ernie 
Fitzgerald and to the brave work of whistleblowers who will follow in 
Ernie Fitzgerald's legendary footsteps. These courageous truthtellers 
risk everything to shed light on wrongdoing.
  Ever since I met Ernie Fitzgerald and came to know the bureaucratic 
stonewalling that he fought against, I have worked to empower and 
protect whistleblowers. Transparency brings accountability.
  Since passage of the bipartisan Grassley-Berman updates to the False 
Claims Act way back in 1986, the Abraham Lincoln-era antifraud tool is 
credited with recovering nearly $60 billion back into the Federal 
Treasury, and they are still counting, at an average of about $3 to $4 
billion a year. The Department of Justice has called it the 
government's single, most effective antifraud weapon that it has in its 
arsenal. I am told my amendments effectively deter hundreds of billions 
of dollars of fraudulent activity.
  As long as I am in this Senate, I will continue to work to keep the 
False Claims Act razor sharp and to strengthen whistleblower 
protections. I will always remember the good work of Ernie Fitzgerald 
and lots of others like him who kept their nose to the grindstone to do 
simply what is right.
  Ernie Fitzgerald's long march for the truth teaches us that it 
requires constant vigilance to weed out a deep-rooted culture of 
cronyism, from the military-industrial complex to Big Pharma and 
elsewhere.
  As cofounder of the Senate Whistleblower Protection Caucus, I will 
work to see that the mission of truthtellers is protected for 
generations to come. I will continue to work to strengthen sunshine 
laws, whistleblower protections, and enforcement of the Inspectors 
General Act.
  The inspector general of the Justice Department called whistleblowers 
the ``lifeblood'' of his organization's work. I completely agree.
  I will long remember the genteel southern drawl and the charm of my 
friend Ernie Fitzgerald. I am glad I was able to visit him in person at 
the Sunrise Nursing Home in Falls Church, VA. He leaves behind a legacy 
of truth that ought to encourage every American to stand up for what is 
right and what is just.
  Like many whistleblowers, Ernie Fitzgerald took the road less 
traveled. In the words of Robert Frost, ``that has made all the 
difference.''
  In closing, Barbara and I extend our condolences to Ernie's peers, 
friends, and family members. I bid this faithful public servant a fond 
farewell with a Scripture message that he shared with me from time to 
time. He understood that when the going got tough, the tough got going. 
To my departed brother in Christ, may the words of John 8:32 carry him 
to life everlasting: ``You shall know the truth, and the truth shall 
make you free.''
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Wyoming.


                       State of the Union Message

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, last night we heard from the President 
of the United States in his State of the Union Address. What I heard 
and what I know, living in Wyoming and traveling across my State and 
across the country--is that the state of the union is strong. It is 
strong, and we are strong militarily, economically, and politically.
  It is so fascinating to see this growth that we have in our economy. 
I remember just a few years ago when the new normal for economic growth 
was stuck below 2 percent. People said: That is where we are going to 
be.
  Well, as a result of tax cuts and regulatory relief, we have had an 
incredible amount of economic growth over the last couple of years. 
Really, the economy is sizzling, firing on all cylinders, fueled by the 
tax cuts that are allowing people to keep more of their hard-earned 
money, and wages going up because there are so many jobs being created.
  Talking about the good news for the American people, I just noted 
that there were 3 million new jobs added

[[Page S892]]

since Republicans passed tax reform a year ago. That is 3 million new 
jobs across the country.
  Somebody might say: Well, maybe it is slowing down. It is actually 
the opposite. This past month, there were 304,000 new jobs. The 
experts, who thought they had a handle on the economy, said: Well, 
maybe there are 160,000 new jobs.
  There were 304,000, not just 160,000, as it was estimated. There have 
been 3 million new jobs since we passed tax reform for the American 
people.
  The other thing that is so interesting with the numbers is the 
increase in manufacturing jobs. I remember President Obama saying that 
you would need a magic wand to bring back manufacturing jobs to the 
country. Well, the number of manufacturing jobs that were brought back 
to the country or that were created in the country last year was the 
largest growth in over 20 years.
  Now, what about wages? Wages are up significantly, compared to a year 
ago. People are noting not only an increase in their salaries but also 
an increase in their take-home pay because the amount of taxes taken 
out are going down as well. So you have higher salaries, lower taxes, 
and the amount of money that people are able to keep is going up as 
well.
  More people are working today than at any time in our history as a 
nation. There are 157 million American workers, and workers are in the 
driver's seat. There are more jobs available than there are people to 
fill those jobs.
  I am so happy with what President Trump has done with regulations to 
try to eliminate these burdensome, expensive, and time-consuming 
regulations that made it harder to create jobs, harder to keep jobs 
going, and harder to keep people in their jobs.
  I was most pleased to see the President's focus and discussion on 
energy. Energy is called the master resource. It is called the master 
resource for a reason. It fuels our economy, it fuels our military, and 
it fuels our Nation.
  We now have, through innovation and investment, enough energy 
resources that we have now become a net exporter of energy. People 
around the country and around the world look to us as a source of 
energy--crude oil, natural gas, and liquefied natural gas. There are 
opportunities for people around the country--coal from my home State of 
Wyoming. We are a net energy exporter, and it is because of the 
President's focus on allowing us to use the resources that we have been 
so blessed with in this great country.
  As for this talk about 3 million new jobs, in Wyoming alone there 
have been 8,000 more jobs created since we passed tax reform.
  The Wall Street Journal editorial board's headline this past Friday, 
February 1, was this: ``Sorry for the Good News.'' It said: ``This is 
what happens when the political class takes its boot off of the neck of 
private business, as the GOP Congress and Trump administration did for 
two years.''
  That is why we have all this good news. Taxes are lower. Regulations 
are much more reasonable. They are not the kind of troublesome 
regulations that choked our economy.
  I think now it is time to refocus, as the President talked about--a 
time for greatness in America, to refocus our attention on economic 
expansion.
  When I hear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, they have 
taken a hard left turn, way off to the liberal side, to the radical 
side of things, proposing socialist programs that increase taxes, that 
increase government spending, and that apply burdensome new 
regulations. That would put a tremendous brake on the economy and the 
economic growth we have seen. These hard-left policies will kill job 
creation and cripple the economy.
  Americans want more freedom, more opportunities, more economic 
prosperity, and better paying jobs. That is what this is all about. 
That is what we heard last night in the State of the Union. That is why 
the state of our Union is strong, with a strong, healthy, and growing 
economy. It is time--and I agreed with President Trump last night--to 
unite, time to work together and keep the country moving forward with 
commonsense policies that improve Americans' everyday lives.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.


                       State of the Union Message

  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, today I rise to speak on the strength of 
the U.S. economy, and I would like to thank my colleagues who have 
joined me here on the floor to address this very important topic.
  As President Trump said in last night's State of the Union, ``Our 
economy is thriving like never before.''
  Last Friday's January jobs report was a continued good-news story, 
with 304,000 new jobs added just last month. It is also an example of 
how Republican pro-growth policies are getting people back to work. Job 
growth was strong across most sectors, including manufacturing, where 
261,000 jobs were created over the last year.
  Just as important, this economic growth has put upward pressure on 
wages, with the average hourly pay increasing by 3.2 percent from last 
year. Lower wage workers saw some of the biggest increases. This means 
more money in your pockets to put food on the table and provide for 
growing families.
  The tight labor market has drawn workers off of the sidelines, and 
that is a good thing. Folks who have been unemployed or underemployed 
are finding work, and those seeking to shift to a better paying job or 
one with better hours that is closer to home are finding those 
opportunities.
  Nowhere is the power of this job creation more evident than in my 
home State of Iowa, where the 2.4-percent unemployment rate is the 
lowest in the Nation. There are 64,000-plus jobs currently open in 
Iowa. Over 1.6 million Iowans are employed, which is the most in our 
State's history. Every time I meet with an employer from my home State, 
they tell me about the challenges of filling jobs in order to keep 
their businesses running. They want to hire people, and business is 
booming. Under Republican pro-growth policies and the leadership of 
Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa's economy continues to expand, and wages 
are increasing across the State.
  I also agree with the President that ``no one has benefited more from 
our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the new 
jobs created in the last year.'' Women are also becoming small business 
owners at increasing rates across Iowa. These ``girl bosses'' are 
creating jobs and helping Iowa's economy to rumble. Yes, ladies, Iowa 
is the place to be.
  The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has allowed Iowa's job creators to invest 
in their workers and grow their businesses. For example, a business in 
Dyersville, IA, invested 75 percent of its tax savings last year into 
its employees, giving $800 bonuses to the 162 full-time workers. One of 
its employees said she planned to put her bonus into her retirement 
fund--an investment in her future.
  Furthermore, cutting redtape and scaling back burdensome regulations 
have led to a surge in small business optimism. A December survey from 
the Iowa Association of Business and Industry found that 97 percent of 
respondents planned to make capital expenditures this quarter, while a 
majority expected to add new employees and 72 percent expected to see 
sales growth.
  Recent achievements--from opioid abuse efforts to criminal justice 
reform--will help transform our job pool to help fill the needs of 
today and tomorrow, helping people get back on their feet and back to 
work.
  I also know that millions of working mothers, fathers, grandparents, 
and families across the country struggle with the realities of 
childbirth and infant care while working hard to raise strong and 
healthy families. It is long overdue that Congress not just have a 
conversation on these matters but that we get serious about a path 
forward on a paid leave approach. I am glad the President highlighted 
this issue in the State of the Union last night. Some are fortunate 
enough to have paid benefits provided by their employers, but many 
families in America do not have that luxury.
  For the past few months, I have been working on this issue with my 
colleague, Senator Mike Lee. Helping families is an issue we can all 
agree on, and I hope we can have a productive dialogue on how Congress 
can best help in a way that keeps our economy strong.
  Simply put, when Washington gives power back to Main Street, American 
families win.

[[Page S893]]

  Sadly, over the last few weeks, I have heard my Democratic colleagues 
propose a Green New Deal that would raise energy prices for consumers 
by as much as $3,800 per family a year and proposals to impose tax 
rates as high as 70 percent. If allowed to move forward, these 
proposals would reverse some of the economic progress we have seen. 
They would change our Nation's direction from freedom, innovation, and 
job facilitation to more heavyhanded regulation. This far-left agenda 
offers little for small businesses seeking to grow to bigger ones, 
families seeking to increase their take-home pay, or workers trying to 
climb the ladder to full economic success. That is not a future that 
looks bright to me, and it isn't one that gives Americans a path toward 
prosperity.
  I am very proud of our achievements, and I am thankful for the 
leadership of the President and folks willing to work together to get 
our economy moving. There is more work yet to be done, and I look 
forward to seeing our economy continue to achieve new heights.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. BRAUN. Mr. President, I rise today in one of the hottest economic 
environments our Nation has ever seen. The last time American 
unemployment was this low, the Beatles were at the top of the charts 
and I was a starting forward on the JV basketball team back in Jasper, 
IN. The last time U.S. stocks had a January as good as this last month, 
the Hoosiers were on their way to a national championship under Coach 
Bobby Knight.
  Last night, President Trump outlined the incredible economic success 
and progress our country has made in the last 2 years, and it is times 
like these that drive home the point that we all already know: Business 
is the engine that drives the American economy, not government. 
Entrepreneurs--from titans of large industry to mostly Main Street 
entrepreneurs--are the force that generates prosperity, not 
politicians. America's true power is held in our local chambers of 
commerce, not in the Chambers of Congress. Our best wisdom comes from 
the factory floor, not the Senate floor.
  Businesspeople understand what makes the economy tick, and with 
someone like President Trump at the helm, the true potential of the 
American economy is being unleashed. GDP and job growth numbers have 
never been like this.
  During the Obama administration, these numbers were scoffed at as not 
being attainable. Now it is happening. We have to keep that in mind. 
President Obama offered us 8 years of stagnation and cynicism. 
President Trump has offered optimism, bold leadership, and the deep 
understanding of what makes a business boom that could only come from 
the experience of somebody from the real world, an entrepreneur.
  Like the President, I built my life in business over many years. I 
started back in 1981 with just a few employees. Our original office was 
in a mobile home on a rock lot--a very hardscrabble existence. I think 
of all the time invested. For 17 years, we hovered as a small business. 
Patience and persistence underlie everything that really works in this 
economy and in this world. We lived within our means, and we reinvested 
in our own success in good times and bad. And this story is being 
played out across the country.
  President Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the most significant pro-
growth legislation that has come out of Washington since I have been 
paying attention. As I said, that has been 37 years. For my company, 
the Trump tax cuts were the biggest capital infusion we had ever seen.
  Like the President, I have been blessed in that three of my four kids 
work in my business. When tax reform was signed into law, I believe 
back in December of 2017, one of my sons came to me and said: Dad, we 
need to take these savings--we are sending less to DC. Let's do 
something with them.
  I said: What did you have in mind?
  He said: I would like to share these benefits with our employees.
  I said: Well, particularly, what did you have in mind?
  He said: I would like to raise 401(k) benefits. I would like to start 
quarterly bonuses.
  We always did an end-of-the-year bonus.
  He said: I would like to cut family healthcare costs by $1,400 per 
family.
  We had held them flat for 9 years.
  I said: Wow, I wish that had been my idea. I like it.
  He said: The other thing is, I would like to put in the company memo 
that this is due to tax reform.
  I entered politics long ago--I was on a school board for 10 years, 3 
years as a state legislator--and I knew you had to be careful when you 
mixed business with a political statement. I asked him to talk it over 
with his brother, who I thought might want to just give the benefits 
and not make a political point out of it.
  He said: Dad, you are the CEO. What do you think?
  I said: Put in the company memo that this is due to tax reform. As 
conservatives, we need to be proud of it.
  That is exactly what we did.
  Regulatory cuts and tax reform are never going to make headlines, but 
Americans are seeing the results in real dollars and cents in their 
paychecks and their 401(k)s. It is clear that when government gets out 
of the way of enterprisers, the rising tide of prosperity lifts all 
ships.
  If my fellow Republicans and conservatives ever want to win again, it 
is incumbent upon us to make the case that this economy is due to the 
fact that the administration and the Republican Congress created the 
stage for this economic boom that we are within. It is also incumbent 
upon employers across the country to make sure you share these benefits 
with your employees. If that is not done, we are going to waste an 
opportunity.
  The reason this is so critical is that there are a lot of folks who 
have a different point of view. The Democrats have a proposal that 
basically is this: more taxes, more debt, probably more regulations, 
and taking steps down the pathway, I think, to a socialist catastrophe 
like the daily horrors we see in Venezuela, embracing a failed ideology 
that has not worked anywhere else.
  Promising free college, free insurance, and never being able to pay 
for it may be a good way to win votes in 2020, but it is no way to run 
a country. Sooner or later, somebody gets stuck with the bill. If we 
fail to confront this creeping threat to our free market principles 
now, our children and grandchildren will pay dearly.
  Again, it is so incumbent upon us to take this opportunity and run 
with it as business owners so we can put it into practice where 
everybody is feeling the benefits beyond what they have so far. If we 
want to keep President Trump's economic rally going, create more 
opportunity for Americans to live their America dream, and make the 
clear choice between pro-growth policy and a dissent toward socialist 
calamity, more business people, as well, need to step out of their 
comfort zone and run.
  Try to become a State legislator. Get involved. Run for Congress. Run 
for the Senate.
  I did it out of nowhere, when nobody thought it could be done. If we 
want our system to work the way it should when it works best for all, 
we need to make sure that message is getting heard. Let's keep it 
booming. Let's keep this thing going. Participate. Get involved.
  I yield back my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Braun). The Senator from Georgia.


                            Economic Growth

  Mr. PERDUE. Mr. President, it is my honor to join my colleagues, 
including the Presiding Officer, in this brief colloquy about the 
current economic results that the President's agenda is achieving. I 
would like to put it in perspective though.
  Just a little bit over 2 years ago, we had suffered through 8 years 
of probably the most onerous increase in big government regulatory 
reform that we had ever seen. These regulations were so onerous that 
they basically shut down free enterprise for a decade. Add to that a 
tax environment that was not competitive with the rest of the world, 
and the result was that we had the lowest economic growth in United 
States' history--1.6 to 1.9 percent, depending on whom you believe. 
Regardless of that detail, it was absolutely uncontested that it was 
the lowest economic growth in the United States' history. There was no 
secret behind that.
  Actually, in 2009, when the last administration started, the economy 
was

[[Page S894]]

at a low point because of the financial crisis. So they started from a 
very low point to start with. It is more draconian than the numbers 
indicate.
  Two weeks after President Trump was elected, I was included in a 
leadership meeting in the White House to talk about how we are going to 
achieve the President's No. 1 objective, and that is to grow the 
economy. He said during the election and, indeed, during that meeting, 
that job one was to grow the economy. We had to put people back to 
work, get enthusiasm back, and get confidence in the U.S. economy again 
and in each other. In that meeting, we outlined, basically, what was 
required to do that. President Trump gave us his vision of what we had 
to do.
  We wanted to work on regulations, energy, taxes, and, indeed, pull 
back on as much of the Dodd-Frank bill as we could. Those things in the 
first year were intended to get the economy jump-started. Then, in the 
second year, we were supposed to talk about immigration, 
infrastructure, and trade.
  History will show that in the first year, more than 870 regulations 
were reversed. We unleashed our energy potential in two major projects: 
ANWR in Alaska and the Keystone Pipeline. Those benefits are even yet 
to come.
  Thirdly, we passed a historic tax bill that made the United States 
more competitive with the rest of the world. We lowered the corporate 
tax rate. We changed the individual tax structure. We eliminated the 
repatriation tax.
  The next thing was so important. We actually passed a bipartisan bill 
that pulled back on the most draconian parts of the Dodd-Frank bill. 
The Dodd-Frank bill was a knee-jerk reaction from the financial crisis 
in 2008 and 2009. It really did put regulations in place that pulled 
back on the banking industry in many ways. Some of those, we might 
argue, were required. Certainly, on the money banks in New York, some 
things were needed. I would argue that not the full breadth of what 
Dodd-Frank did, but that is an argument for another day.
  Last year, we got 17 of my Democratic colleagues in this body to 
agree that a minor adjustment in the Dodd-Frank bill would make a 
tremendous difference for small community banks and regional banks. We 
did that. We passed that with 17 votes from the other side. What this 
did in aggregate was to free up somewhere around $6 trillion back in 
the economy. That is real money when you are talking about a $21 
trillion economy. Not all of that has flowed back in yet.
  Here is what has happened. There is $2 trillion on the Russell 1000 
balance sheets. These are our largest public companies, and they had 
the largest balance sheets in their history. They had about $2 trillion 
on their balance sheets.
  Second, we had about $2 trillion on bank balance sheets of community 
banks and regional banks because of Dodd-Frank. Estimates were $3 
trillion overseas in unrepatriated U.S. profits. What we have done in 
the last 2 years is fundamentally remove the roadblocks for that 
capital to flow back into the United States.
  What are we seeing? Just the initial blush of regulatory reform 
pumped up CEO confidence and consumer confidence to 30-year highs. We 
saw that in the first 6 months of 2017. What happened after that was 
that consumers started to react, employers started to react, and 
capital started to flow. The free enterprise system started to breathe 
again after you took the jackboots of an oversized Federal Government 
off the throat of free enterprise.
  We just heard the Presiding Officer's story about a small business. 
Those are multiplied by the thousands across our country. This isn't 
just about big business, as you and I well know. It is about individual 
enterprise. It is flowing again after a decade of being absent.
  I am also proud to tell you that if you look at what the economy is 
doing right now--honestly, I am just a business guy, but I can back 
this up with economic realities--these facts are not debatable. This is 
the greatest economic turnaround in the United States' history. We are 
growing about a little more than twice the rate as we did in the past 
decade.

  We created 5.3 million new jobs. Median income is the highest in U.S. 
history. At the same time, unemployment is at the lowest it has been in 
50 years in total. African-American, Asian American, and Hispanic-
American unemployment is the lowest ever measured. By any measure, this 
economic turnaround proves that what we believe in actually works. If 
you get big government out of the way and let the free enterprise 
system work, capitalism can breathe again, and this is what happens.
  Are we going to have a steady rise in a consistent 3.5 percent, 4 
percent growth? No, this is free enterprise. This is capitalism. What 
happens is we form capital. We have an idea for a product or a service, 
and we develop that. We get a customer. We make a transaction. Cash 
flows, and we reinvest that. This is what capitalism is. Capitalism is 
not Big Government getting all of your tax money, turning around, and 
redistributing that out because that absolutely shuts down free 
enterprise. As we know, free enterprise is the best economic system we 
have yet devised on the face of the Earth.
  I am embarrassed that the President of the United States--I never 
thought I would see this day, on the floor of the House of 
Representatives in a joint session of Congress, in the State of the 
Union Address--had to feel like he had to make the statement that the 
United States would never be a socialist country. The fact that it is 
even debated is so embarrassing to me. It is unbelievable that this 
could even be proper as a viable alternative, given the history of the 
last 100 years alone.
  If you go back to the 1970s and the great experiment that the Soviet 
Union was going to bring egalitarianism to the world, well, that 
failed. We have failed social states today in Venezuela, Cuba, and 
others. The Soviet Union today in Russia is a mere shadow of its former 
self because they played the game wrong. It may take decades before 
that can be rebuilt.
  There can be no debate that freedom is what America is about. Our 
forefathers and foremothers fought and died to make sure that we would 
always have the liberty of the free enterprise system. That is what we 
are enjoying right now. That is what we are visibly witnessing before 
our very eyes today. As we go into a Presidential cycle in 2020, I hope 
that we have enough sense as a country to see that as the issue that we 
ought to be debating.
  Yes, we have problems. Our debt is a serious threat to our own 
national security. It is the No. 1 threat to this continued economic 
boom we are all talking about. We have $21 trillion of debt. What is 
worse than that is that over the next 10 years, no matter what we do in 
terms of discretionary budget, Congress will add another $10 trillion 
to the debt unless we do something to save Social Security, Medicare, 
and Medicaid. It is as simple as that.
  We are actually spending about the same or a little bit less than we 
were in 2009 in terms of discretionary spending. That is less than one-
third of what we spend as a Federal Government. The mandatory side of 
that equation never gets debated in this body. It is automatic--
mandatory. It is an automatic withdrawal, like a house payment, car 
payment, or insurance payment in a private business.
  There is no doubt in my mind that we can solve every one of these. 
America is not bankrupt. We have more assets than we have liabilities. 
We have all the wherewithal in the world to solve our long-term debt 
problem. The rest of the world knows that. That is why they are still 
buying our corporate bonds and treasuries. I have never been more 
optimistic about the future of our country for my children and my 
children's children, but we have to deal with this Federal debt. 
Growing the economy, as President Trump said 2 years ago, was the first 
step toward doing that, but we have to get serious about dealing and 
saving the trust funds for Social Security and Medicare. That doesn't 
mean cutting them. It means finding a viable financing way to make them 
viable indefinitely. There are so many ways to do that.
  I will close with this. It seems to me that what is at stake here is 
the very Republic that we are talking about. What are we going to be in 
the next 100 years? I would submit to you that the evidence is before 
us right now that one thing we have to be in order to protect the 
freedom of our country is to remain committed to the free enterprise 
system that we all have built this

[[Page S895]]

economic boom upon that has been the greatest economic boom since World 
War II and in the history of humankind.
  I implore both sides here to put the political differences aside, and 
let's get to funding this government on time, which this Congress has 
only done four times in the last 44 years. Congress has actually shut 
the government down, including this last one, 21 times.
  This is totally unacceptable and unnecessary. I think that with a 
bipartisan approach, we know there are so many places of agreement that 
we can begin to do that, and I ask for everybody's forbearance and 
patience and willingness to engage in a bipartisan way to actually deal 
with some of these life-threatening issues we see before us.
  As we do that, I hope we can end the debate once and for all about 
what really works here--lower taxes, less regulation, and certainly you 
have to have controls to make sure we have a level playing field for 
everybody in the United States, but this onerous, top-down-driven, 
controlling Big Government policy does not work. We proved that in the 
last decade and in other decades in the last 100 years.
  It is an honor to be in the U.S. Senate. It is an honor to be an 
American. I never took that for granted, having lived outside of the 
United States. I can promise the Members of this body that what we have 
right now is not a false positive. What we have is evidence that 
capitalism works, the free enterprise system works. If we want to 
protect our liberty, we have to continue to develop that system.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, like several of my colleagues today, 
under the leadership of my colleague from Iowa, Senator Ernst, we come 
to the floor to discuss the benefits of the tax cut of 14 months ago. 
Congress then passed historic tax legislation that fundamentally 
reformed our Tax Code and provided tax relief to middle-income 
Americans and to job creators. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as it is 
called, made good on our commitment to provide significant tax relief 
to middle-income taxpayers while making the Tax Code simpler, fairer, 
and, of course, pro-growth oriented.
  Thanks to a near doubling of the standard deduction, millions of 
taxpayers are discovering right now, as they file their taxes, they can 
pay less without spending hours and hours sifting through receipts and 
extra forms, all because the standard deduction is doubled.
  Middle-income taxpayers can also expect to see a significant 
reduction in their tax bill from last year. For example, an Iowa family 
of four, with a State's median income of around $73,000, stands to see 
their tax bill cut by more than half, or approximately $2,000. This is 
real relief that began appearing in many taxpayers' paychecks at the 
start of 2018.
  Given this, the best way for taxpayers to see how tax reform affects 
their bottom line is to compare this year's tax return with last year's 
tax return, rather than on the size of their refund. At the end of the 
day, the vast majority of taxpayers will see that less of their hard-
earned money is coming to Washington for 535 Members of Congress to 
decide how it will be spent. Of course, those of us making that 
decision, 535 of us, would have less economic impact than 150 million 
taxpayers with more money to decide how to spend or save--how to spend 
it or how to save it. That would enhance our income, creating jobs, 
much more than Washington disposing of that same amount of money.
  It responds to the animal spirits of the free market system--willing 
buyer and willing seller. This tax release stems from many pro-family 
and pro-middle-income tax provisions in the law. The law also enacted 
much needed tax relief for important job creators. It provides a very 
significant deduction on business income for small businesses, 
effectively lowering their top tax rate to under 30 percent, in many 
cases.
  This bill corrects an injustice that has existed for decades; that 
there has never been recognition of the small business person who files 
an individual tax form compared to a corporate tax form. Small 
businesses never had equity like they should.
  Small businesses, down to the smallest family-owned corner store and 
family farmer, are benefiting from that provision. Additionally, the 
law lowered the statutory corporate rate down from the highest in the 
developed world to 21 percent. The previous corporate tax rate was 
putting American companies at a very competitive disadvantage globally 
and consequently costing American jobs.
  Just as important, the law put in place immediate expensing for the 
depreciation of equipment that businesses of all sizes and shapes would 
invest in. As a result, job creators will have every incentive to 
invest back into their business and expand operations here at home.
  Nearly as soon as the tax cut was signed into law, its positive 
effects began to be felt throughout the economy. Hundreds of companies 
began announcing bonuses, pay raises, higher retirement contributions, 
new hiring, and increased investment. This included numerous businesses 
in Iowa. Utility companies across the country also responded by passing 
along their tax savings to their customers in the form of lower 
electric gas and water bills. Higher take-home pay, bonuses for 
employers, and reduced utility bills were all important benefits of the 
tax cut.
  While the tax cuts and reforms have only been in effect for a little 
over a year, the economic signs point toward it having its intended 
effects. In 2018, the economy grew at 3.1 percent--the highest growth 
rate since 2005. Wages have risen at the fastest pace in nearly a 
decade. Nearly 3 million jobs have been created since the passage of 
tax reform, including more than 15,000 new jobs in Iowa alone. 
Unemployment rates for Hispanic and African-American workers have hit 
alltime lows.
  For the first time on record, the number of job openings has exceeded 
job seekers for 9 straight months. Small business optimism is at near-
record highs, and growth in business investment has been more than 
twice the rate it was during the sluggish Obama economy.
  All of this good economic news points toward continued economic 
growth moving forward. This is key to sustainable, long-term wage 
growth, which is the most powerful anti-poverty measure that exists. 
Thanks to the tax cuts and the reform, America is open for business, 
and the economy is booming--all to the benefit of individuals and 
families in Iowa and every State.
  Of course, all of this good economic news is no reason for us to 
become complacent. Over the next 2 years, I look forward to working 
with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to build on the success 
of tax reform. I say that willingness to work with my colleagues both 
from the standpoint of being an individual Senator from the State of 
Iowa as well as being chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The majority whip
  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, in last night's State of the Union Address, 
the President highlighted the strength of the economy. After years of 
stagnation under the Obama administration, our economy has come roaring 
back, thanks in substantial part to Republican economic policies.
  After the Presidential election 2 years ago, Republicans made it our 
mission to get our economy going again. We cut excessive regulations, 
and we passed a historic comprehensive reform of our outdated Tax Code.
  The Tax Code plays a huge role in the health of our economy. It helps 
determine how much money individuals and families have to spend and 
save. It helps to determine whether a small business can expand and 
hire. It helps determine whether larger businesses hire, invest, and 
stay in the United States.
  A small business owner facing a huge tax bill is highly unlikely to 
be able to expand their business or to hire a new employee. A larger 
business is going to find it hard to create jobs or improve benefits 
for employees if it is struggling to stay competitive against foreign 
businesses paying much less in taxes. A larger business is unlikely to 
keep jobs and investment in the United States if the Tax Code makes it 
vastly more expensive to hire American workers.

[[Page S896]]

  Before we passed tax reform a year ago in December, our Tax Code was 
not helping our economy. It was taking too much money from American 
families, and it was making it harder for businesses, large and small, 
to create jobs, increase wages, and grow. That is why, after months of 
work, we passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
  This legislation cut tax rates for American families, doubled the 
child tax credit, and nearly doubled the standard deduction. It lowered 
tax rates across the board for owners of small- and medium-sized 
businesses, farms, and ranches. It lowered our Nation's massive 
corporate tax rate, which up until January 1 of last year was the 
highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. It expanded business 
owners' ability to recover the cost of investments they make in their 
businesses, which frees up cash they can reinvest in their operations 
and in their workers. It brought the U.S. international tax system into 
the 21st century so American businesses are not operating at a 
competitive disadvantage next to their foreign counterparts.
  Our goal with this bill was simple. We wanted to make life better for 
the American people; we wanted to let Americans keep more of their 
hard-earned money; and we wanted to spur economic growth to give 
workers access to good jobs, better wages, and more opportunities.
  I am proud to report that our policies are working. The economy grew 
at a robust 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2018. January marked 
the 11th straight month that unemployment has been at or below 4 
percent. That is the longest streak in nearly five decades.
  In 2018, for the first time ever, the number of job openings 
outnumbered the number of job seekers, and 2018 saw the most impressive 
job growth in the manufacturing industry since 1997. Wage growth has 
accelerated. Wages have now been growing at a rate of 3 percent or 
greater for 6 straight months. The last time wage growth reached this 
level was in 2009--a decade ago. Median household income is at an 
alltime inflation-adjusted record of $61,372, and on and on.
  Continuing with something that is working is usually a good strategy. 
If your economic policies are working, continuing them is a pretty 
logical thing to do.
  Democrats apparently have a different opinion. Instead of continuing 
the policies that are producing economic growth and opportunities for 
American workers, they want to end them. Instead of reducing taxes, 
they want to raise taxes. Instead of getting government out of your 
way, they want to put government in charge of your healthcare, your 
electricity options, and more.
  I wish I were joking, but Democrats are increasingly uniting around 
policies that would not only undo the progress our economy has made but 
would damage our economy for the long term.
  One of the most dangerous proposals is the so-called Medicare for All 
proposal, which would abolish our current system of employer-sponsored 
private insurance and replace it with government-run healthcare--paid 
for on the backs of the middle class. The cost for this program would 
be staggering, an estimated $32 trillion over the next decade. That is 
equivalent to the entire Federal discretionary budget more than two 
times over.
  Doubling the amount of individual and corporate income taxes 
collected would still not be enough to pay for the mammoth costs of 
this plan. Doubling all the revenue collected from income taxes in this 
country on the individual and business side would not be enough to pay 
for the mammoth costs of this plan.
  Passing any version of Medicare for All would lead to stratospheric 
tax hikes for Americans in addition to the loss of their employer-
sponsored insurance.
  Then, of course, there is the so-called Green New Deal, which could 
raise Americans' energy costs by more than $3,000 a year. I don't know 
what families Democrats are talking to, but I have a hard time thinking 
of working families who can afford to spend $3,000 more each year on 
their energy bills.
  Then there are the plain old tax hikes--like a proposal to raise the 
top marginal tax rate to 70 percent, a rate we haven't seen since 1965. 
It would be a tax hike not only on individuals but on small- and 
medium-sized businesses as well.
  Take the House Democrats' proposal to substantially increase the 
corporate tax rate. They want to raise the corporate tax rate 40 
percent on businesses from what it is today. Before the passage of tax 
reform, America's global companies faced the highest corporate tax rate 
in the developed world. That put American businesses at a serious 
disadvantage on the global stage, which, in turn, put American workers 
at a disadvantage.
  Since we lowered the corporate rate, we have seen economic growth, 
money returning to the United States, and new benefits and 
opportunities for American workers.
  It is difficult to understand what would possess Democrats to 
jeopardize economic growth and opportunities for American workers by 
hiking the corporate rate again. Right after we lowered it to get more 
competitive internationally, they are talking about raising it 40 
percent.
  I said before, I wish I were joking about some of the Democrats' 
outrageous proposals. In addition to the money Democrats would be 
taking directly out of Americans' pockets to pay for their programs, it 
would also be permanently damaging to economic growth. If Democrats 
succeed in passing proposals like Medicare for All, Americans will be 
facing a future not just of higher taxes but of lower wages, fewer 
jobs, and diminished opportunities.
  Republicans are going to do everything we can to ensure that doesn't 
happen. We will continue pushing for policies that will create jobs and 
increase wages, build on the progress we have made in the last couple 
of years. We will continue pushing for policies that expand 
opportunities for workers, that increase access to good jobs and to 
fulfilling careers, and we will continue pushing for policies that 
lower the cost of living, including the cost of healthcare and 
prescription drugs. We will continue pushing for policies that help 
hard-working families keep more of their income and save for education 
and retirement. We are committed to giving every American access to a 
future of freedom, opportunity, and security.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. UDALL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                                 S. 47

  Mr. UDALL. Mr. President, thank you for the recognition.
  I rise to express my strong support for the bipartisan public lands 
package. This legislation, which puts together over 100 public lands, 
natural resources, and water bills, protects and expands our Nation's 
lands and strengthens our local economies.
  This sweeping package shows the country the tremendous amount that 
can be accomplished when both parties in Congress roll up their sleeves 
and work together toward a common goal.
  While there are certainly other measures I wish we had included in 
this package, overall, this bill can pass both Chambers on strong 
bipartisan votes. I am looking forward to this Congress showing its 
strong support for keeping public lands in public hands and protecting 
them for future generations.
  I am particularly proud of provisions in this package that I have 
championed for years to benefit my home State of New Mexico, starting 
with permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  The Land and Water Conservation Fund is our Nation's most successful 
conservation program and is extremely popular with the American people. 
Yet Congress has consistently underfunded it and failed to make it 
permanent. I have been fighting for years for full funding and 
permanent reauthorization. The public lands package does just 
that. This was a law championed by my father in 1965 while he was 
Secretary of the Interior. I have been proud to carry the torch and 
work to make the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent. In New 
Mexico

[[Page S897]]

alone, over 1,200 local projects have been supported by the LWCF since 
it began in 1965.

  Over the last 2 years, the President has proposed essentially 
eliminating the LWCF, but in a major step forward, the Senate package 
permanently reauthorizes the program and provides annual funding with 
at least $900 million--all from offshore oil and gas leases and other 
revenue streams that don't come from taxpayer dollars. Giving the Land 
and Water Conservation Fund permanent authorization is a monumental win 
for our entire Nation. I hope that soon we can secure robust mandatory 
funding as well. Until then, I will continue to fight, along with my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle, to ensure that this program 
receives significant funding each year in the appropriations process.
  The lands package includes my Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks 
Conservation Act, cosponsored by Senator Heinrich. Senator Heinrich and 
I have been fighting to protect this rugged, beautiful part of southern 
New Mexico for years. In 2014, President Obama used our legislation as 
the basis for his Executive order to create the Organ Mountains-Desert 
Peaks National Monument.
  The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks area has contained protected 
wilderness study areas since the 1980s and 1990s. It is high time to 
make these study areas permanent wilderness. Senator Heinrich and I 
have worked closely with all stakeholders--ranchers, conservationists, 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and many others--to bring these 
lands into 10 permanent wilderness areas. Our bill, S. 441, places 
approximately 240,000 acres into wilderness while it releases 
approximately 30,000 acres so that the Border Patrol has the 
flexibility that is necessary to keep the border secure. The Border 
Patrol concerns have been addressed, as have the interests of grazing 
leaseholders, who will be able to continue to graze their cattle.
  The areas targeted for protection showcase sky island mountains, 
native Chihuahuan Desert grasslands, caves, unique lava flows, 
limestone cliffs, and winding canyons. As you just heard, the 
landscapes for designation are tremendously varied. Here is a photo of 
one that depicts the Organ Mountains. What a magnificent range.
  Under the 1964 Wilderness Act, ``wilderness'' is ``an area where the 
earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man 
himself is a visitor who does not remain.'' The 10 areas for 
designation in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks should remain 
untrammeled, and they deserve the special protection that 
``wilderness'' designation confers.
  Like the wilderness study areas in our newest national monument to 
the south, Senator Heinrich and I have been working for years to 
designate two wilderness study areas in our newest national monument to 
the north as ``wilderness.'' The 13,000-acre Cerro del Yuta and the 
8,000-acre Rio San Antonio study areas within the Rio Grande del Norte 
National Monument are equally deserving of ``wilderness'' status. The 
centerpiece of Cerro del Yuta is Ute Mountain, which is a 10,000-foot-
high volcanic dome that overlooks the magnificent Taos Gorge, which is 
shown here. It is pretty inspiring when you stand on top and look into 
this gorge. The Rio San Antonio sits 200 feet below a plateau and 
creates a unique riparian area and amazing recreational opportunities 
that boost the local economy.
  This designation is also the product of a grassroots coalition of 
local stakeholders, including sportsmen, small business owners, 
pueblos, and conservationists, who have worked for years to preserve 
the Rio Grande del Norte area for future generations. By designating 
the Cerro del Yuta and the Rio San Antonio areas under our Cerros del 
Norte Conservation Act, it cements their place as part of northern New 
Mexico's protected heritage.
  During the last congressional session, I and my good friend, the late 
Senator John McCain, worked hard on the 21st Century Conservation Corps 
Service Act, or 21 CSC for short. We wanted to make sure that our youth 
and our veterans had real and meaningful opportunities to serve our 
country by conserving our great outdoors. This bill reinvigorates 
public-private partnerships between the Federal Government and the 
private sector and enables our youth and veterans to engage in national 
service on conservation-related projects. The program also targets 
Native American youth by establishing an Indian Youth Service Corps to 
work on Indian Country priorities.
  The bill also expands eligibility so that returning veterans and 
others can participate in these important programs. It expands the 
number of Agencies that can establish service corps, and it authorizes 
detailed data collection so that we can track exactly how these 
programs help communities and our public lands.
  This kind of program makes so much sense, for we have a huge backlog 
of infrastructure needs on our public lands--a backlog that is only 
growing with increased wildfires and natural disasters. Younger 
workers, especially Native youth, face higher unemployment rates, and 
our veterans face their own set of challenges when they transition to 
civilian life. Service corps are a cost-effective way to promote 
conservation goals and to fill employment gaps.
  This program has broad bipartisan support--support from the Western 
Governors' Association, veterans organizations, and the outdoor 
industry--and it would pay special tribute to our late colleague, 
Senator McCain, whom we all admire so much. I urge its passage.
  One of New Mexico's most successful watershed management 
collaborations is the Rio Puerco Management Committee that was 
established in 1996. The Rio Puerco is the largest tributary to the 
Middle Rio Grande Basin. The watershed encompasses approximately 4.7 
million acres and unfortunately is the primary source of undesirable 
fine sediment that is delivered to the Rio Grande system. According to 
the U.S. Geological Survey, on average, the Rio Puerco delivers 78 
percent of the total suspended sediment load of the Rio Grande, 
although it provides only 4 percent of the runoff.
  The Rio Puerco Watershed Management Program is a community-based 
approach that brings Federal and State agencies, Tribes, nonprofits, 
and local citizens together to work on watershed management, including 
sediment reduction and habitat and vegetation restoration. The 
committee has been widely recognized for its success and has earned 
awards from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land 
Management. Its most recent 10-year reauthorization ends on March 30 of 
this year. We need to permanently authorize this very effective 
program.
  Senator Murkowski and Senator Cantwell, I applaud your work on 
expeditiously bringing this package to the floor. The 100 bills that 
compose the public lands package boast 50 different Senate sponsors and 
nearly 90 cosponsors. The package represents the hard work of countless 
individuals and organizations throughout the country--all committed to 
preserving and protecting our country's greatest treasures. I stand 
resolutely behind that commitment as well, and I urge the unanimous 
passage of this historic package.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, I start by thanking Senator Tom Udall, 
our senior Senator from New Mexico, for the incredible amount of work 
and really the years of advocacy and attention that have gone into many 
of the portions of this land package that he just described. Without 
his leadership, without his partnership, we would not be celebrating 
this opportunity today.
  I rise to celebrate the landmark conservation measures that we are 
about to vote on here in the Senate. As a Senator from a State that 
proudly calls itself the Land of Enchantment, I know how much our 
public lands mean to New Mexicans. These are the places to which 
generations of families have gone to explore our natural wonders and to 
learn about our rich history and our incredible culture. Hunting and 
fishing, as well as hiking and camping, on our public lands are quite 
simply part of our identity in the State of New Mexico, and this 
relationship with our land and our water is fundamental to who we are.
  These activities also fuel a thriving outdoor recreation economy that 
supports nearly 100,000 jobs in New Mexico

[[Page S898]]

alone. Nationwide, outdoor recreation generates nearly $900 billion of 
consumer spending each year and directly supports more than 7 million 
American jobs. Think about that--7 million American jobs. That is why I 
thought to pass this legislation that will open additional access and 
create recreation opportunities on our public lands to support this 
important part of our economy.
  I commend our chairman, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, our ranking 
member, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and our former ranking member, 
Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington. We are, to say the least, going 
through a frustrating political era here in Washington, and there just 
don't seem to be many things we can agree on these days. Yet the 
package of public lands and conservation bills that we are now 
considering on the floor reflect Chairman Murkowski, Ranking Member 
Manchin, and Senator Cantwell's leadership. It demonstrates their 
willingness to put aside partisan rancor and do the hard work that is 
required to build bipartisan consensus.
  I am proud that we are moving forward to pass these bills that have 
earned broad, bipartisan support in our committee to conserve our 
public lands, to create new outdoor recreation opportunities, and to 
build on the success of our Nation's most effective conservation 
programs. I want to quickly highlight some of these incredible 
victories in this bill for New Mexico.
  First and foremost, I am so proud that we are passing two bills to 
advance community-driven conservation visions for New Mexico's two 
newest national monuments--the Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ 
Mountains-Desert Peaks. From the tops of the Cerro de la Olla and Ute 
Mountain to the depths of the Rio Grande Gorge, the Rio Grande del 
Norte National Monument in northern New Mexico is one of the most 
spectacular landscapes on Earth. The historic monument designation for 
the Rio Grande del Norte was the direct result of tireless efforts by 
those in the local community who were dedicated to protecting this area 
for future generations, and they worked for decades to do just that.
  The legislation we are voting on establishes two new wilderness areas 
within this monument--the Cerro del Yuta Wilderness and the Rio San 
Antonio Wilderness. By designating the most rugged and unique habitat 
in the Rio Grande del Norte as wilderness, we can protect the 
monument's natural heritage for our children and for generations to 
come.
  We are doing the same thing for southern New Mexico's Organ 
Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks 
is incredibly rich in cultural and natural history. It includes six 
stunning mountain ranges. This is the very well-known Organ Mountains--
its profile known by everyone who has ever visited or lived in southern 
New Mexico. It also includes the Robledos, the East Potrillos, the West 
Potrillos, the Dona Anas, and the Sierra de las Uvas.
  The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Conservation Act that Senator Udall 
sponsored, that I have cosponsored, and that we have worked together on 
for all of these years will safeguard sensitive cultural, historical, 
and natural treasures in this monument. ``Wilderness'' designation for 
several of the most rugged and unique areas in the Organ Mountains-
Desert Peaks will promote the monument as a world-class destination.

  President Obama based his 2014 ``national monument'' designation on 
the legislation introduced by Senator Udall and me, but, as with the 
Rio Grande del Norte, only Congress has authority to create additional 
federally protected wilderness.
  We can now ensure permanent protection for the wildest places within 
the national monument, including the Organ Mountains but also the 
Potrillo, Uvas, and Robledo Mountains, as well as Aden Lava Flow and 
Broad Canyon.
  I want to express my deepest gratitude to the diverse coalition of 
stakeholders from throughout our State who worked for decades to make 
the Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks monuments a 
reality. From Tribal leaders to local elected officials, sportsmen, 
ranchers, land grant heirs, acequia parciantes, small businesses, and 
conservation groups, so many New Mexicans came together and worked 
together to make this possible.
  Once again, I especially want to thank my colleague, the senior 
Senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall, and our former Senator Jeff 
Bingaman for their leadership and their partnership in getting this 
over the finish line.
  These two monuments protect places that New Mexicans have long 
recognized as national treasures in their backyards.
  Once we pass this legislation, we will put a capstone on years of 
work to make these monuments national models of community-driven, 
landscape-scale public lands conservation. I have no doubt that future 
generations will be grateful for what we are voting on here.
  Speaking of future generations, I am also pleased that this public 
lands package includes my bipartisan bill, the Every Kid Outdoors Act. 
I want to thank Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee for joining me as 
the lead Republican sponsor of this bill. The Every Kid Outdoors Act 
will allow every fourth grader in America to visit our Nation's 
national parks or national forests or national wildlife refuges free of 
charge and to bring their families along with them.
  Many of you might not know that long before I became a Senator, one 
of my first jobs in New Mexico was as the executive director of 
Cottonwood Gulch Expeditions--a 90-plus-year-old experiential education 
organization that takes children and adults out into the backcountry of 
our public lands.
  Connecting kids to the outdoors can inspire a lifelong connection to 
conservation, while reaping all of the health benefits that go along 
with an active lifestyle. Some of my favorite memories are from my 
adventures on public lands with my wife Julie and with our sons, Carter 
and Micah, and I want all kids to have those same opportunities to fall 
in love with our amazing public lands.
  Since 2015, the Department of the Interior has offered fourth graders 
and their families free entrance to all federally managed public lands. 
I can't tell you how popular this program has become. The Every Kid 
Outdoors Act codifies this effort into law and will encourage the 
creation of more educational opportunities for all of our kids on their 
public lands.
  I am so excited that we are encouraging a new generation of kids--a 
generation that will explore the rich natural and cultural history on 
display in our parks, forests, and monuments. After all, they are the 
future stewards of these special places that we all love.
  I also want to celebrate that we are voting to permanently 
reauthorize what I believe has been one of America's most successful 
conservation program ever, the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
  In New Mexico, LWCF, as it is known--the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund--has protected iconic landscapes, such as the Valles Caldera, Ute 
Mountain, and Valle de Oro, without costing taxpayers a single dime. It 
has also provided for community projects, such as baseball and soccer 
fields, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
  The broad support that LWCF has had from both Republicans and 
Democrats over the last half century is a testament to how well the 
program has worked all across this Nation; however, despite our best 
efforts to save LWCF, congressional inaction allowed the program to 
expire last year. I am proud to say that once we pass this package, we 
will no longer need to worry year after year about renewing this 
incredibly successful program. Now LWCF funds can continue being put to 
work protecting drinking water, providing public land access, and 
funding our neighborhood parks.
  Finally, I would like to express my gratitude once more to Chairman 
Murkowski for working with me to advance provisions in this package to 
improve public access on our public lands. Many pieces of the 
Sportsmen's Act are included in this, and I am especially pleased that 
we are passing my legislation, the HUNT Act, which will improve access 
to public lands wherever hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation are 
permitted.
  With that, I would like to encourage all of my colleagues to support 
this bipartisan package of bills. I am confident that they will grow 
our outdoor recreation economy, promote access to

[[Page S899]]

our public lands, and support the sustainable use of our natural 
resources. What we will vote on will go a long way toward ensuring that 
the outdoor places that we all treasure will be protected for future 
generations of Americans to enjoy.
  I yield the remainder of my time.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, we are at a point we have been hoping 
to get to for some time, which is debate on S. 47, the Natural 
Resources Management Act.
  This is a compilation, if you will, of various lands bills, water 
bills, and sportsmen's bills. This is a lands package that Senator 
Cantwell, Senator Manchin, and I recently introduced, but it is the 
result of years--multiple years, actually--of regular order process in 
the committees of jurisdiction--most notably, the Energy and Natural 
Resources Committee. It is the result of months of intense, bicameral 
back-and-forth negotiations with now-Chairman Raul Grijalva and now-
Ranking Member Rob Bishop of the House Natural Resources Committee. In 
that back-and-forth, we said: We are going to be very specific to our 
jurisdiction here, and we are going to stick to a four-corners 
agreement that we reached late last year and had actually confirmed 
here on the Senate floor in late December.
  This package contains more than 100 public lands, natural resources, 
and water measures that have good, strong support in both Chambers. We 
are at that point where we can not only do the back-and-forth, but we 
can work through the back-and-forth that comes when we are able to 
advance a package like this to the floor.
  I would like to thank Majority Leader McConnell and Minority Leader 
Schumer for agreeing to add our lands package directly to the Senate 
calendar. This was an agreement that was made back in December. We were 
teed up and ready to go, but in fairness, you run out of time at the 
end of the year. There was an agreement that was reached here on the 
Senate floor between the two leaders and other colleagues to make sure 
that we would take up this package quickly and that we would work to 
address it early in this new Congress.
  A lot of thanks go out to our leadership, and special thanks to my 
former ranking member, Senator Cantwell, for working with me to get us 
to this point and to my new ranking member, Senator Manchin, for really 
stepping up and helping to manage this package just weeks into his new 
role as the ranking member.
  Before I get into my full remarks, I also want to recognize the 
efforts of several of the other members of the Energy Committee who 
have really gone the extra mile to help us get to this point. On our 
side of the aisle, Senator Gardner and Senator Daines have been just 
dogged in making sure that--as issues arose and as we tried to cobble 
together different proposals, they were in the thick of it and have 
been helpful every step of the way. On the other side of the aisle, 
Senator Heinrich and Senator Wyden have been equally aggressive and 
helpful in all they have done to help advance and build support for 
this package.
  It is probably true, if you were to look through this package, you 
are not going to see something that stands out with bright lights and 
flags that says these are sweeping changes in Federal policy. Most of 
the items we have included are probably considered too parochial, too 
local, too discrete to merit floor time on a standalone basis. That is 
the problem with lands packages, generally, in that they don't take up 
a lot of space when it comes to a Senate calendar, but I can tell you 
that every one of the provisions in this package matters to a 
community, matters to a constituency--many of them in Western States, 
States like mine, that have a great amount of public land, of Federal 
lands. These are, again, important at a host of different levels. So 
working with colleagues to understand their local priorities, their 
constituency, has really been a real pleasure as part of this process.
  We worked very hard within the Energy and Natural Resources Committee 
this last Congress to prepare the vast majority of bills in the 
package, and our colleagues on the House side did the same. What we 
were able to agree to is a package that is sponsored by 50 different 
Senators in this past Congress. When you count the cosponsor 
provisions, this package addresses the priorities of close to 90 
Senators. You have just about everybody in this body, Republicans and 
Democrats, who have come together and said: This is an issue in my 
region, in my State. These are issues we need to be working on 
together.
  I think it is a real reflection of the priorities--the wide range of 
priorities--that Members have for their home States. I think it is also 
a sign, when you have more than 100 of these smaller, more discrete 
bills packages together--it is a sign that we are really overdue in 
moving these lands bills.
  The last time we had a significant lands package on the floor was 
2014. It has been 5 years since we have had an opportunity to move, 
again, a significant number of Members' priorities. I think it is also 
a testament to the long hours we have spent and our staffs have spent 
reviewing and working through and really trying to build the agreements 
on what we hope is soon to be ready to be signed into law.
  It is important this bill, this package, becomes law in the near 
future. What we do through this legislative package is we really 
provide new opportunities for economic development through land 
conveyances and exchanges. We expand and we enhance access for sports 
men and women on our Federal lands for hunting, fishing, and other 
outdoor recreation activities.
  This should be noted. We have been trying to work a sportsmen's 
package--a compilation of bills that relate to access on our Federal 
lands for hunting, fishing, and shooting sports. We have been trying to 
do this for three Congresses running. It is long overdue.
  We also feature provisions related to western water management, 
national park units, other Federal lands administered by the BLM and 
the Forest Service. One of the provisions that is probably most 
strongly supported in this package reauthorizes the deposit function of 
the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This expired last September. 
Instead of leaving that program subject to repeated lapses and short-
term extensions--we see a lot of that around here--what we have done is 
we have agreed to remove that expiration date. We effectively make that 
permanent, and we paired it--this is very important to us. We paired 
that permanent authorization with meaningful reforms, with meaningful 
reforms that will help ensure greater balance in the funds that are 
allocated to the program.
  I mentioned that many of these provisions might seem very local, very 
parochial. We have a provision that will facilitate the expansion of an 
airport in Custer County, SD. I have never been to Custer County, but 
when you have a constriction, a limitation on your ability to expand an 
airport because you need a land conveyance, it literally takes an act 
of Congress in order to make that happen.
  Another provision in the measure will enable the construction of a 
large-scale solar project in the State of Arizona. This is going to 
bring about jobs, and it is going to bring about renewable energy 
opportunities. We have several more provisions that will designate 
national monuments but done the right way. The right way is with 
Congress in the lead, rather than the President exercising his 
authorities under the Antiquities Act--so making sure you have that 
level of consensus that is so important when designations like this 
move forward.
  On some of the more Alaska-specific provisions, we have upheld our 
promise, a promise made decades ago to Alaska Natives who served during 
the Vietnam war. During this time of their service, they basically 
missed out on their opportunity to receive the land allotments that had 
been promised to them by the Federal Government under the land rights. 
What we have done is we have worked to address that inequity in a way 
that is fair to our veterans and fair to the process.

[[Page S900]]

  We provide routing flexibility for the natural gas pipeline that has 
been proposed for some time. We are able to create new opportunities 
for small, small, small communities, like down in Kake in Southeast 
Alaska or Utkiagvik up in the North Slope.
  We also reached agreement to improve our volcano warning and 
monitoring system. Some of you might not think about why we need to be 
paying attention to our volcanoes. Believe me, you don't want to be in 
an aircraft when you are flying through volcanic ash. Knowing what is 
going on is important. Whether you are in Hawaii, Alaska, or another 
State, it is really just a matter of time before we see more eruptions. 
We saw it in Alaska with Mount Cleveland last year and Kilauea in 
Hawaii. So we are paying attention to that.
  These are just a few of the highlights. I am going to be talking to 
more of them on the floor as debate goes on, but I also want to close 
with kind of an explanation of where we are in the process right now.
  As I mentioned, when you have a package that has 100-plus bills--and 
we haven't done something like this in now 5 years--there is no 
shortage of provisions that we could include. We really worked hard. We 
did our best to work through everything we had on the table and 
included as much as we could reach agreement on. I think we all can 
agree there is more we can do, and we should try to do, and that our 
work on our lands and our resource issues is not going to end just 
because we passed this bill.
  That is why I would encourage folks to view this as a first step. It 
is literally a downpayment. We say we are clearing the decks of the 
provisions that have been outstanding for a long time right now and 
that are ready to go right now.
  I know we have several Members who would like to have amendments. We 
want to try to find a way to accommodate some of those, but that is 
going to take a level of cooperation. It always does. We may be able to 
take some by unanimous consent or by rollcall vote, but there are also 
going to be some we are just not going to be able to accept at this 
time and on this package.
  Again, I would take back to the bipartisan agreement that we had and 
the spirit of that agreement, that we want to stay away from things 
that are outside our jurisdiction or that would create problems with 
the House. The House has been good--a cooperative arrangement up to 
this point in time. I think it is fair to say we have had some very 
good signals that they are anxious to receive this from the Senate and 
thus help us facilitate its passage into law.
  For those who aren't able to add their specific provisions, you 
certainly have my commitment to work with you in this Congress, but in 
the meantime I think what you have in front of you is an excellent 
package. It is time for us to pass it. It is time to show our strong 
support, send it to the House of Representatives, and then to the 
President's desk.
  I am pleased to yield and recognize my friend and new colleague on 
the Energy Committee--not a new colleague but certainly my new ranking 
member--who has been a great person to work with and a real help in all 
of our efforts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). The Senator from West 
Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Madam President, first, I am so pleased to work with my 
good friend Chairman Murkowski on something she has worked on for quite 
some time with Senator Cantwell. Taking up this new position, I want to 
make sure I help them the best I can to bring this to fruition. That is 
what we are working on right now. To have S. 47 in front of us is 
pretty special.
  The public lands package includes such a wide variety of bills, as 
the chairman has spoken about. There are currently more than 130 
different pieces of individual legislation that will address many 
Members' priorities for public lands and natural resources in their 
respective States. A public lands package doesn't come together that 
often. I think it has been 5 years, as was said, and they are far and 
few between. When it does, we try to accommodate and do the right thing 
that really helps our country and future generations.
  Many of the bills in this package provide technical corrections and 
improvements to existing policies but do not have a significant impact 
outside their local sphere. However, these minor bills will improve the 
way our public lands are managed and conserved at the ground level. 
While these bills are important to the residents of the small towns 
like mine across America and Members of this body who represent them, 
rarely will these individual bills receive the floor time they truly 
deserve. Because of this, it is necessary for us to move these bills 
together in this package, which is what we have coming up before us 
probably by tomorrow.
  This package was literally years in the making. As I said, it builds 
on the package that was negotiated last December by Chairman Murkowski, 
then-Ranking Member Cantwell, then-Chairman Bishop, and then-Ranking 
Member Grijalva of the House Natural Resources Committee. Together, 
this group came together and negotiated a large package. Unfortunately, 
the Senate could not pass the package last December, which is why we 
find ourselves here today.
  I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the ranking member of 
the committee and to be working with my friend from Alaska Chairman 
Murkowski on this package but also on many other issues we will 
consider in the committee in the coming time.
  I would also like to take this moment to thank the committee staff, 
the majority and minority, as well as the floor staff for their 
diligence in working on this package. I would like to include a list of 
names who worked on the package for both me and Senator Cantwell and in 
our committee over the last few months. I would also like to include 
the names of the floor and leadership staff.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that this list of names be 
printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

       S. 47 Lands Package Staff Team: Mary Louise Wagner, 
     Democratic Staff Director; Sam Fowler, Democratic Chief 
     Counsel; David Brooks, Democratic General Counsel; Bryan 
     Petit, Democratic Senior Professional Staff Member; Rebecca 
     Bonner, Democratic Professional Staff Member; Camille Touton, 
     Democratic Professional Staff Member; Sarah Venuto, 
     Democratic Staff Director; Lance West, Democratic Deputy 
     Staff Director; Elliot Howard, Democratic Professional Staff 
     Member; Lauren Vernon, Democratic Research Assistant; Tom 
     Schaff, National Park Service Bevinetto Fellow; David Poyer, 
     Democratic Staff Assistant; Kennedy Woodard, Democratic Staff 
     Assistant; Cameron Nelson, Democratic Research Assistant; 
     Sean Byrne, Legislative Assistant; Gary Myrick, Secretary for 
     the Minority; Tricia Engle, Assistant Secretary for the 
     Minority; Ryan McConaghy, Floor Assistant to the Democratic 
     Leader; Daniel Tinsley, Floor Assistant to the Democratic 
     Leader; Brad Watt, Floor Assistant to the Democratic Leader; 
     Stephanie Paone, Democratic Cloakroom Assistant; Maalik 
     Simmons, Democratic Cloakroom Assistant; Nathan Oursler, 
     Democratic Cloakroom Assistant; Mary Frances Repko, Minority 
     Staff Director; Andrew Rogers, Minority Chief Counsel; 
     Christophe Tulou, Minority Senior Counsel and Policy 
     Director; Elizabeth Mabry, Minority Professional Staff 
     Member; and John Kane, Minority Senior Professional Staff 
     Member.

  Mr. MANCHIN. This package enjoys the support from numerous national 
stakeholder organizations across the political spectrum. For example, 
the National Wildlife Federation and the Congressional Sportsmen's 
Foundation are two of its strongest and most dedicated advocates. I 
thank them for their support. I ask unanimous consent that the list of 
organizations writing in support of this bill be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

       The organizations include: Bi-partisan Policy Center 
     Action; League of Conservation Voters; Boone and Crockett 
     Club; Ventura County; Chugach of Alaska Corporation; The 
     Wilderness Society; conservation groups including National 
     Audubon Society and the Sierra Club; livestock groups such as 
     the Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen's Beef 
     Association, and American Sheep Industry Association; outdoor 
     recreation groups including Access Fund, American Alpine 
     Club, American Canoe Association, American Whitewater, 
     Colorado Mountain Club, International Mountain Bicycling 
     Association, Outdoor Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association, 
     Surfrider Foundation, The Conservation Alliance, The Mazamas, 
     The Mountaineers, Winter Midlands Alliance; organizations 
     representing the Outdoor Recreation

[[Page S901]]

     Roundtable including American Horse Council, American 
     Sportfishing, Association Archery Trade Association, 
     Association of Marina Industries, Boat Owners Association of 
     the United States, The Corps Network, International 
     Snowmobile Manufacturers, Association Marine Retailers, 
     Association of the Americas Motorcycle Industry Council, 
     National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, National 
     Marine Manufacturers Association, National Park Hospitality, 
     Association National Shooting Sports Foundation, 
     PeopleForBikes, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, 
     RV Dealers Association RV Industry, Association Specialty 
     Equipment Market, Association Specialty Vehicle Institute of 
     America; sportsmen's groups including American Fly Fishing 
     Trade Association, American Sportfishing Association, 
     American Woodcock Society, Angler Action Foundation, Archery 
     Trade Association, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Bass 
     Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), Bear Trust 
     International, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Boone & Crockett 
     Club, California Waterfowl Association, Camp Fire Club of 
     America, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, Conservation 
     Force, Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, Delta 
     Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, Fly Fishers International, 
     Houston Safari Club, Izaak Walton League of America, Land 
     Trust Alliance, National Deer Alliance, National Marine 
     Manufacturers Association, National Shooting Sports 
     Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, North American 
     Falconers Association, Orion: The Hunter's Institute, Outdoor 
     Industry Association, Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, 
     Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever, Pope & Young Club, Public 
     Lands Foundation, Quality Deer Management Association, Rocky 
     Mountain Elk Foundation, Ruffed Grouse Society, Sportsmen's 
     Alliance, Texas Wildlife Association, The Nature Conservancy, 
     Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trust for Public 
     Land, Whitetails Unlimited, Wildlife Forever, Wildlife 
     Management Institute; and The Corps Group Network with many 
     national and regional organizations including Appalachian 
     Trail Conservancy Leadership Corps, Citizens Conservation 
     Corps, Harpers Ferry Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, 
     and Stewards Individual Placement Program.

  Mr. MANCHIN. This package should be warmly received by both Democrats 
and Republicans. It is truly a bipartisan effort. For starters, the 
package includes numerous land exchanges and conveyances, designates 
over 1.3 million acres of wilderness, designates 367 miles of wild and 
scenic rivers, and provides boundary adjustments, designation changes, 
and management improvements to numerous areas in all four corners of 
the country. All of this will improve access, provide recreational 
opportunities, and allow four of our Federal public land management 
Agencies--the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, the Fish 
and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service--to better serve 
the public through their varying missions as directed by Congress.
  Our public lands are truly one of the Nation's greatest treasures, 
and we are unique in how we set aside some of our most special places 
in the country to be conserved, protected, and easily accessible to the 
public so we can all enjoy the beauty these areas offer. Usually, these 
lands are located in rural areas, with few other economic 
opportunities, making these treasures economic engines for the 
surrounding communities. In fact, data from the U.S. Department of 
Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis shows the outdoor recreation 
economy accounted for 2.2 percent of GDP and grew faster than the 
overall economy.
  According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation 
supports 7.6 million direct national jobs and $887 billion in consumer 
spending. Overall, this contributes billions to the Federal, State, and 
local governments in tax revenue.
  In West Virginia, outdoor recreation supports 91,000 direct jobs and 
$9 billion in consumer spending. Each year, 67 percent of West Virginia 
residents take to the outdoors to escape the hustle and bustle of their 
daily lives to enjoy the peace and certainty of our wild and wonderful 
outdoor heritage. It is truly almost heaven. If you haven't been there, 
we welcome you.
  This package provides permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund, which Senator Murkowski has pointed out. This is 
something most every one of us--535 Members of Congress--is truly 
supportive of because it affects our States and our districts. LWCF is 
a simple yet highly effective conservation tool with unrivaled success 
over the last 50 years. Every year, $900 million in royalties paid by 
energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental 
Shelf are put into this fund.
  Unfortunately, LWCF expired last September. The National Resource 
Management Act provides permanent reauthorization of the LWCF. That is 
enough to bring all of us together.
  This permanent reauthorization ensures that States and Federal public 
land management Agencies have the ability to continue to protect and 
conserve our natural resources for the next generation, and it does so 
without relying on taxpayer dollars.
  Since 1965, more than $243 million in LWCF funds have been spent in 
my little State of West Virginia on more than 500 projects, both on 
State and Federal lands. This includes improvements to local parks and 
public spaces and 54 of our little State's 55 counties. It also funded 
acquisition for our most cherished public lands, such as the Gauley 
River National Recreation Area, the New River Gorge National River, and 
Dolly Sods in the Monongahela National Forest.
  This package also includes some long-awaited priorities for our 
sportsmen's groups. Each year, more than 350,000 hunters take to the 
woods in West Virginia to pursue game. These hunting traditions 
directly benefit rural communities, generating annual revenue and 
supporting 5,000 jobs. According to the West Virginia Division of 
Natural Resources, hunting-related expenditures total nearly $270 
million of the State's economy. Aside from this, and perhaps most 
importantly, hunting in West Virginia is one of our oldest pastimes in 
which friends and families can gather and spend quality time together.
  As I work with other Members of this very body on difficult issues 
where we may strongly disagree with each other, we are able to set 
aside differences when it comes to sportsmen's traditions. The 
conversations quickly turn to stories of hunting a deer with our 
children and grandchildren or taking a child to the first deer camp. It 
is important that we provide opportunities to keep these traditions 
alive.
  The Natural Resource Management Act will expand and enhance 
sportsmen's access by making Federal lands throughout West Virginia and 
the Nation ``open unless closed'' for fishing, hunting, recreational 
shooting, and other outdoor activities.
  As a hunter myself and as vice chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's 
Caucus, I know how frustrated sportsmen's groups have been in trying to 
get their bills passed the last few years. That is one of the reasons I 
am pleased that Chairman Murkowski's bill, of which I am an original 
cosponsor, the Sportsmen's Act, is included in this package.
  The Natural Resource Management Act also establishes several national 
heritage areas, including one in West Virginia, the Appalachian Forest 
National Heritage Area. National heritage areas are designated by 
Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources 
combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. The 
Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area has been operating as an ad 
hoc national heritage area for more than a decade. Despite not having 
official designation, the Appalachian Forest Heritage Area has 
continually done a great deal for West Virginia. For example, the 
Appalachian Forest Heritage Area administers a credible AmeriCorps 
program. In one recent program year, 38 AmeriCorps members completed 
more than 65,000 service hours directly benefiting local rural areas in 
West Virginia, as in every State. These 38 members improved 1,700 acres 
of public land and managed more than 1,000 total volunteers.
  By providing the official NHA designation, the Appalachian Forest 
Heritage Area can earn the national recognition it deserves and is now 
also eligible for grants and technical assistance from the National 
Park Service. This will take their programmatic efforts and other 
services they provide to the region to the next level.
  I believe that this package is a great bill for both my Republican 
and Democratic friends. Numerous pieces of legislation that have been 
longstanding priorities for many Members are included.
  I would like to thank Chairman Murkowski again, as well as other 
members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, for their 
efforts to reach an agreement on this bill. For those of

[[Page S902]]

our colleagues who felt that they were not able to get exactly what 
they wanted or exactly what they would love to have had in this bill, 
we are committed to working with them to further help them in getting 
access to any other piece of legislation we will have working through 
the committee.
  I want to thank the majority leader for his willingness to bring this 
bill to the floor. I believe it is time to send the bill to the House 
and to the President for his signature. We have had a great working 
relationship with Chairman Grijalva, and he is committed to working 
with us as we work through this process.
  There are many pieces of good legislation in this package that will 
be valued for years to come by communities across the country and each 
one of our States. I strongly encourage Members to vote yes on this 
final package.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor to the Senator from Montana.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Today is a special day. Today is a culmination of years 
of work. I mean that. We were literally on the floor 7 or 8 years ago 
with a bill similar to this one that did not get across the finish 
line. We were here 2 years after that and 2 years after that, and now 
we are here today.
  Before she leaves the floor, I want to thank Senator Murkowski for 
her leadership. Senator Cantwell is not here, but I want to thank her 
for the work she has done on this bill because it was big. I want to 
thank Senator Manchin for continuing the legacy of these two, and, 
hopefully, it can continue over the next year. Quite frankly, bills 
like this don't get done every day, and they don't get done by 
accident. They get done by leadership and folks working hard. I thank 
both of you. If Senator Cantwell is listening, thank you very much for 
the work that has been done.
  I am very proud to stand here on behalf of countless Montana small 
businesses and community members who had a crazy idea a few years ago 
about not wanting an out-of-State mining company--actually, not even 
wanting an out-of-country mining company, a foreign mining company--to 
expand the mine on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park. I am 
standing here today to tell them that I heard them. I listened to them, 
and I was not going to stop until this bill was signed into law.
  I want to take you back about 4 years. A group of small business 
owners who cared about the future of their community got together after 
they caught wind of two mining companies that were planning to expand 
their operations on nearby public land, which threatened the area's 
rapidly growing outdoor economy--one of the fastest growing economies 
in the State of Montana. This mine expansion was set to take place in a 
place we call Paradise Valley. That place is called Paradise Valley for 
an obvious reason. It truly is a piece of paradise. It is the 
headwaters of the Yellowstone River, which is one of the longest 
undammed rivers in the world. Paradise Valley is flanked on both sides 
by legendary mountain ranges: the Gallatins and Absarokas. It is the 
gateway to our Nation's first national park, Yellowstone.
  These business owners--who ran fly shops, breweries, guide and 
outfitter businesses, and dozens of other local hangouts--were relying 
on literally hundreds of thousands of visitors to flock to this region 
to experience something they can experience nowhere else on Earth. They 
were rightly concerned that multiple large-scale mining operations 
would put their local economy at risk and, in fact, put them out of 
business.
  I went in October of 2015 and met with these folks. I listened to 
their concerns that these mines would devastate their businesses and 
the breathtaking landscape in which they have chosen to live. In that 
moment, it was clear to me that the community needed permanent 
protection. So I announced my intent to introduce a bill--one of the 
bills that is in this lands package that we are taking up here today--
to do exactly that: Provide permanent protection for Paradise Valley.
  After months of working together, this bill became known as the 
Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act. This bill is a result of 
collaboration; it is the result of hard work, and it does exactly what 
is in the title. It will protect the gateway to Yellowstone by 
permanently eliminating the ability of proposed mines to expand onto 
public land near the doorstep of our Nation's first national park, 
Yellowstone.
  Responsible, natural resource development plays an important role in 
Montana's economy, but there are simply some places where you should 
not drill or dig, and one of those is at the doorstep of Yellowstone 
National Park. By permanently protecting the gateway, we can protect 
thousands of jobs and billions of dollars that flow into Montana's 
economy every year.
  Senator Manchin talked about the impact of the outdoor economy on 
West Virginia. We are very much a part of that outdoor economy. Fly 
fishermen spend more than $70 million annually at these local 
businesses while trying to earn the respect of Yellowstone River's 
brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. In total, the communities in Park 
County see nearly $200 million pumped into their local economy every 
year, a trend that continues to rise and rise rapidly.
  Quite frankly, if you haven't been there, I will just explain it this 
way to you: God doesn't make places like this everywhere. It is a 
special place. It is a place so special that the people who live there 
understand that it could go away with one bad decision. So we need to 
protect it and protect those small businesses and protect that way of 
life.
  That is why this week, as we pass this lands package that the 
Yellowstone Gateway Protection bill is a part of, these business owners 
now can sleep at night, knowing that the businesses they have built 
over the past many decades will continue and they will be able to 
continue to look for the opportunity that God has created into Paradise 
Valley.
  But this Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act isn't the only provision 
that Montanans are fighting for. The Land and Water Conservation Fund 
is the best conservation tool this country has. It does a lot of really 
good things, including access to public lands, including making sure we 
have more of our hunting, fishing, and hiking spots available to folks 
who don't have to be millionaires. Since this Land and Water 
Conservation Fund was founded some 5 decades ago, LWCF has invested 
hundreds of millions of dollars to increase outdoor activities on our 
public lands. We have used it to preserve tens of thousands of acres of 
the world-class elk habitat in central Montana.
  We invested LWCF dollars to increase fishing access sites along the 
rivers that Norman McLean made so famous in ``A River Runs Through 
It''--the Blackfoot and the Missouri. LWCF is a driver of Montana's 
ever-growing, increasing $7 billion-a-year outdoor economy. Best of 
all, it is paid for by offshore drilling fees, so it doesn't cost the 
taxpayer a dime.
  Despite all of this success, the majority has allowed LWCF to expire 
twice in the last 4 years. I will tell you that this uncertainty has 
taken a toll on Montana's hunters, hikers, anglers, and businesses, 
which rely on our Nation's best conservation tool.
  This lands package will again guarantee that LWCF will never expire 
again. It permanently reauthorizes this very successful initiative, and 
it guarantees that Montanans and all Americans have the long-term 
ability to expand and protect public access for future generations--
ecosystems that, by the way, may not be around in another 10 or 20 
years.
  Passing this legislation is a big win for our public lands and for 
the outdoor economy, but our work is not done yet. We have more work to 
do.
  Permanently reauthorizing LWCF is very, very important, but where the 
rubber really meets the road is LWCF funding.
  LWCF was authorized to receive $900 million some 50 years ago. In the 
President's budget last year, he proposed $8 million for LWCF. Remember 
what I just said. Over 50 years ago, it was meant to have $900 million. 
Last year, the President's budget proposed $8 million--a cut of nearly 
a half billion dollars from the previous year.
  After Congress rejected that proposal and it appropriated a little 
over $400 million for LWCF, nearly every Member of the majority, except 
one, right after we put those dollars in, voted to rescind a chunk of 
those dollars.
  So the fact of the matter is that without mandatory funding, our 
public

[[Page S903]]

lands will remain a victim to this political seesaw.
  Save for the sake of our public lands, for the sake of our kids, and 
for the sake of clean air and clean water, I think this bipartisan 
lands package serves as a launching point toward mandatory funding for 
LWCF.
  I know there is already a bipartisan bill out there that does exactly 
that. So I would just say that we have part of the job done. We ought 
not to be taking victory laps for doing part of the job. We have more 
work to do, and that is to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund, and, hopefully, we will get a bipartisan effort to do exactly 
that because these are important investments. They are investments that 
will maintain a quality of life not only today but tomorrow, for future 
generations and for them the opportunity to reap the kind of economic 
rewards that we do because of the foresight and vision of generations 
that came before us.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.


                        Organ Donor Procurement

  Mr. MORAN. Madam President, I rise today to express my 
dissatisfaction and disappointment over what is a life-and-death matter 
for many Americans. My disappointment is about the actions recently 
taken by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the action 
they took was reinstating the organ procurement organization LiveOnNY.
  I am a Kansan. This is not an organization that is located in my 
State, but this decision by CMS, when combined with recent policy 
changes from the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, misses the 
mark, and it misses it widely. We should be improving the organ 
procurement process and increasing the number of available organs for 
transplant rather than expanding the distance organs travel and moving 
additional organs from high donation areas to low donation areas.
  CMS' recent decision to renew this contract, which was initially 
meant to be canceled due to years of poor performance, is troublesome. 
This organization was the only organization out of the 58 organ 
procurement organizations to have a contract canceled for poor 
performance, which was only done after numerous reprimands and 
penalties that failed to lead to improvement.
  Conversely, it was reassuring that CMS was finally going to take some 
responsibility toward ensuring that donor organizations are adequately 
performing their jobs and protecting patients. However, CMS quickly 
reversed course and abdicated their duty to protect some of our 
Nation's most vulnerable patients when they announced they would 
reinstate this license.
  Our Nation continues to face a shortage of organ donors. We need more 
donor organs, but our agencies and organizations, which should be 
demanding accountability and improvements, continue to turn a blind eye 
to a culprit, and that is the consistent failure to live up to 
expectations and to waste organs that could save lives.
  This failure to address this issue increases wait times for patients 
who need organs and causes unnecessary stress and anxiousness for those 
who are on that waiting list for a potential organ at a time when they 
grow sicker and sicker.
  Health and Human Services, CMS, or the Center for Medicaid and 
Medicare Services, HRSA, OPTN, and UNOS are all abbreviations for 
organizations that share the blame for the predicament our country 
finds itself in.
  This is perhaps the most important part of what I want to reiterate 
or state again on the Senate floor: These organizations have decided 
that instead of pushing organ procurement organizations to do their 
job, they will simply draw more organs away from areas with quality 
donor organizations and high donation rates--places in the Midwest, 
places like Kansas, places like Missouri. So the solution to a 
problem--the lack of organs to be transplanted--is not to get more 
people to donate organs and to improve the organizations responsible 
for those donations but, instead, to take organs from places that are 
doing their job and transmit them across the country.
  I have written to and am waiting on responses from the Secretary of 
Health and Human Services, Mr. Azar. There are two letters, in fact, 
that remain unanswered.
  The first letter was sent by Senator Blunt and me expressing our 
concern at OPTN's decision to ignore transplant experts and push 
through a dangerous new policy related to liver allocations for 
donation.
  The second letter, signed by a quarter of the U.S. Senate, expresses 
broad concern with OPTN's process and the reasoning behind a proposal 
that appears to disadvantage areas that have actually done their jobs.
  This new policy punishes those who are successful in procuring organs 
for donation and rewards those who continue to fail and do not appear 
to attempt to make improvements.
  Let's recall that the new policy that we are complaining about was 
rammed through by OPTN and UNOS, and it will simply shift donated 
organs, like livers, to wider areas across the country while doing 
nothing to improve the donor rates countrywide or to improve the 
performance of OPOs. This is simply an avoidance of the problem, not a 
solution to it.
  CMS has failed to conduct proper oversight of organ procurement 
organizations, leading to organ shortages that carry a real cost in 
patient lives, who die while waiting on transplant lists.
  This is a matter that affects many States, and it is time for us to 
have answers from those who make these decisions and who make decisions 
without input from those affected.
  Again, I ask my Senate colleagues to pay attention to this issue--
liver transplants, something that will make a difference in the lives 
of many Americans in your States and in mine.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.


    Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act of 2019

  Ms. SMITH. Madam President, last night President Trump delivered the 
State of the Union Address, and he talked about a lot of issues, 
including immigration and national security, healthcare, and 
prescription drugs. He talked about the need for bipartisanship. While 
I don't always agree with the President, I do agree that we should seek 
bipartisanship where we can, and today I would like to address one area 
that is ripe for bipartisan action.
  I am so pleased that Senator Brown, Senator Van Hollen, Senator 
Warner, Senator Cardin, and Senator Kaine have all played key roles in 
the effort I am going to talk about this afternoon, and many of them 
will be joining me today on the Senate floor. In addition, Senator 
Casey will be joining us, and I am so glad that he is adding his voice.
  So many Americans suffered during the wasteful and unnecessary 
government shutdown that recently ended, but for one group of 
Americans, the shutdown isn't over. These Americans are employees of 
Federal contractors. Now, in previous shutdowns, Federal contractors 
didn't receive backpay, and they haven't received backpay after this 
shutdown, either. Now, that is not fair, and several of my colleagues 
and I are determined to fix this. So over the next hour or so, my 
colleagues and I will come together on the Senate floor to talk about 
the importance of providing backpay to the employees of Federal 
contractors who lost over a month's worth of wages.
  Thousands of Federal contract employees work shoulder to shoulder 
with Federal employees to make the government work. They clean office 
buildings, provide security, serve millions of meals a year, and do 
countless other jobs.
  In an op-ed published today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, the 
sponsor of the House companion to our bill, and I shared a story that 
we heard from Tamela Worthen, a security guard at the Smithsonian 
Institution. Tamela said that she was worried that she would fall 
behind on her mortgage and car payments, ruining the good credit that 
she had worked so long and hard to build. As she spoke, beads of sweat 
started rolling down her face. We were wondering: Was she nervous about 
speaking in front of a crowd?
  But, no, as Tamela explained, she is diabetic and has high blood 
pressure. Without her regular paycheck, she hadn't been able to afford 
the copay for

[[Page S904]]

a doctor's appointment to have her blood tested and her prescription 
renewed. So she was going without her medicine.
  Too often, these Federal contract workers are invisible to the 
public, but I want them to know that those of us speaking on the Senate 
floor today haven't forgotten about them.
  Now I would like to read a little bit of a letter that I got from a 
constituent in Minnesota named Annie. Annie is a chemist who works as a 
Federal contractor at the Environmental Protection Agency in Duluth, 
MN, and she wrote me a powerful letter about how the shutdown affected 
her. Here are a few pieces of what she shared.
  Annie wrote:

       I look forward to my job because I am surrounded by 
     colleagues who are passionate about their work and want to 
     make a significant change towards bettering our environment. 
     . . . This work contributes to a large collaborative effort 
     of tracking and monitoring the health of the Great Lakes, a 
     priceless freshwater resource.

  Annie went on to say:

       My frustration with the shutdown stems not only from a 
     personal angle, but also from the halt it has put on 
     environmental research.

  She says:

       I am losing wages that I count on each month to make 
     significant payments towards my student loans and 
     contributions to my savings, including my retirement savings. 
     I can honestly say I never thought I would be applying for 
     unemployment, especially at 31 years old, but today I did 
     just that. Of course, collecting unemployment is better than 
     no wages at all, but it is still a far cry from earning my 
     normal income.

  Annie finishes by saying:

       The irritation I feel about the shutdown extends beyond 
     lost wages. I am very passionate about my work, and I believe 
     that what I do is important and contributes to a critical 
     subject: The environment.

  Now, Annie makes a great point. Federal contract workers like Annie 
do important work for people in Minnesota and across the country, and 
it is wrong for Annie to go without pay because of a shutdown fight 
that had nothing to do with her.
  The Senate recently passed legislation to provide backpay to Federal 
employees authored by Senator Cardin, and I am very honored to be able 
to support Senator Cardin in that work. That bill passed without a 
single Senator objecting.
  Now, I strongly support providing backpay to Federal employees, and 
it is just common sense that the contractors who work side by side with 
these Federal employees should get the same backpay that they deserve 
as well.
  The shutdown was wasteful, and it made pawns of hundreds of thousands 
of people. Yet Federal contractors have never been made whole in any 
shutdown, including this last one, and we think that needs to change.
  Why should these hard-working people be forced to pay the price for 
the shutdown?
  So we are working to fix this, and we have bipartisan legislation to 
do so.
  Here is what our bill would do. It would use an existing contracting 
process that is known as equitable adjustment to make sure that 
contractors can provide backpay to workers, with full backpay to low-
wage workers and partial backpay to those who are earning higher 
incomes.
  Our effort is gaining support every day. In the Senate, we now have 
bipartisan support with a group of more than 40 cosponsors and 
counting, and nearly 70 organizations, including the AFL-CIO, the 
National Partnership For Women and Families, Oxfam America, the United 
Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society, and the United 
Steelworkers that have all written in support of providing backpay for 
these workers.
  This is what their letter of support says in part: ``These federal 
contract workers help keep our nation running, even if their paychecks 
aren't cut directly by the U.S. government, and they need their 
paychecks just as badly as federal employees and deserve the same 
considerations when the government shuts down.''
  So I want to say thank you to everyone who continues to make their 
voices heard on this important issue. I am especially thankful to the 
workers who shared their stories, like the great-grandmother who is 
taking care of her two great-grandchildren, the employee who was 
furloughed from two different jobs who now can't afford his electric 
bill, and the worker at risk of losing their home because they couldn't 
pay their mortgage.
  Providing backpay to contractors is an important opportunity for 
Republicans and Democrats to do what is right and to come together. If 
you think it is wrong that hard-working people didn't get paid because 
of a shutdown that had nothing to do with them, then it is time for you 
to make your voice heard. Let's fix this, and let's fix it through 
hashtag ``BackPayNow.''
  Thank you very much.
  I yield to Senator Cardin from Maryland.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, first of all, I want to thank Senator 
Smith for her leadership on this issue. This involves 1.2 million 
contract workers who could very well not only lose their pay from the 
35 days of the Government shutdown but not have any mechanism to 
receive that backpay.
  Senator Smith has filed legislation that is fair legislation, it 
works, and it is the right thing for us to do. These workers did not 
lose their pay because of anything they did wrong. These are the same 
as government workers because they are performing government work. They 
are maintaining our buildings, cleaning our buildings, providing 
security for government buildings. In some respects, these are very 
similar to our direct Federal workforce.
  We know that this 35-day, dangerous, outrageous, and unnecessary 
shutdown caused tremendous harm. We know the harm it caused 800,000 
Federal workers. Over half were forced to work without pay, but they 
showed up and worked because they are patriotic Americans who believe 
very much in the mission they are doing on behalf of this country, the 
noble service of public service on behalf of their fellow citizens. Can 
you imagine trying to figure out how you are going to find money to put 
gasoline in your car so you can drive to work to do your service and 
not get paid for that day of work or how you are going to pay for your 
daycare or how you are going to pay for your daily expenses? But they 
are loyal, patriotic people who showed up every day for work. Close to 
400,000 were furloughed and locked out without pay.
  As Senator Smith said, this body, with the help of the House and the 
signature of the President--S. 24, legislation I authored with Senator 
Smith's help, the Government Employees Fair Treatment Act, makes it 
clear that in the event of a shutdown, our Federal workforce will get 
their paychecks. They will not get them timely. They are still going to 
be inconvenienced. They are still not going to be able to pay their 
bills. But they will know that at the end of the day, when government 
reopens, they are going to get their paychecks, as they should and as 
every Member of this body agreed is the right thing to do, because our 
Federal workforce was not responsible for this shutdown.
  But it goes beyond just 800,000. It even goes beyond our contract 
workers. Our economy itself suffered. I had an opportunity to be the 
ranking Democrat on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. 
I can tell you that small businesses throughout the country were very 
much impacted by this 35-day shutdown. I am talking about small 
businesses that didn't have a direct relationship with the government 
or contract with the government--small businesses near our national 
parks.
  I had a meeting with Senator Van Hollen in Montgomery County, MD, 
with small businesses in the community. Because there were so many 
Federal workers who had been furloughed without pay and contract 
workers who didn't have paychecks, the average business that was there 
that day--there were many there--their business was down 20 to 60 
percent. They are not going to be compensated for this.
  Of course, the American people were denied the services they needed, 
whether it was the FBI in full force to keep them safe or food 
inspectors doing their work. This was a disastrous shutdown.
  We can do something for the contract workers. As I said, these are 
people who are doing work on behalf of this Nation. They are working in 
our buildings. They are keeping our buildings safe. They are keeping 
our buildings clean. They are working for modest pay. These are not 
highly paid jobs.

[[Page S905]]

They were not paid during those 35 days, and unless Senator Smith's 
legislation is passed, they will not get compensated.
  I want to thank Senator Smith for S. 162, the Fair Compensation for 
Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act. It is well-drafted using existing 
mechanisms to compensate low-paid contract service workers. It is the 
right thing to do. We estimate that as many as 1.2 million people could 
be affected by this. This has had a major impact on their lives and on 
our economy.
  During the shutdown last month, I received a letter from Robert 
Conrad, president and CEO of LJT & Associates. LJT & Associates is a 
midsized firm based in Columbia, MD, that is the top contractor for 
NASA's Wallops Island flight facility on the Eastern Shore.
  Mr. Conrad wrote: ``The shutdown has had a significant negative 
impact on our business and, more importantly, our employees and their 
families . . . As a result of this lengthy government shutdown our 
company has not been paid by NASA and other agencies for work performed 
in November and December 2018 and this lack of payment continues to 
worsen by the day. As a result, we are faced with decisions to furlough 
or lay off our valuable employees. Unlike federal civil servants, our 
employees will not receive pay for suspended work during the shutdown, 
making the impacts of the layoff a permanent financial burden for them 
and their families.''
  Well, let's respond to Mr. Conrad. Let's respond to those 1.2 million 
Americans who are doing work on behalf of all of us. The shutdown was 
not their fault. As we compensated our Federal workforce, let's also 
provide a safety net for those who lost their compensation as a result 
of this shutdown, the low-wage service workers.
  I hope we can find a way to quickly pass S. 162, and I again thank 
Senator Smith for her leadership.
  Ms. SMITH. Will Senator Cardin yield?
  Mr. CARDIN. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. SMITH. Senator Cardin, I want to take a moment to thank you so 
much for your leadership on this and for making sure that Federal 
employees get the backpay they deserve. I know that when this issue 
first became clear to me, you were one of the first people I called 
over the Christmas holiday to talk about what we might do to fix this 
problem. So I greatly appreciate your partnership on this, along with 
the partnership of so many of my other colleagues here but particularly 
your help on this. Thank you very much.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Madam President, I want to thank Senator Smith, who 
called me during the holiday recess and said: We have this problem. How 
do we fix it?
  I really appreciated the phone call I received from Senator Smith. 
She recognized that we had to build support for the legislation but 
also make it work right because it is much more complicated to figure 
out the target group we are trying to help to make sure it is drafted 
in the right way. She reached out to get that type of help on drafting, 
as well as getting support among the stakeholders to make sure the bill 
was properly drafted. It took some time, and now we have a bill that we 
can all be proud to support.
  So once again, I want to thank my colleague from Minnesota for the 
manner in which she has gone about presenting this legislation.
  Ms. SMITH. Thank you.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I thank the Senator from Minnesota, 
Senator Smith, for organizing this discussion on the Senate floor today 
to bring attention to the plight of the Federal contract employees who 
were locked out of their jobs for 35 days and, therefore, didn't get 
paychecks for 35 days, even though the bills kept coming in. I hope 
that we will avoid another government shutdown in the coming weeks.
  We should also use this time to make sure that we repair some of the 
damage that was caused by the unnecessary and really shameful record-
long 35-day government shutdown. It should never have happened. It 
caused disruption throughout the country. Small businesses, in many 
cases, were unable to get loans. We know that we had 800,000 Federal 
employees who didn't get paychecks and that Federal service contract 
employees went without work in many of our Agencies.
  I was pleased that this body, on a bipartisan basis, adopted a 
measure to make sure that Federal employees receive backpay. I was 
pleased to work with Senator Cardin, Senator Smith, and others on the 
Republican side to get that done. That was really important. We 
provided Federal employees with the certainty that, at the end of the 
shutdown, they would all receive backpay, but we have not done anything 
similar for Federal contract employees, and we need to do that. Senator 
Smith and I and others have introduced legislation that we hope we can 
incorporate into whatever agreement we reach to reopen the government 
that addresses the plight of these Federal service contract employees.
  I just want to bring to the attention of our colleagues one of those 
individuals. Her name is Lila Johnson. Ms. Johnson was my guest last 
night at the State of the Union Address. I invited her here to draw 
attention to the plight that she and others find themselves in.
  She is 71 years old. She lives in Hagerstown, MD. She commutes about 
2 hours a day to the Department of Agriculture, where for 21 years she 
has provided janitorial services to help keep the Department of 
Agriculture up and running and clean. She is, right now, the primary 
breadwinner for two of her grandchildren, who depend on her and the 
support she receives from her job to make sure they can put food on the 
table and pay for medical expenses and pay for housing. When the 
government shut down for 35 days, Ms. Johnson didn't get a paycheck.
  She is not a highly paid employee like most of these Federal service 
contractors whom we are talking about. We are talking about people who 
are living, really, paycheck to paycheck--people who provide janitorial 
services and cafeteria services. We are talking about security guards 
and some construction workers around the country. We are talking about 
lower wage and middle-wage employees who work for companies that 
contract with the Federal Government to provide services.
  So Ms. Johnson is really scrambling now to pay the bills and to keep 
her financial head above water. That is why I was pleased that she 
could join us last evening. I had hoped that, maybe, the President 
would have said something about service contract employees.
  Many of us wrote a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, 
asking the OMB to use its contract authority to try to make these 
Federal service contract employees whole because we believed that it 
had some power to make contract adjustments to fix some of this 
problem. We don't know exactly what the extent of the OMB's authority 
is, and we don't know if it will use it in the administration even if 
it has it. That is why it is really important that we move forward and 
act on this legislation.
  I think we all agree that it is not fair to punish people who have 
had nothing to do with the political dysfunction in this body and in 
Washington. Ms. Johnson has had nothing to do with the dispute that we 
have had in this body and the dispute with the President. For goodness' 
sake, she works for the Department of Agriculture. The Department of 
Agriculture has nothing to do with how we most effectively provide 
border security. The Department of Agriculture is one of the eight or 
nine Departments that was held hostage for a dispute that had nothing 
to do with the Department of Agriculture's mission.
  That is why people like Lila Johnson have been caught up in something 
they had nothing to do with. It seems to me that the right thing for us 
to do is to make sure the people who are sort of caught in the 
political crossfire are not the ones who, at the end of the day, are 
punished.

[[Page S906]]

  I hope we will do the right thing on a bipartisan basis. We have 
introduced a piece of legislation. It is a bipartisan piece of 
legislation. It has Democratic and Republican Senators. The same is 
true for a similar piece of legislation in the House. So I am very 
hopeful that we will use the opportunity of the agreement to reopen the 
government. Hopefully, we will get there, and we will keep it open. I 
hope we will use that opportunity to address this injustice and to 
right this wrong.
  Again, I thank the Senator from Minnesota.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. SMITH. Mr. President, I thank Senator Van Hollen for being here 
to talk about this.
  When I first became aware of this issue, which was over what was the 
Christmas holiday for us--Federal employees and Federal contractors 
were already not working and not getting paid--Senator Van Hollen was 
one of the first people whom I called to try to figure out what we 
might do to resolve this, to solve this problem.
  I thank you for your leadership and for all of the help that you have 
given me and all of us to try to figure out this problem. Thank you 
very much. It has been wonderful to work with you on this.
  I also note that I am very grateful to see my colleague Senator Casey 
here, who, I believe, also has some things to say about this.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise to speak about the same topic that 
my colleague from Maryland and my colleague from Minnesota just spoke 
of. I will start by highlighting the legislation that Senator Smith 
from Minnesota has been leading. I am grateful for her work and am 
grateful to be a cosponsor and a supporter of the legislation.
  The Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act is the 
bill that we are talking about. I think it is critically important that 
we pass this legislation. The country has endured the shutdown of 35 
days. Now we are in this interim period, waiting for the results of 
negotiations that are underway with appropriators. We wish them well, 
and we hope they can come to an agreement that can be signed into law 
so that we will not have the threat of yet another shutdown. In this 
case, President Trump decided to shut the government down for 35 days. 
That decision, I guess, was prompted by his not receiving funding or 
winning the debate, at that time, for the funding of his proposed 
border wall.
  As we know, Federal employees, as opposed to Federal contractors, 
have received backpay. That was pursuant to legislation that was led by 
Senator Cardin. I know his colleague from Maryland, Senator Van Hollen, 
who just spoke, also worked very hard to pass that legislation. That is 
good news that Federal employees have backpay.
  In this case now, though, although the government has been open for 
nearly 2 weeks, many vulnerable, low-wage Federal contractors, as 
opposed to employees, are still struggling due to the lack of their 
backpay. They were not covered by the bill that provided backpay to 
Federal employees. Over 820,000 Federal workers went without pay in the 
35-day shutdown. It is also estimated that some 2 million private 
sector employees who work at companies that contract with the Federal 
Government also may have gone without pay.
  Although the financial future of the Federal contractors was and 
remains in serious jeopardy, many of their stories have gone untold. 
For example, a constituent of mine from Adams County, which is on the 
southernmost border--right on the Maryland-Pennsylvania border--is a 
Federal employee, not a contractor, who was furloughed, and her husband 
works for a private company that has a contract with the TSA. So there, 
in one family, one couple, you have a Federal employee, and you have an 
employee of a Federal contractor.

  This is what this constituent said:

       Because of all of this, we have taken our children out of 
     daycare . . . so, now our daycare provider is without 
     hundreds of dollars a month. This will keep trickling down to 
     many others. . . . It will not just affect federal employees.

  That is what a woman from Adams County said.
  Then you go further east in our State to Montgomery County, a very 
populous, suburban Philadelphia county. This constituent is a Federal 
contractor. I will read part of this letter, not all of it. This 
constituent said: ``As of now, I am back working; however, it may only 
be until February 15th.''
  That is the day when the current continuing resolution runs out.
  I will continue the letter with these words:

       In these last 6 weeks, I have completely drained the 
     family's rainy day fund. . . . I have asked all my utilities 
     and credit card companies to postpone my due payments. In 
     addition, my 8-year-old daughter was concerned we are not 
     going to be able to eat. Like many Americans we live paycheck 
     to paycheck.

  I could go on from there, but I will not. I think people understand 
the sentiment. Most people have some sense of the gravity of the 
suffering and what could be even additional suffering, but most of us 
can't even begin to imagine.
  The longest shutdown in American history might be over, but these 
Federal contractors are still struggling to put food on the table, to 
purchase medicine, and to pay their bills on time. That is why, led by 
Senator Smith, we must pass this legislation, the Fair Compensation for 
Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act. The legislation would compensate 
contractors for providing backpay to low-wage contractor service 
employees who have been furloughed or laid off during the shutdown.
  Who are these individuals we are talking about? Here are just a few 
examples. They are custodians, security guards, and food service 
workers who work alongside Federal employees and ensure that our 
government runs smoothly.
  We always hear a lot of talk by politicians and sometimes citizens 
who complain about the government, denigrate the government, and talk 
about how bad the government is. Then we go through a 35-day shutdown, 
and people realize, maybe more significantly, what the government does 
every day. It does, in fact, help our country run. The country doesn't 
run simply because of the private sector.
  When we are dealing with the aftermath of this, we have to be 
thinking of making those employees whole but also helping the 
contractors and those who work, of course, for the contractors. These 
Americans, just like the Federal employees, also deserve to be made 
whole once again. It is essential that we show our support for those 
workers who keep the government running, whether they are employees or 
contractors.
  Shutdowns are harmful to the Federal workforce in both the short and 
long term. They pose immediate danger of destroying the economic well-
being of working families. As we have heard from constituents across 
the country and some I just noted today, frequent shutdowns create 
uncertainty and dissuade people from entering public service. These are 
just two of the adverse outcomes or consequences.
  The bottom line is that we not only need to repair some of the damage 
and help people by way of legislation or other actions, but we should 
also commit ourselves--both parties, both Houses, and it would help 
enormously if the President of the United States would also commit 
himself--to a very simple goal: no more shutdowns--no more shutdowns by 
anyone.
  In fact, I know that there are a number of pieces of legislation that 
would, if not have that effect, then at least create the greatest 
disincentives for a shutdown to occur. It would help all of us if the 
President used that microphone that he has every day to make it very 
clear that he is committed to no more shutdowns, no more hostage-
taking, and no more use of shutdowns for leverage.
  If the President will not do it, the Congress has to act and send him 
legislation. He has the right to veto legislation, of course, but I 
would hope that if he receives bipartisan legislation to make people 
whole, to pass Senator Smith's bill, or to pass legislation to prevent 
future shutdowns from ever occurring again, he would sign all of those 
measures.
  For purposes of today, we want to make sure that we highlight and 
lift up the legislation by Senator Smith to help contractors.

[[Page S907]]

  With that, 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. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be 
allowed to speak as if in morning business for up to 15 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                             Climate Change

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, judging by the deafening silence of 
Senate Republicans, you would think there was no conservative support 
in this country for even the most measured response to climate change. 
However, many prominent Republicans are actually clamoring for climate 
action. They are just not doing it here in Mammon Hall.
  See, for example, the January 16 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. 
The Wall Street Journal is not exactly a progressive lefty rag. The 
opening line of the Wall Street Journal op-ed is: ``Global climate 
change is a serious problem calling for immediate national action.'' I 
agree.
  The op-ed is signed by 27 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics, 
four former Federal Reserve Chairs, 12 past Chairs of the President's 
Council of Economic Advisers, and two former Treasury Secretaries. Many 
were appointed by Republican Presidents.
  Let's look at what this bipartisan group of experts and economists is 
proposing.
  Here is the first policy recommendation:

       A carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce 
     carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary. By 
     correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will 
     send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible 
     hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a 
     low-carbon future.

  Again, I agree. We must make the price of fossil energy reflect the 
costs of carbon pollution. That is Econ 101. We have to do it if we are 
to reduce emissions as much and as quickly as we need to. This is why 
Senator Schatz and I introduced the American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act 
to put a price on carbon.
  It is not just academic economists and policymakers who recognize 
that putting a price on carbon pollution is the most efficient way to 
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Business executives agree. Few firms 
are more capitalist and fiercer than the legendary Goldman Sachs. 
Consider this from Bob Litterman, the former head of risk management at 
Goldman Sachs, writing recently in the New York Times:

       [F]or society at large, and the government in particular, 
     the most important and urgent action required is to minimize 
     future warming by creating appropriate global incentives to 
     reduce carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. 
     Economists generally agree that rather than regulate 
     behavior, it is more effective to allow individuals to choose 
     their actions, as long as the prices appropriately reflect 
     the costs--

  Again, back to Econ 101--

     including the risks posed by climate change.
       To date, prices of energy have not reflected the risk of 
     future climate changes. This is a stupid mistake. . . .

  That is not very complicated economic jargon. This is the former head 
of risk management for one of the smartest and most capitalist firms 
the planet has ever seen saying that what we are engaged in now is a 
``stupid mistake.'' Again, I agree.
  Republicans typically support free market solutions, and this is a 
free market solution. Yet, still, there remains that deafening silence 
from the other side of the aisle here in the Senate.
  Here is the second recommendation from the economists' op-ed in the 
Wall Street Journal:

       A carbon tax should increase every year until emissions 
     reductions goals are met and be revenue neutral to avoid 
     debates over the size of government. A consistently rising 
     carbon price will encourage technological innovation and 
     large-scale infrastructure development.

  These are two things we want--innovation and infrastructure. So 
again, I agree. As to revenue neutral, the carbon pricing system 
Senator Schatz and I proposed is revenue neutral. Every penny goes back 
into the pockets of Americans--none is designed to make more or bigger 
government. As to innovation, a carbon fee levels the playing field so 
that polluters have to compete in the market on even terms with 
nonpolluters. Competition on a level playing field will incentivize 
innovation in renewable energy, innovation in energy efficiency, 
innovation in resilient infrastructure, and innovation in low-carbon 
manufacturing and transportation.
  This is not a novel concept. Nobel Prize-winning economist William 
Nordhaus showed as far back as 1992 ``that a low tax on carbon, set to 
rise slowly, over time, could be enough to keep emissions at reasonable 
levels, saving us from climate change at little, if any, cost. The tax 
would promote innovations in new forms of power generation, and, 
eventually, a widespread adoption of clean-energy technologies.''
  The latest Republican claim is that innovation is the solution to 
climate change. Fine, but you are not going to get adequate innovation 
on the tilted playing field that the fossil fuel industry protects. 
Carbon pricing uses market forces to drive innovation.
  What else do the economists recommend?

       A border carbon adjustment system should be established. 
     This system would enhance the competitiveness of American 
     firms that are more energy-efficient than their global 
     competitors. It would also create an incentive for other 
     nations to adopt similar carbon pricing.

  Again, I agree. A border carbon adjustment system means that products 
from countries without a carbon price are subject to a harmonizing 
tariff so that they don't have an unfair advantage over domestic 
products. This protects American manufacturers, and, in turn, American 
jobs. It motivates other countries to help solve this global problem. 
People who say we need a global solution must look to a carbon price 
because it is the most efficient global solution. That is why the 
Whitehouse-Schatz bill includes just such a border adjustment system. 
By the way, we filed this bill three Congresses ago first. So we have 
been at this for a while. The economists' Wall Street Journal op-ed was 
just a few weeks ago. So we seem to have some convergence here.

  The economists continue:

       To maximize the fairness and political viability of a 
     rising carbon tax, all the revenue should be returned 
     directly to U.S. citizens through equal lump-sum rebates. The 
     majority of American families, including the most vulnerable, 
     will benefit financially--

  Let me repeat that again--

     will benefit financially by receiving more in ``carbon 
     dividends'' than they pay in increased energy prices.
       The majority of our families, including the most vulnerable 
     will benefit financially.

  As I already noted, the Whitehouse-Schatz plan returns all revenue to 
the American people. Carbon pricing is not a tax increase. Lower and 
middle-income households actually get more money back than they may pay 
in higher prices.
  More than two dozen Nobel Prize winners signed this Wall Street 
Journal op-ed. Their economic expertise is unimpeachable. We have at 
least one Nobel Laureate from almost every year since the late 1990s. 
There are only a few missing names, and many of those names actually 
have endorsed carbon pricing in other venues.
  You might say: OK, they are just a bunch of academics. They are all 
out of touch with political realities.
  Well, these were all chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers to 
the President. When you are advising the President of the United 
States, you generally adopt some sense of political reality. Note that 
this is a bipartisan list. It includes advisers to four Republican 
Presidents and two Democratic Presidents. When this group of people can 
agree on an economic policy, you better believe it is not some fringe 
idea, and these experts all say that carbon pricing is a practical 
solution to a very real and pressing problem.
  Here is yet another bipartisan list of signers on the Wall Street 
Journal op-ed: Fed chairs and Treasury Secretaries. We have top-level 
economic appointees from five different Republican Presidents, all 
saying that ``global climate change is a serious problem calling for 
immediate national action'' and

[[Page S908]]

all saying that setting a carbon price is the best action to take. They 
don't write very big checks. So they don't get heard from much around 
here, it seems.
  But let's think for a minute. What about this President? What about 
President Trump? What might he say? What might President Trump think 
about action on climate change?
  This is a full-page advertisement from the New York Times from 2009. 
Back in 2009, Donald Trump and his children and the Trump organization 
all signed this letter published in the New York Times. This letter 
urged then-President Obama to pursue what they called ``meaningful and 
effective measures to control climate change.'' It goes on: ``If we 
fail to act now''--this being 2009--``it is scientifically irrefutable 
that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for 
humanity and our planet.'' ``Irrefutable,'' ``catastrophic,'' 
``irreversible''--there is not much ambiguity there.
  Well, a decade has passed since this letter, and much has changed. 
Now Donald Trump mocks global warming, and the GOP in Congress has fled 
from taking any serious action on climate change--even on policies that 
are as mainstream and widely supported by appointees of Republicans as 
carbon pricing.
  How did this come to pass? Well, I was here. I saw it happen. The 
year after President Trump signed this letter, the Supreme Court's 
disastrous Citizens United decision opened the floodgates to unlimited 
special-interest money--money from polluters into our politics--and 
that changed everything.
  In 2007, we had bipartisan climate bills. In 2008, we had bipartisan 
climate bills. In 2009, we had bipartisan climate bills. Bipartisanship 
was the theme of responding to the climate change problem for those 
years. By my recollection, we had five different bipartisan Senate 
climate bills kicking around.
  Then, in January 2010 comes the Citizens United decision. The fossil 
fuel industry pushed for it, asked for it, saw it coming, and took 
immediate advantage of it. Before you know it, there is that unlimited 
money, often unleashed through dark money channels, so you don't know 
who is behind it, and there are the threats and promises that 
necessarily accompany that power. Think about it. If you are given the 
power to spend unlimited money in politics, do you not necessarily also 
have the power to threaten to spend unlimited money in politics? Of 
course, you do. The two cannot be separated.
  So the unlimited spending, the anonymous dark money, and the threats 
and promises combined to shut down the Republican Party on this issue. 
It was like turning off the lights. From January 2010 forward, no 
Republican in this Chamber has been willing to get onto any serious 
piece of legislation to reduce carbon dioxide.
  Republican voters aren't there. Republican young voters are up in 
arms. Republican economic leaders aren't there. You can look across the 
Republican Party, and you find a strong and solid desire to address the 
climate problem, and you even have Republican leaders supporting a 
specific solution. It is just here where it stops. It is just here 
where political spending is so important that it has been able to 
overcome even the judgment of Nobel Prize-winning Republican appointees 
as to how to solve this.
  After he received his Nobel Prize just last October, William 
Nordhaus, Nobel Prize-winning economist, lamented: ``It's hard to be 
optimistic. . . . We're actually going backward in the United States, 
with the disastrous policies of the Trump administration.''
  Where is 2009 Donald Trump? Where is the guy who signed this? I want 
that guy back. These economists of all political backgrounds know what 
is going on, and they know how to fix it. The American people know what 
is going on, and they want us to fix it. It is time for us to take 
action, and it is time for us to wake up.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

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