EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 40
(Senate - March 06, 2019)

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[Pages S1671-S1698]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following 
nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read the nomination of Chad A. Readler, of Ohio, to be 
United States Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 1 
minute as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, yesterday, I came to the floor to speak 
about the Green New Deal. I compared it to the New Deal of the 1930s.
  I mentioned before that the New Deal of the 1930s is not something 
that we ought to be emulating.
  The National Recovery Administration of the 1930s was a key feature 
of that New Deal. It was designed to eliminate competition, with 
industry, government, and labor all working together.
  The National Recovery Administration turned out hundreds of codes, 
regulating every aspect of business. Small businesses struggled to 
comply, job creation stalled, and prices stayed high.
  When big business and big government get together to write 
regulations, hard-working Americans suffer. You don't create jobs.
  So I hope you will take a look at how complicated the Green New Deal 
is, besides costing $93 trillion in the future.
  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. 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call be rescinded.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 Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.

                          Judicial Nominations

  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the Senate confirmed one of President 
Trump's well-qualified nominees to the Federal bench and advanced the 
nomination of another.
  That is what we will do today. With Allison Rushing's nomination 
confirmed, we will vote later today on the nomination of Chad Readler 
and then turn to consideration of Eric Murphy to join him on the Sixth 
Circuit Court of Appeals.
  Mr. Murphy is a graduate of Miami University and the University of 
Chicago Law School and now serves as the State solicitor of Ohio. He 
has held two prestigious clerkships on our Federal courts, including 
for Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  So I hope our colleagues will join me in advancing another wise 
choice for our Nation's judiciary.

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. President, on another matter, in recent months our Nation has 
watched the Democratic Party take a sharp and abrupt left turn toward 
  A flawed ideology that has been rejected time and again across the 
world is now driving the marquee policy proposals of the new House 
Democratic majority, and nothing encapsulates this as clearly as the 
huge, self-inflicted, national wound the Democrats are agitating for 
called the Green New Deal.
  Let's review a few of the greatest hits in this particular proposal.
  Democrats have decided that every building in America needs to be 
either overhauled or replaced altogether. They are putting homeowners 
and small business owners on alert. The all-

[[Page S1672]]

knowing central planners here in the Nation's capital are raring to 
remodel the entire country.
  Up next: ending all fossil fuel and nuclear energy production. Forget 
about coal and all of the jobs it supports in my State of Kentucky and 
around the country. Forget about the oil and natural gas industry and 
all of those jobs as well. The list goes on.
  Oh, by the way, forget about nuclear, too--proving that this proposal 
doesn't even pretend to be a serious effort to reduce carbon emissions. 
It is just a statement of what sounds trendy in New York and San 
  Anyone seriously concerned about carbon would know that nuclear power 
generates a majority of America's carbon-free electricity. You would 
think the carbon police would be glad that from 1995 to 2016, American 
nuclear power met the emissions equivalent of keeping 3 billion cars 
off the road.
  Let me say that again. You would think the carbon police would be 
glad that from 1995 to 2016, American nuclear power met the emissions 
equivalent of keeping 3 billion cars off the road.
  Oh, but alas, these Democrats will not let facts get in the way of 
what is fashionable.
  Besides, why should America bother being a net exporter of energy 
when we could leave all of that economic potential to competitors like 
  Naturally, as background documents explained, this means eliminating 
all combustion engines--cars, lawn mowers, commercial airliners. 
Everything must go. Everything must go.
  By the way, that backgrounder really helps clarify another goal 
behind all of this. It is providing ``economic security,'' even those 
who are ``unwilling to work.''
  All of this and more can be ours for the low, low price of a 
staggering expansion of centralized government and--wait for it--upward 
of a mere $93 trillion. Ninety-three trillion is more than every dollar 
our Federal Government has spent in its entire history to date--
combined. It is more than the combined annual GDP of every nation on 
  As our colleague Senator Blunt and the policy committee have pointed 
out, this amount of money could rebuild the entire Interstate Highway 
System every single year--just for the heck of it--for 250 years, and 
you would still have a little left over--a little left over.
  Or maybe Americans would rather have something nicer to drive on the 
roads we already have. For the comparatively cheap price of just $66 
trillion, I am told the government could buy every American a Ferrari. 
What a great idea. For the comparatively cheap price of just $66 
trillion, the government could buy every American a Ferrari. But, of 
course, everyone would have to get their driving in before Democrats 
ban the internal combustion engine.
  To be clear, $93 trillion is just one number and one attempt to 
estimate the pricetag of this fantasy novel. The proposal is so lacking 
in details and math that it is almost impossible for analysts to even 
know where to begin trying to connect it to the real world.
  Let's talk about where this money would come from. That is always a 
question worth asking.
  If we spread that $93 trillion out over 10 years and over every 
American household, we get about $65,000 per household--$65,000 every 
year for every household. The median income in this country is around 
$60,000. So, like any good socialist plan, I am sure we would hear a 
lot about soaking the rich.
  We always do. We would hear that wealthy Americans could pay for this 
whole thing, if only they were sufficiently civic-minded, but, of 
course, that is not even close to accurate. A huge share of the bill 
would land at the feet of the American middle class. There are not 
enough billionaires--there are not enough billionaires to pay the 
trillions needed for this massive government plan.
  Even if Washington decided the IRS should grab every single cent of 
adjusted gross income above $1 million, all of it taken, it would only 
bring in a little over one-tenth--one-tenth--of what the Green New Deal 
is estimated to cost every year. Take all the money away from the 
millionaires, it would only bring in a little over one-tenth of what 
the Green New Deal is estimated to cost every year.
  In fact, in order to break even on this proposal alone, the Federal 
Government would have to take $9 of every $10 that every single 
American earns. The Federal Government would have to take $9 out of $10 
of everything every American earns.
  You had better believe that families' last dollar would need to go 
toward keeping the lights on. By one analysis, middle-class families 
could see their power bills jump by more than $300 a month under the 
Green New Deal. That would take up the last dollar they had left.
  I know Senator Ernst and several of our colleagues will be speaking 
at greater length on this issue later today, and I am sure each of them 
will point out that there certainly is one green thing about this 
sprawling proposal, one green thing: the huge, unprecedented pile of 
middle-class families' money that Democrats are itching--itching--to 

                  Resolution Condemning Anti-Semitism

  Mr. President, on one final matter, I want to discuss something that 
will be happening on the floor of the House perhaps as soon as today.
  Remarkably, for the second time in just the last 3 weeks, Speaker 
Pelosi apparently feels compelled to have her Members vote on a 
resolution that will reportedly condemn anti-Semitism--a resolution 
that will purportedly condemn anti-Semitism.
  Unfortunately, again, for the second time in just the last 3 weeks, 
this seems to be in response to the invocation of crude, hateful, and 
backward anti-Semitic stereotypes by one specific freshman member of 
the House Democratic majority.
  This Democratic Congresswoman already stoked controversy in mid-
February, having publicly proclaimed that Israel's supporters are only 
in it for the money. Apparently, she believes the only reason leaders 
would stand with the Jewish people and the State of Israel is Jewish 
money. Well, I think we have all heard that kind of talk before, and we 
must not tolerate it.
  During my time in the Senate, I have had the honor of traveling all 
over America. I know I speak for colleagues on both sides of the aisle 
when I say that support for the State of Israel and the U.S.-Israel 
relationship is deeply felt--deeply felt--all across America. Our 
relationship is built on common values and democratic principles, our 
shared interests, close partnerships, and deep friendships. The support 
for Israel that you see in this Chamber is not the work of some shadow 
conspiracy. The Members of this body support Israel because so many 
Americans support Israel.
  I had hoped this regrettable episode might have caused this lawmaker 
to be more careful with her language, but, alas, just a few weeks 
later, here we are again: more anti-Semitic tropes. This time, she 
claims that supporters of Israel actually have ``an allegiance to a 
foreign country.'' That is that old, ugly, dual loyalty smear, plain as 
  We should also not overlook that in a few cases, these anti-Semitic 
statements have provoked offensive, anti-Muslim comments in response. 
That is hateful and completely inexcusable as well.
  So now the House of Representatives seeks to distance itself from 
this Member's remarks and will apparently soon vote to condemn anti-
Semitism for the second time in just a few weeks. I hope this time the 
message is clear.
  Support for Israel isn't about the ``Benjamins,'' it is about the 
hearts and minds of the American people. It is unconscionable for any 
Member of the U.S. Congress, even less a Member of the House Foreign 
Relations Committee, to repeatedly traffic in base stereotypes.
  The long, bloody legacy of anti-Semitism is spread out over the pages 
of history, but, regrettably, this scourge is not confined to history.
  Long common across the Middle East, violent, hateful acts of anti-
Semitism have been increasing throughout Europe. Less than a lifetime 
after the Holocaust, 9 out of 10 European Jews say anti-Semitism has 
increased--increased--in the past 5 years.
  Eighty-eight percent of French Jews say they actively worry about 
targeted vandalism. That country alone saw 541 anti-Semitic incidents 
in 2018, a massive 74-percent increase from just the prior year.

[[Page S1673]]

  In France, in 2006, a Jewish man was kidnapped for ransom because 
criminals assumed his Jewish family had to be rich. When their plan 
failed, they tortured and killed him. A memorial tree was planted in 
his honor. Earlier this month, that tree was found chopped down--anti-
Semitism on top of anti-Semitism.
  Trends here in America are troubling too. Every year, hundreds and 
hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents take place in America, everything 
from vandalism to harassment, to threats in schools, college campuses, 
and other public places, to targeting Jewish institutions.
  This racial and religious hate-mongering deserves swift 
condemnation--swift condemnation. So I am glad the House is at least 
taking up this short, symbolic resolution and rejecting the anti-
Semitic tropes this Democratic Congresswoman keeps peddling, but at the 
end of the day, it is just a symbolic resolution.
  If House Democrats wanted to, they could pass real legislation to 
take action against anti-Semitism and shore up America's relationship 
with Israel. I know they could because last month the Senate did just 
that. We did that in the Senate last month. The House should take up 
and pass S. 1, the bipartisan foreign policy legislation that the 
Senate passed last month, 77 to 23. That legislation walks the walk. It 
supports Israel and gives local communities the flexibility to combat 
the so-called BDS movement, which is a kind of anti-Semitic economic 
warfare that opponents of Israel are trying to wage against the Jewish 
  The bill also attends to other critical priorities, such as renewing 
U.S. commitments to Jordan's security and providing for the Assad 
regime's butchers to be brought to justice.
  S. 1 is not just about combating anti-Semitism or bolstering the 
U.S.-Israel relationship; it is about standing with an Arab partner 
like Jordan and providing justice for the Syrian people. So my point is 
this: Resolutions are fine, but the House could do something that 
mattered by taking up S. 1 that we sent them last month that deals with 
the BDS boycott against Israel.
  Words are one thing. Meaningful action is another. House Democrats 
should walk the walk and pass S. 1 without any further pointless delay.
  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. 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.
  (The remarks of Senator Schumer pertaining to the submission of S. 
Res. 97 are printed in today's Record under ``Submitted Resolutions.'')

                     Nomination of Chad L. Readler

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, now on Readler, later this afternoon, the 
Senate will vote on the confirmation of Chad Readler to the Sixth 
Circuit. As this Chamber by now is no doubt aware, Mr. Readler was the 
chief cook and bottle washer of the Trump administration's decision not 
to defend the healthcare law in court. In a brief submitted to the 
court on behalf of the Department of Justice, Mr. Readler said that 
protections for the 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions 
are unconstitutional.
  I say to my Republican friends: Do you want to vote for a judge who 
says that protecting preexisting conditions, which affect 130 million 
Americans, is unconstitutional?
  Well, that is what you are going to do if you vote for Readler.
  Even my Republican colleague Senator Alexander, who oversees the 
committee that created these protections, calls his arguments ``as 
farfetched as I have ever heard.''
  Can you imagine the lack of compassion it takes to argue that 130 
million Americans with cancers, respiratory ailments, and all the way 
down to asthma don't deserve the guarantee of affordable healthcare? 
Can you imagine voting for a man who is so cold-hearted that he doesn't 
protect a mother who has a daughter or a son with cancer and the 
insurance company cuts them off, and they have to watch their child 
  Can our Republican colleagues actually vote for a nominee who feels 
that way not just in his words but in his action? This vote is going to 
be remembered for a long time--a long, long time.
  Can you imagine sitting at your desk on an average workday and 
arguing for a policy with such catastrophic consequences for a third of 
our country? I, for one, cannot. That is what Readler did.
  The very next day, after he wrote that brief, he was nominated for 
this lifetime appointment on the bench. Go figure. Only in the Trump 
administration could a person be rewarded for efforts to take 
healthcare away from average Americans. That is exactly what happened.
  Yesterday, regrettably, the Senate proceeded to Readler's nomination 
over the objections of one of his home State Senators, Senator Sherrod 
Brown. Republican leaders are so eager to confirm judges that they are 
willing to break the blue-slip tradition even when the nominee is the 
literal encapsulation of their party's most heartless policy, I might 
add--a policy that helped them lose the House and could help them lose 
future elections, if they only care about that.
  Republican Senators still have a chance to reject the cynicism behind 
Mr. Readler's nomination. They have a chance to stand up for 
healthcare. I would ask my colleagues, is the confirmation of one 
circuit judge really worth endorsing the position that our healthcare 
law should be repealed and Americans with preexisting conditions should 
not be protected? The answer to that question ought to be obvious.
  I urge my Republican colleagues to vote no on Mr. Readler's 
nomination this afternoon.
  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. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, the more you look at the Green New Deal, 
the worse it looks. Last week, one think tank released a first estimate 
of what the Green New Deal would cost. Here is the answer: between $51 
trillion and $93 trillion over 10 years. Between $51 trillion and $93 
trillion. That is an unfathomable amount of money. The 2017 gross 
domestic product for the entire world, for the whole planet, came to 
$80.7 trillion--more than $10 trillion less than what Democrats are 
proposing to spend on the Green New Deal.
  Mr. President, $93 trillion is more than the amount of money the U.S. 
Government has spent in its entire history. Since 1789, when the 
Constitution went into effect, the Federal Government has spent a total 
of $83.2 trillion. That is right--it has taken us 230 years of American 
history to spend the amount of money the Democrats want to spend in 10 
years. Look at it this way: $93 trillion is enough money to buy more 
than 7,000 Ford-class aircraft carriers. To put that in perspective, 
guess how many aircraft carriers the Navy currently has in its entire 
fleet. Eleven.
  It is like the Democrats are playing pretend. It is like they are on 
a road trip, and they are trying to pass the time, and they say, ``What 
would you do if you won the lottery?'' or ``What would you do if you 
had all the money in the world?'' It is a fun game to play for a few 
minutes, but this is not a game. The government doesn't have all the 
money in the world. That $93 trillion is going to have to come from 
  Democrats like to suggest that we can pay for it and pay for just 
about anything simply by taxing the wealthy, but the truth is, taxing 
the wealthy or even the merely well-off isn't going to pay for this 
proposal. Taxing all the millionaires in the United States at a 100-
percent tax rate for 10 years wouldn't add up anywhere close to $93 
trillion. Taxing every household making more than $200,000 a year at a 
100-percent tax rate for 10 years wouldn't get Democrats anywhere close 
to $93 trillion. Let's take it a step further. Taxing every family 
making more than $100,000 a year at a

[[Page S1674]]

100-percent tax rate for 10 years would still leave Democrats far short 
of $93 trillion.
  The Green New Deal is not a plan that can be paid for merely by 
taxing the rich. Actually implementing the Green New Deal would involve 
taking money not just from the well-off but from working families--and 
not a little bit of money either. Ninety-three trillion dollars breaks 
down to over $650,000 per household over 10 years. That is more than 
$65,000 per household, per year--more that the median household income 
in the United States. In other words, the cost per household for just 1 
year of the Green New Deal is more than the yearly income of 50 percent 
of American households.
  Let's leave aside the stratospheric cost for just a minute and talk 
about the other consequences of the Green New Deal.
  Democrats' Green New Deal would put the government in charge of a 
large portion of the economy and significantly shrink Americans' 
freedom. Under this bill, the government will impose new and stringent 
regulations on your appliances, your car, your house, and your place of 
business. It will limit your electricity options. It will put the 
government in charge of your healthcare. I know that is not really 
energy-related, but the Green New Deal's authors went beyond energy to 
include a full socialist wish list.
  Your options for travel may be limited. A fact sheet released--and 
later deleted--by one of the authors of the Green New Deal called for a 
plan to ``build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops 
becoming necessary.'' Well, that might work between DC and Boston, but 
it is not going to work so well if you have family in Hawaii. I don't 
think the high-speed rail is going to reach that far. I would say that 
you could make the trip by passenger ship, but, of course, we don't 
know whether ships as we know them would exist under the Green New 
Deal. After all, the plan's authors want to eliminate fossil fuels, 
which power ships, as well as your car and your home.
  Incidentally, while we are on the subject, it is worth mentioning 
that the Governor of California recently scaled back California's high-
speed rail project. Why? Because it was costing too much money.
  Under the Green New Deal, if you like your car, you probably won't be 
able to keep it. If you like your healthcare, you probably won't be 
able to keep it. If you like your house, you may not be able to keep 
that either. That same fact sheet from one of the Green New Deal's 
authors says that we need to ``upgrade or replace every building in 
[the] U.S.''
  There is no question that we need to protect our environment. There 
is no question that we should be developing clean energy sources and 
building on our existing clean energy technologies. I would tell the 
Chair that my home State of South Dakota is leading the way on this 
issue. In fact, my colleagues may be surprised to know that according 
to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, South Dakota generates 
an average of two-fifths to half of its electricity from hydroelectric 
facilities along the Missouri River. Combined with our abundant wind 
generation, which provides roughly 30 percent of our electricity, South 
Dakota's net utility-scale energy generation is over 75 percent 
  I am proud of South Dakota's renewable energy achievements, and I 
think we should be encouraging improved domestic energy production, 
increasing America's renewable energy supply, and reducing consumption 
through improved deficiencies. What we should not be doing is adopting 
a wildly irresponsible, completely unworkable, and utterly unrealistic 
proposal that would drive taxes through the roof, reduce Americans' 
standard of living, and permanently damage our economy.
  We are going to be voting on the Democrat's Green New Deal proposal 
in the coming weeks, and it will be interesting to see where all of my 
colleagues stand on this socialist fantasy.
  You just heard the Democratic leader, the Senator from New York, say 
that it is a gimmick and we shouldn't be voting on this. It is the 
first time I think I have ever heard a leader of one of the parties 
here in the Senate come forward and say that we shouldn't vote on 
something that 11 of his Democratic colleagues have cosponsored. He 
doesn't want to vote on a piece of legislation that is put forward by 
11 Democrats here in the Senate.
  Well, I think it is important for the American people to know. I 
think it is important for Members of the Senate to go on record on 
whether they think this is a good idea or whether they think, as I 
think most Americans would believe, this is a crazy idea that would 
wreck the economy, cost Americans' jobs, and punish working families in 
this country with higher costs for literally everything they face in 
their daily lives.
  For the sake of our economy and for working families, I hope that 
when this vote comes, at least some Democrats will slow their party's 
headlong rush to become the Socialist Party and not what we have 
historically known as the Democratic Party in this country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). The Senator from Ohio.

                     Nomination of Chad A. Readler

  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, judges are making decisions around the 
country right now on voting rights, on civil rights, on women's rights, 
on LGBTQ rights, decisions that could limit those rights not just for a 
year or for a decade but for a generation. They make decisions on 
healthcare; they make decisions on sentencing; and they make decisions 
on corporate power. We have seen judge after judge, especially on the 
Supreme Court, put their thumbs on the scales of justice by favoring 
corporations over workers, by favoring Wall Street over consumers, and 
by favoring health insurance companies over patients. That is, 
fundamentally, why we in Ohio cannot afford to have Chad Readler on the 
  Look at an op-ed he took upon himself to write as a private citizen, 
which reads we should allow the execution of 16-year-olds--kids, 
children who are 16 years old.
  This is at a time when we are taking important, bipartisan steps 
forward on sentencing reform, and this Senate doesn't come together 
very often. This Senate, under Senator McConnell's leadership, actually 
came together in a bipartisan way. After all of the mostly unworkable 
pieces of legislation he has written that always help the rich, the 
President of the United States signed a bill, in this case, in which we 
did the right thing by taking bipartisan steps forward on sentencing 
  How do you turn around and put someone on the bench for life who 
supports executing children? That is what a 16-year-old is--still a 
teenager, still a child under the law. Yet he thinks it is something we 
should do--execute children who are found guilty.
  During his nomination hearing, it was pretty unbelievable that 
Readler stood by his op-ed and refused to disavow his support for using 
the death penalty on high schoolers and, possibly, on even younger 
children. I guess I give him credit for consistency.
  His record on voting rights is equally despicable. He worked on 
behalf of a far-right group and argued for the elimination of Golden 
Week, something passed by Republicans that had been in effect for more 
than a decade, which means he was limiting the amount of time people 
can vote early, and he defended restrictive voter ID and provisional 
ballot laws. We know exactly whom those laws target--people of color, 
the elderly, young voters. They are the same people, in many cases, who 
face literacy tests and poll taxes. They are the people   John Lewis 
and the foot soldiers of Selma were marching for 54 years ago tomorrow 
across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
  It is shameful that, half a century later, we are fighting that same 
fight. Chad Readler again is on the wrong side. We can't afford another 
judge on the bench who works to undo Selma's legacy.
  We can't afford another judge who has made it his mission to take 
away Americans' healthcare. Chad Readler's work threatens the 
healthcare coverage of 20 million Americans who have preexisting 
conditions. Last summer, Readler did what three career attorneys with 
the Department of Justice refused to do. He filed a brief that 
challenged the law that protects Americans with preexisting conditions. 
He filed a brief nobody else was willing to file. They all recused 
themselves. They all refused to do it. They thought it was

[[Page S1675]]

something improper and unconstitutional. One of them, I believe, 
  Do you know what happened then? The next day, he was nominated for 
this very judgeship.
  So the message is loud and clear from the administration: If you go 
after preexisting conditions under consumer protections, if you attack 
workers' rights, if you attack voters' rights within any job you hold--
and there is a real incentive to do this from this administration--you 
may get a good, lifetime Federal judgeship. The arguments he made in 
his brief were unprecedented. As I said, three attorneys withdrew from 
the case. One resigned altogether in his objections to the Department 
of Justice's unprecedented actions.
  One of our Republican colleagues, Senator Alexander, who works with 
Senator Murray to run the HELP Committee, called Readler's argument as 
farfetched--Senator Alexander's words, who is a conservative Republican 
from Tennessee--as he had ever seen. Yet, in December, a partisan Texas 
judge decided to go along with Readler's opinion, and he handed down 
the decision that undermines preexisting condition protections for all 
  Right now, judges are deciding the future of Americans' healthcare 
every day. We can't afford to put another extremist--and he is way out 
of the mainstream--in my increasingly conservative, Republican State. 
He is way out of the mainstream among lawyers, way out of the 
mainstream among judges, and way out of the mainstream as a citizen. We 
can't afford to put another extreme judge on the court who will not 
defend Americans' right to healthcare.

  We know there have been a number of times this body has refused to 
take away the consumer protections for preexisting conditions. We 
remember the vote late at night when we defeated the repeal of the 
Affordable Care Act. We know that all kinds of Republican candidates 
who were victorious went on television and said they were going to 
defend the consumer protections for preexisting conditions. We heard 
that over and over.
  Why did we hear that? Even though that was not their position a few 
months earlier, in the cases of a lot of them, we heard it because they 
knew how popular it was and how much the public cared about the 
consumer protections for preexisting conditions. In a moment, I am 
going to share some letters from Ohioans who make the point that even 
though, this year, Republican candidates thought it was all OK to say 
we are going to preserve preexisting conditions, a vote for Judge 
Readler is exactly the opposite.
  Don't go home and say you support consumer protections for 
preexisting conditions and then vote for a judge who has a history of 
wanting to take that right away and who will now have a lifetime 
appointment and get another chance to likely take away the protections 
for preexisting conditions.
  Let me share a few letters from people.
  A man from Sandusky wrote to me about how the marketplaces that were 
created by the Affordable Care Act helped him to start his own business 
because he had a way to purchase insurance. He was later diagnosed with 
lung cancer. He wrote: ``I am watching the dismantling of the only 
program available to me with a pre-existing condition that I can 
afford. I am devastated.''
  I don't know what Mr. Readler thinks when he reads something like 
that, but let me give another example.
  A woman from Cleveland writes:

       Protect real health care coverage for all people with pre-
     existing conditions. Real people's lives depend on it. My 
     husband's life depends on it.

  Chad Readler wants to be a judge. Chad Readler did the President's 
bidding and the insurance industry's bidding at the Department of 
Justice. I don't know if he knows these people exist, like the woman 
from Cleveland or the man from Sandusky. I hope Chad Readler would have 
gone out and, as President Lincoln said, gotten his public opinion 
badge by actually listening to how the decisions he makes affect real 
  A woman from Chagrin Falls, which is a fairly wealthy suburb of 
Cleveland, wrote:

       I've been a cancer patient since 2011. If pre-existing 
     conditions are no longer covered, I--along with countless 
     others--will probably be screwed.

  A mother from Waynesville, OH, wrote:

       My family has lived every day worrying about the ACA being 
     dismantled. We have a son who was born with a neurological 
     condition before the ACA.
       We lived in constant fear of medical caps and pre-existing 

  Just putting Chad Readler on the bench increases people's anxiety. Is 
Congress going to take away the Affordable Care Act? Is Congress going 
to wipe away those protections for preexisting conditions? If Congress 
isn't, are judges going to do that? No wonder people are so anxious 
about that.
  A woman from Fairborn writes:

       I previously lost health insurance from a possible 
     preexisting condition and now, being a 2-time cancer 
     survivor, I'm scared of losing coverage again.
       The security of having insurance since the ACA allowed me 
     to sleep at night and focus on my health.

  My editorial comment on her comments is to focus on her health, not 
on whether she loses her coverage.

       It is unimaginable that politicians want to deny so many 
     Americans access to health insurance and quality of life.

  Senator Murray and I sat and watched a bunch of mostly men on the 
other side of the aisle cast their votes--all who had good health 
insurance--to take away insurance for millions of Americans and for 
hundreds of thousands in my State and to take away their consumer 
protections for preexisting conditions.
  A mother from New Albany writes:

       My daughter had two autoimmune diseases by the age of 6--
     SIX. That means her entire life she will be a ``preexisting 
     condition.'' But she isn't just a label. She is a person. 
     Please protect my baby. She already deals with enough.

  I mean, hear the passion in that letter, the strong feelings in that 
letter, the cries for help in that letter. Yet this body may be about 
to put on the Sixth Circuit, in a lifetime appointment, someone who 
clearly doesn't care about people like them.
  Another woman from Hillsboro writes:

       We are a family of pre-existing conditions and survive 
     because we have insurance that we can afford. My husband 
     works long, hard hours and has to work 60 hours a week for us 
     to make it. I'm a teacher. I work about 18 out of 24 hours a 
     day but make $40,000 a year. We can't work any more than we 
     already do.

  Again, these are people who are working hard and who are doing 
everything right. They didn't ask to be sick. They didn't ask for their 
healthcare costs to go up. Are we going to put somebody on the court 
who wants to take away the consumer protections for people like this 
lady from Hillsboro?
  These Americans work hard. They pay their premiums. Many of them deal 
with all that comes with caring for a child or a family member who has 
a chronic condition. How can Members of Congress and how can this 
President--all who have good insurance paid for by the taxpayers--stand 
by and allow activist, partisan judges to dismantle these protections 
that Americans rely on?
  It is bad enough that so many Members of Congress want to take away 
these consumer protections. Now it is unelected judges the American 
public really doesn't know, and this body is about to put one more of 
them on the court, even more extreme and younger than so many other of 
these judges.
  We can't afford another judge on the courts who will vote to take 
away Americans' healthcare, who will vote to take away Americans' 
voting rights, who will vote to take away Americans' civil rights.
  I ask my colleagues to vote no on Chad Readler for the Sixth Circuit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I thank my colleague from Ohio for his 
statement and his concerns, and I am here today to join him on the 
floor to oppose Chad Readler's nomination to the Sixth Circuit Court of 
  I call on every Republican who said they were going to fight for 
families' healthcare coverage, protections for people with preexisting 
conditions, to prove they meant it by joining us.
  I have heard my Republican colleagues claim time and again that they 
care about protections for people with preexisting conditions. I have 

[[Page S1676]]

them say they want to tackle those skyrocketing healthcare costs. I 
have heard them say they want to help people get the care they need, 
but when push comes to shove, I have yet to see them join Democrats and 
actually vote to make that happen. In fact, they do have a long track 
record of working to move us in exactly the opposite direction.
  People across the country have not forgotten how they had to speak up 
and stop Republicans from jamming through that awful TrumpCare bill, 
which would have spiked premiums and gutted Medicaid and put families 
back at the mercy of big insurance companies that could jack up prices 
for people with preexisting conditions.
  Those people also will not forget if Republicans decide to ignore 
them again and rally around this judicial nominee, who wants to do the 
same damage.
  Let's be clear. Chad Readler's nomination is the latest test of 
whether Republicans are serious about fighting for people's healthcare, 
and every Republican who supports him is failing yet again.
  Make no mistake--Chad Readler has not only championed some of 
President Trump's most alarming steps, such as his travel ban, his 
family separation policy, his efforts to undermine protections for 
LGBTQ people and more; he has also been President Trump's right-hand 
man when it comes to undermining healthcare for people in this country.
  When the Trump administration decided to abandon protections for 
people with preexisting conditions in court and throw its weight behind 
a lawsuit that would strike them down, Chad Readler signed on to the 
brief defending the decision. It is a brief that three other Justice 
Department officials refused to sign, and one even resigned over it. 
But Chad Readler led the Trump administration's legal argument for 
striking down protections for people with preexisting conditions, which 
will increase costs and throw healthcare for millions of people into 
utter chaos.
  It was an argument one of my Republican colleagues, as you just 
heard, called ``as far-fetched as any I've ever heard.'' I agree. It is 
farfetched, which is why it is also farfetched for any Republican who 
votes to confirm Readler to continue pretending they care about 
protections for people with preexisting conditions or helping families 
get affordable healthcare.
  The choice, to me, is pretty simple and straightforward. You cannot 
be for protections for people with preexisting conditions and for 
making someone who wants to strike them down a circuit judge. You 
cannot fight for families' healthcare and vote to empower the very 
people who have been leading the charge to undermine it. You can't vote 
for Readler and stand with those families.
  People across the country are watching this vote closely. They know, 
despite Republicans' promises to fight for their healthcare, when it 
matters as it does here, when the care they need is truly on the line, 
Republicans have not come through for them.
  I hope that changes today. I hope, instead of breaking their word and 
voting once more for President Trump's agenda of chaos and healthcare 
sabotage, they will live up to the promises and join us and people 
across the country and oppose Readler's nomination.
  Before I wrap up, I want to talk about the larger issue here because 
Readler is not the only alarming judicial nominee from President Trump.
  Just this week, in fact, Republicans jammed through Allison Rushing. 
She is an incredibly inexperienced circuit court nominee who has voiced 
some incredibly alarming ideological views, especially for women and 
the LGBTQ community.
  Later this week we expect a vote on Eric Murphy. He is another 
nominee who has taken extreme positions on women's healthcare, from 
endorsing misinformation by signing on to briefs that cite false--
false--claims about women's health to standing in support of laws that 
were found to unconstitutionally infringe on women's reproductive 
rights and against laws to increase access to contraceptive care.
  People across the country have been absolutely clear that they do not 
want to see our courts lurch to the far right. They know this is a 
threat. It is a threat to women. It is a threat to our workers and our 
families and our environment and so much more.
  So Democrats are here. We are going to keep standing up and fighting 
back every time President Trump and Senate Republican leaders try to 
move us in that direction, and I hope some Republicans will do the 
right thing and stand with us.
  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. WYDEN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call 
be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, today, the Senate considers the nomination 
of yet another unqualified, far-right nominee--Chad Readler, who is up 
for consideration for a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  Let me just say at the outset that any whiff of credibility this 
nominee might have had as a judicial nominee disappears the minute he 
puts his name on the Trump administration's absurd legal argument that 
protections for preexisting conditions are unconstitutional.
  To get a sense of how ridiculous this argument is, you have to look 
at a bit of recent history.
  In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate was a 
tax, that it was constitutional, and that the Affordable Care Act would 
stand. For millions of Americans, particularly the ones who wouldn't 
have to go to bed at night fearing that when they woke up, they could 
get discriminated against for a preexisting condition, just as in the 
old days--under the ACA, they wouldn't have to worry about that 
anymore--it was a joyful day when the court ruled that the Affordable 
Care Act would stand, but it was a tough day for the Republican 
strategists who had been so desperate to bring down the law at any 
  Next, in the process of jamming the Trump tax law through Congress, 
in late 2017, many Republicans said: Let's bring out our old attacks on 
the Affordable Care Act. They passed an amendment that said there would 
be no penalty for those who failed to sign up for health insurance, 
even though everybody understands that those who have coverage often 
pick up the bills for those who don't.
  Then, in 2018, Republican Governors and attorneys general in 20 
States made what was really the silliest legal challenge to the 
Affordable Care Act yet, and that was in the case of Texas v. United 
  Here, they said they were going to stipulate that the Supreme Court 
upheld the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate only because it was 
a tax. Then they said: We establish that the Trump tax law dialed the 
penalty associated with violating the individual mandate down to zero. 
At least that had a kernel of accuracy.
  Let me describe how they got into the backbreaking legal acrobatics 
next. They argued that because there is no penalty associated with 
violating the individual mandate, it is no longer a tax and somehow it 
has become unconstitutional. Finally, they argued that since the 
individual mandate is unconstitutional, the whole Affordable Care Act 
is unconstitutional and ought to be thrown out the window.
  My own take is that if you were a first-year law student, you would 
get a failing grade for that kind of work on constitutional law, but 
let's stick to the history.
  The Justice Department has an obligation to defend the laws of the 
United States. It is a quaint idea, but that is the role of the Justice 
Department--defending the laws of the United States in court.
  The Trump administration, however, said: Who cares? It doesn't 
matter. And they sided with officials who shared their view.
  In fact, the Trump Justice Department focused this attack 
specifically on the Affordable Care Act protections for preexisting 
conditions. It said that the mandate was inseverable from two key 
protections in the law, which therefore ought to be struck down: the 
rule that bars insurance companies from denying coverage due to 
preexisting conditions and the rule that bars insurance companies from 

[[Page S1677]]

up premiums based on preexisting conditions.
  Here is a little bit of a recap. A group of officials on the far 
right, who were out of good cases to bring against the Affordable Care 
Act, said: Hey, let's try bringing a bad case. At the President's 
direction, the Trump Justice Department decided not to fight but, 
rather, to take part in this preposterous attack on the law of the 
  To the incredible distress of millions of Americans who walk an 
economic tightrope because they have a preexisting condition, somehow 
the Trump people got a Texas judge to rule in their favor. Fortunately, 
the ACA protections remained in place while the case worked its way 
through the courts.
  There are colleagues here in the Senate, on the other side of the 
aisle, who have objected to what the Justice Department did. Our friend 
Senator Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, who knows a little bit 
about healthcare, said: ``The Justice Department argument in the Texas 
case is as far-fetched as any I've ever heard.''
  Senator Lamar Alexander is a Republican from Tennessee, chair of a 
key committee, and works with us on the Finance Committee. The Justice 
Department's argument, according to Senator Alexander, is just light 
years from a reasonable and rational position.
  Then the Trump administration went ahead and threw out centuries of 
Justice Department tradition--honored by Republicans and Democrats--of 
defending laws as long as there is a nonfrivolous argument in their 
favor. They didn't decide to throw out that vital legal tradition in a 
case involving some obscure, out-of-date statute. In effect, they chose 
to debase the Justice Department and undermine the rule of law in order 
to attack protections for preexisting conditions.
  Chad Readler is the Trump appointee who stepped up and said: Sure, 
you can put my name on that legal brief. So what Chad Readler was 
essentially saying is that it was just fine with him to go back to the 
days in America when healthcare was for the healthy and wealthy. That 
is really what you had if you allowed discrimination against those with 
preexisting conditions again. If you are healthy, there is nothing to 
worry about. If you are wealthy, you can write out a check and cover 
the payments for a preexisting condition and the health services you 
  Make no mistake about it--by putting his name on that legal brief, 
what Chad Readler was interested in doing was taking America back to 
yesteryear when the insurance companies could beat the stuffing out of 
somebody with a preexisting condition and find every manner of reason 
not to get them affordable care.
  People were stuck in their jobs because of something called job lock, 
where they couldn't move to another company, even when they got a 
promotion, because they wouldn't be able to get coverage. That is what 
Chad Readler wanted to inflict on Americans.
  The case he worked on was so obviously political and meritless that 
three career Justice Department attorneys withdrew from it. One senior 
official, an individual who had been praised for 20 years of 
extraordinary service, actually resigned. Mr. Readler said that was OK 
with him too.
  He said: We will take America back to the days when healthcare was 
for the healthy and wealthy. I don't really much care that senior 
officials--nonpolitical officials in the Department--are leaving 
because this was such an extreme way to handle this case. Mr. Readler 
said that all of this was OK and that he would be the public face of 
attacking basic protections for 133 million Americans with preexisting 
  On the very same day, the President announced his nomination to sit 
on the powerful Sixth Circuit. That is a lifetime appointment on the 
Federal bench, an extraordinarily important position.
  If there is somebody following the nomination at home, you just might 
ask yourself: Doesn't that sound look a quid pro quo?
  I am the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, where we 
pay for much of American healthcare--Medicare, Medicaid, the children's 
health program, tax credits available under the Affordable Care Act, 
and we have the tax exclusions available to employers. On that 
committee, on which the Presiding Officer is a new member, you get a 
chance to review the credentials of lots of individuals who are 
involved in these decisions in which the Finance Committee is really 
faced with the question of how to make the best use of what is really 
$2 trillion, or thereabouts, of healthcare spending, and I will tell 
you, in this area, it is so important to protect people with 
preexisting conditions.
  The Trump administration just seems to have, with one nominee after 
another, an inexhaustible supply of far-right pretenders--persons who 
claim they will be for protections for preexisting conditions, only to 
turn around quickly and fight to take them away. So it ought to be 
clear that this isn't a routine nomination. Chad Readler thinks 
insurance companies should be able to deny care with people with 
preexisting conditions.
  Colleagues, if you vote for Chad Readler, you are casting a vote to 
endorse the position of turning back the clock and rolling back time to 
the days when insurance companies could discriminate against those with 
a preexisting condition.
  If Mr. Readler's history began and ended with the legal brief 
attacking preexisting protections, in my view, that would be 
disqualifying, but there is more.
  He signed the Trump Justice Department legal brief green-lighting 
discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the Masterpiece Cakeshop 
case. He defended the transgender military ban. He defended the Muslim 
ban. He defended family separation at the border.
  I am just going to close by way of saying that I think this 
nomination is a byproduct of what happens when the Senate abandons a 
long-held practice of consulting with home State Senators on nominees.
  Since the early 1900s, it has been a tradition for the Judiciary 
Committee to seek input from Senators on judicial nominees from their 
home States. Lower court nominees traditionally don't move forward 
until those home State Senators give the green light. They do so with 
what are called blue slips.
  In this case, the nominee is from Ohio, and the majority leader, 
Mitch McConnell, is in the process of blowing up that tradition and 
moving this nominee over Senator Brown's objection.
  In 2009, when Republicans were in the minority, Mitch McConnell and 
all of his colleagues fought to protect the blue-slip tradition. They 
wrote everybody in sight to protect it--President Obama, Senator Leahy.
  They wrote: ``We hope your administration will consult with us as it 
considers possible nominations to the Federal courts from our states.''
  So they made it very clear a few years ago that they strongly 
supported this, but here they are blowing up a century-old tradition of 
bipartisanship on judicial nominees after defending it.
  This issue came to a head last year, when the Senate took up the 
nomination of Ryan Bounds to the Ninth Circuit, despite objections from 
my Oregon colleague, Senator Merkley, and me.
  We were able to block that nomination. It was the right thing to do. 
This was a nominee who we felt had not been straight with our judicial 
selection committee. As Oregon's senior Senator, I had been dealing 
with these nominees--Democrats and Republicans--for years, but our 
judicial selection commission had never felt so misled. Senator Merkley 
and I led the fight, and we were successful in defeating that nominee.
  Now the White House still wants, apparently, this body to act as a 
rubberstamp and just approve one nominee after another without any 
  I want my colleagues to understand that by moving this nomination 
forward, they are going to be responsible for creating a new reality--
in effect hot-wiring the process for considering judicial nominees in a 
way that will take us back again to a more partisan approach.
  The bipartisan blue-slip process has worked for over a century. What 
is going on now would end it. This is a breach of bipartisan protocol 
that has further driven the judiciary to a partisan extreme.

[[Page S1678]]

  Following these actions by the Trump administration and the majority, 
I seriously question, if you continue this, whether the current 
structure of the courts is going to survive.
  Colleagues, Chad Readler does not deserve a lifetime appointment to 
the Sixth Circuit. The moment he put his name on the Trump 
administration's absurd legal attack on protections for preexisting 
conditions, he revealed that he was going to be partisan all the way 
and, on top of that, that he was going to exercise poor judgment. He 
has been a defender of discrimination in multiple forms. He has 
defended the indefensible abuse of vulnerable migrant families at our 
border. At this point, he cannot claim to be close to the standard of 
impartiality and evenhandedness that a Senator ought to expect from any 
judicial nominee.
  I intend to vote against Chad Readler. I urge my colleagues to join 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, today I rise to oppose the nomination of 
Chad Readler to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  I remember the 2018 campaign season, when so many Republicans 
suddenly became the world's most passionate defenders of patients with 
preexisting conditions. They told voters that never ever could they 
even imagine doing anything that would weaken the protections that stop 
health insurance companies from discriminating against people with 
preexisting conditions.
  Whether they be breast cancer survivors or children born with birth 
defects or any of the tens of millions of Americans who manage chronic 
conditions like diabetes or depression or high blood pressure, well, 
Americans are about to find out whether my American colleagues meant a 
word of what they said on the campaign trail. Americans will soon see 
whether Republicans stand up for patients with preexisting conditions 
or vote to confirm Chad Readler to the Ohio Sixth Circuit Court.
  This nominee's record of threatening patients with preexisting 
conditions is not up for debate. Chad Readler was the mastermind behind 
the Trump administration's effort to strip away the core of the 
Affordable Care Act--the principle that health insurance companies 
cannot deny coverage or kick a patient off their policy just because of 
their medical history.
  On the campaign trail, President Trump spoke of protecting Americans 
with preexisting conditions, but we now know that was just another lie.
  Apparently, it wasn't enough for this administration to stop 
defending the Affordable Care Act in court; the President sought to 
attack it in court. Initially, the Trump administration struggled to 
find someone at the Department of Justice willing to take on this 
cause. In fact, three separate career attorneys at the Justice 
Department refused to argue the administration's position in court. One 
employee even resigned.
  Chad Readler, the nominee we are voting on today, was more than happy 
to take on this cruel and unjust cause. He became the chief architect 
of the Trump administration's legal brief, challenging the very 
constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act's protections for people 
with preexisting conditions. In other words, Chad Readler's legal brief 
took the administration's effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act to 
a whole new level, threatening to bring us back to a time when health 
insurance companies didn't have to cover cancer survivors, or 
individuals with substance abuse disorder, or anyone who has ever 
faced, ever confronted a health challenge in their life. How does 
President Trump reward Chad Readler for leading this assault on 
patients and their families? Well, the day after he filed this reckless 
and morally repugnant legal brief, the President nominated him to serve 
on the Sixth Circuit.
  Now, let me tell you, I spent a lot of time crisscrossing New Jersey 
over the past year, and I don't think I met a single constituent who 
came up to me and said: Senator, what my family really needs you to do 
is once again let health insurance companies deny us care. On the 
contrary, I heard from and continue to hear from New Jerseyans who 
depend on these protections. They can't even believe this is still an 
  Last summer, I spoke with a woman from Highland Park named Ann 
Vardeman who told me she was diagnosed with PTSD after surviving a 
sexual assault. Ann told me that health insurers shouldn't be able to 
``charge me more for something that is a horrible thing that happens to 
millions of people in this country through absolutely no fault of their 
own.'' Indeed, without the Affordable Care Act, there would be no 
Federal health protections for survivors of sexual violence like her.
  Perhaps one of my constituents--Anne Zavalick of Middlesex, NJ--said 
it best when she wrote about her battle against bladder cancer. She 

       It is crucial that I continue to receive scans to make sure 
     there is no recurrence of the cancer. . . . If I don't have 
     coverage for preexisting conditions, I will go bankrupt. . . 
     . Then I will probably die. So, yeah, this is kinda super 
     important to me, personally.

  It should be personal to all of us. Everyone in this body should take 
it personally when this administration attacks protections that 130 
million Americans rely on for their health and financial security.
  People remember what it was like before the Affordable Care Act, and 
they don't want to go backward. They remember how a woman could be 
denied coverage for maternity care or charged higher premiums simply 
for being a woman. Today, being a woman is no longer a preexisting 
condition. They remember how infants born with heart deformities could 
hit lifetime caps within days of being born. Today, families don't have 
to worry about lifetime caps. They remember how cancer survivors and 
Americans with chronic conditions like diabetes or asthma lived in fear 
of being denied coverage or dropped from their policies at a moment's 
  Today, patients are protected from discrimination, but they will not 
be if the courts side with Chad Readler's shameful arguments on behalf 
of this administration.
  This issue is personal for millions of Americans across our country--
from 3.8 million in New Jersey, to 4.3 million in Georgia, to 4.8 
million in Ohio, Mr. Readler's home State. All told, 130 million 
Americans with preexisting conditions may suffer the consequences of 
Mr. Readler's assault on the Affordable Care Act. These Americans are 
not Democrats or Republicans or Independents; they are human beings 
with a right to access affordable, quality healthcare.
  Does this Senate really want to reward someone largely responsible 
for endangering the coverage our constituents depend on with a lifetime 
appointment to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals? I sure hope not. 
That is not the kind of judgement we want on any court.
  Last fall, we heard a lot of talk from Republicans about protecting 
people with preexisting conditions. We know that actions speak louder 
than words, and it is action that we need right now. We need every 
Member of this body to stand up for the right of all Americans to get 
quality healthcare coverage. We need every Member of this body to stand 
up for the proposition that Americans cannot be discriminated against 
in their healthcare coverage because of a preexisting condition. We 
need every Member of this body to vote against the nomination of Chad 
Readler for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  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. 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.

                   Declaration of National Emergency

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, if you ask the Trump administration about 
their highest spending priority in terms of their budget, it is pretty 
clear--national defense. Over and over, the President has asked and 
Congress has voted for more money for America's military for 
operations, readiness, and investment across the board. I don't think 
there is any question that the votes reflect the bipartisan commitment 
to our military and the belief

[[Page S1679]]

that spending dollars today to train our men and women, to equip them 
properly, and to make sure they live in the best circumstances is in 
the best interests of America's future. We have done that year in and 
year out, but this year we are facing quite a challenge from the Trump 
  This notion of building a $5.7 billion wall is going to be paid for 
at the expense of the U.S. military. It is the military that will end 
up surrendering projects that are underway and investments in our 
troops that are underway so that the President can build this almighty 
wall of his that was supposed to be paid for by the Mexicans, right? I 
heard him say that--only 100 times, but I heard him say it. Now he is 
off of that. It will not be the Mexicans paying for the President's 
wall. It will be our military.
  So we ought to be very honest about the vote that is coming up. 
President Trump has decided to declare an emergency and to say that 
regardless of the Constitution's giving authority to Congress to 
appropriate funds, he wants to take on that responsibility to decide 
where funds will be spent. That will be challenged in court, I am sure, 
as it should be. But for those Members of the Senate who in a few days 
will be asked to vote, I would like them to reflect on two things. 
Their vote supporting the President's approach is basically giving the 
authority of this branch of the government away to the Executive. Make 
no mistake, that is at the heart of it, and a number of Republican 
Senators--a handful--have stood up and said: We wouldn't have allowed 
this under a Democratic President; why would we allow it under a 
Republican President?
  Yet others have said they are prepared to look the other way. If this 
President is popular back in their home States, the Constitution comes 
in second. I think that is a mistake.
  Secondly, though, Members of the Senate, before they cast this vote 
giving this President the authority to take money out of our military 
to build this wall, ought to stop and take a look at where the money is 
coming from within our military.
  I am in the fortunate position to be the ranking member on the 
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. It is the biggest appropriations 
job on Capitol Hill, and I am happy to have Senator Shelby, a 
Republican from Alabama, as my chairman of the subcommittee. I am the 
ranking Democrat on that committee. We have the biggest appropriation 
bill when it comes to discretionary spending--some 60 percent of the 
Federal discretionary budget, and we know how important it is to get it 
right. America never wants to come in second in a war, and we certainly 
never want to be in a position where we are mistreating or ignoring the 
needs of our men and women in uniform.
  Each year we go through their requests and try to make sure the most 
important things are funded. The military will tell us: There are 
certain things that are essential and timely, and we need you to spend 
money on them. And we have responded, not just in the subcommittee and 
in the full committee but in the Senate and in the House.
  Now comes the President and says: Not so, we are going to take the 
money that we told you was so critically important this year and spend 
it on the Mexican border to extend the wall--$5.7 billion worth of it.
  As I have met with the heads of the branches of our military service, 
we have asked basic questions. I did that yesterday to several generals 
and Secretaries who came before me. I said: Has the administration sat 
down with you in terms of your branch of the military and told you 
where they are going to take the money to build the wall?
  Consistently, the answer is no, they don't know. We are days or weeks 
away from that money being taken.
  What we have done is to prepare a chart through the Military 
Construction Subcommittee, which is chaired by Senator Boozman, the 
Republican from Arkansas, and Senator Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii. I 
asked them: Where are the unobligated projects? These are projects that 
have been authorized but haven't been started. They may have had basic 
engineering and preliminary estimates done and so forth. They are ready 
to let a contract. The money is sitting there ready to move forward, 
and these are the projects that are on the target list for President 
Trump when it comes to cutting the military to pay for his border wail.
  We have a long list here. The list includes almost every State--
certainly, every State that has anything near a military facility. The 
State of Illinois has several key projects that we consider to be 
essential. There is one in Peoria, IL. It is a fire crash and rescue 
station that needs to be upgraded for the safety of the men and women 
who work there and those who use that important airport, and there are 
other things within our State.
  As I said, hardly any State is omitted from this list. Any Senator 
who is voting to give this President the authority to cut military 
projects and to stop the spending on military projects should realize 
that it may come home and require an explanation.
  The Presiding Officer is from the State of Oklahoma. I tell him that 
four of the projects are in Oklahoma that are on the target list--the 
hit list--for cuts if the President decides to cut those projects or 
Illinois projects to fund this wall.
  I have two or three specific ones that I would like to highlight 
today because they came to my attention. I thought it would be a 
shame--in fact, it would be just plain wrong--for us to cut the 
spending on these projects. Let me tell you about one of them that 
struck me first.
  The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps came to see me. He is a no-
nonsense man. You can understand that if you come to be a four-star 
general in the Marine Corps, you get down to business in a hurry. We 
talked about some of the damage done at the premier training facilities 
for the U.S. Marine Corps. Last year, Hurricane Florence tore through 
the State of North Carolina. The Marine Corps happened to be one of the 
victims of that violent storm. The hurricane damaged roughly 800 
buildings on base at Camp Lejeune, New River, and Cherry Point.
  Here is an overhead shot that is not as graphic because it was taken 
after the hurricane, but the blue coverings on the tops of these roofs 
are an indication of the structural damage that was done to these 
  As I mentioned, 800 buildings on these bases were impacted and 
damaged by this hurricane. This overhead shot taken last month 
indicates the work that needs to be done before these buildings can be 
successfully inhabited by the Marine Corps and their families.
  I have a photo of the Camp Lejeune chapel, too. There is not much 
left of it. That is an indication of the damage that was done there. 
This is a worker walking outside of the chapel. That is what is left of 
the chapel. Insulation is falling from the ceiling. There is no good 
reason to prolong the cleanup.
  The Marine Corps said they want to get down to work as quickly as 
possible and restore this training facility for the good of the Marine 
Corps and for our Nation, but this is on the hit list for the President 
for the wall at the border.
  What else needs attention this year? The U.S. Air Force needs $750 
million to begin cleaning up Tyndall Air Force Base, which was leveled 
by Hurricane Michael. The Army leaders need $1 billion for everything 
from more training to jump-starting new technology to keep our troops 
safe and effective in the battlefield. The Navy has asked for hundreds 
of millions of additional dollars for unexpected ship maintenance. We 
can't afford to shortchange the men and women in the Navy. We saw what 
happened not that long ago with the fatal accidents involving Navy 
maneuvers and exercises. We never want that to happen again.
  The National Guard has 2,100 personnel on the border, but it is 
starting to run low in its pay account. So it was hoping some of these 
unobligated funds, at least a small part of them, might be used so they 
can continue their border mission.
  Unless the Department of Defense finds $150 to $300 million this 
year, the National Guard will have to cut short its summer trainings in 
all 50 States.
  My subcommittee has identified almost $5 billion in military 
priorities that need attention today, but after President Trump takes 
half of that--$2.5 billion to pay for his border wall--which priorities 
will get cut?

[[Page S1680]]

  The President has also decided to cut or delay $3.6 billion in 
military construction projects. The President might not think these 
projects are timely or important, but it was just weeks or months ago 
when the administration said just the opposite and asked Congress to 
appropriate money--examples: $800 million for essential training 
facilities like the National Guard readiness centers, simulators and 
firing ranges in the States of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Montana, 
to name a few; $1.4 billion worth of maintenance-related projects such 
as aircraft hangars and vehicle maintenance shops in Arkansas, Indiana, 
Missouri, and Oklahoma, not to mention many other States affected; $1 
billion worth of projects for medical and dental care facilities for 
the men and women in uniform; schools for military families, military 
barracks, and other essential facilities in Arizona, Missouri, Texas, 
and beyond.
  Fort Campbell, KY, needs a new middle school for military children. 
The current building dates back to 1967 and is in serious disrepair. We 
were told that was a priority, but it could be stopped, cut, and 
eliminated if we are not careful to build this wall.
  Also on this list is a new rifle range at Parris Island, SC, a 
training base for 20,000 new Marines every single year.
  There is a new training center at Fort Bragg, NC, to provide top-
notch training and prevent injuries among our Special Forces. They are 
using an old warehouse right now, and they want a modern facility. If 
it were your son or daughter serving our military at Fort Bragg, you 
would give them nothing less. The list goes on and on.
  Are we really going to tell our military--the very people who are 
protecting and defending this Nation--that the needs they have 
identified and we have appropriated money for are going to be put on 
hold because President Trump made a campaign promise that he can't 
keep--that the Mexicans were going to build the wall?
  Republicans and Democrats in the Senate should join the House in 
rejecting the President's emergency declaration. The Senate should 
reject any effort by the President to take money from our troops, from 
the military--from the Marines, from the Air Force, the Navy, the Army, 
the National Guard units--to build this wall. We may not agree on much, 
but we used to agree on fundamental things. The Department of Defense 
was a priority. The men and women serving there deserve not only our 
gratitude but the investment in their training, operations, readiness, 
and a way of life that shows our respect for what they are doing in 
service to this country. We can do nothing less.
  When we face the vote--quite likely a week from today or tomorrow--on 
whether we agree with the House, I hope that the Senate, Democrats and 
Republicans, will put the national defense of our Nation first and our 
military first and vote no on President Trump's effort to extend this 
emergency designation and to try to assume constitutional 
responsibilities beyond what is already written.
  We are a branch of government--article I of the Constitution. Our 
responsibility is to appropriate funds. When we give away that 
responsibility, we walk away from the reason we were elected. I hope 
that Members on both sides of the aisle will consider that as we face 
this historic vote.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.

                     Nomination of Chad A. Readler

  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I rise in opposition to the nomination of 
Mr. Chad Readler to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court.
  There are certainly many reasons to oppose Mr. Readler's nomination. 
His track record paints a very clear picture of what he values and what 
he does not. Mr. Readler fought to uphold President Trump's travel ban 
that targets people because of their religion. He has argued in favor 
of a business turning away customers simply because they are LGBT. He 
worked to unravel programs made during the past administration that 
would ensure low-income workers would actually receive their hard-
earned benefits. Of the things that Mr. Readler values, protecting 
Americans from wrongful acts of discrimination is clearly not among 
  Yet it still remains difficult for me to understand why Mr. Readler--
and any of my colleagues who choose to advance his nomination today--
would support going back to an era when health insurance companies are 
allowed to discriminate against people with preexisting health 
conditions. I have heard plenty of my colleagues from across the aisle 
make public statements in favor of preexisting coverage protections. 
That is probably because they hear, like I do, from people all across 
my State who fear losing coverage as a result of having that 
preexisting condition.
  What are preexisting conditions? Well, it is things like diabetes, 
asthma, or even high blood pressure, and they are a reality for over 4 
million Michiganders. This range of fairly common to fairly complex 
conditions is experienced by one in every four children, over half of 
the female population, and 84 percent of adults in their late fifties 
and in their sixties.
  Today, there is a broad consensus that we need a Federal law in place 
that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage or jacking up 
prices based on someone's health status, their age, or their gender. We 
have a law on the books right now that protects people with preexisting 
conditions, but this law must be defended, not undermined.
  I worked hard to pass this important coverage during my first term in 
the Congress, and I have fought to preserve it every day since then. 
Although this fight has been successful so far, it is based on the 
premise that the laws passed and upheld by Congress will be defended in 
court. Yet the Department of Justice Civil Division, under Mr. 
Readler's leadership, decided not to do so. His actions fit into the 
story of the Trump administration's ongoing partisan efforts to 
sabotage our healthcare system and dismantle strategies that would 
lower premiums and expand quality, affordability, and coverage, 
generally. The President is constantly looking for ways that he can 
sidestep Congress and attack legislation that has brought health 
insurance to over 20 million Americans and cut Michigan's uninsured 
rate in half.
  We should not be advancing a Federal court nominee whose disregard 
for the rule of law comes at the expense of the health and the 
financial stability of millions of Americans. I urge my colleagues to 
vote no on Mr. Readler's nomination and his track record of promoting 
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  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. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). Without objection, it is so 

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I appreciate my colleague from Iowa, 
Senator Ernst, for organizing this opportunity for several of us in the 
Senate to discuss the Green New Deal and to do it this week.
  To put it mildly, the Green New Deal is ambitious. To frame it more 
accurately, it is an unworkable, pie-in-the-sky attempt to reshape 
every aspect of everyday Americans' lives.
  First, let me say that I am proud of my record in successfully 
advancing the availability and affordability of renewable energy. Many 
have called me the father of the Wind Energy Incentives Act. I suppose 
after--what?--probably 26 years, that makes me the grandfather of the 
Wind Energy Incentives Act. My legislation sought to give this 
alternative energy source the ability to compete against traditional, 
finite energy sources. At that time, we never knew about fracking for 
natural gas and for oil. We thought we were going to be completely 
dependent upon Saudi Arabia for our energy. Now we know that is not 
true, but back in 1992 and before, we did everything to think up every 
alternative energy we could in order to be less dependent upon the 
Saudis. One of those acts that I was involved in was wind energy.
  The wind energy bill--now law--has been extremely successful. Iowa 
supplies more than 35 percent of its own electricity from wind. We were 
the first State in the country to generate more

[[Page S1681]]

than one-third of its electricity from wind. Wind energy employs 
approximately 7,000 Iowans, and the nearly 3,000 wind turbines in Iowa 
generate millions of dollars in economic activity. So I want to make it 
very clear that I am speaking as someone who has a very successful 
track record of advancing clean energy.
  Think about what the Green New Deal is about. Presumably, they don't 
know we have been this successful because the Green New Deal, on the 
other hand, is nothing more than a grab bag of vague aspirations. In 
fact, the Green New Deal was initially introduced in the House and 
Senate by its authors as a nonbinding, symbolic resolution--in other 
words, a lot of hot air. That means that even if it were to pass as 
introduced, it would not become law. I am glad that Senate Majority 
Leader McConnell reintroduced the text in a format that could become 
law so we Senators could go on record as to whether we would want to 
make this the policy of the United States.
  It would be one thing if the policy and goals remained on topic--
namely, reducing pollution and cutting our Nation's carbon emissions. 
Those are worthy goals. Yet the resolution reads like a utopian 
manifesto that seeks to implement every liberal policy priority from 
the past many decades.
  We have seen extreme leftwing agendas that rely on the power of the 
State and that usurp the role of individuals. How will those policies 
turn out? We have plenty examples. Look at the former Soviet Union. 
Look at Cuba over the last 60 years. Look at what has happened to 
Venezuela in the last 15 years. It has gone from the richest country in 
South America to a destitute country in which they die of malnutrition 
and people can't get medicine. In more instances than in the three I 
have just given you, these utopian ideas never turn out very well.
  Sure, the Green New Deal includes goals that are related to energy 
and the environment, but for the most part, they are wholly 
unrealistic. For example, their calling for the upgrading of all 
existing buildings or, in another statement, their meeting 100 percent 
of the power demands of the United States through clean, renewable, 
zero-emission energy sources--all within the next 10 years--is simply 
not feasible.
  Of course, no concrete proposals are put forward on how this is to be 
achieved. The Green New Deal just leaves us scratching our heads 
thinking about how all this would work.
  There are a lot of questions. Would it require the government to 
mandate that every building owner in the United States make costly 
building improvements to meet national standards set here in 
Washington, DC?
  Another question is, would every homeowner have to submit to 
government inspection to ensure that his or her home meets the 
standards dictated by the government?
  Another question is, what government expenditures would have to be 
made, assuming all of this is even technologically possible, to go from 
about 17 percent of U.S. electricity generation coming from renewables 
today to a total 100 percent in 10 years?
  The last question I will raise is, are the backers of the Green New 
Deal willing to support nuclear energy as a means to reach their goal? 
On this last point, I would conclude that a summary of the Green New 
Deal initially put out by the chief author in the House suggests a lack 
of support for nuclear energy.
  As I have said before in my remarks today, I have been a leader on 
renewable energy production for decades, not just wind, as I have said, 
but geothermal, solar, biofuels, et cetera. So I am not just talking 
about being the author of the wind energy production tax credit.
  During my leadership of the Senate Finance Committee in the 2000s, 
when I was chairman there, I oversaw the establishment, the 
enhancement, and renewal of numerous tax incentives that promote 
everything from wind and solar to renewable fuels like biodiesel, to 
energy-efficient homes, buildings, and appliances.
  Unlike the unrealistic goals of the Green New Deal, these initiatives 
I just read are not only law, but they are real, proven, bipartisan 
actions that I shepherded into law to make the United States more 
energy independent and also, at the same time, improve our environment. 
Unfortunately, many of these key energy incentives I just mentioned are 
currently expired, and some of them have been expired for more than a 
  We had a real opportunity to extend these energy incentives as part 
of the appropriations deal reached earlier this month, but that was 
ultimately blocked by House Democrats--probably some of the same people 
who are promoting the Green New Deal. They seem overly focused on the 
lofty goals of the Green New Deal or, as Speaker Pelosi called the 
Green New Deal, ``The green dream or whatever they call it, no one 
knows what it is.''
  The House Democrats could not be bothered a month ago with extensions 
of existing and successful provisions that incentivize the type of 
investment they claim to have backed and not only tend to incentivize, 
actually have incentivized alternative energy over the last two and 
one-half decades--provisions that support millions of jobs for people 
who are actually willing to work.
  Perhaps this just shows that the Green New Deal is less about 
tackling energy and environmental issues and more about remaking 
America into a dreamy new progressive paradise.
  No sector of the economy is left unchecked by the Green New Deal--
make no mistake about thinking otherwise. The authors of the Green New 
Deal are intent on reshaping every aspect of American life through a 
``national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization,'' and those 
last six words are in quotations.
  Shaping American life through ``national, social, industrial, and 
economic mobilization'' that is eerily reminiscent of the 5-year plans 
of the former Soviet Union or of the Great Leap Forward under Chairman 
Mao of China.
  Even the family farmer is not spared from its grand plans. The Green 
New Dealers want to remove what they call pollution and greenhouse gas 
emissions in agriculture through sustainable farming and building a 
more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy 
food. Now, I am not against farmers taking actions to prevent soil 
erosion and minimizing pollution because we farmers do that already. We 
have been doing it for decades.
  The recently passed farm bill invests more in conservation programs 
than any farm bill before. I trust that farmers know more and have more 
common sense about how to take care of their land than some bureaucrat 
in Washington, DC, or politicians from New York City. We all know 
Washington, DC, is an island surrounded by reality. So you put forth 
legislation like this, and it is just like 535 Members of Congress have 
all the knowledge in the world to tell 310 million other people what 
they ought to be doing.
  I don't believe all those smarts rest in the Congress of the United 
States or even the bureaucracy of this government. Over the last 
several years, when it comes to farming, we have seen farmers readily 
adopt the use of cover crops to prevent nutrient runoff and to 
sequester carbon in the soil through what we call minimum or no 
  Today farmers may go down as the first group in history to leave the 
land better than they found it for future generations. Moreover, every 
indication is that these calls for sustainable farming and a 
sustainable food system go well beyond farmers being good stewards of 
our natural resources. It appears to be intent on changing everything 
from how we farm to what we farm.
  A fact sheet released by the House author, shortly after 
introduction, made this perfectly clear. It notes a desire--now, listen 
to this--it notes a desire to rid the planet of methane gas-emitting 
cows. In case the authors are unaware, all cows and all people emit 
methane. It is part of the natural digestive process. The only way to 
stop these emissions is to ban animal agriculture. That proposal 
couldn't be more disconnected or out of touch with Americans.
  That is what makes the taxpayers feel there is nobody in Washington, 
DC, who has any common sense, but don't worry. According to the authors 
of the Green New Deal in the House, ``It is not to say you get rid of 
agriculture or force everybody to go vegan.'' This doesn't instill much 
confidence in the

[[Page S1682]]

farmer about the real intentions behind the Green New Deal.
  I am amazed by the scope of what the authors would have the 
government impose on the American people.
  I will end by noting that I am interested in working with my 
colleagues on sensible policies to secure our energy independence and 
improve our environment, but I fear this will not be possible as long 
as my Democratic colleagues remain intent on handing over the country 
to the government to remake it in Washington, DC's, image.
  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.
  Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the 
quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                     Nomination of Chad A. Readler

  Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to the 
nomination of Chad Readler to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  This nomination, if confirmed, would be advanced without the support 
of one of his home State Senators, and it deliberately ignores Senate 
precedent that has historically respected Senators' ability to identify 
nominees that best fit the needs of their State.
  In his current position at the Department of Justice, Chad Readler 
led the legal briefs for some of the Department's most extreme 
  He defended President Trump's travel ban, led efforts to end DACA, 
supported the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census, 
suggested that the structure of the CFPB was unconstitutional, and 
argued that businesses should be able to refuse services to same-sex 
  Mr. Readler also led the DOJ's legal brief for the Texas v. U.S. 
lawsuit, arguing against the Affordable Care Act's protections for 
people with preexisting conditions, even while three other career 
attorneys at the DOJ refused to do so.
  Think about that for a second. This nominee took up his pen and 
drafted a legal opinion at the Department of Justice that stated it was 
fine for his Department not to defend the law--a law that protects 
millions of Americans' access to the critical healthcare they need.
  If that weren't enough to shock the conscience, Mr. Readler's 
nomination to the Sixth Circuit judgeship was announced the same day 
the brief was filed.
  Is that a coincidence? Maybe, but since three other career lawyers at 
the Department of Justice resigned rather than draft this brief and 
violate their duty to the law, I think it is fairly obvious.
  This administration has made it crystal clear that Mr. Readler was 
chosen because of his willingness to dismantle the ACA and completely 
eliminate critical protections that ensure seniors, kids, and families 
in Nevada and across this country are able to get health insurance, 
regardless of whether they have a previous medical condition. For many 
Americans, denying vital healthcare protections and access to care is 
truly a matter of life and death.
  President Trump and Republican leaders have promised to sabotage our 
healthcare from day one, and this nomination is another example in a 
long line of legislation, nominations, and Executive actions aimed at 
ripping away healthcare coverage from hard-working families in Nevada 
and across the country.
  The Affordable Care Act is, quite simply, the law of the land. Its 
patient protections have wide bipartisan support, as evidenced by 
Congress's inability to pass ACA repeal. Since its inception, over 
400,000 Nevadans have gained healthcare coverage, including 158,000 
children. Tens of million more Americans across the country have gained 
access to affordable health insurance, prescription drug coverage, 
mental health services, and preventive care.

  The ACA's provisions have also guaranteed that over 1.2 million 
Nevadans with preexisting conditions will not be denied coverage 
because insurance companies deem them ``too risky'' to cover.
  We cannot go back to the day when women, veterans, cancer survivors, 
and children with disabilities were charged more for healthcare or were 
flatout denied coverage.
  Americans need us to work together to defend their access to quality 
and affordable healthcare, not just in Nevada but across this country. 
Yet Mr. Readler has shown us that he would instead take us backward, 
unravelling more than a decade of progress and wreaking potential havoc 
on our economy.
  This nominee has demonstrated that he is willing to carry water for 
this President's political interests and not serve in the best interest 
of Americans.
  I oppose Mr. Readler's nomination because Americans deserve a judge 
who respects the rule of law and interprets the law based on statute, 
not the political needs of this or any administration.
  I oppose this nominee because Senate Republican leaders are trying to 
jam him through without the support of one of his home State Senators, 
which is a direct attack on our constitutional role as U.S. Senators to 
advise and consent.
  I want my colleagues to know that a vote in support of his nomination 
is a vote in support of unleashing chaos on the American health system, 
eliminating preexisting condition protections, and one that would 
result in millions more uninsured.
  Mr. Readler is a dangerous choice, who has a long track record of 
supporting the most extreme legal positions, which makes him unfit to 
sit on any court, much less one whose decisions will impact millions of 
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           The Green New Deal

  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, I rise today to join over 10 colleagues to 
speak in opposition to the so-called Green New Deal.
  Merriam-Webster defines a deal as ``a bargain'' or ``an agreement for 
mutual advantage.'' By its name, you would think that Americans are 
going to derive some benefit from it, but this couldn't be further from 
the truth.
  The truth is that this proposal is a raw deal for America, especially 
our rural communities.
  As many of you know, every month I give out a Squeal Award, which 
draws attention to outrageous examples of wasteful and reckless 
spending of taxpayer money.
  With a $93 trillion--trillion with a ``t''--pricetag, which is 
roughly $10 trillion more than the entire recorded spending of the U.S. 
Government since 1789, this month's Squeal Award goes to the Green New 
Deal, which, again, I think is kind of a raw deal.
  Just think about that number--$93 trillion. To fund this radical 
government takeover, every American family would have to pay about 
$65,000 annually. Folks, that is more than most Iowa households bring 
in in a year.
  The ideas presented in the Green New Deal used to garner support only 
from the furthest fringes of the political left--the furthest fringes. 
Concepts like rebuilding every building in the country, outlawing 
fossil fuels, and guaranteed jobs would never have made their way into 
mainstream discourse just a few years ago. Now our Democratic 
colleagues are trying to make them mainstream.
  In fact, 100 of the 282 Democratic Members of the House and Senate 
have signed on to support this plan. This is the creep of socialism 
into America.
  If you work in a part of the energy industry that has fallen out of 
favor, your job has no place in the country. That is what is envisioned 
by the Democrats.
  The Green New Deal states that one of its goals is to meet ``100 
percent of the power demand in the U.S. through clean, renewable, and 
zero-emission energy sources.''
  Don't get me wrong, folks--don't get me wrong--increasing our 
reliance on renewables is a good goal and one that I support, but we 
have to be realistic about our current energy capabilities and our 

[[Page S1683]]

  Private sector investment and innovation, coupled with government 
support and incentives, have contributed to significant advances in 
renewable energy.
  I am proud to say that my home State of Iowa is one of the Nation's 
leaders in renewable energy, with wind providing nearly 40 percent of 
our electricity. That is more than any other State in the Nation. With 
more wind coming online, coal went from producing 76 percent of our 
electricity in 2008 to 45 percent of it in 2017.
  I would note that this transition toward renewables happened largely 
as a result of State policies and community engagement, not heavyhanded 
government regulation.
  Another one of the ``goals'' I find most interesting in this 
unrealistic proposal is that of providing ``guaranteed jobs.'' What may 
be lost on the Democrats is that the best guaranteed jobs program is 
not housed in a government building; it is a strong economy like the 
one we are living in right now--not one bogged down by job-killing 
regulations and punitive tax breaks.

  If you want proof of this, look no further than Iowa. Our 
unemployment sits at a low 2.4 percent, and we have over 63,000 job 
openings and about 40,000 folks looking for work. That is more job 
openings than there are people actually looking for jobs.
  Lastly, I would point out that as a part of this proposal, our 
Democratic colleagues want to overhaul transportation systems in the 
United States. If you live in places like New York City, you can walk 
to a grocery store, but in rural communities like my hometown of Red 
Oak, IA, it can take you 30 minutes to drive to a Walmart. I am not 
talking about 30 minutes of driving to a Walmart in city traffic; I am 
talking about 30 minutes of driving, probably not meeting any cars at 
all on the road.
  Everything from combines to tractors and to the trucks that transport 
our grains to market would be impacted. The Green New Deal is 
unrealistic and would unfairly impact rural communities across this 
  Folks, we have a clear choice. We can continue to support rural 
America and pro-growth economic policies that boost our economy and 
create jobs or we can allow socialist fantasies like the Green New Deal 
to creep in, take hold, bankrupt our Nation, and devastate our rural 
  I yield the floor to my colleague Senator Cornyn.
  Mr. SCHATZ. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.
  Mr. SCHATZ. Mr. President, will the Senator from Iowa yield to a 
  I am interested in whether she believes that climate change is real, 
caused by humans, and requires Federal action.
  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, I will yield.
  I do believe that climate change is real, and we have seen climate 
change for centuries, Senator Schatz. So, for my colleague from Hawaii, 
we have seen climate change; there is no doubt about that.
  But what I am debating here today and what we are speaking on is 
right here: $93 trillion, and we want to get rid of all fossil fuels 
within 10 years, folks--10 years. We can't drive a combine. We can't 
harvest our food. For heaven's sake, we have to be realistic.
  My home State of Iowa has taken advantage of ingenuity and innovation 
and developed a process where wind energy contributes 40 percent of our 
  Now, with the new wind energy field that is being put in by 
MidAmerican Energy in the western part of the State, where I am from, 
in the next 2 to 3 years, 80 percent of our electricity will come from 
wind energy, and it didn't take big government or socialism to put it 
into place.
  So thank you very much.
  I yield the floor to Senator Cornyn.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President.
  Mr. SCHATZ. Excuse me, Mr. President. May I ask a followup question 
through the Chair?
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, regular order.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa has yielded the floor to 
Senator Cornyn.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President.
  Mr. SCHATZ. I just would like to get clarification. She did say 
climate change is real, but my question is whether--
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, regular order.
  Mr. SCHATZ.--manmade climate change is real, and I did not get an 
  Mr. CORNYN. Regular order.
  Mr. SCHATZ. If she's unwilling to answer that question, I understand.
  Mr. CORNYN. Regular order, Mr. President.
  Mr. SCHATZ. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, last week, I spoke on the Senate floor 
about the perils of socialism. I never thought in my entire life that I 
would have to do something like that, but given the rise of democratic 
socialists, which obviously is a contradiction in terms, I think it is 
important to remind the American people about the failures of 
socialism, as well as radical policies like the ones the Democrats are 
trying to push off on the American people.
  If you want to know what command and control economics is and what it 
would mean to our freedom and our liberty, all you need to do is look 
at the Green New Deal. This is really nothing more than an attempt to 
mask this power grab by the Federal Government in feel-good 
environmental policy by mixing ideas like Medicare for All and 
guaranteed jobs and unrealistic economic and environmental policies.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. CORNYN. With net zero emissions--
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will my colleague from Texas yield for a question 
instead of just filibustering what he says?
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I will--
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas has the floor.
  Mr. CORNYN.--yield for a question after I conclude my remarks, not to 
be interrupted.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I simply want to ask the Senator--
  Mr. CORNYN. Regular order, Mr. President.
  Mr. SCHUMER.--if he believes climate change is real--
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas has the floor.
  Mr. SCHUMER.--or caused by humans.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President.
  Mr. SCHUMER. We know what he is not for. What is he for?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will yield. The Senator from Texas 
has the floor.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I am not for socialism. I am not for 
Washington, DC, thinking they know better than what my constituents 
know about.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will the Senator yield for a question and say what he is 
  Mr. CORNYN. I will not yield.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will he yield for a question stating what he is for, not 
what he's against but what he is for?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will be in order.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas has the floor.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, if the Democratic leader will just be 
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. CORNYN. If he will be quiet for a minute, I will tell him what I 
am for, if he will quit interrupting.
  So what this is is an attempt--is purely a power grab here in 
Washington masked as a feel-good environmental policy, mixing ideas 
like Medicare for All and guaranteed jobs with wildly unrealistic and 
radical environmental policies like zero net emissions transportation 
systems and guaranteed green housing.
  Since this resolution was proposed, it has gained the ire of people 
on both sides of the aisle, something we don't see that often, and 
something that I don't know that I have ever seen. One of this bill's 
authors refers to the majority leader's intent to bring this resolution 
to the floor as sabotage.
  Ordinarily, when you introduce an idea to the U.S. Congress, you are 
begging the majority leader to put it on the floor--the committee 
chairman to put it through committee so you can advance your idea. When 
the majority

[[Page S1684]]

leader said he would do that for the Green New Deal, it was called 
  Since the Green New Deal was rolled out, things in Washington have 
gotten increasingly wacky and, believe it or not, even crazy.
  We recently put a pricetag on the Green New Deal. You heard the 
Senator from Iowa talk about the $93 trillion. That is so much money 
that I doubt most of us can wrap our brains around it. It is kind of 
like when somebody tells you the Earth is 140 million miles from Mars. 
How do you conceptualize that? You have no point of reference to 
understand just how far that really is.
  Let me put it this way: If you combine the gross domestic product of 
every single country in 2017--every single country on the planet in 
2017--the price of the Green New Deal would be higher than that.
  If you total up how much the United States has spent--the U.S. 
Government, since the Constitution went into effect in 1789, the price 
of the Green New Deal would still be higher.
  If you total the value of 1 year's worth of oil and gas production in 
Texas, it would take almost seven centuries of production to pay for 
the Green New Deal.
  Margaret Thatcher, who had a gift for words, said: ``The problem with 
socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.'' 
Well, in this case, you don't even have the money to begin with, but 
that is what this is really about.
  This is the antithesis of what our Founders believed in when they 
founded the United States of America. They believed that checks and 
balances and separated powers were protections of our individual 
liberty and our right to make decisions for ourselves and our families.
  They viewed the concentration of power that would be necessary to do 
something like the Green New Deal as the opposite--antagonistic to 
individual liberty.
  Mr. President, things like eradicating air travel clearly aren't the 
answer, and the Senator from Hawaii would say that wouldn't work very 
well if you tried to get to Hawaii from Washington, DC.
  No matter what your perspectives on energy are or the environment, I 
think every one of us can single out something we can agree on; that 
is, smarter policies that will not bankrupt our country.
  The solution is not the Green New Deal or another government power 
grab. It is all about innovation--
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President.
  Mr. CORNYN.--the creativity of Americans--
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President.
  Mr. CORNYN.--doing research and science to come up with--
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President.
  Mr. CORNYN.--innovations.
  Mr. MARKEY. Will the Senator yield for a second?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas has the floor. He has 
declined to yield.
  Mr. MARKEY. I would just seek to be recognized and just ask the 
Senator if the--
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has not yielded.
  Mr. MARKEY.--$93 trillion number comes from a Koch brothers-funded 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts will suspend.
  The Senate will be in order.
  The Senator from Texas has the floor.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I notice one thing: When people around 
here--colleagues across the aisle--don't like what they are hearing, 
they try to suppress or drown out dissenting voices.
  I think the American people need to hear this debate because our 
ability to innovate is critical to the success of our economy and our 
competitiveness in the global economy.
  Investing in science and technology and increasing our ability to 
innovate is an important part of keeping our economy strong. Rather 
than the government's seizing control of nearly every industry, 
overregulating their activities as you would under the Green New Deal, 
we should harness the power of the private sector to drive real, 
affordable solutions, and that is how we find cutting-edge solutions to 
our biggest challenges.
  A lot of folks try to paint with broad strokes about energy. You are 
either on the side of innovation and new technologies or you are in 
favor of traditional oil and gas development.
  Well, I am proud to come from a State that believes truly in an ``all 
of the above'' approach. We generate more electricity from wind than 
any other State in the country, and we believe in all of the above. You 
don't have to pick one or the other.
  Not only do we lead the Nation in oil and gas production, we also 
lead, as I said, in wind energy production too. We are proof that you 
can implement policies that get government out of the way and leave 
industry experts to do their jobs. You can be pro-energy, pro-
innovation, and pro-growth.
  The Green New Deal is not the answer to our problems. It is a 
solution in search of a problem, and it is a naked power grab by 
Washington, DC, seeking to impose on each and every American how we 
should run our lives.
  It is the opposite of the individual liberties and freedoms that our 
Founders believed our country would be based on. I hope in the coming 
months we will take steps to promote freedom and not more government 
control and ideas that lead to innovation, not socialist policies.
  With that, I yield to my friend from Indiana.
  Mr. YOUNG. Mr. President.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, my colleague said he would yield to a 
question after he finished debating. I would like to ask him a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I would like to ask my colleague a 
question. I appreciate that.
  Just three: No. 1, does he believe that climate change is real? Does 
he believe it is caused by humans? And does he believe this body ought 
to do something about it?
  I would appreciate an answer.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I will say to my friend from New York that 
I know what their talking points are now, but I don't believe what we 
ought to do about the environment is impose a travesty like the Green 
New Deal.
  This is a government power grab. It is unaffordable. It is 
unrealistic. And, really, this reflects the most radical ideology and 
fringe of the Democratic Party today.
  I think we should not have a socialist power grab of our entire 
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will the Senator--Mr. President, will he yield? He 
didn't really answer my question.
  What will he do about climate change? I ask my colleague to please 
answer not what he is against but what he is for. We have not heard 
from the other side of the aisle anything they are for about climate 
change or whether they believe it is real and caused by humans.
  I would ask my colleague, once again, not what he is against. We know 
what he is against. What is he for?
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, there is a great book called 
``SuperFreakonomics'' written by some Chicago economists who talk about 
the threat to the environment of horse manure back when we had horse-
drawn buggies in our cities because the internal combustion engine had 
not been created. They point out that that environmental hazard went 
away almost overnight because the internal combustion engine was 
  Likewise, when I was growing up, a scientist named Paul Ehrlich from 
Stanford wrote a book called ``The Population Bomb.'' He said that 
millions of people would starve across our country and across the world 
unless we basically quit having children. What he miscalculated is the 
impact of a gentleman by the name of Norman Borlaug and the Green 
Revolution that he began due to research and development of an 
innovative plant gene research.
  So we were able to basically defeat the population bomb, and we were 
able to deal with the environmental hazard of horse manure by 
innovation. That is what I am for, that is what I said, and that is 
what I would say again to my friend from New York.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana is recognized.
  Mr. YOUNG. Mr. President, I rise today in opposition to the so-called 
Green New Deal. This unaffordable, unattainable, and unrealistic 
proposal is bad for all Americans, but it is especially bad for the 
people who live in my home State of Indiana.

[[Page S1685]]

  Indiana is the most manufacturing-intensive State in the country, and 
my Hoosiers are rightfully proud of that distinction. We make America's 
planes, our trucks, our recreational vehicles, our boats, and our 
pipelines. We produce the aluminum and steel that go into those 
products. We mine the coal that makes it affordable to power all of 
those factories.
  Indiana is home to those respectable, high-paying jobs because of the 
highly skilled Hoosier workforce, our world-class infrastructure 
network, and, yes, our low energy costs. But the Green New Deal would 
crush Indiana's affordable energy prices, forcing the cost of doing 
business to skyrocket for Hoosier manufacturers and farmers alike and 
eliminating jobs in the process.
  What would this Green New Deal mean for American families?
  Over the next decade, the so-called deal would cost up to $65,000 per 
American household per year. That is roughly 50 percent--47 percent 
more than the median Hoosier household income.
  Yes, America must continue to support an ``all of the above'' energy 
strategy, and I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to get that 
done. We must continue to develop renewable energy sources like wind 
and solar, but we must also continue to utilize our important baseload 
energy sources--that is your coal, your natural gas, your nuclear 
power. We simply cannot afford to eliminate these critical sources from 
our Nation's energy mix, and that is what the Green New Deal would call 
  In Indiana, approximately 92 percent of our electricity is generated 
by coal and natural gas--92 percent. Wind and solar account for just 6 
percent of Indiana's electricity, and they cannot reliably and 
affordably produce the electricity Indiana needs.
  So instead of turning a blind eye to coal and natural gas--energy 
sources that power America--let's continue to incentivize research and 
development. Instead of promoting job-killing legislation like the 
Green New Deal, we should be promoting proposals like the USE IT Act. 
This is bipartisan legislation put forward by my colleague from Wyoming 
that would promote carbon capture research and development.
  We agree on the need to incentivize market-based carbon capture 
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, would the Senator from Indiana yield 
for a question?
  Mr. YOUNG. I would like to continue until I complete my remarks. I 
thank my colleague.
  We really need to incentivize market-based carbon capture systems and 
ensure America can continue to cleanly and affordably produce baseload 
energy. By my reckoning, this is just one of many areas in which 
Republicans and Democrats can find common ground and work together to 
protect God's green Earth.
  Indiana is an environmentally conscientious State. We continue to 
expand solar and wind production each year. We love to protect our 
important natural resources, such as the Indiana Dunes and Hoosier 
National Forest, but we cannot support a proposal like the Green New 
Deal that would endanger tens of thousands of Hoosier jobs. The Green 
New Deal is widely out of touch with Indiana's priorities. Hoosiers 
know a bad deal when they see one. This is a bad deal.
  My fellow Hoosiers are greatly concerned that this radical proposal 
will cause utility bills to skyrocket and force Indiana factories to 
shutter. For these reasons, I am a resounding no on the Green New Deal. 
I stand with Hoosier farmers, I stand with Hoosier manufacturers, and I 
stand with Hoosier families in opposing this $93 trillion deal.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, will the Senator from Indiana yield 
for a question?
  Mr. YOUNG. I will.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, does the Senator believe climate 
change is real, and will he stand with the scientific community, which 
believes unanimously or almost completely unanimously that climate 
change is real and that human activity caused it?
  Mr. YOUNG. Well, that is an easy one. I thank my good colleague. I 
have publicly said for a long period of time--and you can check my 
record--that I believe the climate is changing. I believe that all 
flora, fauna, and human beings have some impact on that. I also 
fervently believe that we can protect our environment without wrecking 
our economy. We can do that through energy efficiency initiatives, 
investment in energy R&D, carbon capture and sequestration, and 
adoption of free market principles.
  I read a very impactful book, in response to my good colleague, early 
on in my adulthood, and I recommend it to him. It is titled ``Ecocide 
in the USSR,'' and it explains how centrally planned economies and 
fatal, conceit-like efforts to engineer a better environment centrally, 
to plan an economy centrally, end up decimating our natural 
environment. That continues to have an impact on how I look at these 
issues. Perhaps we will find an opportunity to work together, though, 
and find some common ground. It won't be on the Green New Deal.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, I come to the floor to join my colleagues 
in expressing concern over the maybe well-intended but poorly 
constructed policy in the Green New Deal.
  First, I want to start by saying I have no intention of yielding 
until the end of my remarks, but the one question I would have for 
people across the aisle is, Do you actually support the Green New Deal? 
Do you support it in the form it has been proposed? I can't imagine 
that you do because you understand the math, you understand the 
challenges, and you understand the reality that $65,000 a year is the 
median household income in North Carolina.
  So what we are talking about--the cost of the bill over 10 years is 
roughly what the average North Carolinian family makes. We know that is 
not sustainable. We know it is not sustainable to have our electric 
bills increase by $3,800 a year. We know it is not sustainable to go 
beyond just the energy components of the Green New Deal to other 
aspects of the Green New Deal that just don't make sense.
  So $93 trillion is not something I can get my head wrapped around. I 
know that is the number we are talking about. But I think we can get to 
the household impact and recognize that it is not sustainable, right? 
So why are we having this discussion?
  Mr. MARKEY. Would the Senator yield and tell us--
  Mr. TILLIS. I do not yield.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Regular order.
  Mr. MARKEY--where he got that bogus number of $93 trillion? That is a 
completely made-up number by the Koch brothers.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Massachusetts 
will suspend. The Senate is out of order.
  The Senator from North Carolina has the floor.
  Mr. TILLIS. Thank you, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina has made it 
very clear that he will not yield until he is finished.
  Mr. TILLIS. I will state for any other Members who come in that I 
have no intention of yielding. And in my time, in the 4 years I have 
been here, it has never occurred to me to interrupt in the way that we 
have been interrupted here, but maybe that actually gets to the point. 
This bill, as proposed, doesn't work.
  I want to go back and tell you, as a Member of the North Carolina 
House, when I was in the minority as a Republican, I supported the 
renewable portfolio standard. I went to my colleagues on the other side 
of the aisle and said: What you are proposing is not sustainable. Let's 
work together and do something different. And we did. That gave rise to 
almost 13 percent of all the energy generated in North Carolina today 
being generated from renewable sources. It gave rise to a sustainable 
electric bill that is one of the most competitive in the country.
  What has happened with the Green New Deal is that the people at the 
extreme are preventing those of us who actually want to make progress 
from having a reasonable discussion instead of shouting over each 
  I don't care if it is $93 trillion, $43 trillion, or $10 trillion--it 
is unsustainable. We can sit here and question the sources, but at the 
end of the day, we all know that this was theater. This was something 
that people

[[Page S1686]]

wanted to pitch. They wanted to win an election. But it was a dishonest 
promise that could never be fulfilled.
  If you take a look at the other provisions of this bill--guaranteed 
jobs. I mean, it is reading like some sort of a socialist manifesto. As 
somebody who grew up in a trailer park and who didn't get a degree 
until I was 36 years old, I want an America that gives me an 
opportunity, not an America that tells me what my job is and how much 
money I am going to make.
  So we have to have a realistic discussion about the Green New Deal. 
We are pushing people into corners and not having a good discussion 
about things we should be making progress on.
  By the way, just out of levity, we even had some people go so far as 
to say that maybe we should reduce the number of cows we have on the 
planet because they create methane gas. I will not get into the gross 
reasons as to why. So maybe the chicken caucus is in favor of getting 
rid of cows or eating more cows.
  Why don't we lower the temperature, recognize we have a proposal that 
doesn't work, and recognize it was generally motivated by politics. And 
when you take such an extreme stand, you should expect the other side 
to come to the floor, just as we are doing today, and make it real.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, we had a lot of discussion about the energy 
parts of the Green New Deal, but it goes into lots of other areas. 
There are many frequently asked questions.
  I would say on the energy costs--and President Obama's energy adviser 
says you couldn't reach the goal--one thing we need to remember on the 
energy costs is that families pay those utility bills.
  We just avoided a clean power regulation that in my State would have 
doubled the utility bill in 10 or 12 years. During the 3 years or so we 
were debating that because the court cases kept saying there really is 
no authority to do this, I kept reminding the people I work for, the 
next time you write your utility bill, just write out your check one 
more time, because if this goes into effect, within a decade, that is 
what you will be doing. See what happens when you pay that bill by 
writing your check one more time.
  Some of the questions on this have been about other things as well. 
The fact that we love a challenge--this Green New Deal creates that. It 
talks about Medicare for all. At least in the talking points, it talks 
about job guarantees for all, a vacation in every job guaranteed by the 
government, and I think maybe even a vacation in the government program 
if you choose not to work.
  There are lots of things here for people to be concerned about. There 
are estimates of cost, but even if they were three times the cost, it 
would be pretty extraordinary. In fact, $36 trillion would rebuild the 
entire Interstate Highway System every year for 100 years. When you are 
talking about $93 trillion, $80 trillion is the entire gross domestic 
product of the world. These are big numbers. It is a big bill.
  Surprisingly, a dozen Senators are supporting this bill. They have 
cosponsored the bill. Whether it is the guaranteed jobs number or the 
universal healthcare number or the all-renewable electric grid system 
number or the guaranteed green housing number that individuals would 
have to comply with, this is an amazing step in a different direction. 
It is one that the country clearly will not take. It is one that I 
believe even the sponsors have some concerns about.
  We will have a chance to vote on it here in the next few days or 
weeks, and we will see what the American people have to say about it.
  I yield my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I understand that the majority has the 
floor, and so I will be very brief. I have enormous regard for Senator 
Blunt and for those who have spoken already. I just want to say that, 
for the people who say we want to have a discussion about this issue, 
we are so eager to have a discussion about this issue. I come here 
every week hoping to have a discussion about this issue, and I would 
love to have a discussion about this issue. I would love to have 
hearings in the Environment and Public Works Committee about a climate 
  I would love to have people working together to solve this problem. I 
will say that Senator Schatz and I have a piece of climate legislation 
that is not this one, but it does have the support of seven Republican 
former chairs of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, six 
current and former Republican Congressmen, four former Republican EPA 
Administrators and Secretaries of Treasury and State, two former 
Republican chairs of the Federal Reserve, and one former Republican CBO 
Director. A Republican congressman referred to that bill as not just an 
olive branch reaching out to Republicans but an olive limb reaching out 
to Republicans.
  I hope we can emerge from this with a real conversation about real 
bills, and in the context of that, we will be very interested to know 
what the Republican proposal is to deal with climate change.
  I yield the floor.
  I thank the Presiding Officer, and I appreciate the courtesy of my 
distinguished colleagues.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I would like to thank my colleague from 
Iowa for organizing this discussion on the Green New Deal resolution.
  The public doesn't usually pay a whole lot of attention to nonbinding 
resolutions here in the Congress, but that is not the case with this 
one. The sponsors of the Green New Deal in the House and the Senate 
certainly deserve recognition for the profile they managed to create so 
quickly. Of course, that is a double-edged sword because now people are 
beginning to pay attention to what is actually in the Green New Deal.
  Leader McConnell has proposed bringing the resolution to the floor, 
which has created, in my view, sort of a baffling response. The planned 
sponsors are claiming that a vote is ``cynical'' and meant to 
``disrupt'' their ``movement.'' You and I both know that every Member 
of this body would clamor to have their bills brought up for floor 
consideration. Most of us here live in the land of realistic and 
practical solutions.
  The Green New Deal is very vague, but it does include enough detail 
to know that it proposes radical solutions that, in my view, are 
neither practical nor realistic. It is a wish list dressed up as 
environmental policy.
  We knew it was going to be expensive. We knew the goal was to 
eliminate coal and gas industries, along with a lot of other good-
paying jobs that they support in energy States like mine. This isn't 
the first salvo in the war on coal, for sure. We knew all the economic 
harm they would be proposing, but this is a massive shift to the left 
that goes far beyond anything the Democrats have proposed before. This 
plan doesn't stop at eliminating the use of coal and natural gas for 
electricity. The plan also ends nuclear electricity and severely 
curtails the commercial air industry.
  The environmental and energy components of this proposal are 
estimated to cost $8.3 to $12.3 trillion over the next decade, which 
averages out to about $52,000 to $71,000 for every American household.
  We will be left with possibly an energy grid that lacks affordability 
and reliability to make the American manufacturers competitive around 
the globe and meet the basic needs of our families. Right now, coal, 
natural gas, and nuclear energy account for 83 percent of all the 
electricity produced in the United States. It is neither practical nor 
realistic to believe that we could phase all of that capacity out 
without some catastrophic consequences.
  Unbelievably, this is just one piece of the Green New Deal. The 
sticker shock continues with tens of trillions of dollars to fund 
guaranteed jobs for people unwilling to work, eliminate private 
healthcare for 170 Americans in favor of a government-run system, 
replace or retrofit all housing stock for environmental compliance, and 
guaranteeing it to every American and putting food on everyone's table. 
Altogether, it could cost possibly $93 trillion over a 10-year period 
of time. We could liquidate all the wealth in the entire country and 
maybe just cover that tab, but we wouldn't have anything left.

[[Page S1687]]

  The Green New Deal sponsors claim the government will be making 
investments. They claim that the returns will pay for everything and 
make a profit for the people. Is this realistic or practical?
  I think not. And if it fails, then what do we do?
  Some say the Green New Deal, even if it is a disaster of a policy 
that would destroy our economy, at least has Congress finally talking 
about climate change. This is what we heard from my colleague. We serve 
on the EPW Committee together. It is a huge disservice, I think, to us. 
We have been working in a bipartisan fashion to deliver real solutions 
since before anyone had ever heard of the Green New Deal.
  In the EPW Committee, Senators from coal States, such as Senator 
Barrasso from Wyoming, who is here, and Senator Whitehouse from Rhode 
Island, and Senator Carper, and myself have been working for market-
driven solutions to the challenge of atmospheric CO2.
  Members of both parties have worked and will continue to work on 
these important policies to meaningfully address carbon challenges 
while also protecting and creating jobs. We do not need a $93 trillion 
turn that fundamentally alters the foundations of this country. We are 
capable of making investments in technology and infrastructure to 
address our Nation's challenges in a commonsense and bipartisan way.
  The Green New Deal is not practical. It is not realistic, and it is a 
bit scary that so many Democrats are embracing it. The American people 
deserve to know where each of us stands on this policy. That is why we 
are going to have a vote. I am glad that we will have the opportunity 
to take a vote on this resolution in the coming months, and I hope that 
all of my colleagues will join me in opposing this utterly unfathomable 
and unworkable resolution.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. BRAUN. Mr. President, although I had prepared my remarks to 
address what many of my colleagues have just covered--and that would be 
the preposterous proposal of the Green New Deal--I want to take a 
little different angle.
  I think there is a point where so often those of us on the 
conservative side of the ledger, I think, get overwhelmed by the 
conversation being dominated by the other side. It is a fertile ground 
to want to try to use a better environment to parlay that incremental 
way into more government.
  I think what we have here is just like addressing healthcare costs. 
We had ObamaCare--the Affordable Care Act--which turned out to be the 
``Uncomfortable Care Act,'' but there were issues that were valid. In 
my own company years ago, I was worried about it. I drafted a plan that 
was proactive, addressed high healthcare costs, and made the pledge 
that you should never go broke because you get sick or have a bad 
accident. I crafted a plan through the real world that cut costs, and 
my employees have not paid a premium increase in 9 years.
  I want to talk about the Green New Deal. I am a conservationist, and 
I am a member of the Nature Conservancy, as a business and an 
individual. We cannot let the other side co-opt the issue and preempt 
it because they think the argument is on their side. I am not going to 
belabor the point that I think it is preposterous. I want to make the 
point that if you think any of that can be done--whether it is $50 
trillion or $93 trillion--keep in mind that we are running nearly 
trillion-dollar deficits. We are $22 trillion in debt. Does that sound 
like anything that the Federal Government could actually solve in a 
sustainable way when we are in a pickle like we are currently in?
  Until we change the dynamic here and get individuals who know how to 
do things where it works, in States like Indiana and in many States, 
and maybe let States have a bigger hand in the equation, where their 
budgets are balanced, where they have cash balances, and where it is 
not a false hope.
  Let's look at the particulars of what the Green New Deal is supposed 
to do in addition to cleaning up our environment, which we have made 
great strides with. It is being spun as an economic argument. It is the 
exact opposite of that. I want to challenge folks on our side of the 
ledger, from the practical side, to where we generally lose out on the 
general argument, and, incrementally, things change against us over 
  We just had legislation pass in 2017. I want to tell this little 
story of what we did in our own special way. I am going to challenge 
enterprisers and I am going to challenge businesses across the country 
to think about this as a way to avoid that.
  In 2017 we had, in my opinion--for enterprisers, small businesses, 
and farmers; and I have been involved in both--the biggest opportunity 
that has come along in years. We are keeping more of our own resources 
and not sending it here to a broken institution that has given us all 
of these deficits and debt, but we have to do something with it.
  Back in January of 2018, my son, who is one of my three kids now in 
my business, said: Dad, let's take tax reform and share the benefits 
with employees.
  That is a great idea. I didn't think it would have a bigger political 
meaning until he said: Hey, let's put it in the company memo that it is 
due to tax reform. We have taken, in my mind, the biggest thing we 
could do--whether you want to return the dividends into the 
environment, into higher wages, or into whatever you want to do--and we 
have had less than a year to run with it. All I know is that like many 
companies in Indiana, we lowered healthcare costs and flattened them 
for 9 years. We raised 401(k) benefits. We started quarterly bonuses 
instead of just annual ones.
  We are doing what I think this country needs to do--quit looking to 
the Federal Government to solve all of our problems, even when they 
have an argument like that we need to further improve our environment, 
that we need to avoid what could possibly be a catastrophe down the 
road, where we do stick our head in the sand.
  Don't look to this institution to do it because I don't think you can 
credibly say that you can do anything in the context of the product 
that has been delivered over the last decade or two. States, 
individuals, businesses, organizations--but especially businesses, 
because we have reaped the benefits, in my opinion, of the biggest 
legislation that has occurred in decades--must put our money where our 
mouth is, where my company's is. Invest in your employees and change 
the system from the bottom up, not from the top down.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, first, I want to thank my colleagues for 
coming down here and having this important discussion. I want to thank 
my Democratic colleagues, for whom I have a lot of respect, for being 
here and having this debate. I am sure it is not going to be the first 
time that we are going to be doing this on the Green New Deal or other 
elements of proposals coming from the House or the Senate. This is a 
big issue happening in the House and what is going to happen over here 
with some of our colleagues.
  I think, in many ways, it is an issue that focuses on the future and 
where the country is going. As the majority leader recently said in an 
interview, ``I can pretty safely say this is the first time in my 
political career that the essence of America is being debated . . . of 
socialism and democratic capitalism.''
  OK. Let's have that debate. We are having that debate. What is the 
essence of America? I believe it is freedom and liberty. That is what 
we are founded on, and that is what I think proposals like the Green 
New Deal would undermine. To be clear, some people are joking about 
it--like banning hamburgers or airplanes or returning to the horse and 
buggy, but I actually think there are many people who are looking at 
this very seriously, and so we should.
  Some of these kinds of ideas can be funny until they are not funny. 
What we are trying to do here is to talk about this proposal in a 
serious manner. In my State, the great State of Alaska, this is a 
deadly serious matter. There is so much that is in this idea, the Green 
New Deal--government takeover, healthcare, free housing, and free food, 
and the list goes on and on. The costs, as have been pointed out, are 
very high.
  Today what I want to do is to talk about one aspect that would be 
particularly detrimental to my State and

[[Page S1688]]

to many other States--my colleagues from West Virginia and North Dakota 
are here on the floor--and that is this proposal to ban hydrocarbons 
produced in America within a decade. This is not a joke.
  There are many Members in this body--some are on the floor right now, 
and some are in the House--who think this is a serious proposal and 
would like to do it. I want to talk about that. I want to stipulate 
that I am certainly somebody who is in favor of ``all of the above'' 
energy. The fact that America is now producing more oil, more gas, and 
more renewables than any other country in the world is good for all of 
us, Democrats and Republicans.
  My colleague from Rhode Island is here. He and I have worked on a 
whole host of issues together involving oceans. I think the 
technological advances with regard to hundreds of years of supplies of 
natural gas with technology and with renewables provide huge 
opportunities for Democrats and Republicans to work together to bring 
down greenhouse gas emissions. This is enormous. We are just scratching 
the surface.
  I look forward to working with him and the Senator from Massachusetts 
on these kinds of ideas because I think they are exciting, and I think, 
when you are burning natural gas at very high temperatures, you almost 
have very little greenhouse gas emissions. Combine that with technology 
and renewables. We have hundreds of years of these supplies. It is a 
great opportunity, and it is exciting. I want to work with them.
  Let me get back to the proposal on the Green New Deal on natural 
  In my opinion, we do not spend enough time on this floor talking 
about the positive societal benefits of natural resource development in 
America--oil, gas, renewables, fisheries. These industries don't just 
fuel our power generation and transportation and electricity for our 
homes; these industries literally lift people out of poverty. They 
lengthen life expectancy. They literally save lives. There is a strong 
correlation between poverty, the lack of economic opportunity, and the 
health of our citizens.
  I am going to show a few charts here.
  This correlation is strong in my State, particularly with our Alaska 
Native population. In 1954, the Interior Department, with the help of 
the University of Pittsburgh, conducted a study of the health of Alaska 
  Here is a quote from 1954: ``The indigenous people of Native Alaska 
are the victims of sickness, crippling conditions and premature death 
to a degree exceeded in very few parts of the world.''
  Some of the poorest people on the planet were my constituents in 
Alaska--in America--in 1954. More than 10 years later, in 1969--just 50 
years ago--the situation was still dire.
  Here is what Emil Notti, the president of the Alaska Federation of 
Natives, told Congress 50 years ago, in 1969:

       The native people in rural Alaska live in the most 
     miserable homes in the United States. The life expectancy of 
     the average Native Alaskan is 34 years old compared to 69 
     years old for the rest of the country.

  So what happened after that?
  We had a big change. We are not there yet, but we had a big change, 
and I want to explain. This was a chart that was studied just last year 
in the Journal of Internal Medicine. It is a study that was published 
in 2018 about the life expectancies of Americans.
  Where you see blue and purple is where Americans' life expectancy 
increased the most. The State with the greatest change in the entire 
country was in my State. By the way, that is a pretty important 
statistic--life expectancy. It doesn't get more important than that. 
Are you living longer? Look what happened in Alaska. The North Slope of 
Alaska, the Aleutian Islands chain, and the southeast all experienced 
huge increases in life expectancy from these very low levels, some of 
the lowest in the world.
  Why did that happen?
  On the North Slope of Alaska, this Congress passed the Trans-Alaska 
Pipeline Authorization Act to develop Prudhoe Bay, to develop oil and 
gas--some of the biggest fields in the world. At the same time, we also 
had a very large zinc mine that came into production. Because of this 
body's Magnuson-Stevens Act, we also had a huge increase in our 
  The bottom line is that natural resource development happened in 
Alaska, in America, and people's lives increased. That is a remarkable 
thing, and we don't talk about it enough. The average life expectancy 
increase in Alaska was almost between 8 and 13 years. That is a measure 
of success because we were developing our resources of oil and gas. 
That is why I am taking this Green New Deal literally deadly seriously 
because what we have done in our State and in our country by producing 
resources is we have created the ability for people to actually live 
longer, and I challenge my colleagues to come up with a better 
statistic and a more important statistic than that.
  I am going to end with a quote from a gentleman who came down here 
and testified in front of the Senate, Matthew Rexford--a proud Alaska 
Native leader from Kaktovik, AK, which is in the Arctic National 
Wildlife Refuge. He testified that Congress should give his small 
community the opportunity to develop the resources near his village. We 
did that in 2017 after a 40-year debate.
  He spoke firsthand about his knowledge as to what resource 
development did for America, for Alaska, and for his community:

       The oil and gas industry supports our communities by 
     providing jobs, business opportunities, infrastructure 
     investment. It has built our schools, hospitals. It has moved 
     our people from Third World living conditions to what we 
     expect in America. We refuse to go backward in time.

  That is what he said. I believe the Green New Deal--certainly, its 
ban on hydrocarbon production--would take us back in time. For the sake 
of Matthew and all of these Alaskans who have done so well by 
responsibly developing our resources, we are not going to allow that to 
  I yield the floor to my colleague from North Dakota.
  Mr. MARKEY. Will the Senator yield?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will be in order.
  Does the Senator from Alaska yield for a question?
  Mr. SULLIVAN. I yield my time to the Senator from North Dakota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is not possible.
  Mr. MARKEY. Would the Senator from Alaska yield for a question?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I believe I still have the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. No. The Senator from Alaska yielded the floor.
  The Senator from Massachusetts is recognized.
  Mr. MARKEY. I thank the Presiding Officer.
  Mr. President, I would pose a question to the Senator from Alaska.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts cannot pose a 
question. He has the floor.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, through the Presiding Officer, I pose a 
question to the Senator from Alaska.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska does not have the 
floor. Therefore, he cannot respond.
  The Senator from Massachusetts has the floor.
  Mr. MARKEY. I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I will just make this point through the Presiding Officer, which is 
that the words ``fossil fuels'' are not in the resolution. No. 2, 
airplanes are not banned in the resolution. No. 3, there is no 
guarantee for healthcare for everyone in America in the resolution. No. 
4, there is nothing that provides for those who are unwilling to work 
in the resolution. None of this is true.
  We know the Koch brothers paid for this $93 trillion study, and all 
we are hearing from the Republican side is of a Koch brothers-produced 
document that is absolutely inaccurate. There is no banning of 
airplanes. There is no guarantee of Medicare for all. Neither of those 
is in the resolution. This entire discussion is based upon a completely 
fraudulent, bogus report that the Koch brothers produced.
  What we are trying to say to the other side is we should have a 
debate about the science, that we should have a debate about the human 
activity, that we should have a debate about what the solutions are, 
and that we should bring it out here as a great deliberative body.

[[Page S1689]]

  Right now, we are debating the Green New Deal, but the Republicans 
haven't given us any hearings. They have given us no scientists, no 
witnesses, and no debate. They are just doing this because the Koch 
brothers have produced a report at a cost of $93 trillion that is 
completely and totally inaccurate. In fact, with regard to the 
accusation of the banning of airplanes, PolitiFact has looked at it, 
examined it, and said it is completely and totally inaccurate.
  I think it is difficult to have a debate when the facts here are 
those which we cannot submit to committees, witnesses, debates. 
Instead, all we are subjected to is a representation of the Green New 
Deal that is completely inaccurate. For that matter, the words ``fossil 
fuels'' don't even appear in the Green New Deal.
  This is not right. If the Republicans want to, they should set up a 
debate. Then we could have it out here on whether the planet is 
dangerously warming, whether human activity is principally responsible, 
whether this body should take action in order to deal with that 
problem, and whether, economically, we can unleash a technological 
revolution to solve the problem.
  That is what we should be debating out here this afternoon, not a 
whole group of bogus facts that have been produced by the Koch 
brothers, have been paid for by the Koch brothers, and that are being 
repeated over and over again on the other side without any Republican 
saying he actually believes the planet is dangerously warming, that he 
actually agrees with the U.N.'s scientists who say it is an existential 
threat to us, that he actually agrees it is largely caused by human 
activity, and that we, the greatest deliberative body in the world, 
should have a robust debate. If the Republicans believe it is serious, 
they should present their own plan for debate on the Senate floor.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. MARKEY. I yield to the leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, we thank our friends on the other side of 
the aisle for helping to make our case.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is the Senator asking a question?
  Mr. SCHUMER. Yes, I am asking a question.
  If the Senator from Massachusetts has the floor, I ask a question of 
the Senator from Massachusetts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator from Massachusetts yield for 
a question?
  Mr. MARKEY. I yield to the leader for a question.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, we have been making the case for the last 
several weeks that our Republican colleagues love to get up and rant 
about what they are against even though they exaggerate and tell 
mistruths about the bill Senator Markey has sponsored. Yet we have been 
asking repeatedly, haven't we, three questions: Do you believe climate 
change is real? Do you believe it is caused by human activity? Most 
importantly, what would you do about it?
  Here we have had an hour of debate, haven't we, with our Republican 
colleagues, and there have been a lot of mistruths and a lot of ``here 
is what we are against'' but not one single thing they are for.
  So isn't it true, my friend from Massachusetts, that they have helped 
to make our case? We are glad they are finally talking about climate 
change, but we have to do something about it. Isn't it true we haven't 
heard a single positive response about what they would do?
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, the leader has put his finger right on it.
  We want a debate. We want to see their plan. We want to know if they 
agree with the science of the entire United Nations and 13 of our own 
Federal Agencies that produced an identical report at the end of 2018--
that being, it is dangerous and a great threat to our country, and we 
have to do something about it.
  So where is the Republicans' plan? What is their answer? Of course, 
they don't have one. They want to bring out the Green New Deal with no 
hearings, no witnesses, and no science when they should be bringing out 
their own plan.
  The leader is right. It is just, basically, a condition they have, 
and the number they are using--the $93 trillion in terms of the cost of 
the Green New Deal--is a Koch brothers-produced number. It is their 
group that put it together. So how could we possibly be having a 
serious debate about something the Koch brothers have produced, in 
terms of dealing with global warming, since they are central players in 
this dangerous warming of our planet?
  I yield to the leader.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I pose a second question.
  Isn't it true that our Republican colleagues have been in the 
majority for 5 years and that during that time, more and more Americans 
believe global warming is a serious problem? I think it is above two-
thirds. It is at 70 percent. It is a significant percentage of 
Republicans and a majority of Democrats and Independents. Isn't it true 
that in those 5 years, the Republican leader, our friend, hasn't 
brought a single piece of legislation to the floor that would deal with 
climate change in any way? Is that correct?
  Mr. MARKEY. The leader is correct. No solutions, 5 years, and it is 
more dangerously warm on the planet. Four hundred billion dollars' 
worth of damage was done to our country in the last 2 years. We had 
fires out in the West, flooding, $400 billion worth of damage--and the 
consensus among scientists is that it is only going to grow worse as 
each year goes by--and still no answers. Nothing on the floor from the 
Republicans, nothing that would deal with the problem, and no admission 
that it is caused by human beings and that we can do something about 
  Mr. SCHUMER. Finally, we have not heard a single answer from any of 
the Senators on the floor or any who spoke about what their plan is.
  So I would ask you to repeat and ask them three questions that they 
still haven't answered--simple questions with no predisposed answers.
  A, do any of our Republican colleagues--this is a question--believe 
climate change is real?
  Mr. MARKEY. We don't know the answer.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Second, do any of our Republican colleagues over there 
believe it is caused by human activity?
  Mr. MARKEY. We don't know the answer.
  Mr. SCHUMER. And C, do they have any plan, proposal, suggestion as to 
how we deal with the issue?
  Mr. MARKEY. We don't know the answer.
  Mr. SCHUMER. And I would ask my colleague to ask our Republican 
friends--if they have an answer to any of those questions, to yield the 
floor to them.
  Mr. MARKEY. And I would be glad to yield the floor to any of them who 
would be willing to be recognized, but, through the leader, the problem 
is that they keep talking about a $93 trillion cost, which is a report 
from the American Action Forum, a partisan, rightwing group funded by 
the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove as a sister group to his Crossroads USA 
501(c)(3). That is what we are now debating out here on the floor, and 
not the science.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Can you ask them to not repeat the same talking points 
about what they are against and finally say something about what they 
are for?
  Mr. MARKEY. I would yield to any of my friends on the other side of 
the aisle who have concrete, positive proposals for dealing with the 
crisis of climate change in our country and on the planet.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to come to 
the floor to answer those specific questions, and I would point to an 
op-ed that I wrote for the New York Times last year. Perhaps the 
Senator from New York doesn't read his hometown newspaper, but there is 
an editorial in the New York Times of December 18: ``Cut Carbon Through 
Innovation, Not Regulation.'' It is a plan. Cut carbon through 
innovation, not regulation.
  The question is, Do we believe the climate is changing? Do humans 
have an impact? The answer is yes to both. As a matter of fact, I 

       [The] climate is changing, and we, collectively, have a 
     responsibility to do something about it.

  It is right here in the New York Times from December 18.

       Second, the United States and the world will continue to 
     rely on affordable and abundant fossil fuels, including coal, 
     to power our economies for decades to come.

  We need to also rely on innovation, not new taxes, not punishing 

[[Page S1690]]

agreements. That is the ultimate solution.
  I will point out that this is something that I had written and 
submitted and published long before the so-called Green New Deal was 
ever introduced into Congress either in the House or in the Senate.
  I go on to say:

       People across the world are rejecting the idea that carbon 
     taxes and raising the cost of energy is the answer to 
     lowering emissions.

  Because we know, as I go on:

       In France, the government just suspended a planned fuel tax 
     increase after some of its citizens took to the streets in 

  It was every story on the news.

       And in the United States, the results of [the] November 
     elections showed that these plans and other government 
     interventions are just as unpopular.
       Voters in Washington State rejected the creation of an 
     expensive tax on carbon emissions. In Colorado, a ballot 
     measure to severely restrict drilling was defeated. And in 
     Arizona, voters rejected a mandate to make the state's 
     utilities much more dependent on renewable energy by 2030--
     regardless of the cost to consumers.

  I would point out that all three of those States elected liberal 
Democrats to Congress on election night.
  In further answer to that question, I would point to USA TODAY, March 
4, 2019. Today is the 6th, so we are talking Monday. Today is 
Wednesday. This is this week's paper, front page:

       To a warming planet's rescue: Carbon Capture.

  To the rescue of a warming planet.

       In the race against climate change, scientists are looking 
     for ways to pull CO2 out of the Earth's atmosphere 
     and store it away.

  And what they point to is bipartisan legislation passed by this body, 
passed by the House, and signed into law by President Trump focusing on 
carbon capture and sequestration. It talks about a program called 45Q. 
That is the FUTURE Act. One of the cosponsors from the other side of 
the aisle is on the floor right now. His name is mentioned, my name is 
mentioned in finding the solution.
  There are Republican solutions and ideas that are focused on 
innovation, not regulation, not taxation, focused on freedom and the 
innovation that we have had.
  So I just come to tell you, Mr. President, that there are solutions, 
and the Republicans will continue to offer them. We had a hearing most 
recently just last week on something called the USE IT Act--again, to 
capture carbon and to sequester it. We have been working on new-age 
nuclear power, working with leaders around the world. We passed that, 
and it was signed into law--an innovation bill for nuclear power, new-
age nuclear power that will be in small reactors, safer reactors, 
cheaper to use, no carbon whatsoever.
  So there are absolute solutions, and Republicans are going to 
continue to come to the floor, but we are not going to support 
something that would bankrupt the country, something that would raise 
the cost of energy for families, something that would drive people to 
the point of having to spend money they don't have, having our country 
borrow money we don't have, all at a time when you say, what is the 
cause? There are suggestions and numbers that have been raised. I 
haven't heard any numbers from the other side of the aisle.
  So I come to the floor to tell you that Republicans have continued to 
offer solutions, and I have been offering some of these solutions for 
10 years. It took us a while to get these into law, but they are 
working. They are working and have been identified as working. Even 
President Obama's former Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz, who came and 
testified to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said there are 
two things that would make a big difference. One is the new-age nuclear 
work that we are doing, and the other is carbon capture and 
sequestration. Those are large-scale products that work.

  I see other colleagues on the floor. Do I have the floor right now?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming has the floor.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Well, as long as I continue to have the floor, I would 
like to point out that we have a booming economy in this country. In 
just over a year, tax relief has helped create 3 million new jobs. 
Manufacturing jobs have increased for 10 straight months. There is the 
fact that we have more jobs available than there are people looking for 
jobs. We have a booming economy. I want to do nothing that is going to 
harm these people all across the country who are working to have an 
opportunity in such a strong, healthy, growing economy.
  This Green New Deal--this Big Government takeover of the economy--it 
is masked as an environmental proposal. To me, it is radical. The 
president of the Laborers' International Union of North America calls 
it a ``bad deal.''
  Take a look at America. We are leading the world in reducing carbon 
dioxide because of the technological and innovative techniques we have 
had. We know from what we hear about the Green New Deal that it is 
prohibitively expensive, with predictions of up to $93 trillion. The 
entire net worth of the United States--of all the homes and all the 
families and everything--is only $112 trillion, and this alone would 
cost $93 trillion. You can go by how much it is going to cost each 
individual family. It is completely unaffordable. It is not something 
that is workable. But it is so far outside the America mainstream even 
if it were affordable.
  So what we have seen here is the Democrats take another hard left 
turn. Under this Green New Deal, in just 10 years, the Nation's energy 
system would undergo a Washington makeover. The Green New Deal would 
end the use of energy resources that currently provide power for three 
out of five homes and businesses in the United States. Think about the 
harm that would cause the economy. This Green New Deal mandates the use 
of expensive power sources that can't keep the lights on. Wind and 
solar are important. We need more renewable energy in this country. But 
right now, wind and solar provide less than 8 percent of our 
  Should we increase the use of renewables? Absolutely. But eliminating 
affordable coal and natural gas would be a costly mistake--and not only 
that, it is impossible to do. The electric grid can't handle it.
  Last month, there was an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled 
``The Green New Deal's Impossible Electric Grid,'' written by Robert 
Blohm of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. He writes 
that if the electric grid relies solely on renewable energy sources, 
``the grid itself may collapse.''
  That is not all we lose if the grid collapses. Our transportation 
system is in the crosshairs. The Green New Deal seeks to transform how 
Americans travel. It calls for an extensive and expensive national, 
high-speed rail system to replace air travel.
  The State of California attempted to build a high-speed rail line 
between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It turns out the price was too 
high even for California. The Governor, Gavin Newsom, just recently 
canceled the line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Why? He said 
because of the massive cost. But it is all part of the Green New Deal. 
The question is, If California can't afford to build high-speed rail 
between two major cities, how can we afford to build a system that 
crisscrosses the country? We can't.
  The Green New Deal doesn't stop at energy and travel; it extends to 
every building in the country. Homeowners are going to be forced to 
retrofit their houses, and businesses would have to do the same.
  This is what massive government overreach looks like.
  The rest of the world is going to continue to pollute even if the 
country were to adopt something as extreme as the Green New Deal. It 
would cancel all of the gains we have made in the United States by the 
fact that our emissions continue to go down. In 2017, we produced just 
13 percent of global emissions here in the United States--just 13 
percent. China and India together--33 percent. And they are rising over 
there. Without dramatic changes from India and China, global emissions 
are going to continue to climb. So even if all the Green New Deal's 
costly mandates went into effect, with the punishment to our country 
and our economy, there would still be no real effect on the Earth's 
  So, look, it is no surprise that the Democrats are trying to duck 
this big green bomb. Senate Democrats may even decide to vote present 
to avoid

[[Page S1691]]

voting for their own extreme proposal that a dozen of them have either 
signed on to or cosponsored, including just about every Democratic 
Senator who is running for President. They have all signed on. They are 
all cosponsoring it.
  This green dream is unreachable, but there is a proven way to reduce 
our emissions, which is why I talk about what we are wanting to do in a 
positive way with nuclear energy, with carbon capture, things that have 
gathered the attention of the New York Times and were on the front page 
of USA TODAY on Monday.
  So we are going to continue to work with the FUTURE Act and with the 
USE IT Act. The committee is going to continue to work in a bipartisan 
way because Republicans are committed to finding solutions through 
innovation, not taxation, not regulation--solutions that do not hurt 
our strong and healthy, growing economy.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. CRAMER. Mr. President, I rise to join my colleagues, first of 
all, in, yes, opposing this Green New Deal, this joint resolution, that 
is full of so many dangerous policies and positions. But before I get 
into my reasons for that, let me also join my colleague from Wyoming in 
saying I am for the things he is for and even more--carbon capture, 
utilization, and storage, refined coal, all kinds of ways that we can 
accomplish the same goals together, with realistic proposals, not 
  Let me also say something that should warm the heart of our colleague 
from Massachusetts. The Koch brothers strongly opposed my candidacy and 
my election to the U.S. Senate. I owe them nothing, and I am grateful.
  You know, I wasn't always this pessimistic about the possibilities in 
this Chamber. I believe, in fact, that divided government presents an 
opportunity for the parties to come together to find common ground and 
to have legislative victories based on shared goals and shared values. 
I hope we can get back to that.
  I had hoped for it even on controversial issues, like immigration and 
healthcare, and I certainly hoped for it on energy policy, but when I 
heard that the Democrats were proposing this Green New Deal, I didn't 
view it as an opportunity for political gamesmanship. I viewed it as an 
opportunity to find common ground, to compromise, to find balance, and 
to negotiate the way that I believe our founders intended it.
  I don't think killing innovators with something like a Green New Deal 
is how we accomplish the goals they say they are for in their Green New 
  You can imagine my disappointment when I read the contents of this 
joint resolution. The Green New Deal is not serious policy. It is a 
fantasy. I am personally disappointed to see so many of my colleagues 
on the other side of the aisle cosponsor this--especially those who are 
seeking higher office--and ignore the realities.
  Someone earlier mentioned that the Green New Deal never talks about 
airplanes. No, but it does say that we want to transition to 100-
percent renewable energy by 2030. Well, I don't know how you fly 
airplanes without having fossil fuels.
  As the Presiding Officer may have seen, in my State of North Dakota, 
we are having a really, really cold winter. In fact, most of the Upper 
Midwest is. The National Weather Service referred to a stretch of this 
really cold weather earlier this winter as a polar vortex. We call it 
  Polar vortex or whatever you want to call it, it has been a rough 
winter. Rough winters aren't rare or new to us, but this one has been 
particularly cold. We were well below zero several days in a row. In 
fact, during the polar vortex, one day the wind chill was well below 50 
degrees below. By the way, for those of you from the South, 50 below is 
below zero--zero. It is a really low number.
  But I believe there are some facts that have been left out related to 
how this will affect human health.
  On January 1, in Hettinger, ND, it reached 42 degrees below zero 
without wind chill. That is real temperature. Again, that has happened 
in many communities throughout the State.
  During these low temperatures, guess what doesn't happen. The wind 
doesn't blow, and when the wind doesn't blow, windmills stop providing 
energy, and they actually start consuming it. When I was a regulator, I 
cited a couple thousand megawatts of wind turbines in North Dakota.
  When the energy can't be produced by wind turbines, it turns to gas, 
and, then, guess what happens. Natural gas providers have to ask their 
customers to curtail their gas consumption because they need the gas 
for a more firm supply of electricity that backs up the wind turbines.
  Again, I was a utility regulator. I saw this happen a lot, and it 
happened just a couple of weeks ago in the Midwest.
  Can you imagine that when temperatures drop below minus 22 degrees 
and wind turbines stop working? That means that many North Dakotans, 
like my mom and my grandchildren, have to rely on intermittent 
electricity to fill the gap caused by the cutbacks in gas. Do you see 
the cycle of this? It is a circle. One bad thing leads to another bad 
  In this situation, it is when--not if--an electric outage occurs 
during a polar vortex, it would be disastrous for the people of my 
State and many others. This is a serious health risk, and I do not want 
my friends and family to ever wonder if they will be able to warm their 
homes when they need it the most.
  Even if the Green New Deal were to pass, we could never afford it. 
You have heard a lot of statements today from Members about the 
expected cost of up to $93 trillion. You can argue that it is not $93 
trillion--that it is only $90 trillion, it is only $80 trillion, or it 
is only $50 trillion. It is too much. It is unaffordable. And $93 
trillion is more than 90 percent of the combined wealth of all--I said 
``all''--American households in this country. It would cost every 
American family as much as $65,000 per year, which, as you know, is 
more than the average yearly household income.
  A tax-and-spend agenda to pay for an energy plan that wouldn't even 
work flies in the face of one of our Nation's greatest success 
stories--our domestic energy production.
  To a large degree, the U.S. rocket ship economy is being driven by 
the energy renaissance happening all across our country, like in my 
State of North Dakota. Our strategy of energy dominance encompasses an 
``all of the above'' approach--harnessing wind, oil, natural gas, 
solar, nuclear, and, yes, coal potential.
  Millions of Americans are employed by energy development, and that 
number is only expected to grow.
  In fact, in 2020 the United States will become a net energy exporter 
for the first time. At the same time, emissions have steadily decreased 
over the years, and it serves as a very important national security 
hedge. Why would we halt this positive momentum and stymie promising 
  The key to a better energy future is not taxation regulation but 
innovation and empowerment, as so beautifully articulated by my friend 
from Wyoming.
  Ms. STABENOW. Would my friend from North Dakota pause for a question?
  Mr. CRAMER. If these recent polar vortexes and cold winters taught us 
anything, it is that we have a well-rounded energy policy that 
encourages the best ideas. We need to be pragmatic and collaborative to 
find solutions. That is not what defines this Green New Deal. It is 
unrealistic, unworkable, and unaffordable.
  I hope we never become so lopsided that my friends, neighbors, and 
family back home are unable to turn the heat on when they need it the 
  I yield the floor.
  Ms. STABENOW. Will my friend from North Dakota be willing to yield 
for a question?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I am grateful for the opportunity to echo 
my colleagues' concerns about the Green New Deal.
  We are here because the majority leader has indicated that the Senate 
will be considering this misguided proposal in the coming weeks.
  You would think our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would 
be ecstatic about the idea of a Senate vote on a resolution that 
essentially compasses their party's entire platform. Instead, the 
minority leader is scrambling to conceive ideas that will give

[[Page S1692]]

his caucus members cover instead of embracing a plan. I can see why.
  The Green New Deal didn't quite receive the celebration Democrats 
were expecting when it was announced. Its release was greeted with a 
combination of bewilderment, amusement, and confusion, which gave way 
to anger and disbelief the more Americans learned about it.
  This is understandable. People don't tend to react positively when 
you threaten to upheave their lives by eliminating their jobs, 
outlawing their vehicles, and demanding they essentially build their 
homes to whatever standards Democrats in Washington decide.
  If you ask most Americans if government control over almost every 
aspect of their lives is the direction they want to see the Nation 
take, the answer is an overwhelming no. Yet that is exactly what the 
Green New Deal seeks to do under the pretense of ending climate change.
  The authors of the Green New Deal and its accompanying memo suggest 
their plan is the cure for all of society's ills. They cast themselves 
as saviors who will end global warming, income equality, and depression 
in one fell swoop. The Green New Deal will guarantee every American 
free healthcare, college tuition, and a job with a ``family-
sustaining'' wage.
  That last part isn't even required to receive the benefits promised 
by the Green New Deal. If an able-bodied person is unwilling to look 
for work, the government would provide ``economic security'' under the 
  What supporters can't say is how they will implement this, what 
impact it will have on the average American, and where the trillions of 
dollars it will cost will come from. These details are important when 
you are asking for support of a plan that is estimated to cost up to 
$93 trillion and dramatically expands the Federal Government's reach 
into the daily lives of every American.
  Single moms, seniors, and those living on fixed incomes--the very 
people whom the Green New Deal supporters purport to help--will be the 
most negatively impacted by this proposal.
  Getting the majority of our Nation's energy from renewable sources is 
certainly a worthy goal. However, you cannot brand a $93 trillion, all-
encompassing liberal wish list as an energy plan and expect it to be 
embraced with no questions asked.
  Only a fraction of this plan deals with climate change, but its 
energy mandates are entirely unworkable. The Green New Deal dictates 
that the Nation will rely 100 percent on renewable power within a 
decade. Experts say it is impossible to accomplish this by 2050, much 
less within a constricted 10-year timeline.
  The way forward to solve our environmental challenges should be 
driven by positive incentives, research, and development, not 
heavyhanded regulation.
  The uncomfortable truth for the Green New Deal proponents is that the 
United States is already leading the charge on reducing carbon 
emissions. We can continue to build on that progress and encourage 
change within the international community without mandating a 
government takeover of nearly every sector of our economy.
  As a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I have 
long advocated for an ``all of the above'' approach to energy security. 
This strategy includes wind, renewable biomass, hydroelectric and solar 
power, and it absolutely needs to include the expansion of nuclear 
power, which the Green New Deal mysteriously leaves out.
  These are the right ways to responsibly address our energy needs. The 
Green New Deal--which makes undeliverable promises, proposes to 
dramatically drive up costs for every American, and eliminates 
thousands of jobs in the energy sector--is not the way to go. The Green 
New Deal will result in a staggering loss of jobs. It redistributes 
wealth on a scale our Nation has never seen before. It calls for a 
massive government takeover of our Nation's economy and culture. Worst 
of all, it hides all of this in a fanciful energy modernization scheme 
that can't be achieved in the manner it is written.
  The Green New Deal is not a serious plan. The Senate should 
wholeheartedly reject it when it comes before us.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mr. President, I am here on the floor to ultimately speak regarding 
Mr. Readler's nomination, but I do want to respond to my colleagues. It 
is hard to know where we begin because so much is said that doesn't 
make any sense. It is made up. It is ridiculous.
  What I wanted to address as my colleague was speaking was where it 
said in the Green New Deal that we couldn't have ice cream. I have 
looked everywhere. I like ice cream, and I was shocked that we weren't 
going to have ice cream. Sure enough, there is nowhere where it says 
that they are outlawing ice cream.
  For people who like cheeseburgers and milkshakes, I don't see 
anything in there about that either.
  As the lead Democrat in the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 
Committee, who works with farmers every single day and appreciates the 
great work they are doing to stop carbon pollution, I would just have 
to say that it is pretty silly, if it weren't so serious, how the 
Republican majority and the Republican leader are mocking what is 
probably the most serious issue of our time.
  There are many things that I care about and the people in Michigan 
care about, but if we don't get a handle on what is happening on this 
erratic and dangerous weather, it is going to affect every part of our 
economy and every part of our way of life.
  So if the majority leader or others want to say that we are declaring 
a war to outlaw air travel or the military or ice cream, that is absurd 
and would be funny if the whole subject weren't so serious.
  By the way, in addition to that, the Republican majority leader said 
that we want to end air travel and cow farts. By the way, just for the 
record, cows don't fart; they belch.
  The fact is that this mocking the serious, serious issue of our time, 
where we can't get the majority to join us on a simple resolution to 
say that climate change is real, that it is man-made, and that we need 
to act and that we have a responsibility to our children and our 
grandchildren to act. Let's start there.
  I don't want to hear that somehow the world is coming to an end if 
there is a proposal that passes and not have something in its place 
that addresses what is actually happening in terms of the threats to 
all of us, our families, our States, and our economy.
  This is real. This subject is real. It needs a real discussion. We 
can have differences. We will have differences on how to address it, 
and that is fine--but to mock the whole subject of what is happening 
right before our eyes. We have to make up new names now for weather 
events in Michigan. Not only do we have polar vortexes where the cold 
is rolling down because of the warming in the Arctic, but we have 
cyclone bombs or bomb cyclones--I am not sure which it is--but it is 
weather, wind events, that come at 60, 80 miles an hour into a 
community like a cyclone bomb. We are having to make up new terms for 
what is happening right in front of us.

  So I would hope that when it comes to this discussion on what happens 
with the weather and climate change, that we would put aside the games, 
stop making stuff up, and have a serious discussion about how we can 
come together, create new jobs, move the economy, stop carbon 
pollution, and make sure our kids and grandkids actually have something 
to be proud of.

                     Nomination of Chad A. Readler

  Mr. President, I now want to speak about the Readler nomination. I 
have often said that healthcare isn't political; it is personal. Being 
able to take your child to the doctor when they get sick is not 
political; it is personal. Being able to manage chronic conditions such 
as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure with quality 
medical care and prescription medicine is not political; it is 
personal. Being able to count on your medical insurance to cover you if 
you get sick is not political; that is personal.
  That is why, when the Trump administration nominates people for 
powerful positions who waged war on healthcare--you want to talk about 
somebody going to war. We have someone who waged war on healthcare who

[[Page S1693]]

we are about to vote on, on the Senate floor. I take that very 
personally, and the people of Michigan take it personally too.
  I will be voting no on Chad Readler, President Trump's nominee for 
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. I want to take a 
moment to explain why.
  The Sixth Circuit covers Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and my own State 
of Michigan. In this unending parade of terrible judicial nominees, Mr. 
Readler stands out. It is not just that he defended restrictive voting 
laws in Ohio or that he voiced support for giving minors the death 
penalty--young people the death penalty--or that he argued that State 
and local governments shouldn't be allowed to pass laws to protect our 
LGBTQ friends and neighbors from discrimination, no, Mr. Readler's 
appalling views, if implemented, would touch every single family in 
  At the Department of Justice, Mr. Readler has led efforts to 
dismantle the Affordable Care Act, including protections for people 
with preexisting conditions. In fact, he is the architect of the 
argument in Texas v. United States; that if the requirement that people 
have health insurance is found unconstitutional, then protecting people 
with preexisting conditions is also unconstitutional. Perhaps 
``architect'' is the wrong word, given that architects build things, 
and Mr. Readler is solely devoted to tearing them down.
  His argument is, of course, nonsense. It is also terrifying for 
Michigan families. Just imagine what Mr. Readler's goal could mean for 
the family of a child with diabetes, asthma, or cancer. Parents could 
find themselves with no insurance coverage for a child who needs 
chemotherapy to survive. Families could once again run up against 
lifetime limits that mean a child with complex medical issues could 
reach her lifetime limit by age 2 or 3. Parents could spend a lifetime 
worrying about a child who would never be able to qualify for health 
insurance as an adult.
  Of course, moms and their daughters would be charged more if being a 
woman was once again treated as a preexisting condition. All of these 
things routinely happened to Michigan families during the bad old days 
when insurance companies were in charge of our healthcare prior to the 
Affordable Care Act. Now Mr. Readler wants to bring those bad old days 
  However, that is not the end of Mr. Readler's noxious views. He is 
just as toxic when it comes to education.
  In my State, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a name for herself 
undermining our public education system. Well, you can call Chad 
Readler the Betsy DeVos of Ohio. Mr. Readler, as chair of the Ohio 
Alliance for Public Charter Schools, pushed school privatization and 
fought oversight over Ohio's troubled charter schools. He fought 
oversight of the troubled charter schools.
  He fought to eliminate the part of Ohio's Constitution that 
guarantees Ohio students will receive ``a thorough and efficient'' 
education. In short, he would eliminate the right to public education 
in Ohio.
  He proposed language that would exclude LGBTQ students from 
discrimination protections in Ohio schools, and while at the Department 
of Justice, he defended Betsy DeVos when she delayed implementation of 
rules aimed at helping students who are victims of illegal or deceptive 
tactics by colleges. They were victims of illegal or deceptive 
practices by colleges, and he supported stopping that relief.
  Michigan families who have children with preexisting conditions 
deserve better than Chad Readler. Michigan students who have been 
targeted by unscrupulous colleges deserve better than Chad Readler. 
Michigan folks who have business before the U.S. court of appeals 
certainly deserve better than Chad Readler.
  In my judgment, he has no business being a judge with a lifetime 
appointment, and I know a whole lot of Michigan families who agree. I 
am voting no, and I encourage my colleagues to do the same.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, as the longest serving Member of the Senate 
and also the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I feel 
compelled--and I normally don't come down and speak about these 
things--but I want to warn about the destruction of long-held norms and 
traditions that have protected the Senate's unique constitutional role 
with respect to lifetime judicial appointments.
  This is an extraordinary responsibility on the part of the U.S. 
Senate. The Constitution quite properly allows any President to 
nominate whomever they want for a lifetime position on our Federal 
courts, but as our Founders said, the Senate has to give advice and 
consent because of the effect of this person's lifetime position. They 
go way beyond the term of the Senators who vote for them and the term 
of the President who nominates the person.
  In fact, until recently, and certainly during the years I have served 
here, Members of this body knew well they had a say when it came to who 
serves in the Federal courts in their States. It didn't matter whether 
you had a Republican or Democratic President or a Republican or 
Democratic majority in the Senate; blue slips protected the prerogative 
of home State Senators and gave meaning to the constitutional 
requirement of advice and consent. It ensures fairness but, more 
importantly, I think it also ensured comity in the Senate. That now is 
fast becoming history, and I fear it is going to do lasting damage to 
the Senate.
  What is happening is a disingenuous double standard. When I was 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee at the beginning of the Obama 
administration, every single Senate Republican, including many serving 
today, signed a letter. They made the case for the importance of the 
blue-slip tradition. They said it was absolutely imperative that it be 
respected during the new administration, the Obama administration. The 
Republicans said: We must do this. Well, I didn't need any reminder 
because under my chairmanship during both the Bush Republican 
administration and the Obama Democratic administration, I respected the 
blue-slip tradition without exception, even when it was not politically 
expedient to do so. I respected Republicans and Democrats alike. 
Regardless of who was in the Oval Office, under my chairmanship, not a 
single judicial nominee received a hearing without first receiving both 
home State Senators' positive blue slips.
  I defended the blue slips, and that was unpopular in my own party on 
occasion, but I believed in both their constitutional and institutional 
importance. I also believed in the prerogatives of home State Senators 
and the need to ensure that the White House works in good faith with 
those Senators. I believed then, and I still believe now, that certain 
principles matter more than party. Something that, unfortunately, some, 
probably because they are new here, don't understand.
  All of us, whether Democratic or Republican, should care about good-
faith consultation when it comes to nominees from our home States. The 
reasons are principled and pragmatic. We know our State better than 
anybody else. We know who is qualified to fill lifetime judicial seats. 
They are going to have a tremendous impact on our communities. We know 
the men and women who are qualified. Without blue slips, nothing 
prevents our State selection committees from being completely ignored 
by the White House. Nothing would even prevent a New York or California 
lawyer from being nominated to a Texas court or vice versa.
  Yet the Senate is abandoning this protection. Senators of the 
Republican Party who promised they would uphold it, gave their word 
they would uphold it, asked me to uphold it, have suddenly broken their 
word. That bothers me.
  Last week, for example, for the first time in the history of this 
body, a nominee was confirmed to a seat on the circuit court over the 
objections of both home State Senators. That is the first time in our 
history that has happened. That meant my friends on the other side of 
the aisle had to break their word from what they agreed to before.
  This week, we are voting on two additional nominees, Chad Readler and 
Eric Murphy, who are opposed by another home State Senator, Mr. Brown. 
Senator Brown made extensive efforts to reach a compromise with the 

[[Page S1694]]

House on these two Sixth Circuit vacancies, but the White House was not 
  The White House knew the Republicans would not keep to the position 
they expected Democrats to keep when we were in the majority, and 
because they knew they could rely on Members of their own party not to 
follow tradition for the first time, they didn't even try. The White 
House didn't even try to consult. Even superficial consultation is an 
  Senator Brown then attended the confirmation hearings. He spoke 
against these nominations. He cited, among other things, Mr. Readler's 
unprecedented actions attacking healthcare protections while serving in 
the Trump Justice Department.
  Mr. Readler was willing to reverse Justice Department policy and sign 
a brief undermining protections for preexisting conditions when career 
Justice Department officials--career officials who have been there in 
both Republican and Democratic administrations--refused. They refused 
to reverse their well-established Justice Department policy. He, 
however, was perfectly willing to throw it away in court. Is this 
somebody we expect to be fair on the court?
  Senator Brown cited Mr. Murphy's longstanding support and advocacy 
for restrictive voting laws in Ohio. He knows that his constituents 
will have to live with the ramifications if these nominees are 
confirmed. It will directly affect the State. He expressed his concerns 
about their records, and his voice, in this process as a U.S. Senator, 
was ignored.
  These votes come on the heels of the Senate's confirming a 37-year-
old nominee for the Fourth Circuit who has practiced law for less than 
10 years--a grand total of 9 years. She now holds a lifetime judgeship 
on an appellate court, just one step below the Supreme Court. Her 
confirmation hearing made a mockery of the Senate's duty of advice and 
  It marked the first time in the Judiciary Committee's history--the 
first time ever that a nomination hearing was held during the October 
recess over the objections of the other party. We found out why.
  Only two Republican Senators attended the hearing, and the 
questioning lasted only 20 minutes for someone who demonstrated no 
abilities to serve on the Fourth Circuit. They knew it didn't make any 
difference whether she had the abilities or knew what she was doing. 
All they knew is that this White House had nominated her, so let's 
rubberstamp this.
  Frankly, the Senate should never function as a mere rubberstamp for 
nominees seeking lifetime appointments to our Federal judiciary. We 
shouldn't do it whether there is a Republican or a Democrat in the 
White House. That is exactly what we are doing with a Republican 
President and a Republican majority. No matter whether the person is 
qualified, if the name comes up, rubberstamp it.
  When I chaired the Judiciary Committee, many Senators--Republican 
Senators--expressed both publicly and privately their appreciation for 
the fact that my respect for blue slips protected their rights and gave 
meaning to advice and consent. Many told me this is the way it must 
always be, whether Republicans or Democrats are in the majority.
  Well, their about-face, now that they control the Senate, is 
unbecoming, and it basically says that the Senate will just bow down to 
the executive branch. We will give up our responsibility, we will give 
up our authority, and we will just be rubberstamps. We might as well 
not even bother to show up; just do whatever we are told. It is deeply 
  I know the pressure because many of my Republican friends have told 
me to rubberstamp President Trump's nominees. I know my warnings will 
fall on many deaf ears, even for those who promised me they would not 
do this.
  I have served in the Senate long enough to know that political winds 
tend to change direction. Inevitably, the majority becomes the 
minority, and the White House changes hands. I suspect that many of my 
Republican colleagues who care about this institution, as do I--and 
there are many--are going to live to regret many of these actions.
  The further down this path the Senate goes, the harder it is going to 
be to unring this bell. A vote for Mr. Readler or Mr. Murphy is a vote 
to say that we abandon our abilities as home State Senators to serve as 
a check not just on this President but any future President, Republican 
or Democrat. Basically, we are saying that we don't believe in advice 
and consent. Basically, we are saying that we don't believe in the 
Senate being the conscience of the Nation. Basically, we are saying 
that we don't believe the Founders of this country knew what they were 
doing when they said the U.S. Senate--this body of 100 people--has to 
represent 325 million Americans and that we don't believe they should 
have any responsibility, have any say in lifetime appointments.
  If we abandon longstanding traditions and chase partisan expediency, 
I remind everybody that provides only fleeting advantage. It inflicts 
lasting harm on this body. It is within our power to stop it right here 
and right now.
  I urge all Senators to ensure that home State Senators are provided 
the same courtesies during the Trump administration that they received 
from both Republican and Democratic judiciary chairmen during the Obama 
administration. I believe we can do that. I ask my fellow Senators to 
oppose Mr. Readler's and Mr. Murphy's nominations because they were 
done so out of the way that they should be done. Let the U.S. Senate, 
all of us, Republicans and Democrats, say that we are not a rubberstamp 
to any President. We don't take our orders from any President. We don't 
bow and scrape for any President. Let's act like Senators, not like a 
  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.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. 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 Franz Wuerfmannsdobler

  Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to recognize a 
true public servant, an individual who has been by my side since my 
first year as a Senator, someone who will be dearly missed, not only in 
my office but by this institution as a whole as he moves on to his next 
chapter this week: my deputy chief of staff and senior policy advisor, 
Franz Wuerfmannsdobler.
  Franz has had a great impact on this institution, on the staff 
members who served here over the last two decades, and on me. His sage 
advice, his patience, his incredibly calm demeanor, his willingness to 
mentor and guide others, his respect for this institution, and his 
knowledge borne out of 20 years of experience in the Senate have 
contributed in countless ways to the meaningful work we have been able 
to do here for the people of Delaware and our country.
  Today, I want to recognize and thank Franz for his remarkable and his 
selfless career. I want to thank him for what he has done for me, for 
my office, for the people of Delaware, and pay tribute to the legacy he 
  It is a remarkable legacy. He has been on the frontlines of events 
and policy battles that have quite literally shaped the history of our 
country over the last two decades--from 9/11 to the passage of the 
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, from energy and appropriations 
efforts to sustained concerns and engagement around bipartisanship.
  Franz's career in the Senate began in 1998 when he served as a 
legislative assistant for the late, great Senator Robert Byrd of West 
Virginia, who was himself a giant of this body. For 8 years, Franz 
handled issues from energy to environment, to climate change and 
natural resources. It was also in Senator Byrd's office that Franz cut 
his teeth on the complex appropriations process, learning from the 
master appropriator himself.
  Franz's career then took him to the office of former Senator Byron 
Dorgan of North Dakota, where he was a trusted senior energy policy 
advisor, and then on the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations 
Subcommittee before finally joining my own office in March of 2011.

[[Page S1695]]

  Franz's list of legislative accomplishments is long and impressive 
and reflects his deep grasp of policy and the mechanics of politics. He 
helped to shape elements of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the 
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. He was central to 
establishing reformed fuel economy standards for our Nation's 
automobiles and played a key role in the Recovery Act, a massive effort 
that helped pull our Nation out of the depths of a recession.
  Franz is a person of ideas and vision. His vision for our country has 
led to policies that have made our Nation cleaner, more innovative, and 
more secure. Likewise, his vision in my Senate office has made our team 
more efficient, more effective, and more successful. Franz has played a 
key role in shaping my office early on, helping to create a team-based 
structure and the positive culture of our legislative staff.
  He also introduced me to the valuable concept of having an office 
built around and relying on expert legislative fellows, including, in 
particular, fellows from the American Association for the Advancement 
of Science, whose incredible expertise and deep knowledge in scientific 
matters has been invaluable in advancing technology and science policy 
in my last 8 years. In total, Franz has mentored more than 15 fellows 
during his time in the Senate--13 of them are AAAS fellows in my own 
office, and they have attested individually and collectively to the 
reach, scope, and power of his guidance and mentorship to them.
  Franz is also a master of appropriations--an arcane process that even 
the most seasoned legislative veterans should admit that they don't 
completely understand. He brought his wealth of experience to our team, 
taking the reins of the Federal budget and appropriations process and 
building from the ground up the complex and detailed appropriations 
system that we use to this day. There is no question that Franz's 
expertise and the time he dedicated to building this meticulous system 
has made me a more effective member of the Senate Appropriations 
Committee and led to countless wins for the State of Delaware--from 
funding for critical transportation improvements and investments in our 
first responders to support that has helped to establish and enhance 
the NIIMBL manufacturing institute of the University of Delaware and to 
fully fund science and R&D projects around the country and in my home 
  Beyond Franz's technical expertise, nothing better exemplifies his 
character than the patience and dedication with which he has taught 
others about the appropriations process. Each year, Franz hosts 
``Appropriations Bootcamp 101`` to teach new staff members the ins and 
outs of this riveting and complex process. He takes the time to explain 
it, to get into the weeds, and to answer question after question. Franz 
has also taken his show on the road in my home State of Delaware, 
meeting with State, local government, and community stakeholders to 
explain the appropriations process and help to secure more funding for 
our State. He has even developed a legendary method for teaching staff 
about appropriations by using bags of marbles to explain funding 
allocations for each Appropriations subcommittee. For the record, the 
legislative branch gets just one marble.
  Franz's patience extends far beyond the annual appropriations 
process. He always maintains his cool and has a striking and calming 
presence, even in the most trying of circumstances. One of those more 
trying circumstances occurred at a staff outing just a few years ago. 
Franz had driven a couple of other members of our team, and on their 
way home, his car broke down. The group decided to push start the car, 
going down a hill to get momentum, while a junior staffer manned the 
wheel. Unfortunately, the lack of power steering made it impossible to 
turn the wheel. After a good strong push, the car rolled right down the 
hill and into a tree. Franz very calmly said: Don't worry about it. It 
is not a problem; it is all going to be fine--even when the front end 
of his car was unrecognizable. Franz's response to that situation, his 
cool and calm demeanor, is characteristic of the grace he has imparted 
on all of us, even in some of the most tumultuous times here in the 
  One of the unique things about Franz is that whenever you meet 
somebody who knows him or has worked with him, they talk about the ways 
in which he has gone out of his own way to help them and mentor them 
over the years. So many people in the Senate view Franz not just as a 
friend or colleague but as someone who they know has helped them in 
their careers and someone who has shown them the ropes and invested 
time in supporting them and helping them succeed. One member of my team 
described it this way:

       Franz has an uncanny ability to take the time necessary to 
     help. He enables us to do our jobs and do them well. We get 
     meaningful things done, and that's because of the wisdom 
     Franz has imparted.''

  In an environment here in the Senate that is at times fast paced, 
Franz takes the time to invest in younger people. He sees potential in 
staff and imparts knowledge and experience, even when there is more 
than enough to keep him busy just meeting his own commitments. For 
example, Franz took it upon himself to create a manual for the new 
fellows who work in my office every year. The manual, which should be 
required reading for every new Senate staffer, describes how to write a 
bill and important things about the process of working in the Senate.
  He also maintains the Capitol Hill Urban Dictionary, which he shares 
with new staff and interns to help them decode internal Senate jargon, 
including oft-used, but rarely explained phrases like ``en bloc'' or 
``move the needle.'' It explains, for example, what to do when asked: 
Do you have language on that.
  Franz embraces the importance of teaching the next generation of 
Capitol Hill staff how to do their job well. I think that is truly his 
greatest legacy--the remarkable diaspora of younger staff members he 
has believed in, invested in, and helped to train who are now working 
everywhere from the Senate to the House, to the Department of Defense, 
to running a nonprofit in Kenya.

  Each year, Franz and his wonderful wife Lisa host an annual gathering 
at their home for a growing community of current and former fellows 
and, literally, dozens of colleagues--folks who have shared 
experiences, who care about policy, who like a good geeky joke, and who 
enjoy helping each other and developing and sustaining each other's 
  That is just the kind of person Franz is. He has impacted so many 
people--something that was never more evident than at his wedding to 
Lisa a few years ago, which I was deeply honored to have the chance to 
officiate. In addition to their friends and family, guests that day 
included former Senator Dorgan, folks who had mentored Franz early in 
his career, dozens of individuals he mentored himself, and people from 
all walks of life who support Franz and Lisa and care about them. It 
was a testament to the community they have created, both inside and 
outside the Senate.
  Franz cares deeply about this institution. He cares about policies, 
and he cares about people. He is always looking for ways to bridge the 
partisan divide and make this broken place work better. It hasn't 
always been easy. Like many of us, Franz has struggled with the slowing 
pace of legislative progress in the Senate in recent years and its 
increasingly divisive nature. It says so much about him and about his 
faith in us and in this institution that he is leaving his Senate 
career to go work on these very issues, helping to lead the Bipartisan 
Policy Center in advancing bipartisan policy solutions to address the 
challenges facing our Nation and the institution of the Senate.
  He has made such a mark that he is known throughout this institution 
by a single name. Few people are known by just one name--Bono, Noah, 
Cher, Franz. With Franz's leaving the Senate, I promise to continue to 
do my part here to bridge what divides us where we can and to do the 
important work required of us. That includes passage of the Master 
Limited Partnerships Parity Act, important bipartisan legislation that 
will level the tax playing field for clean energy, which Franz has 
worked on for Congress after Congress as long as I have been here--work 
that I intend to finish.
  While I am sad today to see Franz leave my office in the Senate, he 
will be deeply missed by everyone on my staff and everyone who has 
benefited from his wisdom, but I am also excited

[[Page S1696]]

to see the inspiring things he will accomplish in his next chapter.
  I want to thank Franz for his dedication, his leadership, and his 
expertise. I want to thank his family for sharing him with us these 
past 8 years in my office and these 2 decades here in the Senate. He 
inspires me every day to be a better and more thoughtful, more careful, 
and more caring legislator. He leaves a deep and positive impact on all 
of us that we will not soon forget. Thank you, Franz. You will be 
deeply missed.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.

                          Judicial Nominations

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today in opposition to three 
circuit court nominees who will receive votes on the floor this week: 
Allison Jones Rushing, nominated to the Fourth Circuit Court of 
Appeals; Chad Readler, nominated to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals; 
and Eric Murphy, also nominated to the Sixth Circuit.
  I want to begin by addressing how these nominations were handled and 
the ongoing disregard for Senate norms and traditions by Republican 
leadership. Most notable is the change in how blue slips are treated. 
Blue slips work. The blue slip ensures that the interests of home State 
Senators are respected when it comes to judicial nominees from their 
  Honoring blue slips helps guarantee that the White House nominates 
well-qualified, mainstream individuals to key seats on the circuit and 
district courts, and it prevents the selection of nominees who do not 
reside in the circuit in which they are slated to serve.
  In the past century, before President Trump took office, only five 
judges had ever been confirmed with only one blue slip; two were by a 
Democratic chair over the objection of a Democratic Senator, not over 
the objection of a Republican, then in the minority. The other three 
instances occurred when a Republican chairman overruled a Democratic 
  In fact, Democratic chairs have never moved a judicial nominee to 
confirmation over the objection of a Republican Senator. Let me say 
that again: Democratic chairs have never confirmed a judicial nominee 
without a blue slip from a Republican Senator.
  However, since President Trump took office, 10 circuit court nominees 
have received hearings, and four have been confirmed over the objection 
of Democratic home State Senators. In just over 2 years, Republicans 
are on their way to doubling the number of judges confirmed over the 
objection of home State Senators than have been confirmed in the last 
100 years.
  This week we are considering both Mr. Readler and Mr. Murphy who lack 
blue slips from Ohio's Senior Senator, my friend and colleague Senator 
  Senator Brown's opposition was not unreasonable; in fact, Senator 
Brown worked with the White House for weeks in an effort to find 
consensus picks for the Sixth Circuit.
  But the White House refused to cooperate, and he was left with no 
choice but to withhold his blue slip. In doing so, Senator Brown said: 
``I cannot support nominees who have actively worked to strip Ohioans 
of their rights. Special interests already have armies of lobbyists and 
lawyers on their side, they don't need judges in their pockets.''
  Further, when the majority did move forward on the nominations of Mr. 
Readler and Mr. Murphy, the two appeared on the same panel at the same 
hearing. With 5-minute rounds of questioning, these stacked circuit 
court hearings make it all but impossible for Senators on the committee 
to thoroughly vet judicial nominees, and that, in turn, makes it 
impossible for this body to fulfill its obligation of providing advice 
and consent.

  Ms. Rushing's nomination is also the product of a departure from 
Senate norms. Then-Chairman Grassley held Ms. Rushing's hearing on 
October 17, 2018, during an extended Senate recess. Only two Senators 
questioned Ms. Rushing, and no Democrats were present to question the 
  These process violations matter. They matter because they impact the 
quality of the nominees we are considering and the ability of the 
nominee to reflect the State and community to which they are being 
  We have already seen several nominees who have had no judicial 
experience, and others with no trial experience whatsoever. We have 
seen nominees who have been rated unqualified for lack of experience 
and also for lack of judgement, ethical problems, and issues with 
impartiality and temperament.
  This isn't a partisan issue. This is an issue that should concern 
Senators from both sides of the aisle. At a time when Americans 
increasingly distrust the institutions of our government, we should not 
be degrading the Federal judiciary with unqualified and ideological 
  Turning to the nominees themselves, I first want to discuss Allison 
Rushing. Ms. Rushing is only 36 years old. In fact, she has practiced 
law for only 9 years. She has never tried a case in the Fourth Circuit, 
the court to which she has been nominated, and she was not even 
admitted to practice in the Fourth Circuit until 2017; yet she is being 
nominated to serve on a Federal circuit court.
  Even in her limited experience, Ms. Rushing has demonstrated strong 
ideological views. For instance, in 2013, Ms. Rushing spoke about the 
Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense 
of Marriage Act. She claimed that Justice Kennedy had written ``the 
opinion in a unique way that calls it bigotry to believe that 
homosexuality does not comport with Judeo-Christian morality.''
  Ms. Rushing also demonstrated her hostility to the rights of 
employees in a brief she submitted in a 2018 Supreme Court case. Ms. 
Rushing argued that employment agreements requiring employees to waive 
their rights to go to court as a condition of employment should be 
allowed, even though most people don't have a choice to turn down a 
  Ms. Rushing's view prevents employees who have entered arbitration 
agreements from bringing lawsuits against their employers, even if the 
employers have violated their rights or fired them against the law.
  As the dissent pointed out, Ms. Rushing's position risked leading to 
``the under-enforcement of federal and state statutes designed to 
advance the well-being of vulnerable workers.''
  I next would like to address the nomination of Chad Readler. Mr. 
Readler previously headed the Justice Department's Civil Division. In 
that position, he defended some of the most troubling policies this 
administration has implemented. He defended the President's decision to 
end the DACA program, the policy to separate immigrant children from 
their parents, and the President's Muslim travel ban.
  Most concerning, however, is that Mr. Readler led the 
administration's efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Mr. 
Readler argued that the healthcare law's protections for preexisting 
conditions should be struck down. Even Senator Lamar Alexander called 
the arguments made in Mr. 
Readler's brief ``as far-fetched as any I've ever heard.''
  Finally, the Senate is voting on Eric Murphy to the Sixth Circuit. As 
the chief appellate lawyer for the State of Ohio, Mr. Murphy led the 
State's defense of its law banning same-sex marriage, which was struck 
down by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. Jim Obergefell wrote 
an op-ed recently saying: ``Barely four years ago, Mr. Murphy made a 
forceful argument that my marriage was unconstitutional. As the 
attorney tasked with defending Ohio's discriminatory ban on same-sex 
marriage, he used dog-whistles . . . [I]f Murphy had been successful, 
[my husband] and I, and tens of thousands of couples like us, would 
have been denied the right to marry and forced to live as second-class 
  Mr. Murphy also led Ohio's defense of restrictive voting laws, 
including the Ohio law allowing the State to purge eligible voters if 
they missed voting in just one Federal election, and he has amassed a 
troubling record on women's reproductive rights, arguing for instance 
in support of a 20-week abortion ban, which he claimed would create 
``at most, an incidental burden'' on a woman's right to make her own 
reproductive health care decisions.
  The three nominees before the Senate exemplify the Trump 
administration's efforts to stack our courts with nominees who are far 
outside the judicial mainstream. I believe they will

[[Page S1697]]

not protect the rights of all Americans and should not be confirmed. I 
will vote no on each of these nominees, and I hope my colleagues will 
do the same.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.

                     Nomination of Chad A. Readler

  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the judicial nomination 
coming up and the cloture vote on the other nominee.
  With both nominees, I offered the White House cooperation to choose 
two more moderate nominees for Ohio, both of whom had been vetted by a 
bipartisan commission Senator Portman and I had, and the White House 
said they would rather pick these two extremist judges--these two 
young, far-right judges who have attacked America's healthcare and have 
attacked the consumer protection on preexisting condition.
  Judges are making decisions right now--in this body, fortunately, as 
Members of the Senate, we all have good coverage and health insurance--
that try to take insurance away from millions of Americans and several 
thousands in my State, even as they have tried to eliminate the 
consumer protections for those people who have preexisting conditions. 
There are millions of Americans who are anxious about holding onto 
their insurance because they get sick a lot and it is expensive to take 
care of them. They are afraid of having their insurance canceled, and 
they can't get insurance because of a preexisting condition, and this 
Congress tried to repeal that law and it failed.
  Now, Senator McConnell has turned to the Federal Judiciary, and the 
President of the United States seems to think the only way to eliminate 
the consumer protection for those with preexisting conditions is 
through the Judiciary. Judges are making decisions right now on voting 
rights, on civil rights, on women's rights, LGBT rights, on healthcare, 
on sentencing, and on corporate power--decisions that could limit those 
rights for a generation.
  We know that the Federal Judiciary already puts its thumb on the 
scales of justice to support corporations over workers, to support Wall 
Street over consumers, and to support insurance companies over 
patients. We know that the Federal Judiciary and the Supreme Court have 
done that dozens of times. We know that the Federal Judiciary, 
increasingly, is looking like a group of far-right, young, detached 
people who never go out and get their public opinion pass, as Lincoln 
said. They never consider what the public wants in this country.
  Chad Readler, the nominee whom we will vote on in a moment, took it 
upon himself as a Jones Day lawyer--one of the greatest law firms in 
the country, headquartered in Cleveland--to write an op-ed as a private 
citizen saying we should allow the execution of 16-year-olds. He 
actually wasn't that specific. He implied it could be even younger than 
that. He said we would allow the execution of teenagers. At a time when 
this body--something we should be proud of--took important bipartisan 
steps forward on sentencing reform that was supported by the White 
House, supported by a lot of Republicans, and supported by virtually 
all Democrats, how do we turn around and put someone on the bench for 
life who supports executing children? How does that compute? How we can 
do that?
  He argued on behalf of the far-right think tank for the elimination 
of ``Golden Week'' in Ohio, a period where people can vote early. They 
can register and vote early. It was passed by a Republican legislature. 
It has bipartisan support, but not by this rightwing nominee who thinks 
it is OK to eliminate people's right to vote and restrict it. He 
defended restrictive voter ID. He defended the squeezing of provisional 
ballot laws.
  On the eve of the 54th anniversary tomorrow of Bloody Sunday in 
Selma, AL, it is shameful to put on the bench another judge who will 
rubberstamp modern-day literacy tests and poll taxes. Fundamentally, it 
is the same purpose. You find ways to suppress the vote. You find ways 
to take people's voting rights away. You find ways to disqualify people 
who want to vote.
  Chad Readler's record on healthcare is clear. He has been a 
ringleader in the Republican effort to take away the protections on 
preexisting conditions for all Americans. He wrote the White House's 
brief. We all know that now. He wrote a brief that nobody else above 
him at the Justice Department was willing to do. Three people refused 
to write it. One actually resigned. The next day, he was rewarded by 
this lifetime appointment as a Sixth Circuit Federal judge. Remember 
that. The White House rewarded him after suggesting that we block the 
consumer protections for preexisting conditions for millions of 
Americans and for hundreds of thousands in Virginia, Arkansas, and in 
Ohio. Millions of Americans would lose their consumer protections under 
his views, and the next day the White House decided to reward him with 
a judgeship.
  As I said, three career attorneys withdrew from the case. One 
resigned altogether in objection to doing this. Senator Alexander, our 
friend from Tennessee, who sits near where Senator Kaine is sitting, 
said this was just amazingly awful language that Chad Readler had 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for an 
additional 2 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, judges are deciding the future of America's 
healthcare right now, the right to vote right now, civil rights right 
now, LGBTQ rights right now, women's rights right now. Judges around 
the country are deciding that. We can't afford to put another out-of-
the-mainstream judge on the court--and he is clearly out of the 
mainstream among Ohio lawyers, among Ohio judges, among Ohio citizens--
who will not defend America's right to healthcare.
  I ask my colleagues to think about the families you promised to vote 
for. If any of you in your campaigns, if any of you in discussions you 
have had with your constituents, if any of you in your public 
statements, and if any of you running for office committed that you 
would support consumer protections for preexisting conditions, the only 
way you can prove you actually believe that is by voting no on Chad 
Readler in about 1 minute from now. If you really believe in preserving 
preexisting condition consumer protections so you don't see in your 
State--in Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and Ohio--millions of 
Americans lose their insurance, then your only way to support what you 
promise is to vote no on Chad Readler.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). Under the previous order, all 
postcloture time is expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Readler 
  Mr. KAINE. Madam President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. 
Manchin) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 52, nays 47, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 37 Ex.]


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)


     Cortez Masto

[[Page S1698]]

     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table, and the 
President will be immediately notified of the Senate's actions.