EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 43
(Senate - March 11, 2019)

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[Pages S1749-S1759]
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                           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 legislative clerk read the nomination of Paul B. Matey, of New 
Jersey, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President I ask unanimous consent to speak for 1 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                              Secret Holds

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, it is Sunshine Week, and I support 
transparency throughout government. The public's business ought to be 
public. That includes right here in the U.S. Senate.
  My newer colleagues might be unaware that the Senate has banned what 
are referred to as secret holds. Since January 2011, a standing order 
has been in effect, requiring that Senators make public any hold they 
place on bills or nominations.
  A Senator, of course, has a right to withhold consent when unanimous 
consent is needed to move to a measure. However, there is absolutely no 
right to do so in secret. The public's business ought to be done in 
  That is why Senator Wyden and I sent a letter to all Senators 
reminding them of this standing order that we authored requiring 
disclosure of holds.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 1 more minute.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. When Senators spend most of their time on the Senate 
floor, as they used to before the Senate was on television, it was easy 
for any Senator to stand up and say ``I object,'' if consent were asked 
for any motion or any nomination. Now we spend most of our time in 
committee hearings and meeting with those we represent. We rely on our 
party leadership to protect our rights, and we sometimes tell them if 
we need someone to object on our behalf to moving a bill or a nominee. 
That happens to be called a hold. A hold should not be secret, I want 
everybody to know that sometimes I put holds on nominations or bills.
  Whoever heard of shouting ``I object'' in secret? A hold, in other 
words, ought to be public, as the standing order requires. The Senate 
affirmed that in the year 2011 by adopting a permanent standing order 
that Senator Wyden and I wrote. I remind my colleagues, that standing 
order is still in place.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, in the last couple of weeks, I have come 
to the floor for a few short comments on the Green New Deal. I have 
compared it to the New Deal of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
administration and its attempt to get us out of the Depression with the 
New Deal then.
  In his 1932 campaign for President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt called 
for what he called a ``bold persistent experimentation.'' That is a 
pretty good description of the New Deal. It wasn't a very cohesive 
plan, but it was a collection of disconnected policies. In that sense, 
the Green New Deal emulates its namesake. It, too, is kind of a 
collection of disconnected policies.
  The New Deal of the 1930s failed to pull the economy out of the 
Depression that actually ended at the beginning of World War II. It is 
not surprising, however, that it didn't pull us out of the Depression 
because it didn't create economic growth. Economic growth needs

[[Page S1750]]

predictable and sensible tax and regulatory policies. We have seen the 
fruits of this approach under the Trump administration. So let's not, 
through the Green Deal, kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
  The Green New Deal is both breathtaking in its professed ambitions 
and, quite frankly, laughably weak. It is just a resolution calling on 
the government to enact a whole range of policies.
  Then, why not introduce a bill that actually does something rather 
than a resolution calling for future implausible actions?
  It is supposed to be about protecting the environment. As someone 
with a track record of real bipartisan achievements that have resulted 
in a cleaner environment, I don't get it. If you want to know my 
credentials there, I am the father of the wind energy tax credit, just 
as an example. We get 38 percent of our electricity from wind in Iowa.
  What do universal healthcare--another item of the Green New Deal--or 
free college tuition or a Federal jobs guarantee program have to do 
with the environment anyway? All of those things are in the Green New 
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Scott of Florida). Without objection, it 
is so ordered.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The minority leader is recognized.

                   Declaration of National Emergency

  Mr. SCHUMER. By the end of this week, the Senate will vote on a 
resolution to terminate the President's emergency declaration. I have 
laid out the number of reasons why the Senate must vote to terminate. 
The President has not demonstrated that an emergency exists. During the 
announcement of the declaration, the President said he ``didn't need to 
do this.'' A few weeks later, 58 former national security officials, 
including former Secretaries of State and Defense, said there was ``no 
factual basis'' for an emergency declaration. For the sake of the 
facts, the Senate must vote to terminate.
  We also have no idea which military construction projects might be on 
the chopping block. Republican Senators who vote against this 
declaration do so at their own peril. They may be voting to deprive 
necessary funds from military installations in their States. For the 
sake of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, the Senate must 
vote to terminate.
  Of course, the constitutional questions loom largest. The President 
failed to convince Congress, the American people, and, perhaps most 
glaringly, Mexico to pay for his border wall. Now he is attempting to 
use emergency powers to subvert the will of Congress. If allowed to 
stand, this emergency declaration would be a defacement of our 
constitutional order and one of the largest power grabs for the 
executive branch in the more than 200 years this Nation has been in 
  My colleagues must contemplate the possibility that if President 
Trump were to succeed with his phony emergency declaration, future 
Presidents would have a precedent to claim emergencies whenever 
Congress failed to endorse their policies. In effect, Congress would no 
longer be a coequal branch of government. It would change the balance 
of power rather dramatically in ways the Founding Fathers would never 
have contemplated. In fact, it would horrify many of the Founding 
Fathers, who were so worried about an overweening Executive in the 
personage of King George.
  I know many of my Republican friends are afraid to cross the 
President. We know he can be vindictive. I know that several support 
the idea of building a wall but want to oppose the emergency 
declaration. I would say to my colleagues respectfully: You have been 
able to express your support for a border wall numerous times in the 
past Congress and in this one. Another amendment vote will 
accomplishment nothing new; it will only poison Congress's ability to 
pass this resolution.
  This is not about policy at our southern border; this is about one 
thing and one thing alone--Presidential overreach.
  Later this week, the Senate ought to vote a clean resolution to 
terminate the emergency. The bottom line is very simple: If we were 
upholding the Constitution, it would be 100 to nothing against the 
emergency. If there were no politics, no fear, no worry about crossing 
a President, the vote would be 100 to nothing. If people read the 
Federalist Papers and the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers 
intended, the vote would be 100 to nothing. I hope it is as close to 
that as is possible.

                            Budget Proposal

  Mr. President, earlier today, the Trump administration released its 
annual request. In recent years, these budget requests have become 
statements of principles and priorities rather than working documents. 
Purely as a statement of principle, the latest budget proposal from the 
Trump administration is not only extremely disturbing, but it is 
totally against what the President talks about when he talks to his 
  The budget request we received today would be a gut punch to the 
middle class and a handout to powerful special interests and the 
wealthiest few. It would dismantle America's healthcare system as we 
know it, and it would dramatically widen the gap in income and wealth 
between our Nation's richest citizens and the rest.
  Now listen to this: The President talks about how he wants to get 
better healthcare for Americans. Certainly our Republican colleagues 
do. By cutting healthcare coverage and increasing healthcare costs for 
millions of Americans, this budget belies those promises. President 
Trump's budget would repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, taking away 
insurance from 32 million Americans and eliminating protections for 
Americans with preexisting conditions. How many Republicans are for 
  How about this: $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, $845 billion in 
cuts to Medicare, $506 billion in cuts to tax credits that help lower 
income Americans afford insurance. Not only is this cruel, it is 
hypocritical. It is against everything our Republican friends talk 
about. It is against what the President says. He is going to preserve 
Medicare and Medicaid, and then he slashes them. It still befuddles me 
how he can get away with this even in these times.
  Second, the budget slashes domestic programs, including investments 
in infrastructure, housing, education, and the environment--a third of 
the EPA budget and one-fifth of the Department of Transportation 
  My Republican friends, when your commissioners and Governors come to 
you and say they need more highway funds, are you going to support a 
budget that cuts them by 20 percent?
  On top of all this, it gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few. 
It would permanently extend the Trump tax cuts, costing $1.9 trillion 
over 10 years. Seventy percent of the benefits go to the top one-fifth 
of America. The staggering costs of these tax cuts are the reason for 
all the proposed cuts to healthcare and infrastructure. The Trump 
budget proposes the blind theft of the middle class to line America's 
deepest pockets.
  It is really a disgraceful budget. My guess is that Mr. Mulvaney at 
OMB put it together. He was one of the five most rightwing people in 
the Congress. He wanted to slash everything. The President just green-
stamped it so he can tip his hat to those on the very far right.
  The vast majority of the President's supporters--they are a dwindling 
number; they are now less than a third of America--don't support this. 
They don't support this at all. How many people who count themselves as 
supporters of President Trump support cutting Medicare by close to $1 
trillion? How many of those who consider themselves supporters of Trump 
support cutting Medicaid by $1.5 trillion? How many of the President's 
closest supporters think we should eliminate protections for 
preexisting conditions when people have them? How many of the 
President's supporters want to cut infrastructure by one-fifth or cut 
the clean water and clean air budget by one-third? Hardly any. This 
budget is just sort of an ``Alice in Wonderland'' document.

[[Page S1751]]

  Of course, it wouldn't be a Trump budget if it didn't include the 
fantasy of another $8.6 billion in funding for the border wall. The 
fiction that Mexico would pay for the wall has long been debunked, 
although that is what the President ran on, but it is still amazing 
that the Trump administration proposes year after year that the 
American taxpayer pay billions of dollars for a border wall that 
President Trump said would be completely free.
  It is difficult to overstate the callousness of President Trump's 
budget. The cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous middle-class 
programs are devastating but maybe not surprising. This budget will be 
on the backs of the Republicans. They support President Trump.
  The Republican Party's systematic efforts to rip away Americans' 
healthcare, its continued embrace of the tax cuts for the rich, its 
refusal to accept science, facts, and the urgent need to address 
climate change have made cruel and unthinkable budget proposals like 
this one par for the course with our fellow Republicans. It is sad; it 
is a shame; and it basically is total hypocrisy because not one single 
Republican would campaign on these proposals.

                          Judicial Nominations

  Mr. President, this week the Senate will vote on three controversial 
nominees, including two circuit court judges: Paul Matey for the Third 
Circuit and Neomi Rao for the DC Circuit, the second most powerful 
court in the country.
  Mr. Matey's nomination, in keeping with Leader McConnell just ripping 
apart whatever bipartisanship we have left, has advanced without a blue 
slip from either home State Senator, Mr. Booker or Mr. Menendez. In 
case it wasn't clear how little Republicans care about this once-
vaunted tradition, Mr. Matey has skipped even the courtesy of meeting 
with Senator Menendez.
  Mr. Matey has never made an oral argument before a Federal Court of 
Appeals--never. He barely has any litigation experience either. He has 
spent most of his career as a political aide to Governor Christie. Yet 
he is nominated for a lifetime appointment to a circuit court of 
appeals, not even a district court, where his qualifications would 
still be questionable, but to a circuit court.
  Ms. Neomi Rao, despite her experience, might even be worse. As the 
Trump administration's regulatory czar, she has been in charge of 
rolling back consumer protections, environmental protections, and 
healthcare protections. So as a nominee for the DC Circuit, which hears 
cases on Federal regulation, Ms. Rao is hopelessly compromised. Yet she 
refused to commit to recusing herself from regulatory matters on which 
she has worked when pressed by Senator Feinstein during the Judiciary 
  That is to say nothing of Ms. Rao's alarming views. In past writings, 
Ms. Rao has expressed skepticism about climate change, called sexual 
and racial oppression ``myths,'' and argued that independent Federal 
Agencies are unconstitutional. Perhaps worst of all, she has implied 
that sexual assault victims are to blame for the despicable crimes 
committed against them.
  Honestly, where do my Republican colleagues find these people? The 
majority party always nominates judges that have a particular bent, but 
the Trump administration's nominees, by and large, are not mainstream 
conservatives; they are rightwing ideologues, many of whom lack the 
experience, candor, and moderation that we would expect in a public 
servant, let alone a lifetime judge. For a few of these judges, the 
sole qualification is not their judicial experience, not their 
knowledge or erudition, but they are active members of the Federalist 
  I know this is what my friend the majority leader cares about: a 
hard-right bench. He doesn't care about their qualifications; he 
doesn't care about moderation; he doesn't care about representing 
middle-class people when he nominates these judges. He is running a 
conveyor belt of political partisans, many with extremely thin legal 
resumes, onto the courts. He gets a talking point for his base, but the 
quality of these nominees degrades the Federal bench and cheapens the 
cause of justice in America.
  I will vote no on both Mr. Matey and Ms. Rao, and I strongly urge my 
colleagues to do the same.

                        China Trade Negotiations

  Mr. President, finally, on China--the ongoing negotiations with China 
have been something I have been following closely. Over the past few 
weeks, there has been a drumbeat of reporting that the Trump 
administration is poised to accept a weak trade agreement with China.
  Last week, the New York Times reported that China's draft new foreign 
investment law, meant to pacify the United States, would not include a 
complete end to the forced technology transfers. The most recent 
published draft made no mention of preventing national government 
regulators from demanding technology transfers. This morning, the Times 
reported that China has agreed to few, if any, major restrictions on 
how it manages its currency.
  For years, China manipulated its currency to suit its purposes, 
typically devaluing the renminbi to prop up its manufacturers. I was 
the first, with Senator Graham of South Carolina, back in the early 
2000s, to point out China's currency manipulation, and it has continued 
unabated. In recent days the renminbi has been allowed to rise, but, 
curiously, it fell 10 percent against the dollar after President 
Trump's announcement on tariffs.
  According to the Times, that move alone negated, at least 
temporarily, the impact of President Trump's latest round of tariffs. 
The Chinese have done everything they can to gain advantage over us, to 
steal our jobs, steal our wealth. They have not played fairly, and now 
the President, with his tariffs, has them where we would want them.
  They need to come to an agreement. But they are hanging tough, and 
the President's inclinations seem to be, from press reports, to back 
off so he can get any deal, so the stock market will go up temporarily. 
Make no mistake about it--in the long run, this will hurt America 
dramatically. The best paying jobs will be created in China, not here. 
The ability of the best American companies to compete worldwide will be 
dramatically curtailed.
  It is abundantly clear that China is playing us. They want to give up 
as little as possible while getting out from under the sting of 
  So I say to President Trump, whom I have praised on his China 
policies thus far--a lot tougher, a lot better than President Obama or 
President Bush. I say to President Trump: Do not get played. If you 
don't achieve what you set out to achieve, namely, the permanent reform 
of China's most abusive trade practices, then walk away, just as you 
walked away from North Korea when Chairman Kim would not make real 
  President Trump, you must walk away from China if President Xi 
refuses meaningful and enduring economic reforms. To do otherwise would 
be to squander maybe the last best chance of putting American workers 
and businesses on a level playing field with our No. 1 economic 
  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. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hawley). Without objection, it is so 


  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, in thinking about some of the debates 
swirling about here in Washington, DC, as to whether capitalism or 
socialism should be a preferred economic model, I recall a story that 
involves Boris Yeltsin, who went on to become the Russian President, 
who happened to be in Houston, TX, in 1989, visiting the Johnson Space 
Center--a very important part of NASA in Houston--when he decided to 
visit a grocery store in Clear Lake, TX. Though it sounds like it could 
be, this isn't the beginning of a Wes Anderson film.
  It was nearly 20 years ago, in 1989, when the Soviet Union had not 
yet imploded and when the Berlin Wall was still standing. It would be 2 
years before Yeltsin would be forced to take steps to begin to 
transform the Soviet

[[Page S1752]]

economy. As I said, he was in the Houston area, finishing a tour of the 
Johnson Space Center, when he made an unscheduled stop at a Randalls 
grocery store before he headed to Miami.
  The Houston Chronicle reported at the time that Yeltsin gawked at the 
abundant produce, the selection of fresh fish, the checkout aisle, and 
especially the frozen pudding pops. He roamed the aisles, according to 
the story, stared at the frozen food section, and took advantage of the 
free samples of cheese. He actually talked to some of the customers 
there and asked questions about what they were buying and how much it 
cost them. He was stunned--absolutely stunned--as this was a far cry 
from the grocery stores in the Soviet Union. Yeltsin said: ``Even the 
Politburo doesn't have this kind of choice, not even Mr. Gorbachev.''
  That day, Boris Yeltsin learned something that the overwhelming 
majority of people in our country already know--that socialism cannot 
provide the bounty, the prosperity, or the choices that capitalism can.
  Leon Aron, who wrote Yeltsin's biography, quoted one of his 
  He said:

       For a long time, on the plane to Miami, he sat motionless, 
     his head in his hands. ``What have they done to our poor 
     people?'' he said, after a long silence.

  He told his fellow countrymen who were traveling with him that if 
their people were to see the conditions in American supermarkets, 
``there would be a revolution.''
  Make no mistake about it. If the most radical Democrats in our 
country today get their way on the outlandish socialist policies they 
are pushing, the American people will be calling for a revolution.
  The Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and economic security for those 
who are able-bodied yet who are unwilling to work are policies that are 
not going to raise up the most economically disadvantaged people in our 
country. They are going to pull everyone else down. Socialism promises 
not prosperity for all but what Winston Churchill called the equal 
sharing of miseries.
  Though these self-proclaimed democratic socialists make big promises 
on how their policies will deliver fairness and equality for all 
Americans, that could not be further from the truth. The first thing 
these policies would do is to bankrupt our country. These unworkable 
economic policies will kill jobs and outlaw our most reliable, 
affordable energy sources. ``Medicare for All'' will turn into 
``Medicare for none'' when the entire system crashes and when those who 
are unwilling to work will lose any incentive to even try. It would 
subsidize a nation of slackers.
  This threat of the seductive embrace of socialism isn't an 
exaggeration. Some of our friends across the aisle are actually 
critical of the equal opportunity, ``pulling yourself up by your 
bootstraps,'' hard-working economic system that has made our country 
the envy of the world. They say: You didn't create your success; the 
government did--what a bunch of hooey.
  Over the weekend, one Democratic Member of the House who was speaking 
at South by Southwest in Austin, my hometown, referred to capitalism as 
``irredeemable'' and tried to blame capitalism for every problem that 
exists in our society. I admit that we are not perfect, but capitalism 
isn't the cause of every problem that exists in our society. Of all 
places to complain about the perils of capitalism, there is more than a 
little irony in her having chosen Texas--the most successful, free-
enterprise economy in our Nation.
  Instead of talking about this socialist, Big Government approach that 
we all know will fail, let's look at how the Texas model has led my 
State to become an economic powerhouse and the envy of the Nation.
  We keep taxes low, government spending restrained, and regulations at 
a rational minimum to give people and the small businesses that provide 
jobs the freedom to pursue their dreams and to prosper. I must say that 
it is obvious that it is working. The unemployment rate in Texas is 4 
percent, which is among the lowest in the Nation. In Midland--in the 
Permian Basin, the heart of the energy boom in my State--unemployment 
is 2.1 percent. You are hard-pressed to find anybody to take the jobs 
that do exist because, essentially, everybody who is willing to work is 
fully employed. The biggest problem that job creators have is getting 
the workers they need. Yet there is a silver lining for the workers. 
This pushes wages higher as businesses compete for their labor.
  Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic 
Analysis released international trade data that showed Texas, for the 
17th year in a row, as the top State for exports. We make stuff, and we 
sell stuff. We grow things. We raise cattle and agricultural products, 
and we sell them. We are the top State for exports. In fact, our 
exports account for nearly 20 percent of the exports of the entire 
Nation. In 2018, that totaled more than $315 billion of exports--more 
than double that of California's, which is the second highest exporter. 
These earnings not only fuel the economy of our State, but they boost 
the entire Nation.
  Our export dominance is only part of the reason Texas is thriving. 
Together, with lower taxes and less burdensome regulation, businesses 
and dream seekers are drawn to our State, which creates opportunities 
for everyone who is willing to work. Instead of growing government and 
increasing the tax burden, we allow businesses--small, medium, and 
large--to invest in their workforces, in our communities, and in our 
way of life.
  In Texas, we believe that less government is more. We don't try to 
centralize power in the statehouse. We give businesses, entrepreneurs, 
and hard-working Texans of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and races the 
freedom by which they can create their own opportunities. We know that 
the more you tax, the more there are government controls and that the 
more you regulate, the greater the burden is on new ideas, investment, 
and opportunity.
  The socialist policies being espoused by some members of the 
Democratic Party are not going to make our businesses and our economy 
stronger or more competitive. Indeed, history has shown that these are 
failed policies that will stifle innovation, discourage hard work, and 
make us look more like that 1980s Soviet grocery store.
  Instead of our grocery stores being filled with a selection of 
beautiful produce, fresh meat, your favorite snack foods, they will be 
stocked with whatever the government says it wants you to have. Instead 
of making an appointment with your doctor when you are sick, you will 
wait for Lord knows how long to get an appointment with a government-
run clinic and have few, if any, options. Instead of forcing ourselves 
out of bed in the morning to go to work, people who are able but who 
don't want to work will stay in bed, knowing they can receive food and 
medical care that will be subsidized by your labor and your hard-earned 
tax dollars.
  That is what these old--but now, somehow, dressed up as something 
new--failed ideas that have been proposed by our Democratic colleagues 
would do. Forget government ``of the people, by the people, and for the 
people.'' They want a country by the government, for the government--
the people be damned.
  In his autobiography, Yeltsin wrote: ``When I saw those shelves 
crammed with hundreds, thousands of cans, cartons and goods of every 
possible sort, for the first time I felt quite frankly sick with 
despair for the Soviet people . . . that such a potentially super-rich 
country as ours has been brought to a state of such poverty.''
  I pray that our country never sees that day when it is brought to 
ruin because of these 21st century socialists.
  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.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                                 S. 659

  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss Senate bill, S. 
659, the Biologic Patent Transparency Act. This bill would help 
encourage competition in the prescription drug marketplace and begin to 
put an end to the harmful patent strategies that block new drugs from 
coming to market. I am pleased to be sponsoring this legislation with 
my friend and colleague

[[Page S1753]]

from Virginia, Senator Tim Kaine, as well as with Senators Portman, 
Shaheen, Braun, and Stabenow, all of whom have joined us as original 
  Prescription drugs are vital to the health and well-being of 
Americans, especially our Nation's seniors, 90 percent of whom take at 
least one prescription drug in any given month. Developing these 
medicines is a lengthy, expensive, and uncertain process. It often 
takes more than a decade and can cost billions of dollars to bring a 
new drug from the laboratory to the patient. Most drugs fail during the 
clinical trials. If we want new medicines to reach consumers who need 
them, the companies that invest in this research and development and 
take the risks necessary must see a fair return on their investment.
  To encourage such investments, Congress grants inventors limited 
periods of patent protection during which their products are legally 
shielded from competition. Rewarding these investments has proven to be 
beneficial to many Americans. The past century could be termed the 
``Age of Miracle Drugs,'' with discoveries such as insulin and 
penicillin, and treatments for cancer, heart disease, HIV, and other 
serious medical conditions. Today, however, we might well define a 
``miracle drug'' as one that has not doubled in price since the last 
  Although our country leads the world in prescription drug innovation, 
we also lead the world in drug spending. According to one estimate, 
U.S. spending on prescription drugs will reach between $580 billion and 
$610 billion by the year 2021. In 2017, Americans spent more than $330 
billion on retail prescription drugs, and nearly one-quarter of 
individuals surveyed reported difficulties paying for the cost of their 
prescription medications.
  How well I remember standing in the pharmacy line several months ago 
behind a couple who were informed by the pharmacist that their copay 
would be $111. The husband turned to his wife and said: ``Honey, we 
just can't afford that.'' They then turned around, left their 
prescription on the counter, and left the pharmacy. I asked the 
pharmacist how often that happens, and he told me, ``Every day.'' That 
is the kind of onerous burden too many Americans are facing, and it's 
causing them to forgo fulfilling a prescription, to stretch out doses, 
or simply to choose to buy the medicine and short themselves on food or 
be late in paying their rent or mortgage.
  Among the most expensive drugs on the market today are biologics. 
These are incredibly promising drugs for the health and well-being of 
many Americans. They have revolutionized treatment for many serious and 
life-threatening conditions, from diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis to 
cancer and multiple sclerosis.
  Today, fewer than 2 percent of Americans use biologics, yet biologics 
account for nearly 40 percent of total spending on prescription drugs. 
Last year, the Senate Aging Committee, which I chair and which the 
Presiding Officer is a member of, held a hearing to examine the price 
increases for one of these groundbreaking treatments. HUMIRA, the 
world's best-selling prescription drug, is a biologic that was first 
approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis by the Food and Drug 
Administration, the FDA, in 2002. In 2017, U.S. sales of this product 
generated an astonishing $12.3 billion in revenue for the drug's 
  Now, HUMIRA is truly a miracle drug for many patients. It is used to 
treat a variety of conditions, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis to 
Crohn's disease to ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis. So a wide 
range of diseases and conditions are responsive to HUMIRA. According to 
various reports, more than 200 patent applications have been filed for 
HUMIRA, with nearly 90 percent of those filed after HUMIRA was first 
approved by the FDA in 2002.
  According to the manufacturer's CEO, more than 130 patents are 
included in HUMIRA's patent portfolio today. Protections provided by 
these patents can block competition and extend the drug's market 
monopoly until the year 2034. Keep in mind that this is for a drug that 
was first approved in 2002. We're talking about extending the patents 
until 2034.
  HUMIRA has increased in price yet again this year, and although 
biosimilars have been approved by the FDA, patent litigation is blamed 
for keeping these lower cost alternatives from reaching the market. And 
HUMIRA is not the only biologic to be protected by such an extensive 
portfolio of patents--what we call a ``patent thicket.''

  Enabling the creation, approval, and marketing of competitive 
biological products must be among our top priorities when we consider 
ways to reduce the healthcare costs of Americans.
  The Biologic Patent Transparency Act is an important step Congress 
can take to shine light on the patent thickets that protect these 
biologics and to stop some of the gaming that has prevented consumers 
from accessing lower cost, FDA-approved products.
  So what will our bill do? It has three major components. First, our 
bill would require manufacturers to disclose to the FDA the web of 
patents that protect their approved biologics from competition by 
biosimilar manufacturers--a process that we already know works. It has 
worked remarkably well for the small molecule drugs that are governed 
by the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984. Although generics accounted for only 
13 percent of U.S. prescriptions immediately before the Hatch-Waxman 
Act was passed, today they make up 90 percent. These generics often 
cost 70 to 90 percent less than the branded product. They have 
significantly reduced costs and expanded access to necessary treatments 
for Americans. According to one estimate, generics have saved consumers 
more than $1.6 trillion in drug costs over the last decade.
  Second, our bill would tackle the patent strategies that are 
intentionally designed to block competition by limiting the 
enforceability of late-filed patents against biosimilar manufacturers 
that have already filed applications with the FDA.
  According to one estimate, over 70 of the patents covering HUMIRA 
were applied for and granted within three years prior to the expiration 
of the initial patents.
  So here's what is happening. A manufacturer of a wildly successful 
drug sees that its patents are about to expire and that a competitor--a 
biosimilar manufacturer--is on the way to getting approval by the FDA 
for its product. So what that original brand manufacturer does is make 
small alterations, frequently, in the product. It doesn't change the 
product in a dramatic way. It doesn't come up with a brand new 
medicine, but it changes it ever so slightly or decides to patent an 
aspect of it that was not previously patented. The whole purpose is to 
prevent that biosimilar manufacturer from bringing to market a more 
affordable product that consumers could access. That is just wrong. 
That is not what patents are intended for. And as I made clear earlier 
in my statement, I support a limited period of exclusivity for the 
innovator manufacturer. I think we should reward that investment in 
research and development and clinical trials, which is often very 
expensive. But it is not right for the patent system to be gamed this 
way, for it to be exploited and for last-minute patents to be filed for 
the sole purpose of precluding a competitor from coming to market with 
a less expensive, equivalent drug.
  Restricting the enforcement of these late-filed patents that are 
filed after the application by the biosimilar manufacturer has been 
filed with the FDA will still protect the important investments made by 
the manufacturers, while encouraging the biosimilar manufacturers to 
bring important innovations to consumers sooner and at a lower cost.
  Finally, the third part of our bill would require the FDA to 
regularly publish specific information related to approved biologic 
products, making it easier for prospective competitors to evaluate and 
plan for the development and introduction of biosimilars.
  In addition to the name and patent information for all approved 
biological products, our bill would require the FDA to publish 
information including the drug's marketing status, applicable reference 
products, periods of exclusivity, biosimilar or interchangeable 
products, and approved indications for usage. The FDA will be required 
to regularly update this information as well, so that it is readily 
available and up-to-date. So what this will do is allow

[[Page S1754]]

the biosimilar manufacturer to go to what is known as the ``Purple 
Book'' at the FDA, take a look at the drug it wishes to compete with, 
and learn what existing patents are there, how long they are going to 
be in effect, and plan accordingly.
  America's system of protecting innovation has provided our citizens 
with tremendous benefits, especially in the area of pharmaceuticals. Of 
that there can be no doubt. We must provide pharmaceutical 
manufacturers with the ability to recoup their investments, but at the 
same time, we cannot be blind to the costs of these drugs, nor to cases 
where patent laws are manipulated to preserve monopolies and prevent 
lower cost, equivalent drugs from coming to market. Passing the 
Biologic Patent Transparency Act is a major step we can take to put a 
stop to the patent-gaming that blocks consumers from accessing lower 
cost drugs. I encourage my colleagues to support this crucial 
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  Seeing no one seeking recognition, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Cloture Motion

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

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination 
     of Paul B. Matey, of New Jersey, to be United States Circuit 
     Judge for the Third Circuit.
         Mitch McConnell, David Perdue, Roy Blunt, John Cornyn, 
           Joni Ernst, Lindsey Graham, John Boozman, Mike Rounds, 
           Thom Tillis, Steve Daines, James E. Risch, John Hoeven, 
           Mike Crapo, Shelley Moore Capito, John Thune, Pat 
           Roberts, Jerry Moran.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
nomination of Paul B. Matey, of New Jersey, to be United States Circuit 
Judge for the Third Circuit, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from South Carolina (Mr. Graham), the Senator from Alaska (Ms. 
Murkowski), and the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Perdue).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Georgia (Mr. Perdue) 
would have voted ``yea.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from West Virginia (Mr. 
Manchin), the Senator from Washington (Mrs. Murray), and the Senator 
from Vermont (Mr. Sanders) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 50, nays 44, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 41 Ex.]


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--6

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 
  The motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from Georgia is recognized.
  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Tribute to Dick Williams

  Mr. ISAKSON. Mr. President, I will be very brief for the Senator from 
Delaware so I am not taking up too much time.
  I am here to do something very special. One of the great things we 
get to do is to pay tribute to people who do great things in our State. 
We don't brag about journalists as much as we should. They think we are 
saying bad things about them, but they are great. They make the country 
better. The fact that we have an accountable media makes us all great. 
There are superstars within the media who deserve acknowledgment, 
particularly when they retire from the job. In Georgia, that has been 
the case.
  Dick Williams, in Atlanta, GA, announced on Sunday that after 53 
years in print, television, and radio journalism, he is going to 
retire. Dick has covered me over many years. He has been known as a 
conservative columnist, but he has gone after me as many times as he 
has been for me. He plays it straight down the middle unless it has to 
do with basketball--and he loves basketball. He has been chosen to 
referee in the conference championship for the State's high schools and 
has been a great sportsman for Georgetown University, for which he 
recruits athletes. He himself went to Georgetown.
  Rebecca, his wife, was in the Georgia House as a reporter when I was 
in the Georgia House years ago. She is a talented house person who went 
on to ABC. She and Dick got married, and they have two children. They 
live in Brookhaven, GA, which is a new city that was created by the 
Georgia Legislature to allow independence for a lot of our cities that 
had been trapped inside the metro area.
  His wife has been a reporter of journalism, and Dick has been a 
reporter of journalism. Then Dick bought the Dunwoody Crier. The 
Dunwoody Crier is one of those weekly publications--neighborhood 
newspapers--that everybody loves because it has their kids' pictures in 
it, because you can get a story about your wedding in there, and 
because Dick also writes in there some poignant columns that one would 
never read anywhere else.
  When he wrote for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he wrote for a 
newspaper that was owned by Eugene Patterson, by Ralph McGill, and by 
many talented writers. He was in the same category of spokesman and 
writer as those two gentlemen, who were giants, with McGill's having 
won a Pulitzer Prize.
  Dick is one of the most favorite people I have ever known who 
reported on politics because he was always doing it for the right 
reasons. There are projects that have happened in our State today 
because Dick Williams took the power of the press not to trash 
something but to build up the facts that allowed it to pass. A lot of 
times, that doesn't happen, but when Dick saw a good deal, he would go 
for it, and when he saw a bad deal, he would go for it. Either way, you 
could take his word for it all the time because he was what is known in 
the profession as a straight shooter.
  Dick Williams is a very special individual to me and my family. He 
did 1,700 shows called ``The Georgia Gang.'' Every Sunday, at 8:30 in 
the morning, for 30 minutes, every politician in Georgia watches 
channel 5 in Atlanta because that is ``The Georgia Gang.'' If you make 
it by that, your week is going to be pretty good because they haven't 
skewered you for something stupid that you did, but if you don't make 
it by that, you are going to have a tough week.
  Dick Williams is the kind of journalist all of us love--accurate, 
articulate, smart, and caring about what he

[[Page S1755]]

does and the effect it may have. It is a real pleasure for me to stand 
on the floor of the U.S. Senate and say, Dick, thank you for the 1,700 
great 30-minute shows you have done in your past. Thank you for all of 
the straight calls you made on the basketball court. Thank you for 
marrying Rebecca, who is a wonderful woman. Thank you for welcoming 
Lori Geary as your replacement every Sunday morning at 8:30. I now 
know, when I get up on Sundays, I will be going to church not with Dick 
Williams but with Lori Geary.
  God bless you, Dick. Thanks for your contribution to Georgia.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.

                      Nomination of Paul B. Matey

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I rise today having just voted no on the 
motion invoking cloture on Paul Matey's nomination to the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Third Circuit.
  Now, I know speeches on procedure rarely make headlines, but I cannot 
be silent as the majority shreds long-held norms for political gain. 
Once again, the Republican majority has ignored the blue-slip process 
that allows Senators to either green light or prevent hearings on 
judicial nominees from their home States.
  Some Americans may wonder, why does this matter? Well, the blue-slip 
process gives the people a voice through their elected representatives 
on who ultimately renders justice in their State. Neither Senator 
Booker nor I have returned blue slips for Mr. Matey. In fact, Mr. 
Matey's confirmation hearing took place before Senator Booker--our 
State's voice on the Judiciary Committee--was even extended the common 
courtesy of meeting with Mr. Matey. It wasn't for lack of trying. 
Senator Booker requested time with Mr. Matey, but when he didn't 
receive it, the Judiciary Committee proceeded anyway.
  To add insult to injury, committee Republicans falsely claimed the 
White House had meaningfully consulted with myself and Senator Booker, 
the home State Senators, and that is simply not the case. There never 
was meaningful consultation between the White House and Senator Booker 
or me to identify a highly qualified consensus nominee--rather, we were 
informed about the decision to nominate Mr. Matey--nor did I receive 
any offer to meet with Mr. Matey, not before his nomination, not after 
his nomination, not even to date as we are voting on the Senate floor.
  Look, I have come to expect this behavior from the Trump White House, 
but in the Senate, Democrats always--always--respected the blue-slip 
process during our time in the majority. That is undeniable.
  Before President Trump took office, only five judges in the past 
century were confirmed with only one blue slip, much less no blue 
slips. Never has a Democratic-led Senate ever held a hearing or 
confirmed a judicial nominee without a blue slip from a Republican 
Senator. It is shameful.
  As long as the President keeps packing our courts with corporate-
friendly Federalist Society judges, the Republican majority is willing 
to destroy a process that Senator Orrin Hatch--former chairman of the 
Judiciary Committee--once called ``the last remaining check on the 
President's judicial appointment power.''
  President Trump's nominees are now being confirmed at record speed, 
despite objections from home State Senators.
  My Republican friends claim to be the party of conservatism. Yet 
there is nothing conservative about sweeping aside century-old norms 
for political gain. They have put their party before country and show 
no fidelity to the institutions that have made this country great.
  Aside from the degradation of Senate norms surrounding Mr. Matey's 
nomination, I have real concerns with his record. The people of New 
Jersey have no appetite for a judge who served in Gov. Chris Christie's 
administration and was once even called a protege of our esteemed 
former Governor.
  As deputy chief counsel for Governor Christie, Mr. Matey said he 
tried to ensure that that administration followed ``the highest 
standards of propriety, ethics, and legality.''
  Somehow I question that. Consider what the people of New Jersey had 
to go through during Governor Christie's tenure: the Bridgegate 
scandal, the defunding of a Rutgers institute that was run by a Federal 
nominee, the spiteful removal of a security detail from former Governor 
Codey, and the rampant mismanagement of Superstorm Sandy relief 
contracts, which forced too many families to live in trailers for years 
on end. That is quite a list--quite a list.
  I struggle to believe that Mr. Matey, the second most senior attorney 
in the Christie administration, had no knowledge of this behavior.
  During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Matey could not detail any of 
the steps he took to ensure ethics rules were followed and declined to 
offer any description of his supposed ``rigorous system'' of monitoring 
and oversight at his confirmation hearing.
  Apparently, Mr. Matey's system wasn't so rigorous, considering that 
Bridgegate--for those of my colleagues who may not know, although I 
think everybody knows, is when the operatives of the Christie 
administration closed access to the George Washington Bridge from the 
New Jersey side, which caused massive--massive--tieups on the New 
Jersey side, all to politically punish the mayor of the community where 
the George Washington Bridge leads from on the New Jersey side.
  Bridgegate amounted to one of the most egregious abuses of political 
power against everyday New Jersey families in our history. He was 
supposedly the guy who was making sure there was a rigorous system of 
monitoring and oversight. Well, I don't know how that happened.

  I also have concerns about Mr. Matey's career after working for 
Governor Christie.
  During his time as the senior vice president of University Hospital 
in Newark, a nationwide investigation gave the hospital an F--F, 
failure--for patient safety standards. Mr. Matey has acknowledged that 
while these issues were medical in nature, he did have some personal 
responsibility to mitigate risks to patients.
  Likewise, some of Mr. Matey's writings suggest a hostility toward 
plaintiff attorneys who help everyday Americans take on powerful 
corporate interests in class action lawsuits.
  In 2005, he authored an article with now-Supreme Court Justice Neil 
Gorsuch that lamented how the Supreme Court's ruling in Dura 
Pharmaceuticals was a missed opportunity to ``curb frivolous fraud 
claims'' and dismissed plaintiff attorneys as seeking ``free rides to 
fast riches.'' In other words, Paul Matey saw a very narrow question in 
the Dura Pharmaceuticals case as an opening for the Court to make a 
sweeping ruling on all securities class actions. Now, that is what you 
call an activist judge.
  Matey then goes on to decry the ``enormous toll on the economy'' 
securities fraud litigation takes on corporations but with little 
concern for the actual victims of security fraud.
  Most troubling to me is how Mr. Matey has done zero--I repeat, zero--
pro bono work throughout his legal career. His Senate Judiciary 
questionnaire lacks any record of pro bono representation. When he was 
asked about it, Mr. Matey claimed his work on behalf of the State of 
New Jersey satisfied the requirement. I couldn't disagree more. That is 
not pro bono work. You were paid for it.
  Cannon 2 of the American Bar Association's Code of Professional 
Responsibility explicitly emphasizes the importance of pro bono work. 
For many corporate lawyers, representing the underserved is the only 
way to witness firsthand how the scales of justice in this country are 
too often tipped in favor of the wealthy and well connected. Pro bono 
work helps lawyers cultivate sound judgment and is especially important 
to those seeking to become Federal judges.
  Mr. Matey has done nothing to serve the disadvantaged, and that does 
not bode well for the fair administration of justice, nor does the 
Republican majority's disregard for procedures like blue slips bode 
well for the Senate's constitutional role to provide advice and consent 
or our responsibility to help build a judiciary that is responsive to 
the needs of the American people in the courtroom.
  For all of these reasons, I urge my colleagues to oppose confirmation 
of Paul Matey to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. We are better than 

[[Page S1756]]

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from Delaware.

                            Central America

  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, last month, just hours after Congress 
passed bipartisan legislation to fully fund our Federal Government, I 
was privileged to join with Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and four 
Members of the House of Representatives, including our at-large 
Congresswoman from Delaware, Lisa Blunt Rochester, to lead a 
congressional delegation to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador--three 
countries that are oftentimes collectively referred to as the Northern 
  Our delegation was on a factfinding mission. We wanted to drill down 
on the root causes of illegal immigration from Central America and 
assess the effectiveness of a new approach in recent years to help 
improve conditions on the ground in those three countries.
  On our flight to Guatemala, several of us watched as President 
Trump--in order to build his long-promised wall--declared a national 
emergency, even though while illegal immigration spiked in the last 
couple of months across our southern border, if you go back to 2001 
through the end of 2018, it has actually dropped by, believe it or not, 
80 percent.
  As former chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
Committee, I understand the need for secure borders, and I have 
supported efforts to enhance border security over the last two decades 
that I have served in this body.
  I have been down to Central America any number of times with people 
like Gen. John Kelly, when he was the SOUTHCOM commander, with Jeh 
Johnson, with Ron Johnson, both of whom served as chairman of the 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and John McCain. 
We went into that part of the world and along our border with Mexico to 
better understand what our needs are for border security.
  Since 2003, the United States has spent, believe it or not, $263 
billion--that is almost one-quarter of a trillion dollars--on border 
  We have doubled the number of border agents. We have deployed 
hundreds of miles of barriers and roads in places where they are most 
effective. We have funded highly sophisticated surveillance aircraft, 
equipment on drones and airplanes, helicopters, mile-high dirigibles, 
along with motion detectors, high-speed boats, tunnel detectors, and a 
lot more.
  The approach on border security at our border with Mexico needs to be 
multilayered, and it is. There are some places barriers do make sense--
a lot of places, in fact. There are some places that actually walls--
the kind President Trump has envisioned, think San Diego and maybe 
Juarez--make sense, but there are a lot of other places where different 
kinds of barriers make sense. In some places, roads alongside of 
barriers make sense.
  We have deployed aircraft. We have deployed fixed-wing aircraft. We 
have deployed helicopters. We have deployed drones. If you just put 
them out there by themselves, they are not going to do much good, but 
if you put highly sophisticated equipment on each of those platforms, 
they give us the ability to see from our border into Mexico as far as 
20, 25 miles in all kinds of weather--people as small as children who 
are approaching our border--and then we know where to deploy our Border 
Patrol to meet them and intercept them.
  We can put the same kind of sophisticated surveillance equipment on 
dirigibles that go up 5,000 feet, 10,000 feet into the air. We can put 
them on towers that are mobile, towers that are stationary along the 
border as well.
  We can put people on horseback. We can put, believe it or not, some 
of our Border Patrol officers on horseback. The reason we do that is, 
in areas with high vegetation, the Border Patrol officer on a horse--a 
big horse--can see over the vegetation and pick up people trying to 
come across the border illegally.
  In some places, boats make sense, high-speed boats. In other places, 
boat ramps make sense. If you don't have boat ramps, you can't put the 
boat in, and you don't have much mobility.
  Those are some of the things we have done in terms of providing 
better border security.
  The encouraging news is, a lot of it has worked. A lot of it has 
worked, but we could build a wall from the Gulf of Mexico to the 
Pacific Ocean, and if that is all we do, people are still going to come 
to this country--not so much from Mexico. People used to come in huge 
numbers from Mexico.
  If you look back in the history of the last especially 15 years, most 
of the folks who were coming here illegally were coming from Mexico 
across our borders. Today, it is quite different. There are more 
Mexicans going back into Mexico than there are Mexicans coming into the 
United States. Most of the illegal immigration is not coming from 
Mexico. It is coming from Guatemala. It is coming from Honduras. It is 
coming from El Salvador.
  The trek from the Northern Triangle--these countries right here--up 
through Mexico to our border is over 1,000 miles, probably closer to 
1,500 miles, depending on how you want to get there.
  The spike in immigration we have seen in the last several months is 
mostly from Guatemala's mountainous highlands. They have a lot of 
indigenous people, and they don't have a very good lifestyle. They have 
a lot of malnourishment, a lot of stunted growth, and not a lot in 
terms of encouragement and economic opportunity. Let me tell you a 
quick story of the reason why these people are trying to get out of 
  In the southern part of our State, Sussex County is our biggest 
county. We raise enormous numbers of chickens there. For every person 
that live in Delaware, there are 300 chickens. I know the Presiding 
Officer has a lot of chickens in his State, too. We have a lot of folks 
who come up, including from Guatemala, and work in poultry processing 
plants. They are good workers. They work hard.
  We have a nonprofit in southern Delaware, in Georgetown, DE, called 
La Esperanza, which means ``hope.'' They work with indigenous 
populations, illegal and legal migrants, who have come to southern 
Delaware. A couple years ago, I was visiting La Esperanza, and they 
told me the story about a young boy and his younger sister who fled 
Guatemala. They came to the United States and, ultimately, to Delaware.
  This is why they came. The 15-year-old boy in Guatemala was 
approached by gangs in his community. They said: We want you to join 
our gang.
  He said: Let me talk to my parents first before I do that.
  He knew his parents wouldn't be too excited with that. He talked to 
his parents, who said: You are not going to join a gang. We don't want 
you to do that. Just tell them no.
  He avoided the gang members for a while, but they finally caught him 
and said: Are you going to join our gang?
  He said: I talked to my parents, and they don't want me to do that, 
so not now. I am not going to do it now.
  They said: We have a message for you and your parents. If you don't 
join our gang, somebody in your family is going to die.
  He went home and told his parents, and their message to him was: Join 
the gang. Just don't do anything stupid.
  So he joined the gang. They have to go through an initiation ritual, 
and as part of that ritual, he was called on to rape his 13-year-old 
sister. He reported what was expected of him to his parents, and within 
a week he and his sister were on their way out of that country.
  The gangs in these countries, especially in Guatemala, are 
entrepreneurial. They may be involved in trafficking people. They may 
be involved in trafficking drugs. They are really good at extortion--
extorting money from small businesses and going to a business and 
saying: I want you to pay me protection money. If you provide 
protection money, I will see that you are not harmed.
  The merchant says: Who are you protecting me from?
  You are actually being protected from the guy who is trying to extort 
money from you, and if you don't pay the money, they will kill you. It 
is just like that. As for the rate of extortion in these three 
countries from gangs who do multiple kinds of crimes, that is one of 
their favorites.
  The reason why people live lives of misery has a lot to do with us--
because we are addicted to drugs. The drugs are trafficked through 
these three countries, and we are complicit in their misery.

[[Page S1757]]

  A Catholic priest testified before the Homeland Security Committee a 
couple of years ago. He described a situation where our drug addiction 
makes life miserable in these three countries. Then, when they try to 
get out, we make it difficult to impossible to get into our country.
  The priest who was our witness that day said: It is a little bit like 
the fire department visiting a house down here. The fire department 
goes into the house. There is no fire. The fire department goes into 
the house, and they start a fire. When the people try to run out of the 
house, the fire department leaves the house, locks the door, and drives 
  That is really a pretty good example of what we have done in Central 
America. We have lit the fire. We have left the family in the house. We 
have locked the door and driven away. I think that is morally wrong, 
and we can do better than that.
  As it turns out, aside from spending $263 billion along the border 
for security in the last 18 years or so, someone has come up with a 
better idea. It is not a new idea. It is an idea based on something 
called Plan Colombia. Plan Colombia was developed 20 years ago, when in 
Bogota, the capital of Colombia, you had the FARC, the leftist 
guerillas trying to take down the government, and drug lords and drug 
gangs trying to take down the government of Colombia. One day, a bunch 
of gunmen rounded up the supreme court justices of Colombia, took them 
into a room, and shot them to death.
  Colombia was teetering, and there were questions: Are they going to 
be able to make it? Some very brave Colombian leaders stood up and 
said: We are not going to let this happen. We are not going to let 
these guys take down our country. Our President then, Bill Clinton, and 
a fellow who was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Joe 
Biden, found common cause with the leaders of Colombia. Basically, the 
Colombians developed a plan that would help to stabilize their 
government and enable them to restore order, rule of law, and economic 
prosperity, and we helped them. I will give one example of what we did.
  The Presiding Officer spent a lot of time in the military. One of the 
things we did is that we provided helicopters so that the military of 
Colombia and the police of Colombia had mobility. They could go over 
the mountainous rivers and country and track down the bad guys. That is 
what they did with our help.
  We helped them to figure out how to collect revenues. They didn't 
collect many revenues, and the wealthy people of that country didn't 
pay much taxes at all. We taught them how to do a better job in 
revenues and to use that to help to develop their government 
institutions. The people in Colombia did the heavy lifting. We helped. 
It is like they say in Home Depot: You can do it; we can help.

  The Presiding Officer has heard me say many times in the Environment 
and Public Works Committee: Find out what works, and do more of that.
  Plan Colombia worked. It took a long time. I am an old Navy guy. It 
reminds me of trying to change the course of an aircraft carrier. You 
stick with it, and you can make sure to change the course of an 
aircraft carrier. It doesn't happen fast. Plan Colombia has taken years 
to work, but it has worked.
  About 3 or 4 years ago, when we were starting to see a real surge--
again, not from Mexican immigration illegally into our country but from 
these three countries--President Obama called on Joe Biden to take off-
the-shelf Plan Colombia, and see if it might be possible to develop a 
Central American version of Plan Colombia. The idea would be to focus 
on three or four areas. We would provide some of the money, but these 
countries would provide a lot more because it is their country. It is 
not our country, but we are complicit in their misery. So we have an 
obligation to help them--a moral obligation.
  These are the three areas of focus of the Alliance for Prosperity--
the modern-day, Central American version of Plan Colombia. One is 
economic hope and economic opportunity. That is one. That is one of the 
major drivers of people getting out of there--lack of economic 
opportunity. Two is violence and the lack of rule of law. Three is just 
corruption. Corruption is endemic in their Federal government--the 
national government--in State and local governments, and in business. 
It is just endemic. Those are the three buckets that the Alliance for 
Prosperity was designed to address. We put up some of the money. The 
other countries put up a good deal more.
  One example is El Salvador. For every dollar we put up, they put up 
$7. We used that money in El Salvador to, among other things, target 
the cities with the most crime. We used some of our resources but a lot 
more of their resources. The crime in those 50 cities is down 
dramatically in the last couple of years.
  In Honduras the murder rate is down by about 35 percent. These three 
countries vie for murder capital of the world and have for some time. 
The murder rate in Honduras is down by 35 percent or 40 percent. The 
murder rates in Guatemala and El Salvador over the last 3 years are 
down by half. Would we still feel comfortable in those neighborhoods? 
Probably not, but it is better than what it was.
  In Honduras, one of the things they did is basically that they fired 
one-third of their police officers and replaced them with vetted units. 
With that in mind, they did a much better job on extortion. They did a 
much better job on kidnapping and actually bringing to trial and 
sentencing the folks who are committing the crimes.
  USAID is working down there in San Salvador, the capital of El 
Salvador, and in the capital of Guatemala, creating almost like tech 
centers where young entrepreneurs can start their own businesses. They 
get some help from us and some coaching from us, and they are starting 
to lead an economic recovery.
  These are beautiful countries--lush and with beautiful beaches in 
some places. So they are attractive for tourism. They have, for the 
most part, very fertile soil, and with the right kind of help, 
coaching, and mentoring, they can do a much better job feeding 
themselves and exporting a lot of what they raise.
  Things are starting to happen. Again, it is like that aircraft 
carrier I talked about. It is slow at first and, then, more perceptible 
as time goes by.
  In San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, we used Federal--
American--money in order to leverage the Howard G. Buffett Foundation 
to go--literally, in the middle of the city--into 17 acres of what used 
to be a beautiful park and was later riddled with crime, and to clean 
it up and make it beautiful again for the people of that city.
  One multinational company has come down into one of these countries 
and put millions of dollars into creating a DNA facility to help in 
solving crimes.
  Little by little, things are getting better. There are still problems 
in Guatemala and among the highlands indigenous people who are still 
trying to get out of there. Ninety percent of the immigration right now 
is out of that part of Guatemala.
  The last thing I will say is this. They just had an election in El 
Salvador 4 weeks ago. The current President is a 75-year-old guerilla 
leader who was a close friend of Venezuela's leader and was at Maduro's 
inauguration a month or so ago. He is friendly with the Chinese and 
friendly with the Cubans. He is leaving. He is stepping down as the 
President of that country in a couple of months.
  Who is going to succeed him? It is the 38-year-old mayor of San 
Salvador, who gets economic development. He is free of corruption. He 
is someone who has a good relationship with our embassy there, and he 
is highly regarded by our folks. He is an honest guy, full of energy. 
In his campaign, he was the first candidate for President in the 
history of the country who has gotten over 50 percent. It didn't have 
to go to a runoff. It is an amazing development. He harnessed social 
media to get elected.
  Meanwhile, there is going to be a Presidential election in Guatemala 
in June. Jimmy Morales is the President there. He is somebody whom Vice 
President Biden and I tried to mentor. Initially, it started out very 
promising. Then, more recently, there are real concerns about 
corruption involving his family. His time as President will expire 
about the middle of this year, but in Guatemala the three frontrunners 
to run for president are

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all women. The person who is believed to be the frontrunner of them all 
is a woman named Thelma Aldana, who is the immediate past Attorney 
General. She is tough on crime and tough on corruption. She has been in 
this country some this month and had the opportunity to talk with Vice 
President Biden to get some encouragement from him.
  Joe Biden is beloved in Delaware and in some other places around the 
country, but they really love him there because he has been interested 
in root causes--not just in treating the symptoms of the problems and 
challenges on the border but actually helping to address the root 
  The fellow who has just been elected President of El Salvador is a 
38-year-old millennial. His social media people have now started to 
help the former Attorney General who is running for President of 
  As the Presiding Officer and my colleagues know, the most important 
ingredient in the success of any organization I have ever seen is 
leadership. It is leadership.
  We are seeing a changing of the guard not only in terms of age but 
also in terms of just where they come from, on a scale of 1 to 100.
  The last thing I want to mention--if I could find my spot here in my 
notes--is that none of this is easy, but it basically says that we have 
a moral obligation to the folks down here. We make their lives 
miserable because of our drug addiction, and we ought to help them. 
They have to do most of the work, but we have to help them. We can't 
just help them for a couple of weeks or a couple of months or a couple 
of years, as we found out in Colombia; we have to stick with this a 
good deal longer to help change the culture of these countries.
  I am encouraged to say that change is happening, and we should keep 
it going. There is a sense of optimism that is beginning to emerge in 
these countries. I think there are some reasons to be encouraged that a 
plan modeled after Plan Colombia and tailored especially for this part 
of the world can actually succeed. If we don't give up and especially 
if they don't give up, it very well will.
  P.S. The cost of actually capturing somebody on our border who is 
starting to come in illegally, detaining them, putting them in a 
holding camp or a detention center, feeding them, providing healthcare, 
and eventually deporting them and sending them back down to wherever 
they came from, I am told is $27,000 a person--$27,000 a person.
  These people love their countries, and given a chance, they would 
much rather stay down there. They would much rather stay down there. 
They might like to come up to visit and maybe do some work sometime and 
go back home. But they want to have a decent life. Frankly, if we will 
help them realize that, they will stay down there. They may come up as 
tourists, and maybe we can go down there as tourists. We heard that 
over and over.
  The last thing we heard down there is that they love America. They 
love America. They are mindful of what we are trying to do to help 
them. They are grateful for the help we are providing. I know a bunch 
of them. I met a lot of them down there. Some of them live in my State. 
For the most part, they are good and decent people. They deserve our 
help. I am proud of the support this Congress has provided for the last 
4 years for their lives and prosperity. My hope is that we will 
continue to do that and continue to use that money to leverage a lot of 
good work not only for those countries but for nonprofits, NGOs, 
foundations, and private companies, and that together we will get the 
job done. I am encouraged.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I really want to say to my friend, Senator Jeff Merkley, who went 
down to this part of the world any number of times as a young man and 
went back again last month still as a young man, that he has provided a 
lot of great insight. It has been a joy going with him and now working 
with him on this as we go forward.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). The Senator from Arkansas.

                    The American Legion's Centennial

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, the American Legion, the Nation's largest 
wartime veterans service organization, is celebrating its centennial 
this year. I rise today to recognize this milestone.
  For the past 100 years, the American Legion has been a leading 
advocate for veterans and their families. The Legion has played a role 
in crafting legislation, shaping policies, expanding services, and 
creating generations of civic-minded Americans.
  Founded in Paris following World War I, the American Legion was 
officially chartered by Congress on September 16, 1919. Since its 
founding, Legionnaires have proudly worked to strengthen our country 
and our communities, while upholding the promise our country made to 
those who have worn our Nation's uniform.
  The list of achievements that the Legion has helped fight for is long 
and includes the creation of the U.S. Veterans' Bureau in 1924, the 
forerunner of the Veterans' Administration. Decades later, the Legion 
was active in elevating to Cabinet-level status the U.S. Department of 
Veterans Affairs.
  Following the American Legion's lead, Congress adopted a flag code to 
formally lay out the protocol for carrying and displaying our Nation's 
banner. The Legion continues to actively support the constitutional 
amendment to protect the American flag from desecration.
  During World War II, the American Legion drafted legislation that 
would become the GI bill. Legionnaires were instrumental in securing 
passage of this landmark legislation that helped returning troops 
further their education, buy houses, and start businesses. It also 
established hiring privileges for veterans.
  The Legion continues its strong advocacy for improving these and 
other benefits. Its efforts were vital in the passage of the Post-9/11 
GI bill and the enhancement measure passed in 2017, which bears the 
name of a former American Legion commander, the Harry W. Colmery 
Veterans Educational Assistance Act.
  After a century of service, Legionnaires remain just as committed to 
advocating on behalf of our veterans today.
  Last month, I met with members of the American Legion Department of 
Arkansas who were visiting the Nation's Capital to voice their support 
for the organization's 2019 priorities. This includes supporting the 
VA's efforts to reduce veteran suicides, improving healthcare for women 
veterans, fighting veteran homelessness, ensuring GI bill benefits, and 
ensuring benefits to veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange. I am 
optimistic about the progress we will make on these important issues 
because of the excellent and active work of the American Legion 
Department of Arkansas, which has more than 10,000 members in nearly 
150 posts throughout the State.
  The Arkansas Department of the American Legion was incorporated on 
May 12, 1919. National headquarters records show it was the first 
incorporation of the organization in the United States. There is a 
proud history of involvement in all corners of the State, ranging from 
the annual fallen heroes ceremony to the Law Enforcement Officer of the 
Year program.
  I have had the privilege of participating in Legion events around the 
State, including honoring the Arkansans who paid the ultimate 
sacrifice, celebrating the milestones of the posts, and recognizing 
young Arkansans who have been distinguished by Legionnaires. The Legion 
rightfully prides itself as being actively involved in the community 
and teaching Arkansas youth how to be good citizens. Through a variety 
of programs and activities--Boys and Girls State Programs, support of 
the Boy Scouts of America, and the American Legion Baseball Program, to 
name a few--it encourages fostering a dedication to civic 
responsibility, promoting American values, and serving others.
  For 100 years, the American Legion has worked tirelessly to improve 
the lives of veterans and their families. In honor of their centennial, 
Congress approved minting a coin to recognize its milestone. I was a 
proud cosponsor of the bill and support its passage to commemorate the 
legacy of the American Legion and the thousands of men and women who 
have supported its mission and upheld the four pillars of its founding: 
veterans affairs and rehabilitation,

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national security, Americanism, and children and youth.
  As a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, I have seen up 
close Legionnaires' and the American Legion Auxiliary's dedication and 
the results their efforts have produced in Arkansas and across our 
entire country. I am proud to recognize the American Legion on its 100 
years of advocacy and celebrate this century of service with the 2 
million members who are making a difference each day as Legionnaires.