(Senate - January 17, 2019)

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[Pages S294-S295]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


      By Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Ms. Harris, Mr. Leahy, Mr. 
        Bennet, Ms. Hirono, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Booker, Mrs. 
        Gillibrand, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Udall, and Mr. 
  S. 175. A bill to improve agricultural job opportunities, benefits, 
and security for aliens in the United States, and for other purposes; 
to the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to reintroduce 
legislation that would shield farmworkers from deportation and put them 
on a path to earned legal status and eventual citizenship.
  By protecting farmworkers from deportation, this bill would achieve 
two goals: ensuring that hardworking immigrants don't live in fear and 
that California's agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to 
  Under the Agricultural Worker Program Act, farmworkers who have 
worked in agriculture for at least 100 days in each of the past 2 years 
may earn lawful ``blue card'' status. Farmworkers who maintain blue 
card status for the next 3 or 5 years, depending on the total hours 
worked in agriculture, would be eligible to adjust to a green card or 
legal permanent residency. This would provide them with a path to 
  Everywhere I travel in California, I hear from farmers, growers and 
producers from all industries--wine, citrus, fruit and tree nuts, 
dairy--that there aren't enough workers. Farm labor is performed almost 
exclusively by immigrants--fact that should surprise no one. In fact, 
over 90 percent of California's crop workers are immigrants, and half 
are unauthorized.
  Despite their significant contributions to California's economy and 
communities, farmworkers are now a priority for deportation under this 
administration's shameful policies. We simply must protect the families 
who help put food on our tables. By providing a path to citizenship for 
these workers and their families, the Agricultural Worker Program Act 
will preserve our agricultural system. This bill will also protect 
vulnerable workers who should not have to live in fear of becoming easy 
enforcement targets.
  It is time to get started on solutions for agricultural communities 
across the country. Law-abiding workers should not have to fear 
deportation, but should have a path to citizenship that recognizes 
their enormous contribution to American prosperity and society. 
Employers should not have to fear that their labor force will be unable 
to return to work as a result of deportation. The Agricultural Worker 
Program Act provides the security and stability for our farmworkers 
that is necessary to keep the industry strong.
  I would like to thank Representative Lofgren in the House for working 
with me to introduce this legislation today in both chambers. I invite 
my colleagues in the Senate to join me in cosponsoring the bill and 
preventing the deportation of those who work so hard to put food on our 

[[Page S295]]


      By Mr. KAINE (for himself, Mr. Gardner, Mr. Reed, Mr. Graham, Mr. 
        Blumenthal, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Coons, Ms. Collins, and Mr. Durbin):
  S.J. Res. 4. A joint resolution requiring the advice and consent of 
the Senate or an Act of Congress to suspend, terminate, or withdraw the 
United States from the North Atlantic Treaty and authorizing related 
litigation, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Foreign 
  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President. I regret it is necessary to re-introduce 
legislation that prevents a President from withdrawing the United 
States from NATO. Recent reports confirm that President Trump has 
repeatedly proposed doing so over the past year. In addition to concern 
over U.S. national security, this threat to withdraw also raises 
important constitutional issues. What is the role of Congress in 
treaties--not just entering into them, but also leaving them? 
Particularly with a treaty obligation that is as central to U.S. 
security as NATO--as repeatedly affirmed by Congress--no president 
should or can be allowed to unilaterally withdraw without the advice 
and consent of the Senate.
  Our allies with whom we have fought alongside since World War II and 
earlier in some cases, are questioning our allegiance for the first 
time in the history of the modern international order. President Trump 
has called our European allies ``foes'' while aligning himself with a 
brutal authoritarian, Vladimir Putin, over the professional assessment 
of the U.S. intelligence community. Last year, at the NATO summit in 
Brussels, the President insulted our allies and threatened to leave the 
alliance if defense spending was not ramped up. The President has also 
questioned the U.S. commitment to NATO's mutual defense provision and 
we still do not know what he discussed with President Putin at their 
meeting in Helsinki. As such, we are forced to ask what options we have 
to preserve U.S. membership in the primary tool of peace and stability 
for the last 70 years, NATO.
  In response to the only invocation of Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, 
more than 1,100 servicemembers from our NATO allies have given their 
lives fighting alongside the United States. This is a sacrifice that 
should not be cast aside by our President who continues to depict the 
alliance as a protection racket and ``obsolete.'' While we must 
continue to press every country to increase defense spending to meet 
the agreed-upon goal of 2 percent of GDP by 2024, the President should 
not disparage our allies and threaten NATO withdrawal. Unfortunately, 
without action from Congress, he might just do so. For this reason, we 
must firmly state opposition, use our constitutional powers of advice 
and consent and of the purse to block any withdrawal and preemptively 
authorize legal proceedings to challenge any decision to terminate U.S. 
  The legislation I am introducing today along with Senators Gardner, 
Reed, Graham, Coons, Rubio, Blumenthal, and Collins, is a bipartisan 
message to the President and the necessary tool needed to block this 
President, or any President, from unilaterally terminating the NATO 
treaty. It is the position of the Senate, supported by this Resolution, 
and previous resolutions, including the original vote of 82-13 in 1949 
to give the Senate's advice and consent to join NATO, that the United 
States through its elected officials is unequivocally opposed to the 
U.S. withdrawing from NATO.
  I am proud to have bipartisan support for this bill to ensure that 
the safety of the American people is prioritized through our continued 
membership in NATO. Lastly, supporting this bill would fittingly honor 
the late Senator John McCain, one of the fiercest advocates for NATO, 
who co-sponsored this bill last year--one of the last bills he co-
sponsored. I strongly encourage my colleagues in both the Senate and 
the House of Representative to support this legislation.