EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 180
(Senate - November 12, 2019)

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[Pages S6491-S6503]
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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 Chad F. Wolf, of 
Virginia, to be Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans, 
Department of Homeland Security. (New Position)
  Mr. McCONNELL. 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. SCHUMER. Madam 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for the quorum call be rescinded.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.


                              Immigration

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, today, the Supreme Court heard oral 
arguments in the case against the President's decision to cancel DACA, 
the program that grants legal status to over 600,000 Dreamers who were 
brought to this country through no fault of their own, who voluntarily 
came forward and registered with the government in exchange for 
protected status, who work in our factories and our hospitals, who 
teach and learn in our schools and serve in our military. Before the 
highest Court in the land, President Trump and his administration 
cruelly argued that these Dreamers do not belong in America and must be 
ripped away from their families and sent back to countries that many of 
them do not even remember.
  The President once tweeted: ``Does anybody really want to throw out 
good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some 
serving in the military? Really!'' Now the same President is saying 
some Dreamers are ``very tough, hardened criminals,'' and his 
administration has argued they should be deported. Donald Trump's 
hypocrisy when it comes to Dreamers knows no bounds. After flip-
flopping again and again on the issue and after failing to lead an 
effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform, it is abjectly 
shameful that President Trump is trying to get the Supreme Court to do 
his dirty work and put the Dreamers under threat of mass deportation.
  When the DACA Program was established in 2012, under a long tradition 
of administrative discretion, it changed the lives of thousands and 
thousands of Dreamers for the better, and it made our country better. 
Yet, because of President Trump and his relentless scapegoating of 
immigrants--his cynical use of trying to tell too many of the American 
people that the Dreamers are the reason they are not doing well, which 
is despicable--these hard-working and patriotic Americans are haunted 
by the possibility they could be forced to leave this country at any 
moment--be pulled away from their families, their jobs, their homes. It 
is cruel. It is counterproductive. It undermines American values and 
all that America stands for.
  Thankfully, one of the first things the House Democrats did when they 
won the majority was to pass a permanent legislative solution for DACA 
recipients and TPS holders. It is legislation I wholeheartedly support. 
Now it is up to the Supreme Court to defend the program. It is up to 
Majority Leader McConnell to bring the Dream and Promise Act to the 
Senate floor.
  My good friend Senator Durbin, who has been a champion for Dreamers 
for as long as I can remember, will ask for the Senate's consent this 
evening to take up these bills. I thank him for his moral and continued 
strong leadership on this issue. I could not agree more with what he is 
trying to do. It is time to do the right thing for Dreamers and 
enshrine DACA into law.
  We will see how my Republican friends respond. After all, the House 
has done its job. Where are the Senate Republicans who claim to stand 
with the Dreamers? We will see this evening.
  From my home in Brooklyn, I can see the great lady in the harbor who 
welcomed my ancestors many years ago. If America is to remain the 
greatest Nation in the world and a beacon of hope and freedom for 
people everywhere--a light among nations--we must live up to our best 
values. That means we must stand totally and wholeheartedly with the 
Dreamers and all 11 million who now live in the shadows.


                              Nominations

  Madam President, on nominations, we are here at the beginning of 
another week in the Senate. As is the norm under Leader McConnell, we 
will not be debating legislation like the Dream Act in order to improve 
the lives of average Americans. Instead, we will vote on another slate 
of controversial Trump administration nominees.
  First up is the nomination of Chad Wolf to serve as an Under 
Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Wolf has had 
leadership roles within the DHS through much of Trump's Presidency and 
has troubling ties to President Trump's disastrous family separation 
policy, the Muslim ban, and the national emergency declaration at the 
southern border. Despite testifying that he was not involved in the 
family separation policy, Mr. Wolf reportedly suggested the policy in a 
memo he sent to then-Attorney General Sessions. He is ashamed to admit 
it. He knows it was wrong, but he did it anyway. This man does not 
deserve to be an Under Secretary at DHS.
  The circumstances of Mr. Wolf's nomination are also very strange. 
Wolf is not only already serving as an Under Secretary in an acting 
capacity, but President Trump has named him as the incoming Secretary 
of DHS in an acting capacity. President Trump never bothered to 
nominate a replacement for departing DHS Secretary McAleenan, who left 
yesterday. Yet the Senate is being asked to confirm someone to a job he 
is not even going to perform. Indeed, if Mr. Wolf is confirmed, we may 
never vote on who will be the actual Secretary of DHS, which is a major 
Cabinet-level department.
  This is completely unacceptable. The administration is having trouble 
finding people to fill these jobs. They know the cruelty they will be 
asked to enforce, and they know that Donald Trump will treat them 
poorly. So he can't find anybody to take these positions. Hence, we 
have this awkward game of musical chairs. Rather than working with 
Congress to find a DHS Secretary whom we could support, the Trump 
administration is trying a legal end-around that subverts our 
constitutional duty to advise and consent.
  Regardless of your ideology or views on immigration, my fellow 
Senators should oppose Wolf's nomination on constitutional grounds.
  After the Senate considers Mr. Wolf, we will consider the nomination 
of Steven Menashi to serve on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
  I have rarely met a nominee as low as Mr. Menashi. He has a troubling 
record on race, women's equality, LGBTQ rights, and the rights of 
immigrants. His conduct before the Committee on the Judiciary was 
insulting, and recent reports describe how, during his tenure while 
working at the Department of Education, he played a leading role in 
designing an illegal effort to deny debt relief to thousands of 
students who had been swindled by for-profit colleges. That is right. 
The Senate is going to be asked to confirm someone, Mr. Menashi, to be 
a judge who designed an illegal scheme to deny debt relief so as to 
defraud students. The man has no principles. The man has no conscience. 
The man has no morals. He should not be on the bench.


                              Agent Orange

  Madam President, finally, about our veterans and Agent Orange, 
yesterday, our Nation observed Veterans Day. It was a chance for all of 
us to say thank you to the millions of brave Americans who have served 
our country. It was a day not only to celebrate their achievements and 
express a deep and abiding gratitude for their service but also to 
recognize that for many veterans, sacrifices have come as a result of 
military service and that those sacrifices are not yet over. I want to 
shed light on one particular issue today.
  There are now hundreds of thousands of veterans who suffer from 
diseases that have been linked to Agent Orange, which is a chemical 
that was used by our military during the Vietnam war. One's exposure to 
Agent Orange can lead to a host of complications--diabetes, leukemia, 
and more. The VA has

[[Page S6492]]

long provided benefits to veterans who suffer from these conditions. It 
has provided healthcare and compensation so as to help to defer the 
hardships veterans have faced from the wounds from which they still 
suffer after having been on the battlefield.
  In response to more recent studies, in 2017, VA Secretary Shulkin 
decided to add bladder cancer, hypertension, Parkinson's-like symptoms, 
and hypothyroidism to the list of Agent Orange-related conditions that 
are eligible for benefits, which would have improved the lives of 
83,000 vets. Shockingly, once again, within this cruel administration--
it doesn't even care about our veterans--it was reported that OMB 
Director and White House Chief of Staff Mulvaney has decided to block 
benefits for these new conditions because he is worried about the cost. 
It is disgraceful.
  Let me repeat.
  Despite the recommendation of President Trump's VA Secretary and the 
recommendation of the National Academy of Medicine, Mulvaney has 
decided to block health benefits to sick veterans. Many of these 
veterans are retired, and many don't have a steady income. These 
benefits could make the difference between life and death, but Mick 
Mulvaney--the same Mick Mulvaney who thought $1.5 trillion was an 
acceptable cost to give billionaires and corporations in a giant tax 
cut, which created a huge deficit--now believes that the cost of 
helping 83,000 sick veterans is just too high.
  This is incomprehensibly cruel. When are the American people going to 
wake up and see what the Trump administration is doing? He gives tax 
breaks to billionaires but no benefits to veterans who are suffering 
from the result of Agent Orange exposure?
  My home State of New York has 240,000 veterans from the Vietnam era. 
Many of them were exposed to Agent Orange without realizing it. Just 
yesterday, the Buffalo News profiled the life of Vietnam veteran Dick 
Gabel, who was drafted into the Army at age 19. In his approximately 2 
years of service, he was shot in the leg. He recovered and was sent 
back to the war. He lost many of his closest friends along the way. 
After he came home, for decades, Dick worked with kids in his hometown 
to make Veterans Day an annual highlight, and he brought together 
hundreds of veterans to volunteer at local schools. Just last year, he 
was diagnosed with leukemia, possibly because of his exposure to Agent 
Orange.
  There are likely thousands of veterans in New York who are like 
Dick--fighting illnesses that are directly linked to Agent Orange and 
their military service in Vietnam. Yet, because they got the wrong 
disease, the Trump administration is blocking their health benefits.
  So today--a day after millions of Americans, myself included, marched 
in the parades across our country to honor our vets--I demand that 
Chief of Staff Mulvaney reverse this cruel and unfair decision 
immediately.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.


                            Turkey and Syria

  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I start by thanking the Democratic 
leader for his leadership in raising those important issues before the 
Senate this afternoon.
  I bring another issue before the Senate, that being my strong 
opposition to President Trump's shameful decision to invite Turkish 
President Erdogan to the White House tomorrow. It is a decision that 
has alarmed our allies and comforted our adversaries. It is a decision 
that undermines our values and our national security interests, and it 
is a decision that sends a terrible message to the world about how to 
get invited to President Trump's White House.
  In just the last 5 weeks, Turkish President Erdogan has taken the 
following actions: No. 1, he has launched an attack on a key ally of 
ours--in fact, the key ally--in our fight against ISIS terrorists, that 
being the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Syrian Kurds. No. 2, 
President Erdogan and his forces have killed over 200 in these attacks, 
displaced over 300,000, and enabled the release of over 100 ISIS 
prisoners. No. 3, Erdogan is using jihadi proxies that include a lot of 
al-Qaida elements, and they are committing gross human rights abuses, 
including what the Trump administration has acknowledged as being war 
crimes. There are also reports that the Turkish-backed proxy forces are 
using the chemical agent white phosphorus. No. 4, Erdogan and his 
forces have violated the so-called safe zone agreement that was reached 
by Vice President Pence in Ankara a few weeks ago. After President 
Erdogan entered into that agreement with Vice President Pence, which 
has been violated, he turned around and decided to cut a separate deal 
with Putin and Russia, thereby giving Russia even more leverage than it 
already had in Syria.
  In addition, Erdogan boasted that he organized a hit squad to 
assassinate the top commander of our Syrian Kurdish allies, General 
Mazloum. President Erdogan did that even after President Trump 
acknowledged that our Syrian Kurdish allies had given us important 
information that had helped us to kill ISIS leader Baghdadi. In fact, 
Erdogan has compared the military leader of our Syrian Kurdish allies--
those who bore the brunt of the fight against ISIS--with the ISIS 
leader whom we just killed, Baghdadi. President Erdogan did all of that 
in just the last 5 weeks.
  What did President Trump do?
  Instead of calling upon the House and the Senate to pass the economic 
sanctions bill that had been introduced, he rewarded Erdogan for all of 
those actions with a coveted White House meeting.
  That is not the way we should be treating somebody who has just spent 
the last 5 weeks thumbing his nose at the United States, undermining 
our interests, endangering our allies, strengthening Russia, Assad, and 
Iran, and increasing threats to our ally Israel.
  It sends a terrible message to the world: Go ahead and undermine the 
national security interests of the United States, and the President of 
the United States will invite you over for dinner.
  I have teamed up with Senator Graham and others on a bipartisan 
basis, and I want to thank the Presiding Officer for her support on 
that sanctions legislation to hold Turkey accountable.
  Here is what Senator Graham said about President Erdogan just 3 weeks 
ago: ``If you want to get Erdogan's attention, you have to treat him 
like the thug he is.'' That is Senator Graham speaking. Yet Erdogan, 
time and again over the last 5 weeks and before, has essentially spit 
in the eye of the United States, and now he is coming to Washington for 
a White House meeting. This is very difficult to explain. I am not sure 
any of us has the answer as to why President Trump is doing this.
  The Washington Post had an article on October 17 headlined ``In 
Turkey's President, Trump seems to have found a soul mate.'' If you 
read through the article, you can see that President Trump does seem to 
have an affinity for President Erdogan of Turkey, and clearly President 
Erdogan likes to get on the phone with President Trump because whenever 
he does, President Erdogan seems to get his way.
  Now he will come for a face-to-face meeting, and I am sure President 
Erdogan expects to get his way again. Why would he think that? Well, 
because the last time they talked, President Erdogan clearly took away 
from the conversation that it was just fine with President Trump if 
Turkey attacked our Syrian Kurdish allies. President Erdogan clearly 
believed he had the green light. In fact, after they hung up from that 
phone call, President Erdogan sent his forces and used proxy forces to 
attack our Syrian Kurdish allies, and President Trump tweeted that we 
were withdrawing some of our Special Forces from the area--Special 
Forces that had helped deter Turkish aggression against our Syrian 
Kurdish allies.
  It is very rare for retired senior military leaders in the United 
States to criticize a sitting Commander in Chief, but the betrayal of 
our Syrian Kurdish allies and the terrible message that sent around the 
world about the unreliability of the United States compelled many of 
those former leaders to warn about the consequences. I think it is 
important for the Senate to hear some comments from people who are 
respected for what they have done for our country.
  ADM William McRaven, former commander of the U.S. Special Operations 
Command, who worked with our Syrian

[[Page S6493]]

Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, said: ``He's''--referring to 
President Trump--``obviously left our allies the Kurds on the 
battlefield. . . . We feel like we've betrayed them. He's undermined 
our NATO allies . . . the international community has lost faith in 
America.'' That is from Admiral McRaven.
  GEN Joseph Votel, former commander of U.S. Central Command and also 
somebody who has personal experience working alongside our Syrian 
Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS, said: ``This policy 
abandonment threatens to undo five years' worth of fighting against 
ISIS and will severely damage American credibility and reliability in 
any future fights where we need strong allies.''
  General Petraeus, former commander of U.S. Central Command and former 
commander of NATO's mission in Afghanistan and in Iraq, said: ``Well, I 
think we have abandoned our Syrian Kurdish partners. They took over 
10,000 losses as the defeat of the Islamic State was carried out.''
  Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of Defense under President Trump 
and former commander of U.S. Central Command, said: ``In this case, if 
we don't keep the pressure on, then ISIS will resurge.''
  Secretary Mattis made it clear that by abandoning our Syrian Kurdish 
allies, we gave more oxygen to ISIS. In fact, we learned over the 
weekend that ISIS was claiming responsibility for the murder of an 
Armenian Catholic priest and his son. Their funeral services are today.
  Another former high-level U.S. military commander who has spoken is 
ADM James Stavridis. He is the former commander of U.S. European 
Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. Here is what he 
had to say: ``This is heart-rending for anybody who has shed blood, who 
has deployed forward. . . . I'm getting so many inputs from all around 
the military . . . they know how this hurts at a very personal level. . 
. . It's not only the betrayal of the Kurds, it is the way it is going 
to allow those embers on the floor of the forest fire that we thought 
were out to kind of re-flash.'' He is saying, in other words, giving 
more oxygen to the ISIS embers that we were working toward 
extinguishing.
  Gen. John Allen, former commander of NATO International Security 
Assistance Force and U.S. Forces--Afghanistan, was even blunter: 
``There is blood on Trump's hands for abandoning our Kurdish allies.''
  Those are from former top U.S. military leaders, patriots who fought 
with our Syrian Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.
  There is also a statement from Brett McGurk. So who is Brett McGurk? 
Brett McGurk was the Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to 
Counter ISIS. He had that position under the previous President and for 
President Trump for a time. Here is what Brett McGurk had to say: 
``I've worked for three presidents and participated in a number of 
foreign leader calls. I cannot recall a President that seems to 
believe--and then parrots--whatever a foreign leader tells him on the 
phone. Such information is often false, intended to influence more than 
inform.'' Yet what we saw was that when President Trump hung up on that 
phone call with President Erdogan, he essentially green-lighted that 
operation. That is why President Erdogan likes to get President Trump 
on the phone directly or talk to him directly, which he is going to get 
a chance to do tomorrow.
  Probably the most damning of all the comments I have heard--and this 
was not unique, but it was unique in the way it was characterized--came 
from the mother of a cadet at the Naval Academy. What was interesting 
is that she has been a loyal supporter of President Trump. She 
supported him, she voted for him, and she stuck with him, but after the 
betrayal of our Syrian Kurdish allies, she said that she no longer 
could trust him and that she worried that her son at the Naval Academy 
would essentially be left to the whims of a Commander in Chief whom she 
could no longer trust. That was all before President Trump invited 
President Erdogan to the White House.

  What we should be doing is passing tough economic sanctions. What we 
should be doing is holding Turkey and President Erdogan accountable for 
undermining our security and helping to give new oxygen to ISIS. That 
is why the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan sanctions bill 
by a whopping veto-proof vote of 403 to 16. That is why Senator Graham 
and I have introduced bipartisan sanctions legislation in the U.S. 
Senate, which has more than 14 bipartisan cosponsors and growing. I do 
want to thank the Presiding Officer for her efforts to hold President 
Erdogan accountable with this legislation. There is also other 
legislation introduced by Senator Menendez and Senator Risch.
  Here is what I know: The most important thing is that this body, the 
Senate, should act right now. We have the House bill sitting at the 
desk. We have the bill introduced by Senator Graham and me sitting at 
the desk. Right now we should just pass those sanctions bills and send 
a message to President Erdogan that while he may be going to the White 
House tomorrow, he does not have support in the Congress.
  I have talked about Erdogan's actions for the last 5 weeks. I would 
like to take us back 5 years from the period we are in right now. In 
the fall of that year, mid-September 2014, ISIS terrorist forces were 
encircling the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. Kobani is a town on the 
Syrian side of the Turkey-Syria border. ISIS was laying siege to that 
town. They had already taken a lot of the surrounding villages, and 
they were closing in on this last Syrian Kurdish stronghold.
  The Syrian Kurds were totally outnumbered by ISIS, and the Syrian 
Kurds asked the United States for help. It took us a little longer than 
it should have--took us weeks, not days--but we agreed to help supply 
our Syrian Kurdish allies with weapons and equipment in the fight 
against ISIS.
  We asked Turkey if they would help us supply weapons to the Syrian 
Kurds because Kobani is right there on the Syria-Turkey border. Turkey 
refused. President Erdogan said no. So the United States, at greater 
risk to our own forces, had to airdrop weapons and supplies into Iraq 
from U.S. aircraft, and with that help, our Syrian Kurdish forces were 
able to stop ISIS from taking over Kobani and began to push them out 
and, again with our help, primarily from the air, pushed them out. In 
that fight over the last 5 years, the Syrian Kurds have lost over 
11,000 men and women, soldiers and others. That is what they have lost 
in the fight with us against ISIS.
  Turkey, on the other hand, not only did not lift a finger in that 
fight, but for the past 5 years and even more the years before, they 
turned a blind eye to ISIS fighters transiting through Turkey, so ISIS 
was growing stronger as a result of their negligence.
  I want to close by responding to those who say: Well, you know what, 
Turkey is a NATO ally, and so we should invite President Erdogan over 
to the White House.
  I see on the floor my friend and colleague, Senator Durbin from 
Illinois, and he, along with myself and others, has made this point 
repeatedly. We would like Turkey to be a strong NATO ally. Over the 
years of NATO alliance, they have in the past been a good partner, but 
under President Erdogan's leadership, they have taken Turkey in a very 
different direction.
  The issue is not whether the United States wants Turkey to be a 
member of NATO; the question is, Does Turkey really want to stay in the 
alliance? Because everything they have done shows they are violating 
the values and principles of our alliance.
  President Erdogan decided to purchase the Russian-made S-400 anti-
aircraft system against our strong objection. This is a system that 
would have put our F-35 pilots at risk and undermined NATO security. 
President Erdogan said he didn't care. He went ahead with the S-400 
purchase, and those S-400s are sitting in Turkey right now.
  He was willing to work with Russia, Iran, Assad to undermine our 
interests in the area. We have talked today about how he attacked our 
Syrian Kurdish allies. He has repeatedly threatened the European 
Parliament, European Union, with releasing refugees if they do not 
cooperate with him and don't turn a blind eye to the fact that he has 
locked up more journalists than any other country on earth, including 
Iran, Egypt, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia.

[[Page S6494]]

  So, Madam President, the fact that the President of the United States 
has invited Erdogan to the White House, after everything Erdogan has 
done to undermine our values and security, is a shame on the United 
States. It will undermine our national security interests. It has 
already alarmed our allies and heartened our adversaries.
  It is important that all of us--all of us in this House and Senate--
on a bipartisan basis, speak out--as we have been doing--against the 
shameful chapter in our American foreign policy and national security.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The gentleman from Iowa is recognized.


                             Counterfeiters

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Today I am here to discuss the critical need to protect 
American businesses and consumers from the dangers of counterfeits, 
particularly counterfeit goods sold online.
  Counterfeits do incredible damage to our country's economic 
competitiveness. They harm intellectual property right holders and the 
reputation of online marketplaces, undermine the integrity of our 
supply chains, and even threaten the health and safety of consumers. So 
it is Congress's responsibility to use its oversight and legislative 
authority to identify ways to prevent these illicit goods from entering 
our borders.
  Over the past year, I have worked with the Finance Committee Ranking 
Member Wyden to investigate how counterfeiters use e-commerce to sell 
their phony goods to consumers. Last week, we concluded our 
investigation and issued a report detailing our findings.
  Based on the information presented to Senator Wyden and this Senator 
by right holders, trade associations, e-commerce platforms, and common 
carriers, we made five findings in this report, and we identified two 
legislative recommendations for Congress in this report. I believe 
these recommendations will enhance existing efforts within the Federal 
Government to prevent the sale of counterfeits online.
  I will talk briefly about our findings today, and I look forward to 
working with my colleagues--both Republican and Democrat--to identify 
additional areas for congressional action.
  As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I recognize the value of 
intellectual property rights and their impacts on society and the 
economy. Intellectual property rights allow businesses to generate new 
ideas and develop creative solutions to everyday problems that can make 
our lives healthier, safer, and more productive. I also understand 
businesses and innovators rely on those rights to help drive and recoup 
their investments.
  In my own State of Iowa, intellectual property represents more than 
$14.4 billion in annual exports for the State, more than 94,000 jobs, 
and supports more than 2,000 small businesses with less than 500 
employees. However, counterfeits are increasingly threatening these 
achievements and the hard work of the people that innovate. It has been 
estimated that international trade for counterfeit goods in 2016 
accounted for $509 billion of world trade.
  Counterfeits are found in both physical and online marketplaces, and 
almost every industry is affected. Scam artists target electronics, 
automotive parts, and even children's toys, to rip-off consumers and to 
make a profit. Counterfeits can also harm consumers. Many consumers do 
not know that counterfeits can be dangerous and that some have been 
found to contain lead, excessive small parts, and even unsafe 
chemicals.
  In 2018, the Government Accountability Office--or GAO, as we know it 
around Washington--examined how e-commerce marketplaces are further 
enabling the sale of counterfeits. GAO found that counterfeiters use 
online marketplaces to sell fakes to consumers because they can hide 
their identity by using false or incomplete names. Counterfeiters also 
post legitimate photos or fake reviews for their products, which makes 
it harder for consumers to determine whether they are buying a 
legitimate or fake good.
  The Grassley-Wyden investigation showed that the breadth and variety 
of goods sold online makes it nearly impossible to prevent the sale of 
all counterfeits. Right holders also told us that their enforcement 
efforts are hindered in part because the U.S. Customs and Border 
Protection shares very limited--and often heavily redacted--importation 
information with these right holders. But right holders need 
importation information to identify counterfeit sellers and report 
suspected counterfeit listings.
  Counterfeits also pose a threat to e-commerce and to common carriers. 
Counterfeits smear the reputation of e-commerce and threaten the 
integrity of the common carrier supply chain network. As such, these 
parties are critical partners in the fight against the sale of 
counterfeit goods. However, Customs and Border Protection does not have 
the authority to share importation information with these parties when 
it identifies a counterfeit at our border.
  During our investigation, these parties told us that this information 
would give them the ability to better protect our country's 
intellectual property and allow them to remove more counterfeit 
listings and block counterfeit sellers. We must look at this problem 
holistically and with the understanding that right holders, e-commerce 
platforms, and common carriers are critical partners in the fight 
against the sale of counterfeit goods and those counterfeit goods being 
sold online. By sharing more importation information, these parties can 
better protect the intellectual property rights of our innovators, as 
well as the health and safety of e-commerce consumers.
  Our investigation is but a first step. I will continue to use my 
oversight authority to look for innovative solutions to protect 
intellectual property right holders and consumers from the negative 
effects of counterfeits.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Illinois.


                              Immigration

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I was honored today to attend the second 
hearing I have attended in the Supreme Court of the United States. If 
you stand right here on the floor of the Senate and look east through 
these glass doors, you can almost see the Supreme Court buildings 
directly across the street. The Supreme Court is, many times, the last 
stop when it comes to human rights and civil rights. After all the work 
that has been done by the Congress, by the President, many times, it is 
the Supreme Court that has the last word.
  In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, when the Supreme Court held that 
segregation was constitutional, that last word was a disappointment. 
And Korematsu v. The United States, when the Supreme Court upheld the 
internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, that was another 
disappointment.
  But other times, the Supreme Court has risen to the challenge: The 
famous case of Brown vs. Board of Education, which finally struck down 
the concept of separate but equal; Obergefell vs. Hodges, where the 
Supreme Court recognized the right to marriage equality.
  Well, today, the Supreme Court faces another human rights issue 
involving another group. Just a few hours ago, the street between the 
Capitol and the Supreme Court was literally filled with thousands and 
thousands of demonstrators. The issue before the Court today was the 
fate of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  This measure, DACA, is one that I have worked on for many years--many 
years. Nineteen years ago, I introduced the DREAM Act. Before that, the 
term ``Dreamer'' was hardly ever applied in the conversation about 
immigration, but now, it has become standard and really defines this 
group of Americans, people living in America.
  In their case, they came to the United States, brought here by their 
parents, when they were children. They may have had legal entry into 
the United States, but at some point in their lives, they no longer 
were legal. They became undocumented, in the words of the law. Most of 
these young people never knew that status until they reached their 
teenage years and their parents finally told them the truth of their 
legal condition.
  They had no control over the decision of their parents to come to 
this country or file the necessary papers. Frankly, many of them were 
shocked to learn that they were undocumented. They went to school with 
our kids. They grew up in our communities.

[[Page S6495]]

They played on the sports teams. They probably attended the same 
churches and temples and synagogues as our own kids. They were just 
part of the group. But they knew--they privately knew they were not. 
They knew that they were one knock on the door away from being deported 
from the United States.
  It was because of one of these young people that I decided to 
introduce that DREAM Act legislation 19 years ago. Her name is Tereza 
Lee, brought to the United States at the age of 2 from Korea by her 
parents to Chicago. She grew up in a family that struggled to make ends 
meet. Her father wanted to be a minister, but never quite put that 
church together. Her mother worked in a dry-cleaning establishment to 
feed the family. She went to public schools, and as luck would have it, 
there was a program at one of these schools called the Merit Music 
program that gave her a chance to learn how to play the piano.
  She started playing, and she followed her father around to these 
churches. Then she took it seriously, and she became an amazing pianist 
to the point where, when she finished the public high school, she was 
offered an opportunity to go on for music education at the Manhattan 
Conservatory of Music. When she filled out her application and reached 
the point where they asked her nationality and citizenship, she asked 
her mom: What am I supposed to put on here? Her mom said: I am not 
sure. We better call Senator Durbin's office.
  They did, and we checked the law, and the law is very harsh. For 
Tereza Lee--who had lived 15 or 16 years in the United States, beat the 
odds by finishing high school and developing this great talent at the 
piano--the law told her that she had to leave the United States for 10 
years and apply to return. That is the law.
  It seemed unfair to me that a young woman, brought here at the age of 
2, should face that as her only legal choice, so I introduced the DREAM 
Act. It said, if you were brought here as a child, raised in the United 
States, went to school, and had no criminal record of significance, 
that you should be given a chance--the chance to make it in the United 
States to earn your way to legal status and citizenship.
  That is what the DREAM Act was all about. We passed it in the House 
and in the Senate, but never in the same Congress, so it is still not 
the law of the land. It was 8 years ago when I appealed to my former 
colleague in the Senate, Barack Obama, as President, to try to help, 
and he did.
  By Executive action, he created DACA, which said that young people 
like Tereza Lee could apply, go through a criminal background check, 
fill out the necessary forms, pay the filing fee, and be allowed to 
stay in the United States for 2 years at a time, renewable, not to be 
deported, and be able to legally work.
  After President Obama came up with DACA, over 780,000 young people 
came forward and became protected by DACA. It really changed their 
lives. For the first time in their lives, they had some government-
recognized status. They were no longer just undocumented. Then amazing 
things happened. They went on and pursued an education, a career, a 
life, a future. They started realizing their dreams. It was a good and 
positive thing all around.
  Then, President Trump came into office. Initially, he was very 
complimentary of Dreamers, saying positive things about them, but, 
unfortunately, over a period of time he changed his attitude about this 
issue. On September 5, 2017, President Trump announced he was going to 
end the DACA Program, end the protection for these young people.
  It was a sad day and a challenge for us to decide what to do, to try 
to pass legislation in the Congress that would protect these young 
people, and we rolled up our sleeves and put together several 
bipartisan measures in the Senate. President Trump rejected every 
single one of them. He wasn't going to have it. He was opposed to our 
enacting legislation that dealt with it.
  That repeal of DACA has created uncertainty for hundreds of 
thousands. A lawsuit was filed in an effort to try to protect them, and 
the courts said their protection would continue while the case was 
being argued. The case worked its way through the courts and ended up, 
this morning, at the U.S. Supreme Court across the street.
  I was proud to lead 172 current and former Members of Congress on a 
bipartisan amicus brief in support of DACA. Now it is clearly up to the 
Justices in the Supreme Court to follow the law and to reject what I 
consider to be President Trump's illegal repeal of DACA, but only 
Congress can provide a permanent solution for Dreamers.
  The U.S. House of Representatives has responded to President Trump's 
cruel decision to repeal DACA by passing the Dream and Promise Act on a 
strong bipartisan vote of 237 to 187. This legislation is based on the 
DREAM Act I originally introduced 19 years ago. This bipartisan 
legislation would give Dreamers a chance to earn their citizenship. The 
bill passed the House. It is here. It is now up to Senator Mitch 
McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, to call the Dream and 
Promise Act for a vote in the U.S. Senate.
  Mr. President, I want to make a unanimous consent request in relation 
to that measure and ask for a consent after we debate my UC request to 
complete my remarks. I see a Senator on the floor who I believe is here 
to object. I want to be courteous to her because she has been in the 
Chair for a while. Can I have a unanimous consent to return to the 
debate after I make my unanimous consent request?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.


                   Unanimous Consent Request--H.R. 6

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, for clarity, I ask unanimous consent to 
bring to the floor the Dream and Promise Act for a vote in the Senate--
a measure which would address the very issue that is before the Supreme 
Court today. I am making this on behalf of Senator Schumer, Senator 
Leahy, Senator Rosen, Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Menendez, and Senator 
Cardin.
  As if in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
proceed to the immediate consideration of Calendar No. 112, H.R. 6; 
further, that the bill be considered read a third time and passed, and 
the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon table, with 
no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, I am reserving the right to object, 
and I will object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, I would like to articulate the reason 
for the objection to the legislation that is brought forward by my 
friend the Senator from Illinois.
  Once again, I found it necessary for the good of the order to object 
to a unanimous consent request brought by our friends in the minority. 
Once again, they are attempting to bypass the Senate's rules on behalf 
of a piece of legislation this body has not had time to debate, to 
deliberate, or to consider in committee.
  The American Dream and Promise Act passed the House of 
Representatives by a near party-line vote; unsurprising, considering 
the bill addresses the contentious issue of immigration law. This bill, 
supported by the Senator from Illinois, would offer temporary legal 
status to 2\1/2\ million undocumented immigrants.
  Those affected immigrants have tried to remain in the United States 
under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or the DACA Program--
a backstop made possible by nothing more than an Executive memo signed 
by former President Barack Obama.
  I think this is important for us to realize that it was an Executive 
memo that put this program in place. It is not a Federal law. President 
Trump ended the DACA Program in 2017, arguing the Obama 
administration's attempt to subvert immigration law on such a massive 
scale was unlawful and possibly unconstitutional. Soon after, President 
Trump offered a path to legalization for DACA recipients, but our 
friends in the minority refused to take him up on that offer.
  We have to remember this: There was a path to legalization for DACA 
recipients that was offered by President Donald Trump. Our friends in 
the minority said: No; no, we do not want that.
  They continued with the issue. I will tell you, every Dreamer in the 
country should be outraged by the minority's

[[Page S6496]]

refusal to come to the table and negotiate on an offer that was on the 
table. I encourage my friends on the other side of the aisle to 
remember that the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision to 
maintain an injunction on the nationwide DAPA Program--a scheme similar 
to DACA but aimed at parents, as opposed to children.

  Although that decision set no legal precedent, it did open up an 
opportunity for the new administration--and for each and every one of 
us in the Senate--to rebuild various fixes in our immigration system 
without running afoul of existing legal barriers.
  As my friend the Senator from Illinois likes to point out, Senators 
from both sides of the aisle have been working on this issue--it has 
been with us for years--and it is imperative we find a consensus 
solution.
  If the minority wishes to offer peace of mind and a path forward to 
Dreamers, they should do it in such a way that allows the American 
people to hold each and every one of us accountable for repercussions. 
We should do this through regular order. I reiterate my objection to 
the minority whip's motion.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator object?
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, yes, I do object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, for the record, how many pieces of 
legislation did we consider in the Senate last week? None. The week 
before? None. How many months has this measure been sitting in the 
Senate, the Republican-controlled Senate? Five months, and for five 
months the Republican leader has not considered it worthy to even bring 
it before the Senate for debate.
  I don't control the agenda. Senator McConnell does. He has decided 
this measure is not worth debating on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
  When I come and make a unanimous consent request to bring this 
measure to the floor, it isn't as if we are taking away an option, 
which the Republican leader is using. He is not. When we look back to 
the debate or at least the effort to find a compromise with President 
Trump on this issue, it is next to impossible. He is surrounded by 
people who are completely against DACA and Dreamers. Stephen Miller is 
a good illustration of one. It used to be Jeff Sessions. He is no 
longer with the administration. Every time the President starts to lean 
toward DACA and the Dreamers, these people intervene and stop him, and 
negotiations come to an end.
  It is time for us in the Senate not to wait for a permission slip 
from President Trump to pass legislation. I am prepared to bring this 
matter to the floor and to accept the decision on the amendments on the 
floor. We are in the minority. We will lose some of these amendments. 
So be it. Let's let the Senate be the Senate and deliberate these 
measures. To argue that I shouldn't be asking to bring it to the floor 
because it has to go through regular order, the obvious question is: 
When is Senator McConnell going to pursue regular order on a measure 
that has been sitting here for 5 months?
  Let me say a word, if I can, while we are on the subject, about the 
people who are involved. We can talk about Senate procedure and law all 
we wish, but what we should do is discuss the real people who are 
involved.
  In 1,000 days in office, this President has issued 11,000 tweets. No 
surprise, is it? There are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 a day. He issued one this 
morning about the young people who are in question here. I would like 
to read President Donald Trump's tweet from this morning, as the case 
was headed to the Supreme Court. Here is what he tweeted:

       Many of the people in DACA, no longer very young, are far 
     from ``angels.'' Some are very tough, hardened criminals. 
     President Obama said he had no legal right to sign order, but 
     would anyway. If Supreme Court remedies with overturn, a deal 
     will be made with Dems for them to stay!

  May I address one particular aspect of the tweet of the President of 
the United States on this subject affecting the fate of 780,000 young 
people living in the United States? Probably the best thing is not to 
do it generically but to talk about specifics.
  Let me tell you a story about two DACA recipients, both attending 
Loyola University in Chicago--the city I am honored to represent. They 
both came to Washington, DC, today, and sat in the Supreme Court during 
the argument. I am going to leave it up to my Members and colleagues in 
the Senate, as well as those who are following this debate, to reach 
their own conclusion about these two whom I am about to tell the story 
of. You decide whether this man is a tough and hardened criminal. His 
name is Cesar Montelongo. He grew up in the State of New Mexico. He was 
a pretty good student. In fact, he was an excellent student. He 
graduated from high school with a grade point average of 4.0 and ranked 
third in his class. He went on to New Mexico State University, where he 
was a triple major in biology, microbiology, and Spanish, as well as 
two minors in chemistry and biochemistry. Cesar graduated with a 3.9 
GPA.
  This hardened criminal then went on to earn a master's degree in 
biology, with a minor in molecular biology, while working as a teaching 
assistant. Then DACA came along. For the first time in his life, he had 
a chance to apply for medical school. He never thought that could 
happen. He applied and was accepted at Loyola University's Chicago 
Stritch School of Medicine. It is quite an achievement.
  The Presiding Officer, who is also a medical doctor, I am sure 
understands that, but he did one better. He enrolled in the M.D.-Ph.D. 
program at Loyola University. He was just in my office upstairs, and he 
told me that in a matter of 2 or 3 years, he will have completed his 
Ph.D. in microbiology, and then he can go on to complete his medical 
degree and his residency.
  This tough, hardened criminal--according to the President--has 
designs on becoming a medical researcher in the United States of 
America. When he completes this highly competitive program, he will 
have a medical degree and a doctorate degree in science.
  He is one of dozens of DACA recipients at the Stritch School. My hat 
is off to Loyola University. They have admitted more DACA students to 
their medical school than any other medical school in the United 
States. They are amazing students. I have met them. Many, if not all of 
them, have promised to come back to my State of Illinois, having had 
this chance to go to medical school in Chicago, and serve in 
underserved areas after they have become practicing doctors. Loyola 
doesn't give them any special treatment in the selection process. They 
are not eligible for any Federal financial assistance.

  I just want to thank them and say to the President of the United 
States: Before you put out a tweet calling Cesar Montelongo or people 
like him hardened criminals, Mr. President, take a minute and meet 
these young people.
  While you are at it, meet this young lady too. She was just in my 
office. Her name is Fernanda Herrera Vera. When she was 2 years old, 
her family brought her from Mexico to the United States. When she was 
7, her family was forced to leave Guntersville, AL, when her father 
lost his job due to his immigration status. The family settled in 
Gadsden, AL, where Fernanda attended a private Catholic school on a 
scholarship.
  When she was 10, her parents opened a restaurant. Every day after 
school, she went to the restaurant to wait tables and help run the 
restaurant, doing her homework in her spare time. During Fernanda's 
junior year of high school, Alabama passed the harshest anti-
immigration law in the country, which forced her family to close down 
their restaurant.
  Alabama barred Dreamers from attending even public colleges, but 
thanks to DACA, Fernanda was able to attend a private school, Samford 
University in Birmingham, AL. Her parents worked hard to pay tuition. 
She qualified for no Federal financial assistance. Her dad worked 80 
hours a week at a chicken plant so that she could go to college. She 
graduated from Samford in 2017, and her experience has driven her to 
become an immigration activist. She worked at the Alabama Coalition for 
Immigrant Justice.
  After President Trump repealed DACA in 2017, Fernanda came to 
Washington for a 4-day hunger fast with other DACA recipients on the 
Capitol lawn.
  Last year, Fernanda was admitted to the Loyola University Chicago 
School

[[Page S6497]]

of Law. But this spring, her mother was pulled over in Georgia for 
driving with a broken taillight. Her mother is now in deportation 
proceedings.
  It is tough enough to go to school without Federal financial help. It 
is tough enough to work your way through it. It is tough enough not to 
know how the Supreme Court is going to rule tomorrow or the day after 
and whether it will change your fate. It is tough enough to know that 
any knock at the door could mean deportation for members of your 
family. Yet she has persevered.
  A hardened criminal, Mr. President?
  Fernanda's dream is to become an immigration lawyer. She wants to 
help people just like her mom.
  Without DACA, Cesar Montelongo will not become a doctor. Fernanda 
Herrera Vera will not become an attorney. Will America be a better 
country if they are forced to leave, if they are deported? I don't 
think so.
  Cesar, Fernanda, and hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers are 
counting on the Supreme Court to do the right thing and reject 
President Trump's repeal of DACA. They are also counting on those of us 
who serve in the Senate to stop making excuses and solve this crisis.
  A bill has passed the House. I tried to bring it to the floor of the 
Senate, and there was an objection today. It isn't because we are 
overwhelmed with work. As you can see, we spend a lot of time making 
speeches.
  Since Senator McConnell refuses to take any action to address the 
plight of the Dreamers, I am going to continue to make this unanimous 
consent request. Next week, I don't want the excuse to be that we are 
not following regular order, but in the meantime, I hope the Senate 
Judiciary Committee will take up this measure, as they have so many 
times over the last 15 years or so, and bring it to the floor of the 
Senate.
  Once and for all, could we be the U.S. Senate for a week? Could we 
actually consider a piece of legislation here that addresses an issue 
that is critically important to hundreds of thousands of people living 
in the United States of America?
  What a relief it would be to see this Senate actually as a Senate, to 
see Members on the floor debating issues. I am not going to win every 
debate. Every amendment I want is not going to pass, but I am prepared 
to accept the outcome. Let's do what the Senate was elected to do.
  I am sorry there was an objection today. As long as I am a U.S. 
Senator, I am going to continue to come to the floor of the Senate to 
advocate for Cesar, Fernanda and all of the Dreamers. It would be an 
American tragedy to deport these two promising young people.
  Now it is in the hands of Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican 
majority leader, to give the Dream and Promise Act a vote and to say to 
those 780,000 who do not know what their future will be just days or 
weeks from now that there is an answer: We want you to be part of 
America.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I know my friend from Illinois, Senator 
Durbin, is sincere in his desire to get some relief for the DACA 
recipients, whose case is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. I 
share a desire to give them some certainty. That is why I supported 
what President Trump offered in February of 2018, which was a pathway 
to citizenship not only for the individuals who had applied for and 
received deferred action under President Obama's administration but for 
all those who were eligible but did not apply.
  What continues to confuse me is how our Democratic colleagues will 
routinely vote against that offer, which was incredibly generous. I 
don't think any other President in my lifetime would have had the 
boldness and the courage to offer a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 
million DACA-eligible young people, but President Trump did, and our 
Democratic colleagues turned it down. That leads me to wonder about 
their sincerity. Do they like this political issue more than they have 
a desire to find a solution to the problem?
  I agree that these young people, who through no fault of their own 
came to the United States because their parents brought them here, are 
the most sympathetic and deserving cohort of immigrants in the country. 
I wish we could work together to come up with a solution. But at some 
point you have to wonder whether our Democratic colleagues prefer not 
to solve the problem but would rather try to portray this as a 
political football for partisan advantage in the runup to the next 
election.
  That is tragic--toying with the lives of these young people, stoking 
their insecurity, telling them you are on their side but on the other 
hand voting against an offer to provide them a pathway toward 
citizenship. I don't know how you reconcile those two positions.


                        Prescription Drug Costs

  Mr. President, on another matter, I introduced a bill with our 
colleague from Connecticut, Senator Blumenthal, to address the rising 
costs at the pharmacy counter. Senator Blumenthal is a Democrat. I am a 
Republican. He is from Connecticut. I am from Texas. But we both heard 
the same thing from our constituents: Prescription drugs--particularly 
the out-of-pocket costs to consumers--are too high, especially with the 
huge deductibles and the huge copays under the Affordable Care Act.
  Over the last several months, we have dug into the reasons behind 
those high costs, and it is safe to say there is a lot that concerns 
us.
  One of the most egregious forms of abuse we have seen deals with the 
patent system. Under the patent system, if you come up with a new 
lifesaving drug, then you are guaranteed the exclusive right to make 
and to sell that drug, and you are protected from any competition for a 
period of time. But after that period of time expires, what is supposed 
to happen is that generic alternatives are supposed to be available to 
compete and bring down the price for consumers. That is the case for 90 
percent of the drugs we take.
  Our country offers the most robust protection in the world for 
intellectual property. We know companies are unlikely to pour extensive 
time, money, and resources into developing these new cures unless, at 
the end of it, there is some reward. I get that, and I support that.
  But the patent system is designed to provide a limited time period 
during which the manufacturer can be the sole seller on the market 
before generic alternatives can become available and before competitors 
can enter the market. What is happening is that some companies are 
abusing that system and extending that period of exclusivity by filing 
tens--sometimes in excess of 100 patents.
  In one case involving a drug called HUMIRA, which is one of the best 
selling drugs in the world, there are four approved competitors in 
Europe. In the United States, HUMIRA has in excess of 120 separate 
patents designed to crowd out and prevent any competition while 
maintaining their exclusivity in the marketplace.
  That is what is called the patent thicketing. It involves using 
intricate webs of patents to keep competition at bay for as long as 
possible, meaning that your profits and your exclusive rights to sell 
this drug are high.
  There is also something called product hopping, which occurs when a 
company develops a reformulation of an existing drug about to lose its 
exclusivity and then pulls the original product off the market. This is 
done not because the new formula is more effective necessarily but 
because pulling the original drug off the market before it loses its 
exclusivity prevents generic competitors. That is called product 
hopping.
  The bill Senator Blumenthal and I introduced aims to stop these anti-
competitive behaviors, allow competitors to come to market sooner, and 
bring down prices for consumers. The Affordable Prescriptions for 
Patients Act streamlines the litigation process by limiting the number 
of patents companies can use when they are litigating their patent 
rights. Ultimately, we believe--and I believe it is borne out by the 
Congressional Budget Office scoring--this would allow competitors to 
resolve patent issues faster and bring those generic drugs to market 
sooner. This is how we improve competition and lower prices without 
getting in the way of lifesaving innovation.
  The added benefit to this bill is the Federal savings it would 
provide for

[[Page S6498]]

taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office says that this bill would 
lower Federal spending by more than half a billion dollars over 10 
years. That is not a panacea, but it is a good start. This is just 
savings to the Federal Government for Medicare and Medicaid. There 
would undoubtedly be more savings for consumers who get their health 
coverage through private health insurance.
  It checks every box. It checks innovation, increases competition, 
lowers prices for patients, and saves money for taxpayers. On top of 
that, this bill has a raft of bipartisan cosponsors. This is not a 
partisan bill; this is a bipartisan bill. In addition to Senator 
Blumenthal, five other Democrats have endorsed the bill, including both 
the Democratic whip and the assistant Democratic leader.
  I am sure it comes as no surprise that this bill sailed through the 
Judiciary Committee without a single Senator voting against it. It was 
unanimous. During simpler times, it would have quickly passed the full 
Senate and moved on to the House for their consideration and then gone 
on to the President for his signature. But we all know things aren't 
quite that easy these days, and even bipartisan bills get caught up in 
the political crosshairs.
  According to a report in POLITICO, the minority leader from New York, 
Senator Schumer, is blocking this bill from passing in the Senate. He 
is blocking one of his own Member's bills--and one to lower 
prescription drug prices, of all things. While the American people 
suffer from the crush of high costs at the pharmacy, he stonewalls, and 
it is to the detriment of just about everybody--except one group.
  I know there are some drug manufacturers that must be thrilled with 
his blocking the bill that would reduce their compensation and increase 
competition. You see, the army of special interests who have been 
fighting my bill since day one when it was introduced is ecstatic that 
the Democratic leader is blocking this bill, but I am not, and I don't 
think the rest of the Senate is either because this is a 
noncontroversial, bipartisan bill. The only thing that Democrats are 
doing by continuing to hold up this bill is to carry water for one of 
Washington's most prominent special interest groups. As long as they 
do, it will be to the detriment of the American people.
  I know this frustration is bipartisan because my friend Senator 
Blumenthal is just as frustrated by this ridiculous holdup as I am. We 
have tried to reason with the minority leader. We have tried to 
negotiate. We have tried to get him to allow the bill to come to the 
floor, but we have had no luck so far.
  Last week, I came to the Senate floor to ask unanimous consent to 
pass this bill, and what happened next felt like a scene from a bad 
made-for-TV political drama. The minority leader, who was unwilling to 
come to the floor and block the bill himself, tried to have one of the 
cosponsors of my bill do it for him, the Senator from Illinois. He 
would rather force his own member to block a popular bipartisan bill, 
which happens to have my name on it, than allow it to pass on its own.
  Well, as you can imagine, that didn't go very well. So then it was on 
to plan B. They wanted to link the fate of our bill, which passed 
unanimously in the Judiciary Committee, with another bill that hasn't 
even passed out of committee.
  The other bill was introduced by our friends, Senators Grassley and 
Durbin, and aims to provide greater transparency on drug prices, 
something that is definitely needed, and I don't object to it. But 
these bills are in very different places in the legislative process, 
and some Members on our side have concerns about a bill coming to the 
floor that hasn't even been through the committee of jurisdiction.
  Now, to the minority leader this is just another creative way to stop 
passage of a noncontroversial bill and attach a free rider onto the 
bill, which, in essence, is a poison pill. The result is the same. 
Nothing passes.
  As I said, the bill Senator Blumenthal and I have introduced is 
bipartisan. It is not controversial. It went through regular order. 
Every member of the Judiciary Committee had a chance to vote on it, and 
no one voted against it. We checked on our side, and there is no 
objection. We have run a hotline on the Democratic side, only to find 
that the Democratic leader is the one himself who is blocking it.
  Well, unfortunately, politics, once again, has overwhelmed our 
collective good judgment and good sense. I know the Democratic leader 
doesn't want any bills to pass that Republicans can use to tell their 
constituents that they are listening to their concerns and acting on 
those concerns in the run up to the next election. He doesn't really 
care about the merits of the legislation or that it would, in fact, 
help New Yorkers. It is politically inconvenient, and that, clearly, is 
his top priority.
  The American people deserve better. With the House working day and 
night to remove the President from office and the next election less 
than a year away, the opportunities for us to pass any sort of 
bipartisan legislation are getting slimmer and slimmer.
  I plan to return to the floor later this week with my colleague from 
Connecticut to ask unanimous consent that this bill be passed. If the 
Democratic leader is going to block the bill, I want it to be clear to 
the American people and the people who would benefit from the passage 
of the bill being signed into law. I want them to see him do it and to 
hold him accountable for his misguided politics.
  I hope the minority leader will rethink his decision to block this 
bill so that we can all work together to deliver bipartisan results for 
our constituents.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. ROSEN. 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 Senator from Nevada.


                       Nomination of Chad F. Wolf

  Ms. ROSEN. Mr. President, I rise today in opposition to this 
administration's nomination of Chad Wolf to be Under Secretary for 
Strategy, Policy, and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security. I 
stand here today opposed not only to Mr. Wolf's nomination but also to 
the way in which this administration is circumventing the 
constitutional requirement of advice and consent to make Mr. Wolf the 
head of the third largest Department in the Federal Government.
  By the President's own admission, Mr. Wolf is slated to immediately 
be appointed to serve indefinitely in the position of Acting Secretary 
of Homeland Security. Thus, our votes tonight and tomorrow are 
effectively to confirm Chad Wolf to be Acting Secretary of the entire 
Department of Homeland Security, despite limited vetting, no committee 
vote, and no confirmation hearing for this position.
  But this is about more than just an egregious attempt to bypass the 
Senate's role of advice and consent for Cabinet nominees. Rather, this 
evening's vote will advance a nominee who played an integral role in 
this administration's cruel family separation policy, and tonight's 
vote is about the refusal of this administration to address its 
treatment of detained children.
  That is why I was so disappointed to see cloture filed on Chad Wolf's 
nomination. I placed a hold on Mr. Wolf's nomination to be Under 
Secretary as a result of the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the 
southern border, which began and grew during Mr. Wolf's tenure as chief 
of staff to DHS Secretary Nielsen.
  Between July 2017 and June 2018, while Mr. Wolf held the position of 
chief of staff, 2,800 migrant children were separated from their 
parents and held in DHS custody under this administration's cruel, so-
called ``zero tolerance'' immigration policy.
  Even today, we don't know the extent of the damage. Just last week, 
reports identified 1,500 more children who were separated from their 
parents during that time. We do, however, know from emails that Chad 
Wolf played a leading role in developing, suggesting, and implementing 
this inhumane policy.
  When I asked him if he had helped to develop the administration's 
family separation policy, he said: ``No, ma'am.'' When I asked him if 
he had concerns with the policy of indefinitely separating children 
from their parents, Mr. Wolf said: ``My job wasn't to determine if it 
was the right or wrong policy.''

[[Page S6499]]

  When I asked him how he became aware of the policy, he stated that he 
learned about it in April of 2018. Emails now show that Mr. Wolf had 
been participating in meetings discussing family separation as far back 
as December of 2017. The emails showed that Mr. Wolf provided then-
Secretary Nielsen a list of 16 options to limit immigration, one of 
which was to separate families.
  Even before these emails came to light, I found Mr. Wolf's failure to 
take responsibility for his direct involvement in the administration's 
cruel family separation policy to be both misleading and disingenuous, 
which is why I voted against his nomination in committee.

  I also placed a hold on both Mr. Wolf's nomination and that of DHS 
CFO nominee Troy Edgar until the inhumane and substandard conditions 
for children at CBP processing and detention facilities improved 
significantly. Reports from journalists, attorneys, and advocates 
detailed ongoing horrific conditions, making it clear that DHS was not 
taking the actions needed to care for and treat migrant children at the 
southern border.
  I witnessed these conditions firsthand. When I toured detention 
facilities at the border earlier this year, what I saw was entirely 
consistent with the news and DHS inspector general reports about the 
horrific and inhumane conditions there: children freezing, scared, and 
unsure of what would happen to them next. The children didn't know if 
they would ever see their parents again. Even the parents didn't know 
when their next meal would be, when their next shower would be, and how 
long they would be there. The anxiety and despair was palpable.
  Amidst this crisis at the border, I placed a hold on Mr. Wolf. My 
requests of the Department were simple--that every child under the care 
of the United States of America be treated humanely. I requested that 
DHS hire more pediatricians for CBP facilities, that they bring on 
child welfare professionals to care for and provide services to the 
children in CBP custody, and that they increase NGO access to CBP 
facilities.
  Regarding these specific requests, DHS has not adequately addressed 
the concerns. This is why I maintain my hold on Mr. Wolf's nomination 
and why my hold on Mr. Edgar will remain until these conditions 
improve.
  With this in mind, we cannot allow a nominee like Mr. Wolf to move 
forward, especially when we know he is going to be moved right up to 
Acting Secretary, a position where the President can keep him 
indefinitely without a confirmation hearing and without the advice and 
consent of the Senate.
  It is an end run around our constitutional role, one of the most 
important checks we have on the executive branch. It is also not the 
process we should accept for filling a Cabinet-level position in the 
third largest Department in the Federal Government, one charged with 
the critical job of protecting our homeland.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote against 
cloture on Mr. Wolf's nomination tonight and against his confirmation 
tomorrow, and I pledge to work with all of you and the administration 
to identify nominees to lead the Department whom we can all support.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.
  Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. President, I rise today to ask the Senate to confirm 
Mr. Chad Wolf to be the Under Secretary of the Office of Strategy, 
Policy, and Plans at the Department of Homeland Security.
  The Under Secretary of the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans 
leads an office of over 150 employees with an annual budget of over $37 
million to develop and implement DHS policy, long-term goals, and 
strategic plans. Chad Wolf has extensive experience in homeland 
security policy, starting in 2002 working as the chief of staff helping 
to stand up the new Transportation Security Administration after 9/11 
and then as the Assistant Administrator for that agency.
  He left government and spent over a decade working on homeland 
security policy issues as a consultant in the private sector. Mr. Wolf 
returned to public service and the Department of Homeland Security in 
2017, serving as chief of staff at TSA, chief of staff to the 
Secretary, and now as the Assistant Secretary of Strategy, Plans, 
Analysis & Risk. Since February of this year, he has been the senior 
official performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Office of 
Strategy, Policy, and Plans, the office for which we are now 
considering his nomination.
  The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs 
approved his nomination on a bipartisan basis on July 24. As we all 
know, the Department has a number of Senate-confirmed leadership 
positions vacant. Currently, 7 of the 18 DHS offices requiring Senate 
confirmation are vacant. Three of those vacant positions have nominees 
that have been languishing on the Senate floor for months after being 
approved by my committee with bipartisan support.
  Mr. Wolf's nomination has been pending in the Senate for almost 9 
months. Troy Edgar, the nominee to be the Department's Chief Financial 
Officer, has been pending in the Senate for 8 months, and William 
Bryan, the nominee to be Under Secretary for Science and Technology, 
has been pending for over 4 months. All three nominees were approved by 
my committee with bipartisan support. We are holding a hearing to 
consider Mr. Peter Gaynor as the President's nominee to head FEMA this 
week.
  Dedicated Americans serving at DHS in acting positions are doing 
admirable jobs under oftentimes difficult circumstances. I trust that 
Chad Wolf will do the same if he is asked to step aside from his role 
as Under Secretary to serve temporarily as Acting Secretary upon Kevin 
McAleenan's departure.
  I fully expect and I call upon the President to nominate a permanent 
Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. When he does, my 
committee will consider the nominee expeditiously. We need confirmed 
leadership at DHS to help direct the Department as it works to keep 
Americans safe.
  We need confirmed leadership at DHS to help direct the Department as 
it works to keep Americans safe. I am grateful to Chad Wolf for his 
willingness to serve in this position, and I encourage my colleagues to 
support his confirmation.
  Mr. President, 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 Michigan.
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, today, I rise to oppose the nomination of 
Chad Wolf. Officially, we are considering Mr. Wolf's nomination to 
serve as Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans at the 
Department of Homeland Security. In that role Mr. Wolf would lead the 
DHS policy office, an important but little-known part of the 
Department.
  However, that is not the role that Mr. Wolf will actually have. We 
have recently learned that the President has much bigger plans for Mr. 
Wolf. The President plans to make Mr. Wolf the next Acting Secretary 
for the entire Department of Homeland Security. Instead of running the 
policy office, which has a staff of about 160 people and an annual 
budget of $35 million, Mr. Wolf will lead all of DHS, the third largest 
executive agency, with a 240,000-person workforce and a budget of over 
$75 billion.
  Let's be clear, for all intents and purposes, we are essentially 
about to vote on the confirmation of a new Secretary of Homeland 
Security, a position responsible for protecting this Nation from a vast 
and evolving array of threats. Despite the importance of this position 
and this vote, we have not been given a full opportunity to 
meaningfully examine Mr. Wolf's ability to take on this profoundly 
important and challenging role.
  Based on my evaluation of his qualifications to serve as Under 
Secretary, I do not believe Mr. Wolf has the experience needed to lead 
this critical Cabinet Department.
  I would like to recognize that Mr. Wolf does have several years of 
Homeland Security policy experience. In his

[[Page S6500]]

current role within the Department's policy office, Mr. Wolf has 
engaged in productive dialogue with the Homeland Security Committee. In 
particular, I have personally appreciated his willingness to recognize 
the growing threat of domestic terrorism and White supremacist violence 
and the need for the Department to do more to keep our communities 
safe.
  However, Mr. Wolf's tenure as chief of staff to former DHS Secretary 
Nielsen raises serious concerns about his judgment and, in particular, 
his involvement in some of this administration's most misguided and 
harmful policies. As part of the Senate's constitutional responsibility 
to provide advice and consent, I have repeatedly asked DHS to provide 
documents directly related to Mr. Wolf's time as Secretary Nielsen's 
top adviser. However, the Department has failed to comply, leaving 
Congress without the information needed to fully and fairly evaluate 
Mr. Wolf's qualifications to serve as Under Secretary, let alone run 
the entire Department of Homeland Security.
  Unfortunately, this disregard for Congress's constitutional role as a 
check on the executive branch is not an isolated occurrence. Instead, 
it appears to be a defining feature of this administration.
  The Constitution requires that the President's nominees to hold key 
positions receive the advice and consent of the Senate. The Framers 
knew this arrangement was necessary to ensure that those who hold the 
most powerful and influential positions in government are accountable 
not solely to the President but to Congress and, most importantly, to 
the American people.
  However, this President has shown a willingness to abandon the 
foundational principle of advice and consent and to test the limits of 
his legal authority to unilaterally install acting officials of his 
choosing. This has resulted in far too many critical positions going 
unfilled.
  At the Department of Homeland Security, all three top positions--
Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Under Secretary for Management have 
been vacant for more than 7 months, and the President has yet to name a 
nominee for any of those roles. Other key DHS components have seen 
temporary leaders come and go for months--even years--without a nominee 
for the Senate to consider. This President has declared that he prefers 
``acting'' officials because it ``gives [him] more flexibility.''
  Leadership turnover and acting officials are a part of every 
administration, but widespread and deliberate reliance on temporary 
leaders defies the constitutional principle of advice and consent, 
harms the Department's critical national security missions, and puts 
the American people at risk. The dedicated men and women at DHS who are 
working tirelessly to keep our country safe deserve much better. The 
American people deserve much better.
  To his credit, I believe Mr. Wolf recognizes the untenable situation 
caused by the President's refusal to submit nominees to the 
Department's highest offices. When asked about the impact of vacancies 
across the top ranks of DHS, he stated ``I believe having Senate-
confirmed leaders in the senior levels of any cabinet agency is a 
benefit to the morale of the workforce and the success of the agency.''
  I continue to urge the President to nominate qualified, principled 
leaders to lead the Department of Homeland Security. I remain committed 
to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to carry out 
our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent by promptly, 
fairly, and thoroughly vetting the President's nominees. I am also 
committed to working across the aisle in Congress to ensure that the 
Department of Homeland Security has the resources and authorities it 
needs to keep Americans safe and to provide oversight--robust 
oversight--of the Department's actions and use of taxpayer dollars.
  I have sought to fully and carefully weigh Mr. Wolf's qualifications 
for Policy Under Secretary. Unfortunately, due to the lack of 
transparency in Mr. Wolf's involvement in very troubling Department 
decisions, I cannot support his current nomination, much less his 
elevation to Acting Secretary.
  If he is confirmed, I will do my part to support Mr. Wolf and help 
him be successful in an incredibly important job while also working to 
hold him accountable. But today, I will be voting no on his 
confirmation, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  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. CRAPO. 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 legislative 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 Chad F. Wolf, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for 
     Strategy, Policy, and Plans, Department of Homeland Security. 
     (New Position).
         Mitch McConnell, Roger F. Wicker, Mike Rounds, Rick 
           Scott, John Barrasso, Kevin Cramer, Richard Burr, Steve 
           Daines, James E. Risch, John Cornyn, John Boozman, John 
           Hoeven, James Lankford, Todd Young, David Perdue, John 
           Thune, Lamar Alexander.

  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 Chad F. Wolf, of Virginia, to be Under Secretary for 
Strategy, Policy, and Plans, Department of Homeland Security, 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.
  (Ms. ERNST assumed the Chair.)
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from South Dakota (Mr. Rounds).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Booker), 
the Senator from California (Ms. Harris), the Senator from Rhode Island 
(Mr. Reed), the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Sanders), and the Senator 
from Massachusetts (Ms. Warren) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. McSally). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 54, nays 40, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 353 Ex.]

                                YEAS--54

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Braun
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hawley
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Isakson
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Lankford
     Lee
     Manchin
     McConnell
     McSally
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Romney
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Shelby
     Sinema
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--40

     Baldwin
     Bennet
     Blumenthal
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Hassan
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Jones
     Kaine
     King
     Klobuchar
     Leahy
     Markey
     Menendez
     Merkley
     Murphy
     Murray
     Peters
     Rosen
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--6

     Booker
     Harris
     Reed
     Rounds
     Sanders
     Warren
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas 54, the nays are 40.
  The motion is agreed to.


                         Judicial Confirmations

  Ms. BLACKBURN. Madam President, over the past few months, pro-
democracy protestors in Hong Kong have captivated the American 
consciousness with one of the most stunning mass protests in recent 
memory. Hong Kong people are no strangers to suppression. They are used 
to the censorship, digital stalking, and persecution embraced by their 
overlords in Beijing, and they have seen firsthand the dangers of 
tyranny.
  Watching these protests play out got me thinking about the core 
values that

[[Page S6501]]

we as the American people share with the Hong Kong people and with so 
many others around the globe. There is really an interesting dichotomy 
at play: You can turn on the TV right now and see an entire population 
fighting desperately on behalf of free speech, self-expression, and the 
right to question their leaders' decisions.
  Meanwhile, just a few countries away, the loudest voices in the 
newsroom are begging for just the opposite. Here in the U.S., Americans 
are constantly being asked if freedom is really worth the fight. Is it 
worth the never-ending battle to maintain it? The answer is absolutely.
  When Americans look at the protests in Hong Kong, they do not see a 
foreign policy gray area; they see scores of revolutionaries fighting 
an evil regime. They identify with the disrupters, and they cheer for 
the underdogs who do not pull their punches, which is why, in 2016, 
they sent a disrupter to the White House.
  They watch the hysteria that is cable news commentary and get the 
sense that the people on the screen have completely missed the point. 
The fight is not and never will be about one person or one movement. It 
is about the decision to protect liberty or to let liberty die; to 
protect justice or to let it die. To dismiss this point is to disparage 
the most important feature of the collaborative American psyche. When 
asked if freedom is worth fighting for, the answer will always be yes.
  The calculus flows into discussions on almost every aspect of 
American life. Most recently, at home and in this Chamber, debate has 
centered on the ideological makeup of the Federal judiciary. We have 
repeatedly asked ourselves: Will the judges we are confirming respect 
and protect the core values of the American people? The answer is yes, 
they absolutely will.
  This is not the first time the American public has swung back around 
to consider our ``first principles.'' We talked about them in the early 
90s and again--perhaps more passionately--in the early 2000s. Last 
week, I was fortunate enough to attend an event at the White House 
celebrating our success in confirming well-qualified, constitutionalist 
judges to the Federal bench. We have filled 158 vacancies since 2017, 
and we are far from done.
  I am sure, however, that my friends in the minority wish we would 
give it a rest, but we won't. After all, they have had to work overtime 
trying to convince the American people that our job is to impose by 
judicial decree policies that were rejected at the ballot box. They 
want to do this without the benefit of legislative debate or public 
comment, which means that confirming constitutionalist judges is far 
from being in their best interest.
  So here they come, insisting that ``constitutionalist'' is a dog 
whistle for racism, sexism, homophobia, and holding regressive and 
extreme ideas.
  What a ridiculous strategy. The bipartisan nominees this body has 
confirmed proved they are capable of resisting the urge to get creative 
with the law when it suits the loudest voices in the room. Instead, 
they apply the same foresight employed by the Founding Fathers. These 
judges know that permitting the government more powers to mold and 
manipulate society will give rise to a government that will never 
resist the temptation to overstep its bounds.
  Our courts are not courts of public opinion, and my friends in the 
minority would do well to remember the cost of treating them as such. 
Constitutionalism is our legacy and our inheritance. I urge my 
colleagues to remember this because we are going to vote to confirm 
judges who have proven themselves committed to defending our core 
values and the rule of law in the United States of America.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that I be 
recognized as in morning business for such time as I use.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.


                                 China

  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I am here today to talk about an 
important vote that I took 19 years ago, a vote about free trade from 
China. Now, you might say it is a little out of character, coming down 
to the floor and talking about free trade and China, because normally I 
am down here talking about how China is investing in their military at 
unprecedented rates or how they are passing us up in terms of our 
military, which we saw in the last administration.
  The reality is that when it comes to China--which is entirely 
controlled by a tyrannical Communist party--you cannot separate their 
trade behavior from their military like you can in a democratic 
government. China asserts its power both economically and militarily to 
the detriment of the free world.
  So 19 years ago, I came down to the Senate floor and took a stand 
against the tyrannical regime in China. The vote was on whether or not 
to allow the Chinese Government normalized trade relationships with the 
United States that would pave the way for China to join the World Trade 
Organization.
  At that time, it was not popular--it was not popular for any Member 
of the Senate who stood in the way of free trade agreements, much less 
a Republican. But as I saw it then, the vote did much more than open up 
trade. It granted favors to an authoritarian regime, despite their 
openly predatory actions, without demanding concessions in return. My 
colleagues claimed that opening China to free trade would cause China 
to change their behavior. Clearly, that did not happen, but I will get 
to that in a minute.
  Filled with the false hope and empty promises, the trade agreement 
sailed through the Senate, 83 to 15, and was signed by then-President 
Clinton. Now, I am the only one of those 15 ``no'' votes still serving 
in the United States Senate. Today, 19 years later, we have seen the 
reality of what I thought would happen. At the time, I said--and I am 
quoting from my speech 19 years ago--``We cannot allow the pursuit of 
dollars to blind us to certain realities about the ruling communist 
regime in China, including''--keep in mind, I am going to read all 
eight of these that I had mentioned 19 years ago--``repeated threats 
against the United States and Taiwan''--still going on today; ``massive 
military modernization and buildup''--still going on; ``proliferation 
of dangerous weapons to rogue states. Theft of U.S. nuclear secrets''--
still going on; ``demonstrated strategy to exploit commercial 
relationships to acquire advanced military technology,'' that is still 
going on today; ``attempts to corrupt the U.S. political system. 
Violation of international agreements. Brutal repression of 
dissidents.'' We know that is happening.
  I continued: ``To ignore these actions in the belief that they can be 
separated from what we do in our trading relationship is dangerously 
misguided. China's trade surpluses are helping to finance the regime's 
military buildup and aggressive foreign policy, while strengthening its 
hold on economic and political power.''
  I do not take any pride in being right, because the outcome has been 
devastating for the American workers. China has stolen our technology 
and personnel secrets and taken millions of U.S. jobs over the past two 
decades. The facts today show it.
  Let's go through quickly a few of what we predicted two decades ago 
and see where we are today. First, the threats against the United 
States and Taiwan, that is pretty clear. Just look at China's reaction 
to the recent routine arms sale to Taiwan of tanks and Stinger 
missiles. Keep in mind, China has known since 1979 that we sell arms to 
Taiwan to aid in their self-defense. Everyone knows that.
  They threatened that they were prepared to go to war to defend their 
``unity and territorial integrity''--over a routine arms sale. In the 
past year alone, Beijing has frequently threatened to use force against 
any who opposed the Communist Party's designs on Taiwan, so despite 
free trade, China has not stopped their threatening behavior toward the 
United States and Taiwan.
  Secondly, massive military modernization and buildup. We know that is 
still going on. It is obvious to everyone that China has not changed 
their behavior on this because of free trade. It has emboldened them. 
China has become more aggressive as our free trade system has 
subsidized their economy.
  Some key facts: Over the last decade, the Chinese Government has 
grown their military spending--look at the chart when I read this--has 
grown their

[[Page S6502]]

military spending by 83 percent. That is over the last decade. 
Meanwhile, during the last 5 years of the Obama administration, we 
decreased our military spending by 25 percent. We decreased our 
military spending while China had increased theirs by 83 percent.
  That is why, today, China is able to build ships at a faster rate 
than we are and is on pace to surpass the number of vessels by 2030. 
That is why China is investing heavily in cyber capabilities, aviation, 
artillery, and hypersonic weapons--hypersonic weapons, the most 
sophisticated new weapons they have, the weapons that move at five 
times the speed of sound. Actually, before the Obama administration, we 
were ahead of both China and Russia. At the end of that administration, 
we are behind them, and we are catching up now. Each capability, if not 
superior to ours, has the potential to do us significant harm.
  In 2018, I visited our allies in Southeast Asia, where I saw the 
Chinese military buildup in the South China Sea for myself.
  You remember the islands they created. This is not taking over 
territory; it is creating territory because those islands weren't 
there. They have islands in the South China Sea. The Chinese, at last 
count, I believe, were at seven islands. When you go in and look at it, 
you become convinced they are preparing for a world war III.
  China, prior to that time--this is only 3 years ago--had always done 
their military in their home territory. It has always been in China 
until they went in Djibouti--that is the northern part of Africa--and 
they started their own activity there. Now they are all the way down to 
Tanzania, in that part of the world.
  The Department of Defense official expects the Chinese to open more 
bases, too, in the Middle East, in China, in Southeast Asia, and in the 
Pacific. They are all strategically important locations.
  When I talked to our allies in the Pacific, they are concerned, and 
many are beginning to hedge their bets because they see what China is 
doing. We are talking about the South China Sea. We are talking about 
our own allies who have historically been our allies. All of a sudden, 
they are starting to have second thoughts. They are seeing what China 
is doing, but they don't see us doing anything. After 8 years of 
President Obama's weak leadership, it is getting more difficult for us 
to prove to them that we are actually interested in standing up to 
China's aggression.
  Third, the theft of U.S. secrets--we know about that. There is an old 
saying: What China doesn't have, it steals. That is even more apparent 
today than it was in 2000. China is still actively pursuing and 
stealing some of our most valuable military secrets. Just last year, 
China hacked a Navy contractor and stole massive amounts of classified 
data. That practice isn't new, but it is still having serious impacts 
on our ability to get ahead of China's militarily.
  We are seeing an alarming rise in how China steals industrial 
secrets. They do it out in the open--for example, by forcing any 
American business that wants to operate in China to form a partnership 
with a Chinese business. They have been doing that for a long period of 
time, and we have been going along with it. Sadly, these partnerships 
are nothing more than a way for the Chinese Communist Party to access 
and steal proprietary ideas and technology.
  They also do it in nefarious ways--through exploiting educational 
relationships on college campuses or stealing biomedical research 
during the peer-review process.
  This is no small thing. One in five American companies has been a 
victim of Chinese intellectual property theft. That matters because 
nearly 80 percent of our economy is based on intangibles--the very 
things the Chinese are stealing.
  It is safe to say that this is another area where the regime in 
Beijing has been emboldened by free trade at the expense of American 
innovation and economic growth.
  China hasn't changed its position on exploiting commercial 
relationships either. For the past two decades, China has taken 
advantage of countries--weaponizing their debt and working to control 
ports, infrastructure, and other territory, posing a very real threat 
to U.S. interests. There is no place where this is more apparent than 
in Africa, where I keep hearing: ``America will tell you what you need; 
China will build it for you.'' Of course, they don't follow through and 
talk about how they use all Chinese resources to do this. They use 
Chinese labor. But it is of no value to Africa.
  I have been to Africa probably more than any other Member, as I have 
been very active in that area and have seen some of the threats that 
face us on that continent, and I have seen the Chinese debt trap hobble 
more promising governments.
  But it goes far beyond the developing world and extends right into 
our own backyard. Just look at the recent issue with the NBA, where the 
general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted a message in support of 
the Hong Kong protesters. The backlash was swift. China stopped airing 
Rockets games or streaming them online, and their online retailers 
pulled merchandise from online stores.
  We have also seen U.S. hotels, aviation companies--even the Gap--
being forced to edit and self-censor to remove any reference that even 
tangentially refers to Taiwan, Tibet, or Hong Kong not being a part of 
the People's Republic China, all to appease the Communist Party. The 
jewelry company Tiffany was pressured to remove an advertisement of a 
woman covering her eye because images of a protester in Hong Kong with 
a wounded eye got international attention.
  We live in a democracy, and we don't dictate to private businesses 
what they should or should not do. This is not the case in China. Yet, 
if we continue down the road of self-censorship, the party's demands 
will escalate, and it will be harder and harder to exercise freedom of 
expression.
  Fourth, lastly, brutal repression of dissidents--that was true 19 
years ago, and it is true today. More than anything, I would like to 
say this was an area where free trade had forced the Chinese Communist 
Party to change its behavior. That is what we were all told would 
happen, but it didn't happen. We know it is not true.

  We all know about the atrocities that are going on in Xinjiang 
Province, where the government is forcing a Muslim minority into 
concentration camps, although they call them reeducation centers. We 
all know what is going on in Hong Kong, where Beijing is repressing a 
democratic demonstration with brutal tactics. I remember being in Hong 
Kong at the time China reasserted what they call their leadership, 
their ownership, to Hong Kong. It has been on and off all these years. 
Right now, that effort--disagreement is still taking place.
  Outside of the areas that, despite China's best efforts, have 
attracted international attention, we still know about the atrocities 
the Chinese Communist Party quietly inflicts on journalists and 
Christian minorities in house churches and in communities across China 
every day.
  I have just painted a very bleak picture of U.S.-China relations and 
how unrestricted trade didn't force the ruling party in Beijing to 
change its behavior, but the good news is, help is finally on the way. 
After the trade deal was enacted--I am talking about President Trump's 
trade deal--I kept speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party, 
calling attention to their human rights abuses, their military buildup, 
their manipulative trade tactics, and their economic bullying. I pushed 
every President until now to stand up to the economic powerhouse before 
it was too late and they outmatched us. I tried that with Republicans 
and Democrats alike, and it didn't work.
  Now we have the first President since 2000 to take China seriously. 
President Trump is clear-eyed about the regime in Beijing. He knows 
that our trade relations have been unfair and imbalanced, and he 
understands that we need real and permanent fixes in order to have any 
long-term stability. This is something that has been going on for a 
long period of time, and he is now changing this. He is getting 
criticized, obviously.
  I have to say this: It hurts our farmers in the State of Oklahoma. 
However, I would say that they are very understanding that someone is 
finally willing to take on China.

[[Page S6503]]

  He has effectively applied tariffs, both to punish the Chinese 
Government for its manipulative trade practices and also to support 
critical industries in the United States.
  The result: China's economy has slowed to its lowest point since 
1992--and that is if you believe their official numbers. These are 
their numbers. It has slowed down their economy. That has not happened 
before.
  The economic pressure brought them to the table, ready to make a real 
deal--one that is fair and accountable. So far, we have gotten phase 
1--a preliminary first deal--and the outcome is good for farmers in 
Oklahoma and across the country. For the first time, China has agreed 
to purchase $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural 
goods. That would be the highest level since 2012. That is a good 
start.
  The fight against China's economic manipulation and influence is not 
over. It can't just be limited to shrinking the trade deficit through 
greater purchases of American goods. Future parts of any agreement need 
to be sure to address the concerns that Presidents of both parties 
neglected for decades, including theft of intellectual property and 
industrial secrets, forced technology transfer, reciprocal access to 
markets, and subsidies to China's state-owned enterprises.
  All of this needs to be placed into the proper context of the 
Communist Party's ambitions on the world stage: to rewrite the rules of 
the international system, to make the world safe for authorities to 
suppress democracy and abuse human rights, and to achieve global 
military superiority by midcentury.
  President Trump's stand against China on trade has provoked a lot of 
discussion about our competition with China. We have to remember that 
this is not a competition against China but a competition for 
influence--the kind of influence that decides what kind of world our 
kids and grandkids are going to live in. Next week, my wife and I will 
be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary. We have 20 kids and 
grandkids. They are the ones who will be living in that world I just 
described.
  In this competition, we can't afford to be naive. The Chinese 
Communist Party has a very different version of the world it would like 
to create, so even as we keep talking about the tariffs, we have to 
remember that our values are still America's most precious commodity. 
It is our values--free people and truly free markets--that must guide 
us in the competition ahead.
  Every part of this speech I gave on the Senate floor 19 years ago has 
become a reality, and President Trump knows this. Maybe we better 
listen to him.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Madam President, I am going to yield the floor.

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