EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 191
(Senate - December 02, 2019)

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[Pages S6781-S6786]
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                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the following 
nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read the nomination of Dan R. Brouillette, of 
Texas, to be Secretary of Energy.

                       Senate Legislative Agenda

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving break, and 
I trust the Presiding Officer did, too. I hope all enjoyed time with 
their families and friends last week.
  It was my pleasure to be back home in Texas and spend time with some 
incredible people who and some organizations that are doing a lot of 
good in their communities.

[[Page S6782]]

  For example, I volunteered at the Central Texas Food Bank, which has 
a service area that is twice the size of Massachusetts. It has been 
fighting hunger for nearly four decades. I joined those there to help 
distribute to low-income families some of the food they had collected 
as they prepared for Thanksgiving, and I had the chance to speak with 
dozens of constituents there in the Austin area.
  Then I got in my car and went south about 70 miles to San Antonio, 
which is my hometown, where I volunteered with the preparations for the 
40th annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner. As I said, this dinner 
has been going on for 40 years, and it serves 25,000 people each year 
in the San Antonio area who might otherwise go hungry. The numbers are 
immense. I spent a little bit of time as a volunteer with a number of 
folks and picked the turkeys apart and broke them up into small, bite-
sized pieces. They told me that they served 9,400 pounds of turkey 
during this 40th anniversary dinner. It is really one of my favorite 
events each year, and it was made even more special since they 
dedicated this year's dinner to Mary, Raul's wife, who, sadly, passed 
away earlier this year.
  Then I traveled up to Wichita Falls, where I was able to spend a 
little bit of time at Sheppard Air Force Base with the families of 
deployed airmen. I think it is very important that we remember, 
particularly during the holidays, that having a loved one in the 
military service who is deployed and separated from the rest of the 
family involves a lot of sacrifice, not only on the part of the 
servicemember but on the ones who are left behind, as that hole in your 
heart feels a little bit bigger during the holidays.
  My dad served 31 years in the U.S. Air Force. Fortunately, by the 
time I came along, his long-term deployments had long been over. Still, 
every time I meet a young family whose loved one is deployed overseas 
while the family waits behind, it tugs at my heartstrings. So we thank 
not only those who wear the uniform of the U.S. military but those 
family members as well, who, I believe, also serve.
  We have an all-volunteer military. No one makes you join the military 
anymore in America. We should thank all of them for their service in 
different ways.
  It was encouraging to me to meet with these patriots and thank them 
for their sacrifices and help to distribute a little bit of 
Thanksgiving love and food ahead of the holiday.
  I came back here to Washington refreshed, having spent that time with 
constituents and family and friends, and I am eager to get back to 
  We know that the countdown to Christmas is on, and we have a long to-
do list before we are through. One of our top priorities, strange as it 
may sound, is to actually pass appropriations bills to fund the 
government for the remainder of the fiscal year. I believe that the 
single most important function of the Federal Government--something 
that none of us can do individually nor the States collectively--is to 
provide for the common defense. The way we do that is by funding our 
military and making sure that they have the training, the leadership, 
and the materials they need in order to fight and win our Nation's wars 
or, ideally, to not have to fight our Nation's wars because nobody will 
dare mess with the U.S. military.
  That is why it is particularly sad to see that we find ourselves 
balled up in this appropriations process this late in the year. Over 
the summer we came to a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to guide the 
appropriations process and, hopefully, to eliminate this uncertainty 
going into the Christmas season. Last August we had an agreement that 
provided a roadmap for negotiations this fall, and we all promised to 
work together in good faith and to stay away from poison pill policy 
riders and other things that might derail this appropriations process.
  Well, obviously things did not work the way we had planned. 
Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues went back on their promise 
because of a disagreement over 0.3 percent of the federal budget. You 
heard that correctly--0.3 percent. A disagreement over domestic 
spending involving 0.3 percent of the Federal budget derailed all of 
the appropriations process and leaves us in our current state of 
  So rather than passing appropriations bills on time, as we were on 
track to do, we passed two short-term funding bills, and we are working 
day and night to avoid needing another one when the current continuing 
resolution expires on December 20. I know Chairman Shelby and our 
colleagues and the staff on the appropriations committees have been 
trying to build consensus on these funding bills, and I can only hope 
and pray that we can reach an agreement soon.
  There are a lot of other things that we can and should be doing. We 
started this year off with a government shutdown, and we can't afford 
to make that an annual affair, but this roller coaster ride involving 
short-term spending bills puts us in a bad position, particularly for 
our military and other areas of government that need certainty and need 
to be able to make plans.
  As our troops are serving around the globe to keep us safe, as well 
as our friends and allies abroad, we need to do everything in our power 
here at home to give them the stability they need to succeed. Our 
commanders and military leaders have repeatedly told us how difficult 
it is to plan for the future without a predictable budget, and the 
constantly evolving threat landscape only underscores that need. We 
need to get that done.
  In addition to funding the military, we need to finish up the 
National Defense Authorization Act and get it to the President's desk. 
Every year since 1961, Congress has passed the National Defense 
Authorization Act without delay, and now is not the time to get bogged 
down in partisan fights in Congress and fail to do what we have done 
each year since 1961.
  Unfortunately, our Democratic colleagues in the House are trying to 
use this must-pass piece of legislation to leverage some of their 
liberal wish list. The version of this legislation passed by the House 
earlier this year is so partisan that it didn't get a single Republican 
vote--not one. Putting our national security on the line in order to 
pander to radical factions in the opposing party is absolutely 
shameful. There are some things that should rise above politics, rise 
above partisanship, and providing for our military is first on that 
  I appreciate our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee, led by 
Chairman Inhofe, who have been fighting to get these poison pills out 
of this legislation so we can pass the National Defense Authorization 
Act without any additional delay. It is critical that we get these 
bills moving before everyone heads home for the holidays.
  There is one other piece of legislation I hope we can deliver before 
we leave. Over the last few weeks, I have been hearing rumors--which I 
hope are true--that a deal on the USMCA is very close. The USMCA, of 
course, is the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, which is the 
successor to NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement.
  NAFTA is reported to support, according to the U.S. Chamber of 
Commerce, about 13 million jobs in America--8 million with our 
binational trade with Canada and 5 million with Mexico. This comes 
after nearly a year of negotiations between the administration and 
Speaker Pelosi and her House colleagues to resolve some differences, 
and I am cautiously optimistic that we may yet see an agreement soon. 
We have been anxious to get the final agreement so the House can begin 
processing it and then send it over here so we can begin reviewing it 
in the Senate Finance Committee.
  The experts have told us that this agreement would lead to increased 
wealth for the United States and more than 176,000 new jobs. So it is 
time to get it ratified, but with the House continuing its single-
minded obsession to impeach the President, I hope this trade agreement 
doesn't fall victim to impeachment mania.
  Whether I am meeting with farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, small 
businesses or just average Texans, one of the top questions I get at 
home is this: When is the USMCA going to pass?
  I heard last week that it is one of the top Federal priorities for 
the Central Texas Food Bank. I would like to be able to head home for 
Christmas in a few weeks with some great news for my constituents back 
  With impeachment using up most of the oxygen in Washington, I am 

[[Page S6783]]

our ability to get bipartisan work done is getting smaller and smaller. 
If the impeachment circus makes its way to this side of the Capitol, 
that ability may completely go away. If we stick to the timeline of the 
Clinton impeachment, that would mean the articles of impeachment would 
be voted on in late December, and then, literally, for the first 5 or 6 
weeks of 2020, the Senate would be required to sit as the jury in 
impeachment proceedings, during which time nothing else can be done.
  We need to check these critical items off of Congress's to-do list 
over the next few weeks--the things that we can and should get done 
before the Christmas holidays, and I am eager to get to work and to do 
my part.
  Our hope is that our friends on the other side of the aisle will join 
us in the same commitment.
  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. SCHUMER. 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.

                             Cyber Security

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, allow me to begin on a topic that doesn't 
currently concern legislation or nominees on the floor but one that 
does concern our national security and the privacy of the American 
  Over the summer, I requested a review of the potential risks posed by 
FaceApp, a widely used Russian-based mobile application that requires 
the full and irrevocable access of its users' photos and data. Very 
recently, the FBI responded to my request in writing, warning that the 
FBI ``considers any mobile application or similar product developed in 
Russia, such as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat, 
based on the data the product collects, its privacy and terms-of-use 
policies, and the legal mechanisms available to the Government of 
Russia that permit access to data within Russia's borders.''
  Let me repeat this. These are the FBI's words in a letter sent to me 
just in the last few hours; that the FBI ``considers,'' their words, 
``any mobile application or similar product developed in Russia, such 
as FaceApp, to be a potential counterintelligence threat.''
  The letter went on to say that the FBI is prepared to address foreign 
influence operations involving FaceApp against elected officials, 
candidates, political campaigns, and political parties.
  In light of the FBI's warning, I strongly urge all Americans to 
consider deleting apps like FaceApp immediately and proceed with 
extreme caution when downloading apps from foreign countries that are 
known adversaries. The personal data that FaceApp collects from a 
user's device could end up in the hands of Russian intelligence 
services. It is simply not worth the risk.
  Americans should be aware of the risks posed by certain mobile apps, 
particularly those developed in foreign countries that are known 
adversaries, before they download them. The FBI didn't name other 
countries, but I would certainly name not only Russia but China, Iran, 
and there are others.
  Please, Americans, be careful, and let us let all of our intelligence 
agencies pursue this potential danger to America and ensure that it 
doesn't endanger our national security.

                         Defense Appropriations

  Mr. President, on to the NDAA. The issue of FaceApp is a microcosm of 
a larger problem about cyber security and our foreign adversaries. 
There is no doubt that Russia and Vladimir Putin continue to meddle in 
our democracy and interfere in our elections. We should be doing 
everything in our power to stop it and prevent that from happening, 
from hardening our election infrastructure to ensuring that our 
military has the cyber authority needed to respond to attacks, to 
passing tough new sanctions to deter any foreign power from interfering 
in our elections.
  So it is incomprehensible to me that at the moment, Leader McConnell 
and Senate Republicans are opposing the election security measures we 
wish to include in the annual Defense bill. It is amazing. There is 
bipartisan support for these, but Leader McConnell is once again saying 
that we are not going to do all we can to prevent Russia from 
interfering in our elections. That is right--the annual Defense bill, 
which passed the Senate months ago, remains in conference, in part, 
because Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans refuse to include 
important election security legislation. There is bipartisan 
legislation on this issue--the DETER Act and DASKA--that would trigger 
sanctions on any government that tried to interfere with American 
  I don't care what your party is--Democratic, Republican, or any 
other, no good American wants Russia or any foreign power to be able to 
interfere in our elections. It is one of the things the Founding 
Fathers were most worried about. How can our Republican leaders sit 
blithely by, as the danger is real and as a bipartisan group is trying 
to prevent Russia from interfering and doing what we can to stop it. He 
is holding up the NDAA bill, in part, because of this provision.
  Why the Republican leader and the Republican committee chairs are 
blocking this legislation is beyond me. Some have said the Trump 
administration is ready to act without these sanctions, even though it 
has failed to implement the sanctions targeted at Russia's Putin that 
are already on the books. Some have expressed concern about the 
sanctions on our allies and their partners while they know these issues 
can be addressed. When those arguments flail, they hide behind process 
complaints. No objection they have holds any water.
  The NDAA, the Defense authorization act, might be one of the last 
chances to enact election security legislation before the upcoming 
Presidential election next year, including Senator Van Hollen's 
proposal and other targeted sanctions offered by Senator Menendez--both 
of which enjoy bipartisan support--is paramount. Inexplicably, Leader 
McConnell has yet again refused to allow these kinds of measures to go 
forward, refused to allow nearly any election security legislation from 
being considered in the Senate at all, and has repeatedly downplayed 
the threat of foreign interference in our elections.
  Our country's top national security officials have warned repeatedly 
that our adversaries--North Korea, Iran, China, and, of course, 
Russia--are considering or working on new ways to meddle in our 
elections and that we have not done enough to prepare ourselves. We 
need now--not later, now--to take commonsense steps to protect the 
vital wellspring of our democracy: free and fair elections unimpeded by 
outside interference.
  I urge Leader McConnell, I urge Senate Republicans to stand down and 
work with Democrats to secure our democracy. If there are Republican 
Senators who agree with us and don't want to say anything publicly, 
please go over to Leader McConnell privately and urge him to stand 

                          Impeachment Inquiry

  Mr. President, on Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold 
its first hearing as a part of the impeachment inquiry, during which 
the constitutional history of impeachment will be examined and 
discussed with legal scholars. It is another example of how the House 
impeachment inquiry is proceeding in a deliberate, studious, and sober-
minded manner, and it stands in stark contrast to some of the recent 
statements by Republicans on this side of the Capitol.
  While the House investigation continues in search of the facts, 
certain Senate Republicans have made increasingly outlandish claims, 
including the assertion that Ukraine might have been involved in 
interfering with the 2016 election.
  Let me be clear. The charge that Ukraine had something to do with 
election meddling in 2016 is a lie spread by Vladimir Putin to get 
things off his back. Putin and Russian intelligence services invented 
that lie to muddy the waters and distract from the fact that Russia, 
not Ukraine, interfered in our elections.
  Now, disgracefully, we have sitting U.S. Senators helping spread that 
Russian propaganda in an effort to defend

[[Page S6784]]

the President. Republicans must stop claiming that Ukraine had anything 
to do with election interference in 2016. Repeating these claims, even 
speculating about them, is doing Putin's job for him. I urge my 
Republican colleagues--they know who they are--to stop spreading these 
lies which hurts our democracy.


  Mr. President, finally on appropriations, while the Senate was away 
for the Thanksgiving holiday, there was an important bit of progress in 
the appropriations process. House and Senate appropriators have agreed 
to the allocations to the various committees--known as 302(b)s--and are 
now working to finalize the 12 appropriations bills.
  I applaud the appropriators on both sides of the aisle and on both 
sides of the Capitol for clearing this major hurdle and potentially 
paving the way to finish appropriations by the end of this year, 2019.
  Now that we have an agreement on allocations in place, Senate 
Democrats want to ensure that the final appropriations bills include 
several of our policies and priorities. These are what we Senate 
Democrats want to make sure are in these bills: significant resources 
to combat the opioid and gun violence epidemics; significant investment 
in infrastructure; significant investment in childcare; funding for the 
Violence Against Women Act needs to be maintained or, ideally, 
increased, which is a Democratic priority; and there must be--must be--
funding to secure our elections in advance of next year's Presidential 
  Of course, there is still the impediment of President Trump's 
insistence on funding an expensive and ineffective border wall. Senate 
Democrats strongly oppose the President's stealing money from our 
military families to pay for this border wall. We have fought for 
provisions to stop this theft, and we will continue to do so. I hope my 
Republican colleagues muster the courage to stand with the military 
families in their States whose funds have been robbed to build this 
vanity project of President Trump.
  Again, I am very pleased we have an agreement on 302(b)s. We must now 
build on that momentum to make sure the final appropriations bills help 
the American people as much as possible.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Ernst). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                    Nomination of Dan R. Brouillette

  Mr. WYDEN. Madam President, here is what the Senate and the American 
people need to know before the next vote coming up on the nominee to be 
the Secretary of Energy.
  First, Mr. Rick Perry--who until yesterday was the Energy Secretary--
has refused to comply with the subpoena to testify about his 
involvement in the Trump-Ukraine scheme.
  Second, Acting Secretary Dan Brouillette--nominated to replace Mr. 
Perry--has failed to provide substantive answers to key questions about 
Mr. Perry's dealings with the Ukrainian state-owned energy company 
  Third, since I have been raising questions on this matter, Naftogaz 
executives have reportedly been coming forward to cooperate in a 
Federal investigation into the Ukraine scheme.
  Mr. Perry has virtually skipped town, leaving his job after insisting 
for months that he was determined to stay while the Ukraine scheme is 
front and center in the House impeachment inquiry.
  Now, with the vote on Mr. Perry's replacement just minutes away, the 
Senate is truly in the dark, lacking answers to important questions. 
Those questions include issues pertaining to Mr. Perry's role in a 
campaign to change the leadership of Naftogaz; questions about what Mr. 
Perry, his donors, and certain crooked associates of Rudy Giuliani's 
stood to gain from those changes; questions about Mr. Perry's role in 
the Ukraine scheme, which Trump administration officials have admitted 
was about withholding critical military aid in a face-to-face meeting 
until the Ukrainian President agreed to do for Donald Trump what he 
described as a political favor.
  These are serious issues closely tied to ongoing investigations. This 
goes way, way beyond the well-documented waste we often see in the 
Trump Cabinet--private jets, soundproof booths, $30,000 desks; this is 
about the administration using its full might to push a foreign leader 
into helping Donald Trump's reelection campaign. The Senate ought to 
know about Rick Perry's involvement, especially since he was described 
by Mr. Holmes and others as one of the ``three amigos'' who were right 
in the center of all this.
  What exactly is the rush on confirming his replacement? This isn't 
the first week of a new administration. Nothing is going to happen to 
the powerplants or nuclear facilities if the Senate takes the time to 
get answers to these central questions. Dan Brouillette is already the 
Acting Secretary. No American interest suffers if the Senate insists on 
getting answers that go right to the heart of the Senate's oversight 
  I briefly want to recall what this is all about.
  The ``three amigos'' basically seized control of our country's ties 
with Ukraine under the direction of the President and his personal 
lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Secretary Perry led the American delegation that 
attended President Zelensky's inauguration in May after the Vice 
President was told to stay home. The Vice President and President 
Zelensky held private meetings.
  It has been reported that Perry pushed President Zelensky to fire 
members of the board of Naftogaz and replace them with Mr. Perry's own 
political donors. At a subsequent meeting with the Ukraine Government 
and energy sector officials, Perry reportedly said that the entire 
board ought to be replaced.
  The Associated Press reported that at that meeting--and I am going to 
quote here--the Associated Press said that one of those people who 
attended that meeting where Perry was in attendance ``said he was 
floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed 
the U.S. government `as having a higher ethical standard.'''
  The changes Mr. Perry was seeking lined up with changes sought by a 
pair of now-indicted men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were 
apparently friends of Mr. Giuliani's. They, too, wanted different 
leadership at Naftogaz. Here is what the Associated Press had to say 
about that:

       As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukraine officials last spring 
     to investigate Donald Trump's main political rivals, a group 
     of individuals with ties to the president and his personal 
     lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic. Their 
     aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen 
     and Republican donors touted connections to Mr. Giuliani and 
     Trump while trying to install new management at the top of 
     Ukraine's massive state-owned gas company. Their plan was to 
     then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by 
     Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their 

  Federal prosecutors are investigating the role of Mr. Giuliani. At 
least one Naftogaz official is reportedly cooperating in the 
  Some of Mr. Perry's political donors did score a lucrative energy 
deal in Ukraine after Perry got involved there. Perry admits he was in 
contact with Giuliani about Ukraine.
  It was also revealed in impeachment testimony that Perry was 
seemingly made aware in July of the Trump scheme and Ukraine.
  Unlike Fiona Hill, unlike David Holmes, unlike Lieutenant Colonel 
Vindman, Rick Perry has refused to testify and share what he knows with 
the public.
  For nearly 3 weeks, I have been trying to get answers. At Mr. 
Brouillette's nomination hearing on November 14, I asked him really 
basic questions. I had plenty of time--to a great extent, courtesy of 
my good friend the ranking minority member, who is always fair. I had 
plenty of time. I asked basic questions. It came down to this:
  Who did Secretary Perry meet with regarding Ukraine and Naftogaz? He 
was the head of a powerful department. He was one of the self-styled 
``three amigos.'' Who else was in the loop? What did they talk about?
  Acting Secretary Brouillette only acknowledged--he wasn't willing to 

[[Page S6785]]

anything. This was a full court stonewall. He wasn't willing to say 
anything other than that there were meetings--no other information and 
nothing substantive on the questions I asked. So I just kept asking 
  Who took part in the meetings with Secretary Perry on Naftogaz? When 
and where did they take place? What materials were produced? I don't 
think Secretary Perry just went to those meetings all by his lonesome 
with maybe a bag lunch or something like that. My guess is that he had 
staff from the Department of Energy with materials produced by the 
Department of Energy.
  Who outside of the Department did Secretary Perry speak with 
regarding changes in Naftogaz, and what was the substance of those 
communications? It is not like Secretary Perry would have paid his own 
way and freelanced a ``three amigos''-Ukraine policy in secret. This is 
the head of the Energy Department. It looks like he was right in the 
center of the Trump corruption scheme in Ukraine.

  I am just going to close in this way. I don't understand the rush. 
Mr. Brouillette is at the Department of Energy now. He is the acting 
chief. Western civilization is not going to end if the Senate insists 
on getting some answers to the questions that I have presented this 
afternoon. We are still going to have our powerplants and nuclear 
facilities running, and all of the national security activities that go 
on at the Department of Energy will still go forward if the Senate 
takes the time to require that there be substantive answers to the 
questions that I have asked of this nominee.
  I believe it is malpractice for the U.S. Senate to rush this debate 
before getting answers from this administration, Mr. Brouillette, 
Secretary Perry, and those who, I believe, could answer these questions 
if they didn't want to, in effect, say to the U.S. Senate: We are just 
going to pass here. You might want to hold us accountable, but we have 
a chance to just skip out, and we are going to take it.
  This is not the way the Senate is supposed to work. That is why I 
cannot support moving forward with this nominee, and I will be voting 
no this afternoon.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, within a few minutes, we will be voting 
on the President's nomination for the new U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dan 
Brouillette. I am here to offer my support for Mr. Brouillette, and I 
hope my colleagues will vote for him. I am confident that, with his 
leadership, we will continue to build on the progress we have made 
under Secretary Rick Perry.
  Secretary Perry has been a very effective Secretary of Energy during 
his time here. He has used his executive and political skills, which 
are considerable in his having been the Governor of Texas longer than 
anybody and in his having been involved in politics for a while, to 
take charge of this very important Department and lead it in a very 
strong way.
  For example, one of the best kept secrets in Washington, DC, is that 
over the last 5 years, we have had a record level of funding for 
supercomputing, which has allowed the United States to be the first in 
the world in competition with China and Japan and other countries. We 
have had significant increases in funding for National Laboratories--a 
42-percent increase over 5 years. That is record funding. Secretary 
Perry has also helped to save taxpayers' dollars by having made sure 
the huge construction projects we have in some of the Department of 
Energy's facilities have been brought under control. So Mr. 
Brouillette, should he be confirmed by the Senate tonight, will be 
following a very distinguished Secretary in Rick Perry.
  I look forward to working with Mr. Brouillette. I and Senator 
Feinstein, of California, are the chairman and ranking member of the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. We have worked very well 
together over the last, nearly, 10 years in supporting the Department 
both under the Obama administration and under the Trump administration. 
We have worked in a bipartisan way and have had strong support from our 
colleagues, which has been made possible by excellent Secretaries of 
Energy. I believe Mr. Brouillette will be yet another one of them.
  He knows the Department well, as he has been the Deputy Secretary 
since 2017. In my conversations with laboratory directors and others 
across the country, they feel like he knows them well. I know that this 
is true in Tennessee. For example, at the Oak Ridge National 
Laboratory, which is our largest science and energy laboratory, Mr. 
Brouillette has been crucial in the building of the world's fastest 
supercomputer, Frontier, which is housed in Oak Ridge. As Senator 
Feinstein and I have insisted, he has also been crucial in making sure 
that we stay on time and on budget in the building of a huge uranium 
processing facility at Oak Ridge, which has been the largest Federal 
construction project in our State since World War II, when the 
Manhattan Project was created there.
  Mr. Brouillette has visited the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He 
understands the important work being done there, both at the laboratory 
and at the Y-12 uranium facility. He understands the importance of the 
environmental cleanup being done there and at Hanford in Washington 
State and other places.
  In short, I think we are very fortunate to have someone of his 
caliber and his experience nominated to head one of our most important 
Departments--the Department of Energy.
  I look forward as chairman of his appropriations subcommittee, should 
he be confirmed, to working with him during this appropriations 
process, which we hope is about complete, and during the next one, 
which will be coming up soon.
  I am here simply to say that I support Mr. Brouillette. I am glad the 
President nominated him. I hope he gets a big vote in a few minutes. I 
look forward to working with him.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about our nominee 
and the vote for Secretary of Energy.
  Mr. Brouillette came before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources 
Committee 2 weeks ago. I found him to be up to this enormous task. He 
is a good man, and he has the credentials. He came out of our committee 
16 to 4, and that is pretty impressive in today's toxic world that we 
live in, sorry to say.
  He has a long history with energy issues and with the Department of 
Energy, so he is no stranger to this agency or to the workings of this 
agency. He has served as the staff director of the House Energy and 
Commerce Committee, so he understands the proceedings of this body and 
of the House. At the Department of Energy, he served as an Assistant 
Secretary of Energy during the Bush administration and, of course, as 
the Deputy Secretary for the past 2 years under Secretary Perry. He 
knows the Department; he knows Congress; and he knows the energy issues 
facing our Nation.
  He has also demonstrated his managerial skills. He has been vice 
president of Ford Motor Company, and he has been a senior vice 
president of USAA, which I think we all know is the large insurance and 
financial services giant that serves the members of our military and 
their families.
  This Senate has confirmed him twice before, and we have gone indepth 
in looking into him, and he has been forthcoming. He has not held 
anything back. I asked him every question I possibly could. I know some 
of my dear colleagues on my side of the aisle have some concerns on 
some questions they want answered. I did get into those with him. He 
assured me that his answers were accurate and correct, and I found them 
to be very substantial.
  I basically come before you to say that we have a gentleman who I 
think is well qualified. He is ready for the job; he is up to the job; 
and he understands the job. That is what we should be looking at.
  So if we could put politics aside--truly put politics aside--and look 
at the qualifications of a person who is willing to serve and his 
family, who is

[[Page S6786]]

behind him 100 percent, wanting him to give that service--he and his 
wife are both former military people.
  I found him to be quite charming, quite delightful to work with and 
talk to but, more than that, most professional in his approach and how 
he has handled himself and in the way we have worked with him in our 
committee. Being the ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources 
Committee, I have worked with him, and we have worked with him 
throughout the last 2 years. He has been very forthcoming and good to 
work with.
  I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to please 
consider voting for this gentleman because I think he is really the 
right person at the right time for this job.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to start the 
vote at this time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the 
Brouillette nomination?
  Mr. ALEXANDER. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Missouri (Mr. Blunt), the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. 
Graham), the Senator from Ohio (Mr. Portman), the Senator from South 
Dakota (Mr. Rounds), the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. Scott), and 
the Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. Toomey).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Colorado (Mr. Bennet), 
the Senator from New Jersey (Mr. Booker), the Senator from New York 
(Mrs. Gillibrand), the Senator from California (Ms. Harris), the 
Senator from Alabama (Mr. Jones), the Senator from Minnesota (Ms. 
Klobuchar), the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Sanders), the Senator from 
Massachusetts (Ms. Warren), and the Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. 
Whitehouse) are necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 70, nays 15, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 367 Ex.]


     Scott (FL)


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--15

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