EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 45
(Senate - March 13, 2019)

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[Pages S1807-S1819]
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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 Neomi J. Rao, of the 
District of Columbia, to be United States Circuit Judge for the 
District of Columbia Circuit.

                   Recognition Of The Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.


  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, yesterday the Senate confirmed a 
well-qualified jurist chosen by President Trump to serve on the Third 
Circuit Court of Appeals. Paul Matey of New Jersey will bring a wealth 
of experience to the bench, and I was proud to support his nomination.
  We also voted to advance the nomination of Neomi Rao to the DC 
Circuit. This nominee is yet another of the President's excellent 
choices to serve as a Federal judge.
  Ms. Rao graduated with honors from Yale and the University of Chicago 
School of Law. Her record includes a distinguished tenure in academia, 
public and private sector legal experience, as well as a clerkship on 
the U.S. Supreme Court.
  Most importantly, in testimony before our colleagues on the Judiciary 
Committee, she demonstrated a commitment to maintaining the public 
trust and upholding the rule of law. So the committee favorably 
reported Ms. Rao's nomination, and soon the Senate will have an 
opportunity to continue fulfilling our advice and consent 
responsibilities by voting to confirm her to the Federal bench.
  We will also vote this afternoon on the nomination of William Beach, 
who has been waiting for over a year to take his post as Commissioner 
of Labor Statistics. Our colleagues on the HELP Committee recommended 
Mr. Beach to the floor in December of 2017. A full year later, with no 
progress, he was returned to the White House. Now he is finally getting 
a floor vote. This pointless obstruction needs to change, but I am glad 
we can at least confirm Mr. Beach this week.


  Madam President, now, on another matter, the Senate will soon vote on 
a resolution under the War Powers Act. I strongly oppose this 
unnecessary and counterproductive resolution and urge our colleagues to 
join me in opposing it.
  From the outset, let me say this. I believe it is right for Senators 
to have grave concerns over some aspects of Saudi Arabia's behavior, 
particularly the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. That is not what this 
resolution is about, however. In December, the Senate voted on a 
resolution that addressed this institution's concerns about Saudi 
  If Senators continue to have concerns about Saudi behavior, they 
should raise them in hearings and directly with the administration and 
directly with Saudi officials, as I have done, and they should allow a 
vote on the confirmation of retired GEN John Abizaid, whose nomination 
to be U.S. Ambassador to Riyadh is being held up once again by 
Democratic obstruction.
  They should also allow a vote on the nomination of David Schenker to 
be Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. He has been 
held up here for nearly a year. If we want to solve problems in the 
Middle East through diplomacy, we will need to confirm diplomats.
  Regarding Yemen, it is completely understandable that Senators have 
concerns over the war, the American interests entangled in it, and its 
consequences for Yemeni civilians. I think there is bipartisan 
agreement, shared by the administration, that our objective should be 
to end this horrible conflict, but this resolution doesn't end the 
conflict. It will not help Saudi pilots avoid civilian casualties. It 

[[Page S1808]]

not enhance America's diplomatic leverage. In fact, it will make it 
harder to achieve those very objectives.
  This is an inappropriate and counterproductive measure. First, the 
administration has already ended--ended--air-to-air refueling of 
coalition aircraft. We only provide limited noncombat support to the 
U.N.-recognized Yemeni Government and to the Saudi-led coalition. It 
certainly does not--does not--constitute hostilities.
  Second, there are real threats from the Houthis in Yemen whom Iran, 
as we all know, is backing. Missiles and explosives are being aimed at 
civilians, anti-ship missiles are being fired at vessels in key 
shipping lanes of global importance.
  If one of those missiles kills a large number of Saudi or Emirati 
civilians, let alone Americans who live in Riyadh or Dubai, say goodbye 
to any hope of a negotiated end to this conflict. These threats will 
not evaporate. They are not going to go away if the United States ends 
its limited support. So I think of the American citizens who live in 
the regions.
  Third, our focus should be on ending the war in Yemen responsibly. 
Pulling the plug on support to our partners only undermines the very 
leverage and influence we need to help facilitate the U.N.'s diplomatic 
efforts. The United States will be in a better position to encourage 
the Saudi-led coalition to take diplomatic risks if our partners trust 
that we appreciate the significant, legitimate threats they face from 
the Houthis.
  Fourth, we face real threats from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. 
We need cooperation from Yemen, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia to defeat 
those terrorists. So we should think twice about undermining these very 
partners whose cooperation we obviously need for our own security.
  Here is my bottom line. We should not use this specific vote on a 
specific policy decision as some proxy for all the Senate's broad 
feelings about foreign affairs. Concerns about Saudi human rights 
issues should be directly addressed with the administration and with 
the Saudi officials. That is what I have chosen to do. That is what I 
recommend others do.
  As for Yemen, we need to ask what action will actually serve our 
goal; that is, working with partners to encourage a negotiated 
  Withdrawing? Would withdrawing our support facilitate efforts to end 
the war, or just embolden the Houthis? Would sending this signal 
enhance or weaken our leverage over the Saudi-led coalition? Would 
voting for this resolution strengthen the hand of the U.N. Special 
Envoy, Martin Griffiths, or in fact undermine his work? Would we prefer 
that Saudi Arabia and the UAE go to China and Russia for assistance 
instead of the United States?
  The answers to these questions is pretty clear. We need to vote no on 
this misguided resolution.

                           The Green New Deal

  Madam President, now one final matter. Yesterday, I continued the 
discussion we have been having about the strange ideas that seem to 
have taken ahold of Washington Democrats.
  Ideas like the Democrat politician protection act, a scheme to limit 
America's First Amendment right to political speech and force taxpayers 
to subsidize political campaigns, including ones they disagree with. It 
did not earn a single Republican vote in the House, by the way. Thank 
  Ideas like Medicare for None, which could spend more than $32 
trillion to hollow out seniors' health benefits and boot working 
families from their chosen plans into a one-size-fits-all government 
  Even the soaring costs and massive disruption that plan would cause 
American families are dwarfed--dwarfed--by the grandiose scheme they 
are marketing as the Green New Deal.
  By now, we are all familiar with the major thrust of the proposal: 
powering down the U.S. economy, and yet somehow also creating 
government-directed economic security for everyone--for everyone--at 
the same time.
  Naturally, accomplishing all this is quite a tall order. According to 
the Democrats' resolution, it will require overhauling every building 
in America to meet strict new codes, overseen, of course, by social 
planners here in Washington. It would require banning the production of 
American coal, oil, and natural gas in 10 short years and cracking down 
on transportation systems that produce any emissions, which, as one 
hastily deleted background document made clear, is just a polite way of 
saying Democrats want to eventually ban anything with a motor that runs 
on gasoline. They want to ban anything with a motor that runs on 

  I thought ``Abolish ICE'' was bad enough when Democrats were rallying 
to close down all of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but now what 
do we get? The far left also wants to abolish the internal combustion 
engine. I gather somewhere around that time is when the miraculous, 
promised universal job guarantee would kick in as well. It is just a 
good, old-fashioned, state-planned economy--garden-variety 21st-century 
  Our Democratic colleagues have taken all the debunked philosophies of 
the last 100 years, rolled them into one giant package, and thrown a 
little ``green'' paint on them to make them look new, but there is 
nothing remotely new about a proposal to centralize control over the 
economy and raise taxes on the American people to pay for it.
  Margaret Thatcher famously said that the trouble with socialist 
governments is ``they always run out of other people's money.'' How 
often have we heard that? Well, this dangerous fantasy would burn 
through the American people's money before it even got off the 
  The cost to the Treasury is just the beginning. It is hard to put a 
price tag on ripping away the jobs and livelihoods of literally 
millions of Americans. It is hard to put a price tag on forcibly 
remodeling Americans' homes whether they want it or not and taking away 
their cars whether they want that or not. It certainly is difficult to 
put a price tag on unilaterally disarming the entire U.S. economy with 
this kind of self-inflicted wound while other nations, such as China, 
go roaring by--roaring by.
  By definition, global emissions are a global problem. Even if we 
grant the Democrats' unproven claim that cratering American industries 
and outlawing the energy sources that middle-class families can afford 
would produce the kinds of emissions changes they are after, we need to 
remember that the United States is only responsible for about 15 
percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions--only 15 percent of the 
global total.
  According to the Department of Energy, the United States cut our own 
energy-related carbon emissions by 14 percent from 2005 to 2017. So we 
cut carbon emissions in this country significantly from 2005 to 2017. 
Well, it is appropriate to ask, what did the rest of the world do? They 
kept soaring higher and higher.
  In the same period that the United States cut our energy-related 
carbon emissions by 14 percent, the International Energy Agency found 
that worldwide, energy-related carbon emissions rose by 20 percent 
everywhere else. China--the world's largest carbon emitter--increased 
its emissions dramatically over that period. So, believe me, if 
Democrats succeeded at slowing the U.S. economy and cutting our 
prosperity because they think it will save the planet, China will not 
pull over by the side of the road to keep us company; they will go 
roaring right by us.
  The proposal we are talking about is, frankly, delusional--absolutely 
delusional. It is so unserious that it ought to be beneath one of our 
two major political parties to line up behind it.
  The Washington Post editorial board--not exactly a bastion of 
conservatism--dismissed the notion that ``the country could reach net-
zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030'' as ``an impossible goal.''
  In a clear sign of how rapidly Democrats are racing to the far left, 
President Obama's own Energy Secretary said the same thing. He said: 
``I just cannot see how we could possibly go to zero carbon in the 10-
year timeframe.''
  These Washington Democrats' leftward sprint is leaving Obama 
administration officials in the dust and even parts of their own base. 
Listen to what Democrats' usual Big Labor allies have to say about this 
socialist nightmare. Union leaders with the AFL-CIO say this proposal 
``could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their 
families.'' That is what the AFL-CIO union leaders said. Immediate harm 
to American workers,

[[Page S1809]]

American farmers, American families, and America's future, and nowhere 
near enough reduction in global emissions to show for it. It is a self-
inflicted wound for the low price, by one estimate, of somewhere in the 
neighborhood of $93 trillion.
  This is not based on logic or reason; it is just based on the 
prevailing fashions in New York and San Francisco. That is what is 
defining today's Democrats.

                           Order of Business

  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that following the 
disposition of the Beach nomination, the Senate resume legislative 
session for a period of morning business, with Senators permitted to 
speak for up to 10 minutes each, and that there be 30 minutes of debate 
controlled by Senator Ernst or her designee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  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.

                   Declaration of National Emergency

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, tomorrow, the Senate will vote on a 
resolution to terminate the President's emergency declaration--a 
declaration that undermines our separation of powers in order to fund 
the President's wall with American taxpayer dollars, despite Candidate 
Trump's repeated promises that Mexico would pay for it.
  The resolution could not be any simpler. All it says is this, one 
single sentence: ``Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant 
to section 202 of the National Emergencies Act . . . the national 
emergency declared by the finding of the President on February 15, 
2019, in Proclamation 9844 . . . is hereby terminated.''
  That is it in the entirety. There are no political games here. There 
is no ``gotcha.'' There is no discussion as to whether we need a wall, 
whether there is a crisis on the southern border. It simply says that 
this is not an emergency.
  The vote tomorrow boils down to something very simple for our 
Republican friends: Do you believe in the Constitution and conservative 
principles? There are all of these self-proclaimed conservatives. Well, 
the No. 1 tenet of conservatism is that no one, particularly an 
Executive, a President, should have too much power. That has been what 
conservatives have stood for through the centuries, and all of a 
sudden, because Donald Trump says he wants to declare an emergency, are 
people going to succumb?
  The Founding Fathers would be rolling in their graves. They would be 
rolling in their graves for any President, let alone this one who we 
know overreaches in terms of power and who we know has no understanding 
of the exquisite and delicate balance that James Madison, George 
Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and so many others created in the 
Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
  Do our Republican friends stand for conservative principles? Do they 
stand for any principles at all, or do they just take a loyalty pledge 
to President Trump and meekly do whatever he wants? It is that simple.
  There are a lot of issues on which we disagree. There are lots of 
times our Republican friends bow to President Trump, but there ought to 
be an exception. And if there ever were an exception, it should be 
  Many of my Republican colleagues rightly stood up and told the 
President not to take this action. Leader McConnell himself said it was 
a bad idea, a bad precedent, contravenes the power of the purse, a 
dangerous step, an erosion of congressional authority. And they, our 
Republican friends, were right. The President himself said he ``didn't 
need to do this.'' That is not an emergency.
  Are we going to say that anytime a President can't get his or her way 
with Congress, they can declare an emergency and Congress will meekly 
shrug its shoulders and walk by and bow in obeisance to any President, 
Democratic or Republican? What a disgrace.
  This is one of the true tests of our Republican colleagues--one of 
the true tests--because it has always been the Democratic Party that 
has been for a stronger Executive. Dwight Eisenhower was worried about 
too much power going to the President, and so was Ronald Reagan. Where 
are our Republican friends now? Has Donald Trump turned this Republican 
Party and its conservative principles so inside out that we can't even 
get four votes to declare that this isn't an emergency, that we can't 
get 20 votes to say to the President that we will override this, 
because this is far more important than any view on the wall or the 
southern border, which we all know has been going on for a long time. 
While the President thinks it is an emergency, Congress clearly didn't. 
Even when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, they did nothing 
about the wall.
  I have talked to a lot of my Republican colleagues. They know what 
this is all about. Everyone here knows the truth. The President did not 
declare an emergency because there is one; he declared an emergency 
because he lost in Congress and wanted to go around it. He has no 
principles in terms of congressional balance of power. We know that. We 
all know that. So to bow in obeisance to him when we all know what he 
is doing is so wrong--a low moment for this Senate and its Republican 
  When it comes to the Constitution, you ought to stand up to fear and 
do the right thing no matter who is in the White House. My Republican 
friends know the right thing to do. They should not be afraid to do it.
  Last I checked, we all took the same oath of office. What did it say? 
``Uphold the Constitution.''
  There are different views on the Constitution, but I haven't heard 
one constitutional scholar--left, right, or center--say that this 
upholding the President on this emergency is the right thing to do in 
terms of the Constitution. I hope my Republican friends will join us.
  Now, it seems, from what I read in the press reports this morning, 
that some Senators are in search of a fig leaf. They want to salve 
their consciences. They know this is the wrong thing to do.
  They came up with this idea that will change the emergency 
declaration for future moments. Reports indicate that a group of 
Republican Senators are pushing legislation that would ignore the 
President's power grab but limit future emergency declarations--what 
bunk, what a fig leaf. That will not pass.
  To my friend, the Senator from Utah, who I know does have 
constitutional qualms, he is squirming. His legislation will not pass.
  Let me just read you what Leader Pelosi said a few minutes ago. This 
is from her statement:

       Republican Senators are proposing new legislation to allow 
     the President to violate the Constitution just this once in 
     order to give themselves cover. The House will not take up 
     this legislation to give President Trump a pass.

  Do you hear me, my colleagues--my Republican colleagues? This will 
not pass. This is not a salve. It is a very transparent fig leaf. If 
you believe the President is doing the wrong thing, if you believe 
there shouldn't be an emergency, you don't say: Well, in the Congress 
we will introduce future legislation to change it, and, then, when the 
President declares another emergency, we will do new legislation to 
allow that too.
  Come on. This fig leaf is so easily seen through, so easily blown 
aside that it leaves the constitutional pretensions of my Republican 
colleagues naked. The fig leaf is gone. Don't even think that it will 
have anything to do with what we are doing.
  I hope my colleagues will stand strong. What the Republicans want to 
say with this fig leaf is, to paraphrase St. Augustine, ``Grant me the 
courage to stand up to President Trump, but not yet.''
  Next time and next time and next time they will say the same thing.
  Let's do the right thing. Let's tell the President that he cannot use 
his overreaching power to declare an emergency when he couldn't get 
Congress to

[[Page S1810]]

do what he wanted, and let's not make a joke of this by saying that 
there is some legislation that will not pass in the future that gives 
me the OK to vote for this, to vote against this resolution. That fig 
leaf makes a mockery of the whole Constitution and the whole process.

                            Budget Proposal

  President Trump put out his budget yesterday. It says ``promises 
kept.'' That is one of the biggest lies I have ever seen because if you 
look at the booklet, it is promises broken.
  The President said he would never cut Medicare and Medicaid. He 
slashes them. It is an $845 billion cut to Medicare and $1.5 trillion 
cut to Medicaid.
  The President says he believes in a strong infrastructure bill. 
Promises kept? This bill cuts transportation by over 20 percent.
  The President said that education is the civil rights of this 
generation. Promises kept? The President cuts education dramatically.
  On issue after issue after issue, the President's budget shows the 
real President Trump and how far away he is from the promises he makes 
to the working people of America. Many of them are catching on, many 
more will, and this budget will be a way to show who the President is.
  Even worse--not ``even worse,'' but compounding the injury--there are 
huge giveaways to the wealthy, more tax breaks for the wealthiest of 
Americans. At a time when income distribution is getting more and more 
skewed to the top, when so much of the wealth of America and even the 
income of America goes to the top few, to have a budget that hurts the 
middle class, that hurts those trying to struggle to get to the middle 
class and makes it even easier for the wealthy to garner even more 
money--how out of touch is this budget?
  I repeat my challenge. Leader McConnell, this is your President. You 
seem to go along with him. Put this budget on the floor. Let's see if 
even a single Republican will vote for it. I would like to ask every 
one of my 53 Republican colleagues: How many of you will say, ``I 
support this budget''? I bet not one--not one.
  This budget is a slap on the face to every American who has worked 
hard every day, paid his or her taxes, expects Medicare in retirement, 
expects some way to afford healthcare for retirement.
  President Trump's budget is inhumane. We Democrats will fight it and 
fight these heartless cuts at every single turn.


  Finally, on China, yesterday U.S. Trade Representative Robert 
Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee that he could predict the 
success of a trade agreement with China, saying there are major issues 
left to be resolved. I hope these major issues are the sinew--the 
meat--of what China does to us.
  This is not an issue of soybeans or imports or balance of trade, 
which is getting worse, even with what President Trump did. This is an 
issue of China's stealing the greatness of the American economy. This 
is an example of China's being able to cascade huge amounts of products 
into America and not letting us sell our products freely there, or 
seldom, under such conditions that it isn't worth it, such as turning 
our intellectual property and know-how to China or to Chinese 
Government-controlled companies.
  Lighthizer is doing a good job, but I worry that the President is 
more focused on getting a win than getting a good deal. The President 
should be proud that he stood up to North Korea and walked away. He 
should do the same thing here.
  President Xi is not going to give him much, and the President should 
have the guts to walk away because China is in a much weaker position, 
in part, because of the tariffs that the President correctly imposed on 
  If the President walks away from a weak deal, the odds are very high 
that he will be able to come back to the table with a much better deal 
because China will have to relent. Stay strong. Don't cave. This is 
America's whole future at stake.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). The Senator from Hawaii.

                          Judicial Nominations

  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, two weeks ago, the Senate broke a century 
of precedent and confirmed a judge, Eric Miller, to the Ninth Circuit 
over the objection of both home State Senators.
  Last week, the majority leader filed cloture on two circuit court 
nominees, Paul Matey for the Third Circuit and Neomi Rao to replace 
Brett Kavanaugh in the DC Circuit.
  Yesterday, Paul Matey became the second person in Senate history, 
after Eric Miller, to be confirmed without blue slips from both home 
State Senators. By eliminating the blue slip--a century-old policy that 
requires meaningful consultation between the President and home State 
Senators on judicial nominations--Senate Republicans have been able to 
speed through confirming partisan judges with strong ideological 
perspectives and agendas.
  Donald Trump appointed 30 circuit court judges in his first 2 years 
in office. That is 17 percent of the Federal appellate bench. By 
contrast, President Obama appointed only 16 circuit court judges in his 
first 2 years in office, and President George Bush appointed 17.
  Donald Trump and the majority leader, with the help of the chair of 
the Judiciary Committee, are breaking nearly every rule that stands in 
their way to stack, at breakneck speed, the Federal courts with deeply 
partisan and ideological judges.
  And why are they doing this? They are packing the courts to achieve, 
through the courts, what they haven't been able to accomplish through 
legislation or executive action--undermining Roe v. Wade, dismantling 
the Affordable Care Act, eliminating protections for workers, women, 
minorities, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and the environment.
  The courts, with non-Trump judges, have been the constitutional 
guardrails stopping the Trump administration's deeply questionable 
policies and decisions, such as separating immigrant children from 
their parents, summarily ending DACA protections, and asking whether 
census respondents are U.S. citizens. All of these administration 
decisions have been stopped, for now, by Federal judges.
  Trump's judicial nominees have extensive records of advocating for 
rightwing, ideologically-driven causes. In fact, these records are the 
reasons they are being nominated in the first place.
  The nominees tell us to ignore their records and trust them when they 
say they will follow precedent and rule impartially, but after they are 
confirmed as judges, they can ignore promises made under oath during 
their confirmation hearing because they can. Short of impeaching these 
judges, there is nothing we can do about it--great for them, not great 
for Americans.
  By the way, the average Trump judge tends to be younger, less 
diverse, and less experienced. They will be making rules that affect 
our lives for decades.
  This week we are considering yet another Trump nominee, Neomi Rao, 
who should make us seriously ask how far the majority leader is willing 
to go to let Donald Trump pack the courts with extreme nominees and 
undermine the independence and impartiality of the Federal judiciary.
  Neomi Rao is a nominee who has not only expressed offensive and 
controversial views in her twenties, but she has also continued to make 
concerning statements as a law professor. Her recent actions as Donald 
Trump's Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs, OIRA, have shown that her controversial statements in her 
twenties cannot be ignored as merely youthful indiscretions.
  At the hearing, I asked her why, as a law professor, she defended 
dwarf-tossing by arguing that a ban on dwarf-tossing ``coerces 
individuals'' to accept a societal view of dignity that negates the 
dignity of an individual's choice to be tossed.
  Does she seriously believe that dwarfs who are tossed do not share a 
societal view of dignity that being tossed is an affront to human 
  Ms. Rao asserted that she was only talking about a particular case 
and not taking a position one way or another on these issues. It is 
hard to understand what distinction she is making, but describing a ban 
on dwarf-tossing as not coercion is bizarre, especially coming from 
someone who purports to worry about the dignitary harm caused by 
affirmative action or diversity in education programs.

[[Page S1811]]

  When I asked her about the strong ideological perspectives reflected 
in her writings and public statements, she claimed that she ``come[s] 
here to this committee with no agenda and no ideology and [she] would 
strive, if [she] were confirmed, to follow the law in every case.''
  Ms. Rao would have us ignore all of her controversial statements and 
positions and simply trust her blanket assertion that she has no agenda 
or ideology. In this, she is like the other Trump judicial nominees.
  As a college student, Ms. Rao criticized environmental student groups 
for focusing on ``three major environmental boogymen, the greenhouse 
effect, the depleting ozone layer, and the dangers of acid rain . . . 
though all three theories have come under serious scientific attack.''
  More than two decades later, Ms. Rao demonstrated the same disregard 
for environmental concerns as the Administrator of the Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, OIRA. In this position she has 
consistently used her power and influence to strip away critical 
protections for clean air and clean water. For example, Ms. Rao 
supported efforts to replace the Clean Power Plan, which would have 
reduced greenhouse gas emissions with a rule that would actually 
increase air pollution and could lead to up to 1,400 additional 
premature deaths.
  Her claim that she would simply follow precedent is also contradicted 
by her statements and positions relating to racial injustice. In her 
twenties, while discussing the Yale Women's Center and what she called 
``cultural awareness groups,'' she argued that ``[m]yths of sexual and 
racial oppression propogate [sic] themselves, create hysteria and 
finally lead to the formation of some whining new group.''
  I just wonder, what are these whining new groups that she refers to? 
Could it be women who want to support programs that support women?
  In 2015, as a law professor, she disparagingly described the Supreme 
Court case that reaffirmed the Fair Housing Act's protections against 
disparate impact discrimination as a ``rul[ing] by talking points,'' 
not law.
  In Texas Department of Housing v. Inclusive Communities Project, the 
Supreme Court recognized that the disparate impact doctrine is an 
important way ``to counteract unconscious prejudices and disguised 
animus'' based on a policy's discriminatory effects. Despite the 
Supreme Court precedent, when Ms. Rao became the OIRA Administrator, 
she began working to weaken rules protecting against disparate impact 
discrimination--upheld by the Supreme Court, by the way--particularly 
in the area of housing.
  Her writings and actions related to sexual assault and rape are 
another reason we should be hesitant to believe her claim that she will 
merely follow the law free of her strongly held ideological views. In 
her twenties, Ms. Rao repeatedly wrote offensive statements about date 
rape and sexual assault that disparaged survivors. In writing about 
date rape, she argued that if a woman ``drinks to the point where she 
can no longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her 
  In criticizing the feminist movement, she asserted she was ``not 
arguing that date rape victims ask for it'' but then argued that ``when 
playing the modern dating game, women have to understand and accept the 
consequences of their sexuality.''
  At her hearing and in a subsequent letter to this Committee, Ms. Rao 
tried to walk away from these offensive writings, stating that she 
``regret[s]'' some of them and believes ``[v]ictims should not be 
blamed.'' But at the hearing she continued to insist that her prior 
controversial statements were ``only trying to make the commonsense 
observation about the relationship between drinking and becoming a 
victim.'' That is not how her statements came across.
  She seems to acknowledge that by further claiming that if she were 
addressing campus sexual assault and rape now, she ``would have more 
empathy and perspective.'' That claim rings hollow, as she only 
recently oversaw the Trump administration's proposed title IX rule that 
would make it harder for college sexual assault survivors to come 
forward and obtain justice.
  Among other things, the proposed rule would require schools to 
conduct a live hearing where the accused's representatives can cross-
examine the survivor. It would also have the school use a higher burden 
of proof for sexual misconduct cases than for other misconduct cases.
  I will close by noting that Ms. Rao previously criticized the Senate 
Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearings for judicial nominees. In 
writing about the Supreme Court confirmation process, she complained 
that nominees are ``coached to choose from certain stock answers,'' 
such as ``repeatedly alleg[ing] fidelity to the law.''
  Back then she readily acknowledged that ``judges draw on a variety of 
tools in interpreting the law, and that these tools differ for judges 
based on their constitutional values.'' But now that she has been 
nominated to become a judge, she is the one giving the Judiciary 
Committee the formulaic ``stock answers'' that she criticized.
  Before she became a judicial nominee, she indicated that nominees 
should not be confirmed ``based on incantations of the right formulas 
without an examination of their actual beliefs.'' We should hold her to 
her own words.
  An examination of Ms. Rao's record and actual beliefs show that the 
controversial views she held in her twenties are not so different from 
her statements and actions as a legal professional. That is why I will 
be voting against Ms. Rao's nomination, and I strongly urge my 
colleagues to do the same.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, desperate to distract from the $93 trillion 
price tag of their so-called Green New Deal, the Democratic leadership 
here in the Senate has been coming down to the floor to claim that 
Republicans are ignoring climate change.
  On February 14, the Democratic leader came to the floor and said: 
``Since Republicans took control of this Chamber in 2015, they have not 
brought a single Republican bill to meaningfully reduce carbon 
emissions to the floor of the Senate. Not one bill.'' That is a quote 
from the Democratic leader just a month ago.
  That would be news to me, and I think it would be news to some 
Democratic Senators here, as well. On January 14 of this year, for 
example, the President signed into law the Nuclear Energy Innovation 
and Modernization Act. That legislation, led by Republican Senator 
Barrasso and cosponsored by both Republicans and Democrats, paves the 
way for new advanced nuclear technologies, which will help further 
reduce carbon emissions.
  Here is what the Democratic ranking member of the Environment and 
Public Works Committee had to say about this bill:

       Nuclear power serves as our nation's largest source of 
     reliable, carbon-free energy, which can help combat the 
     negative impacts of climate change and at the same time, 
     foster economic opportunities for Americans. . . . This is 
     another important step in our fight against climate change.

  That is from the Democratic ranking member of the Senate Environment 
and Public Works Committee. Let me repeat that. ``This is another 
important step in our fight against climate change.'' That is coming 
from a key Democrat on a key committee that deals with this issue. That 
is not a Republican talking; that is the Democratic ranking member of 
the Environment and Public Works Committee.
  Then, of course, there is the Furthering Carbon Capture, Utilization, 
Technology, Underground Storage, and Reduced Emissions Act. Granted, 
that is a fairly long title. Several Republicans are original 
cosponsors of that. It became law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act 
of 2018. The FUTURE Act, as it is referred to, extends and expands tax 
credits for facilities with carbon capture, utilization, and 
sequestration technologies, which are referred to as CCUS technologies.
  Here is what the Clean Air Task Force had to say about this 

       [T]he U.S. Congress took a landmark step by passing one of 
     the most important bills for reducing global warming 
     pollution in the last two decades.

  That is a quote from the Clean Air Task Force and what they had to 
say about that legislation.
  Then there is the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act, led by 
Republican Senator Mike Crapo, which

[[Page S1812]]

became law in September. This legislation will help support the 
development of advanced nuclear reactor designs, which will increase 
America's supply of clean and reliable energy.
  Here is what the junior Democratic Senator from Rhode Island had to 
say about this legislation:

       Partnerships between the private sector and our world-class 
     scientists at national labs will help bring new technologies 
     forward to compete against polluting forms of energy. . . . I 
     am proud to have worked with Senator Crapo to get this 
     bipartisan energy legislation over the finish line.

  Here is what the junior Democratic Senator from New Jersey had to 

       Reducing our carbon emissions as quickly as possible 
     requires prioritizing the development and commercialization 
     of advanced nuclear reactors, which will be even safer and 
     more efficient than current reactors. Passage of this 
     legislation will provide critical support to startup 
     companies here in the United States that are investing 
     billions of dollars in these next generation reactor designs.

  Here is what the Democratic whip himself had to say:

       I was proud to join Senator Crapo on this bipartisan bill.

  I could go on. I could talk about the 2018 farm bill, which, in the 
words of Earth Justice, contains ``a number of provisions that 
incentivize more climate-friendly practices.'' I serve on that 
committee. I was involved in the conservation title and the drafting of 
that, including a number of provisions in there. I could talk about the 
provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to ensure the completion 
of our first two new nuclear reactors in a generation, which will 
prevent 10 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually; or the 
extension of wind and solar clean energy tax credits; or the bipartisan 
America's Water Infrastructure Act, which will help advance hydropower 
projects--a significant source of emission-free energy.
  Suffice it to say that Republican Senators have passed more than one 
bill to protect our environment and help America achieve a clean energy 
future, and we are not stopping here. So why all the misdirection on 
the part of the Democrats? I am sure Democrats think it is politically 
advantageous to portray themselves as the only party that is invested 
in clean energy.
  Then, of course, Democrats are desperate to distract from the details 
of the $93 trillion Green New Deal that their Presidential candidates 
have embraced. That is right--I said $93 trillion. One think tank has 
released the first estimate of what the Green New Deal will cost, and 
the answer is between $51 trillion and $93 trillion over 10 years. That 
is an incomprehensible amount of money.
  For comparison, the entire Federal budget for 2019 is less than $5 
trillion. The 2017 gross domestic product for the entire world, the 
entire planet, came to $80.7 trillion--more than $10 trillion less than 
Democrats are proposing to spend on the Green New Deal. Ninety-three 
trillion dollars is more than the amount of money the U.S. Government 
has spent in its entire history. Since 1789, when the Constitution went 
into effect, the Federal Government has spent a total of $83.2 
trillion. That is right--it has taken us 230 years to spend the amount 
of money Democrats want to spend in 10.
  Even attempting to pay for the Green New Deal would devastate working 
families, who would be hit with incredibly high new taxes. Let's be 
very clear about this. This is not a plan that can be paid for by 
taxing the rich. Taxing every family making more than $200,000 a year 
at a 100-percent tax rate for 10 years wouldn't get Democrats anywhere 
close to $93 trillion. Taxing every family making more than $100,000 a 
year at a 100-percent tax rate for 10 years would still leave Democrats 
short of $93 trillion.
  Of course, the amount of money we are talking about, as horrifying as 
it is, is just one negative aspect of the Green New Deal. Democrats' 
Green New Deal is a full-blown socialist fantasy that would put the 
government in charge of not just energy but healthcare and all the 
other various aspects of the American economy.
  One of the Green New Deal's authors posted and then deleted a 
document from her website noting that the Green New Deal would provide 
economic security for those unable or unwilling to work. That is 
right--in the Democrats' socialist fantasies, apparently the government 
will provide you with economic security if you are unwilling to work. 
Let's hope there are enough willing workers to fund those who are 
unwilling to work. After all, that $93 trillion has to come from 
  It is no wonder that Democrats are trying to change the subject when 
it comes to the Green New Deal. They don't want to have to defend the 
specifics of their plan because their plan is, frankly, indefensible.
  If the Democrats would like to have a serious discussion about 
energy, they should repudiate the unfathomably expensive Green New Deal 
and join Republicans in focusing on ways to secure a clean energy 
future without devastating the economy or bankrupting working families.
  Mr. President, 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.
  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                       Tribute to Christian Cook

  Mr. BURR. Mr. President, I rise to recognize a gentleman by the name 
of Christian Cook.
  Christian Cook has been a vital member of the staff on the Senate's 
Select Committee on Intelligence for the last 8 years and has been my 
personal designee on the committee for the majority of that time. 
Throughout Christian's career, he has continuously put his country 
above himself and has been tirelessly dedicated to achieving excellence 
in all areas of his work across the national security spectrum.
  His passion to serve first led him to become a special agent for the 
U.S. Secret Service, where he expertly conducted investigations of 
violations of Federal criminal law and threats against the President 
and Vice President. He worked diligently to ensure that the safety and 
security of the President, the Vice President, and numerous foreign 
heads of state were without question. Christian also served a pivotal 
role in the design, preparation and execution of the security plan for 
the 2005 Presidential Inaugural Parade. Christian's focus on supporting 
national security efforts continued when he transitioned to the private 
  While working with Booz Allen Hamilton, he skillfully developed time-
sensitive and complex tactical solutions for classified U.S. 
intelligence clients. With The Cohen Group, Christian provided 
strategic insights that enabled key clients to meet their evolving 
global security needs. At the USIS, he also seamlessly managed complex, 
classified programs for the U.S. intelligence community and for Federal 
law enforcement Agencies, substantially strengthening their 
counterterrorism capabilities.
  Christian subsequently joined the Senate Select Committee on 
Intelligence. It is hard to know where to start to list his many 
accomplishments. In the last 8 years, he has done everything, and he 
has done it all to his own exceedingly high standards. He initially 
served with the audits team and was intricately involved in the 
committee's oversight of the U.S. intelligence community's 17 
intelligence Agencies. By conducting thorough reviews of specific 
intelligence programs, his expert knowledge and deep insight enabled 
the committee to identify items of concern and outline proposals for 
their improvement.
  It quickly became clear to me that Christian had an unsurpassed 
capability to conduct intelligence oversight but also a unique ability 
to analyze complex challenges and identify solutions. At that time, I 
personally selected him to be my designee on the committee. As my 
designee, he expertly analyzed and advised me on the myriad of threats 
across the intelligence landscape.
  He also flawlessly facilitated the development, passage, and 
implementation of critical intelligence-related legislation in this 
  Several of Christian's colleagues have had the privilege to work with 
him for years. When asked what words best describe Christian, numerous 
clear themes resound, such as dedication, his passion for our Nation 
and its security,

[[Page S1813]]

very high standards, devotion to mission, and for always ensuring that 
the trains run on time.
  Without fail, Christian is the person all staff goes to for insight, 
for guidance, and assistance with getting their job done. His 
colleagues appreciate his honesty, his integrity, and his ability to 
disarm anyone with a laugh and a warm word of appreciation.
  When I became chairman of the Senate Select Committee on 
Intelligence, Christian was my clear choice to serve as my senior 
policy adviser and deputy staff director. In these critical roles, 
Christian expertly led the development and implementation of the 
strategic direction for the 15 Members of the U.S. Senate who sit on 
this committee and the committee staff. Regularly arriving at the 
office long before sunrise, he directed the day-to-day planning and 
execution of the committee's key oversight functions, to include 
establishing and managing the committee's complex open and closed 
hearing schedule, facilitating the confirmation process for numerous 
Presidential nominees, and managing the ongoing interactions between 
members of the committee and the leaders of 17 intelligence Agencies. 
He also adeptly coordinated the collaboration with other congressional 
committees and managed the daily activities of the committee's 
professional staff and administrative staff.
  Separately and concurrently, Christian also continued to serve as my 
intelligence and national security advisor, providing keen insight and 
valuable advice on the full range of national security challenges. 
Throughout my time as chairman of the committee, I have always known I 
could count on Christian to provide me with critical background and 
sage advice on every issue, without fail, thanks in part to his uncanny 
ability to call to mind any facts he picked up in the last 8 years.
  I note for the record the length of this list of responsibilities 
reflects Christian's hard work, long hours, and dedication. It also 
highlights the value he brings to me and to the committee. Christian 
has the foresight to anticipate problems, the instinct to pick the 
right time to drive forward, and the superior judgment to know the path 
right ahead.
  Christian's tireless service was made possible not just because of 
his own dedication and character but because he was confident in the 
love and support of his wife Christina and the adoration of three young 
and precious sons--Casson, Callen, and Caulder. For their own sacrifice 
and for their willingness to share Christian with the committee, we are 
indebted to them.
  I might say, on a personal note, at times he could, on weekends or 
breaks, be home with his three boys and his wife, instead he has been 
on an airplane with me flying somewhere around the world that nobody 
would consider a vacation site--traveling halfway around the world and 
back in less than 3\1/2\ days, and that was done regularly. Now he will 
have an opportunity to get some normalcy to his life.
  Christian's unwavering support to me has been impeccable. I am 
delighted to have the opportunity to publicly thank him and to note my 
personal appreciation for his dedication. He has earned our deepest 
respect, our admiration, and we will miss his devotion and his 
friendship. His positive impact on U.S. national security and his 
legacy within the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence will remain 
for years to come. I know I join the other 14 members in publicly 
saying to Christian that we wish him great success in the next chapter 
of life. We hope this one gives him the opportunity to see his children 
grow and to grow his relationship with his wife.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Border Security

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, the news cycle is relentless here in 
Washington, DC, and between cable TV and social media, it is pretty 
hard to remember what happened an hour or a day or a week ago, but it 
is important to talk about the context surrounding today's 
circumstances, and that is why I wanted to come talk a little bit more 
about what is happening on our southern border.
  Twelve hundred miles of Texas is common border with Mexico, and we 
are at ground zero when it comes to what comes across the border and 
what happens at the border. Frankly, it is a lot more complicated than 
most people seem to appreciate, at least by the way they talk about it.
  Not only is the border a source of economic energy for our country, 
by trade and legitimate travel, we know our border communities 
themselves are among the safest in the country. Their crime statistics 
are basically equivalent to that of any other comparable city in any 
other part of the country, but what happens across the border is a very 
different story.
  Some of the most dangerous cities in Mexico are right there along the 
border, primarily because they are still controlled by the cartels that 
operate what are called plazas where they essentially take tolls or 
shake down people who are trying to come across for whatever purpose it 
might be, whether it is people coming across to find a job in the 
United States or drug traffickers or human traffickers--people selling 
women and children for sex or human servitude.
  So it is a complicated scenario, to be sure, but one thing I can tell 
you is, there is a humanitarian crisis at the border that was not 
manufactured by the Trump administration. In fact, the denial in which 
a lot of our Democratic colleagues find themselves I think is more 
related to the fact that President Trump is the one currently 
identifying it rather than the facts on the ground because, in 2014, 
President Obama called what was happening at the border a humanitarian 
crisis, and that did not seem to be a controversial comment at the 
time, but now that President Trump is calling this a crisis and 
emergency, people, unfortunately, can't take off their partisan jersey, 
and many call it a fake emergency or fake crisis, which is demonstrably 
  Let's go back to 2014. That year, about 68,000 families were 
apprehended at the southern border, an overwhelming number. This, 
coupled with an unprecedented surge of unaccompanied children, led 
President Obama, as I mentioned, to call this a ``growing humanitarian 
and security crisis.'' That was President Obama. He was right, 
especially about the growing part.
  Let me just pause for a moment to talk about why are we seeing 
children and families coming across the border as opposed to adult men.
  We detained about 400,000 people coming across the border last year, 
but we are seeing more and more unaccompanied children and family units 
coming across the border. The simple fact is, the criminal 
organizations that exploit this vulnerability at our border have 
figured out what our laws provide for and where the gaps are, and they 
realize, if an unaccompanied child or a family unit comes across the 
border, current law requires us to separate the adult from the child--
because we don't want to put a child in a jail or detention facility--
and place them, through Health and Human Services, with a sponsor, 
ultimately, in the United States.
  Once they get a sponsor in the United States, then it may be years, 
if ever, before their asylum claim is actually heard in front of an 
immigration judge. The fact is, in the vast majority of circumstances, 
that asylum claim will be granted--or I should say mooted by the fact 
that people don't show up months and years later for their hearing in 
front of the immigration judge but simply melt into the great American 
  In this case, the cartels win, and American border security loses 
because our Democratic colleagues simply refuse to work with us to make 
commonsense fixes to this broken asylum system which allows the cartels 
and children and family units to essentially exploit the 
vulnerabilities in our laws and successfully make their way into the 
  That is what they call a pull factor. There are push factors because 
of the violence occurring in countries in Central America, but the pull 
factor is the fact that if you try to come to the United States as an 

[[Page S1814]]

child or a family unit, you will likely succeed. So it should be no 
surprise to any of us that these numbers continue to grow.
  Back when President Obama talked about this being a growing 
humanitarian and security crisis, there were 68,000 family units 
apprehended at the border. In the last 5 months alone this year, there 
have been more than 136,000 family units apprehended along the southern 
  Historically, we witness the highest numbers of apprehensions in the 
spring and summer months, so I anticipate things will not get better--
they will only get worse--in the months ahead. My State and our border 
communities are certainly feeling the brunt of these growing numbers.
  We also know, as the Border Patrol has told us, that the cartels that 
move illegal drugs into the United States frequently try to flood the 
border with migrants, these family units, in order to distract law 
enforcement personnel from the heroin or the methamphetamine or the 
synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, that come across our border and 
poison so many Americans.
  We know that last year alone, more than 70,000 Americans died of drug 
overdoses. A substantial amount of that was opioids, including the 
synthetic fentanyl. Frequently, the precursors come from China through 
Mexico and into the United States, and 90 percent of the heroin used in 
the United States comes from Mexico. This is a serious matter, and we 
should not turn a blind eye to it.
  Compared to this time last year, family unit apprehensions have grown 
200 percent in the Rio Grande Valley Sector. That is McAllen, TX, and 
that area. They are up more than 490 percent in the Del Rio Sector, 
and, most staggering, in the El Paso Sector, family unit apprehensions 
have increased more than 1,600 percent.
  For those who believe this is somehow a fake emergency or not really 
a crisis, I would ask them: If those numbers were doubled or tripled, 
would they believe there is a crisis or an emergency? I believe there 
is now, and I believe those who deny that a crisis exists are simply 
turning a blind eye to it for, unfortunately, mainly partisan purposes.
  Despite what many on the left claim, there is indeed a humanitarian 
crisis on the border. In addition to the waves of Central Americans 
arriving by the thousands, we are also trying to stop the flow of 
illegal narcotics, as I said, and combat the disgusting practice of 
human smuggling.
  Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard from U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, who leads the more than 
60,000 professionals working to provide security and a safe place for 
trade to come across our ports of entry. Many of these employees of 
Customs and Border Protection call Texas home and work alongside of 
State and local law enforcement to protect us and our neighbors from 
the dangerous goods and, yes, persons trying to cross the border 
  Of course, the C in CBP stands for Customs, and they are also charged 
with promoting the safe and efficient movement of legitimate trade and 
travel. In Texas, given our proximity to the border, given our 
location, that is a big task. Our State is the No. 1 exporter in the 
country, with exports last year totaling more than $315 billion. That 
is exporting things that we grow, livestock that we raise, and 
manufactured goods that we make. We sell those to Mexico, our biggest 
customer far and away.
  Folks who live and work along the southern border are proud of the 
strong bonds our country has with our southern neighbor and the dynamic 
culture in the region. Many have family on both sides of the border, 
which makes it an extraordinarily unique place in our country. Thanks 
to the dedicated Federal, State, and local law enforcement officials, 
flourishing businesses, and a vibrant community, the border region is 
  I was on the telephone with one of my constituents from McAllen, TX, 
yesterday. He said: Our cities on the border are safe. You would think, 
from what you hear from the national discussion and debates in 
Washington, that people have to wear body armor in McAllen, TX.
  I said: Well, part of the problem is that people are confusing the 
dangerous flow of goods and people across the border with actual 
violence occurring on the border.
  Just to reiterate, our border communities on the U.S. side are some 
of the safest in the country. On the other side, for example, Juarez, 
which is on the other side of the border from El Paso, has historically 
been one of the most dangerous places on the planet, as well as 
Tamaulipas, which is the Mexican State right opposite of McAllen--
again, a hot bed of cartel activity and violence.
  But U.S. cities, I would say, are relatively safe, just like any 
other comparable city in the United States. So people perhaps not 
knowing better or, maybe, perhaps just trying to make a better story 
out of the facts, and I think conflate these ideas. But there is no 
doubt that the drugs, the human trafficking, and the masses of humanity 
coming across our border are creating a crisis at the border of a 
humanitarian and security nature.
  Of course, between the ports of entry--and the ports of entry are 
where the legitimate trade and travel come across our international 
bridges--there are vast swaths of land that are relatively unpatrolled. 
The closest Border Patrol agent could be miles away--something human 
smugglers know and they exploit. These aren't good Samaritans leading 
immigrants to a better life. They are criminals who put profit before 
people and have zero regard for human life.
  According to a 2017 study by Doctors Without Borders, 68 percent of 
the migrants reported being victims of violence during transit from 
Mexico or through Mexico, and 31 percent of the women surveyed had been 
sexually abused during the journey. These are the migrants who turn 
themselves over to the tender mercies of these criminal organizations. 
Sixty-eight percent have been victims of violence, and 31 percent of 
the women have been sexually assaulted. The journey these families face 
on their way to the United States is a harrowing one, and some of them 
don't make it. We have to continue working to stop anyone even 
considering this journey from attempting it.
  I still remember going to Falfurrias, TX, which is away from the 
border but is a Border Patrol checkpoint. What happens is that the 
coyotes will bring people across the border, put them in stash houses 
in sickening and inhumane conditions, and, then, when the time is 
right, put them in a vehicle and transit them up our highway system. 
The Falfurrias checkpoint in Brooks County is one of the ones that 
checks people coming through on their way into the mainland.
  But what happens is that the smugglers will tell the migrants: Get 
out of the car before the checkpoint. Here is a milk carton or jug full 
of water.
  Maybe they give them some candy bars or the like, and say: We will 
see you on the other side.
  So many of the migrants--particularly in the hottest part of the 
summer in Texas--unfortunately, die making that trip. I have been to 
Brooks County and have seen some of the unidentified bones and remains 
of migrants who died trying to make that trip.
  Of course, you can imagine coming from Central America in the first 
place. By the time they even get to Falfurrias and Brooks County and 
the checkpoint, many of them are already suffering from exposure, 
including dehydration.
  As you can imagine, during the time I have been in the Senate, I have 
spent a significant amount of time along the border meeting with CBP 
personnel, law enforcement officials, small businesses, landowners, 
community leaders, and other citizens about the challenges they and we 
are facing and what it is we might be able to do here in Washington to 
help. What I have heard repeatedly is that we need a three-pronged 
  I know we are primarily focused on or obsessed with physical 
barriers, and that is certainly a piece of it, but that is only one of 
the three elements that we need to deal with border security. We need 
barriers in hard-to-control areas. We need personnel. We need the 
Border Patrol. And, yes, we need technology. Technology can be a force 
multiplier, we all know, to help the Border Patrol identify drug 
smugglers or human traffickers or coyotes bringing human or economic 
migrants across. What works best in one sector isn't

[[Page S1815]]

what is necessarily best for another. So this idea that we would build 
a physical barrier across the entire State is just nonsense. That is 
not what the President has proposed.

  I remember that former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly, 
later the Chief of Staff, said: We are not proposing to build a wall 
``from sea to shining sea''--because he knew what we know, and that is 
that what works best in one sector doesn't work well in another.
  So we need to keep both the funding and the flexibility to provide 
the most needed resources that will work best. That is not something we 
should be trying to dictate or micromanage from thousands of miles 
away. As I mentioned, the humanitarian crisis has evolved significantly 
since 2014, and I have no doubt that it will continue to evolve in the 
coming years. We need to continue the conversation with experts on the 
ground and stakeholders on the ground and make sure that we can adapt 
as the threat evolves.
  Based on feedback from my constituents in Texas, the funding bill we 
passed last month included five specific areas, including the Santa Ana 
Wildlife Refuge and the National Butterfly Center, where barriers 
cannot be constructed. It also included language stating that DHS must 
consult with local elected officials in certain counties and towns. I 
happen to believe that kind of consultation can be very positive and 
can lead to a win-win situation.
  I will mention just one location in Hidalgo County, TX. They are 
right there on the river, and they had to improve the levees because 
they were worried about the rains leading to floods and the destruction 
that would follow. In order to deal with improvement of the levee 
system, they actually worked with the Border Patrol to come up with 
what they called a levee wall, which helped the Border Patrol control 
the flow of migrants to places where they could be accessed most 
easily, but it also provided the improvement in the levee system that 
helped the Rio Grande Valley, and, particularly, Hidalgo County to 
develop those counties without prohibitively high or even nonexistent 
insurance coverage. So that is an example of how, by consulting with 
local stakeholders, we can come up with win-win scenarios.
  The border region's future is bright, thanks to the dedicated law 
enforcement professionals, elected officials, and business community 
leaders who keep it safe and prosperous, but we simply can't turn a 
blind eye and ignore the high level of illegal migration and substances 
moving across our border. We can't turn a blind eye to the migrants 
being left for dead in the ranchlands by human smugglers. We can't 
ignore the humanitarian crisis that continues to grow at an exponential 
  The President's emergency declaration was his commitment to finally 
address the problems that overwhelmed our communities along the 
southern border--both in 2014, when President Obama identified it, and 
today. It is our duty to deliver real results--not only for the people 
of Texas but for our friends to the south.
  I have heard the concerns raised by my constituents and colleagues 
about the use of emergency powers in this situation, and I share some 
of those concerns. I still believe that the regular appropriations 
process should always be used, but, unfortunately, we saw a refusal on 
the part of the Speaker of the House and others to engage in bona fide 
negotiations on border security funding, and that left the 
administration with what it deemed to be an inadequate source of 
revenue to do the border security measures they felt they needed in 
order to address the humanitarian crisis.
  Rather than engaging with the President and debating whether the 
President has the authority to declare a national emergency for border 
security--which he clearly does--I think our discussions should focus 
on the structure of emergency powers laws moving forward and whether 
Congress has delegated too much power, not just to this President but 
to any President under these circumstances.
  I think Brandeis University did a survey of all of the congressional 
grants of emergency powers that Congress has made over the last years 
and has identified 123 separate statutes which, if the President 
declares a national emergency, will allow the President to reprogram 
money that has been appropriated by Congress for various purposes. I 
think that is a serious overdelegation of authority by Congress to the 
executive branch, which is why I intend to cosponsor a bill introduced 
by our colleague, Senator Lee from Utah, to give Congress a stronger 
voice in the processes under the National Emergencies Act.
  I am going to continue to come to the floor to argue with my 
colleagues about what we need in that unique part of our country, which 
is the border region, not only to have a prosperous region in America 
but also to have a safer America. It is not as simple, frankly, as some 
people would have it be, and it should not be the subject of 
partisanship and game-playing, like we have seen the debate over border 
security under the President's request become.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
  Ms. HASSAN. Thank you, Mr. President.
  It is good to hear from my colleague from Texas. I am here to talk 
about two different issues, but I did just want to say that I have had 
the pleasure and honor of visiting Senator Cornyn's wonderful State. In 
fact, I was at the border last spring. It is a beautiful State that is 
full of hard-working and welcoming people. Certainly, our men and women 
on the frontlines at the border are working incredibly hard and have a 
lot of excellent ideas about how to secure the border.
  I do just want to make one point, which is simply that in addressing 
a humanitarian crisis at the border, we shouldn't create another one by 
separating families at the border. To be clear, there is nothing in our 
law that requires families to be separated at the border. We simply 
should not be harming children as we deal with this issue.
  I would welcome Senator Cornyn to our Homeland Security Committee, 
where we have discussed the various options that would keep us from 
hurting children in our care.

                                Title X

  Mr. President, I am here today to rise in opposition to the Trump 
administration's domestic gag rule on the title X program.
  For more than 40 years, title X has provided women and families with 
comprehensive family planning and preventive health services. Congress 
created title X with a strong bipartisan vote, with Members of both 
parties recognizing how vital the services it provides are. Since then, 
for those in rural communities, for low-income women and men, and for 
members of the LGBTQ community, title X-supported health centers have 
been a major source of preventive care and reproductive health 
services, including cancer screenings, birth control, HIV and STI 
tests, and counseling services.
  Title X helps communities and people throughout my home State of New 
Hampshire. Title X-funded centers deliver care to nearly 18,000 Granite 
Staters annually, and title X-supported Planned Parenthood centers 
serve 60 percent of those Granite Staters. In some parts of my State, 
there are no options other than a title X center, and if other options 
exist, they don't provide the same expertise and commitment to 
reproductive healthcare services that title X centers offer. Community 
health centers around my State do important work, but they have told me 
that they will not be able to replace the services lost if the 
administration is successful in its efforts to target Planned 
  The Trump administration's gag rule is simply dangerous. It would 
force providers to violate their professional and ethical standards 
regarding their obligation to give patients full and accurate 
information about their healthcare and would discriminate against 
providers who refuse to curtail truthful communication with their 
patients. This rule would cut investments in family planning clinics, 
taking away services that so many people depend on, with a 
disproportionate effect on low-income families and those who already 
struggle to access care. This effort is part of the shameless and 
blatantly political attempts from this administration to restrict 
access to healthcare.

[[Page S1816]]

  By attacking providers, such as Planned Parenthood, the Trump 
administration is once again threatening the health and economic well-
being of millions. Women in New Hampshire and across the country 
deserve better. They should have the right to make their own choice 
about if or when to start a family, and they should be able to visit 
providers of their choice who understand their healthcare needs and 
will be truthful about their healthcare options and realities. This 
title X gag rule undermines all of that.
  I am going to continue to stand up for a woman's constitutionally 
protected rights, and I will do everything I can to fight back against 
these partisan attempts from the Trump administration to undermine 
women's reproductive healthcare.
  Thank you.

                       Nomination of Neomi J. Rao

  Mr. President, I also want to take a moment to express my opposition 
to a nominee the Senate is considering today for the DC Circuit Court 
of Appeals--Neomi Rao.
  Ms. Rao is up for a lifetime appointment on the DC Circuit, but her 
record and previous statements make it clear that she is unfit for this 
  Ms. Rao's writings as a college student are nothing short of 
outrageous. Ms. Rao once described race as a ``hot money-making 
issue.'' She has called the fight for LGBTQ equality a ``trendy 
political movement.'' She has criticized the ``dangerous feminist 
idealism which teaches women that they are equal.'' Perhaps most 
disturbing are Ms. Rao's previous writings on campus sexual assault and 
rape. Ms. Rao once claimed that women shared the responsibility for 
being raped, saying: ``If she drinks to the point where she can no 
longer choose, well, getting to that point was part of her choice.'' 
She also noted that ``a good way to prevent potential date rape is to 
stay reasonably sober.''
  I know that Ms. Rao has said she regretted these comments now that 
she is up for this appointment, but that cannot make up for the type of 
damage that rhetoric like this has done. In 2019, survivors are still 
not listened to and taken seriously, and dangerous rhetoric and callous 
beliefs like these have prevented women from coming forward with their 
experiences of sexual assault in the first place.
  I cannot support a nominee who made a decision to publish these types 
of outrageous sentiments.
  If Ms. Rao's previous statements aren't already disqualifying, then 
her record as a member of the Trump administration certainly is.
  As the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 
OIRA, Ms. Rao signed off on a policy that would allow the Environmental 
Protection Agency to not use the best available evidence when 
developing clean air and clean water protections--a policy with 
dangerous implications given the fact that the Trump administration has 
ignored science and fought to undermine these protections. Ms. Rao 
signed off on this policy even after publicly pledging to meet in a 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing that 
she would do just the opposite.
  Additionally, one of Ms. Rao's first efforts in the Trump 
administration was approving an effort to eliminate reporting 
requirements proposed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to 
identify wage discrimination with regard to race and gender.
  Finally, Ms. Rao approved of the title X gag rule, which, as I just 
discussed, will harm the health and well-being of people across the 
  It is clear that Ms. Rao is a partisan nominee with a dangerous 
  By the way, she has never tried a case--not in Federal court and not 
in State court.
  Given her past comments, her record in the Trump administration, and 
her complete lack of experience, it is clear that she does not meet the 
standard that a lifetime appointment to a vital court requires. I will 
oppose her nomination today, and I urge my colleagues to do the same 
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.

                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, I would like to start by talking about one 
of the best things we are known for in Montana, and that is our great 
outdoors, whether it be our national parks, our iconic wildlife, 
hunting, or fly fishing. Like all Montanans, I want the peace of mind 
that I can continue to enjoy these opportunities with my kids and 
grandkids, just as my dad and my grandpa did with me growing up in 
  In Montana, we know how to foster commonsense, locally driven 
conservation to protect our environment. I am here to tell you today 
that there is nothing common sense about the so-called Green New Deal. 
In fact, the Green New Deal is a representation of everything that is 
wrong with Washington, DC. It is a radical, top-down idea that 
disregards the impacts on hard-working Montanans and Americans across 
our country.
  You see, in Montana, we rely on a diverse portfolio of energy and 
fuel sources to help grow our economy, to create good-paying jobs, and 
to preserve our Montana way of life. In order to live where you also 
like to play--that is what we call Montana--you need a good-paying job. 
Montana is still a State where a mom or a dad, a grandma or a grandpa, 
or an uncle or an aunt can take a child down to Walmart and buy an elk 
tag over the counter and be at a trailhead to start elk hunting within 
30 minutes. We need our ag production. We need clean coal. We need 
sustainable timber production. These are all part of our Montana way of 
life. They are all important to the great State heritage we have. This 
Green New Deal would uproot all of that.
  This Green New Deal sounds more like a socialist wish list than it 
does some great, bold conservation plan. Calling for an end to air 
travel, getting rid of all of the cows, and ceasing all production of 
coal would literally destroy our State's economy. The Green New Deal 
flat out doesn't work. Montana's rural communities would be left 
without any power or electricity. In fact, just this month, we saw 
record cold temperatures in Montana. I was trying to fly back to 
Washington, DC, a week ago Monday. When I got to our airport there in 
Bozeman, it was minus-40 degrees. We had to hold the plane for nearly 3 
hours because deicing fluid only works at minus-25 and warmer 
  The data that we have now looked at from during that cold snap shows 
that it was coal-fired generation--in particular, our Colstrip 
powerplant--that picked up the slack during those low temperatures. It 
kept the heat on for families across Montana.
  Our wind turbines have difficulty working in subzero temperatures, 
and that is regardless of whether the wind blows. One of the challenges 
in a State like Montana is that when a high-pressure system moves in, 
whether in the wintertime or in the summertime--let's take the winter 
for example. When high pressure moves in, oftentimes that is associated 
with low temperatures. That usually is when we have a spike in 
requirements of energy consumption needs on the grid. What happens when 
a high-pressure system moves in is that the wind stops blowing. There 
is a reason wind is referred to as intermittent energy.
  I am not opposed to the renewables. I think it is wonderful that we 
have wind energy in Montana. We have solar. We have hydro. We have a 
great renewable energy portfolio in Montana. But the reality is that 
during the coldest days of the winter, the wind doesn't blow. In fact, 
at minus-23 degrees and colder, they have to shut off the wind turbines 
because of the stress it presents to the materials of the turbines.
  In the summertime, when high-pressure systems move in, the 
temperatures spike on the high side, and the wind stops blowing. At the 
same time, we have peak load on the grid.
  So the commonsense thing to do is to focus on accelerating 
development of clean coal technology and keeping a balanced portfolio 
to make sure we meet the spike demands, whether they are in the 
summertime or in the wintertime.
  While we should focus on accelerating investments to help renewables 
like wind become more reliable, which makes a lot of sense, we should 
continue to think about how to make renewables better.
  The Green New Deal seems to think we all live in a fantasyland. In 
fact, it states how the United States has a disproportionate 
contribution to global

[[Page S1817]]

greenhouse gas emissions. Reports show that it is Asia, China, India, 
and other Asian countries. They are the countries that will drive 
energy consumption 25 percent higher by 2040 and with it, global gas 
  The Green New Deal doesn't tell the positive story right here at home 
that the U.S.--and listen to this--is actually a world leader in 
technological energy innovation; that is we, the United States, leads 
the world in reducing energy-related carbon emissions. In fact, since 
2007, our emissions have decreased about 14 percent. In fact, it is 
more innovation, not more regulation, that will further reduce global 
carbon emissions.
  Our world is a safer, more secure place if we accelerate energy 
innovation here at home, not cut the rug out from under us and cede 
that leadership to Asian countries. To top it all off, under the Green 
New Deal, it is the American people and it is Montanans, the hard-
working taxpayers, who are going to pick up the bill.
  Some estimates have found this radical proposal would cost hard-
working families over $600,000 per household over the proposed 
timeframe of that deal. That is about $65,000 every year.
  After only 10 years of implementation, Montanans will be stuck with a 
$93 trillion tab; roughly, $10 trillion more than the combined GDP of 
every nation on the planet in 2017. You see, this Green New Deal has 
nothing to do with conservation and the environment.
  The people of Montana believe in smart and efficient conservation. 
Listen, I am an avid backpacker. I am an avid fly fisherman. I spend 
more time in the wilderness than many. My wife and I love to put 
backpacks on and get back in the High Country and chase golden trout, 
the elk, and cattle. I love pristine environments. Montanans share a 
similar passion for the outdoors, but Montanans know we need smart and 
efficient conservation, and there is not one smart or efficient thing 
about this proposal.
  The Green New Deal is not a bold step forward. It is tragically 
backward. This is taking us back to Lewis and Clark, but don't take it 
from me. Take it from the hard-working Montanans, like our mine 
workers, like our pipe fitters, like our labor unions, which say:

       We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate 
     harm to millions of our members and their families. We will 
     not stand by and allow threats to our members' jobs and their 
     families' standard of living go unanswered.

  That is why I am here today. We will not let this Green New Deal 
proposal go unanswered.

                        Welfare-to-Work Programs

  Mr. President, our Nation's primary welfare-to-work program is 
broken. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, also 
called TANF, was created with bipartisan support in 1996. It was 
recently reauthorized temporarily, but I believe we need to take bold 
action to reform it for today's generation.
  TANF recognizes that funding and maintaining a job is the most 
effective way for healthy, working-age parents to go from government 
dependency to self-sufficiency. It is not about handouts. It is about 
giving a hand to those who need help the most.
  Now, the more liberal voices of the times argue that TANF Programs 
wouldn't work. In fact, it was our former colleague, Senator Daniel 
Patrick Moynihan, who predicted that TANF would result in ``children 
sleeping on grates, picked up in the morning frozen.''
  The critics were wrong. They were very wrong. TANF was a huge 
success. After TANF became law, welfare caseloads plummeted, child 
poverty declined, and unemployment among low-income, never married 
parents went up.
  Yet more than 20 years after the historic 1996 reforms, Congress has 
neglected to act on the loopholes that are undercutting its fundamental 
work requirements.
  Today, very few States are meeting the work participation rate 
required by the law. In fact, my home State of Montana is one of many 
that is falling short. You see, the law calls for 50 percent of welfare 
enrollees to be engaged in work. In Montana, they are only reaching 
about one-third.
  Many States are also using TANF dollars for purposes unrelated to 
work, and we need to hold those States accountable. That means more 
transparency and accountability metrics.
  As we have seen in President Trump's recent budget proposal, the 
President agrees that stronger work requirements must be a priority of 
this Congress. We can take the next bold step forward in reforming the 
TANF system to close these loopholes and get the American people back 
to work.
  We are fortunate our economy continues to grow, and there are more 
opportunities being created. Just last Congress, we passed tax relief 
for the American people so working-class families got to keep more of 
what they earned and small business owners could afford to invest and 
grow in their business, creating more jobs. Main Street in America is 
thriving again.
  As employers are rapidly looking to hire, we need to close the gap 
and ensure those jobs are filled by Americans who need them most. A 
strong, revitalized TANF Program is urgently needed to close this jobs 
gap and empower more Americans to find work.
  We have a problem in this economy now. In fact, there are too many 
jobs available and not enough people to fill the jobs. That is a 
wonderful challenge to face. We have seen that now for 10 consecutive 
months. That is a great problem to face now in our country, but it is 
still a problem we need to solve. That is why we will be joining the 
U.S. House Ways and Means Committee this week to introduce the JOBS Act 
to demand positive work outcomes, rather than simply meeting 
ineffective participation rules.
  It engages with every work-eligible individual to develop a plan that 
can lead to a sustainable career. It holds States accountable for their 
work outcomes and bolsters transparency of every State's performance.
  The JOBS Act doesn't just demand work. It enables work. It 
substantially increases funding for vital childcare services so parents 
can ensure their child is cared for when they are trying to provide for 
their families.
  It provides struggling beneficiaries with additional time to get the 
mental health or substance abuse treatment they need before they can 
hold a job.
  It adds apprenticeships as a permissible work activity, alongside job 
training, getting more education, and building job readiness skills. It 
targets funds to truly needy families by capping participation to 
families with incomes below 200 percent of the Federal poverty level.
  The JOBS Act recognizes there is dignity in work. A job, to most 
Americans, is more than just a job. It is an opportunity for mobility. 
It is a step up toward realizing the American dream. It is a track 
toward earning higher wages and better benefits. It can be a 
springboard to a meaningful career, and more importantly, it is hope 
for those who know hard times all too well. The dignity work brings can 
provide this hope.
  The JOBS Act equips and empowers low-income families toward a better 
future. I urge my colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, to join me in 
taking bold action by supporting this important legislation to make our 
largest welfare-to-work program actually work again.
  I yield the floor.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today in opposition to the 
nomination of Neomi Rao to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the DC 
  The DC Circuit is considered by many to be the most powerful 
appellate court in the country. This is true in large part because the 
DC Circuit hears challenges to many actions taken by the Federal 
Government, including challenges to the adoption or repeal of Federal 
  I believe it is particularly relevant that Ms. Rao has a record of 
working to dismantle key regulations that ensure the air we breathe is 
safe, that address climate change, and that protect American workers 
and consumers.
  Ms. Rao has a troubling and aggressive record as the head of the 
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. She has led efforts to 
weaken fuel economy, or CAFE standards, which I authored with Senator 
Olympia Snowe and which has been the law since 2007. Before the 
administration proposed freezing these standards, we were set to 
achieve a fuel economy standard of 54 miles per gallon--MPG--by 2025.

[[Page S1818]]

  Ms. Rao has also led efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan. This 
repeal has been estimated to result in up to 1,400 premature deaths 
annually by 2030, due to an increase in particulate matter from 
emissions that are linked to heart and lung disease. Further, the 
repeal of the Clean Power Plan is expected to cause up to 48,000 new 
cases of serious asthma and 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory 
problems every year.
  Ms. Rao was also instrumental in reversing the Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission's actions to address pay discrimination. 
Specifically, Ms. Rao eliminated reporting requirements proposed by the 
EEOC that were designed to identify wage discrimination on the basis of 
gender or race. Just last week, a Federal judge ruled that Ms. Rao's 
action was ``arbitrary and capricious,'' which is significant because 
the arbitrary and capricious standard is high and hard to prove. The 
judge concluded that Ms. Rao's rationale for her decision was 
``unsupported by any analysis.''
  Ms. Rao also approved the recently finalized title X ``gag rule'' on 
family planning. Under this rule, any organization that merely refers 
patients to an abortion provider is ineligible for title X funding. 
This will result in many women going without lifesaving cancer 
screenings, and it will reduce access to contraception.
  I asked Ms. Rao about her work dismantling these key regulations. In 
response to me, she downplayed her responsibility, saying that her role 
was simply to ``coordinate regulatory policy.''
  But when answering the questions of Republican Senators, Ms. Rao 
expressed pride in her work. Asked specifically about her ``primary 
contribution to pushing forward with deregulation,'' Ms. Rao responded: 
``There are a lot of regulations on the books that don't have the 
effects that were intended . . . . And, you know, we're looking to pull 
back the things that are no longer working.''
  However, to take just one example, the CAFE standards have been 
working; they have already saved $65 billion in fuel costs for American 
families and prevented the emission of 250 million metric tons of 
carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, her words don't match the actual actions 
under her leadership.
  Moreover, I asked Ms. Rao if she would commit to recusing herself 
from any case involving regulations that she worked on while serving in 
her current position. She refused to make such a commitment.
  This is of great concern as other nominees have understood the 
appearance of bias and unequivocally made such commitments.
  For example, President Trump's first nominee to the DC Circuit, Greg 
Katsas, said, ``Under the governing statute, I would have to recuse 
myself from any case in which, while in the Executive Branch, I had 
participated as a counsel or advisor or expressed an opinion on the 
  In addition to her record of dismantling key regulations that protect 
the environment, consumers, and worker health and safety, Ms. Rao has 
taken a number of extremely controversial positions in articles she has 
written. At Ms. Rao's hearing before the Judiciary Committee, I noted 
that, while the writings that received the most attention are from when 
she was in college, several are relevant to the work she has led in the 
Trump administration and to cases she could hear if confirmed.
  For instance, in addressing the issue of date rape, Ms. Rao wrote 
that if a woman ``drinks to the point where she can no longer choose, 
well, getting to that point was part of her choice.''
  While she has since written a letter expressing that she ``lacked the 
perspective of how [her articles] might be perceived by others,'' her 
record demonstrates that these views seem to persist to today. 
Specifically, Ms. Rao has been personally involved in repealing 
protections for survivors of campus sexual violence. Ms. Rao has 
acknowledged that her office approved controversial new rules on campus 
sexual assault under title IX. Those rules would discourage survivors 
from reporting their assaults, in part because survivors would be 
subjected to cross-examination by their attacker's chosen 
representative. It is safe to assume this change in the guidance will 
be challenged in the DC Circuit.
  In her writings, Ms. Rao also questioned the validity of climate 
change, criticizing certain student groups for promoting ``a dangerous 
orthodoxy that includes the unquestioning acceptance of controversial 
theories like the greenhouse effect,'' which she argued ``have come 
under serious scientific attack.''
  Again, at the hearing, she tried to mitigate these writings saying, 
it was her ``understanding . . . that human activity does contribute to 
climate change.''
  However, during her tenure in the Trump administration, she has led 
the effort to overturn the very regulations that combat human 
contributions to climate change. For example, and as I noted 
previously, she has overseen the administration's efforts to rescind 
the Clean Power Plan and weaken fuel economy standards.
  I am also concerned about Ms. Rao's professional experience. She is 
not admitted to practice before the DC Circuit, the court to which she 
has been nominated. She has never served as a judge, and she has never 
even tried a case.
  In response to a question on the Judiciary Committee's questionnaire 
about the 10 most significant litigated matters that she personally 
handled, Ms. Rao listed only three, and two of these were arbitration 
cases that she worked on while serving as an attorney in the United 
  Ms. Rao's lack of litigation experience therefore raises an important 
question as to her qualifications for this seat and suggests that she 
was nominated not because of her appellate credentials, but because of 
her anti-regulatory record.
  I also have questions about commitments Ms. Rao appears to have made 
on reproductive rights. I don't believe we should have litmus tests for 
judicial nominees, and I know many on the other side agree with me on 
that. Just in 2017, Senator McConnell said, ``I don't think there 
should be a litmus test on judges no matter who the president is.''
  Yet, on a recent radio program, Senator Hawley said that, before he 
could vote for Ms. Rao, he wanted to ``make sure that Neomi Rao is pro-
life. It's as simple as that.''
  Subsequently, Ms. Rao met with Senator Hawley in private and 
presumably assured him that she would be anti-choice. According to 
Senator Hawley, Ms. Rao went further and ``emphasized that substantive 
due process finds no textual support in the Constitution.''
  Rejecting the entire concept of substantive due process means that 
Ms. Rao not only believes Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided, but also 
other landmark cases, like Griswold v. Connecticut, which held that 
States cannot restrict the use of contraception.
  I am also concerned about her written responses to our questions for 
the record. She gave several responses that were misleading at best.
  Ms. Rao wrote that the center she founded at George Mason University 
``did not receive any money from the Koch Foundation.'' She added that 
the center ``did not receive money from an anonymous donor.''
  However, according to public records, in 2016, George Mason 
University received $10 million from the Koch Foundation and $20 
million from an anonymous donor. The grant agreements executing these 
donations clearly state that support for Ms. Rao's center was one of 
the conditions of these multimillion dollar gifts and ``Ms. Rao's 
center benefited from those contributions.''
  Additionally, Senator Whitehouse asked Ms. Rao if she had any contact 
with the Federalist Society when considering potential faculty. Ms. Rao 
responded ``no,'' but clarified the Federalist Society occasionally 
made recommendations through its faculty division.
  What Ms. Rao failed to mention is that she, herself, was a member of 
the faculty division of the Federalist Society for her entire time in 
academia. Given this role, I don't understand why she would claim that 
she had no contact with the Federalist Society when considering faculty 
  In closing, my concerns about Ms. Rao, from her writings to her work 
dismantling regulations to her lack of candor with the committee, are 
simply too great for me to support her nomination to the DC Circuit. I 
will vote

[[Page S1819]]

against her confirmation, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.
  Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, I rise to speak in opposition to the 
nomination of Neomi Rao to serve as a judge on the United States Court 
of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Rao is the latest 
in a string of ultra-conservative judicial nominees who will 
rubberstamp Donald Trump's far-right agenda. Her record portends a 
threat to the rights of women and minorities, to consumer protection 
statutes and regulations, and to the security of our financial 
  Moreover, Ms. Rao utterly lacks the experience to serve on the court 
that many view as second in importance only to the U.S. Supreme Court. 
She practiced for only 3 years as an associate at a large law firm. 
None of her practice was in Federal courts or State courts, before 
administrative agencies, or involved criminal proceedings.
  These are disqualifying reasons on their own, but I rise to speak 
about Ms. Rao's record on the environment, and the contempt she has 
demonstrated for fair, reasonable, and commonsense regulations that 
protect the health of our communities and the safety of our air and 
drinking water.
  Ms. Rao currently serves in the Office of Management and Budget as 
Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, 
OIRA. She is commonly known as the Trump administration's ``regulatory 
czar.'' This role has her in charge of implementing the Trump 
administration's anti-environment, climate-change-denying, and 
polluter-friendly agenda.
  Ms. Rao has called climate change a ``dangerous orthodoxy,'' led the 
Trump administration's efforts to gut fundamental environmental 
protections, and has misused the regulatory review process for partisan 
political purposes.
  The attacks on the environment that Ms. Rao has launched from OIRA 
include rolling back national auto fuel efficiency standards, 
challenging California's Clean Air Act waiver that allowed it to set 
higher fuel efficiency standards, removing safety rules for fertilizer 
plants, and rolling back safety rules put in place for oil rigs after 
the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010.
  During review of a proposed rollback of the Methane and Waste 
Prevention Rule, Ms. Rao's office repeatedly pressured the 
Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, to adopt fossil fuel industry 
requests to significantly reduce natural gas leak inspections. This 
would have doubled the amount of methane released into the atmosphere 
and, according to the EPA's own determination, conflicted with its 
legal obligation to reduce emissions.
  Ms. Rao's office censored language about the impact of climate change 
on child health when reviewing a proposed rollback of the Refrigerant 
Management Program, a program that limited the release of greenhouse 
gases thousands of times more powerful that carbon dioxide.
  Ms. Rao's office approved a proposed EPA rule to roll back public 
health protections that reduce pollution from wood-burning stoves, 
despite the EPA's own admission that the new rule would cost nine times 
as much in harm to public health as it would benefit the industry.
  Ms. Rao has overseen the Trump administration's repeal of regulations 
to address climate change, including a repeal of President Obama's 
historic Clean Power Plan that would have significantly reduced 
greenhouse gas emissions. By comparison, Ms. Rao has approved a 
proposal to replace the Clean Power Plan with a rule that would lead to 
increases in carbon dioxide emissions, asthma attacks, and even death 
from black carbon, mercury, and other dangerous air emissions from 
power plants.
  It is bad enough that, with Donald Trump, we have a climate-change 
denier in the White House, and with Andrew Wheeler, we have a coal 
industry lobbyist running the EPA. We don't need a judge on the DC 
Circuit whose record demonstrates that she is a sympathetic ally to 
their anti-environment agenda. I urge my colleagues to vote no on the 
nomination of Neomi Rao to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  Under the previous order, all postcloture time has expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Rao 
  The yeas and nays have been ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Washington (Mrs. Murray) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 53, nays 46, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 44 Ex.]


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--1

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