SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED--Resumed; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 53
(Senate - March 27, 2019)

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[Pages S2011-S2035]
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   SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED--Resumed

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R. 268, which the 
clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to Calendar No. 15, H.R. 268, a bill 
     making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending 
     September 30, 2019, and for other purposes.

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 1 
minute as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, yesterday, we had debate on the Green 
New Deal. I wonder how many Americans realize that this debate on the 
Green New Deal was not on a bill before the Congress that would become 
law but was on nothing but a nonbinding resolution. Rather than working 
on specific changes in the law, the authors chose vague aspirations for 
dramatic action in the future. That is the difference between an active 
environmentalist and an environmental activist.
  I am proud of my accomplishments that have had a real, positive 
impact on the environment. For instance, I authored the production tax 
credit for wind energy back in 1992. During my leadership on the Senate 
Finance Committee in the 2000s, I oversaw the establishment, 
enhancement, and renewal of numerous clean energy tax incentives.
  My point is not to say that I made some impact on the environment but 
to say that there is a difference between offering a bill and, in turn, 
just a nonbinding resolution, which--the Democrats haven't put forth 
any real law.
  I yield the floor.


                   Recognition Of The Majority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, yesterday, my Democratic colleagues 
in this body offered the American people a crystal-clear picture of 
what the Democratic Party stands for in 2019 and whom it represents. 
Nearly all of our Democratic colleagues wrapped their arms around the 
radical policy they have marketed to the public as the Green New Deal.
  I am sure we will be hearing carefully crafted spin about the 
transparent political maneuvering behind voting present instead of 
voting yes. Not exactly ``Profiles in Courage.'' Not exactly ``Profiles 
in Courage.''
  I am also certain that we will hear more indignant claims that I 
somehow sabotaged the legislation they said they support by actually 
bringing it to a vote. That is a fascinating sight in the Senate--the 
cosponsors of a policy complaining bitterly that they actually had to 
go on record to actually vote for a bill they supposedly support, but 
go on record they did. They can call it voting present. They can call 
it voting yes. But when every single Senate Democrat running for 
President has signed on as a cosponsor, when all of the energy and 
momentum in the Democratic Party is behind this, when just a tiny 
handful of Democratic Senators could bring themselves to vote against 
it on the floor, what we have is a Democratic Party that is fixated on 
satisfying the far left, even at the cost of crushing--crushing--
working-class and middle-class American life as we know it.
  Yesterday, the vast majority of Senate Democrats could not dismiss 
something as crazy as ending the production of American oil, coal, 
natural gas, and nuclear energy within a decade. They couldn't vote 
against that.
  Senate Democrats could not dismiss something as absolutely ludicrous 
as a federally mandated overhaul of every building in America to meet 
the greenness--greenness--standards of Washington bureaucrats.
  Senate Democrats could not reject a plan to take more control over 
where Americans choose to live, how they

[[Page S2012]]

choose to get around, and how they earn a living.
  Senate Democrats could not even reject a plan that, according to 
rough estimates, could raise families' utility bills by hundreds of 
dollars a month and cost the U.S. Government more than the entire 2017 
GDP of the whole world. They couldn't vote against that.
  American manufacturing, American agriculture, industries, jobs, 
houses, farms, buildings, and cars that make up daily life for millions 
of working Americans--Democrats want Washington, DC, to declare war on 
all of that because it doesn't comply with the latest fashions in 
Brooklyn or San Francisco. They want to march the entire country toward 
extreme environmentalist goals that even President Obama's former 
Secretary of Energy has dismissed as impossible. That is what the 
Democratic Party of 2019 apparently has become.
  Remember, their last Presidential nominee bragged, after her loss, 
that at least she had won all the places in America that are 
``optimistic, diverse, dynamic, [and] moving forward.'' We can fill in 
the blanks and see how they view all the other places that millions of 
Americans call home, those places that just aren't enlightened enough 
to vote for Democrats, places where farm jobs and factory jobs really 
matter, places where expensive high-speed rail and electric cars and 
trucks simply will not get the job done, places where soaring electric 
bills represent a kitchen-table crisis and not just a minor 
inconvenience, and places that are actually home to the workers who 
would be, as the resolution breezily puts it, ``affected by the 
transition''--in other words, jobs shipped overseas and workers out in 
the cold. In Democrats' eyes, all of us in these places are just 
backward and out-of-date. People who live in those areas are just 
backward and out-of-date. Our lives need to be transformed by 
Washington, DC, bureaucrats, whether we like it or not.
  The disruption isn't limited to just environmental and energy issues; 
there are so many more things Washington Democrats want to get their 
hands around.
  Democrats are pushing Medicare for None, a scheme that would make it 
unlawful to provide the private health insurance policies that American 
families rely on and force everyone into a brandnew government scheme 
designed, of course, right here in Washington. It is ironic that this 
approach would mean long waiting lists for people with preexisting 
conditions and cause over 180 million Americans to lose the coverage 
they choose and rely on. Republicans are dedicated to protecting 
Americans with preexisting conditions. Republicans are the ones 
fighting for American families as they try to navigate the unaffordable 
wreckage of ObamaCare.
  The story is the same on every issue: Democrats aren't interested in 
security and stability for American families; they are interested in 
Washington redesigning middle-class Americans' lives from scratch so 
they can conform better to leftwing dreams.
  Forty-plus--forty-plus--of our Democratic colleagues, including all 
of their Presidential candidates, could not even bring themselves to 
vote against the obviously absurd socialist wish list we considered 
yesterday. This is what the modern Democratic Party wants to be. These 
are their plans for the country. At least the American people are 
certainly offered a very, very clear contrast.


                            Disaster Funding

  Madam President, on an entirely different matter, in recent months, 
natural disasters have occupied an outsized share of headlines across 
our country. We have seen counties in Alabama and Georgia bear the 
blows of a vicious tornado, and we support the loved ones of those 23 
people whose lives it claimed. We have seen a spate of powerful 
hurricanes tear across the shores of Florida and the Carolinas, leaving 
tens of billions of dollars in damage behind. Flooding has repeatedly 
caused damage in my home State of Kentucky, and, of course, it is 
currently at major disaster levels in communities across the Midwest.
  In some places, the process of rebuilding has already dragged on for 
months. Families have faced the daily struggle of getting things back 
to normal.
  Others are still literally--literally--underwater. Residents are 
wading through the wreckage of homes and businesses. Normal seems a 
long way away.
  From the gulf coast to the heartland, there are Americans calling for 
our help. Here in Congress we must have their back. We must take swift 
and comprehensive action. I am pleased to say, a number of our 
colleagues have crafted legislation that would allow us to answer these 
calls for help from our people.
  The supplemental funding measure advanced by the Senate yesterday 
would deliver over $13 billion to help American communities recover and 
rebuild following recent natural disasters. It would mean more help for 
victims of tornadoes in our Southern States, victims of hurricanes from 
North Carolina to Puerto Rico, and the families in Iowa, Nebraska, 
Missouri, and Kansas, who are still, as we speak, waiting for the 
waters of a truly catastrophic flood to recede. The legislation before 
us would equip the Department of Defense to conduct urgent repairs to 
bases and installations damaged by storms. It would help America's 
farmers and ranchers cover storm-related losses, and it would help get 
local schools, healthcare facilities, and major infrastructure back on 
track more quickly.
  I am proud of the work put in by many Members to prepare this latest 
package so swiftly and thoroughly on behalf of our communities in need. 
We owe thanks to the leadership of Chairman Shelby, along with the 
efforts of Senator Perdue, Senator Isakson, Senator Scott, Senator 
Rubio, and others who made this effort possible. Thanks to them, the 
Senate can take action soon on a comprehensive measure to support our 
fellow citizens.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California is recognized.


               Unanimous Consent Request--H. Con. Res. 24

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of H. Con. Res. 24, 
expressing the sense of Congress that the report of Special Counsel 
Mueller should be made available to the public and to Congress and 
which is at the desk; further, that the concurrent resolution be agreed 
to; the preamble be agreed to; and the motions to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or 
debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, reserving the right to object. As I 
mentioned yesterday, when a similar unanimous consent proposal was 
propounded, I have consistently supported the proposition that the 
special counsel should be allowed to complete his work without 
interference, and I have consistently supported the proposition that 
his report ought to be released, to the greatest extent possible, 
consistent with the law and with the need to protect sources and 
methods and the need to preserve the integrity of ongoing 
investigations, including investigations the special counsel has 
referred to others.
  The Attorney General has committed to as much transparency as 
possible in the release of the report, and he is working with the 
special counsel toward that end. I think we should be consistent in 
letting the special counsel actually finish his work and not just when 
we think it may be politically advantageous to one side or the other 
for him to do so.
  Therefore, Madam President, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is heard.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to make 
remarks as in morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, last Friday, Special Counsel Mueller 
submitted his report to Attorney General Barr. On Sunday, the Attorney 
General provided a four-page summary of that report to Congress and the 
American people.
  Unfortunately, the Attorney General's summary tells us little about 
what Special Counsel Mueller actually found. In fact, according to the 
summary, Mueller's office spent 2 years investigating, with a team of 
19 lawyers and 40 FBI agents and other professional staff. The special 
counsel issued

[[Page S2013]]

more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, 
obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 
50 orders authorizing the use of pen registers, made 13 requests to 
foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 
witnesses. That is quite a record.
  The fact is, a four-page summary cannot possibly illuminate what this 
thorough of an investigation uncovered. I find it so disappointing that 
so many are rushing to judgment without being able to see the full 
report or all of the underlying facts.
  This report should be made public. As has been, I think, well stated, 
not only is the official government interested, but the American public 
is interested in our findings as well.
  We know the Russian Government interfered with the U.S. election. 
That has been reported by the intelligence community and intelligence 
committee--I sit on that committee--and it has been reaffirmed by the 
special counsel's investigation.
  We also know, from court filings, documents, and press reports, that 
the President and at least 17 people associated with his campaign had 
more than 100 contacts with Russia or Russia's intermediaries.
  However, Attorney General Barr's summary provides no information 
about any of these contacts or multiple offers from Russian-affiliated 
individuals to assist the campaign, and that is a quote--``multiple 
offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the campaign''--
referenced in the Attorney General's summary.
  Congress must determine the risks to national security, whether there 
was, in fact, misconduct, whether existing laws are sufficient to deter 
and punish election interference, and what next steps are appropriate. 
The American people also have a right to the truth about what happened 
in the 2016 election and to judge the facts for themselves.
  Special Counsel Mueller also did not draw a conclusion, one way or 
the other, as to whether the President committed a crime through his 
efforts to obstruct the investigation. Instead, Mr. Mueller wrote: 
``While this report does not conclude that the President committed a 
crime, it also does not exonerate him.''
  Since Special Counsel Mueller elected to describe the facts but did 
not decide whether to charge the President with a crime, we don't know 
why he made this decision, but clearly we do need to see the facts for 
ourselves to be able to make a decision about how to proceed and what, 
if any, additional steps are necessary.
  While the Attorney General concluded there was no crime of 
obstruction committed, we knew that was his conclusion 9 months ago 
when he wrote a 10-page memo explaining why the President can't be 
charged with obstruction of justice. Special Counsel Mueller found that 
there is ``evidence on both sides of the question.'' Congress and the 
American people should be able to see that evidence and make a 
determination, including what the appropriate next steps are, if any.
  I am very disappointed that some Republicans are saying Democrats 
need to move on before we even see the report or underlying evidence. 
Many of these Republicans called for eight congressional investigations 
into the Benghazi attack and demanded and received 880,000 pages of 
documents related to the Clinton email investigation. We have also 
already obtained documents related to Mueller's investigation, 
including classified FISA Court applications.
  Of course, unwarranted foot-dragging is really not good, and really 
bad for this country. I had thought we were past that with prior events 
where we did take action, and we were able to see both sides. After 37 
indictments, 6 of whom were indicted Trump advisers, as well as 7 
guilty pleas, surely spending more than a week on understanding what 
happened and asking for the full report is warranted. How can we have 
37 indictments, 6 Trump advisers, as well as guilty pleas, without 
being able to understand what actually happened and not be afforded the 
material to gain that understanding?
  I hope this can be a bipartisan effort to ensure the full record is 
produced and the facts are uncovered. It is really puzzling to me why 
the Republican side would not want to do this. Do they presume guilt on 
their side, and therefore they want to hide it from the public? If you 
don't, why wouldn't you want whatever the true facts are to come out? 
The American people deserve no less.
  On March 14, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling 
for Special Counsel Mueller's report to be made public. The vote was 
unanimous, 420 to 0--420 to 0. Both sides of the House of 
Representatives said this should happen.
  Senator Schumer, our minority leader, has now twice sought unanimous 
consent for the Senate to consider that resolution. These requests have 
been blocked by Republicans. I don't understand that. If the House can 
consider this, why can't we look at what the House has done? This, to 
my knowledge, in the quarter of a century that I have been in this 
body, has never happened before, where the Senate has actually refused 
to look at information.
  I very much hope there can be a change of mind and allow the U.S. 
Senate to do its due diligence in this matter. Hiding the information 
will not solve the problem.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, there is so much going on. So I will be 
addressing several topics today: healthcare, climate change, Mr. 
Mueller's report, and Puerto Rico.


                               Healthcare

  Mr. President, two nights ago, President Donald Trump and Attorney 
General Barr decided to escalate their 2-year war against healthcare to 
a whole new level. They declared that the entire Affordable Care Act, 
and the healthcare for tens of millions of Americans and protections 
for more than 100 million, is unconstitutional and ought to be 
eliminated.
  Now, the President wants to go back to repeal and replace again? Make 
our day. The Republicans here in the Senate tried over and over to deal 
with repeal and replace. They couldn't because they have no 
replacement. The American people spoke loud and clear in the November 
2018 elections and addressed the Republican antics by defeating them 
resoundingly. The American people resoundingly rejected the Republican 
plan of repeal and replace for healthcare. In fact, very few Republican 
Senators would embrace it when they were running as candidates.
  Indeed, if the Republican Party wants to be, in Donald Trump's words, 
``the Party of healthcare,'' God help the middle class. God save the 
middle class. God save people with disabilities. God save the hundreds 
of millions with preexisting conditions.
  If the administration had its way, the elimination of the Affordable 
Care Act would send premiums soaring for millions of Americans. It 
would revoke coverage for tens of millions more who gained coverage 
through Medicaid expansions. It would strike protections for hundreds 
of millions, even people who get coverage through their employer. It 
would tell college students and graduates aged 21 to 26 that they could 
no longer be on their parents' healthcare.
  Let's not forget that this decision would impose billions of dollars 
in new prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare. Does the 
Republican Party really want to raise the price for senior citizens 
when they buy drugs? That is what they are doing. That is what 
President Trump is doing. I wasn't at the lunch where the President 
talked about this, but I didn't hear any reports of any Republican in 
that room rejecting what the President said when he said repeal and 
replace. This Republican Party is the Party of healthcare? Come on, 
now.
  You can't undo all the healthcare for tens of millions, the 
protections for preexisting conditions for hundreds of millions, the 
drug costs for tens of millions of seniors, the protections for 
millions of young college graduates,

[[Page S2014]]

and say you are for healthcare. You just can't.
  Compounding the injury, the President's latest budget wants to cut 
more than $1 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid. In doing so, the 
President is breaking his promise, blatantly and uncaringly. He doesn't 
care about what he promised people. He is breaking his promise to the 
American people that he would do no such thing. This is the party of 
healthcare? The Department of Justice's decision is a moral and 
institutional outrage. Not only would it harm Americans, but it would 
undermine the rule of law.
  Today I am announcing a new plan--a new way for my colleagues to show 
that they mean what they say. I am introducing a simple amendment to 
the pending appropriations bill we are considering here in the Senate. 
It will very simply prohibit the Department of Justice from using any 
funding to litigate the downfall of ACA in the circuit court. Let's see 
how all of our Republican colleagues who said they don't want to take 
away protections for preexisting conditions, who said they don't want 
to take away healthcare for millions, and who said they want to lower 
seniors' drug costs vote on this.
  Will the leader do what he has been so characteristic of doing in the 
majority and block a chance for this amendment? Will any Republican on 
the other side stand up and say: Don't block it, Mr. Leader; we have to 
protect the American people's healthcare.
  We shall see.
  My Republican friends, you are going to have the chance this 
afternoon or when they vote on this bill to show us which side you are 
on.


                             Climate Change

  Mr. President, the Senate finally held the Republican leader's 
promised political stunt vote on the issue of climate change and the 
results did not make the Republicans happy. The stunt was exposed for 
what it was. The whole issue of climate change--for the first time, 
really--was debated here and turned on our Republican colleagues. It 
became clear to the American people that our Republican colleagues have 
no plan for climate change.
  We have heard what they are against. We haven't heard a peep about a 
comprehensive plan that they are for. The attempt by the Republicans to 
make a mockery of the issue completely backfired. Leader McConnell was 
forced to answer some questions that he has ducked for a very long 
time. Whether or not Leader McConnell intended it, the fact is, at the 
very least, that this Chamber is doing something it hasn't done in 
years. It held an actual debate on the topic of climate change.
  McConnell's stunt, again, boomeranged on him and his colleagues, and 
they finally had to discuss this issue rather than do what they have 
liked to do for the last 5 years and sweep it under the rug.
  Yesterday, the day before, today, and continuing in the future, we 
ask our Republican colleagues three simple questions to which they owe 
an answer to their constituents. First, do you believe climate change 
is real? Second, do you believe climate change is caused by human 
activity? And third, do you believe Congress has to act immediately to 
deal with this problem?
  We are finally getting some answers, thanks to McConnell's trick that 
he eventually played on himself. No less than Leader McConnell was 
asked by the press yesterday afternoon at his Ohio Clock press camp if 
he believes in climate change, and he said he believes it is real and 
he believes it is caused by human activity. Well, there is one more 
step if you believe all that: What is your answer--not what you are 
against but what you are for?
  I want to commend Senators Roberts, Alexander, and Murkowski. They 
came to the floor and stated unequivocally and clearly that climate 
change is real and caused by humans. Make no mistake, in this glacial 
atmosphere controlled by the Republicans, when it comes to climate 
change, this is real progress, but, of course, it is not close to 
enough.
  As to the third question, Leader McConnell offered no solution. All 
we got was a sham vote that he voted against. So I ask Leader 
McConnell: What is your plan? Some Republicans now seem to admit the 
challenges of climate change. OK, that is good. Now, what is your 
solution?
  Turning the Senate floor into a campaign ad studio is not a solution 
to climate change, nor is it very effective even for their own 
purposes. Several Senators seemed to suggest that this problem can 
simply be solved by funding for more research. I support funding for 
research. It should be part of any climate plan. Yet I say to my 
friends--particularly, those from coal States--that is not going to 
solve the problem. Dealing with coal sequestration and coal technology 
will, at best, solve 1 percent of the problem. So I say to my friends: 
What about the other 99 percent, because 1 percent isn't enough? 
Temperatures will still go up. The oceans will still rise. The terrible 
kinds of disaster--flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires--that we have had 
will continue. To simply say that you are doing some research into how 
to deal with coal is not close to solving the problem.
  Yesterday was a golden opportunity for this Chamber to come together 
and show the American people that Republicans are serious about 
tackling the threat. I asked to create a bipartisan select committee on 
climate change. Let's get some of the people who are most interested in 
this issue from different ideological stripes and from different places 
in the country to come together and come up with a solution. Of course, 
once again, the Republican leader blocked that genuine attempt. 
Unfortunately, my good friend, the junior Senator from Wyoming, 
objected when we asked for this. Instead, the Senate wasted the 
American people's time on a ridiculous charade featuring a sham vote 
that fooled no one.
  Read the press today. Read the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday's vote 
on the Republican version of the Green New Deal was not just a cynical 
ploy--although it was--it was the ultimate ``tell'' that Republicans, 
for all their talk, have no real plan to combat climate change, no real 
plan on healthcare, and no real plan on climate change--just a lot of 
political stunts.
  I am glad that finally, though--this is the good news here--some of 
my colleagues are starting to see the light and admit that it is real 
and admit that it is caused by human activity. Now, they need to put 
their money where their mouth is and work with us to take action that 
matches the scale of the problem. If our colleagues refuse to join us 
on a bipartisan basis in creating this select committee, we Democrats 
aren't going to wait. We will take action on our own.
  Later today, we will be announcing our own path. We are going on 
offense on climate change, keeping a spotlight on this issue and making 
sure that this Chamber keeps debating this most urgent issue of our 
day.
  We cannot play politics with our children's future any longer. I have 
a new grandson. By the time he grows up, I don't want the waters to be 
rising, the climate to be changing, and the whole world totally 
discombobulated so he can't live a good and happy life. We should all 
feel that way.
  Avoiding the problem, whether it is because special interests are 
saying to avoid it--the Koch brothers, coal industry, oil industry, and 
everyone else--is not serving our country well.


                              Puerto Rico

  Mr. President, the Republicans and the White House are refusing to 
make several minor changes to the disaster bill under consideration 
today--changes that will help Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 
the Northern Mariana Islands.
  Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria a year and a half ago--
devastation we haven't probably seen in any other part of our country. 
It is reported that nearly $91 billion of damage was done by the 
hurricane.
  Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover. These are American 
citizens. Let's not forget that. These are not people from some foreign 
land. Yet it has been publicly reported that the President has told his 
staff to find ways to limit Federal dollars from going to Puerto Rico. 
It was even reported that at yesterday's lunch with Republicans, the 
President complained that Puerto Rico has been getting too much aid. He 
said he ``doesn't want another single dollar going to the island,'' 
even though he has held up the dollars that Democrats and Republicans 
voted for.
  We help Americans when there is a disaster. We don't pick and choose 
because they may not vote for us--or

[[Page S2015]]

vote at all--or because we don't like the elected official. These are 
people who are hurting.
  What the President is doing with Puerto Rico is disgraceful but 
typical of his view to divide and pick winners and losers. What the 
President is doing is unacceptable and un-American.
  I urge my Republican colleagues to come to the table, to accept the 
commonsense changes we have proposed to help the territories recover--
the same proposals that passed the House--and to help us pass a 
disaster package that addresses the needs not of some but of all 
disaster survivors and that addresses the needs of all Americans who 
are affected, not just those he happens to like. That is not what any 
President before has done. That is not what America does.


                             Mueller Report

  Mr. President, finally, I want to say a few words on the report by 
Special Counsel Mueller.
  From the start, the Democrats have argued that nothing short of full 
transparency will satisfy the American people's right to know what 
happened during Russia's attack on our election. That is why it is 
unacceptable that Mr. Barr, who reached his initial conclusions 
quickly--in 48 hours--now needs several weeks, he says, to review the 
report, and there are reports that he may now only release a summary of 
that finding.
  First, let me talk about the time.
  Attorney General Barr moved like a hare to get out the summary he 
wrote with the purpose of exonerating the President. He is now moving 
like a tortoise to issue Mueller's full report. People are going to 
ask: What the heck is going on? Is there some political motivation 
here? Americans are entitled to see the full report, not a summary.
  We all know the intelligence community can redact parts of the 
report--small they will be--to protect secret sources, but we also 
expect the rest of the report to be issued, not a summary. Mr. Barr has 
issued one brief summary already, and many Americans don't trust that 
summary because they want to see the whole report before jumping to a 
conclusion. So we need the report now, without delay. We can't have 
political considerations enter into it. ``Oh, we will delay it for 
several weeks to let things cool off.'' I hope that is not what is 
happening.
  In any case, we need the report now. This is too important for Mr. 
Barr to be playing politics. He can remove any cloud of suspicion by 
releasing the full report as the President and members of his party 
call for. When we read reports that Barr only wants to release a 
summary and that Leader McConnell is unsupportive of transparency, 
something doesn't smell right.
  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. THUNE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted on 
the Green New Deal--the Democrats' $93 trillion socialist fantasy.
  How did the Democrats vote on this deal? They voted present. That is 
right. There were 43 out of 47 Members of the Democratic caucus who 
voted present.
  This may be the first time in my experience here that I have ever 
seen a piece of legislation and people who authored that legislation--
in this case, there were 13 Democrats who authored the bill, 
cosponsored the bill, introduced the bill, and indicated that action on 
the issue needed to be taken now--proceed to vote present. I have never 
seen that in my time either in the House or in the Senate. There was 
always an opportunity, as the Presiding Officer knows, in the House of 
Representatives, when you voted by electronic machine, to punch the 
yellow ``present'' option. You had red or green or present, but very 
rarely was that used. Yet I don't think I have ever seen, in the U.S. 
Senate, 13 U.S. Senators file a bill, introduce a bill, cosponsor a 
bill, talk about how important it is that we deal with it and deal with 
it immediately, and then proceed to vote present. That is what happened 
yesterday.
  I want to step back for a minute and talk about the Green New Deal--
the Democrats' plan to put the government in charge of everything from 
your energy to your healthcare.
  The costs of this plan would be staggeringly high. One think tank 
released its first estimate that found that the Green New Deal would 
cost somewhere between $51 trillion and $93 trillion over a 10-year 
period--between $51 trillion and $93 trillion. The 2017 gross domestic 
product for the entire world--the whole planet--only came to $80.7 
trillion, which is more than $10 trillion less than the Democrats are 
proposing to spend on the Green New Deal. This $93 trillion is more 
than the amount of money the U.S. Government has spent in its entire 
history.
  So how do the Democrats plan to cover that $93 trillion? Well, they 
don't actually have a plan. The Green New Deal resolution itself makes 
a vague reference to ``community grants, public banks, and other public 
financing.''
  Then, of course, the Democrats have their favorite funding source, 
which is taxing the rich. The problem is, there is no way taxing the 
rich would even come close to paying for the Green New Deal. One 
analyst found that three Democratic proposals--the New York 
Representative's proposed 70-percent top tax rate, the Massachusetts 
Senator's wealth tax, and the Hawaii Senator's financial transactions 
tax--would together pay for approximately 4 percent of the Green New 
Deal.
  Taxing every millionaire in the United States at a 100-percent rate 
for 10 years would bring in only a tiny fraction of $93 trillion. 
Taxing every household making more than $200,000 a year at a 100-
percent rate for 10 years wouldn't get the Democrats anywhere close to 
$93 trillion. Taxing every family making more than $100,000 a year at a 
100-percent rate for 10 years would still leave the Democrats far short 
of $93 trillion.
  The Green New Deal is not a plan that can be paid for by taxing the 
rich. This plan would be paid for on the backs of working families. The 
size of the tax hikes that would be required to even begin to finance 
this massive government expansion would sharply diminish Americans' 
standard of living and usher in a new era of diminished prosperity, and 
I haven't even mentioned the freedom of choice Americans would lose and 
give up under the Green New Deal.
  Your car's engine would likely soon become illegal. Washington 
planners could force you to rebuild your house to meet strict, new, 
energy-efficient guidelines. Your ability to travel by air might be 
restricted or entirely eliminated.
  The Green New Deal doesn't limit itself to massive government 
expansion in the area of energy.
  Among other things, it would also put the government in charge of 
your healthcare. So, if you like your health plan, get ready to give it 
up. Then there are the millions of current energy jobs that would be 
lost under this plan. Plus, there would likely be significant job 
losses in other industries as small businesses and larger companies 
would find themselves being unable to cope with the Green New Deal's 
mandates and taxes.
  For American families, the Green New Deal would mean smaller 
paychecks, fewer jobs, fewer choices, and a permanently reduced 
standard of living.
  You don't even have to take my word for it. Here is what the AFL-CIO, 
which represents 12\1/2\ million workers in a number of unions, had to 
say about the Green New Deal:

       The Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific 
     solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the 
     critical sectors of our economy. It is not rooted in an 
     engineering-based approach and makes promises that are not 
     achievable or realistic. 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.

  Let me repeat that:

       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.

  Again, these are quotes from the AFL-CIO. That is what it is saying 
about the Democrats' Green New Deal.
  The American people have a right to know where the Democrats stand on

[[Page S2016]]

this massive government expansion. Are they for it or are they against 
it? Their Presidential candidates have embraced this plan. There were 
13 Senate Democrats, as I mentioned, who sponsored the original Green 
New Deal resolution in the Senate, and there were 92 Democrats who 
sponsored the original Green New Deal resolution in the House. Yet, 
yesterday, just four Members of the Democratic caucus had the courage 
to make their positions clear.
  As for the rest, well, it is actually understandable that most 
Democrats didn't want to go on the record as supporting, perhaps, the 
most irresponsible and costly resolution ever to come before the U.S. 
Senate. It is pretty difficult to tell your constituents that you 
support cutting their paychecks, eliminating millions of their jobs, 
and drastically reducing their choices.
  I am sure there are more than four Members of the Democratic caucus 
who don't support this plan, but the Democrats are more and more 
enthralled with the far-left wing of their party, and, clearly, some 
Democrats were afraid to actually reject this plan with their votes.
  So what happened? There were 43 out of 47 Members of the Democratic 
caucus here in the U.S. Senate who left the American people in limbo 
about their views, and they ended up voting present.
  I would love to think that every Democrat who voted present yesterday 
has realized how damaging the Green New Deal would be to working 
families. But the scary truth is that while some Democrats may have 
voted present simply because they wanted to avoid angering the far-left 
wing of their party, other Democrats really believe--they really 
believe--in the Green New Deal.
  The junior Senator from Vermont was asked if the Green New Deal goes 
too far. His answer? ``No. You cannot go too far on the issue of 
climate change.''
  Really? You can't go too far? Not even if you saddle millions of 
families with exorbitant taxes and other costs just for miniscule 
gains? Not even if you permanently damage the American economy?
  One of the Green New Deal's authors has actually stated that it is a 
legitimate question whether people should have children because of 
climate change. Is that something the Green New Deal supporters want to 
legislate too? Really?
  The Democrats' Green New Deal extremism is disturbing, and I am 
deeply disappointed in yesterday's vote because the American people 
deserve to hear where every Democrat stands on this dangerous plan. 
Americans deserve to know whether Democrats are willing to hike their 
taxes, eliminate their jobs, and diminish drastically their freedoms.
  I hope more Democrats will join the four who rejected this massive 
government overreach and will work with Republicans to develop 
responsible solutions to protect our environment--solutions that don't 
hurt American families.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.


                          Celebrating Vaisakhi

  Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I rise today to mark a very special day 
for the Sikh religion and the Sikh community across America and in 
Pennsylvania--and this is the holiday of Vaisakhi.
  Although the youngest among the major religions of the world, Sikhism 
has emerged as a distinct socio-religious community. By the numbers, it 
is, I believe, the sixth largest religion in the world, with 30 million 
adherents worldwide, and approximately 700,000 Sikhs have chosen to 
make their home in the United States.
  A large number of those Sikhs live in my State of Pennsylvania. In 
fact, there are several Sikh places of worship across Pennsylvania. 
They are known as a Gurdwara, and they are located in and around 
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, and Erie.
  Sikhism itself was founded in the 15th century in South Asia on the 
principles of equality, justice, and respect for all human beings.
  Sikhs pray twice a day--in the morning and in the evening--and they 
pray for the welfare of mankind.
  Over a period of 239 years, Sikhism was established by 10 gurus. The 
first among them was Guru Nanak. These gurus were learned, spiritual 
guides devoted to improving the moral well-being of their followers and 
the communities in which they lived.
  In 1699, the 10th and final guru--Gobind Singh--founded a fellowship 
of soldier saints called the Khalsa Panth. Today, Sikhs celebrate this 
occasion with the holiday that they call Vaisakhi. This year, Sikhs 
across the United States and around the world will celebrate Vaisakhi 
on April 14.
  For Sikhs, Vaisakhi is a very special time. It is a special time to 
celebrate and share their faith with their friends and their neighbors. 
The occasion is marked by dancing and parades. Everyone is welcome to 
attend these celebrations, and they attract Americans from all 
religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.
  Vaisakhi celebrations are a really vibrant affair, and members of the 
Sikh community wear bright orange or yellow festive clothes to mark the 
occasion. These colors represent the spirit and the joy of the 
celebration.
  It is interesting to note that when Vaisakhi is celebrated in the 
Sikh homeland of Punjab, the gold and yellow wheat fields are ready to 
be harvested.
  This year, the Sikh Coordination Committee East Coast has organized a 
parade in Washington, DC, on April 6 to commemorate Vaisakhi as 
National Sikh Day. The theme of the parade is Sikh identity, Sikh 
culture, and the Sikh way of life. Thousands of Sikhs from all over the 
United States will be here participating and celebrating.
  I came here this morning because I want to add my voice as one 
wishing the Sikh community great luck and great joy at this parade and 
in the very joyous celebration of Vaisakhi.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.


                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, yesterday, the Senate had a significant 
vote. Senators made their voices heard on the Green New Deal, and after 
a lot of grandstanding from those Senate Democrats who initially rushed 
to support this proposal, not a single one voted for the proposal.
  However, my Republican colleagues and I didn't vote present. We don't 
believe that is what our constituents sent us here to do. Instead, we 
voted against the socialist grab bag of policies that would set us back 
an estimated $93 trillion and would bankrupt the State of Texas. To be 
clear, voting no on the Green New Deal isn't a referendum on the issue 
of lowering carbon emissions or finding cleaner energy; it is saying no 
to the litany of far-left proposals that would leave American families 
footing the bill to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars each.

  The Green New Deal promised things like free higher education. You 
might have thought this was really about the environment; well, it was 
a grab bag of government handouts and takeovers. It also included 
Medicare for All, which means that if you have employer-provided health 
insurance, you couldn't keep it. Even President Obama said: If you like 
what you have, you can keep it. But not now--not with this new, radical 
group of Democrats who now say: Forget that promise. We are going to 
take what you have, even if you like it.
  There, of course, was the guarantee of jobs. I noted yesterday that 
the only thing missing from the Green New Deal is free beer and pizza 
for everybody.
  It has been estimated that implementing the full list of the Green 
New Deal's promises would cost the average American family $65,000 a 
year, which is well over what many Americans make annually.
  These ludicrous proposals were pitched as a way to uplift the middle 
class and create jobs, but in reality, they would have undone the 
economic gains we made these past 2 years under the Trump 
administration. We could say goodbye to the record-low unemployment 
levels and the growth we have been seeing. What middle-class American 
do you know who could afford an extra $65,000 each year to pay the 
Federal Government for the litany of Green New Deal line items, such as 
tearing down every building and replacing it with a green version?
  Even the liberal AFL-CIO's energy committee had this to say:


[[Page S2017]]


  

       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 to go unanswered.

  This is the AFL-CIO.
  Instead of the Green New Deal, we should follow the Texas model of 
innovation. But it is not just Texas; there are some great private 
sector initiatives taking place that deal with this concern about 
CO2 emissions in a much more practical, rational, free 
market way. We have a thriving energy sector in Texas, as the Presiding 
Officer knows, and it isn't stifled by overregulation. That is one 
reason it is thriving.
  The Green New Deal would force us to rely on foreign energy sources 
because we wouldn't be able to produce enough here in the United States 
to keep the lights on. But with investment in innovative solutions and 
new technologies, we can ensure that our country can remain energy 
independent and deal with legitimate concerns about the environment.
  I applaud our colleagues who voted against this legislation to ensure 
that the American people won't have to pick up the tab for the far-left 
wing agenda of our Democratic colleagues. Conversely, I stand ready to 
work on real, achievable solutions and to find ways to reduce emissions 
and lessen our environmental footprint without overregulating and 
overcharging.


                            Deer Park, Texas

  On another note, most people across the country hadn't heard of Deer 
Park, TX, until last Sunday. They were probably more familiar with 
nearby Houston, TX. But last Sunday morning was when the first reports 
came rolling out that residents were forced to shelter in place when a 
chemical tank at the Intercontinental Terminals Company, or ITC, caught 
fire.
  ITC's tanks hold petrochemical liquids and gases used to produce 
gasoline--all highly flammable and hazardous. As many could have 
predicted, but certainly no one had hoped, the fire spread quickly to a 
nearby tank. By Wednesday, seven tanks were aflame. Firefighters fought 
for 3 days to extinguish the massive flames, and just when it seemed as 
if the fire was under control, it flared again last Friday, burning 
through 11 storage tanks in total. A massive fireball and billowing 
plumes of smoke could be seen for miles. This didn't stop, as new tanks 
caught fire, forcing schools and businesses to close and residents to 
rightfully question their safety.
  Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there. By the end of the week, 
as ITC drained chemicals from the remaining exposed tanks, the 
containment wall surrounding the tank farm burst. Foam used to fight 
the fires and contaminants leaked, forcing a portion of the Houston 
Ship Channel to close and bringing a new round of health risks 
associated with the release of airborne and liquid toxins.
  Earlier this week, officials from ITC said that cleanup crews had 
removed more than 33,000 barrels of an oily mixture from the ship 
channel. That is 1 million gallons, which is more than I can even 
imagine.
  The chemical fire and resulting chemical spill not only brought grave 
health concerns to those who live and work around Deer Park and 
pollution to the air and environment, it also ground businesses in the 
region to a halt. Because of the chemical spill, nearly 7 miles of the 
Houston Ship Channel closed for 3 days, cutting off this booming area 
of our economy from the waterway and delaying shipment of goods up and 
down the ship channel. Some estimates show that the region's oil and 
gas and petrochemical sectors lost $1 billion in revenue as a result of 
the closure. This ship channel sees hundreds of shipments a day, with 
tankers and freighters moving various products and goods up and down 
the shoreline to businesses surrounding the Houston area.
  The effects from the closure of facilities and companies in the area 
will require a costly and lengthy recovery. Folks along the ship 
channel in Southeast Houston will also be concerned about health 
consequences until we can find out more answers.
  The ITC's tanks contain chemicals commonly used in the production of 
gasoline--xylene, naphtha, pyrolysis gasoline. Naphtha, in particular, 
can irritate and burn the nose and throat when inhaled. When exposed to 
fire, naphtha can produce poisonous gases. The health effects of these 
chemicals are of grave concern, but it is not just the short-term 
effects--the irritation and burning--that are concerning; contact with 
these chemicals can potentially have lasting, long-term effects, making 
it vital to discern the exact level of exposure to these chemicals 
caused as a result of the fire.
  It is important that we get to the bottom of this, and I am proud 
that our local, State, and Federal officials have quickly jumped into 
action. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the 
Environmental Protection Agency, local responders, and the Coast Guard 
were all on the scene quickly and have been working around the clock 
since the start of the first fire. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board and 
the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, have opened 
investigations into the fires. The Environmental Protection Agency, 
along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, are 
conducting continuous air quality checks.
  I appreciate the swift action by local, State, and Federal agencies 
to protect my constituents in the region and conduct investigations to 
ensure that we can prevent this type of event from ever occurring 
again. I will monitor those investigations closely as they progress and 
will ensure they have the resources they need in order to complete 
their work.
  Sometimes when people hear us talk about regulation, they act as if 
our side of the aisle believes that no regulation is appropriate, which 
is entirely false. It is important to have regulations to protect the 
public safety of the American people and particularly in places around 
tank farms like this one in Deer Park. I think it is very important 
that any existing regulations--that we make sure those regulations and 
laws are enforced.
  As part of this investigation, I hope we will find out that there 
were no violations of existing regulations and laws, but if there were, 
then the people responsible should be held accountable. I am not going 
to prejudge at this early point before the investigation takes place 
whether there is any legal responsibility or whether anybody did things 
they should not have done consistent with the laws and regulations that 
do exist, but I will say that once the investigation is complete, if 
there were violations of regulations designed to protect the public 
safety or laws passed by Congress and signed by the President, that I 
will be the first to demand there be accountability for violation of 
those regulations and those laws.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                                H.R. 268

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, on January 16, more than 2 months ago, the 
House passed a supplemental appropriations bill, H.R. 268, which 
addressed the needs of all communities impacted by recent natural 
disasters. The House-passed disaster bill provided assistance to help 
people impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael, the Hawaii 
volcanoes, and the California wildfires. It provided aid to the people 
in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Guam, who were 
struck last year by typhoons, and the people of American Samoa, who 
were devastated by Cyclone Gita. It continued assistance for Puerto 
Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to help them continue their recovery 
from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. They passed it 2 months ago.
  Instead of moving quickly on this package to help those Americans in 
need, Senate Republicans, at the President's insistence, held up the 
House bill because it included assistance for Americans in Puerto Rico. 
Instead of giving aid to the people who need it, the President has 
chosen to delay it over petty grudges and political concerns.
  The President's refusal to help Americans in Puerto Rico not only 
delays the important disaster bill that many of the other States are 
relying on to

[[Page S2018]]

speed their recovery efforts, it discriminates against the over 3 
million Americans who reside in Puerto Rico, and that is wrong. We have 
never--certainly in my years here--had disaster bills in which we say 
that Americans in this State can be helped, but we do not like the 
Americans in this State, so they cannot be helped.
  This is the United States of America. We are supposed to take care of 
all of our citizens when there is a crisis, not pick and choose who 
gets assistance based on who we are aligned with politically. I have 
voted for disaster relief for red States, for blue States, for purple 
States because they are part of the United States of America. I feel 
that as a country we have to come together to help each other when 
there is a disaster.
  Certainly Republican Senators and Democratic Senators helped the 
State of Vermont when we were hit with a disaster a few years ago. 
Well, today it is Puerto Rico, and all of the Americans in Puerto Rico 
need our help.
  A year and a half ago, it was hit by two back-to-back category 5 
hurricanes. It is rare that anybody ever gets hit by two back-to-back 
category 5 hurricanes. An estimated 2,975 Americans lost their lives. 
Homes were demolished, communities destroyed. It was an extraordinary 
disaster, and it requires a commensurate extraordinary response.
  I am glad we are finally moving to debate on the House-passed bill 
because we need that. We actually ought to just pass the House-passed 
bill, but, unfortunately, the Republicans say they will file a 
substitute that will take us backward, not forward.
  Again, at the President's insistence, it eliminates critical 
assistance for the Americans in Puerto Rico provided for in the House 
bill, as well as assistance to other U.S. territories. It eliminates 
State-revolving funds that would help Puerto Rico rebuild damaged water 
systems and ensure they are resilient and can stand up to future 
storms. It eliminates a 100-percent cost-share for FEMA that would help 
cash-strapped Puerto Rico access Federal aid. It eliminates money to 
help Americans ensure that Puerto Rico is able to rebuild their 
electrical grid. It eliminates $68 million in Medicaid assistance for 
American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, whose programs 
face serious shortages due to the increased need.
  Some of my friends on the other side of the aisle claim that this 
money is not needed. They point to previous disaster supplemental bills 
and argue that we have already addressed the needs of Puerto Rico, and 
we should move on. Well, that is untrue. We provided Puerto Rico with 
significant assistance, as we should have, given the extraordinary 
nature of the storms that ravaged the island and given the extent of 
the devastation, but as damage assessments come in and the full picture 
of the devastation becomes clear, we must continually reassess and 
provide them what is needed to fully recover.
  I remember when this first happened, back when the White House was 
saying there may be two or three or four or a dozen fatalities in 
Puerto Rico. Well, they were off by thousands. There were 2,975 people 
who lost their lives, not just a handful.
  We don't simply appropriate the same amount of money to each State or 
territory that is hit with a disaster no matter the level of damage. We 
look at each place, and we provide what is needed for the people to 
rebuild their homes, their communities, and their lives.
  I will give you one example of why one size does not fit all. With 
Katrina, we in Congress passed six supplemental disaster packages--not 
one, six--to help rebuild Louisiana and Mississippi because the storm 
was unlike anything we had ever seen. They needed the assistance coming 
in over time. I supported the help for Louisiana and Mississippi. No 
one at the time would have argued to stop after the first tranche of 
funding we provided and then leave them to fend for themselves, because 
they are Americans. We saw there were more problems, and we added 
money.
  This is no different.
  The President reportedly came to the Capitol and met with Senators 
yesterday and made his case as to why we should not continue aid to 
Puerto Rico. Let me repeat. The President of the United States--
something I have never seen in my 45 years here with either a 
Republican or Democratic President--affirmatively argued that we should 
refrain from helping American citizens in need.
  Of course, like so many things the President has said, it was not 
based in fact or reality. He claimed that Puerto Rico had received over 
$90 billion in Federal assistance, but it has not. He knows it has not. 
Why does he keep saying this when he has to know that what he is saying 
is not true? He claims it is using Federal money to pay off its debt. 
It has not. The President knows that is not true. Why does he keep 
saying it?
  Some here in this body have claimed that Puerto Rico has in the bank 
$20 billion in previously appropriated money that they have failed to 
spend, and they argue that we should provide no more until it is drawn 
down. I do not know if they are getting their talking points from the 
White House or what, but that is simply false.
  The bulk of the money to which they refer, which we Republicans and 
Democrats alike voted to appropriate over 1 year ago, is being held up 
by the administration in redtape and bureaucracy. It seems as though it 
is being purposely held back because of inaction by this 
administration. Billions of dollars that Congress approved over 1 year 
ago for disaster recovery efforts remain in the U.S. Treasury in 
Washington, DC, not where they belong--assisting the American citizens 
of Puerto Rico. There is no excuse for that.
  They cannot have it both ways. The administration cannot 
simultaneously hold up recovery dollars for Puerto Rico and then point 
to Puerto Rico's failure to spend it as an excuse not to provide 
additional assistance. In other words, they are holding these billions 
away from Puerto Rico, saying: You cannot have it, but why are you not 
spending it?
  Come on. You cannot do that. You cannot claim they are not spending 
the money that is being held back from them, and then say that is why 
they do not need additional assistance.
  Yesterday, Senator Schumer and I sent a letter to the administration 
about these bureaucratic delays and demanded answers.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a copy of a 
letter dated March 25, 2019, to Mick Mulvaney, Peter Gaynor, and Ben 
Carson.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                  U.S. Senate,

                                   Washington, DC, March 25, 2019.
     Hon. Mick Mulvaney,
     Director, Office of Management and Budget,
     Washington, DC.
     Hon. Peter Gaynor,
     Acting Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, 
         Washington, DC.
     Hon. Ben Carson,
     Secretary, Department of Housing
     and Urban Development, Washington, DC.
       Dear Director Mulvaney, Honorable Gaynor, and Honorable 
     Carson, Last November, we wrote to express our concern about 
     the significant and unsupported delays related to the 
     immediate and long-term recovery needs of Puerto Rico in the 
     aftermath of catastrophic Hurricanes Irma and Maria. 
     Specifically, we highlighted the lack of effective Federal 
     interagency coordination under the leadership of the Office 
     of Management and Budget (OMB), which has and continues to 
     impede on the Commonwealth's ability to finalize emergency 
     repairs through FEMA's Public Assistance categories A and B 
     programs, and subsequently its efforts to move toward 
     permanent reconstruction. These delays are not unique to 
     FEMA, as the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
     (HUD) has also been affected by OMB's micromanagement and 
     excessive bureaucracy as they attempt to administer and 
     oversee Puerto Rico's Community Development Block Grant--
     Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding. The lack of leadership 
     and coordination, combined with delays in meeting the basic 
     needs of the island, more than eighteen months after 
     receiving a presidential disaster declaration, has left far 
     too many children and elderly citizens in unhealthy and 
     unsafe conditions, families in severely damaged homes, and 
     communities without adequate infrastructure to sustain a 
     decent quality of life.
       The response that we received, several months later, was 
     wholly inadequate and contained no information to respond to 
     our concerns. Specifically, we raised concerns about OMB's 
     failure to work expeditiously with HUD to finalize and issue 
     a Federal Register Notice for nearly $16 billion in CDBG-DR 
     mitigation funding that Congress appropriated in February 
     2018, of which $8.3 billion has been allocated to Puerto 
     Rico. As a result, this critical source of funding remains 
     unavailable for obligation more than a year after it was 
     appropriated, and nearly

[[Page S2019]]

     a year and half after the historic hurricanes made landfall. 
     The purpose of the mitigation allocation was to provide not 
     only Puerto Rico, but more than 15 other cities, states and 
     territories the resources necessary to rebuild their homes, 
     businesses, and critical infrastructure to updated 
     construction standards in order to prevent the same level of 
     destruction in future disaster events. As you are probably 
     aware, some reconstruction has started to take place, but 
     without the availability of the mitigation funding, Puerto 
     Rico is unable to strategically adopt these improved 
     standards, or leverage this critical resource toward a 
     comprehensive island-wide rebuild strategy. Further delays in 
     the availability of funding is unacceptable. We insist 
     that you finalize the mitigation notice in the next 30 
     days.
       It has also come to our attention that several issues have 
     reached a critical point with FEMA that are hindering the 
     recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as 
     well. FEMA needs to work with the territories to develop ways 
     to expedite approvals and obligations of funding, especially 
     for priority projects. In addition, FEMA needs to develop 
     clear policies with regard to the issues laid out below, 
     share them openly with Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, 
     and Congress, and ensure that they are being implemented in a 
     consistent way.
       First, finalizing the consistent implementation of the 
     ``pre-disaster condition'' language from section 20601 of the 
     Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 is paramount. The intent of 
     this provision was to facilitate the rebuilding of 
     infrastructure, including the electric grid, in a way that is 
     resilient to future weather events, reduces the need for 
     future federal disaster assistance, and makes use of 
     technology and modern standards when rebuilding. Congress 
     specifically wished to avoid a situation where the islands 
     would be forced to simply plug new pieces into antiquated 
     infrastructure, which would only lead to more frequent 
     failures in the future. It has come to our attention that 
     there is a lack of consistency and transparency in the way 
     that FEMA is implementing this language, and that FEMA's 
     interpretation of this language may be contrary to 
     congressional intent. For example, recent news reports 
     indicate that FEMA has reduced its cost estimate for a 
     Project Worksheet covering rebuilding of a number of schools 
     because upgrades to meet industry standards were removed from 
     the scope of work, after previously being discussed by the 
     stakeholders involved. FEMA must immediately rectify this 
     situation and issue clear guidance and expectations on its 
     approach to implementing both the ``pre-disaster condition'' 
     and the ``industry standards'' portion of the Bipartisan 
     Budget Act. If FEMA needs additional guidance from Congress, 
     we must be informed of this need immediately.
       Second, we are also concerned about changing FEMA guidance 
     and approaches leading to substantial replication of efforts 
     and excessive delays in approving and obligating funding for 
     priority projects in the territories. For example, according 
     to representatives of the Commonwealth, in March of 2018 FEMA 
     determined that the level of damage to the Vieques Hospital 
     justified replacement of the building, instead of repair. 
     Accordingly, in August of 2018, a scope of work was agreed 
     upon by the stakeholders involved, and coordination between 
     FEMA, COR3, and the municipality began on the cost estimate 
     of the replacement project. However, two months later, FEMA 
     representatives informed COR3 and the municipality that they 
     intended to review the validity of the replacement decision 
     that FEMA had previously made, sending the agreed upon 
     decision to the Expert Panel for their review. A year after 
     the initial decision to replace the building was made, the 
     fate of the Vieques Hospital project remains in question, and 
     it appears that no real progress has been made in addressing 
     the long-term health care needs of the people of Vieques, who 
     continue to rely on a mobile clinic.
       Last, when FEMA provides disaster assistance, the receiving 
     State or Territory is responsible for implementing financial 
     controls to ensure that funds obligated for a project by FEMA 
     are drawn down by the grantee for the approved purpose. 
     Currently, FEMA applies additional fiscal oversight 
     requirements specifically to Puerto Rico, which require the 
     Commonwealth to provide detailed documentation to validate 
     that any costs incurred with disaster assistance funding are 
     for allowable expenses. FEMA manually validates a percentage 
     of those actions. Negotiations to end these additional 
     oversight measures and expedite the processing of recovery 
     funding have been ongoing; however, it's unclear what 
     remaining steps Puerto Rico must take to assume full 
     responsibility of their recovery assistance. Until FEMA 
     approves the transition of fiscal oversight to Puerto Rico, 
     these extraordinary measures will stay in place. FEMA must be 
     clear about the changes Puerto Rico needs to make in order to 
     properly manage its own recovery expenses and eliminate any 
     unnecessary bureaucratic steps.
       As the territories continue to recover, it is crucial that 
     FEMA address these issues and move forward with a stronger 
     sense of urgency and consideration for the unique issues that 
     they face. A recovery of this scale requires consistency, 
     transparency, and constant coordination with territory 
     officials.
       Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were hit by back-
     to-back Category 5 hurricanes, and the damage to the islands 
     was catastrophic. An estimated 2,975 people lost their lives, 
     homes were demolished, and communities destroyed. This 
     extraordinary disaster requires a commensurate extraordinary 
     response. We have a responsibility to come to the aid of 
     fellow U.S. citizens in times of need, and this is certainly 
     one of those times.
       We ask for a detailed response providing an update on the 
     status of these issues and the projected timeframe for their 
     final resolution be provided without delay. Please respond by 
     April 5, 2019.
           Sincerely,
     Patrick Leahy,
       U.S. Senator.
     Charles E. Schumer,
       U.S. Senator.

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, yesterday the inspector general of the 
Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it will 
review whether the White House has deliberately interfered with the 
timely distribution of hurricane funds to Puerto Rico. That is pretty 
amazing. I have never seen a case that I remember where the inspector 
general of Housing and Urban Development had to look into whether the 
White House was deliberately interfering with funds to go to a disaster 
area.
  I know firsthand what it is like to see a State hit by disaster. 
Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont in 2011, and it devastated our State. 
People lost their homes, roads were washed out, bridges destroyed, and 
communities forever changed. I saw bridges twisted like a child's toy. 
I saw farmhouses that had been on the north side of the river, which 
were now on the south side of the river, upside down and destroyed. I 
saw farmers' fields wiped out, businesses ruined, schools destroyed, 
roads necessary to bring medical supplies into villages gone. I know 
firsthand. I know as a lifelong Vermonter that in these moments the 
Federal Government is a critical partner in the effort to recover and 
rebuild.
  It is the same in other States--North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Florida, Texas, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are 
all counting on us to get this bill across the finish line.
  That is why, 3 weeks ago, I put a compromise on the table to create a 
path forward. I did it in my capacity as chairman of the Appropriations 
Committee. It was a reasonable proposal. It does not restore everything 
that had been eliminated from the House bill, but it was a compromise 
that focused on the most critical proposals and the immediate needs. 
Had Senate Republicans accepted this proposal, we likely would have 
seen quick passage of a disaster bill in a bipartisan fashion in both 
the Senate and the House. It actually would have eliminated the need 
for a conference and would have gotten the assistance to the people who 
need it sooner rather than later.
  Unfortunately, it appears the President will not accept even this 
reasonable offer. It makes me think about when he closed down the 
government for over 1 month because the Congress gave him only $1.6 
billion for a wall, and then he reopened the government when we gave 
him $1.3 billion. I don't know if they actually read the proposals and 
bills that we sent.

  In this case, I think it is obvious what is happening. The President 
is willing to endanger the entire disaster package for all of the 
United States because he wants to pick winners and losers. When there 
is a disaster, there are no winners and losers. Americans come together 
to help everybody. Yet he wants to say who gets assistance in the wake 
of disasters based on his own arbitrary standards and political 
grudges. That is unacceptable. Where is it going to end? Which State 
will the President disfavor next? Remember that just a few months ago, 
the President, in a tweet, threatened to cut off aid to California as 
they were reeling from some of the worst fires in recent history. He 
sent a tweet telling millions of Americans he doesn't want to help. We 
are an independent branch of government. We have to have a responsible 
party in the room, and it should be Congress.
  I think back to when Vermont was hit by disaster and hurricane 
flooding. As I was traveling around the State the day after, surveying 
the damage, I was receiving emails from a number of Senators, 
Republicans and Democrats, saying: Vermont stood with us when we had a 
disaster; we will stand with you today.

[[Page S2020]]

  That is what I want to do. I want to help, just as I voted to help 
Louisiana six times and Mississippi for their damage. It wasn't for a 
political benefit for Vermont, but it was because we are Americans and 
we all stand together.
  To think that we might consider a disaster package that picks and 
chooses which Americans are helped when they have all suffered equally 
from disasters, and to say: OK, you, American, we favor you, you get 
money. You, American, I don't like you. So you are not going to get 
money. That is not the American way. That is not the way the Senate 
should be.
  Let's pass a bill that addresses the needs of all communities 
impacted by disaster and do it now. People are waiting. The needs are 
pressing.
  I will file an amendment today with my recommended compromise. It 
provides a reasonable path forward--one that allows us to move quickly 
to get assistance to the people who need it now. I hope all Members 
will support it.
  The Governor of Puerto Rico made a strong statement this morning.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a statement by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

           Statement by Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello

                            (March 26, 2019)

       San Juan, Puerto Rico.--``The comments attributed to Donald 
     Trump today by senators from his own party are below the 
     dignity of a sitting President of the United States. They 
     continue to lack empathy, are irresponsible, regrettable and, 
     above all, unjustified.
       ``I want to be very clear: Not a single federal dollar has 
     been used to make debt payments. This has been the most 
     transparent recovery in the history of the United States, 
     providing unprecedented access and collaboration with federal 
     agencies. In fact, just yesterday we reached an agreement 
     with FEMA on the transition of responsibilities for the 
     reimbursement of recovery funds. An agreement predicated on 
     the acknowledgment by the federal government that appropriate 
     fiscal controls are in fact established.
       ``I can only assume that Trump is receiving misleading 
     information from his own staff. I have now made several 
     requests to meet with the President to discuss Puerto Rico's 
     recovery and reconstruction, but up to this day we haven't 
     received a confirmation or a date, even though Trump told me 
     we would meet after his visit to Vietnam earlier this year.
       ``I invite the President to stop listening to ignorant and 
     completely wrong advice. Instead he should come to Puerto 
     Rico to hear firsthand from the people on the ground. I 
     invite him to put all of the resources at his disposal to 
     help Americans in Puerto Rico, like he did for Texas and 
     Alabama. No more, no less.
       ``Of course, today the world knows the unpleasant truth 
     that Puerto Rico is a colonial territory of the United States 
     and are well aware of the democratic deficiencies we endure: 
     We are not allowed to vote for our President nor have voting 
     representation in Congress. Even as we have asked 
     democratically for statehood twice in the past seven years, 
     the federal government has delayed their responsibility to 
     act.
       People from all over the nation, and the world, have 
     witnessed the inequalities Americans face on the island. The 
     federal response and its treatment during these past months 
     in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria is clear evidence of our 
     second-class citizenship.
       ``Mr. President: Enough with the insults and demeaning 
     mischaracterizations. We are not your political adversaries; 
     we are your citizens.
       ``We are not asking for anything more than any other U.S. 
     state has received. We are merely asking for equality.''

  Mr. LEAHY. The Americans in Puerto Rico do not have representation in 
this body. Vermont is probably as far away from Puerto Rico as just 
about any State, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii. They do not 
have anybody to speak directly on their behalf on such an important 
matter. The Governor has spoken out. I urge every Member to read what 
the Governor has to say. I agree with him. Americans in Puerto Rico 
should be helped just as Americans in Texas, Americans in Oklahoma, 
Americans in California, or Americans in New York, or wherever disaster 
has struck. We are the United States of America. Let's start acting 
like that on behalf of all Americans, not on behalf of political 
biases.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                             Climate Change

  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Mr. President, I rise today to join again my 
colleagues to speak of the need for bipartisan action to address 
climate warming.
  Throughout the past year, we have received warning after warning 
about the warming and about the devastating consequences of climate 
change that are coming much sooner than some people actually expected.
  I remember when I first got to the Senate. I was part of the 
Environment Committee, and we had military leaders come to speak. We 
had scientists, and they basically predicted everything that we have 
seen coming, from the wildfires in the West to the rising ocean levels, 
to weird weather events like more tornadoes, to the type of flooding 
that we are seeing in the Midwest as we speak and the type of flooding 
we have seen in Florida as a result of hurricanes.
  They also talked about the economic consequences of this. I think it 
is really important that people don't see this as environment versus 
economics. If we do nothing, the economics are bad. If we do nothing, 
we are going to continue to see homeowners' insurance increase, like we 
have nationwide--a 50-percent increase in the last 10 years.
  If we do something and we do it right and we do it smartly, we are 
going to see a bunch of new jobs in the field of green energy. We are 
going to see more solar. We are going to see more wind. We are going to 
see a whole new industry of an electric grid and things that we need to 
do to bring down greenhouse gases and be a leader once again in energy 
for the world.
  Last October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate 
Change issued a special report explaining the potential impact of 
climate change if the Earth warms 1.5 degrees Celsius above historic 
global temperature levels dating back to before the Industrial 
Revolution started. That report predicted that in just over 20 years, 
we could see even more of what we have seen this last year: persistent 
drought, food shortages, worsening wildfires, and increased flooding--
damage that could cost an estimated $54 trillion.
  Then, in November, the ``Fourth National Climate Assessment'' issued 
a special report that concluded that without significant global efforts 
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, climate change will threaten the 
health and safety of people, will slow economic growth, will damage our 
Nation's infrastructure, which we are seeing right now in the Midwest, 
and will impede the production of energy and food.
  Finally, in January of this year, the U.S. Department of Defense 
released a report on the effects of a changing climate to U.S. military 
installations and their operational viability. All of these experts--
yes, scientists, and, yes, military leaders--have made it clear that 
inaction is not an option for our economy, for our environment, for our 
country, or for our world.
  Military and security experts have repeatedly reminded us that 
climate change is a threat to our national security. Look at the 
examples of refugees coming up from Africa--people who used to be 
subsistence farmers who no longer can make their livings. They used to 
eek by, which was not easy, but now they are moving up; they are moving 
to Europe. That is just one example of what we are seeing.
  I am from a State of refugees. Our refugees are a major part of our 
economy, but we know we want to have a sensible refugee policy and that 
we can't have sudden droves of people moving up because of 
environmental catastrophes that are going on in their countries. Yet we 
are going to see more and more and more of that. At some point, we have 
to realize, you know what, we want thriving economies in Africa; we 
want thriving economies throughout the world; and climate change is 
going to be an impediment to that.
  If you want to close your eyes to the rest of the world and pretend 
it is not happening, it is going to come knocking at your door. It is 
what is going to keep happening if we don't do something about climate 
change. There will

[[Page S2021]]

be more severe weather--heat waves that could reduce our water supply, 
extreme rainfall that could damage critical infrastructure, a decrease 
in agricultural productivity that could threaten, in my State alone, a 
$20 billion ag industry, which ranks fifth in the Nation. We cannot 
close our eyes to climate change because it is happening right now 
around us.
  That is why it is all the more disappointing that the Senate has 
failed to seriously consider legislation that would address climate 
change. I have been here for these close calls. When I first came to 
the Senate, we were so close to getting a renewable electricity 
standard put in place nationwide. I had a bill that would have done 
that. It would have been combined with the renewable fuel standard, and 
I think it would have been a good way to have brought people in from 
both parties, from both sides of the aisle, and from all parts of the 
country. I remember standing in the back of this Chamber with Senator 
Cantwell, bemoaning the fact that we were just one vote short of 
getting it done. That was over a decade ago.
  Meanwhile, yes, States are taking action. With our having a 
Republican Governor at the time, Tim Pawlenty, my State was able to get 
a renewable electricity standard put in place--something like 20 to 25 
percent by 2025--and we are making that. We wouldn't have made it if we 
had not set a goal, which, at that time, seemed bold, and we did it on 
a bipartisan basis--with Democrats, Republicans, and the legislature. 
We combined it politically with a renewable fuel standard so it would 
get some of our farmers and other people on board. We had two 
provisions in there--a strong renewable electricity standard and a 
strong renewable fuel standard, with a Republican Governor leading the 
way. Why? We could see ahead. We could see the effect climate change 
would have on our outdoor economy. We could see the effect it would 
have on hunting and fishing and recreation in our State.
  Here is what happened. We barely missed doing something on the 
renewable electricity standard. Then President Obama got elected, and 
we were in the middle of a downturn. I had actually hoped we would have 
moved on renewable electricity, but the decision was made to go with 
cap and trade. I supported cap and trade. In the end, despite its 
passing in the House, we couldn't get the votes in the Senate, in part, 
because we were in the middle of a downturn.
  Since then, we have done a few things on energy efficiency, which 
have been good, that Secretary Chu called the low-hanging fruit. We 
have done some things in the farm bill with conservation, with the 
sodsaver provision that I have with Senator Thune, but we haven't done 
anything that significantly makes a difference.
  Instead, the administration has taken us out of the international 
climate change agreement, which means we are the only country in the 
world that isn't in it. When the President first made his announcement, 
Syria and Nicaragua were not in it. Now they are. This is not what 
leadership is when we are the only country that is not part of this 
agreement. No, that is not what leadership is, and it certainly impedes 
our doing business around the world when it comes to green energy.
  Other countries can go in there and ask: Why are you going to do 
business with this country? It is the only one that hasn't signed on to 
the international climate change agreement? That happens. I have heard 
from businesspeople. That happens. That is one thing that happens.
  When it came to greenhouse gases, the standards we had in place at 
the EPA were a compromise that had been worked on over years. It is now 
on the cutting room floor because this administration went backward.
  The gas mileage standard is something else we could do. Again, we 
went backward. Instead of working on these things--coming up with more 
comprehensive legislation--unfortunately, our colleagues on the other 
side of the aisle decided, yesterday, to play politics by bringing up 
the Green New Deal resolution with the explicit intention of trying 
to create a divide by voting it down.

  Do you know what? The resolution, as I have said, is aspirational. It 
sets out some audacious goals. We know we can't meet everything that is 
in that resolution in 10 years. Yet what has it done that I think is so 
good? It has reignited the debate on how the United States can lead the 
way in addressing global climate change while building a clean energy 
future that benefits American businesses, factories, and workers.
  We are a country that sets audacious goals. We put a man on the Moon, 
right? We won World War II. We are a country that sets audacious goals. 
Sometimes it takes us longer to meet them, which is OK. If we see a 
problem, we don't just put our heads down. We look ahead; we look at 
each other; and we figure out how we are going to meet the challenge. 
That is what we have to do with climate change.
  At the same time that our Republican colleagues brought up the Green 
New Deal resolution for a vote, they declined to consider the 
resolution that was offered by Senator Carper that simply says climate 
change is real, that human activity during the last century has been 
the dominant cause of the climate crisis, and that the United States 
and Congress should take immediate action to address the challenges of 
climate change.
  The challenges we face are too great to waste time on show votes and 
political stunts. For years, we have heard of the things we can do to 
make a difference. There is not one approach; it is an ``all of the 
above'' approach. We know--and I have seen the models--what we can do 
to start bringing the temperature down to an international goal, by the 
way, of 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That is a lot, but our wanting to stay 
under that amount is actually a realistic goal right now.
  Instead of spending time debating these kinds of show resolutions, we 
should be taking real action to combat climate change. We need a 
comprehensive approach that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 
promote energy-efficient technologies and homegrown energy resources. 
That is what we should do. When Senator McConnell brought up what was 
an aspirational resolution to bring people together, he did it as a 
show to divide people. That is not what we want to do here. We have 
people from all over the country who have some different views on this, 
and we should be coming together to figure out solutions. As I noted, I 
believe we must reinstate the Clean Power Plan rules and the gas 
mileage standards that the administration has reversed, which has 
rolled back the progress we have made.
  I also want to talk today about my home State's work on these issues.
  I am proud Minnesota has taken a proactive and innovative approach to 
energy use and sustainability, which is critical to addressing carbon 
emissions and climate change. As I noted, that 25-percent electricity 
standard would be met and is going to be met by 2025. This bipartisan 
bill was signed into law by Governor Pawlenty in 2007, and it passed 
the House back then.
  By the way, that was 2007, right? Since then, everything we have 
learned has reinforced what we know, which is that climate change is 
happening. Back in 2007, we had not seen this big push against doing 
something about it. We had not seen all of the dark money that went in 
to take care of not doing something about it and to back up this 
inertia we are seeing. Yet, somehow, back in 2007, in my State, I guess 
we got it through--we got around some of this--because that legislation 
that was signed by a Republican Governor received overwhelmingly 
bipartisan support. It passed the Minnesota House by a vote of 123 to 
10 and passed the Minnesota Senate by 63 to 3.
  Earlier this month, our new Governor, Governor Walz, announced a 
proposal that would build on that earlier work by setting a goal of 
generating 100 percent of the State's energy from clean sources by 
2050. We have also seen other Governors doing this across the country. 
I think that is great. Justice Brandeis once said that the States are 
laboratories of democracy, which is a good thing. We can't just sit 
there and expect States, on an individual basis, to change the national 
dialogue. Some of these things have to be done by us in this Chamber in 
Washington, DC.
  Once we set those goals, which started with the Republican Governor 
of Minnesota and then moved on to two Democratic Governors, what we saw

[[Page S2022]]

was Xcel Energy--Minnesota's largest utility--as being the earliest 
supporter of the last administration's Clean Power Plan. This is an 
electric utility--the biggest one in our State--that recently announced 
plans to deliver 100-percent carbon-free electricity to its customers 
by 2050. As part of that pledge, it plans to reduce carbon emissions by 
80 percent by 2030 in the eight States it serves. It is an electric 
company--a power utility--that has realized this is in its best long-
term interest and that it is certainly in the best long-term interest 
of its customers.
  If energy utilities like Xcel understand the need to reduce our use 
of fossil fuels and to embrace setting ambitious goals that will 
eventually get us to 100-percent clean renewable energy, then so should 
we and so should the administration.
  We know energy innovation can't really take root--not in any kind of 
serious way--without there being certainty, stability, and a clear path 
forward. Yes, some of that can happen in the States, and that is 
exciting. It can happen in our businesses and in businesses in 
Minnesota, like Cargill--the biggest private company in the country--
that looks at the world and sees what is going to happen to its 
investors and its employees if we don't do something about climate 
change. It has joined in an effort with major businesses to take this 
on. So, yes, States are doing things, and Governors are doing things.
  Yes, electric utilities are doing things. Some of our small electric 
utilities in Minnesota have actually started creating incentives for 
solar panels. One of the most innovative ones will give its customers--
this is a very small town in a small county--large water heaters that 
cost about $1,000 if, in exchange, they will get solar panels.
  Senator Hoeven and I worked on a bill to make sure people in this 
Chamber understood that these large water heaters were really helpful 
in the basements of farmhouses and that they were actually more energy 
efficient. Then this utility--a little electric co-op--took a step 
forward and actually offered a free water heater in exchange for buying 
a long-term interest in a solar panel. It is not as easy when you are a 
small electric co-op. I have a ton of them in my State, and I have 
worked with them extensively, but they, too, are starting to see the 
future and are starting to do their part.
  In my State, we have big businesses like Cargill, big electric 
utilities like Xcel, and little electric co-ops. We have our Governors. 
We have businesses that are not in the electric business but that see 
what is happening to their customers around the world. We have 
universities, nonprofits, churches, synagogues, and mosques that want 
to retrofit and make their places of worship more energy efficient, 
which is another bill I have with Senator Hoeven. When all of this is 
going on, how can we just sit here and do nothing and instead have 
negative show votes for no reason at all? We are going to keep talking 
about this and not let it go because what we need is action.
  We need policies that encourage reduction in greenhouse gasses. We 
must leave our children with a world that is as good as the one we got.
  There is an old Ojibwe saying--we have a lot of proud Indian Tribes 
in Minnesota--that says: You make decisions not for now but for seven 
generations from now.
  You know what. That is our duty. But guess what. With climate change, 
it is no longer just seven generations now; it is for the pages who are 
sitting right here, because this is happening right now. The 
predictions are dire.
  I was in Florida just a few weeks ago, and they predict that in a 
decade, 1 out of 10 of their homes is going to be flooded in their 
State--1 out of 10 of their homes.
  You see what is happening in Norfolk, VA. You look at these pages and 
you think: This is not just seven generations from now; this is 7 years 
from now or 70 years from now. That is what we are dealing with. It is 
upon us. So it is our duty, our constitutional duty as elected 
representatives, to do our job. It is our moral duty to do the right 
thing for this country. So let's get to work and get this done.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.


                              Nominations

  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I come to the floor to correct the 
record concerning statements the President reportedly made yesterday 
afternoon when he met with Senate Republicans.
  Apparently, in between his efforts to stiff hurricane victims in 
Puerto Rico and tear affordable healthcare away from millions of 
Americans, the President claimed that Democrats were holding up 
ambassadorial nominations in the Senate. Just weeks ago, we heard 
similar comments from the Senate majority leader, who claimed that GEN 
John Abizaid's nomination to be Ambassador to Saudi Arabia was ``being 
held up.''
  Let me be clear. No one wants to see the State Department vested with 
all the resources it needs to effectively conduct American foreign 
policy, including qualified and capable staff, more than I do. We 
cannot promote our foreign policy, protect American citizens, advocate 
for American businesses, or advance American values without a robust 
diplomatic core.
  I want all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to know that 
each time the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has received 
nominations, I have dedicated my time and staff resources to 
efficiently and diligently vet and advance these nominations. In the 
last Congress, the committee reported 169 nominations. So I reject the 
assertion that we have not done our part to ensure that the State 
Department is appropriately staffed.
  Now let me speak to General Abizaid because no one can honestly claim 
that the Foreign Relations Committee has been anything but extremely 
diligent and expeditious with this nomination.
  With my full support, General Abizaid appeared in the very first 
committee nominations hearing of this Congress, and I very much look 
forward to voting in favor of his nomination as soon as our chairman--
our Republican chairman--exercises his prerogative and puts him before 
the committee for a vote.
  As with all nominees, the timing of his consideration by the full 
Senate is under the control of the majority leader.
  It is clear that President Trump has an inaccurate or dishonest view 
of the nominations situation in the Senate and particularly in the 
Foreign Relations Committee.
  We cannot confirm diplomats we do not have. All too often, the 
committee has received nominations late or not at all. The Trump 
administration took nearly 2 years before it even bothered to nominate 
General Abizaid, leaving a gaping hole in our diplomatic posture to 
Saudi Arabia and the region.
  To go nearly 2 years without putting forward a nominee is a failure 
of leadership, pure and simple. Saudi Arabia's actions over the past 2 
years highlight the fact that we need an adult on the ground, which is 
why I wholeheartedly support General Abizaid and look forward to what I 
hope is his speedy confirmation.
  Sadly, Saudi Arabia is not an isolated example. It took even longer--
more than 2 years--for the Trump administration to nominate a candidate 
to be U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. Astonishingly enough, it was only this 
week that the President sent up an ambassadorial nominee for Mexico. We 
are now 26 months into the Trump administration, and we still lack 
ambassadorial nominees to critical countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, 
and our close ally, Jordan.
  Let's be clear. This is the President's reckless abdication of a 
constitutional responsibility essential to projecting American power 
abroad. When you don't nominate someone, President Trump has only 
himself to blame.
  Furthermore, there is unfortunately another severe problem that we 
cannot ignore with regard to the administration's nominees. When the 
Trump administration repeatedly fails to appropriately vet political 
nominations, Congress must exercise appropriate oversight. The 
President has nominated and renominated individuals with restraining 
orders for threats of violence; people who made material omissions, 
sometimes on a repeated basis, in their nomination materials; people 
who tweeted and retweeted vile things about Senators and their families 
and who have engaged in incidents that should, frankly, mean they 
should never have been nominated.
  One nominee attacked my late colleague and good friend Senator John

[[Page S2023]]

McCain, claiming that John McCain, an American hero, was rolling ``out 
the welcome mat for ISIS on America's southern border.'' But 
unfortunately we know that attacking McCain does not cross any redlines 
for this President.
  Another nominee has claimed, with no evidence, that Senator Cruz's 
wife is part of a sinister cabal seeking to combine the Governments of 
Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This nominee called Hillary 
Clinton a ``terrorist with amnesia'' and retweeted someone calling 
Senator Romney a ``dumbass.''
  You can't make this stuff up.
  Senator Sasse's office said that nominee should ``put on his tinfoil 
hat and visit our office with evidence for his salacious conspiracy 
theories and cuckoo allegations'' and went on to observe that ``People 
who want to serve Americans as our diplomats and spokespersons abroad 
should know that words and truth matter, even during campaigns. Cynics 
and nuts are probably going to have a hard time securing Senate 
confirmation.'' I couldn't agree with him more.
  Yet the President thought highly enough of this individual and lowly 
enough of the U.S. Senate that he nominated him for an ambassadorship 
in two successive Congresses.
  Another ambassadorial nominee was the subject of a temporary 
restraining order after she left a bullet-ridden target practice sheet 
on her doctor's chair.
  Again, you cannot make this up.
  As for being unresponsive to committee requirements for all nominees, 
I can understand that nominees may accidentally leave off a few 
businesses they were involved in, but we had one nominee who failed to 
inform the committee of dozens of businesses and another nominee who, 
even more egregiously, failed to mention multiple lawsuits he was 
involved in, including one in which he was alleged to have fired a 
female employee who complained of sexual harassment. Given the nature 
and frequency of these omissions, it is hard to believe they were 
unintentional.
  So when the White House, either through negligence or incompetence, 
sends us unvetted, unqualified nominees--incapable and oftentimes 
offensive--my staff and I exercise due diligence on behalf of the 
American people.
  To make this crystal clear, the President can speed up this process. 
All he has to do is start nominating Americans with appropriate 
credentials and honorable conduct in their careers. It is not rocket 
science.
  The United States and our allies continue to face tremendous 
challenges around the world. We must continue to lead on the 
international stage and work in collaboration with international 
partners to achieve our shared security goals. But to have our 
diplomats in place, they must be nominated in a timely fashion and 
vetted properly. That is what the real holdup here is--not Senate 
Democrats. And I refuse to let the President point the finger at us 
when he should be pointing the finger at himself.
  I yield the floor.
  (Mr. SCOTT of Florida assumed the Chair.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The Senate democratic whip.


                                 S. 874

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to speak about 
the Dream Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that would give 
immigrant students who grew up in the United States a chance to earn 
their citizenship. This is not a new topic. It was 19 years ago that I 
introduced the Dream Act. It hasn't become law yet, but it has inspired 
a movement of thousands of young people across this country.
  Back in the day when I introduced this bill and talked about the 
Dreamers, people thought you were talking about a British rock group. 
In this case, the Dreamers happened to be a group of people living in 
America who were desperately trying to become part of America's future. 
They came to the United States as children, infants, toddlers, and 
kids. They are American in every way except for a piece of paper on 
their immigration status. They have gone to our schools. They sit next 
to us in church. They are the kids whom you see on the playground with 
your own kids, but they are undocumented. Because they are 
undocumented, they are subject to deportation at any moment in their 
lives.
  They end up going to school, but it is tougher for them. They don't 
qualify for Pell grants or Federal loans. They have to find a way to 
save the money or find a way to secure a scholarship that just might be 
available to them, but it is rare. Most of the time it means a longer 
period of time in college before they can finish, as they save up the 
money. Ultimately, they are trained to become our teachers, our nurses, 
our doctors, our engineers, and even our soldiers.
  Yesterday I reintroduced the Dream Act. My cosponsor is Senator 
Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina and chairman of the 
Senate Judiciary Committee. I want to thank Lindsey Graham for joining 
me in this bipartisan effort. Bipartisanship is rare in this Chamber, 
and on an issue of controversy, it is even rarer.
  Senator Graham and I have a long history of working together because 
we believe that Congress has an obligation to do the job we were 
elected to do and pass legislation that solves problems. Senator Graham 
and I were partners in the Gang of 8--four Democratic Senators and four 
Republican Senators. That was the gang with the great John McCain, 
Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Bob Menendez, 
and Michael Bennet.
  We wrote a comprehensive immigration reform bill a few years back in 
2013. We brought it to the floor of the Senate. We covered virtually 
every aspect of immigration law. Believe me, immigration law is a mess, 
and it needed that kind of comprehensive approach. We brought it up to 
a vote on the floor, and the vote was 68 to 32. It was a bipartisan 
vote. After months of working on this bill, we couldn't have been 
happier. We finally had a bipartisan bill to address the immigration 
challenge in America.
  The bill left here and went to the House of Representatives under a 
Republican leadership, and it died. They wouldn't even consider it, 
wouldn't debate it, and, certainly, wouldn't vote on it. Look at the 
mess we have today in the United States because of our immigration 
laws, and consider the possibility that 6 years ago we had finally 
found a path that could lead us to a bipartisan solution. That path is 
still there.
  Part of that immigration law was the Dream Act, which we are 
reintroducing. In 2010 I joined with Republican Senator Dick Lugar of 
Indiana. We called on President Obama to use his authority as President 
to protect these Dreamers from deportation. In other words, if we 
couldn't pass the law, could the President do something to help protect 
them?
  President Barack Obama responded. He created a program called the 
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, known as DACA. Here is 
what DACA said: We will give you, 2 years at a time, temporary legal 
status to stay in the United States and not be deported and be able to 
work in this country. If you want the temporary status that is 
renewable every 2 years, you have to report to the government, go 
through a comprehensive background investigation, pay a fee, and, then, 
we will give you a chance to stay here, go to school and work, and not 
be afraid of that knock on the door.

  More than 800,000 Dreamers stepped forward. They came forward in an 
extraordinary way. I can remember the first day when then-Congressman 
Luis Gutierrez and I decided at Navy Pier in Chicago, which is a huge 
gathering place, that we would have a sit-down for these young people 
so they could fill out the forms and apply for DACA status. Initially, 
we thought we were going to have 1,000. We didn't know what we would do 
with it. Then, there were 2,000, and then 3,000, and it turned out that 
families literally stood in line all night long for the chance to come 
across that threshold to sit down with a volunteer and fill out their 
form for DACA status. Mothers and fathers were in tears with their kids 
thinking: At least my son or my daughter will have a chance not to be 
deported and to be part of America. More than 800,000 of these Dreamers 
came forward, and they received DACA protection because of President 
Obama's Executive order. Forty-three thousand were in my State of 
Illinois.

[[Page S2024]]

  DACA has unleashed the full potential of these Dreamers, who are 
contributing to our country in so many ways--teachers, soldiers, 
engineers, and small business owners.
  Then came the day with a new President--President Donald Trump. On 
September 5, 2017, President Trump announced that he would repeal DACA 
and the protections that it gave to these people. Hundreds of thousands 
of Dreamers faced losing their work permits and, even worse, being 
deported from the only country they had ever known and being sent back 
to places they couldn't even remember.
  When President Trump announced the repeal of DACA, he called on 
Congress to legalize DACA. Since then, President Trump has rejected 
every single bipartisan deal we offered him on the subject. I am not 
giving up on the Dream Act, and I am not giving up on the Dreamers. You 
would think that after all these years and all these young people, 
people would be coming to the floor who are against the Dream Act and 
against DACA, telling horrible stories about the young people who we 
are talking about today. Strangely, that has never happened. I am sure 
there is going to be somebody to disappoint me. That is human nature. 
Overwhelmingly, these young people are just nothing short of amazing.
  I have come to the floor of the Senate more than 100 times to tell 
their stories because I think that is the best way for you to 
understand why this issue is so important.
  This is an amazing young woman. Her name is Karla Robles. Karla 
Robles is the 116th Dreamer whose story I have told on the floor of the 
Senate. She was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 8 
years old. She grew up in Chicago, where her mom and dad worked long 
hours in a pizza restaurant. Karla's parents told her and her brothers 
and sisters: No matter what happens, make sure to stay out of trouble 
and study really hard. It will all pay off one day.
  That is exactly what Karla did. When Karla started school in the 
third grade, she didn't speak English, but she worked hard and quickly 
became an excellent student. Karla wrote me a letter and she said: 
``Education has been an important part of my life and the teachers who 
took the time to guide my family and me are a big reason I want to go 
into this field.''
  In the seventh grade, Karla received the American Legion Award--this 
undocumented young girl--which was given to one boy and one girl in the 
class who ``are deemed most worthy of the high qualities of citizenship 
and of true Americanism.''
  In high school, Karla Robles was a member of the National Honor 
Society and the President's Club, and she was active in student 
government.
  She participated in a program called TRUST, where she agreed to 
volunteer her personal time to mentor younger students. She was captain 
and MVP of the varsity tennis team. She received her associate's degree 
from Harper College. She is now a senior at Loyola University in 
Chicago.
  Here is a special word about Loyola University in Chicago. This is an 
amazing campus that is doing its best to give people just like Karla a 
chance in life. They have created something called Arrupe College, 
which is a low cost approach to higher education for some of the 
poorest families in Chicago, and they don't exclude kids who are 
protected by DACA or are Dreamers. The Loyola medical school is one of 
the few in the United States with open competition where DACA students 
can apply. There are 32 medical students at Loyola in Chicago who are 
undocumented. They are DACA Dreamers. They desperately want to be part 
of America. Part of the agreement is if they go to medical school at 
Loyola and borrow money to do it, they have to pay back a year of 
service in an underserved area in the State of Illinois for the money 
that they are receiving to go to school.
  Back to Karla.
  During college, she was on the National Honor Roll and the Dean's 
List. She also volunteers with an outreach program for at-risk kids and 
with AmeriCorps VISTA, and she founded a tutoring program for 
elementary school students.
  I know Karla a little better than I know some of the Dreamers because 
she interned here in my Washington, DC, office last year. What does she 
want to do at the end of this journey if she can stay in America? She 
wants to be a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. She wants to 
pursue her master's degree and become a high school guidance counselor.
  There are some people who look at this picture and say: This is not 
an American citizen. Tell her to leave. I look at this picture and 
think that we are lucky to have her, that this Nation of immigrants is 
lucky to have this young woman who simply wants to give back to 
America. That is all she is asking for--nothing special--just to let 
her give back to this country.
  So we have reintroduced the Dream Act. I hope my colleagues on both 
sides of the aisle will come forward and join me and Senator Lindsey 
Graham, my Republican cosponsor.
  We think there are about 1.8 million young people who are eligible 
for the Dream Act in the United States. They have never known another 
country. In the mornings, when they walk into the classrooms in their 
schools, they stand up and put their hands on their chests and pledge 
allegiance to the only flag they have ever known. They were just kids 
when they were brought here. Shouldn't we do the right thing in 
America--this Nation of immigrants, this country of opportunity, this 
bright city on the hill, this shining city on the hill?
  Yes, we should.
  For the Dreamers and for their moms and dads, we have to renew our 
commitment that the next generation of Americans who will come from all 
over the world will continue to make this one of the finest countries 
on Earth.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Iowa.


                         Women's History Month

  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, we rise to celebrate Women's History Month.
  This month is, of course, very personal to me as a woman, a daughter, 
and a mother. One of the sayings I love is: ``Well-behaved women seldom 
make history.'' This is so true. I want to reflect on a few of these 
fearless females--trailblazers--who have made history and who have 
shaped our future.
  These are women like suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt. She founded 
the League of Women Voters in 1920, which was 2 years after she helped 
women gain the right to vote. Catt relocated to Iowa when she was 7 
years old, and she graduated from what is now Iowa State University, my 
alma mater. She was so committed to the cause of women that she helped 
found the International Woman Suffrage Alliance to help spread rights 
for women all around our globe.
  I fast-forward to today, when one can see the fruits of her labor. In 
Iowa, we just elected our first female Governor--my friend and a 
fearless female, Kim Reynolds. We also gained two new women lawmakers 
with the election of Abby Finkenauer and Cindy Axne and a record number 
of women in the Iowa State House, led by Speaker of the House Linda 
Upmeyer. In Congress, we have a record number of women who serve in the 
U.S. House and 25 who serve in the U.S. Senate. While we come from 
differing backgrounds and political stripes, I admire these women for 
jumping into the arena.
  I also reflect on a woman named Deborah Sampson. Sampson is credited 
as the first woman to serve in the U.S. Army. This hero, who couldn't 
serve openly as a female, disguised herself as a male and joined the 
Continental Army in 1781. She led forces on a mission that helped to 
capture 15 enemy soldiers. She served as a scout, dug trenches, and 
endured battle wounds. She even extracted a pistol ball from her own 
leg so no one would know she was a female.
  Fast-forward to today, when thousands of women are serving in the 
military and are taking on bigger and badder roles. They are all brave, 
fierce, and honorable. They are modern-day Deborah Sampsons.
  I think of the wonderful women with whom I served in the Army and of 
all of those whom I commanded--my wonderful mechanics, my truckdrivers, 
my admin specialists. I think of my daughter, who is a cadet at West 
Point, as well as Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, and so many other 
women who serve in Active Duty, as reservists, and as National 
Guardsmen. They all serve our great Nation.

[[Page S2025]]

  Finally, I reflect on Gertrude Dieken. Dieken was from Grundy County, 
IA. She was an editor and the first woman vice president of the Farm 
Journal--a renowned magazine that is dedicated to farming. Savvy in 
business, economics, and journalism, Dieken established a book 
publishing division and became the first female member of its board of 
directors.
  Iowa women are today exercising their girl power, making it happen on 
the shop floor, in the boardroom, on the farm, and in every occupation 
in between. Iowa is now ranked eighth for growth in the number of 
women-owned businesses.
  As part of my 99 County Tour, I have met many of these phenomenal 
women and have heard their stories and dreams for their futures. I am 
continually inspired by these fearless females and the thousands of 
other women like them who have paved the path forward and broken--
shattered--that glass ceiling. They are changing lives and are helping 
our economy and our communities grow.
  We know it isn't always easy today to be a fearless female, just as 
it was not easy for the trailblazing women of the past. We must 
continue to take on the challenges that confront women from all walks 
of life--harassment, abuse, and discrimination. Keeping the economy 
strong, along with issues like childcare access, criminal justice 
reform, healthcare, and paid parental leave, are areas in which I am 
working to move that ball forward.
  Melinda Gates often says, ``When women and girls are empowered to 
participate fully in society, everyone benefits.'' I believe that to be 
true.
  The future is bright for women today--in particular, for young 
women--because of the sacrifices of those who have come before us. We 
have a common bond as females, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, and 
daughters. It is easy to look at these historical examples as a mere 
recitation of facts and figures, but I view them as a challenge--a 
challenge to all women to stand strong and reject the status quo, to 
achieve greatness, to be a friend and a mentor, and to prove all of 
those doubters wrong. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a woman in 
America's boardrooms or anywhere in between, you are making a 
difference.
  As Peggy Whitson--famed astronaut and first female to command the 
International Space Station--once said: ``If a farmer's daughter from 
Iowa can be an astronaut, you can be just about anything you want to 
be.''
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, it is my honor to be here with my fellow 
woman Senator from the State of Iowa. I enjoy learning more about Iowa 
and about the strength of Iowan women and in our Nation.
  I join my colleague to highlight and celebrate not only the women 
leaders in the Senate but the millions of women throughout history and 
across the country who have made and continue to make a difference in 
their homes, in their communities, and in society in general.
  I am very proud to represent the State of West Virginia--a State with 
a long and rich history of female trailblazers. It is a State that 
respects and celebrates those women. Maybe you have heard that phrase 
``mountain mamas.'' Well, Mother's Day was actually originated in West 
Virginia by Grafton resident Anna Jarvis in 1908. President Woodrow 
Wilson made it an official national holiday in the year 1914, and it is 
an annual reminder today to cherish and thank one of the, if not the, 
most influential women in many people's lives--their mothers.
  I miss my mother every day. I know my mother, who was the First Lady 
of West Virginia, was an incredible role model for me and an 
inspiration. Seeing all she did for our State and for our fellow West 
Virginians through her public service was a driving force throughout my 
life. Not only that, she was a great and loving mother, and as I said, 
I still miss her every day.
  Another West Virginia woman who has been an incredible inspiration is 
Katherine Johnson. Katherine was born in White Sulpher Springs, WV, in 
1918. In her being brilliant with numbers, she attended West Virginia 
State College and was later one of the first Black students to 
integrate West Virginia University's graduate school in 1939. That is 
pretty notable in and of itself, but Katherine didn't stop there.
  In 1953, she took a job at NASA and began working as a human 
computer. She literally calculated how to get men into space. Remember, 
with the launch of the Soviets' satellite Sputnik in 1957, the space 
race was on. America needed a win, and Katherine Johnson played a major 
role in facilitating that win. Her work put John Glenn into space and 
into history. The success of that mission marked a turning point in the 
space race altogether, and it made a significant impact in the future 
of space travel and exploration. Some may better recognize Katherine's 
name from the movie ``Hidden Figures.''
  I am proud to say that in tribute to Katherine and her incredible 
legacy at NASA, I introduced legislation to rename West Virginia's only 
NASA facility after her. President Trump signed that bill into law last 
year, and Fairmont, WV, is now the home of the Katherine Johnson 
Independent Verification & Validation Facility. At 100 years young, 
Katherine still serves as a tremendous role model to me and to women 
everywhere.
  Of course, all of our States are home to brilliant women. My home of 
West Virginia is home to numerous amazing women who have made 
significant contributions, and we are proud to claim them all.
  I don't know if one remembers America's sweetheart of 1984, Olympic 
gold medalist Mary Lou Retton, who is a native of West Virginia; Mother 
Jones, who is a champion of the working class and a labor organizer who 
campaigned for the United Mine Workers; Pulitzer Prize-winning author 
Pearl S. Buck; the host of the ``TODAY'' show, Hoda Kotb; actress and 
advocate Jennifer Garner; and Saira Blair. Many of you have never heard 
of Saira Blair. Several years ago, at the age of 18, she became the 
youngest person ever--male or female--to get elected to a State or 
Federal office. She served in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
  These incredible women and so many others have helped to shape 
history and society, and they have paved the way for the next 
generation of leaders--girls and young women who might not yet have 
realized or achieved their full potential.
  In 2015, I was sworn in as West Virginia's first female Senator. This 
distinction is a privilege for me, and it is an honor. It is certainly 
nothing I take lightly. I may well be the very first female Senator 
from West Virginia, but I am very confident that I will not be the 
last--certainly, not if I can help it.
  So, shortly after I came to the Senate, I started an initiative 
called West Virginia Girls Rise Up because I want to inspire the next 
generation of leaders. Through that program, I visit fifth grade girls 
across the State. We talk about their dreams, what they can be when 
they grow up, and how they can be the best versions of themselves.
  As a matter of fact, the Senator from Iowa mentioned the astronaut, 
Peggy Whitson. She was with me when I did two Girls Rise Up in West 
Virginia, and we talked about three different accomplishments that 
girls can do to reach their full potential--education, physical 
fitness, and self-confidence. I believe these are the building blocks 
for a successful future for whatever you want to do.
  Then we set goals. Maybe it is reading more. Maybe it is eating 
healthier. Maybe it is raising your hand more in class. Most 
importantly, I challenged these girls to achieve these goals.
  What I hope the girls get out of this is that you can reach a goal 
you set for yourself now--or at least really work hard to--and you can 
reach your next goal when you get older. Then you can reach your next 
goal and your next goal and your next goal, until you find yourself 
doing groundbreaking research in a lab, being a CEO of a Fortune 500 
company, designing a skyscraper at an architectural firm, or working to 
make our country a better place from the floor of the U.S. Senate or, I 
will add, as President of the United States.
  The possibilities are endless, but the common thread is this: Think 
about what it is you want, work hard to make your dreams a reality, and 
have confidence to never back down.
  As I travel across West Virginia with my West Virginia Girls Rise Up 
Program, I am constantly amazed at the

[[Page S2026]]

potential of the young women I see. I know the same is true in States 
across this country.
  I hope those girls are watching us here in this Chamber today. I hope 
they are hearing the stories of the incredible women and trailblazers 
who have come before us. I hope they are thinking to themselves: That 
could be me one day.
  I am incredibly proud to be a part of what female leaders are doing 
right now, but I am more incredibly optimistic to see what our future 
female leaders will do in the years ahead.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleagues in 
recognizing Women's History Month and celebrating the countless women 
who have shaped our Nation and those who continue to devote their time 
and energy to the pursuit of equality here at home and abroad.
  Women have demonstrated incredible perseverance in the face of 
adversity. Their stories of fighting for equal opportunity are 
ingrained in the history of our country. We wouldn't be the great 
Nation that we are without those who paved the path for a more 
promising future for women.
  We honor the individuals whose remarkable courage and dedication to 
challenging the status quo helped advance women's rights and those who 
followed their dreams while breaking the glass ceiling.
  In 1932, Arkansas elected Hattie Caraway to the U.S. Senate, which 
made her the first woman elected to this body. She broke barriers, 
changed norms, and helped lay the foundation for the new role women 
were beginning to be recognized as deserving to play in the Senate 
throughout her legislative career.
  Senator Caraway served nearly 14 years in the Senate, where in 1933 
she was the first woman to chair a Senate committee and in 1943 became 
the first woman to preside officially over the Senate.
  Arkansans are particularly proud that our legacy in the U.S. Senate 
includes electing the first woman to serve in this Chamber. The path 
that Hattie Caraway trailblazed for more women to enter the ranks of 
the world's greatest deliberative body has, without a doubt, made the 
Senate a better, stronger institution and has benefited our Nation 
immensely.
  Today, more women are serving in Congress than ever before. We need 
to look no further than Hattie Caraway to understand the magnitude of 
her decision to step forward and serve her State and country.
  More women are also answering the call to serve our Nation in 
uniform. Women are the fastest growing demographic of veterans, but 
many Department of Veterans Affairs facilities don't have the ability 
to provide equitable care or services to our women veterans.
  This Congress, Senator Tester and I have reintroduced legislation to 
eliminate barriers to care and services that many women veterans face. 
The legislation is appropriately named for Deborah Sampson--the Deborah 
Sampson Act--which honors the service and sacrifice of the American 
Revolution hero who actually disguised herself as a man in order to 
serve in the Continental Army.
  We can be proud of Deborah Sampson and the countless women patriots 
who have followed in her footsteps.
  We must update VA services to support the unique needs of our entire 
veteran population, including the growing number of women relying on VA 
for care.
  While opportunities remain to advance women's equality, the United 
States recently took an important step to empower women worldwide. 
Congress approved and President Trump signed into law the Women's 
Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act. Senator Cardin and I 
introduced the legislation to eliminate global gender-related barriers 
and empower female entrepreneurs around the world.
  In some parts of the world, women are pushed so far to the sidelines 
that they are denied access to even the most basic financial services. 
Cultural and historical barriers prevent women from launching a 
business, building savings, and supporting economic growth in their 
communities. Leveling the playing field will help the world economy 
grow substantially.
  Providing women access to tools for economic success supports global 
prosperity. Our country can lead by example and help deliver these 
tools and empower women. I look forward to seeing women succeed because 
of this legislative effort.
  I am a dad of three daughters and a grandfather to two little girls. 
I want women across the globe to have the same access to resources and 
opportunities that my girls have because I have seen with my own eyes 
how limitless their potential is.
  Earlier this year, President Trump launched the Women's Global 
Development and Prosperity Initiative to empower women around the world 
to fulfill their economic potential. The Women's Entrepreneurship and 
Economic Empowerment Act is an essential piece of this plan to deliver 
global results.
  Empowering women strengthens families, communities, and our Nation. 
As we take this time to reflect on the challenges women have overcome 
and still face, let us continue the momentum started generations ago by 
hard-working, courageous, and determined women who envisioned a country 
full of opportunities for success for all.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.


                           The Green New Deal

  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, the Senate has unanimously rejected the 
so-called Green New Deal. In a display of political courage for the 
ages, 43 Democrats voted present, including many of the bill's own 
sponsors.
  Now, many of them are running for President. In fact, these days, it 
seems that all of the Democratic Senators are running for President and 
perhaps may realize what a disaster the Green New Deal is for them.
  The Green New Deal would force a transition in just 10 years--one 
decade--to 100 percent green energy, whatever that is. But it is an 
impossible goal that would require trillions of dollars of taxes and 
the effective nationalization of private industry in America.
  That is not all--no, not all.
  The Green New Deal would also overhaul or rebuild all existing 
buildings in the United States to achieve maximum energy efficiency--
all--every single home and building in America. I guess you could call 
it the ``Extreme Home Makeover Mandate.''
  The Green New Deal also calls for taxpayer-funded college and jobs 
for every person in the country, even for illegal aliens and even if 
you are unable or unwilling to work. That is according to a press 
release the Democrats sent out and then tried to send down the memory 
hole when it was justly mocked, and understandably so.
  Jobs for everyone who is unable to work and unwilling to work--there 
is a big difference between those two groups of people.
  The radical nature of the Green New Deal cannot be overstated. The 
amount of control it would give to politicians and planners in 
Washington would be the envy of Soviet Russia. Actually, it would make 
Stalin blush. And it would take Stalinist tactics to achieve a Green 
New Deal.
  To borrow from Churchill, ``Socialism may begin with the best of 
intentions, but it always ends with the Gestapo.'' Who else is going to 
come into your home and make sure that it is energy compliant? Who else 
is going to confiscate your gas-using pickup truck? Who else is going 
to ensure that you don't commit the terrible crime of eating a 
hamburger?
  Perhaps we can come up with a better name for the Green New Deal--one 
that reflects its true lineage. Might I suggest the Red New Deal, the 
color of Communist regimes the world over, or perhaps the Green Leap 
Forward in honor of Mao.
  I gather some House freshmen might actually feel pretty comfortable 
with those labels. They claim these radical ideas are necessary to stop 
the threat of climate change--a threat so dire, the Democrats insist--
so dire that we will all be dead in 12 years--12 years--if we don't 
surrender to totalitarian levels of power over our lives to central 
planners in Washington.
  Yet we gave them a chance to vote on this existential, apocalyptic 
threat and they all said: Meh, maybe later.
  So this isn't really about climate change or even the environment. I

[[Page S2027]]

mean, come on. What do free college for rich kids and guaranteed jobs 
for lazy bums have to do with climate change?
  The answer is: Nothing. And that tells you all you need to know about 
what the Democrats are up to.
  The Green New Deal isn't a real policy proposal. It is just the 
Democrats' most fanciful and frightful dreams wrapped in one shiny 
package. I would call it a policy platform, but that would probably 
give it too much credit for substance.
  The President put it very well. He said the Green New Deal is more 
like an undergraduate term paper, one written late at night after too 
many bong hits, judging from its botched rollout.
  If you really feared a climate catastrophe, you would do a couple of 
simple things. First, you would build as many new, beautiful, carbon-
free nuclear powerplants as you could. But the Green New Deal omits 
nuclear energy entirely, no doubt to please the Democrats' crony 
renewable energy lobbyists and the anti-nuclear know-nothings in the 
Democrats' base.
  Second, you would get tough on the world's biggest polluters, 
especially on China. Foreign nations, after all, have driven almost all 
of the growth in global carbon emissions since the turn of the century.
  But the Green New Dealers seem to believe America is the root of all 
of the world's problems, even though our emissions have been declining. 
It is just another case of the Democrats' guiding principle: Blame 
America first.
  Of course, if we did something as stupid as pass the Green New Deal, 
most foreign nations would just laugh at us and keep building their 
economies and keep polluting while we tanked our own economy, 
immiserated our citizens, and lost millions of jobs in pursuit of a 
fantasy.
  The Green New Deal would amount to America's unilateral disarmament 
on the world stage, which for some Democrats is probably a feature and 
not a bug. But sometimes even terrible ideas deserve a vote. So we gave 
them a vote on the Green New Deal, and the bill's own sponsors 
complained.
  In any event, the Senate flunked the Democrats' term paper 
unanimously, and the only reason the Green New Deal got an F is that 
there is not a lower grade. So common sense prevailed this time, 
although I have a feeling this is not the last time we have heard of 
the Green New Deal.
  Remember, this is not the hobby horse of some eccentric socialist 
fringe of the Democratic Party--oh, no, not at all. The Green New Deal 
has 90 Democratic cosponsors in the House. That is nearly two out of 
every five House Democrats, and the Democratic Presidential candidates 
have rushed to endorse the Green New Deal. Remember that when you step 
into the voting booth in 2020.

  But let me wrap up on a more serious note. I have made a lot of jokes 
about the Green New Deal, and, believe me, the Green New Deal is 
laughable. But for many Americans, the Green New Deal is no laughing 
matter.
  Imagine, if you will, a mom and dad and a couple young kids outside 
Little Rock, let's say. Every day, they drive the kids to school. They 
commute into the city where they work and back out to the suburbs, just 
so they can afford a home. When they are home on the weekends, maybe 
they try to fire up the grill on the patio to have a little cookout for 
the kids.
  This working-class family is doing its best to live the American 
dream and pass it on to their kids. The Green New Deal is not for that 
family. It would outlaw their entire way of life, from the minivan in 
the garage to the hamburgers on their grill, to the house they call 
home.
  The Green New Deal would be a death sentence for America's families. 
Yet the Democrats have the nerve to sell it as a rescue mission. I 
reject that fraud on America, and now so does the Senate.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, March is Women's History Month. A number of 
my colleagues have been coming to the floor and talking about the 
accomplishments of particular women in their States. I want to do the 
same thing.
  When Virginia Minor, a St. Louisan, was denied the ability to 
register to vote in 1872, she took her case all the way to the Supreme 
Court. While she wasn't successful at the Supreme Court level, she 
remained a leader in the suffrage movement and later testified before 
the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage in 1889. Remember that 
women didn't get the right to vote until 1920. So she was working on 
this with thousands of others for a long time. She is also one of seven 
women represented in the Missouri State Capitol's Hall of Famous 
Missourians.
  Virginia Minor and her fellow suffragettes blazed a trail of 
political leadership that others followed. In 1952 Leonor Sullivan 
became the first woman in Congress from Missouri. During the 24 years 
that she served in the House, she became the first woman appointed to 
the House Democratic Steering Committee. She was elected secretary, one 
of the elected leaders, of the House Democratic caucus for five terms.
  Our former colleague, Senator Claire McCaskill, won her Senate race 
in 2006. With that, she became the first woman elected to the U.S. 
Senate from Missouri. Certainly, Senator McCaskill and I disagreed on 
plenty of things over the years, but, frankly, when it came to the big 
issues affecting our State, we always figured out how to work together 
to get things done.
  Also from our State, I want to recognize Margaret Kelly, who in 1984 
was appointed to the position of State auditor. When that happened, 
that made her the first woman to hold statewide office in Missouri. She 
was elected to a full term in 1986 and reelected two more times after 
that.
  In Missouri, at least, you can't talk about politics and the impact 
on politics without talking about Phyllis Schlafly, who was a vocal and 
tireless advocate for conservative ideas. She was never afraid of a 
fight, but she also knew when to celebrate what was possible. One of 
the great things about Phyllis Schlafly was that she knew how to win, 
when you could win, and what you could win, when you could win it, and, 
then, how to come back and fight for what you didn't get the first time 
and continue to work for more. She was a friend of mine. I value her 
legacy. There is no question that she impacted the political landscape 
of the country.
  As I mentioned earlier, there are seven women represented in the Hall 
of Famous Missourians. Two of them were committed lifelong to 
education. In 1873 Susan Blow, who was born in St. Louis, founded the 
first public kindergarten in the United States in the Des Peres public 
school in Carondelet. In 1818 Saint Rose Duchesne opened the first 
Sacred Heart school outside of Europe. The Academy of the Sacred Heart 
was the first free school west of the Mississippi and the first 
Catholic school in what would eventually become the St. Louis 
Archdiocese. I mentioned that this was Saint Rose Duchesne, one of the 
first women to be an American who rose to the level of sainthood.
  There are also a few world figures in that hall of fame, like 
Josephine Baker, who was not only an iconic entertainer but also a 
civil rights activist and, interestingly, a member of the French 
resistance during World War II while she was entertaining in Europe. In 
our hall of fame, she is joined by other entertainers, like Ginger 
Rogers and Betty Grable.
  The seventh woman honored in the State capitol is Sacagawea, who, of 
course, was part of the Lewis and Clark expedition into Missouri and up 
the Missouri River and other territories of the Louisiana Purchase.
  To cover all of the notable Missouri women in history would be 
impossible. To talk about the countless women who are making an 
incredible impact in our State today would be impossible--people who 
are devoted to public service, who are successful entrepreneurs, who 
serve our country in the Armed Forces, and so much more. Those women 
and others continue to help lead our country and to inspire younger 
women. There is a reason that March is Women's History Month, and 
thousands and thousands--maybe millions--of Missouri women would easily 
qualify in that category of people who have made a difference in 
history.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.

[[Page S2028]]

  

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, as we celebrate Women's History Month, I 
am proud to spotlight Wyoming's great history and achievements for 
women's equality.
  Wyoming is the ``Equality State''--the first State to give women the 
right to vote and hold public office. We actually did it before 
statehood. Long before statehood, in 1869, the Wyoming Territory was 
the first to grant women the right to vote.
  Louisa Ann Swain of Laramie became the first woman in the United 
States to vote in a general election in 1870, and Wyoming insisted on 
protecting women's right to vote as a precondition for even joining the 
Union in 1890.
  Now, that is not all. The first elected woman Governor in the United 
States, Nellie Taylor Ross, was Wyoming's 14th Governor.
  Wyoming women continue to hold key elected offices today, with strong 
leaders like U.S. Representative Liz Cheney.
  The State owes a debt of gratitude to all of these extraordinary 
women leaders.


                           The Green New Deal

  Now I would like to turn to this week's debate over the Democrats' 
so-called Green New Deal.
  The Green New Deal isn't about protecting our environment. It is 
about increasing the size and scope of the Federal Government.
  Every Democrat Senator running for President supports the Green New 
Deal. They have cosponsored it--each and every one of them, every 
single one.
  By cosponsoring the Green New Deal, these Senators have shown 
Americans what they actually do support as candidates and as an agenda 
for America, and that is massively increasing the size of government.
  This year the Federal Government is projected to spend over $4 
trillion. That amount includes everything--Social Security, national 
defense, Medicare, all of it. If we were to pass the Green New Deal, it 
would cost up to $93 trillion over the next 10 years. That is $9.3 
trillion a year--more than double what our government currently spends.
  So, you see, the Green New Deal would massively expand the Federal 
Government, and that is exactly what Democrat Senators running for 
President want and plan to do, if elected. Don't be confused by Senate 
Democrats' ducking this vote on the Green New Deal. This is where 
Democrats would take our country if they were to retake the White 
House.
  The Green New Deal would bankrupt our Nation, would wreak havoc, and 
would wreck the economy.
  Republicans' pro-growth, pro-jobs policies have strengthened the 
economy and improved the lives of American families in their everyday 
lives at home. Because of tax relief, millions of families have more 
money now in their pockets to decide what to spend, what to save, and 
what to invest.
  The Green New Deal plan would eliminate fossil fuels by requiring 100 
percent renewable, carbon-free energy in just 10 years. Talk about 
having extra money in your pocket to fill your gas tank, but just 
putting gas in the car would be extremely difficult if the Green New 
Deal were to come to pass.
  On the issue of climate change, climate change is real, but the Green 
New Deal is unrealistic. While it is important, in 2017 wind and solar 
energy generated just 8 percent of our electricity. Should we have 
more? Yes, but 8 percent of what we need is certainly inadequate.
  Affordable and reliable fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, 
power three out of five U.S. homes and businesses. Excluding fossil 
fuels would snuff out the bright lights of Americans' prosperity. It 
would threaten national security. It would threaten jobs. It would 
threaten our independence from foreign energy, and all Americans' 
higher standard of living.
  What Democrats are proposing is essentially a pipe dream. It is no 
surprise that Democrats have yet to provide a cost estimate. They don't 
want Americans to know that the Green New Deal could cost up to $93 
trillion over the next 10 years. That is roughly $65,000 each and every 
year for each and every family in America.
  The Nation is already over $22 trillion in debt. So how are they 
planning to pay for this? By doing what they often plan to do--raising 
taxes.
  Paying for a $93 trillion bill would empty just about every 
Americans' savings account in the country, and let's not forget that 
the Green New Deal would not actually solve the problems they are 
trying to solve. Really, the proposal amounts to unrealistic economic 
disarmament.
  Plus, U.S. economic decline would harm the environment. That is what 
we are hearing from the Green New Deal. It would be unilateral harm to 
our economy and no improvement to the overall global climate. They want 
it done immediately. They want it done drastically. It is a level of 
alarm that is not in any way called for.
  When you think about the American economy and what we are able to do 
in this country, it is a strong economy that allows for a clean 
environment. The stronger the economy, often the cleaner the 
environment is. That is certainly the case here, when you compare us 
around the world to other countries and their economies and their 
environments.
  The label ``Made in America'' means more than just the country of 
origin. It means the better the environment. We are being asked to 
destroy--that is what the Democrats are asking us to do with this Green 
New Deal--our strong, growing, and improving economy and allow the 
largest polluters in the world to grow at our expense.
  Right now, 13 percent of emissions comes from the United States, but 
33 percent comes from China and from India, and emissions in the United 
States have been declining over the last dozen years, while they 
continue to go up in China and India and in other locations around the 
world.
  Why do Democrats want to do this? Well, they would like to engineer a 
big government takeover--or, I should say, as they say, 
transformation--of the U.S. economy.
  There is a real solution that will not wreck our economy, will not 
hurt our Nation, will not hurt people's jobs, and will not hurt 
American families. The solution is not taxation. It is not regulation. 
It is innovation. Republicans continue to work, and we do it in a 
bipartisan way to advance innovative strategies for reducing carbon 
emissions.
  First, we are working to promote carbon capture, and then using that 
carbon and sequestering it, taking it away. That means taking carbon 
out of the atmosphere and using it productively. We can use it for 
medical projects, construction projects, and for extracting oil. You 
can push the carbon dioxide into the ground in the area of oil wells 
and get out more oil, as a result, leaving the carbon dioxide 
underground.
  Last year, the Senate passed the bipartisan FUTURE Act. It was signed 
into law, and it expands tax credits for carbon capture facilities.
  Now we are advancing the bipartisan USE IT Act, which will help to 
turn carbon that has been captured into valuable products.
  A second way Republicans are working in a bipartisan way to reduce 
emissions is by supporting nuclear power. Nuclear power generates about 
60 percent--60 percent--of American-produced carbon-free energy. By 
far, that is the largest source of American carbon-free energy. It is 
much more than double solar and wind power combined.
  In late December, we passed the bipartisan Nuclear Energy Innovation 
and Modernization Act. This legislation had Republican and Democratic 
support and was signed into law by President Trump. This law will help 
innovators develop advanced nuclear reactors that are safer, cleaner, 
and more versatile. That is what we need to do. It is simplifying the 
process on the front end for the innovators to build state-of-the-art 
nuclear reactors. These advanced reactors are going to power the next 
generation of nuclear plants. We need them to expand the use of carbon-
free energy. We also need to maintain our existing nuclear powerplants, 
and Congress needs to address how we manage nuclear waste. Nuclear 
power is an area with broad bipartisan support. We must continue to 
work together on nuclear power.
  A third approach that Republicans are taking to reduce emissions is 
increasing the use of renewable energy. Republicans have repeatedly 
passed tax incentives to promote clean energy. These include tax 
credits for wind and solar panels, as well as incentives for biodiesel 
and compressed natural gas.

[[Page S2029]]

  We know all these innovative strategies work. We see it in America's 
unparalleled success in reducing emissions. This progress is not the 
result of taxation; it is not the result of regulation; it is the 
result of American innovation. Our cutting-edge technologies can be 
adopted globally.
  Republicans want to make America's energy as clean as we can, as fast 
as we can, while investing in promising innovations for the future. 
Democrats want more government control. That is what they asked for 
with the Green New Deal--control of our economy and control of our 
lives, despite the cost to American families and American taxpayers.
  Let's continue to pass real climate solutions, not these far-left 
fantasies. Let's focus on what works for our environment and our 
economy, not what works for Democrats who are running for President.
  Republicans are going to continue to oppose unrealistic, unworkable, 
and unaffordable proposals like the Green New Deal. It is a big green 
bomb. The Democrats are ducking it, they are dodging it, and they are 
now distancing themselves from it by showing up on the floor of the 
Senate--those who have cosponsored it, those who have gone on TV and on 
the hustings around the country saying they would support it and be for 
it--and voting not for it but present. The Democrats are ducking this 
for a good reason: They know what a disaster it would be for our 
Nation.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.


                     Career and Technical Education

  Mr. PORTMAN. Madam President, I am on the floor today to talk about 
career and technical education and specifically legislation we have 
introduced that would provide a lot more training opportunities for 
people who need the in-demand jobs that are out there.
  When people hear about career and technical education, sometimes they 
wonder what we are referring to. High school programs used to be called 
vocational education. Many in my generation might remember it as that. 
But it is not your father's Oldsmobile. It is not the old voc-ed 
programs you might remember. In fact, it is very impressive. If you go 
to these CTE schools today--and Ohio, luckily, has a lot of great 
career and technical academies and schools--you will see something 
amazing. You will see young people being trained for some of the most 
sophisticated jobs out there in bioscience and technology, welding, of 
course, and manufacturing--in Ohio, it is a big deal--and also CDLs for 
truckdrivers, commercial driver's licenses. You might see somebody 
there who is interested in going into firefighting or EMS. This 
morning, I had a chance to visit with a young man who is in a CTE 
program where he is going to be immediately hired by a fire department.
  These are great opportunities for our young people. Right now, these 
CTE schools are incredibly important because the skills are needed, and 
the training is needed.
  One of the challenges we have had, frankly, is that sometimes parents 
who are advising their kids are saying ``You need to go to a 4-year 
college or university like I did'' or maybe like their uncle or aunt 
did. Maybe that is the goal they have for their kids, and that is fine. 
For many young people, that is appropriate, but for others, what a 
great opportunity, to be able to get out of high school, get a job 
immediately--a good-paying job with good benefits--and then at some 
point, because often in these schools, including in Ohio, you get 
college credit while you are in high school, to go on to college later, 
and perhaps your employer will pay for that.
  This morning, I was with a young woman named Jordan. She is at the 
Great Oaks career and technical center in Southwest Ohio. Jordan is 
becoming a welder, and, as I explained to Jordan, she is going to have 
amazing opportunities. She will have plenty of job opportunities 
because she is going to have a skill that is so badly needed in Ohio 
right now. Our manufacturing sector is desperate for welders, and they 
are willing to pay good money for welders. She can make 45,000, 50,000 
bucks a year with good benefits at 18 years old as a welder instead of 
taking on student debt, which in Ohio is about $27,000 on average. 
Somebody graduating from community college or a 4-year college or 
university is taking on significant debt.
  This is an opportunity for us to get more young people into career 
and technical education. We think we ought to do it. We have a good 
economy right now thanks to tax reform and regulatory relief. There is 
a lot of hiring going on, and wages are actually higher right now. In 
Ohio, we have a number of people who are looking for employees. The 
``help wanted'' signs are out there.
  We have about 148,000 jobs available in the State, if you look at 
OhioMeansJobs.com, which is the website that offers these positions. 
Now, there are about 250,000 Ohioans out of work. How does that make 
sense? Well, it makes sense because if you look at the jobs that are 
being offered, for many of the jobs, you have to have a skill. You have 
to be a coder or a machine operator or a welder, or you have to have 
some bioscience background to be a tech. So if we had the skills 
training, we would be able to fill these jobs, which is great for the 
companies and for the economy but also, again, a great opportunity for 
these young people.
  In 2018, our economy added 223,000 jobs per month on average. That is 
about twice what the pre-tax reform baseline estimate was from the 
Congressional Budget Office of only 107,000 jobs per month. So we more 
than doubled it. We have also had strong wage growth over the last 12 
months. In fact, wage growth in the last year was higher than at any 
time in the last decade.
  In Ohio, frankly, for a decade and a half we have had flat wages. 
Finally, we are now seeing wages going up. Last month, the average was 
about 3.4 percent growth for private sector workers and, by the way, it 
is more for blue-collar workers than for white-collar workers, 
supervisory workers, which is all good news.
  We have a lot of good things going on in terms of increasing jobs, 
increasing wages, increasing benefits. Much of that is due to tax 
reform. I have gone all around our State and talked to folks at 
roundtable discussions. I have been to over 25 businesses to talk 
specifically: What did you do with the tax savings? Every one of them 
has a great story, but with all these pro-growth policies kicking in, 
the thing I am hearing now is: Yes, the tax reform helped us. The 
regulatory relief is a good idea, but we need workers, we need people, 
and we need them to have the skills that go with the jobs we have. This 
mismatch between the skills that are out there and these jobs, that 
skills gap is the thing we need to close.
  There are lots of ways to do that. The National Skills Coalition 
estimates that nearly half of all job openings between now and 2022 
will be middle-skill jobs that require education beyond high school but 
not a 4-year degree. If you have a career in technical, with 
opportunities in high school, and then when you get out of high school, 
you have a certificate or you can get into a course where you can learn 
how to do one of these skills--although you are not getting an 
associate's degree or a bachelor's degree, you are getting a 
certificate, often a stackable certificate that can lead to a degree 
later--that is what is going to be needed.
  In its most recent skills gap study, Deloitte and The Manufacturing 
Institute highlighted the fact that there are so many jobs out there 
that need these skills. They estimate there are about 2.4 million 
positions likely to be unfilled between 2018 and 2028. The economic 
impact of not having these jobs filled is about a $2.5 trillion hit to 
our economy. This is why all of this is so important.
  About 6 years ago, we started the Career and Technical Education 
Caucus in the Senate. At first, there were two of us, Senator Kaine 
from Virginia and myself. Now we have 27 Senators on the CTE Caucus. 
Why? Because Members are hearing back home about this,

[[Page S2030]]

which has been good to raise awareness for career and technical 
education. It has been helpful for us to put together some bipartisan 
legislation that helps to promote career and technical education.
  Last year, in the Perkins bill, for instance, Senator Kaine and I got 
legislation in that helps to improve the quality of CT programs all 
around the country, ensuring again that college credit can be offered, 
helping to hold up programs to make sure young people and their parents 
know about this opportunity.
  Just a couple weeks ago, Senator Kaine and I reintroduced legislation 
called Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students Act. The acronym 
is the JOBS Act. The JOBS Act is something we introduced in the last 
couple of Congresses, but I really feel its time has come. I feel it is 
an opportunity right now for us to move forward with the JOBS Act. One, 
we are hearing from all around the country the need for this, but, 
second, we have the likelihood of a higher education bill moving this 
year, which would be the perfect place to put the JOBS Act.
  It is a commonsense solution to help solve the skills gap problem we 
are talking about. It says, with regard to Pell grants--which is for 
low-income students--instead of just making them available for 
community colleges or 4-year colleges or universities or for longer 
term courses, why not allow Pell grants to be used for shorter term 
training programs? That is what is needed right now.
  I think this is a fairness issue. When I talk to students, as I did 
this morning here in Washington, as I do back in the State of Ohio, 
what they tell me is: Rob, I don't have the money to get a driver's 
license and go through that process, much less to get a certificate to 
become a welder or to become a coder or to become a tech in a hospital 
setting. The government will give me a Pell grant to go to a junior 
college or a community college or a university, but I can't get a Pell 
grant to help me get the training I need to actually get out there and 
get a job that I know is right there, ready, good pay, good benefits.
  To me, that shows how our system is not working with regard to the 
modern economy and the needs we have right now, and it is not fair to 
those students. I think we ought to allow students to use Pell grants 
for shorter term training programs of less than 15 weeks. I also think 
it is a matter of efficiency of the Pell grant and the taxpayer.
  Unfortunately, most people who take a Pell who go to a college don't 
graduate. There are lots of reasons for that. I think the main reason 
is because many of them have to drop out because they have to work, 
but, in the meantime, they don't have the degree. So they have the 
Pell, but they don't get the degree, not even a certificate; whereas, 
in these short-term training programs, a 15-week training program--
trust me, if somebody starts off in one of these training programs, it 
is much more likely they will end up getting the certificate. They can 
see just around the corner where the job is. In a sense, the 
certificate is the ticket to that job, and it is a shorter term 
prospect. I think it is a very efficient use of the Pell grant, and we 
should expand the Pell grant, not take it away from colleges and 
universities--not at all. Pell is an incredibly important program, but 
let's allow it to be used for short training programs.
  I was at the CT Program in Akron, OH, recently. I also went to Stark 
State Community College. They have a new campus. We had a roundtable on 
workforce development. We had a lot of local businesses there talking 
about how great these programs have been for them. We had students 
there. The chamber of commerce was there. Mayor Dan Horrigan of Akron 
and Summit County executive Ilene Shapiro were there. I heard from 
students in high school and in community college who were already 
working for some of the local employers, businesses like the K Company, 
an HVAC company based in Akron. They work with Stark State; they work 
with local high schools; and they get young people on the right 
educational track to be able to work in the HVAC field where there are 
plenty of jobs right now. If you are an HVAC tech, you can get a job. 
It has been a great example of where they are helping the economy, they 
are helping a particular business, and they are really helping students 
to get a great job.
  Stark State president Dr. Para Jones is very innovative, working with 
our high schools and working with the business community, trying to 
ensure we are all working together on this. Dr. Jones, the employers 
who were around the table, the educators who were around the table, and 
the students who were around that table--all of them--were really 
excited about the JOBS Act. They know it is going to work. They know 
this will help them deal with exactly the problems they are seeing in 
the local community.

  Last week, I also toured a company in Hubbard, OH, Warren Fabricating 
and Machining. As always happens, I heard about the need for skilled 
workers. It is a great example of a company taking full advantage of 
the tax reform and tax cuts. They bought a beautiful, new machine that 
is incredibly important for their effectiveness as a company to be able 
to compete with China and others. They have also been able to raise 
people's salaries and increase the benefits with their tax savings, but 
their issue now is getting the workforce. They want to operate at full 
capacity, but they can't find the people. They have openings right now.
  I also visited an advanced manufacturer called Rhinestahl Corporation 
in Mason, right outside of Cincinnati. They manufacture high-precision 
parts for the aerospace and defense industry. Other employers were 
there, as well as Butler Tech, which is a local CTE program which has 
done really incredible, innovative work.
  There, I had the opportunity to meet with a lot of students. One of 
them was a high school student named Jake. He is a chemical operator at 
a nearby manufacturer called Pilot. He is a veteran who has completed 
his certificate training, and his employer is now paying for him to 
continue his education and get a degree while working for them. Connor 
was there, a high school student who is running machines and learning 
advanced manufacturing while working at a place called RB Tool. Torez 
is a 19-year-old who went to the program and is now in charge of 
calibration and making sure precision tools are up to speed at this 
company, Rhinestahl.
  The teacher of all these students, a guy named Dave Fox, was there. 
He said his last class of 28 graduates had a combined total of more 
than 100 job offers. Think about this. These young people going through 
these certificate programs, 28 young people, had more than 100 job 
offers. These are good job offers. We are talking about $40,000, 
$50,000 a year, jobs that pay $18 to $20 an hour and good benefits, and 
a lot of employers will pay for them to continue their education, 
should they choose to do so.
  Last week, President Trump came to the Joint Systems Manufacturing 
Center in Lima, OH. This is an incredible manufacturing facility that 
does something unique in America, which is they build tanks. The kind 
of welding they have to be trained on is incredibly sophisticated and 
difficult to do. The kind of machine work they have to do is really 
difficult. Cutting the tanks' steel is an incredibly difficult task, 
plus some other alloys they use to protect our troops in the field. 
They need to hire about 400 additional workers in the next year or so, 
partly because, with the defense buildup, we are putting more money 
into the plant. I am very pleased to say President Trump in his budget 
put more funding into the Lima plant this year, but they need workers, 
and they need help training people. They need skilled welders, 
machinists, assembly workers, and various types of engineers.
  These are good-paying jobs and great opportunities for young people. 
Whether they are coming up through the ranks in high school or whether 
they are midcareer changing jobs, it would be great for us to help them 
get the people they need, and the JOBS Act, they all say, would be 
exactly what they need to help to do that.
  At a roundtable discussion at Staub Manufacturing in Dayton recently, 
the CEO of the company told me he believes welders coming out of high 
school will be better off financially than many attorneys or doctors.
  I asked him what he meant by that. He pointed out that while an 
attorney

[[Page S2031]]

or another professional might make more coming right out of school, by 
the time they get out of school--law school, as an example--and get out 
of debt and start investing, the welder is well on his or her way to 
building a significant nest egg.
  It is true. When you think about it, a welder makes, let's say, 
$50,000 a year starting at age 18. Let's say there is no student debt 
because, again, through the certificate program and through a Pell--if 
we get the JOBS Act passed, in particular--this person is able to do so 
without any student debt. Using an online calculator and assuming about 
8 percent growth, if that individual sets aside 10 percent of his or 
her income toward retirement, from the age of 18 up to 67--and this 
assumes a person gets no raise at all, which of course is not going to 
happen. A person is going to have a higher salary over time as the 
person gets more seniority, but assuming no raise, $50,000 a year: $2.8 
million in retirement savings at age 67. That is a nice nest egg to be 
able to live comfortably in retirement with peace of mind.
  Compare that to an attorney, let's say, making $100,000 a year in a 
big law firm, starts investing at least at 30 years old, after they get 
through school and paying off their debt. It may be later, but let's 
say 30 to be conservative. If that person sets aside 10 percent of his 
or her income: $2.2 million by age 67. So even though the attorney had 
a higher salary and was investing twice as much each month, the welder 
making $50,000 a year is going to be better off.

  Part of this is getting people into these jobs and getting them into 
jobs when they are young, where they can begin to make investments in 
their retirement but also make investments in a car, buy the house, 
start putting money aside for their kids' education, just to have the 
peace of mind that comes with knowing you are going to have this 
profession and this opportunity to get ahead early in life.
  I am hoping we can get the JOBS Act passed. It would help provide so 
many people--particularly young people--these opportunities. If we can 
shift the paradigm, stop this notion of thinking that everybody who is 
going through high school needs to go to a 4-year college or university 
right away and instead think about, how do you ensure that this young 
person can have an opportunity to get ahead in life, learn a skill 
where there is an immediate need, and actually help our economy? 
Because our biggest challenge right now, as I see it--not just in the 
manufacturing sector, where it is particularly obvious, but across the 
board, in bioscience, certainly in moving, transportation, 
truckdriving, and other professions, the biggest challenge we have 
right now is workforce. This would do both.
  The JOBS Act has been endorsed by the National Skills Coalition, the 
Association for Career and Technical Education, the Association of 
Community Colleges and Trustees--I know community colleges have put 
this highest on their list--and other groups.
  I am also pleased to say, again, it is in the budget. President Trump 
puts together a budget every year. This year's budget actually has our 
JOBS Act included in it. It is one that is totally bipartisan.
  Senator Kaine from Virginia and I have been the coauthors of this 
legislation over the years. We continue to work closely together on 
this. We have 10 cosponsors already, having just introduced this a 
couple weeks ago. It is a bipartisan group, mixed, Republicans and 
Democrats. We also have a lot of outside stakeholders supporting it, 
and, again, it is now in the President's budget.
  The reason we are getting all this support is it works. It works. It 
will cover programs that, at a minimum, require 150 hours and 8 weeks 
to complete. There are some alternative programs that limit them by 
requiring them to be 320 hours. I will tell you our community colleges 
tell me none of their short-term training programs would qualify for 
that higher number of hours--programs like welding, precision 
machining, electrical trades. All those programs would fit into the 
JOBS Act but not into some of the alternatives that are being 
discussed.
  We need the JOBS Act now, and we think there is a great vehicle for 
it--which is the Higher Education Act--this year. A big fan of career 
and technical education is the chairman of that committee, Senator 
Lamar Alexander. He understands the need for us to provide the kind of 
skills training needed to fill the jobs that are out there that 
companies are desperate to fill. He sees this in his own State of 
Tennessee, where he has a lot of manufacturing jobs, including auto 
manufacturers that are looking for more skilled workers every day.
  As we work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, my hope is 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join us in ensuring that the 
JOBS Act is included in that. Let's be sure that we deal with the 
fairness issue here and that we have a sense of understanding about our 
economy and what the needs are right now.

  A lot of that need is in skills and the kind of skills that the JOBS 
Act would provide. It just makes too much sense.
  If we make career and technical education a priority and if we enact 
the JOBS Act I discussed today, we are going to help tens of thousands 
of our young people be able to achieve their dreams, whatever they are, 
and to have better opportunities. Just as important, we are going to be 
able to help our economy--help to ensure that here in the United States 
we have a growing economy where we have better tax policy, better 
regulation policy, and also, for the workers, ensure that the companies 
don't pick up and move because they don't have the workforce. Companies 
tell me in Ohio: You know, Rob, we could do what we are doing here in 
other places, and not just Indiana, which is next to Ohio, but maybe 
India.
  We don't want that. We want to have the workforce that is needed to 
be able to keep these good jobs and keep these companies here in this 
country, to ensure that we can keep moving in a positive direction, 
and, again, to ensure that Ohioans can develop the skills they need to 
grow in the career of their choice and to fulfill their potential in 
life.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). The Senator from Pennsylvania.


                               Childcare

  Mr. CASEY. Mr. President, I rise to talk about an issue that I know 
is on the minds of many, many Americans, especially folks who are in 
the middle class or who are struggling to get to the middle class, and 
that is the issue of childcare.
  I think most of us in this Chamber agree that all children born in 
this country have a light inside of them. For some children, that light 
will shine very brightly without a lot of help as they have innate 
abilities or they have circumstances they are born into for which they 
don't need a lot of help from public policy or from programs or from 
legislation. Yet there are a lot of children who have a light inside of 
them that can burn to the full measure of its potential if we do our 
job. When I say ``our job,'' I mean the job of elected officials. I 
think it is the job of every elected official at every level of 
government and of those who work with them to do everything they can to 
make sure that the light inside of every child burns as brightly as at 
least the full measure of his or her potential.
  We know, just by way of one example in the context of childcare, that 
affordable, high-quality childcare enables parents to work so they can 
support their families. Also, quality, affordable healthcare helps give 
children the early learning experiences they need to develop and 
succeed in school. When children learn more and it is early in life, 
they will earn more much later in their lives. That connection between 
learning and earning isn't just a rhyme; all the research shows that 
there is a direct connection. When that child learns at a younger age 
because of early education and quality childcare and so many other 
strategies, we are all better off. Not only is that child better off in 
his or her family, but we are all better off. We will have a higher 
skilled workforce; we will have a more productive workforce; and we 
will grow and be able to out-compete any country in the world if we 
invest in early learning.
  Unfortunately, we know the challenges. The cost of childcare has 
increased by 25 percent in just the last decade, which has created 
significant

[[Page S2032]]

financial strains for those same middle-class families. According to 
data from Child Care Aware, which is in my home Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, the average cost of full-time, center-based childcare is 
about $11,560 for an infant and about $8,712 for a 4-year-old. This is 
about 12 percent of a married couple's annual income in Pennsylvania, 
and it is nearly 46 percent of a single parent's annual income--46 
percent. That is not sustainable. That is not a number that anyone 
should be satisfied with. Frankly, I am not sure that 12 percent of the 
annual income for a two-parent family is sustainable. We should get 
that number into the single digits. The bill I will talk about in a 
moment seeks to do that.
  Just this past week, when we were all back in our States and were 
able to travel for the better part of a week, I had the chance to get 
to six childcare centers in cities across Pennsylvania, and I spoke to 
more than 25 families who shared their stories about their struggles. 
The struggle, of course, in this case, was the struggle to afford high-
quality childcare.
  I was in Philadelphia, Pottstown, Gettysburg, Verona, Erie, and 
Reading. If you had charted those cities on a map, you would have 
literally gone from the furthest corner of the southeastern part of our 
State, which is Philadelphia, to the most remote, northwestern corner 
of the State, in Erie. I went to communities below Erie and to the 
northeast as well--so literally every corner of the State. Across those 
communities, we heard a lot of the same challenges, a lot of similar 
stories.
  For example, one single mom in Philadelphia told us recently what, I 
think, is emblematic of what is happening in a lot of communities:

       I struggle every day to make ends meet. I am not eligible 
     for any public assistance, so I juggle my bills just to make 
     ends meet. I have to become very creative in making sure that 
     I pay my mortgage, utilities, and childcare.

  Then she goes on from there to write:

       Then I decide if I can pay for anything in addition to 
     that, such as healthcare, food, necessities for my child or 
     my home. I knew I would not be able to afford childcare. 
     Luckily, I have the support of loved ones in my life who 
     support me when I fall short. Most do not have this.

  Then this single mother goes on to write the following:

       All of my family and friends struggle to pay for childcare 
     because we are middle class individuals who make too much 
     money to qualify for childcare assistance or any other 
     programs, but we also don't make enough money to actually 
     afford childcare out of pocket. Oftentimes, we have to choose 
     a childcare based off of a price and not based off of the 
     quality of education they will provide our children at the 
     childcare facility.

  Notice what she wrote at the end there. She is making a decision 
about the childcare she will provide for her children based off only 
one consideration--the price. It is not based on the quality.

  Therein lies the problem that we have to try to solve. If we have 
millions and millions of families--middle class or who are struggling 
to get to the middle class--making childcare determinations based 
solely on the cost, we will all be in trouble over time. That is not 
what we should be doing. It doesn't mean the price will not be a 
challenge for so many, and it doesn't mean the price will be 
irrelevant, but if they are not able to find quality childcare that is 
affordable, that child will be worse off over time; that community will 
be; and the rest of us will be. We will not have the high-skilled 
workforce that we need. We will not be able to compete and win the 
battle across the world that we need to win, and that is the battle to 
create the highest skilled workforce in the world and to maintain that 
advantage.
  When I was in Gettysburg this past week, I heard from two parents who 
had adopted two children, one of whom has significant medical issues 
and has been in and out of the hospital. They have struggled to find a 
childcare center that is able to handle the behavioral and 
developmental needs of their children. The father, who is a small 
business owner, has had to make adjustments to his work schedule and 
sell off some of his business assets to make ends meet. He has had to 
choose between paying for his own health insurance or that of his 
children. He has had to give up his own insurance to ensure there will 
never be a lapse in coverage for his children. He makes too much money 
to qualify for childcare subsidies but lives with constant anxiety over 
his financial situation.
  Part of his testimony and that of his wife was very emotional because 
of the stress and the pressure on that family--the stress and pressure 
of the healthcare itself and also of the stress and pressure because of 
the cost of childcare.
  I was grateful he was willing to share his story. In a public 
setting, it is not easy to talk about the burdens that you live with 
every day in order to push a policy forward so as to make life better 
for another family. Like a lot of these parents, I was grateful they 
were willing to help us better understand those struggles so that we 
could better propose good policy.
  We also heard from a single mom who works long hours as she tries to 
advance and work her way up the corporate ladder. Prior to her current 
circumstance, she was waitressing and barely making $11,000 a year. 
When she was hardly making any income, she was able to make ends meet 
with the assistance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 
and CCIS, which is our State's childcare program that helps families. 
Now she is in a different circumstance. She works full time--an 
achievement that she is quite proud of. She is no longer eligible, 
though, for these programs because her income has gone up.
  The good news is her income went up, and she has a full-time job. The 
bad news is that it knocks her out of eligibility. She must pay the 
full cost of childcare and be away from her children. She doesn't know 
what she will do during the summer as she will need to increase the 
time her children are in care, which will result in higher costs when 
her children are on summer break. So that is the dilemma she faces--
working harder and getting a full-time job but then not being able to 
afford help. She needs help from us as well.
  I spoke with a mother in Verona, PA, in Allegheny County, who has an 
11-month-old child who is in childcare now. Though both she and her 
husband work full time, they struggle to afford care. They would like 
to grow their family, but, again, the cost of childcare is their main 
reason for not doing so. We know that childcare helps children grow and 
learn, that it helps parents work and provide for their families, and 
that it helps employers retain a productive workforce. Yet families 
across the country are unable to afford care. That is why it is so 
important that we increase Federal investments in early learning and 
childcare.
  For example, in fiscal year 2018, the Childcare and Development Block 
Grant program was funded at $5.27 billion here in Washington. That was 
an 83-percent increase--the largest single increase in the history of 
the program. In that same year--the last budget year, the last 
appropriations year--Head Start received a little more than $9.8 
billion, and that was $610 million more than the program got in 2017.
  Both of those were good results. It doesn't happen every day in 
Washington, we know. These historic, bipartisan investments were 
continued in the last fiscal year. So there was an increase in this 
last fiscal year. It was nowhere near the increase of the prior year, 
but there were extra dollars to sustain funding. These investments are 
already making an impact in States like Pennsylvania and across our 
country, but there is so much more unmet need and so much more work to 
be done. So it is good news on the block grants, but, of course, that 
is not the whole story on childcare.
  I am pushing for both increased funding for the next fiscal year--the 
one we are working on now, 2020--as well as two bills that will make 
high-quality childcare accessible and affordable for low- and middle-
income families. The first is the Childcare for Working Families Act, 
and the second is the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit Enhancement 
Act. I will discuss them in that order.
  The Childcare for Working Families Act would first provide direct 
financial assistance to working parents to help pay for childcare and 
early learning to ensure that no parents would pay more than 7 percent 
of their household incomes for childcare if they earn less than 150 
percent of the State's median income.
  These numbers change between median household income and median

[[Page S2033]]

family income, but if you are just looking at the median household 
income in Pennsylvania, it is about $57,000. If you do 150 percent of 
that, you will be into the eighties, roughly. We don't know where the 
line would be drawn for certain State by State, but if we can come up 
with a way to keep costs below 7 percent for folks who are in that 
income range--say, roughly, in the low eighties down--we can help these 
families do two things: go to work while providing childcare for their 
children that is quality childcare and also be able to afford it.
  The second part of the bill--and it is, basically, three parts--will 
be universal access to high-quality preschool programs for 3- and 4-
year-olds.
  The third part would be to improve workforce compensation by ensuring 
that all childcare workers are paid a living wage and that early 
childhood educators are provided parity with elementary schoolteachers 
who have similar credentials and experience. So there are three parts 
to that bill--childcare help, early learning help with preschool, and 
paying the workforce more.
  People in both parties say it all the time: We care about our 
children, and we care about our seniors. But sometimes the folks who 
provide care to both groups of Americans--those who provide care and 
early learning to children and those who provide skilled care in 
nursing homes and other settings to seniors--are among the lowest paid 
workers in our society. So we say we prioritize those Americans, and we 
don't lift them up with the kind of workforce that they sometimes need.
  The second bill I will talk about--and then I will wrap up--I will 
soon reintroduce with Congressman Davis. It is a proposal to improve 
and expand an existing tax credit which we know as the child and 
dependent care tax credit, not to be confused with the child tax 
credit, the tax credit you may have eligibility for if you have a 
child. This one focuses on child care and dependent care.
  This bill would help families pay for childcare expenses by doing the 
following: first, increasing the maximum amount of the credit from just 
over 1,000 bucks--about $1,050--to $3,000 per child, and it could go up 
as high as 6,000 if you have more than one child, making the full tax 
credit available to most working families with incomes up to $120,000 a 
year.
  Now, under the current law, that credit starts to lose its value once 
you hit only $15,000 of income--not that high of an income level. By 
raising that number, you are going to get a lot more middle-class 
families that will benefit, as well as some trying to get to the middle 
class.
  The third part of the bill would ensure that lower income families 
are better able to benefit from the credit by making it fully 
refundable.
  You have this strange dynamic where folks are working and they have 
an income, but the income is rather limited and the credit is not 
refundable. So they don't get anything back from that credit. So it 
isn't worth much to them in many cases.
  The last part of the bill will retain the value over time by indexing 
the benefits of this child and dependent care tax credit and raise 
those thresholds based upon inflation.
  In conclusion, I think it is pretty simple. All children deserve the 
chance to learn and succeed, regardless of where they are born or 
regardless of their family's income. That is why it is so important to 
make sure that all families have access to high-quality, affordable 
childcare and early learning. Together, these proposals will help to 
bring us closer to that reality and, I would argue, closer to meeting 
our obligation as elected officials at every level of government--this 
being the Federal level in the Congress, the Senate and the House, 
meeting our obligation to make sure that the light inside of every 
child burns to the full measure and shines to the full measure of its 
potential.
  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. WHITEHOUSE. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                         The Federalist Society

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, this week the Senate conveyor belt of 
President Trump's judicial nominees grinds on. So far, the President 
and the Senate leader have an unprecedented pace in confirming Federal 
judges, especially powerful Federal appellate judges. They seem to have 
no higher priority.
  What is a little weird about this is that nearly 90 percent of 
Trump's appellate judges and both of his Supreme Court Justices are 
members of the so-called Federalist Society. On the Supreme Court, 
Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Alito, and Thomas all are members. Now, that is a 
little weird.
  What is really weird is that through this Federalist Society vehicle, 
big, special interests are picking Federal judges.
  In effect, there are three Federalist Societies. The first one most 
lawyers know from law school. It is, for the most part, a debating 
society made up of like-minded aspiring lawyers drawn to conservative 
ideas and judicial doctrine. They organize seminars and invite 
academics, judges, and attorneys to speak. That is terrific--no problem 
there.
  The second Federalist Society is the parent organization of the 
campus debating society--a sort of highbrow think tank seeking to 
further conservative and libertarian judicial principles. It convenes 
fancy forums with conservative legal luminaries, from Supreme Court 
Justices to big-name politicians, to renowned legal scholars. It issues 
newsletters and produces podcasts and policy recommendations. Through 
this, they hope to ``reorder priorities within the legal system'' and 
create a network of members ``that extends to all levels of the legal 
community.''
  I disagree pretty strongly with the system of law they are trying 
impose, and their funding is suspiciously obscure, but this debate is a 
fine thing to have--so no objection there either.
  Then there is the third Federalist Society. This one doesn't have 
much in common with the law school debating society, and it certainly 
doesn't operate like your run-of-the-mill Washington think tank. This 
Federalist Society is the nerve center for a complicated apparatus that 
does not care much about conservative principles like judicial 
restraint or originalism or textualism.
  This Federalist Society is the vehicle for powerful, commercial, and 
industrial interests that seek not simply to ``reorder'' the judiciary 
but to acquire control of the judiciary to benefit their interests. 
This third Federalist Society understands the fundamental power of the 
Federal judiciary to rig the system in favor of its donor interests 
and, as the Kavanaugh confirmation so clearly illustrated, is willing 
to go to drastic lengths to secure that power.
  I am here today to talk about that third Federalist Society.
  The story of the third Federalist Society is partly the story of a 
man named Leonard Leo, the society's executive vice president.
  Mr. Leo is now the most influential person shaping America's Federal 
judiciary. Don't be surprised if you are listening and you have never 
heard of him. He has never been elected. He is not accountable to any 
voter. Instead, he is the front man for interests that want to use the 
Federalist Society and its surrounding network of front groups and PR 
shops and think tanks to acquire control over our courts.
  Renowned court watcher Jeffrey Toobin describes Mr. Leo as ``Trump's 
subcontractor on the selection of Supreme Court Justices.'' More 
accurately, Mr. Leo is the subcontractor for a network of big corporate 
interests and front groups.
  In the summer of 2016, it was Leo who delivered the list of potential 
nominees to fill the vacancy left by the death of Antonin Scalia and 
the blocking of Merrick Garland. It was Mr. Leo who was involved in the 
Trump transition, helping to conduct outreach to potential Supreme 
Court picks, including Neil Gorsuch.
  Mr. Leo even orchestrated a $1 million donation to Trump's 
inauguration.
  The role of the Federalist Society has been confirmed by President 
Trump's own legal counsel, Don McGahn.
  McGahn told a Federalist Society gathering in 2017:


[[Page S2034]]


  

       Our opponents of judicial nominees frequently claim the 
     President has outsourced his selection of judges. That is 
     completely false. I have been a member of the Federalist 
     Society since law school, still am, so, frankly, it seems 
     like it's been in-sourced.

  Ha-ha, so funny.
  The Federalist Society does more than pick the judges. They prepare 
them. They study the prospective nominees and the Senators who will ask 
them questions. They gather murder boards for nominees to practice for 
confirmation hearings.
  Mr. Leo is proud of this operation. During the confirmation hearing 
for Justice Neil Gorsuch, Leo told Toobin, with considerable 
satisfaction:

       You know, the hearings matter so much less than they once 
     did. We have the tools now to do all the research. We know 
     everything they have written. We know what they've said. 
     There are no surprises.

  In the Judiciary Committee, we see the result over and over--
meaningless committee hearings where nominees parrot empty words about 
applying law to fact and respecting precedent. Then, once confirmed and 
on the bench, those nominees deliver dependably for the partisan and 
corporate donors behind this Federalist Society operation.
  It is bad enough that judicial selection has been outsourced--or 
insourced--to a partisan private entity. Worse is how nontransparent 
this all is. It is hard to find out who is behind it. It is a very 
nontransparent problem, but here is what we have been able to piece 
together. The evidence is that the Federalist Society is funded by 
massive, secret contributions from corporate rightwing groups that have 
big agendas before the courts.
  In 2017 the Federalist Society took $5.5 million via an entity called 
DonorsTrust. DonorsTrust has as its sole purpose to launder the 
identities of donors to other groups so that Americans don't know who 
the real backers are of the groups. It is an identity removal machine 
for big donors. Through the hard work of investigators, journalists, 
and researchers, we have learned that the Koch brothers are among the 
largest--if not the largest--contributors to DonorsTrust. The 
Federalist Society's total annual budget is about $20 million. So this 
$5.5 million in funding, laundered through DonorsTrust, provides more 
than a quarter of its entire budget.
  Other shadowy corporate and rightwing organizations also donate 
millions to the Federalist Society. In 1 year, the Lynde and Harry 
Bradley Foundation, a rightwing trust, gave over $3 million to the 
Federalist Society. Koch Industries, several other Koch-network 
foundations and trusts, and nearly a dozen wholly anonymous donors have 
given over $100,000 each to the Federalist Society. Tax documents from 
2014, uncovered by the New York Times, show a donation of more than $2 
million from the Mercer family, the secretive donors who helped start 
Breitbart News and bankrolled the Trump campaign.
  How do we know that these groups have a big agenda before the courts? 
We know that because they also fund a fleet of front groups that file 
so-called amicus briefs before courts signaling what results the big 
donors want. The Kochs, the Bradleys, the Mercers, and their ilk spend 
millions to pursue an anti-regulation, anti-union, and anti-environment 
agenda, and they use the Federalist Society to stock the judiciary with 
judges who will rule their way.
  The Federalist Society, as a 501(c)(3) organization, is supposed to 
stay out of politics. The Judicial Crisis Network is a 501(c)(4) 
organization which can, and does, get involved in politics. The 
Judicial Crisis Network is led by a disciple of Leonard Leo's, a former 
clerk for ultraconservative Justice Clarence Thomas. The Judicial 
Crisis Network has been described in conservative circles as ``Leonard 
Leo's PR organization--nothing more and nothing less.'' When it comes 
time to muscle a judicial nominee through Senate confirmation, the 
Judicial Crisis Network swings into action. Media campaigns, attack 
ads, and big spending--that is the Judicial Crisis Network's world.
  Like its Federalist Society partner, the Judicial Crisis Network gets 
massive sums of dark money, and it spends massively too. It spent $7 
million on campaigns to block Merrick Garland from getting a hearing on 
his nomination to the Supreme Court, and it spent $10 million to 
support the nomination--blockade enabled--of Neil Gorsuch--and $7 
million and $10 million--and it received one anonymous donation of 
$17.9 million. One donor gave $17.9 million to this operation to 
influence our judiciary. I will say that we need to know who that donor 
was. Because we are in the minority, we are going to be spurned and 
rejected if we try to get that information. On the House side, where 
they have the power of subpoena, we need to pursue that. It ought to be 
public information when one donor can spend nearly $18 million to 
influence the selection of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice.
  Judicial Crisis Network then got $23 million from something called 
the Wellspring Committee. You will have to forgive some of this because 
it is very obscure. These are peculiar groups that aren't involved in 
any ordinary business or regular activity. The Wellspring Committee is 
a Virginia-based entity with ties to--you guessed it--Leonard Leo, and 
the Judicial Crisis Network then promised to spend as much on the 
Kavanaugh nomination as they had for Gorsuch.
  Add to this mix of peculiarly funded and obscure organizations the BH 
Group, a shell corporation that gave $1 million to Donald Trump's 
inaugural. The BH Group received over $1 million in something called 
consulting fees in 2017 from something else called the Judicial 
Education Project. Who is Judicial Education Project? The Judicial 
Education Project is--guess what--the 501(c)(3) side of the Judicial 
Crisis Network. Why does a shell corporation give money to the Trump 
inaugural and also serve as a consultant to a legal organization 
fighting for the confirmation of specific Justices? What consulting did 
they do? Was there any consulting done at all? Great questions. Leonard 
Leo probably knows the answer. In 2018, he told the Federal 
Elections Commission that the BH Group was his employer.

  While this apparatus may be complex and difficult to track, its goal 
is simple. Don McGahn explained it succinctly: ``Regulatory reform and 
judicial selection are . . . deeply connected.'' Translated, that means 
that the Federalist Society's goal is to pack the judiciary through 
judicial selection with judges who will deliver what is called 
regulatory reform, an extreme anti-regulation, anti-union, anti-
environment agenda for those corporatist Federalist Society funders.
  Let me give you two examples.
  The Senate just confirmed Neomi Rao to the DC Circuit Court of 
Appeals. Rao comes right out of the deep bog of special interest dark 
money. Her bio appears on the Federalist Society website, along with 
the list of 26 times she has been featured at Federalist Society 
events--26 auditions, as one might describe them.
  This is a person confirmed for the DC Court of Appeals who has never 
been a judge. She has never even tried a case. What has she done? She 
served as the Trump administration's point person for tearing down 
Federal regulations as head of the White House's Office of Information 
and Regulatory Affairs. Among her greatest hits was taking one of Scott 
Pruitt's proposed regulatory rollbacks for the climate-change driving-
gas methane from the oil and gas industry and tipping that regulation 
even further in favor of fossil fuel polluters. Out-Pruitting Scott 
Pruitt for the fossil fuel industry is hard to do. That may have been 
another audition for the court.
  Rao also funded the so-called Center for the Study of the 
Administrative State at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law 
School, which is devoted to conjuring ways to roll back as many 
regulations affecting these corporations as possible and is funded by 
these same secretive groups.
  I asked Ms. Rao about the funders of her center at the Scalia Law 
School. She claimed in her answers--and, by the way, I will add that 
these were questions for the record--written questions that she had 
time to consider, review, and respond to. This was not a surprise 
attack of an unprepared witness at a hearing. She had weeks to answer. 
She claimed in her answers that, to the best of her knowledge, her 
organization had not received any money from the Federalist Society, 
from Koch Family Foundations, or from anonymous funders.
  Well, that was simply not true. A Virginia open records request 
revealed

[[Page S2035]]

that an anonymous donor and the Charles Koch Foundation donated $30 
million earmarked specially for her organization. Guess whose interests 
she has been conveyed onto the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to protect.
  Now consider the case of Kisor v. Wilkie, a case currently before the 
Supreme Court. It hasn't gotten much attention. On its face, it is 
about an obscure administrative law doctrine, but Kisor has been 
described as a ``stalking horse for much larger game''--whether 
administrative agencies can continue to have the independence they need 
to regulate in the public interests. At stake could be the power of the 
EPA to protect our air and water, of the Department of Labor to 
continue to protect workers in the workplace, and of the Securities and 
Exchange Commission to protect investors against financial fraud.
  Many corporations hate regulation. The problem is regulations are 
pretty popular. Politicians may talk about cutting redtape, but their 
constituents really like clean air and clean water. They want safe 
workplaces and the peace of mind that their investments are sound.
  That is where judges like Neomi Rao and cases like Kisor come in. For 
decades we have operated in a system where Congress passes laws and 
administrative Agencies fill in the details and implement those laws 
using their regulatory power and their time, patience, and expertise to 
deal with complex problems. It has worked extremely well. Cases like 
Kisor, however, slowly chip away at that system, shifting more and more 
power from expert regulatory agencies to courts and to courts filled 
with more and more judges like Neomi Rao.

  The Daily Beast influence reporter Jay Michaelson wrote:

       Sometimes thought of as a legal association, the Federalist 
     Society is actually a large right-wing network that grooms 
     conservative law students still in law school (sponsoring 
     everything from free burrito lunches to conferences, 
     speakers, and journals), links them together, mentors them, 
     finds them jobs, and eventually places them in courts and in 
     government.

  Within this Federalist Society is this operation I have described, 
funded by dark money and designed to remake our judiciary on behalf of 
a distinct group of very wealthy and powerful, anonymous funders. Add 
to that the dark money funding the so-called Judicial Crisis Network. 
Add to that the dark money funding the amicus briefs telling these 
judges what to do. Then look at the outcomes when the Federalist 
Society-selected appointees get a majority on the court. It is not a 
pretty sight.
  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. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          ____________________