REMEDY ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 81
(Senate - May 15, 2019)

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[Pages S2854-S2868]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                               REMEDY ACT

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, if you watched ``60 Minutes'' on Sunday, 
you would not have been surprised that there was a segment relating to 
prescription drug pricing. Everywhere we turn, somebody is raising the 
question about why we are paying so much for prescription drugs and why 
the cost of these drugs has gone through the roof.
  We want to encourage research. We want to encourage innovation. We 
understand that these are profit-making companies, so we understand we 
will pay for that. But what we are seeing in terms of the pricing of 
drugs across America now is inconsistent with any of the history that 
we have had. It seems as if pharma believes that if they own a drug, 
they can charge whatever they can charge, and no one will question 
them.
  It makes a difference. Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest health 
insurer in my State of Illinois, analyzed the cost of care in our State 
and nearby and asked: What is driving the increase in health insurance 
premiums? The cost of prescription drugs, even more than the cost of 
inpatient hospital care.
  Look at all of those big hospitals and all of the important work they 
are doing and expensive procedures they are involved in. All of that 
cost does not equal the rising cost of prescription drugs. That is why 
our health insurance premiums are going up, so it is understandable 
that more and more of us are talking about this and trying to find 
practical ways to approach it that might make things better.
  Can you consider one policy that might have the support of Democrats 
and Republicans, the American Association of Retired Persons, the 
American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, 88 
percent of Americans, and the Trump administration? What in the world 
could that be? Here it is: a measure I introduced in 2017 to require 
pharmaceutical companies to disclose the prices with new prescription 
drug advertising.
  Last year, Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and I teamed 
up to pass a measure in the Senate to require pricetags on the 
television ads. We were stopped in conference by a single House 
Republican.
  Think about those television ads. What do they tell us in those ads? 
For 60 seconds, as fast as they can talk, they tell us everything under 
the sun. If you are allergic to XARELTO, do not take XARELTO. Certain 
negative things may happen if you take this drug or the other drug. On 
they go for 60 seconds without stopping. Yet they never disclose the 
price of the drug.
  After Senator Grassley and I put our bill in last year, I got a call 
from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar. He decided 
he wanted to pick up on our effort and join us. Think about that for a 
minute--a Republican Senator, a Democratic Senator, and the Trump 
administration agreeing on something. It turns out, he thinks it is a 
good idea, and I do too.
  If we had price disclosure on these ads on television, it might open 
the eyes of a lot of people as to what it costs. What is the most 
heavily advertised drug on television today? HUMIRA. Why was HUMIRA 
invented or discovered? To treat arthritis, particularly psoriatic 
arthritis. Guess what they discovered. It also had a side benefit they 
didn't anticipate. You know the little red patch on your elbow--
psoriasis? If you take HUMIRA, all of a sudden, that little red patch 
goes away. So if you are watching the ads on television, some of them 
are about arthritis, but some of them show ladies sitting by swimming 
pools with flawless skin because they are taking HUMIRA. It is very 
interesting.
  There is one thing they leave out. Do you know what HUMIRA costs? It 
costs $5,500 a month. This red patch on my elbow may trouble me when it 
comes to the swimsuit competition, but I am not going to spend $5,500 
to deal with it. I think they ought to have to disclose the price of 
the drug. We take their prices; we do not make up the price. The price 
they declare as pharmaceutical manufacturers--we believe that is the 
one that should be advertised.
  On Monday, Senator Grassley and I introduced the bill to codify this 
rule that the Trump administration is pushing for price disclosure and 
to ensure its long-term implementation. We are happy to have on board 
with us Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Senator 
King, Independent Democrat from Maine. Disclosing prices in drug ads is 
a simple step to give patients a break at the pharmacy. We have to do a 
lot more. I think this is a good starting point, though.
  American patients and taxpayers pay the highest prices in the world 
for most medications. Eli Lilly, out of Indianapolis, IN--they make a 
drug called Humalog. It is for diabetes. It is an insulin drug that can 
cost up to $329 per dose here in the United States. Humalog, insulin, 
diabetes--the cost is $329.
  What does the same vial of the same drug made by the same company 
cost

[[Page S2855]]

in Canada? It costs $38. It is $329 here and $38 there.
  In 2017, Canadians could purchase AbbVie's HUMIRA, which I mentioned 
earlier, for $20,000; for Americans, $40,000. The worst part of this 
price disparity is that American taxpayers are the ones paying to 
develop these drugs in the first place. Our tax dollars at the National 
Institutes of Health provide the clues and the direction for these 
companies to take our federally funded research and turn it into a 
valuable drug, a valuable medical device, and then charge us more than 
any other place in the world.
  All 210 drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration between 
the years 2010 and 2016 received funding from the National Institutes 
of Health, supported by nearly $40 billion by U.S. taxpayers each year. 
I am all for that, incidentally--funding the NIH and leading to this 
research. But make no mistake, these breakthrough drugs start at the 
National Institutes of Health at taxpayers' expense. So American 
taxpayers get hit twice. We pay for the initial research, which leads 
to the drug, and then we, of course, pay for the drugs at the highest 
levels.

  The heart of the problem is that our system does not function as a 
free market. There are too many forces at work when it comes to 
prescription drugs that limit competition. Often Big Pharma charges as 
much as they can get away with because they manipulate the patent 
system to avoid competition.
  The theory used to be that if you discovered the drug, you could sell 
it exclusively for, say, 20 years, and then everybody could take your 
formula, make generic drugs, and there would be open competition so 
that the price would go down. That is not how it works.
  The core issue is that roughly 10 percent of brand name, patent-
protected drugs account for 80 percent of spending in America. The 
overwhelming prescriptions are for generic drugs, which are affordable 
drugs, but it turns out that even though 90 percent of the 
prescriptions are for generic drugs, they account for only 20 percent 
of all the spending. It is that 10 percent of brand name drugs that 
account for 80 percent of all prescription drug spending because they 
are so expensive.
  In what other industry does the price of the consumer product 
increase year after year after being introduced on the market? Maybe a 
collector of artwork or baseball cards but certainly not when it comes 
to something that is a life-and-death commodity like a drug.
  The point is, I don't believe our Founding Fathers envisioned a 
scheme where Sanofi's Lantus, insulin that was approved in the year 
2000, would receive 45 additional patents after it was approved by the 
FDA, providing a massive 37-year monopoly by Sanofi on this insulin 
product. During that time, the price of insulin has increased from $35 
to more than $270 because Sanofi has successfully bought lower cost 
generic competitors, and it is not just Lantus or insulin.
  Celgene's cancer drug, REVLIMID, has been awarded 96 patents, many of 
which were awarded after the initial FDA approval. As a result, 
REVLIMID, effectively, has gone 40 years without competition.
  The same goes for Pfizer's nerve pain drug, Lyrica. You have seen 
that one advertised on TV. I have. That entered the market in 2004. 
Lyrica has received 68 patents, including filing more than 2 dozen 
after initial FDA approval. They are gaming the system to avoid 
competition to keep their prices high.
  In fact, the top 12 best-selling drugs in America each have an 
average of 71 patents. Why do they get a new patent? Because they have 
decided that instead of a 150-mg tablet, there will be a 75-mg tablet, 
and they get a new patent. Or they put a new coating on the outside of 
the pill or they have a new manufacturing technique. They get the 
patent. They have exclusivity in the market for another extended period 
of time.
  The top 12 best-selling drugs in America each have an average of 71 
patents, and 74 percent of all new drug patents are for drugs that are 
already on the market. They are gaming the system.
  We can and we should reward innovative research so that companies can 
earn a profit for good work and big ideas. But an abusive manufacturer 
should not be allowed to game the government patent system while being 
shielded from competition.
  This month I am going to give what I call my Pharma Fleece Award. I 
made a special sign here so that pharma would know what we are talking 
about. This month we are going to give this Pharma Fleece Award to 
Celgene, Pfizer, and Sanofi for stacking excessive secondary patents to 
block generic competition. The net result, of course, is that American 
consumers pay more for their products.
  To address this, I introduced legislation last month with Senator 
Cassidy, Republican from Louisiana and a medical doctor, called the 
REMEDY Act. Our bipartisan bill reduces incentives for Big Pharma to 
``evergreen,'' which is a technical term in this application. It is an 
effort to amass endless quantities of follow-on patents that shield 
blockbuster drugs from competition from generics. You see, under an 
act, a law known as the Hatch-Waxman Act, when a generic drug 
manufacturer seeks approval from the FDA, they are routinely blocked by 
a maze of patents held by the brand name company.
  The generic company has the option to say whether they think the 
patents covering the brand name drug are not valid or relevant. If so, 
that can trigger a patent infringement lawsuit. When this happens, the 
FDA issues a 30-month freeze on the generic company's application to 
hash out the issue. The problem with this 30-month freeze is it extends 
the monopoly period for the drug again, and it incentivizes the filing 
of secondary follow-on patents that may not add to the safety or 
efficacy of the drug.
  This automatic 30-month freeze on competition encourages pharma to 
amass large numbers of secondary patents and block generic companies 
from putting on the market a drug that would be in competition with 
their brand name drug. No matter how weak the patent is, how peripheral 
it may be--like the coating on a pill that I mentioned earlier--it 
works. For 30 months, there is another delay before there is 
competition.
  The REMEDY Act, which Senator Cassidy and I introduced, would 
restrict this 30-month freeze of FDA approval so that it applies only 
to primary substance patents. This removes an incentive for brand name 
manufacturers to continue to game the system by filing excessive 
follow-on patents, and it makes it easier for low-cost generic 
competitors to come to market.
  Big Pharma is gaming the system at the expense of American patients, 
at the expense of the American health system, and at our expense when 
it comes to health insurance premiums. What are we going to do about 
it? Well, it turns out, we happen to be working in a place which makes 
laws, the U.S. Senate. We are supposed to take a challenge like this 
and do something about it--not just lament the fact that prescription 
drug pricing is out of control, but actually do something.
  Lucky me, I serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has 
authority over many of these issues, particularly when it comes to 
patent law. There are things we can do as members of the committee to 
bring down prescription drug pricing.
  Honestly, if you follow the U.S. Senate, we can do something other 
than a nomination, which is all we have done around here for a long, 
long time. I am sure the American voters are happy to see us work on 
nominations, but they would be much happier if we worked on the high 
cost of prescription drugs. We have done little or nothing on this 
subject, other than talk about it for the last few months.
  Senator McConnell, the Republican leader, has decided not to bring 
legislation to the floor of the Senate anymore. That is just from the 
days of yesteryear when we actually debated a bill, offered amendments, 
had votes. People showed up on the floor because we were doing 
something.
  Look at it now.
  American patients need help from the high drug prices, not more 
unqualified, divisive nominees but actual legislation to help American 
families. What a break it would be if the U.S. Senate became the U.S. 
Senate again.
  I hope Senator McConnell will allow us to put a bill on the floor of 
the Senate. It would be a great celebration here in the Senate. I think 
Republicans and Democrats would enjoy the opportunity to actually come 
to the floor,

[[Page S2856]]

have a debate, and pass a bill that may become a law that ends up 
helping Americans. For many of us, that is the reason we ran for 
office, and I hope we can return to that very soon.


                              nominations

  Once again, this week the Republican Leader has scheduled no 
legislation for votes on the Senate floor.
  Instead, our Republican colleagues are spending another week rubber 
stamping President Trump's nominees.
  This week, the Republican majority scheduled votes on three Trump 
judicial nominees. Each of these nominees has expressed views that are 
ideological and extreme.
  First there was Michael Truncale, nominated to the District Court for 
the Northern District of Texas. Mr. Truncale gave a speech in 2011 
where he outrageously called President Obama ``an un-American 
imposter.''
  He described the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County that 
gutted the Voting Rights Act as ``a victory.'' He has called for 
defunding Planned Parenthood and said that he opposes the bipartisan 
DREAM Act.
  He has called the Environmental Protection Agency a ``job killer'' 
and called for eliminating the Departments of Education and Energy.
  Mr. Truncale also gave a radio interview in 2012 thanking the Tea 
Party movement ``for what it has meant to our country and to our 
Republican party.''
  Despite all this, only one Republican Senator, Senator Romney, voted 
against Mr. Truncale.
  Then there's Ninth Circuit nominee Kenneth Lee of California, who has 
been advanced by Republicans over the objection of both home State 
Senators. That never happened before until this year, but this is now 
the fifth time we have seen a nominee advance with no blue slip.
  Mr. Lee initially failed to provide dozens of his controversial 
writings to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  I remember when President Obama's Ninth Circuit nominee Goodwin Liu 
initially failed to fully disclose articles he had written to the 
Judiciary Committee. Republican members of the Committee said it was 
``potentially disqualifying'' and said it showed either incompetence or 
an attempt to hide his writings.
  Senate Republicans ended up filibustering Goodwin Liu's nomination. 
Yet every Republican member of the Judiciary Committee voted for Mr. 
Lee's nomination. The double standard is obvious.
  When we were finally able to review Mr. Lee's writings, we saw he 
routinely expressed extreme views. Here are just a few examples:
  He wrote: ``Charges of sexism often amount to nothing but irrelevant 
pouting.''
  He said: ``homosexuals generally are more promiscuous than 
heterosexuals, and thus their risk factor [for AIDS] increases 
exponentially.''
  He called affirmative action ``liberals' most sacred shibboleth.''
  And he called multiculturalism a ``malodorous sickness.''
  Then there is Wendy Vitter, nominated to the District Court for the 
Eastern District of Louisiana.
  Like Mr. Lee, Ms. Vitter also initially failed to disclose more than 
100 speeches and documents to the Judiciary Committee.
  The matters she failed to disclose included a panel she moderated in 
2013 at a Louisiana Right to Life conference. At this panel, she told 
the audience to urge their doctors to put in their waiting rooms a 
brochure entitled ``The Pill Kills.'' This is a brochure about how 
birth control pills supposedly kill women.
  Ms. Vitter also claimed in a 2009 speech that we are ``throwing out 
our Constitution'' by counting the full population in the national 
census.
  All three of these judicial nominees have expressed extreme 
ideological views that raise serious questions about their judgment. 
Yet Republicans are rubber stamping all three of them to lifetime 
appointments on the federal bench.
  Then there is President Trump's nominee for Deputy Attorney General, 
Jeffrey Rosen. Mr. Rosen simply does not have the right qualifications 
for this important job.
  The Deputy Attorney General runs the day-to-day operations of the 
Justice Department and oversees its law enforcement components.
  At this critical moment, we need a Deputy Attorney General who is 
familiar with the Justice Department, who has experience in overseeing 
criminal investigations and prosecutions, and who is committed to the 
Department's role of enforcing the law independently without fear or 
favor.
  Mr. Rosen has no experience working in the Justice Department or 
handling criminal cases. When I questioned him about core DOJ functions 
and agencies he will oversee if confirmed, he wasn't familiar with them 
and said he would have to get up to speed.
  For example, when I met with him and asked him about the landmark 
First Step Act, he said he had ``begun getting informed about it.''
  When I asked him about the Deputy Attorney General's role in 
overseeing the Federal Bureau of Prisons and addressing their critical 
staffing shortages, he said he wasn't familiar and couldn't comment.
  When I asked him about voting rights and voter suppression, he said 
he hadn't had occasion to study the issue.
  When I asked him about the DEA's role in setting opioid production 
quotas, which he will oversee, he didn't know about it.
  When I asked him about DOJ's role in immigration matters, including 
his priorities for the immigration courts he will oversee, he said he 
looked forward to learning more about it.
  Mr. Rosen was a longtime colleague of Attorney General Barr at a law 
firm, and he has held positions in other government agencies like the 
Department of Transportation. But that does not make him qualified to 
be the Deputy Attorney General.
  Because my Republican colleagues used the nuclear option to change 
the Senate rules, there is now less time for the Senate to debate 
controversial nominees like Mr. Truncale, Ms. Vitter, and Mr. Rosen.
  But the American people see what is going on. They see the rush by 
President Trump and Senate Republicans to confirm nominees who are 
ideological or who lack the right qualifications for the job.
  I oppose these nominees. And I regret that the Senate's advice and 
consent process has become an exercise in Republican rubber stamping. 
This institution can, and should, do better.
  I see that my colleague from Texas is here on the floor, and I don't 
want to take any more time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lankford). The Senator from Texas.


                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding rule XXII, at 5:30 p.m., all postcloture time on the 
Lee nomination be considered expired; further, that if confirmed, the 
motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the 
President be immediately notified of the Senate's action. I ask that 
following disposition of the Lee nomination, the Senate vote on the 
cloture motions for the Vitter, Bulatao, and Rosen nominations; 
finally, that if cloture is invoked on those nominations, the 
confirmation votes on the Vitter and Bulatao nominations occur at noon 
on Thursday and the Rosen confirmation vote occur at 1:45 p.m. on 
Thursday, May 16, and that if confirmed, the motions to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table and the President be 
immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The remarks of Mr. Cornyn pertaining to the introduction of S. 1480 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. CORNYN. 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. LANKFORD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Romney). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. LANKFORD. 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. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.

[[Page S2857]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                      Military Appreciation Month

  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I am going to be on the floor with some 
of my colleagues in the next hour.
  I thank my colleague from Iowa, Senator Ernst--Lieutenant Colonel 
Ernst, by the way, of the Iowa National Guard--for organizing the 
series of discussions we are going to have in the next couple of 
minutes on the Senate floor that will focus on Military Appreciation 
Month. I think we are all going to talk about how wonderful our 
military is, and we will probably do a little bit of bragging about our 
different States and how we support and appreciate our military so 
much.
  I like to come down on the floor and talk in superlatives about my 
State, the great State of Alaska. It is true that most Senators love to 
talk about their States in all of their superlatives, which is good. We 
are proud States. We each think we live in the best State in the 
country. We all believe that. I happen to think my State is the best 
State in the country.
  In talking about our military and its support and Military 
Appreciation Month, we certainly have a large military presence in 
Alaska. We have about 32 military facilities and 5 major installations. 
Roughly, 10 percent of the population is either in the military or is a 
family member of someone who is in the military.
  I like to say that Alaska actually constitutes three pillars of our 
Nation's military might. Whether the attacks be from Kim Jong Un or the 
Iranians, we are the cornerstone of missile defense, which are the 
missiles and the radar that protect the entire country from attacks. 
This all resides in Alaska. We are the hub air combat power for the 
Asia-Pacific and the Arctic, and we will have over 100 fifth-generation 
fighters--F-22s, F-35s--by the end of next year. We are also a vital 
platform for some of America's best trained troops to be deployed 
anywhere around the world because of our strategic location. Alaska 
also boasts the largest number of veterans per capita of any State in 
the country. These are the facts, and they are all good.
  What is so unique about Alaska--and, I would say, as in most States--
is how proud we are of our military and how much the communities of 
Alaska--big communities, small communities--support the men and women 
who serve in the military. It is almost a part of our DNA in Alaska. 
Let me just give you one example.
  I was in a group of community leaders in Delta Junction, which is in 
Alaska's interior. It is actually near Fort Greely, where we have our 
missile defense fields. It is right on the outskirts of what is called 
the JPARC, which is the biggest air training range in the entire United 
States. The airspace is actually the size of Florida. There is great 
training, and we have Red Flag exercises. Our men and women in the Air 
Force, in particular, do some wonderful training there.
  We were in this community meeting, and some Air Force pilot was 
flying low and fast. He probably broke the sound barrier because there 
was a giant sonic boom. It shook the whole building. It shook the whole 
meeting room. Now, I would say, in most States, that would probably 
result in having people complain and call their Congressmen and 
Senators in their being mad about what the military would be doing--
shaking the buildings with sonic booms because they would be breaking 
the speed of sound as they would be training. Yet the mayor of Delta 
just looked at me and said, ``The sound of freedom.'' There were no 
complaints, just support.
  Let me give another example.
  In so many of our smaller Native communities--Native villages--across 
Alaska, one sees what I refer to as special patriotism. Alaska Natives 
and the lower 48 American Indians serve in the military at higher rates 
than any ethnic group in the country. That is a special patriotism 
because--let's face it--these great American patriots weren't always 
supported by their government when they came home after fighting in 
World War II or in Vietnam.
  As a matter of fact, there was a documentary that was produced about 
the community of Hoonah, AK, which is in Southeast Alaska. The film was 
called ``Hunting and Wartime.'' It was about the fact that almost every 
single male high school senior in the late 1960s in these small 
communities went off to fight in Vietnam--almost every one of them.
  That is special patriotism. This support for the military isn't a 
recent phenomenon in Alaska. In 1942, during World War II, Alaskans 
oversubscribed their war bond quota by 300 percent, which surpassed 
that of every State in the Union.
  So many Senators--Democratic and Republican--are going to come down 
to the floor and talk about our Military Appreciation Month, as they 
should. There is some talk in the country about the 1 percent and the 
less than 1 percent. Well, the 1 percent I really care about is the 
less than 1 percent of young men and women who still, today, raise 
their right hands to support and defend the Constitution and to defend 
our liberty, knowing it could even cost them their lives by their 
joining the U.S. military.
  We all have wonderful veterans and wonderful men and women in the 
military whom we support in the U.S. Senate. I tell my constituents 
that the one thing we are focused on doing is making sure, when you 
send your son or daughter to join the military, that it is the top 
military in the world, the most ready military in the world, and the 
most capable military in the world.
  One thing we are doing is reversing a dangerous trend. From 2010 to 
2015, defense spending for the U.S. military was cut by almost 25 
percent during the second term of the Obama administration--25 
percent--and readiness plummeted. We are changing that because no man 
or woman in this country who volunteers to support and defend the 
Constitution by joining the military should be joining a military that 
is not at the highest level of readiness and lethal in terms of its 
getting the job done. So I am going to pass this on to some of my 
colleagues here. As the Senator from a State where communities support 
our military so much, I just want to thank all the members, regardless 
of where you live, for the great work you do and to let you know that 
the Senate supports you with all its heart and soul.

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, while my friend and colleague from Alaska 
is still on the floor, I want to thank him for his many years of 
service as a marine.
  I am here to talk about North Carolina and Military Appreciation 
Month. We have a special relationship with members of the military and 
their families in North Carolina. We have a million veterans in the 
State. Literally hundreds of thousands of people serve in the military.
  You may have heard of the Global Response Force. The Global Response 
Force is out of Fort Bragg. When there is a crisis anywhere in the 
world, whether it is a military conflict or a relief effort, it is the 
82nd Airborne that goes out to the green ramp down in Fort Bragg, NC, 
and goes wherever they need to go, sometimes with 48 hours' notice.
  Just down the street from there, we have the marines at Camp Lejeune. 
The marines who are based in Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point and New 
River constitute about 45 percent of all the marines serving in the 
Marine Corps.
  We can go up to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, and we have a proud 
number of men and women in the Air Force who are part of a base that 
will be the home to the new KC-46, a next-generation tanker.
  To say we have a close bond with the military is an understatement. 
We love them, and we love their families.
  I chair the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services 
Committee, so I have an opportunity to have a direct role in showing 
appreciation to not only the men and women who are serving in the 
military but also their spouses. It is a tough job. They are serving 
too.
  As we think about Military Appreciation Month, let's make sure we 
are, first and foremost, thinking about not only those brave men and 
women who have sworn the oath to defend and protect our Nation but also 
their families, who are an integral part of their being capable and 
ready to do the job.
  I also want to make sure we don't lose sight of the veteran 
population--a

[[Page S2858]]

million of them in my State alone. One-tenth of our population are 
veterans.
  We should also talk about the National Guard and the reservists. If 
you take a look at a State like North Carolina, we have had a number of 
people in the National Guard who have been deployed multiple times to 
Iraq and Afghanistan--some of the most dangerous places you could be. 
They do it with courage, and they do it with honor. During Military 
Appreciation Month, I think we should pay special attention to this 
special group of people. I hope that every day of the year, each and 
every one of you shows them the appreciation and the respect they 
deserve.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. CRAMER. Mr. President, like my colleagues and like people from 
around the country, North Dakotans are very proud of our military 
heritage. In fact, North Dakotans sign up at a rate four times the 
national average. I think you will hear that theme throughout the 
Midwest especially.
  I am grateful to Senator Ernst for her leadership today as we stand 
and do something we ought to do every day. It is something we ought to 
do in church when we are sitting next to them in the pews and when we 
are talking to our neighbors who are serving or their spouses or family 
members. We are saying: Thank you. Forgive us for not saying it more 
often. Frankly, part of why we don't say ``thank you'' more often is 
because we go about our business in complete comfort, unaware of the 
dangers around the world because you all do your jobs so very well. 
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
  Mr. President, North Dakota is home to two Air Force bases. I 
recently finished a tour of the military bases in North Dakota, and I 
want to speak briefly about the airmen at those two bases.
  Grand Forks, ND, houses the 319th Air Base Wing, known as the 
Warriors of the North. Just last Saturday, Air Force Secretary Heather 
Wilson visited Grand Forks and redesignated this base as the 319th 
Reconnaissance Wing. This is one of only three of its kind. I am 
continually impressed with the mission of the Global Hawk. The Global 
Hawk mission that is headquartered out of Grand Forks is remarkable. I 
believe that Grand Forks is a place that is well-positioned for the 
future of warfighting.
  To the west of Grand Forks a couple hundred miles is the community of 
Minot. Minot, ND, is home to the 5th Bomb Wing and the 91st Missile 
Wing at the Minot Air Force Base. This is interesting because, of 
course, the bomb wing operates the intercontinental ballistic missiles 
and the B-52 bombers at the same base. That is two of the three legs of 
the nuclear triad we hear so much about. You are not going to find a 
stronger proponent of the nuclear triad than you will in me because it 
is the only base of its kind.
  As the base's motto goes, ``Only the best come North.'' Our greatest 
defense is in detouring our adversaries, and certainly the nuclear 
triad is important to that. Every day, the airmen in Minot wake up with 
literally the weight of the world, in many cases, on their shoulders. 
So for their service and their willingness to stand in the gap in the 
defense of the world, I am immensely grateful and always impressed.
  Of course, I would be remiss to not also mention the airspace station 
in Cavalier. I think it is the Air Force's smallest base, but it is a 
very important installation. As we debate in this Chamber the need for 
a modernized space force, understanding the work this base does has 
further compelled me to stand in support of a modern, capable military 
unit able to defend the emerging domain that space has become. A 
special thank-you to those 40 or so airmen in Cavalier who do an 
incredible job far from home and in many cases far from a lot of other 
people around them.
  On a more personal note, I want to say ``thank you'' to the military 
families and spouses of those stationed in North Dakota, as my 
colleagues have done. As we know, in a family, everybody serves. In a 
small community, everybody serves together. They come from all over the 
country, and they bless our local communities and our State with their 
work in North Dakota. They deserve a very special thanks for that 
service.
  Our military community is not, of course, defined solely by our Air 
Force bases; it is also defined by our incredible Army and Air National 
Guard in North Dakota. In Fargo, for example, I am going to highlight 
this one unit--the 119th Wing of North Dakota's Air National Guard, 
known as the Happy Hooligans. They are frequent recipients of the Air 
Force's Outstanding Unit Award. In fact, earlier this year, they 
received their 20th Outstanding Unit Award. This is an award that is 
given to the units that distinguish themselves by exceptional service 
and outstanding achievement. No group better exemplifies that than the 
Happy Hooligans. In fact, no unit has received more Outstanding Unit 
Awards either in the active Air Force or in the Guard than the Happy 
Hooligans. Congratulations.
  While we are talking about the Guard, I want to say a special thanks 
not only to the families--because, as I said, they all serve--but in 
the Guard, there are a lot of people who serve, including their 
employers. I don't think we say ``thank you'' to the employers often 
enough who accommodate--no, facilitate--no, encourage the incredible 
military personnel who do a great job for us on the homefront, as well 
as when called into action beyond our borders.
  The mission of the National Guard is to provide ready units, 
individuals, and equipment supporting our communities, our States, our 
Nation.
  If I might elaborate a little bit on homeland issues, just a few 
short years ago, our State called on our National Guard to meet that 
mission. We were abandoned by the Federal Government, and the North 
Dakota National Guard was deployed to help keep the peace. It is 
appropriate today, on this Peace Officers Memorial Day, that we 
recognize this relationship. The National Guard was deployed to keep 
the peace as out-of-State activists with no interest, really, in North 
Dakota--they flooded our State to violently protest the legally 
permitted Dakota Access Pipeline. Absent Federal help, our Governor 
called on our National Guard as a last resort.
  You would think that would have some serious ramifications. Well, the 
reality is, because of the quality of our guardsmen, they did what the 
previous administration would not--they stood up for the rule of law, 
and they stood in the way of radical protesters even while their own 
families were targets of the radical protests, the harassment of 
radical protesters from everywhere other than North Dakota. They put 
their lives at risk and did it without provocation, without escalation, 
and with a calming presence. They didn't run from their orders. They 
didn't balk at their commands. They answered the call to peacefully and 
professionally defend our State from the chaos that descended upon us.
  Again, ``thank you'' is inadequate. It is all we can do today. I 
would just compel people to say ``thank you'' more often. As you see 
that neighbor, as you see that person sitting next to you, make it a 
point to say ``thank you'' out loud, in front of friends.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Thanks to the Senator from North Dakota.
  The Senator from Iowa.
  Ms. ERNST. Mr. President, during Military Appreciation Month, we 
honor the men and women who wear our Nation's uniform, those who have 
worn it in the past, and those who have sacrificed their lives for our 
freedom.
  As a Senator and a combat veteran with over 23 years of service 
between the Army Reserves and the Iowa Army National Guard, I am 
grateful to have the opportunity to get to know so many patriotic and 
selfless Americans, and Iowans are well represented in those ranks. 
Nearly 9 percent of our State's adult population are veterans. The 
national average is just above 6\1/2\ percent. From World War II to the 
global war on terrorism, Iowans have served with honor and distinction.
  Military Appreciation Month is also a time to recognize our military 
families who sacrifice so much and faithfully support our men and women 
in uniform. They keep things running during long deployments and help 
during the transition back to civilian life--they help that family 
member--and, of course, long, long after. So to

[[Page S2859]]

all of our military families in Iowa and, of course, across the Nation, 
thank you for choosing to serve.
  This month is also a good opportunity for those of us in the Senate 
to highlight some of the work we are doing to support our 
servicemembers, our military families, and, of course, our veterans. 
Next week, the Senate Armed Services Committee will be starting our 
yearly national defense authorization bill process. In anticipation of 
that process, I will be joining my Democratic colleague from Arizona, 
Senator Sinema, to introduce two new bills to address military sexual 
assault--one to improve prevention and the other to streamline 
prosecution.
  I will also be introducing a bill with Senator Warren that will 
explore ways to better track traumatic brain injuries sustained by our 
warfighters. Helping our servicemembers with injuries sustained in 
battle is a top priority of mine. We owe it to our wounded warriors to 
seek out game-changing treatments and to help them heal and recover.
  As the chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and 
Capabilities, I will also use the NDAA process to ensure that the bill 
fosters technological advancements to better equip our warfighters for 
success.
  Military Appreciation Month is an important reminder of the daily 
sacrifice made by our servicemembers, our military families, and our 
veterans. It is also a solemn time to remember those who made the 
ultimate sacrifice to keep America free, safe, and prosperous. We have 
many of our own Members who have served in the military, and I want to 
thank them all very much. So for those of us who have worn boots, we 
take a look at this legislation and find ways that we can better 
support those who serve.
  In the Senate, members of our military, families, and veterans have 
our support and our gratitude, not only today but every day.
  I know the folks back home in Iowa feel the same.
  So from all of us to all of you who have worn the uniform and those 
who have supported those who have worn the uniform, thank you for your 
service, and God bless you.
  God bless our great State of Iowa, God bless the great United States 
of America and those men and women who make it possible to be free.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, first of all, let me associate myself with 
the remarks of the Senator from Iowa.
  It is so important for all of us, particularly those of us who have 
had occasion to serve, to really pay attention to what is going on. 
This is Military Appreciation Month, and it is very significant, what 
is going on. Every month should be Military Appreciation.
  As the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and as a 
veteran, it is my great honor and responsibility to support our 
warfighters during and after their service.
  Whenever they were needed, they were there, and so we have to do a 
better job in supporting them. We went through 8 years of not 
adequately supporting the military, and it is something that many of 
them are suffering from now.
  Now, next week, as it was pointed out, we are going to do the Defense 
authorization bill. It is not very often you can stand here and say we 
are going to introduce a bill, and we know it is going to pass. The 
reason we know it is going to pass is because it has passed for the 
last 58 years. So this one is going to pass.
  I can remember a few years that we actually had to go into September 
to get the Defense authorization bill passed. In the event it got to 
the end of December, and the same thing would be true this coming year, 
then we would have hazard pay that wouldn't be paid, and we would have 
flight pay that wouldn't be paid. There would not be adequate funding 
to take care of any of that.
  So we can't let that happen, and we are not going to let it happen.
  I am a little confused now because a month from today we will 
actually mark up that bill in the U.S. Senate. Yet the House isn't 
going to do it, it is my understanding, until the middle of June.
  Then I also heard that they may, over in the House, actually do the 
appropriations bill first.
  Well, if you do the appropriations bill before you do the bill we 
will be marking up, the NDAA, then there is no reason to even do the 
NDAA from the House perspective.
  So we do know that good things are going to happen. We are going to 
implement the national defense strategy. We have talked about the 
national defense strategy several times on the floor and on how we have 
done, I think, a very good job in putting this together. Most 
importantly, we are supporting our All-Volunteer Force.
  I may be the last person on the Senate Armed Service Committee who 
still believes in compulsory service.
  I often wonder what would have happened in my life if I hadn't been 
drafted. I always remember coming back at Christmastime, Eisenhower was 
President, and I was enrolled at the University of Mexico, and I looked 
in the mailbox and there was a card. It was from the President, and I 
thought how nice of the President to remember me at Christmastime. It 
was my draft notice. So that changed my plans, and I often wonder where 
I would be today if I hadn't had that experience.
  We are going to provide the Armed Forces with adequate funding, and I 
hope we will find a budget solution. We can't do it with a continuing 
resolution. We have asked all of our leaders in the hearings what would 
happen to us if we did a continuing resolution, and it just wouldn't 
work. I think we all realize that.
  It puts people who are budget hawks, like me, and military hawks in a 
very awkward situation because we have a situation where, as a result 
of the 8 years of Obama, we have a thing called parity so that for 
every dollar you put in the military, there has to be a dollar that 
goes to the nondefense programs. This is something that doesn't work. 
So the continuing resolution, we all know, is something that should not 
be an option.
  The responsibility carries a great weight now. We ask our men and 
women in uniform to do more in the face of danger and more in a 
dangerous and unpredictable world than at any time.
  I think the Trump administration is right. They try to categorize the 
two threats that are out there, one being the threat of the rogue 
nations that are out there, and we are talking about North Korea and 
some of these other nations. At the same time, we also have the major 
threat of the great power threat, and this is one we face, and we know 
that. Yes, we are used to dealing with the threats of the rogue 
nations, but after the 8 years of the Obama administration, we watched 
Russia and China forge ahead of us in many areas. Hypersonic weapons 
are a good example, and that is something that is taking place now.
  So during that period of time, during the last 5 years of the Obama 
administration, the amount of money that we had to run our military 
with was reduced by almost 25 percent. Now, we have made up a lot of 
this in fiscal year 2018 and in fiscal year 2019, thanks to the Trump 
administration. We have increased that funding back up to $700 billion, 
then again $716 billion, and this time I think we are going to be at 
$750 billion.
  There is some dispute as to what the exact figure will be, but 
nonetheless we have started to rebuild. So we will be modernizing our 
forces, including our nuclear arsenal now, in order to maintain our 
military superiority--or to regain is a better word than maintain 
because we have actually lost some of our superiority--well into the 
future. Our Armed Forces have long been the best in the world, but we 
have problems now in trying to rebuild, and that is what this is all 
about.
  So we will support our troops and their families who sacrifice a 
great deal to protect our Nation. This includes making meaningful 
reforms to privatize on-base housing. We went through this housing 
trauma just the other day. We found out a lot of people are not being 
treated properly. A lot of the spouses of our members and our members 
are living in housing that is totally unacceptable, but we came to that 
realization and we are correcting that now and that is going to be 
corrected even further in the Defense authorization bill that we will 
mark up a week from today.

[[Page S2860]]

  So we want to thank every man and woman who ever put on a uniform and 
those who are doing this in defense of the country, congratulate them 
and pay particular attention to them and support them in every way we 
can.
  The fabric of our Nation is stronger because of the guys in uniform 
and those who have been in uniform, and we will endure for the years to 
come because of their service. God bless all of the men and women in 
uniform.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor as part of Military 
Appreciation Month. It is a time, clearly, to remember our brave 
service men and women, to reflect on their faithful service to this 
country and to recall the many sacrifices our troops and their families 
have made and continue to make in defense of this great Nation.
  Many of us will be heading overseas for the 75th anniversary of D-day 
to commemorate the efforts of an incredible group of allies on the 
fateful day and the weeks and the months that followed.
  As I stand here today, I think of those soldiers, and I think of my 
wife Bobbi's dad, Bob Brown--currently 92 years old, living in 
Thermopolis, WY, longtime postmaster. He still drives Meals on Wheels, 
as he says, ``for the old folks.''
  He was called to Europe in World War II, and he is one of those few 
who was in World War II in the European theater as well as in Japan as 
part of that first occupation and then called back to Korea as part of 
the 2-300 who continued in the fight for our freedoms.
  He continues today to serve our United States. His wife, Jerry, who 
went through all of this in Thermopolis, WY, knows the sacrifices he 
and so many have made.
  My dad, World War II, Battle of the Bulge. I still carry his dog tags 
from the Battle of the Bulge with me. I have them with me today on the 
floor of the Senate, and I carry them with me when I go to see our 
troops overseas.
  He is the guy who had to quit school in ninth grade because of the 
Depression. In World War II--and I have gone through some of his old 
papers--I found pictures of him and a number of members of the 
artillery who were part of the liberation of France.
  From the time I was a little boy, he would say: John, you should 
thank God every day because you live in America. You don't know how 
fortunate you are.
  We are so blessed to live in this great country, and it is to the men 
and women who continue to protect this land, who fought for our 
freedoms--my dad, his wife, Louise, the sacrifices they have made on 
behalf of all of us.
  Today we honor all of our Armed Forces, the Army, the Navy, the Air 
Force, the Coast Guard, the Marines, the National Guard.
  In particular, today I want to salute the members of the Wyoming Army 
National Guard because they are now deploying to the Middle East. Some 
300 Wyoming soldiers from six units will be sent to the Middle East 
between January and September--the largest Wyoming deployment in nearly 
a decade.
  The deployments began in January with the G Company of the 2nd 
Battalion, 211th Aviation, a medical evacuation company--the most 
deployed unit in the Wyoming Guard.
  The medevac unit that was sent to Afghanistan includes Wyoming 
soldiers from Bear River, from Casper, from Carpenter, from Guernsey, 
from Cheyenne, Laramie, and Wheatland.
  This past week, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon participated in a 
sendoff ceremony in Casper for 130 Wyoming National Guard troops headed 
to Texas ahead of a 9-month deployment to the Middle East.
  The Wyoming troops from the 2nd Battalion of the 300 Field Artillery, 
the ``Cowboy Cannoneers,'' the group my father-in-law, Bob Brown, was 
part of--they are from more than two dozen communities from Casper to 
Lovell, to Cheyenne, to Moorcroft. This Guard unit will serve under the 
U.S. Central Command covering Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and the United 
Arab Emirates.
  Wyoming and the entire Nation owe an incredible debt of gratitude to 
these fearless fighters for our freedom.
  God bless the U.S. Armed Forces, God bless our troops, our veterans, 
and God bless the United States of America.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Mr. President, I am proud to speak today in 
honor of Military Appreciation Month.
  Our men and women in uniform are true heroes. They risk their lives 
every day to protect our freedoms and our way of life.
  I had the opportunity to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam 
war, and my adopted father was one of the few who made all four combat 
jumps in the 82nd Airborne during World War II.
  As Governor, I made it my mission to turn Florida into the most 
military- and veteran-friendly State in the Nation, and we succeeded. 
We championed important legislation and funding to support priorities 
that matter most to Florida's military families, and we took every 
opportunity to recognize veterans for their service.
  Florida has 20 military bases and 3 unified commands--more than 
almost any other State. As Governor, I met regularly with Florida's 
base commanders to see how I could help support their missions and 
their troops. As a Senator, I continue to host base commander meetings 
to make sure our military has every resource they need.
  America is blessed with the protection of the strongest military in 
the world. Our military provides not only for the safety of our country 
but also leads in supporting our allies and protecting freedom and 
democracy across the globe.
  For decades, we have invested in building our military into the most 
lethal fighting force in the history of the world, but we live in a 
dangerous world, and we must avoid complacency.
  Our military readiness was diminished by budget cuts and the 
sequester under President Obama, which reduced defense spending across 
the board. The dysfunction in Washington has many consequences, but a 
significantly weakened military is the most dangerous.
  Our military superiority is never guaranteed. Russia and China 
continue to build up their militaries with a single goal in mind: to 
dominate the world stage.
  To avoid a national security emergency, we must act now. That is why, 
as a member of the Armed Services Committee, I am fighting to match the 
President's request of $750 million in defense spending, and I am 
fighting to secure a pay raise for our men and women in uniform--our 
heroes.
  I have also sponsored the Pay Our Coast Guard Act to make sure 
military pay is never affected by a government shutdown.
  We must also work together to pass disaster relief funding 
immediately, which will help rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base following 
the devastation of Hurricane Michael.
  I will never lose sight of one of the most important roles I have as 
a U.S. Senator: to protect and serve the families of our Nation. None 
of us should lose sight of that.
  I look forward to working closely with each of you to invest in 
America's greatest asset--the men and women of our Armed Forces.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I would like to echo the sentiments my 
colleagues have expressed in appreciation of the men and women who 
serve in our Armed Forces.
  While it may seem like the Members of this Chamber, much like America 
itself, are strongly divided on issues of national policy, I can say, 
without a doubt, that we are all united in support of our troops and 
their efforts to protect and defend our Nation and its ideals. That is 
why I am appreciative of the opportunity to join with my colleagues 
today to thank the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and 
coastguardsmen working tirelessly to protect the American people from 
the multitude of threats that face our Nation.
  The men and women who wear our Nation's uniform selflessly serve. 
They are fully aware of the risks they face. Despite that, they bravely 
put themselves in harm's way to defend our country, ideals, and allies 
around the world.
  They didn't choose this life to seek recognition, awards or honors. 
Like those who wore the uniform before

[[Page S2861]]

them, they chose the path of a higher calling. They chose it as a way 
to use their talents for the greater good. The men and women who serve 
in our military embody what it means to be a giver.
  I know my fellow Arkansans share my gratitude and appreciation for 
all of our military personnel and their families who sacrifice at home 
while their loved ones are abroad.
  Arkansas has a storied military heritage and a long and proud history 
of supporting our Nation's defense. Troops stationed in the State 
served our country honorably even before it was admitted to the Union. 
Today, Arkansans are stationed around the globe, and our personnel at 
the Little Rock Air Force Base, Camp Robinson, Ebbing Air National 
Guard Base, Pine Bluff Arsenal, and Fort Chaffee continue to make the 
Natural State proud.
  We highlight their service during the month of May, which includes 
six military-related national observance days, as a way to express our 
gratitude. That gratitude endures in perpetuity.
  We simply cannot thank our servicemembers enough for the tremendous 
sacrifice they made to ensure that we continue to live in the greatest, 
freest country that the world has ever known.
  As the son of an Air Force master sergeant, I learned at a young age 
about the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make. I also learned 
very early on that military families face unique challenges. It truly 
is a family affair.
  My father joined the National Guard while he was in high school, and 
while still in high school, his unit was shipped out to prepare for 
World War II. He remained in the Air Force long after the war was over, 
serving over 20 years in uniform. The example set by my father's 
military career--and the lessons we learned growing up in a military 
family--helped my siblings and me to prepare for a productive service-
centered life. The experience taught us one of the most valuable 
lessons which I continue to carry with me today. Through their service 
to our country, the men and women of our military are part of something 
much bigger than themselves.
  My father was not only my hero, but as a World War II veteran, he and 
his fellow servicemembers in my hometown of Fort Smith were embraced in 
the same manner by the community as a whole. The respect and admiration 
our community displayed for military members was not faked or forced. 
It was genuine.
  It remains just as strong today in communities across our great 
Nation. While those displays may be more publicly visible during 
National Military Appreciation Month, the feelings of respect, 
admiration, and gratitude will carry on long after the end of this 
month. Our Nation is eternally grateful for the sacrifice of every 
servicemember working to keep America safe, strong, and free.
  It is a real honor to be down here with my colleague from Arkansas, 
and we greatly appreciate your service. Congratulations on your book, 
which tells the story of Arlington and what a very special place it 
is--truly hallowed ground.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, we are here in the middle of National 
Military Appreciation Month. So I am pleased to join my colleagues in 
showing our Nation's gratitude for every single soldier, sailor, 
airman, marine, and coastguardsman who is serving or has served our 
Nation with honor.
  This month is specially dedicated to our Armed Forces, but, of 
course, we have ample reason to celebrate and appreciate them year-
round, because our troops serve year-round and around the clock and 
willingly accepting limitations on their own freedom and comforts so 
their fellow Americans can live in freedom and security.
  Right now, thousands of American troops serve in dangerous conditions 
overseas far from home. Even now, at this moment, our troops are 
engaged in combat, surrounded by the enemy, fighting courageously.
  We are all thankful and proud of their service and indebted for their 
sacrifice. But it is not only them. Two weeks ago I had the privilege 
of attending a medal ceremony in Arkansas where seven veterans of the 
Korean war were honored for their service and for actions they took in 
defense of our freedom nearly seven decades ago, so that these long-ago 
actions were not forgotten.
  One week ago, I had the opportunity to thank our military spouses--
the unsung heroes of our Armed Forces--for their work raising families 
despite the hardships of military life.
  Those are just a couple of events from the last couple of weeks. Yet 
they are multiplied countless times every day across our country and 
around the world wherever our troops and their families are present. At 
airports, troops returning from overseas are greeted with hugs and 
cheers. The remains of our fallen heroes are greeted with odd silence.
  At dinners and restaurants, a uniform or even a veteran's hat will 
sometimes still earn a veteran or soldier a free meal from a grateful 
neighbor and fellow citizen.
  Here in Washington, honor flights for our veterans still get police 
escorts with flashing sirens, and children salute those veterans, 
sometimes asking innocently about their memories at battle.
  Across the river at Arlington National Cemetery, sentinels of the Old 
Guard stand at attention and walk the mat around the clock and in all 
weather--just as they have for the past 82 years--to ensure that those 
unknown soldiers and every person whose headstone graces those 
beautiful rolling fields rest in eternal peace.
  I am proud to live in a country that honors its military in such a 
fashion, but, more importantly, I am proud to live in a country whose 
military is worthy of such honor. So to every soldier, sailor, airman, 
marine, and coastguardsman, I extend my gratitude, my respect, and my 
thanks to you and your family for your honorable service, not just 
today, not just this month but every day.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, in the United States we are known as the 
land of the free. There is a reason for that. It is because we are the 
home of the brave. Our military men and women represent the very best 
of America. In fact, the good Word tells us that ``Greater love hath no 
man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.''
  When a young man or a young woman volunteers to serve, he or she is 
writing a blank check made payable to the United States of America for 
an amount up to and including their life. In Montana, we are very 
fortunate to have so many heroes hail from our great State, including 
many who now work on my staff and on behalf of the people of Montana. 
Great Montanans like Christy Hagler, Denny Lenoir, Robin Baker, and Jim 
Korth. We are all so very fortunate to have Dillon Vaden and Doug Pack 
on staff here in DC currently serving in the Marine Corps.
  Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for your service 
to the people of Montana.
  In fact, just last fall, I had the honor of visiting the men and 
women of Kalispell's 495th CSSB while they were deployed in 
Afghanistan. They flew over to Kabul and to Bagram Air Base. I had a 
chance to spend time with these great Montanans.
  Just a few months ago, I had the privilege of welcoming these same 
soldiers home after they had been deployed for 9 long months. These men 
and women had been far away from their families and from their friends 
across the holidays. Many of them were with us that night on the tarmac 
as they were risking their lives to protect our freedom. Seeing them 
reunited with their loved ones was a powerful experience for both 
Cindy, my wife, and me. It is one that I will never, ever forget. But 
the sad reality is that some of our Montana heroes do not make it back. 
SSG Travis Atkins is a Bozeman native. In fact, Travis and I both went 
to the same high school. He was recently awarded the highest military 
distinction in this country by President Trump, and that is the Medal 
of Honor.
  You see, Sergeant Atkins willingly laid down his life when he tackled 
a suicide bomber to shield the blast from his fellow soldiers in order 
to save their lives--a true hero. The sacrifice he made for his country 
and his fellow soldiers will never be forgotten.

[[Page S2862]]

  Over in Fort Harrison, MT, MSG Jesse Edinger of the Army National 
Guard has been welcoming home the fallen since 2006. He knows what 
sacrifice looks like. He is no stranger to combat, having served three 
deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He earned his national instructor 
certification and has taught over the years hundreds of soldiers within 
his region to be honor guard trained. He has also performed more than 
1,100 military funerals for Montana veterans, which included the 
service for SSG Travis Atkins.
  While we all appreciate our brave men or brave women who serve in the 
military every day, this month is Military Appreciation Month. This 
month is about giving these men and women the added appreciation they 
richly deserve.
  I will continue to advocate for policies that strengthen our military 
and give our men and our women who serve the strategic advantages they 
need to win.
  Thank you to all who serve and to all who have served. On behalf of a 
very grateful Nation, we honor you, and we appreciate you.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, the month of May is Military 
Appreciation Month. It is a time when we as a country can come 
together, pause, and recognize the sacrifices of those who have raised 
their right hands, worn the cloth of our country, and continue to serve 
the world's greatest military day in and day out.
  They have exceptionally long days and difficult tasks. Sometimes they 
fight the fight of boredom while hanging out and guarding a spot. 
Sometimes they are in exceptionally stressful full-on combat mode. They 
are prepared for both.
  Throughout the month of May, there are actually six different days of 
observation to honor our Nation's military and their families, who have 
sacrificed so much: Loyalty Day, Public Service Recognition Week, 
Victory in Europe Day, or V-E Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, 
Armed Forces Day, and, of course, at the end of the month of May, a 
pause for Memorial Day. All of these observances within 1 month, in 
May. It is a clear sign that our military is one of the most important 
cornerstones of our country and that their sacrifice is unmatched. So 
we should honor and celebrate it.
  In addition to our servicemembers and veterans, I hope all Americans 
also recognize the service of their family members while their husband, 
wife, son, daughter, mom, and dad are wearing the uniform. They could 
be gone for months at a time on multiple deployments.
  I had the opportunity to meet with many family members in Oklahoma. 
Their spouse, mom, dad, son, or daughter has been deployed multiple 
times into several different theaters. While they are fully deployed, 
their family waits, and it is a long and difficult wait. It is tough 
for the family.
  For those who serve in our National Guard, it is tough on employers. 
It is tough on their personal finances. It is a stressful environment. 
For those folks who have done it and continue to serve--that 1 percent 
of our Nation that defends the other 99 percent of our Nation--we could 
not be more grateful for them and for their family members.
  To our Gold Star families, those who are left behind to continue the 
legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we thank you for 
your service and for your love of country.
  As a nation, it is our duty to continue to support our Gold Star 
families, to encourage them, to check on them, and to live life with 
them.
  Just last week, I introduced legislation with Senator Carper to 
expand certain educational benefits to the survivors of guardsmen and 
reservists who have died as a result of their service. This is the 
least we could do as a nation to walk alongside those Gold Star 
families.
  Over 33,000 Active-Duty Guard, Reserve, and Active-Duty personnel are 
currently assigned in Oklahoma. We have Oklahomans serving our country 
and protecting our interests, literally, all over the world right now. 
We are home to Altus Air Force Base, Tinker Air Force Base, Vance Air 
Force Base, Fort Sill Fires Center of Excellence in the McAlester Army 
Ammunition Plant, as well as countless different National Guard 
locations all around the State. We train and equip our soldiers, 
airmen, sailors, and marines, and I am proud of the Oklahomans who wear 
the uniform.
  As we continue this Military Appreciation Month, I hope all Americans 
take the time to remember that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether 
you are awake or asleep, someone is on guard watching our Nation right 
now, and someone is defending our freedoms right now. Whether you are 
hearing about Military Appreciation Month while you are at work, while 
you are at play, or while you are at rest, someone is not resting right 
now. They are defending your freedoms, and we are grateful.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Colorado is recognized.


                     Remembering Kendrick Castillo

  Mr. GARDNER. Mr. President, Kendrick Castillo was an 18-year-old 
senior set to graduate high school at the end of the week when his life 
was tragically cut short. On Tuesday, May 7, Kendrick Castillo sat in 
his British literature class, just like any other day in school, when 
two schoolmates burst into a classroom at the STEM school in Highlands 
Ranch and opened fire.
  When faced with the unthinkable, Kendrick acted out of pure heroism 
as he put his classmates' lives before his own and charged the 
shooters. A classmate of Kendrick's described his heroism by telling 
NBC News about his actions, ``giving all of us enough time to get 
underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room 
to escape.''
  Brendan Bialy, a classmate who charged the assailants with Kendrick, 
told ABC News:

       Kendrick Castillo died a legend. He died a trooper. I know 
     he will be with me for the rest of my life.

  John Castillo reflected on his son's actions by saying:

       He did what he had to do, and I knew that was my son's 
     nature. That was who he was.

  Kendrick Castillo displayed courage well beyond his years. He was a 
member of the robotics club and wanted to study electrical engineering 
in college and loved spending his free time fishing and camping.
  Today, Colorado mourns the loss of a hero as we say good-bye to 
Kendrick Castillo. As his friends, family, and community all gather at 
Highlands Ranch for a final farewell, we must pledge to never forget 
this young man. Kendrick Castillo lost his life saving his fellow 
classmates. The students of the STEM school in Highlands Ranch 
experienced an absolute tragedy and showed fearlessness well beyond 
their years as they took charge in the face of danger.
  Now is the time to come together in tragedy to rise above it and 
remind every single student at that school that we love them, we are 
with them, and we will never forget them.
  I also want to take a moment to honor the first responders who, once 
again, displayed true bravery in their response to this tragedy. The 
deputies of the Douglas County Police Department, South Metro Fire 
Rescue, and all of the neighboring first responders on the scene acted 
quickly to help stabilize the situation and lead the students and 
faculty to safety.
  This week is National Police Week, a fitting time to reflect on those 
who protect our sons and daughters every day.


                          National Police Week

  Mr. President, in Washington, DC, this week, we are celebrating 
National Police Week, a time we take each year to thank law enforcement 
for protecting our communities and to remember the cost of providing 
this comfort.
  Today, thousands of officers and their families will gather on the 
west front lawn of the Capitol to participate in the 38th Annual Peace 
Officers' Memorial Service, an event to honor all of those we have lost 
in the line of duty.
  I hope the camaraderie and support they have experienced during the 
ceremony and throughout the week will bring a bit of comfort to law 
enforcement and our law enforcement community. I also hope it 
demonstrates the tremendous gratitude that we all have for these 
sacrifices.
  Police Week also serves to show the law enforcement community that 
the

[[Page S2863]]

lawmakers in Washington have their back. We will continue to help 
departments all over the country afford lifesaving equipment, like 
bulletproof vests to help as many officers as possible return home 
safely every day. In fact, just this week, the Senate is working on 
legislation to make sure we are providing lifesaving equipment through 
the Bulletproof Vest Grant Program. We are also working on legislation 
this week that will help address mental health needs, not just for law 
enforcement officers themselves but for their families, as well, 
because we know the pressure and strain that this duty can create and 
put upon the family.
  I know my colleagues in the Senate will join me in thanking the many 
officers who have joined us in Washington this week. Their bravery and 
courage allow all of us to enjoy the safety and security we so often 
take for granted. It should not take a tragedy for any of us to reach 
out to a police officer, EMS, or a firefighter, to thank them for their 
work, and to let them know their bravery does not go unnoticed.
  Yesterday I had the honor of joining the Colorado memorial ceremony 
at the fallen officers' memorial. There have been 320 Coloradans over 
the years who have been added to the fallen officers' memorial. That is 
320 too many. Four were added this week: Adams County deputy Heath 
Gumm, El Paso County deputy Micah Flick, Las Animas County sergeant 
Matthew Moreno, and Littleton police officer Kevin Denner.
  One of the most poignant moments at the ceremony yesterday was the 
comment made by a police officer who spoke to a widow of a fallen 
officer, who said: Support for the law enforcement community is needed 
long after the bagpipes have played. I think that is what we have to do 
as colleagues together. While the pomp and ceremony memorials end, it 
is after the bagpipes have finished that we must continue to stand with 
the men and women on that blue line of service to our communities.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The Senator from Wyoming.


                               Healthcare

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor to address again 
today the Democrats' one-size-fits-all healthcare scheme. It is a 
radical plan to take over all of healthcare in America and to take away 
health insurance from millions of Americans.
  Still, nearly every Senate Democrat running for President and 109 
Members of the House of Representatives, Democrats all, have backed 
one-size-fits-all healthcare. Last week, former Senator Heidi Heitkamp 
of North Dakota had words of wisdom for her fellow Democrats. She 
writes in the Washington Post: ``Most Americans are satisfied with the 
healthcare they receive and do not want their coverage options taken 
away and replaced,'' as she said, ``with a one-size-fits-all government 
program.''
  I agree. The fact is, according to the Census Bureau, 90 percent of 
Americans have healthcare coverage. Of those, 200 million are covered 
by private health plans, and 180 million have employer-provided 
healthcare coverage. Most say that their current plan works well for 
them.
  The 180 million Americans covered through their jobs work hard. These 
people go out every morning and support their families. According to a 
survey released last year, the vast majority of people with employer-
provided coverage--71 percent of them, to be precise--like their 
current healthcare plans.
  So who exactly are those workers on employer-sponsored plans? Well, 
many are union members. They negotiate their health coverage through 
their union representatives. Many are public employees, Federal and 
State employees, people who serve this country. So why do Democrats who 
support one-size-fits-all healthcare want to outlaw proven, popular, 
and predictable health coverage for millions of these working families?
  Democrats certainly seem to be putting politics above principle. What 
is more, they clearly believe that Washington knows best. But shouldn't 
we be asking what these hard-working Americans who have good private 
health insurance want? Well, shouldn't we ask them what is best for 
them and what is best for their families?
  Let's take the Teamsters Union, for example. In an article published 
in 2017, the Teamsters said:

       The availability of high-quality health care has been a top 
     selling point for those who belong to unions. It is a benefit 
     these workers have bargained for, and oftentimes they have 
     sacrificed higher pay for these excellent insurance benefits.

  Let me underscore this point: The Teamsters Union believes their 
health benefits are excellent, and maybe Democrats should ask the 
United Steelworkers about their insurance coverage. If you go to the 
steelworkers' website, you will find their answer: ``The Steelworkers 
Benefit Plan . . . provide[s] high-quality, affordable health and 
welfare benefits to USW [United Steelworkers] members and their 
families.''
  Basically, if you are a union worker watching this debate right now, 
you need to know that Democrats in Washington are coming for your hard-
earned healthcare benefits. Make no mistake. Under the one-size-fits-
all healthcare legislation offered by Senator Bernie Sanders and so 
many Democrats running for President, this high-quality health 
insurance program and their insurance will cease to exist.
  It is no wonder that last year some high-profile public sector unions 
started sounding the alarm about losing their health benefits. When New 
York State debated a Sanders-like proposal to take over healthcare, who 
raised the loudest objections? Well, it was the public sector unions, 
of course.
  So again, we have millions of union workers, Federal and State 
employees, and their families, all with excellent healthcare benefits 
that are on the Democrats' chopping block. Instead of helping fix the 
Nation's healthcare problems, Democrats are looking to destroy what is 
actually working.
  Remember, it is more than union workers and public sector employees 
who are threatened. Democrats' one-size-fits-all healthcare plan is 
gunning for retired military members' health insurance as well. We are 
talking about the TRICARE health insurance program for military 
families. There are more than 9 million military families enrolled in 
TRICARE. Our servicemembers have earned their TRICARE coverage through 
years of faithful service defending this Nation. I believe one of our 
greatest responsibilities is to provide for those who protect this 
Nation, both those who currently serve and our retired servicemembers.
  Back home in Wyoming I talk with servicemembers, with veterans, 
nearly every weekend. These proud Americans want me to make sure that 
TRICARE works for them and to protect and strengthen benefits that work 
and that they have earned through their service. Still, far-left 
Democrats don't want to listen to reason. They are hell-bent on a one-
size-fits-all approach to healthcare.
  It is especially ironic that Democrats even want to ban ObamaCare 
plans--the plans they voted for and put in place. It has been less than 
a decade since Democrats passed ObamaCare, and now they want to repeal 
it and replace it, basically saying that ObamaCare has failed.
  For years I have come to the floor to discuss the shortcomings of 
ObamaCare. Every time Republicans have offered to improve healthcare, 
we have heard from the Democrats that ObamaCare is off-limits and they 
can't possibly make any changes to that law. Now that the Democrats are 
running for President, suddenly they are singing a different tune. They 
are done defending ObamaCare. In fact, Democrats are happy to repeal 
ObamaCare so they can replace it with a one-size-fits-all healthcare 
plan for America.
  Senator Heitkamp is actually warning them not to cast aside ObamaCare 
and start all over again with a one-size-fits-all plan.
  Well, let me just say as a doctor, as a physician who has taken care 
of patients for decades, my focus continues to be on improving 
healthcare for American patients and their families. Americans want to 
focus on real healthcare reforms that make a difference for them and 
their families in terms of the cost and in terms of the quality of 
their care. These are the issues that Republicans are working on right 
now: protecting patients with

[[Page S2864]]

preexisting conditions, lowering prescription drug costs, and ending 
surprise medical bills.
  Surprise medical bills are bills patients receive that come out of 
nowhere. These bills are an unfair financial burden on many families, 
completely unexpected medical costs that they can't afford and aren't 
expecting. Just last week I was at the White House with President Trump 
announcing a plan to help patients by ending these surprise bills.
  Republicans also remain committed to protecting patients with 
preexisting conditions and to lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
  Democrats have a choice to make. They can follow the far-left 
Democrats pushing their radical one-size-fits-all approach to 
healthcare. Again, this extreme scheme will mean the loss of health 
insurance coverage for millions and millions and millions of hard-
working people, union workers and their families, our veterans, people 
who helped protect and save this country, Federal and State employees 
and their families, and all of the Americans who are currently enrolled 
in ObamaCare plans.
  The better option for Democrats is to work with Republicans on 
commonsense, bipartisan solutions, real reforms that improve healthcare 
for all Americans. Let's reject one-size-fits-all healthcare that will 
make Americans pay more to wait longer for worse care.
  That is the key. One-size-fits-all healthcare, I will tell people 
listening in today, means that you will pay more to wait longer for 
worse care. It is time to reject one-size-fits-all care for Americans. 
Let us work together to give all patients the care they need from a 
doctor they choose at a lower cost.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. President, I came to the floor to speak about 
rising tensions and potential challenges with Iran, but after my 
distinguished colleague's remarks and as a Member of the Senate Finance 
Committee who helped write the Affordable Care Act, I wouldn't want to 
have my silence be an acceptance of his views.
  For nearly a decade Republicans have sought to tear down the 
Affordable Care Act, which some derisively call ObamaCare, with no 
substitute, with no plan. This administration is actually in a Federal 
court, arguing that the law is unconstitutional--the very law that 
gives protections to everyone in this country who has a preexisting 
condition, such as a child born at birth with some heart disease, a 
husband who had a heart attack, a woman simply because she is a woman 
and before was discriminated against because she was a woman. Somehow 
that was a preexisting condition and allowed insurance companies to 
charge twice as much as their male counterparts in the same age group 
and same geography. It was the Affordable Care Act that ended that 
discrimination and created the protections.
  It was the Affordable Care Act that ended lifetime caps so that if 
you had a major illness such as cancer, before you hit the ceiling on 
your insurance and you were one illness away from bankruptcy--the 
Affordable Care Act ended lifetime caps so that if you had a serious 
illness you were still covered.
  The Affordable Care Act created the possibility for our children to 
be able to stay on our insurance until the age of 26. That was not the 
law before.
  The list goes on and on. So it is that which Democrats have been 
about and, expanding upon that, the opportunity to create a universal 
system for everyone--something we all desire.


                                  Iran

  Mr. President, as important as that issue is, I have come to the 
floor in alarm to demand answers by this administration about Iran, 
about its policy, about what intelligence the administration has. For 
more than a week we have seen press reports and heard rumors about the 
``threats'' to U.S. interests and possibly American citizens by Iran.
  For more than a week I have been demanding, along with others, that 
the administration provide senior level officials to brief Members of 
the U.S. Senate.
  For more than a week, the administration has ignored these requests. 
For all intents and purposes, it has refused to provide Members of 
Congress with information critical to our national security--
information it says indicates that American citizens and American 
assets may be in harm's way.
  After specifically requesting information on security posture at our 
diplomatic facilities in Iraq on Monday, this morning, I read from 
press reports that the administration is ordering the departure of 
staff from our Embassy in Baghdad and our consulate in Erbil. As the 
ranking member--the senior Democrat--of the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee, it is outrageous to be learning about the evacuation of an 
Embassy from media reports. There are only two reasons to make such an 
order: We have credible intelligence that our people are at risk, or 
there is some type of preparation for military action against Iran.
  This behavior is unacceptable. By refusing to provide Members of 
Congress with critical information, this administration is blatantly 
disregarding the fundamental governing structures of the United States 
as outlined in our Constitution.
  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is charged with writing the 
laws that authorize the use of military force and of oversight of the 
State Department and the safety of those who work there. The 
administration must provide this committee with the information we need 
to judiciously and appropriately make policies.
  While I hear there is a briefing for all Senators rumored for next 
week, that is not confirmed, nor is it an acceptable timeline. Next 
week may be too late. We do not need another Iraq weapons of mass 
destruction moment that led us to one of the worst, most disastrous 
military engagements when there were no weapons of mass destruction to 
be found. We need clarity. We need answers, and we need them now. We 
cannot make foreign policy and national security decisions while flying 
in the blind.
  Make no mistake--I have no doubts that Iran continues to be a bad 
actor in the region and throughout the world. Iranian leaders continue 
to support dangerous proxy actors throughout the region. Iran continues 
to violate arms embargoes. Iran continues to oppress its own people. 
Indeed, I have spent the better part of two decades developing 
legislation and policies to stop Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon and 
attacks against our allies, including Israel.
  Working across the aisle, often cajoling and prodding the executive 
branch and our allies, Congress led the effort to build an extensive 
economic and political pressure campaign to force Iran to the 
negotiating table. Our allies in Europe, Asia, and across the world, 
most of whom share our concern about Iran's ability to develop a 
nuclear weapon and its broader maligned activities, have been critical 
to this effort.
  When building a policy to effectively confront an adversary, you must 
have an end goal, you must have clear objectives, and you must take 
actions in pursuit of those objectives. With Iran, our objective was to 
ensure that Iran never develops a pathway toward a nuclear weapon. So I 
am all for putting on as much pressure as we can, but that requires 
also having a clear way of showing how it can be alleviated. There must 
be a viable, tenable, diplomatic track. If I were to put you in a room, 
lock the door, throw away the key, and tell you there is no way out and 
no way to survive, you would sure as hell start looking for ways to 
fight and break down that door.
  For a campaign of maximum pressure, when the moment of maximum 
leverage is reached, it must be seized. That requires working with our 
allies to offer a real, diplomatic path to negotiations.
  British Major General Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of the 
American-led coalition to fight the Islamic State, has called into 
question some of the credibility of the intelligence our officials say 
we have regarding Iranian-backed forces in Iraq.
  Yesterday, Spain pulled a frigate from a U.S.-led naval group that 
had been scheduled for a joint training mission 2 years ago, saying the 
original mission had changed.
  Our allies are critical not just in confronting Iranian malign 
activity but in securing our interests across the world.
  Let me conclude with two points.

[[Page S2865]]

  Now is the moment to invest in a diplomatic surge to meaningfully 
engage our allies and Iran in serious negotiations to end its pathway 
toward nuclear weapons and its malign activities.
  Second, Congress has not authorized war with Iran. The 
administration, if it is contemplating military action with Iran, must 
come to Congress to seek approval.
  I call on every Member of this body on both sides of the aisle to 
assert our institutional and constitutional prerogatives and demand 
information from this administration, demand classified briefings. When 
matters this serious are at stake, we have to demand more. We cannot 
and we will not be led into dangerous military adventures. The 
administration must provide this critical information to Congress, and 
it must do so immediately.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.


                          National Police Week

  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, I think many of our colleagues here in 
the Chamber know that Senator Alexander and I host a breakfast on 
Tuesday Mornings called Tennessee Tuesday. This week at the breakfast, 
one of our Tennesseans said: I have seen so many men and women in law 
enforcement uniforms in DC. What is going on? Is this normal?
  It gave me the opportunity to say: Actually, this is National Police 
Week, and this is a week we set aside to honor those men and women who 
are in law enforcement.
  There are tens of thousands of police officers and sheriffs and 
highway patrolmen across our country. My hope is that each of us will 
stop this week when we see them and say ``thank you'' to them for the 
service they provide our communities, because when it comes to fighting 
so many of the issues that affect our communities on a day-to-day 
basis--the issues we face because of drugs and drug trafficking, human 
trafficking, gangs--it is our local law enforcement that is on those 
frontlines, and we say ``thank you'' to them.
  This year in Tennessee, three officers have lost their lives. During 
this week, we remember them and express our gratitude to their families 
for their service and their sacrifice. We lost Trooper Matthew Elias 
Gatti from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who died on Monday, May 6, 
2019; Sergeant Steve Hinkle from the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, 
who died on Tuesday, February 26, 2019; and Police Officer Nicholas 
Scott Galinger from the Chattanooga Police Department, who died on 
Sunday, February 24, 2019. As I talk to our sheriffs and police chiefs 
and patrol captains, I know there are many more who have been injured, 
and we remember them.
  We also say ``thank you so much'' to the families of these men and 
women who have chosen--you know, they really are called. This is their 
calling to public service, and we thank them for answering that call 
and that they choose to serve in our communities to keep us safe so 
that we know our communities are a place where we can rear our 
families, where we can enjoy camaraderie with family members, with 
friends, with our churches.
  I will tell you, as I was thinking about this week, I thought, there 
are so many moms and grandmoms who I think are pretty much like me. 
Many times I will say I am a ``security mom.'' I want to make certain 
that my children and my grandchildren are safe, that our children are 
safe when they go to sporting events and when they go to school. We say 
a prayer when they get behind the wheel of a car. We are so grateful 
that there are law enforcement officers who are there at public events 
to keep them safe, who watch out if they are going to be speeding on 
the road and provide the security that is so essential to our way of 
life.
  I have the opportunity as one of these security moms, if you will, to 
serve on our Senate Judiciary Committee. Just last week, Chairman 
Graham brought forward three bills that we approved. These are things 
that are going to help law enforcement officers and their families--
providing mental health support for law enforcement and their families, 
which is vitally important, and, of course, lifesaving bulletproof 
vests, which are now essential, and ensuring that our first responders 
get the benefits they have earned by standing for that duty. When they 
get ready to retire, those benefits are going to be there.
  This week, I have joined Senator Cornyn on his Back the Blue Act, and 
I thank him for his leadership. I think many of us who stand in this 
Chamber know that we stand to back that ``thin blue line''--that line 
is the difference between order and chaos in our communities. This bill 
is going to create new penalties for killing or assaulting law 
enforcement officers and will protect officers from lawsuits when they 
intervene to stop a violent crime. It is a commonsense provision, and I 
am pleased to be in support of this bill.
  As we talk about law enforcement and security and having safe 
communities, we also need to remember our Customs and Border Patrol 
agents and officers who are on the southern border. When you talk about 
being a security mom, of course you are going to talk about economic 
security, healthcare security, job security, and national security, but 
border security is a part of that. It is a way that we work to keep our 
communities safe.
  We all know there is a humanitarian crisis on the southern border. 
Much of it is fueled by cartels that are big business. They deal in 
drug trafficking and human trafficking. It is our first responders who 
address this in our communities and on our city streets. The issues and 
the lack of security at that border have created an environment where 
now, at this point, every State is a border State and every town is a 
border town because those problems that come across the southern border 
with the human trafficking, with the drug trafficking, with the gangs--
all of this ends up on the streets in your community.
  We are working on legislation that we hope is going to help with this 
situation. It will target traffickers of unaccompanied minors in the 
care of Health and Human Services. One of the things that has not 
happened and needs to happen is that Health and Human Services and 
Homeland Security need to be able to share all of the information they 
have on individuals who are bringing these unaccompanied children, 
individuals who say ``I am a next of kin,'' individuals who say ``I am 
here, and this child is coming to me.'' We want to make certain they 
are in the country legally. We want to make certain they have a 
relationship with these children so that we are protecting and looking 
out for the security of these children and making certain they are not 
being trafficked.
  As we talk about our children, some of the trafficking--of course, 
much of the trafficking takes place in the virtual space. It takes 
place online. It seems impossible, but that is what happens with the 
human trafficking and the sex trafficking. The adverse impact that this 
has on young girls and women is horrifying.

  Because of my work to prohibit these traffickers from working online, 
we are pushing forward with privacy legislation. You and I do not want 
our children to be followed online. That is what is happening, and it 
is why we need to make certain that moms have the tools they need--that 
parents have the tools they need--to guard the privacy of their 
families online.
  I recently introduced the BROWSER Act. This is legislation I 
introduced while I was in the House of Representatives. It is one of 
the first bipartisan privacy bills we have had. The BROWSER Act will 
require you to give your consent if you are going to opt in and allow 
someone to share your information, to have access to your sensitive 
information.
  In this Nation, we have a history of respecting informed consent, and 
that is what we are saying--that individuals need to give their consent 
to a company before that company looks at their private information or, 
worse yet, data mines or, worse yet, shares that information about 
those individuals with third parties--people they do not know, people 
they have never seen, people they never will see. Then that tech 
company--guess what--sells ads. It is paid with your information.
  The BROWSER Act also prohibits companies from denying their services 
to users who refuse to waive their privacy rights. You have a right to 
privacy, and these companies should not deny you their services because 
you

[[Page S2866]]

say: You cannot share my information. You cannot share my sensitive 
information. I am not going to opt-in to allow you to do that, big tech 
company. I am also going to opt-out on non-sensitive data. I am not 
going to allow you to do that. I do not want my children followed, and 
I do not want you to be following me. I do not want you to sell my 
information. I do not want my spam to run crazy with ads and 
information I do not want.
  Individuals deserve their privacy. Americans deserve to know they are 
protected and have that privacy in the online universe. They deserve to 
know they are not going to be followed and they are not going to be 
tracked.
  While we are talking about technology, I'd like to bring attention to 
the global race for 5G, or fifth-generation wireless technology. You 
are hearing a good bit about this. It doesn't matter if it is in our 
commercial sector or in our military sector; we are at the forefront of 
this debate to make certain that we win this race on 5G--that China 
does not get a foothold, that Huawei does not penetrate our delivery 
systems--and to make certain that we win this race just like we did the 
race to 4G, which brought forward a lot of the technologies we all use 
and take for granted, like those devices we hold in our hands on which 
we receive our emails, make our phone calls, send text messages, pull 
up maps, get to a favorite site on which we want to make a purchase, 
and log on to social media accounts. This is all from a handheld 
device, and it is what 4G brought us. Well, 5G is going to be as 
revolutionary as going from analog to digital, and we are going to stay 
on top of this to make certain we win this race.
  Because of this, we have a couple more pieces of legislation that I 
am going to discuss on the floor at a later date. We have the SECURE 5G 
and BEYOND Act. Senator Cornyn has the lead on that. I have the SUPPLY 
CHAIN Act, which will be focused on security in the virtual space and 
make certain that we will be rooting out these threats that may come to 
our supply chain and affect our private sector or our governmental 
sector.
  We know it is imperative that, yes, we win the race in 5G but that we 
protect our networks and that we secure them so the American public 
knows that its information is not being exploited.
  As a mom who values and puts a priority on keeping children and 
grandchildren safe, it is an honor for me to come to this floor to 
salute the men and women of law enforcement and to talk about what we 
need to do every single day from this Chamber to protect our Nation's 
security and to protect our citizens.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.


                       Remembering Richard Lugar

  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I honor the life and legacy of the late 
Senator Richard Lugar.
  My colleagues and I in the Senate were deeply saddened to hear of the 
passing of our dear colleague and friend. His selfless service and 
tireless dedication to the State of Indiana and to this Nation inspired 
many to follow in his footsteps and govern using his principled 
commitment to the rule of law and desire for constructive compromise.
  From an early age, Senator Lugar understood the value of hard work 
and dedication to what was important. He became an Eagle Scout and was 
the valedictorian of his classes in both high school and college. He 
was later a Rhodes Scholar at the prestigious University of Oxford in 
England. Senator Lugar's commitment to his education served him very 
well later in his career as a distinguished statesman.
  As a fellow Eagle Scout, Senator Lugar knew that the knowledge and 
skills gained in Scouting always had a use and were a central part of 
the Boy Scout motto ``Be prepared.'' He learned early on the importance 
of core Scouting values, such as trust, loyalty, courtesy, reverence, 
and the rest. He displayed these values not only in his nearly four 
decades-long career in the Senate but also as a loving husband and 
father to Charlene, his wife, and their four sons.
  These critical skills also served him well as the mayor of 
Indianapolis. As a former mayor myself, I know the need for every 
citizen to play an active role in the day-to-day lives of their towns 
and cities. Senator Lugar understood this, too, and the value in 
working together to make our cities, States, and Nation better places. 
As mayor, he envisioned the unification of the city of Indianapolis 
with the surrounding Marion County, and he did it. He ushered in 
steady, uninterrupted economic growth for that region.
  In a nearly four decades-long career in the Senate, it is difficult 
to pinpoint Senator Lugar's greatest achievements. However, I think it 
is safe to say that some of his most important work came as chairman or 
ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Under his 
steady leadership and acute attention to detail, the committee 
considered critical issues at a milestone in the future of world 
diplomacy and democracy.
  Senator Lugar's contributions were instrumental in, as its name 
suggests, the formation of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction 
Program in 1991, which was intended to dismantle nuclear warheads at 
the close of the Cold War. This program was enacted at a critical 
moment in the Soviet Union's dissolvent. If action had not been taken 
by Congress at this important juncture, dangerous nuclear weapons from 
the former Soviet Union could have been at risk of falling into the 
wrong hands.
  These efforts laid the groundwork for the implementation of future 
programs that have been responsible for dismantling hundreds of nuclear 
warheads, biological weapons, and dangerous missiles. Quite simply, 
Senator Lugar's work changed the course of history--toward a safer 
world for the generations that followed.
  I had the honor of working with Senator Lugar when I was on the 
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. He was instrumental 
in the origination and legislation of President Bush's program, named 
the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR for short. 
PEPFAR was life-changing legislation for those stricken with 
potentially fatal diseases like HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis, and 
malaria. Unlike many foreign assistance programs that do not impact 
those directly on the ground, PEPFAR taught people how to avoid 
contracting the HIV/AIDS disease and provided countries with the 
ability to care for their citizens who were already infected.
  Senator Lugar was also a committed man of faith. As a member of the 
United Methodist Church, his moral compass was guided strongly by his 
faith. He was always one to do what he thought was right rather than 
what was the easiest.
  The United States is a better place because of Senator Lugar's 
tireless service and commitment to what is right. I and Diana, my wife, 
send our deepest condolences to his loved ones and know he will find 
eternal peace and happiness in knowing he had a profound effect on all 
who knew him as a colleague, as a father, and as a friend.
  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. MANCHIN. 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.


                          American Miners Act

  Mr. MANCHIN. Madam President, I rise today to call for immediate 
action on the American Miners Act.
  We have an obligation to the miners across America who served our 
Nation by providing us with the energy throughout our greatest 
advancements. They deserve to know that their pensions, which they 
rightfully worked for, will be funded fully, and they deserve to have 
accessible healthcare, which was guaranteed to them as well.
  As the Senate fails to act, we continue to put our retired miners' 
healthcare and pension benefits in jeopardy yet again.
  I have been working with everyone and from every angle in order to 
prevent our miners from losing their healthcare and retirement 
benefits, but, once again, they are facing a deadline that puts their 
whole livelihood at risk.
  This has been a long fight, and it is far from over. Everyone who has 
joined me on this journey understands that

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fighting for working people is what we were sent here to do.
  These retired miners are walking the halls and fighting for what is 
rightfully theirs. I am doing this for them and their families. I 
promised them that this body would not abandon them, and I refuse to 
let them down.
  The 1974 Pension Plan will be insolvent by 2022 if we do not act now. 
Miners who receive their healthcare through companies who went bankrupt 
in 2018 are at risk of losing coverage in the coming months if we fail 
to act soon. Unlike many other public and private pension plans, the 
1974 Pension Plan was well managed and 94 percent funded prior to the 
crash of 2008. However, the 2008 financial crisis hit at a time when 
this plan had its highest payment obligations due to retirements.
  If the plan becomes insolvent, these beneficiaries face benefit cuts, 
and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will assume billions of 
dollars in liabilities.
  To address this, we have to shore up the 1974 Pension Plan, which is 
heading for insolvency due to the coal company bankruptcies and the 
2008 financial crisis; ensure that the miners who are at risk due to 
2018 coal company bankruptcies will not lose their healthcare; and 
extend the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund tax at $1.10 per ton of 
underground-mined coal and 55 cents per ton of surface-mined coal for 
10 years.
  West Virginia has more retired union miners than any other State. 
More than 27,000 retirees live in West Virginia alone.
  I have two letters that I would like to read into the Record that 
explain what we are dealing with in all parts of our State.
  This is Roy from West Virginia, and he says:

       I am a 63 year old, 3rd generation coal miner. I started in 
     the mine 3 days prior to graduating from high school. 
     Unfortunately, I had to find other employment in 1999 after 
     27 years of mining because my mine shut down. Although the 
     job that I was hired at paid a lot less (75% less), I felt 
     that we would survive because of the promise of lifetime 
     healthcare.
       When I went into mining, I felt that if I put in my time, I 
     would be taken care of in my older years. Now that I am 
     approaching that stage of my life and am faced with the fact 
     of healthcare concerns of people my age group, I am fearful 
     of losing the security that my pension and health benefits 
     will provide to me and my wife of 43 years.
       Fourteen years ago, my wife was diagnosed with severe 
     rheumatoid arthritis. The cost of her medications alone would 
     total more than my pension income, making retirement an 
     impossibility. The idea of her not being able to receive the 
     proper treatment for her condition is not an option. If 
     necessary, I will continue to work to provide the medical 
     care that she needs and deserves.
       Senator Manchin, for the concerns that have been mentioned 
     in this letter, I deeply appreciate the support that you have 
     lent to the passage of the Miner's Protection Act and hope 
     that your fellow legislators will consider the same.

  This is Lisa from Fraziers Bottom, WV:

       My husband was employed by a UMWA represented mine for the 
     34 years he worked in the mining industry. He worked a 6 day 
     workweek. He turned down some very promising job offers 
     because we were always led to believe that after 20 years of 
     UMWA service, we would have family insurance for life. A 
     large part of the reason he stayed loyal to the mining 
     industry was because of the retirement pension and family 
     health insurance we would have upon his retirement.
       He was injured on the job in 2013 and was unable to return 
     to work. We had the comfort of knowing that he would be able 
     to receive his pension and that the two of us would have no 
     worries about health insurance.
       In April 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer that 
     spread to my lymph nodes. I had chemotherapy from May 2015 to 
     November 2015, followed by radiation that lasted until 
     February 2016. I was hospitalized three times during 
     treatment, had to undergo a lot of diagnostic testing, and a 
     blood transfusion. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish my 
     treatment due to this rigorous and intense treatment damaging 
     my heart. I have to follow up with regular treatment by a 
     cardiologist and now have frequent testing to make sure the 
     cancer hasn't come back.
       Another side effect I have from having had chemotherapy is 
     chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy that effects both my 
     hands and feet. My medications cost several hundred dollars a 
     month. I am 53 years old and unable to work due to all the 
     side effects from my having cancer. My medical bills and 
     medications have cost many thousands of dollars and I don't 
     have to worry about anything other than getting well, thanks 
     to the UMWA insurance we have.
       Since my husband can no longer work and I too am unable to 
     work, our income has taken a downward turn. The security of 
     having this insurance means the world to us. We [are] neither 
     asking nor expecting nothing other than what we were 
     promised. Please, please pass this Senate Bill, not only for 
     the two of us, but for the many other UMWA retirees and 
     spouses that are also in the same situation.

  We have countless letters that come in on a weekly basis, and it is 
basically stories. The thing I would want to make sure that all my 
colleagues know and all of America knows is that the miners provided 
the energy that built the industrial might that we have--an industrial 
revolution. They built the factories. They mined the coal and made the 
steel to build the factories, and they built the guns and ships that 
defended this country. They have given everything they have had, and 
this was a promise by the U.S. Government in 1946.
  Because of the bankruptcy laws that erupted and basically evolved 
over the 1980s, they were left with nothing, and that is what they 
have. They didn't take home in the paycheck extra money. They didn't 
take home anything else except the promise and guarantee that they 
would have their healthcare and the benefits of a pension.

  The average pension for a miner retired is less than $600, and most 
of those are for widows. This is something that we promised. This is 
something we worked for, we are fighting for, and I am not going to 
give up until this promise is fulfilled.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.


                        Prescription Drug Costs

  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I rise today to join my colleagues in 
calling for necessary and long-overdue changes in how our country 
addresses the cost and affordability of prescription drugs.
  You are going to hear today from, in addition to myself, Senator 
Blumenthal, Senator Smith, and Senator Kaine, as well as Senator 
Durbin, who spoke on these issues earlier, to highlight this egregious 
public health issue facing our country.
  It is unacceptable that lifesaving treatments and cures are 
increasingly out of reach for the people who need them the most. That 
is why the Senate must act now to pass legislation that would lower the 
cost of prescription drugs. Healthcare represents one-sixth of our 
economy, and out-of-pocket costs account for over 10 percent of our 
Nation's healthcare spending, from consumers to hospitals and nursing 
homes.
  One report found that between 2012 and 2016, the price of branded 
prescription drugs increased 110 percent. That is not 11 percent; that 
is 110 percent. Even drugs that have been available for decades, like 
insulin, are no longer affordable. It is outrageous, it is dangerous, 
and it has real consequences for real people.
  For most Americans, this is deeply personal. I know it is for me. I 
will never forget the frightening day when we learned my daughter had a 
nut allergy. She was a toddler, and we were actually in a cabin. We 
were out in the middle of nowhere, and she ate a cashew for the first 
time. Her throat started to close up, although we didn't really know 
that was what was happening.
  I still remember us driving as fast as we could through the woods for 
about 45 minutes to the closest emergency room, where finally they were 
able to help her. That was when we discovered that she had a nut 
allergy.
  She now keeps an EpiPen with her at all times. So when the price of 
an EpiPen increased by three times the original amount, I knew just how 
dangerous that cost increase would be to the people who rely on the 
medication, and I spoke out.
  It wasn't just me. It was moms and dads across the country who spoke 
out. They spoke out by writing letters. They spoke out on email. They 
spoke out on their Facebook pages. They spoke out on social media. It 
was literally a nationwide effort to take this on. We successfully 
worked to bring that cost down, but companies shouldn't just respond 
when there is outrage over social media.
  By the way, not every drug has a constituency like that of parents 
who have

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kids that have nut allergies. There are a lot of rare drugs for which 
maybe only hundreds of families understand what a price increase means. 
There are drugs that have constituencies who are disabled or people who 
aren't going to be able to basically mob the halls of Congress to make 
a change.
  Besides that, I don't think that is how we want to make change, 
anyway. Wouldn't it be better if we responded in a policy way, in a 
bipartisan way, and simply made some changes to the policies of our 
government and of our country to bring down the price of prescription 
drugs--not just the drugs that are most famous but for all drugs.
  There are many examples of why prescription drug pricing is now out 
of control and why we have to take action. For instance, a Wall Street 
Journal article reported that the price for a multiple sclerosis drug 
went up 21 times in a decade--21 times. No one could explain that 
except that it allows the company that makes that drug to profit big 
time.
  A Stat News story reported that the price for a leukemia drug was 
raised four times over the course of a single year, and it now costs 
nearly $199,000 a year.
  We know that the price of certain insulin products rose 700 percent, 
accounting for inflation, in two decades. When the State of the Union 
happened this year, I invited a guest, and that guest was a woman named 
Nicole Smith Holt, and it was her son, a young man named Alec, who was 
a 26-year-old restaurant manager. He worked in my State. He worked 
hard. He was a good guy, and he was on his parents' health insurance 
until he was 26. When that health insurance ended, when he could not 
get that health insurance, he then had to pay for the insulin himself 
since he was a diabetic. It was $1,200 a month. He was unable to afford 
his insulin. So what did he do? Sadly, he did what too many people are 
doing in America right now. He started rationing that insulin. He 
rationed that insulin, and he died waiting for his next paycheck. He 
was a restaurant manager in the suburbs of the Twin Cities.
  His mother sat at the State of the Union, looking down at the 
President, looking down at the Congress, to make the point that she 
needed action, and in the memory of her son Alec, she was going to make 
sure that action happens.
  Congress has a duty to act, and the President should support these 
efforts. Committees in the House of Representatives, for the first 
time, have already advanced proposals to reduce the cost of 
prescription drugs, and we should be moving similar legislation here in 
the Senate.
  Yes, it is true that there are two pharma lobbyists for every Member 
of Congress. That is a fact, and for years they have felt that they 
owned Congress. That has to change. They do not own me, and they do not 
own the people who are speaking up today.

                          ____________________