(Senate - March 02, 2020)

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[Pages S1239-S1251]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2657, which the 
clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       Motion to proceed to S. 2657, a bill to support innovation 
     in advanced geothermal research and development, and for 
     other purposes.

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

                          Anti-Dairy Activism

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, our U.S. dairy farmers have had a tough 
decade. Margins are thinner than ever, and new milk substitutes can be 
found in every grocery store. While dairy farmers scored a major 
victory in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement with increased market 
access to Canada, there is a scary new trend that is very disturbing.
  Hollywood jokers have taken a stand against raising cows with the so-
called hashtag ``mootoo'' movement. This is udderly irresponsible. U.S. 
dairies produce the highest quality milk and cheese in the world under 
the highest standards of care. Drink and eat dairy products. It is good 
for you--especially ice cream. Help our dairy farmers.
  I yield the floor.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.


  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, over the weekend, cases of the 
coronavirus have been confirmed in New York, Rhode Island, and Florida. 
Officials in Washington State have also reported that now six Americans 
have died from the coronavirus--the first fatalities in the United 
  At this critical moment, we need an administration that acts with 
persistent and unrelenting transparency and decisiveness, and that 
leans on the expertise of our scientists and doctors. But this 
administration, unfortunately, has spent years hollowing out the 
domestic and global health security teams in the executive branch. It 
has proposed cutting funding from the infectious disease rapid response 
fund, the emerging infectious disease account, and public health 
preparedness and response programs. Undoubtedly, the Trump 
administration would have been better prepared to respond to the 
coronavirus if the President had prioritized these programs rather than 
urged them to be cut.
  The administration's early response efforts have not instilled much 
confidence either. Testing kits were not promptly sent to the hospitals 
and medical labs around the country, political personnel have overruled 
the recommendations of the CDC, and the administration was slow to 
appoint any single official with public health expertise to coordinate 
our government's response.
  Even now, President Trump seems to be spending more of his time 
blaming the media and blaming the Democrats than being constructive. In 
fact, he blames everyone not named Donald Trump. The President is 
downplaying--he is downplaying--the threat of the coronavirus to a 
dangerous degree, and his Chief of Staff, amazingly, said to Americans: 
``Turn off your televisions.''
  We know the history of how these viruses spread and work. When you 
deny them, when you don't let people know what is happening and what to 
do about it, things get worse. Yet the President, being as self-
centered as he is, only cares about himself and his image. As usual, 
instead of solving the

[[Page S1240]]

problem, he tries to blame somebody else.
  The deflection and finger-pointing and denial must stop. President 
Trump must take responsibility to ensure that everyone in the public 
health community has the authority and the resources needed. We need 
the President and his team to level with the American people and get a 
handle on the situation.
  Later this week, appropriators will put together an emergency 
supplemental package to surge resources into the domestic and global 
response and to help local communities quickly prepare for the 
coronavirus. I have said that we need about $8.5 billion, and, from all 
reports, the appropriators are very close to that number, rather than 
the $2.5 billion the President talked about early on. That is good 
because when it comes to Americans' health, when it comes to our 
safety, and when it comes to dealing with this problem head-on, 
skimping doesn't make any sense at all. If there was ever something 
that is pennywise and pound foolish, that is it.
  As this package comes together, I am going to have more to say, but, 
at a minimum, any package needs to have provisions that ensure that the 
President cannot transfer these new funds to anything other than the 
coronavirus and American and global preparedness to combat epidemics 
and infectious diseases.
  Vaccines must be affordable and available to all who need them. 
Yesterday, I called for vaccines, when developed, to be fully covered 
by Medicare, because seniors who need the vaccines most should not have 
to worry if they can afford it once it is available.
  There should be interest-free loans made available for small 
businesses impacted by the outbreak, and State and local governments 
should be reimbursed and provided new grants for response activities. 
In the meantime, the administration needs to keep working with local 
communities--including schools, universities, and local agencies--on 
the steps they must take to prepare for an increase in coronavirus 
  Specifically, the administration needs to do the following: First, 
issue coherent guidance on what school districts should do in the event 
the virus is detected in a community; second, establish a uniform 
screening policy for airports and ports of entry, as our frontline 
transportation professionals at TSA and CBP need clear guidance on the 
coronavirus; and, third, make it clear that our Federal scientists and 
medical experts can speak out freely and be heard by the American 
people--no gag rule, no downplaying this because that makes things 
worse when people don't know the facts.
  Democrats are ready to work on a bipartisan basis to make sure 
Federal, State, and local officials are ready for whatever scenario the 
coronavirus presents. The President and his administration and our 
colleagues in the Senate must be ready to do the same.

                              Energy Bill

  Mr. President, on the Energy bill, tonight the Senate will vote on a 
motion to proceed on a bill that will make changes to our Nation's 
energy policy. Ranking Member Manchin and I have had several 
discussions with Chairwoman Murkowski and the Republican leader about 
having a fair amendment process on this legislation. As a result of 
these conversations, I will be voting yes on the motion tonight as a 
show of good faith.
  Democrats want amendments to the Energy bill so we can make real 
progress on climate change. That is what we are hoping to achieve this 
week. Few pieces of legislation offer more opportunity for progress on 
climate than those that concern our energy policy. We cannot miss this 
opportunity to make real, substantive progress on climate change. I am 
hopeful that our amendments this week and the potential progress we can 
make on climate change this week can be bipartisan.
  For months, Republicans have been trying to adjust their posture on 
the most pressing issue facing our planet--the climate crisis. This 
bill provides a real test for Senate Republicans. Will they join Senate 
Democrats in fighting for and passing bipartisan legislation that will 
address climate change in a significant way, or will our Republican 
friends continue to do what they have done for the last several years--
do the bidding of corporate polluters and Big Oil and block amendments 
with bipartisan support?

                   Director of National Intelligence

  Mr. President, finally, on the DNI, on Friday, after dismissing 
Acting Director of National Intelligence Maguire and replacing him with 
Rick Grenell, a partisan loyalist with no experience, President Trump 
proposed installing as a permanent Director of National Intelligence 
Representative   John Ratcliffe of Texas.
  Replacing one highly partisan operative with another does nothing to 
keep our country safe. At a time when Vladimir Putin is once again 
interfering in our elections, we need a nonpartisan leader with a high 
level of expertise and trust on both sides of the aisle, someone who 
sees the world objectively and speaks truth to power, at the helm of 
the intelligence community. Neither Acting Director Grenell nor 
Representative Ratcliffe comes close to that standard. Representative 
Ratcliffe, in particular, falls short of that high bar.
  John Negroponte became DNI after decades of working in the Foreign 
Service. Former Directors Dennis Blair, James Clapper, and Mike 
McConnell--whatever you think of them individually--came from both 
parties, and all had decades of experience in and working with the 
intelligence community. Dan Coats, the President's last nominee to this 
position, served as a diplomat, a Senator, and a sergeant in the Army 
before assuming the post. Representative Ratcliffe, on the other hand, 
is a three-term tea party Congressman. He has shown extreme 
partisanship in the House. He lacks the experience required to lead a 
community of 17 intelligence agencies.
  The experience Mr. Ratcliffe does have in Congress has been 
alarmingly partisan. He was a fierce critic of the Mueller 
investigation and earned praise from deep-state conspiracy theorists. 
During the Mueller hearings, Ratcliffe badgered the former special 
counsel with baseless lines of questioning--highly partisan and not at 
all related to fact. He didn't seem to care. He showed little regard 
for the seriousness of Putin's interference in our elections and the 
need for election security.
  Since World War II, since OSS, and since the formation of the CIA, 
the intelligence agencies have, by and large, been immune from 
politics. Like he does with everything else, this President seems to 
make them the arm of his likes and dislikes, of what is good for him 
and what is not good for him, even if he denigrates these fine men and 
woman. He doesn't seem to care that we need intelligence agencies who 
find the truth and tell the Congress and the American people the truth. 
Now he appoints a rank partisan to this agency, someone he probably 
sees on FOX News mouthing the conspiracy theories that only the 
President and his avid supporters seem to believe.
  It is such a decline in America when this great agency, where people 
have risked their lives for America quietly, is made into a political 
football to serve one man, Donald Trump, who we all know doesn't really 
have a penchant for truth, for honor, and for decency.
  With this nomination, President Trump has again shown a lack of 
respect for the rule of law and for the intelligence community, which 
Republican and Democratic Presidents have all shown in the past.
  Republicans must join Democrats in swiftly rejecting the nomination 
of the partisan Mr. Ratcliffe.
  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. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, 
continued to capture headlines over the weekend. News of the first 
American deaths related to the disease confirm this is a public health 
challenge that is upon us.
  The Senate's immediate role is clear: We need to support the Federal, 

[[Page S1241]]

and local public health officials and healthcare professionals who are 
working overtime to blunt, delay, and mitigate the spread of the virus. 
I am grateful that our colleagues Chairman Shelby and Senator Leahy, 
along with their appropriations counterparts in the House, worked 
through the weekend on a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to provide 
supplemental appropriations for the coordinated response.
  It goes without saying that a challenge like this leaves no time for 
moving goalposts or performative outrage. The American people deserve 
for their Congress to meet this subject head-on, with a bipartisan and 
collaborative approach, and I am confident that is exactly what can and 
will happen.
  I am glad our prospects for supplemental appropriations rest in the 
hands of a bipartisan group of negotiators. I would encourage my 
Democratic colleagues in both Houses to let them do their work. It will 
be important to pass this first benchmark and supply these important 
funds within the next 2 weeks.


  Mr. President, on another matter, on Saturday, President Trump 
announced a new agreement with the Taliban that is designed to promote 
a peaceful end to the civil war in Afghanistan.
  First and foremost, we must recognize the brave men and women of the 
U.S. Armed Forces. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops have deployed 
to Afghanistan since our national security compelled us in 2001 to 
confront the terrorist threats emanating from that failed state that 
Afghanistan had become. More than 2,400 American servicemembers have 
given their lives in Afghanistan. More than 20,000 have been wounded. 
Our coalition partners, such as the United Kingdom and Canada, 
sustained casualties as well.
  Obviously the worst burden of all has fallen on the Afghan people. 
Tens of thousands of Afghan security forces and civilians have been 
killed during this long, long war.
  It is largely due to these brave, heroic, and sustained efforts to 
keep pressure on the terrorists that Afghanistan has not come roaring 
back as an international headquarters for terrorists. Thanks to these 
efforts, the United States and its Afghan partners are hopefully in a 
position to bring about a negotiated end to the conflict.
  After nearly 20 years, two basic principles are clear: No. 1, we 
should welcome any serious opportunity to bring greater stability to 
that land, but, No. 2, we must make certain that the progress won 
through great sacrifice by Afghans and Americans is not undermined by a 
precipitous rush for the exits.
  I do not trust the Taliban, so I am grateful the linchpin of the 
agreement is a conditions-based approach that will provide our 
commanders with leverage to test the will and the capacity of the 
Taliban to abide by the agreement. If all goes well at first, our 
American presence would stabilize with 8,600 troops for the time being. 
Having heard from our commanders, I agree that presence will remain an 
important tool as we combat the ongoing threats posed by the likes of 
al-Qaida and ISIS and support for the Afghans' ability to fight 
terrorism themselves.
  Since further drawdowns would require even further progress and 
cooperation from the Taliban, I look forward to hearing from 
administration officials, intelligence analysts, and military officers 
about how they will judge compliance and determine whether the 
conditions are, in fact, met. For my part, I believe the intra-Afghan 
negotiations are especially critical to the future of that country and 
to our own significant security interests over there. We should do what 
we can to help the Afghans achieve a peaceful solution to their 
  I am glad to hear there are no secret annexes to this agreement which 
Congress will be denied, as there were with President Obama's Iran 
deal. The secret documents detailing implementation arrangements are 
available for the review of all Senators in Senate Security, and I 
encourage our colleagues to review the full details.
  Republicans spent much of the Obama administration reminding our 
colleagues that hope--hope--is not a strategy. We argued President 
Obama's reckless withdrawal from Iraq would set the stage for chaos and 
a resurgence of terrorism. Unfortunately, the rise of ISIS proved us 
  That is why, more than a year ago, I offered an amendment so the 
Senate could affirm that withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan the 
wrong way could strengthen the hand of terrorists and competitors such 
as Russia and Iran while weakening our own vital interests.
  I believe from my conversations with senior administration officials 
that they went into these negotiations with their eyes wide open about 
the Taliban's duplicitous nature. I expect Members of both parties will 
have many questions about this agreement and look forward to briefings 
from the administration about the path forward to protect American 
interests in Afghanistan and ensure this war ends on terms favorable to 
those interests.
  Our fight against ISIS, al-Qaida, and other radical Islamic 
terrorists is not over. As my colleagues and I have said for years, 
even if the United States were to choose to walk away from the 
conflict, the conflict would not walk away from us. We learned that on 
September 11. We relearned it with the rise of ISIS. I hope we never 
need to learn it again.
  So the war is not over, but this agreement may foster the 
negotiations and discussions within Afghanistan that would be necessary 
to bring it to a close.

                              John Ratcliffe

  Mr. President, on one final matter, on Friday, President Trump 
announced he intends to nominate Representative   John Ratcliffe of 
Texas to serve as Director of National Intelligence. I am glad the 
President has elected to nominate a permanent DNI so the Senate can 
provide our advice and consent on this crucial position.
  As I mentioned last week, the men and women of the intelligence 
community fulfill a wide array of sensitive and critically important 
missions. The Office of the DNI is central to coordinating these 
efforts in a strong fashion. It gives no quarter to politicization or 
partisan bias. I am glad the administration will seek Senate 
confirmation for the position.
  President Trump has a strong track record of sending the Senate 
impressive nominees for national security posts who are well prepared 
to protect our Nation and defend our interests.
  The impressive leadership of Secretary Esper at the Department of 
Defense, Director Haspel at the CIA, General Nakasone at the National 
Security Agency, and other leaders have proven that President Trump has 
an eye for talent and confirms that the Senate's trust in each of them 
was well placed.
  I hope Congressman Ratcliffe will impress Senators just as did the 
other members of the President's team and earn a bipartisan 
confirmation vote. I trust Chairman Burr and our colleagues on the 
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will oversee a prompt and 
fair confirmation process, and I look forward to meeting the nominee 
  The Trump administration has worked overtime to unwind the failures 
of the 8 years that preceded it. We have taken big strides to renew 
America's national security and our strength on the world stage. We 
must keep up this crucial work.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. 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 

                        Tribute to Josh Speidel

  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, everybody has a story. Actually, everybody 
has a journey, when you think of life. Some are heartbreaking, but some 
are uplifting, and some are hopeful. Tomorrow night, during senior 
night, the University of Vermont men's basketball team is going to 
celebrate one story that is all of these things: heartbreaking, 
uplifting, and hopeful. They will celebrate that when senior Josh 
Speidel takes the court for the first time--and what will be the only 
time--in his college career.
  Josh is a native of Columbus, IN. He dreamed from a very young age of 
playing college basketball. At Columbus North High School in Indiana, 
Josh was the basketball team's all-time lead

[[Page S1242]]

point scorer and an Indiana All-Star. In November of 2014, just before 
his senior basketball season, he committed to play for the University 
of Vermont, and he accepted a scholarship at the university to play for 
the team.
  Here is the heartbreaking part. Just a few months later, in February 
of 2015, Josh's dream was derailed when he suffered a traumatic brain 
injury, resulting from a devastating car crash. Josh would go on to 
spend the next 4 months in the hospital and in rehab. But just a few 
days after the accident, the University of Vermont's head coach, John 
Becker, went to Indiana and visited Josh there with a simple message 
for him: You are still welcome at UVM. Your scholarship will be 
honored, and we will help you in any way we can. That is, after all, 
the Vermont way.
  Josh would ultimately arrive at UVM in August of 2016. While he 
hasn't suited up with the team, he has worked with trainers; he has 
improved his physical condition; and he has remained active on the 
court. What is so inspiring, his team was at his side throughout. He 
has been a constant fixture of the team, on the sidelines at games, 
cheering his teammates on. I have been at games and have seen him doing 
  Off the court, Josh has been working toward a degree through the 
College of Education. He is choosing a self-designed major to prepare 
him to work with children through sports, with a double minor in 
behavior change and coaching.
  He has been a committed student throughout his time at UVM. He is set 
to graduate this May. After graduation, Josh hopes to use both his life 
experience and his education to work with children.
  Tomorrow night, the University of Vermont men's basketball team will 
celebrate senior night. In a special arrangement with their opponent, 
Albany, Josh, wearing number 32, will suit up, take the court, and 
notch the night's first basket after the tip-off.
  I so wish I could be there because when Josh steps off the court, it 
will surely be to the standing ovation of this young man--the 
personification of perseverance, determination, dedication, and hope he 
so richly deserves. I know my fellow Vermonters who are at these games, 
and I know there will be very few dry eyes in the house.
  We are, all of us, the product of our life experiences, of the 
community that supports us, and of the will we carry to press on. Josh 
Speidel is a remarkable young man. At the packed gym tomorrow night, 
there is going to be an emotional and vibrant celebration.
  Josh, from the floor of the U.S. Senate, I congratulate you on a 
recognition so richly deserved.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the 
Record an article from the Burlington Free Press highlighting Josh's 
journey, dated March 1, 2020.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

             [From the Burlington Free Press, Mar. 1, 2020]

 UVM's Josh Speidel and His Remarkable Journey Set for Emotional Stage 
                            on Senior Night

                           (By Alex Abramif)

       Fruit was a big part of Josh Speidel's diet when he first 
     arrived at the University of Vermont in the summer of 2016.
       ``He just loved bananas, it was his main food,'' said 
     Everett Duncan, Speidel's dorm roommate that year, ``I'm 
     personally OK with bananas, but I was wondering, `Where are 
     we getting all these fruit flies?' And at the time Josh was 
     leaving them in this little trash can that he had on the 
     right side of his desk.''
       A brief argument ensued.
       ``I was like, `You are not eating bananas in here anymore, 
     just keep it at the dining hall,' '' Duncan recalled. ``But 
     then I realized that I'm yelling at this man for eating 
     bananas. It's funny now when we think about it.''
       The next year, Speidel roomed with another teammate, Ben 
     Shungu. The duo would take advantage of the 5-minute walk 
     from their University Heights dorm to Patrick Gym, routinely 
     setting the alarm clock before 6 a.m. for workouts. Most 
     mornings the UVM men's basketball players had the gym to 
       On one end of the court, there was Shungu working on his 
     jumper with a shooting machine. And on the other end, there 
     was Speidel putting up layups and doing his exercises.
       ``We would get up and do our thing,'' Shungu said.
       Fast-forward to the past two years: Speidel moved into an 
     off-campus house with Duncan, Shungu and the rest of his 
     upperclassmen teammates on the UVM men's basketball team, the 
     sort of thing college student-athletes everywhere do.
       Except none of it was guaranteed for Speidel when he 
     stepped onto the Burlington campus in 2016.
       Already committed and signed with the Catamounts when he 
     was a senior at Columbus North High School in Indiana, 
     Speidel was in a car accident on Super Bowl Sunday in 2015--
     one that caused a traumatic brain injury, left him in a coma 
     for weeks and nearly took his life.
       The 6-foot-8, 215-pound star forward went from averaging 
     25.6 points and 9.3 rebounds a game to learning how to walk 
     and talk again. Basketball, his passion, remained a guiding 
     light on his road to recovery, on his path back to being an 
     independent person.
       ``It's unbelievable what's he's gone through,'' Shungu 
     said. ``To see him stand on his own two feet and just living 
     his life--it's just incredible, an incredible story.
       ``His story definitely inspires.''
       And more than five years after that accident, Speidel will 
     finally fulfill a dream he's had since he was a little kid: 
     Play in a Division I college basketball game.
       The Catamounts' senior night on Tuesday has afforded 
     Speidel the chance to suit up and start for the first and 
     only time in his career. In a pre-game arrangement, Speidel 
     and Albany, UVM's opponent, will trade baskets after the 
     opening tip. Then Speidel will exit, surely to a lengthy 
     standing ovation from the Vermont faithful.
       ``I didn't get to experience my senior night in high 
     school, I didn't get to walk out with my parents,'' Speidel 
     said. ``I don't think it's hit me fully yet, but just being 
     able to walk them out and embrace them and thank (my 
     parents), thank coach (John Becker) for all he's done--it 
     will be pretty emotional. It's hard to put into words.
       ``For four years I've been hearing the starting lineup and 
     I've always envisioned my name said. I think that'll be 
       Speidel's parents, Dave and Lisa, have also waited--and 
     hoped--for a day like this to arrive.
       ``It's a moment we believed would happen. We never wanted 
     Josh to give up,'' Lisa Speidel said. ``Without basketball, 
     Josh wouldn't be where he is. Without UVM, Josh wouldn't be 
     where he is.''

                  Determination, faith drive recovery

       About six months after the accident, a doctor's evaluation 
     didn't forecast a favorable outcome for Speidel's reading 
       ``He said Joshua wouldn't be above a fourth-grade level, 
     ever,'' Lisa Speidel said.
       ``I told him that you are not going to tell Joshua that and 
     he agreed,'' she said. ``I still have those results in an 
     envelope, but I have yet to open it.''
       Not long after that, Josh Speidel began an online course at 
     a community college and started seeing noticeable gains in 
     his recovery.
       ``Things really started clicking for Joshua then, it was 
     really amazing,'' Lisa Speidel said. Positivity was a must. 
     There was no room for negative vibes or prognoses that 
     didn't align with the Speidels' confidence for a full 
       Josh Speidel and his parents also relied on their religious 
     beliefs for strength and direction.
       ``Faith has always been instrumental in my well-being and 
     having that relationship with God has always been first in my 
     life,'' Josh Speidel said. ``Sticking with that through the 
     ups and downs, my parents never wavered in their faith, they 
     never took a step back and questioned God. Seeing how they 
     handled it, I think helped me and continues to help me.''
       Becker, in his ninth year as bench boss of the Catamounts, 
     flew out to Indiana during a snowstorm just a couple days 
     after Speidel's accident. Becker told the Speidels that their 
     son had a scholarship waiting for him when he was ready (the 
     NCAA later granted UVM a scholarship waiver).
       ``You could see the qualities that made him a great player, 
     just really determined and hardworking and competitive,'' 
     Becker said. ``He's just a wonderful person off the court and 
     takes time with people.
       ``Only a special person can come as far as he has in just a 
     couple years.''
       UVM has reached the NCAA Tournament twice, produced the 
     America East Conference's first unbeaten season and garnered 
     the league's top seed in four straight seasons during 
     Speidel's time in Burlington--achievements Becker believes 
     are forever tied to Speidel.
       ``I told Josh that the (four) years he's been here are the 
     best years of this program's history arguably. I don't think 
     that's a coincidence,'' Becker said. ``It's hard to know why. 
     I just think there's something that you can't really explain 
     and you don't know what it is, but there's something there--
     he's been in some way a big part of it and he'll always be 
     linked to this program's history in my mind.''

                 Speidel continues to inspire UVM team

       UVM associate head coach Kyle Cieplicki was the lead 
     recruiter on getting Speidel to commit to UVM back in Aug. 
     2014. Cieplicki spent about a year on the recruitment trail 
     of a rising star from a hoops-crazed state who was fielding 
     more than a dozen D-1 offers and had drawn interest from Mark 
     Few of Gonzaga.
       ``We've never recruited a kid harder than when we recruited 
     Josh. He went on a limb

[[Page S1243]]

     to choose us,'' Cieplicki said. ``His commitment was really 
     special to me and the rest of the staff.''
       The accident and how Speidel approached his life on a daily 
     basis revealed a side Cieplicki had yet to see.
        ``He's shown me and all of us how to handle adversity,'' 
     Cieplicki said. ``To have to work as hard as he did to get 
     back and then to deal with the emotional component, the 
     mental component of physically not being what he once was and 
     to see him deal with that every day and maintain his work 
     ethic and work habits--that's the biggest inspiration.
        ``A lot of things have changed for him but it's never 
     allowed him to slow down.'' While senior night can't replace 
     a playing career that didn't come to fruition, Speidel can 
     soak in the achievement of earning this moment in front of 
     hometown fans.
        ``To see him out there and participating, it's going to be 
     a crazy thing,'' Everett Duncan said.
       Duncan's the lone player left on the team when Speidel was 
     honored before a Jan. 2016 game vs. Stony Brook. Duncan said 
     his fellow Indiana native continues to motivate the 
       ``I think he's meant everything. I know that every single 
     guy in the locker room wants him to play,'' Duncan said. 
     ``There are days we see him on the sidelines watching every 
     single second of practice. For some of us like Benny, Anthony 
     and me, we've known him for such a long time, he's one of our 
     best friends.
       ``Even now, this is our last go-round, Josh is with us. 
     He's more a part of this senior class than me or Anthony. 
     He's a big part of this senior class who's done a lot for 

                      Speidel will graduate in May

       Driven to return to the game he loves, Speidel came to 
     grips with one harsh reality: He wasn't going to play 
     basketball for UVM. Though that didn't make it any easier to 
        ``It's a tough question but I've battled with that for a 
     while. Obviously, I'm OK with that I'm not able to play and 
     I'm not back to where I was,'' Speidel said. ``That was a 
     tough pill to swallow, but when I think about all that I've 
     gained, maybe I didn't get back to playing, but I'm still 
     bettering myself by working out every day and being in the 
     best shape physically and basketball has helped me with 
       Speidel put his focus and much of his energy into his 
     classes and becoming more independent away from school. He 
     learned to cook for himself--a crockpot came in handy--and 
     manage his money.
       And when it came to living off campus, it was Speidel who 
     pushed for it.
        ``I told my parents that I just wanted to test myself. I 
     wanted to see if I was able to take care of myself,'' Speidel 
       In school, Speidel has earned a 3.40 grade-point average, 
     the highest on the team, through an individualized major in 
     education and social services. He also has a double minor in 
     behavior change and coaching.
        ``Josh has always had a knack for working with kids and 
     relating to kids. To see that more amplified after his 
     accident is just awesome,'' said Lisa Speidel, an elementary 
     school principal.
       Speidel will graduate this May--in four years' time. How 
     remarkable is that?
       Speidel shied away from praising himself.
        ``It's kind of hard to say that for myself because I'm 
     living it. But I love when people say, `Oh Josh, you've come 
     so far' or `Josh, you are walking so much better,' '' Speidel 
     said. ``It's those little things that go such a long way and 
     it gives me a sense that all this hard work is doing 
       The network of support at UVM--from academic advisors, 
     teachers, teammates, coaches and athletic trainers--hasn't 
     been lost on Speidel and his mother.
        ``I can't put into words how thankful and how blessed and 
     lucky I am,'' Speidel said.
       Lisa Speidel: ``We love UVM and everything they have meant 
     and done for us. It's amazing.''
       Josh Speidel is 24 years old. He said he could write a book 
     of all the things he's been through and learned over the last 
     five years. If anything stood out above it all, if there was 
     anything Speidel wanted others to absorb from his story, it 
     was this: Don't give up on your dreams.
       ``I tell this to people: Always have an end goal in your 
     head and chase after it as hard as you can,'' Speidel said. 
     ``And whenever you need help, ask the people around you 
     because I think there are more people than you think who are 
     there to help you.
       ``I've held on to that and really tried to live by that.''

  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I want to do this because in an era where 
we hear so much bad news, it is wonderful to hear inspiring news. This 
is an inspiring young man. I congratulate him and the University of 
Vermont for what they have done.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. LEAHY. Madam President, I note that somebody else is not waiting 
to speak. When somebody does, I, of course, will yield the floor.


  Madam President, I want to bring my colleagues up to date on where my 
head is as vice chairman of Appropriations. All of us worked very hard 
throughout the weekend and all last week--Republicans and Democrats 
together--along with our counterparts in the other body.
  Each one of us looks with some trepidation to the latest report on 
the virus attacks, including the serious ones in the United States, and 
the deaths that have occurred around the world. We are trying to put 
together an appropriations bill that will give our administration the 
tools they need to protect America and to help our allies, not only to 
protect us from having what has come to our shores but what is already 
in our shores, the coronavirus--that we be able to protect Americans 
from it.
  I want to compliment those who have been working on it in both 
parties. As often happens in the Appropriations Committee, we pretty 
well leave our labels at the door. We work together--both Republicans 
and Democrats--to get a good bill. I urge both the majority leader and 
the Democratic leader that, once we have it and as soon as the House 
acts, there will be an appropriations bill. They will go first, but we 
move very quickly.
  Frankly, when I look at the dangers facing America, I am perfectly 
willing to stay here throughout the weekend, if need be, as many of us 
did last weekend, to get this passed and on the President's desk. We 
are not Republicans or Democrats in this matter. We are Americans, and 
we are U.S. Senators. The Senate has so often set the standards for the 
rest of the country. We can do it here. I hope that as soon as we can 
vote on this, we will.
  I commend Senator Shelby. He is the chairman of the committee. I am 
the vice chairman of the committee. We have worked together. I also 
commend all the other Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, who 
have worked with us.
  I hope this body will be able to vote, ideally this week--if not this 
week, the very first part of next week. This is an important matter. 
Cancel the weekend, if need be. Stay here and get it done.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                         Texas Independence Day

  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, today is Texas Independence Day. One 
hundred eighty-four years ago today, Texans declared our independence--
declared our independence from Mexico and fired a shot for liberty that 
was heard around the world.
  As I have a number of years in the past, I am going to read the 
letter from the Alamo that LTC William Barret Travis wrote calling for 
help. It is a letter that energized the Texans across our great State, 
that energized lovers of liberty. It is also a letter that I read the 
very first time I spoke on this Senate floor, and these are words to 
inspire everyone.

       Commandancy of the Alamo
       Bejar, Feby. 24th, 1836
       To the People of Texas & All Americans in the World--
       Fellow Citizens & compatriots--
       I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under 
     Santa Anna--I have sustained a continual Bombardment & 
     cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man. The enemy has 
     demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise the garrison 
     are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken--I have 
     answered the demand with a cannon shot, & and our flag still 
     waves proudly from the walls. I shall never surrender or 
     retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of 
     patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to 
     come to our aid, with all dispatch--The enemy is receiving 
     reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or 
     four thousand in four or five days. If this call is 
     neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as 
     possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due 
     to his own honor & that of his country--Victory or Death.
       William Barrett Travis, Lt. Col. Comdt.
       P.S. The Lord is on our side--When the enemy appeared in 
     sight we had not three bushels of corn--We have since found 
     in deserted houses 80 or 90 bushels & got into the walls 20 
     or 30 head of Beeves.

[[Page S1244]]

  The brave men and women of the Alamo gave their lives for liberty. 
But shortly thereafter, in the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texans were 
victorious, and the Republic of Texas was formed, an independent nation 
from 1836 to 1845. For 9 years, we were our own nation. Then Texas 
joined the United States of America. We are proud Americans, but we are 
proud of the history of the brave Texans.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Boozman). The senior Senator from Alaska.

                                S. 2657

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I am here on the floor this afternoon 
because we will very shortly have a vote on the motion to proceed to S. 
2657. This is the vehicle for our bipartisan American Energy Innovation 
  I am here today to kick things off and just let colleagues know some 
of the highlights of this measure that my colleague and ranking member 
on the Energy Committee, Senator Manchin, and I have been working on 
for some time. When I say ``some time,'' I think those here in the 
Senate know that when you take up substantive energy bills, whether 
they are focused on energy or whether they are focused on lands, we 
spend a lot of time giving good committee process to bring these 
matters to the floor.
  The measure that we have in front of us is the American Energy 
Innovation Act. You will hear it referred to by its acronym, AEIA, 
which makes you want to do a joke about the vowels--a, e, i, o, u, and 
sometimes y. I can give you that, but I am not going to do that today.
  The reality is that we have been working on energy reform now for 
almost a dozen years. Twelve years is a long time, since we have last 
refreshed and updated our energy policies. This act contains priorities 
from more than 60 Members of the Senate. So to suggest that it is a 
bipartisan bill--it is more than bipartisan. It has Republican 
priorities and Democratic priorities and priorities from urban and 
rural areas. It is a package that really does help move the ball 
forward when we think about energy and energy innovation and energy 
  I want to extend my particular thanks to my good friend and ranking 
member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Manchin 
of West Virginia. He is going to be on the floor in just a couple of 
minutes to speak, as we take up this motion to proceed. From the start 
of this Congress, he and I have really been focused on modernizing our 
Nation's energy policies, and this bipartisan package that we have 
assembled will do just that. So, again, I credit my ranking member.
  I also credit the great work that both of our teams have brought to 
this very important national discussion. It has been a long process but 
one where I think Members will look critically at the package that is 
in front of them and realize that we have worked hard to address what 
more we could be doing to modernize our energy policy.
  I have been framing this American Energy Innovation Act into two 
buckets, if you will--innovation and security. Innovation includes 
everything from the renewables to vehicle technologies, to carbon 
capture utilization, to efficiency. Then you have the security side, 
which is the security of your supply chain and what that means to make 
sure you have access to minerals that allow you to build out your 
renewable energy projects. You view that security from a defense 
perspective. How do we ensure that our grids are secure and modernized 
and, again, secure from the perspective of economic security, when we 
ensure good jobs for Americans, from Alaska to Arkansas.
  So our bill promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy, energy 
storage--this is what so many of us have been speaking about for so 
long--advanced nuclear, industrial and vehicle technologies, carbon 
capture utilization and storage.
  We review a number of broad-based support programs, including 
weatherization assistance. In so many of our communities, especially in 
our cold States, which we are thinking about right now--but also during 
the summer months, when it is hot--weatherization assistance programs 
are a key for so many of the people whom we work for.
  We also renew ARPA-E. ARPA-E is that innovation hub within the 
Department of Energy that has really helped to build out so much in 
energy innovation.
  We have also included timely provisions to strengthen our Nation's 
mineral security and cyber security, as we modernize the electric grid 
and bolster workforce development.
  What we have worked to build are consensus policies that will help 
this country maintain its status as a global energy leader--and we are 
a global energy leader.
  We also want to ensure that we are providing affordable energy for 
our families and businesses and know that all of this helps to 
strengthen our national security and increase our global 
  These policies will also lead to the development of low- and zero-
emissions technologies that will help us address climate change and 
protect our environment.
  Now, you are going to have some people who might say: Well, this 
measure doesn't solve climate change. You haven't worked to reduce 
emissions to zero.
  I will stand before you and acknowledge that is the case, but what we 
are doing is recognizing that this is a necessary first step to update, 
to refresh, and to modernize energy policies that haven't seen an 
upgrade, if you will, in a dozen years, and to help incentivize these 
technologies that will get us to that cleaner energy future and really 
allow for a level of transition that will help protect the environment. 
These are the steps that we are taking today to focus on innovation in 
the energy space and the security of supply, economic security for the 
workforce, and physical security, when it comes to our energy grids.
  The American Energy Innovation Act is a good bill. You are going to 
hear me say that a lot this week. It is a good bill. It was developed 
the right way, through regular order--something that we don't see often 
enough around here. It is one of those things that the Energy Committee 
has developed a reputation for--using regular order--and we will see 
that regular order demonstrated here on the floor.
  This measure deserves to advance through the legislative process and 
to become law. We have an opportunity to legislate in a meaningful way 
for the American people. I think all of us have a little bit of pent-up 
energy, if you will, to get to legislating. We will have that 
opportunity in just a little bit.
  I would strongly encourage every Member to vote in favor of the 
motion to proceed to this important legislation.
  Mr. President, I see that my friend, the Senator from West Virginia, 
the ranking member, has come to the floor. I know he is going to give 
more extended remarks about the measure, speaking to some of the 
  After we complete the vote here in about 15 minutes on the motion to 
proceed, I will have an opportunity to speak more fully about some of 
the details, but, again, I want to repeat, while my friend is here with 
me, that this opportunity to really shape legislation in a space that 
is so needed is one that he embraced from the minute he assumed the 
role as ranking member. The two of us asked: What is it that we can 
  We are not interested in messaging. We are not interested in having 
hearings to have hearings for hearings' sake. We are interested in 
making a difference when it comes to our Nation's policy, and I think 
that we have done it. We have done it because of a good, cooperative 
process. So I want to thank my colleague.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, before my colleague leaves, I want to 
thank the Senator from Alaska, my chairman, for all the hard work, 
because it has been a labor that both of us have worked on together. It 
is something our country needs very desperately, and it is something 
that we have been working on for some 12 or 13 years. So the time has 
  With that, I am pleased that we are starting the process of turning 
to the American Energy Innovation Act, which last year Senator 
Murkowski and I kicked off in the 116th Congress with a hearing on the 
outlook of energy innovation.

[[Page S1245]]

  Over the course of the last 14 months, we have heard from experts who 
have come before the committee to testify on the importance of 
advancing a broad range of technologies. Where we stand today, we have 
no silver bullet to solve the problems that we face--namely, 
maintaining our affordable, reliable energy and reducing greenhouse gas 
emissions, while also making sure that hard-working families and 
communities are not left behind.
  It is for this reason that I say we need to innovate, not eliminate. 
I repeat that--innovate, not eliminate. There is a misconception that 
all these emissions are coming from just the power industry, just one 
source. It is all we hear about. It is not true.
  The facts are these: In 2017, the power sector was responsible for 
27.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The power industry--
coal-fired powerplants and natural gas plants now are determined--was 
responsible for 27\1/2\ percent. Twenty-nine percent of our emissions 
come from transportation. How we come to work and what we use in 
everyday life--29 percent comes from that. Twenty-two percent comes 
from industry--the jobs that we do, the industries we have that we 
need, jobs that are provided, and the products they produce. Then 11\1/
2\ percent was commercial and residential sectors--the buildings we are 
in, commercial and residential, but basically a lot of government 
  With that in mind, we focused on an ``all of the above'' approach. We 
didn't leave any rock unturned. Our bill will help reduce emissions in 
all of these sectors, except for agriculture. Agriculture represents 
about 9 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, and that was not in 
our jurisdiction.
  Innovation is a critical step to help us reliably meet tomorrow's 
energy needs while reducing emissions, not just in our energy sector 
but also in industry, buildings, and vehicles. We all know greenhouse 
gas emissions are a global issue, and investing now in these 
technologies will position the United States as a global leader and 
maintain our competitive edge.
  It is time to seek practical solutions to reduce our greenhouse gas 
emissions and find ways to ensure that our energy sector, the 
environment, and workers can all benefit. Once we vote to proceed to S. 
2657, we will be laying down the American Energy Innovation Act of 2020 
as a substitute amendment. This legislation brings together the strong, 
bipartisan work of our committee over the past year and draws from 53 
bills. And I will repeat--39 of those are bipartisan. Once it is 
enacted, it will provide the first comprehensive Senate energy policy 
update in 13 years.
  This bill represents an important downpayment on research and 
development at the Department of Energy for a range of technologies to 
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, it would advance innovative 
technologies that can help us reduce emissions across sectors of the 
economy that account for 90 percent of current U.S. greenhouse gas 
  This piece of legislation will put us on the path to reduce 90 
percent of the current greenhouse gas emissions. That includes energy 
storage, renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon capture, advanced 
nuclear, vehicles, and provisions to help get those technologies out of 
DOE and into the market.
  As I have said before, there is no silver bullet, and this bill alone 
will not solve climate change, but it is critical. It is a critical 
step in the right direction, not just here in the United States but 
also for the rest of the world. I am going to take a few minutes to 
touch on a few of these now.
  Let me start with our existing zero-carbon, baseload generation, 
nuclear. Unfortunately, the U.S. nuclear industry has been losing 
ground to international competitors, especially those with state-funded 
nuclear programs like China and Russia. That is why I worked with 
Senator Murkowski to create a robust R&D program that will develop new 
technologies to not only usher in a new era of nuclear but also reduce 
the operating costs of the current nuclear fleet that will be required 
to operate into the middle of this century if we as a nation are to 
meet our emission-reduction objectives.
  We also included my EFFECT Act, which invests in research and 
development and, just as importantly, demonstration and deployment for 
each aspect of carbon capture, utilization, and storage. This includes 
coal and natural gas technologies, utilization, storage, and even 
atmospheric CO2 removal.
  Fossil fuels are projected to continue to be a significant source of 
electric generation in the near future, not just here in the United 
States but around the world. We need to get ahead of the curve and 
invest in the technologies that will allow us to continue using them 
but in the cleanest way possible so we are reducing greenhouse gas 
  We also included provisions to target industrial emissions that are 
particularly hard to get to with existing technologies.
  With all of this, we need to continue to create quality jobs in this 
transitioning energy landscape. All of these provisions will protect 
and create jobs while addressing carbon emissions--a win-win for 
communities in West Virginia and rural communities across this country.
  The American Energy Innovation Act also covers a lot of territory 
when it comes to renewable energy, from the skies and hilltops to the 
rivers and oceans. The bill includes incentives for small hydropower 
facilities and an expansion of the Department of Energy's work on 
marine renewable energy. It also tackles expanding geothermal energy 
beyond the Western States.
  Lastly, the energy package reauthorizes two incredibly successful 
programs at DOE that have already helped transform our energy landscape 
in large and small ways; that is, wind and solar technologies. The bill 
focuses these programs on new materials, enhanced efficiency in design 
and operation, and their full life cycle from manufacturing to 
recycling. I want to make sure these clean energy technologies are 
aiding the grid and the communities that need distributed or microgrid 
connections to them from Alaska to Puerto Rico.
  Of course, storage is a key enabling technology for a low-carbon, 
modern grid that will help us achieve our emission reductions and 
address climate change all while keeping energy reliable and 
affordable. Our bill builds on DOE's existing energy storage R&D 
efforts but with additional focus on advancing long-duration energy 
storage technologies and with a fivefold increase in authorizations 
from current levels.

  The bill will also help to shore up our supply chain of critical 
minerals because we are currently depending on imports from other 
countries--namely China--for many of the mineral commodities required 
to manufacture everyday items like our phones, security assets like 
satellites, and emissions-reducing technology like electric vehicles 
and wind turbines.
  It is important to strike the right balance between supply chain 
concerns and environmental stewardship, and I appreciate Senator 
Murkowski working with me to remove a provision that was concerning to 
some in our caucus and outside groups.
  Of course, the energy package also has a robust energy efficiency 
title that would promote efficiency in commercial and public buildings, 
homes, industry, and the Federal Government.
  Energy efficiency really is the low-hanging fruit, and 40 percent of 
the Nation's energy is consumed in buildings. I will repeat that 
again--40 percent of the Nation's energy is consumed in buildings. The 
Department of Energy estimates that efficiency improvements can save 
U.S. consumers and businesses 741,000 gigawatt hours of electricity 
between 2016 and 2035, which is equal to 16 percent of electricity use 
in 2035. We can reduce the amount of demand by 16 percent while not 
deterring quality of life.
  Multiple studies have shown that energy efficiency is cheaper than 
investing in any other type of new generation. It is truly the cheapest 
kilowatt. It is also readily available. There are lots of opportunities 
to improve efficiencies in buildings, industry, and transportation.
  These investments in policy changes can and will have a real, 
positive impact on the lives of everyday Americans while saving both 
energy and money. I call that a win-win, which we don't have many of.
  I hope we have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to add 
voluntary building codes back into the efficiency title of this bill, 
both to help

[[Page S1246]]

consumers save on energy bills and to really advance carbon savings.
  Finally, the electric grid is undergoing a rapid transformation. It 
is becoming more complex, more flexible, and more diverse in terms of 
energy resources. That means we have to continue focusing on shoring up 
our vulnerabilities and anticipating future weaknesses in the ever-
changing environment.
  Our bill supports investments in programs that are of vital 
importance to securing and protecting our critical energy 
infrastructure. As I said before, this bill represents a critical step 
in the right direction. I believe this package is well balanced with 
many of my colleagues' priorities on both sides of the aisle. It is 
truly a bipartisan bill. It represents a true effort. I thank Chairman 
Murkowski and the other members of the Energy and Natural Resources 
Committee for their work over the last 14 months to provide the basis 
of this package.
  I encourage my fellow Members to vote yes today, and I look forward 
to working with you this week on this important piece of legislation.
  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. MORAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Cloture Motion

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the motion to 
     proceed to Calendar No. 357, S. 2657, a bill to support 
     innovation in advanced geothermal research and development, 
     and for other purposes.
         Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Steve Daines, Bill 
           Cassidy, John Barrasso, Martha McSally, Deb Fischer, 
           Richard C. Shelby, John Hoeven, Thom Tillis, John 
           Thune, Pat Roberts, Richard Burr, Mike Rounds, Shelley 
           Moore Capito, Roy Blunt, Mike Crapo.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
motion to proceed to Calendar No. 357, S. 2657, a bill to support 
innovation in advanced geothermal research and development, and for 
other purposes, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. BARRASSO. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Texas. (Mr. Cornyn), the Senator from South Carolina (Mr. 
Graham), the Senator from Oklahoma (Mr. Inhofe), the Senator from 
Arizona (Ms. McSally), the Senator from South Dakota (Mr. Rounds), the 
Senator from South Dakota (Mr. Thune), the Senator from North Carolina 
(Mr. Tillis), and the Senator from Pennsylvania (Mr. Toomey).
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Alabama (Mr. Jones), the 
Senator from Minnesota (Ms. Klobuchar), the Senator from Vermont (Mr. 
Sanders), the Senator from Arizona (Ms. Sinema), and the Senator from 
Massachusetts (Ms. Warren) is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 84, nays 3, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 63 Leg.]


     Cortez Masto
     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Van Hollen



                             NOT VOTING--13

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 84, the nays are 3.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  The Senator from Alaska.
  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, here we are; we have successfully voted 
to proceed to S. 2657, which is our vehicle for the American Energy 
Innovation Act. We are now at the point that many of us have been 
waiting for for some time; that is, the opportunity to debate, to offer 
amendments, and to pass this measure, hopefully on a strong bipartisan 
  I want to encourage all Members to look at the bill that is now 
before us and to ask those questions and look at how, with this update 
to our energy policies, we will be moving forward with innovation; we 
will be moving forward with energy security, grid modernization, cyber 
security, workforce security. We are at a good place this evening.
  As I mentioned in my very brief remarks before the vote, it has now 
been more than 12 years--more than a dozen years--since Congress 
enacted comprehensive legislation to update our energy laws. When you 
think about what has happened in a time period of a dozen years--12 
years ago, we didn't have iPads. Twelve years ago we weren't even 
thinking about this shale revolution and what that would mean to 
America, turning us into an energy superpower. Over the course of 12 
years, the costs of renewable resources have come down dramatically. 
New technologies are emerging.
  What hasn't kept pace are our policies. When they don't keep pace, we 
miss out on opportunities to further our energy leadership, and we are 
failing to adequately address what I think are some very significant 
  That is why the innovation package that Senator Manchin and I have 
put forward is so important at this time. What we are seeking to do is 
to modernize our energy laws to ensure that we remain a global energy 
leader. We seek to keep energy affordable, to strengthen our security, 
and to increase our competitiveness. We do all of this while making our 
energy cleaner and cleaner, to protect the environment and to reduce 
the impacts of climate change. Within this measure--this American 
Energy Innovation Act--we have included more than 50 related measures 
that reflect the priorities of more than 60 different Senators.
  What we have done is gone through this committee process, and, as I 
mentioned, it has been a very robust, very thorough committee process. 
We have arranged these 50-some-odd measures into two titles. The first 
is focused on technological innovation, and the second title is focused 
on security and workforce development.
  Starting with the first title, which is innovation, we really start 
with the first fuel. First fuel is energy efficiency, which has 
tremendous potential to lower energy bills and to meet growing demand. 
We certainly know and understand that in a place like Alaska, a cold 
State. It helps our families, our businesses, and the environment alike 
when we can be more efficient in our energy consumption.
  I think we recognize that efficiency is often the easiest and often 
the cheapest option. That is why, within our bill, we take steps--
reasonable steps--to improve the efficiency of everything from schools 
to data centers.
  I mentioned also that we will renew vital programs like 
Weatherization Assistance. Again, that is so key to so many in States 
that are cold or very warm in the summertime.
  The second subtitle in the bill is focused on renewable energy. When 
you think about what has happened in the

[[Page S1247]]

energy sector in a 12-year period, the progress we have made with 
renewable energy is remarkable. With this provision, we focus on 
resources like wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, marine, and 
hydrokinetic energy, which offer the potential of virtually unlimited 
energy. Again, as I mentioned, the costs of these technologies have 
come down in recent years. What we aim to do with our bill is to keep 
that going so that as we make our energy cleaner and more renewable, it 
is also more affordable.
  The third subtitle in the innovation package focuses on energy 
storage. We talk a lot about energy storage, and folks look at that as 
being the holy grail. It really is critical to overcoming the 
variability of certain renewable resources.
  I want to recognize a colleague, my friend here, Senator Collins, 
from the State of Maine. She has been a real leader on this issue. We 
have taken her legislation and called it the Better Energy Storage Act, 
the BEST Act. We took the BEST Act and included four other bipartisan 
bills, all focused on storage, to advance these technologies.
  Another subtitle within the innovation space is carbon capture, 
utilization, and storage--technologies that reduce, and even eliminate, 
greenhouse gas emissions from coal and natural gas plants. Within this 
subtitle, we reflect both the EFFECT Act, which was sponsored by 
Senator Manchin, as well as the LEADING Act from Senators Cornyn and 
Cassidy, and this will help us build on the work that Congress has done 
to promote CCUS through the Tax Code.
  Another area of great focus within the bill is nuclear energy, which 
is clearly our largest source of emissions-free energy. Here in this 
country, we created nuclear energy. American ingenuity created nuclear 
energy, but conventional reactors are closing. What has happened is we 
have ceded our global leadership in recent decades. Through my Nuclear 
Energy Leadership Act, called NELA, the Nuclear Energy Renewal Act from 
Senator Coons, as well as the Integrated Energy Systems Act from 
Senator Risch, we seek to restore that leadership for next-generation 
reactor concepts.
  We also support innovation and smart manufacturing for industrial and 
vehicle technologies, which will help create good jobs in America's 
heartland. These are some of the toughest sectors for emissions 
reductions. So in this space, particularly, innovation is really key.
  I want to thank our colleague from Rhode Island, Senator Whitehouse, 
who just left the floor, for his leadership on the Clean Industrial 
Technologies Act.
  The last part of our first title will provide updated direction and 
authority to the Department of Energy, which is really at the heart of 
Federal efforts to promote energy innovation. To give a couple of 
examples here, we renew the popular ARPA-E program, and we improve the 
Office of Technology Transitions.
  Then the second title of the bill is more broadly focused on security 
and workforce development. We start off with focusing on supply chain 
issues as they relate to minerals themselves. I have included the 
American Mineral Security Act, which recognizes that our foreign 
mineral dependence is really our Achilles' heel. Right now in the 
United States, we import at least 50 percent of 46 minerals, including 
100 percent of 17 of them.
  What we have seen is a foreign dependence that has grown 
significantly over the recent years. What we seek to do is to take some 
real steps to reverse that and rebuild our domestic supply chain. If we 
can do that, everyone from our military to our manufacturers will 
  When we think about the securities space, we also have to focus on 
cyber security. We all understand a successful cyber attack against our 
Nation's critical infrastructure, including the electric grid, could 
have devastating and far-reaching consequences. To guard against that, 
we provide new mechanisms and incentives to protect our cyber security 
and modernize the domestic grid.
  Then again, when we think about security, we think about economic 
security through good jobs. We recognize the importance of a well-
trained, highly skilled workforce. That is essential to our ability to 
produce energy, to develop clean technologies, rebuild our domestic 
supply chain, and ultimately remain a global energy superpower.
  To address workforce challenges, we have incorporated several bills 
from colleagues that will meet the needs of companies and our national 
labs alike. We are going to focus almost all of the debate on title I, 
``Innovation,'' and title II, ``Security.''
  Title III is really my favorite. It is the last title. We call it 
``Cleaning up the Code.'' That is not very fancy, but we are working to 
repeal a number of sections of law that are either duplicated by the 
American Energy Innovation Act or simply outdated. We don't do this 
often enough. We need to take the old stuff off the books. There are 
reports that are no longer required that are parts of provisions of law 
that are just not in place; yet somebody out there still does the 
reports because we haven't taken them off the books. Let's get rid of 
things that are redundant or outdated.
  We repeal old studies. One of the items that we repeal is a 
requirement for motorists to purchase at least $5 worth of gas; we 
actually have on the books a requirement that motorists have to 
purchase at least $5 when you go to the fuel tank. We are getting rid 
of that.
  We have some other provisions in there that we believe are no longer 
needed. We did this very carefully. It was not just quickly going 
through things. We checked with the Department of Energy during both 
the last administration and this one to ensure they agree these are 
outdated or duplicative.
  As proud as I am of the substance of our innovation package, I am 
equally proud of the process that we followed to put it together. I 
mentioned earlier that, on the Energy Committee, we developed somewhat 
of a reputation for doing things the old-fashioned way, through regular 
orders, spending some time in committee, and really trying to build 
consensus products so that, when we can come to the floor, we have 
measures that enjoy broad support from both sides of the aisle.
  I think our bill is a textbook example of the benefits of working 
together across the aisle in a regular order process. It is not quick 
to do it this way. This is the result of a full year's worth of 
hearings, business meetings, and bipartisan negotiations. I think that 
it shows what is possible when we focus on what most of us agree on, 
rather than those things that will serve to divide us.
  I am certainly aware that, even with the strong vote that we just had 
to move to proceed to this bill, not all Members plan to support the 
measure. Some think it has gone too far; others think it doesn't do 
enough. I heard from Members who want to add energy tax provisions. I 
will have an opportunity to have that discussion, but I will remind 
colleagues that, when we originate here in the Senate--if there are any 
tax measures--that results in a blue slip from the House and 
effectively kills our bill. This is too good a bill to kill.
  A few would like to reduce its authorization levels, while others 
would have us multiply them by 10 times. I think by doing either of 
this, what you lose is the balance that we have worked very hard to 
achieve with this.
  Last point I am going to raise--and just very briefly because I will 
have plenty of time on the floor and I see we have colleagues here. One 
criticism I find disappointing is that we are not doing enough in this 
bill to tackle climate change. I think what is important for Members to 
know is this package, without question, is a good step, a strong step, 
a necessary step in the right direction to continue to reduce our 
Nation's greenhouse gas emissions.
  When you say we need to tackle climate change, you can't get there 
without innovation. You can't get there without technology. That is 
exactly what this bill promotes. To say that perhaps we should not pass 
a good bill because it doesn't go far enough, in my view, is a mistake 
that will result in absolutely nothing happening, and that is not good 
for anybody.
  I am excited to be here. I am proud to be managing a strong bill with 
the Senator from West Virginia. It is a strong bill that will benefit 
our economy, our security, our competitiveness, and our environment. I 
want to thank all the

[[Page S1248]]

Members who have contributed to it and who will help us move this 
forward. I think we have a lot to be proud of. I hope that we will have 
a productive week in front of us as we begin to work through possible 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, I applaud the work of Senator Murkowski, 
who is perhaps uniquely qualified here to find ways of doing bipartisan 
work. I applaud her for her efforts on this bill and other things.


  Mr. President, for too many people, hard work isn't paying off. Even 
people with supposedly middle-class jobs don't feel stable. Wages are 
flat, the cost of everything is up: healthcare, childcare, college, 
prescription drugs, and especially housing. When you love this country, 
you fight for the people who make it work. You fight for dignity of 
work, but you can't talk about dignity of work without tackling the 
biggest item in most family's budget: housing.
  Dignity of work means living with dignity, whether you write a rent 
check or pay a mortgage, whether you are saving for a down payment or 
just looking for a safe place to lay down your head at night, whether 
you live in a city or a suburb, in Hamilton County where my colleague, 
Senator Portman, who is in the Chamber, lives, in Richland County, 
where I grew up, a medium-sized city or a rural community.
  Fundamentally, we all pretty much want the same thing: a place that 
is safe in a community where we care about, where we can get to work 
and our children have a chance to have a good school with room for our 
family, whether that is three kids, an aging parent, or beloved pet--in 
our case, our dogs Franklin and Walter. You should get to define what 
home looks like for you. You should be able to find it. You should be 
able to afford it without crippling stress every single month when the 
rent check is due or when your mortgage payment is due.
  People feel like that is out of reach, even when they work hard and 
do everything right. Right now, a quarter of renters, one out of four 
renters, spend more than half their income on housing. Think of that. 
One out of four renters pay more than half of their income on housing. 
If one thing goes wrong in their life--their car breaks down, their 
child gets sick, they get laid off from work for 1 week, they need to 
repair the roof--one thing goes wrong and their life turns upside down. 
Seven out of the ten fastest growing jobs in this country don't pay 
enough for a two-bedroom apartment. We know housing is central to every 
aspect of family's lives.
  Matthew Desmond is the author of ``Evicted,'' a book I have spoken 
about on this floor in the past and to people all over my State and 
around the country. Matthew Desmond's book is ``Evicted.'' I asked him 
to come in. I bought his book and brought in a number of Senators to 
listen to him. When inscribing his book, he wrote: ``Home equals 
life.'' If you don't have a decent, safe, clean, affordable place to 
live, your life is so often turned upside down. The housing crisis 
affects different families in different ways, but it touches pretty 
much everyone.
  A safe, stable home is the foundation for opportunity. It determines 
where your kids go to school. It determines how far you have to travel 
to get to work. It determines where you go shopping. It determines 
whether you feel safe walking around at night.
  We know where you live, maybe most importantly, affects the quality 
of your healthcare. It affects your education, your job opportunities--
where you live affects your life expectancy. Housing stress affects 
people with all kinds of jobs in all parts of the country. That is why 
I have been holding roundtables all over my State, beginning over the 
past 2 weeks, to talk with Ohioans about their struggle with housing 
and what we can do to make it easier for everyone to find and afford a 
  So far, I have done roundtables in Toledo and Youngstown, Western 
Ohio, and Eastern Ohio. I heard from Ohioans about the challenges that 
too many people face. We heard about how interconnected housing is with 
other issues in people's lives. We heard about wages that don't keep up 
with the cost of living, how housing instability can affect your stress 
levels and your health, and how hard it can be to get financing to buy 
a house or start a business in neighborhoods that have been left 
  In Youngstown and Toledo, we heard about the power shady landlords 
have on tenants and predatory lease-to-own land contracts. People also 
talked about how up-front costs aren't just an issue about the down 
payment you make on buying a home to get a mortgage, but if you rent, 
you often have to have the first month's rent, last month's rent, and a 
security deposit. That could be a huge obstacle to so many moderate and 
low-income families.
  Forty percent--this number is stunning--40 percent of Americans say 
they can't come up with $400 in an emergency. Forty percent of 
Americans can't come up with $400 in emergency. When it is that hard 
for so many people to save, a deposit could seem just impossible.
  We can't untangle many of these issues from the legacy of redlining 
and decades of bad public policy decisions by Members, I would 
acknowledge, from both parties, at all levels of government that have 
systemically denied people of color the ability to choose where they 
live and build wealth for homeownership.
  More than half of African Americans and Latino renters are spending 
more than 30 percent of their income on housing. More than half of 
people of color spend 30 percent or more on their housing, making them 
much more likely to have a high housing cost burdens than White seniors 
have had. That means Black and Latino families have less to spend on 
healthcare, less to spent on food, less to spend on transportation. It 
is not just about differences in income, which are all very real.
  More than 50 years after we passed the Fair Housing Act to prohibit 
discrimination in housing, African Americans make up 13 percent of the 
population, and 21 percent of the people experiencing poverty in this 
country are African American, but 40 percent of the people experiencing 
homelessness are African American.
  Think about that. There are 21 percent of people who are experiencing 
poverty, but there are 40 percent of people who are experiencing 
homelessness. That tells you this isn't just about income. We have 
talked to people who are homeless, but none of us gets out as much as 
we should, as President Lincoln said, to get our public opinion bath. 
We don't talk to people like that enough, but when we do, we learn that 
so many people who are homeless have jobs. The jobs don't pay much, and 
they may be part time. People may also cobble together two jobs, but 
they are still homeless.
  We see the same thing when we look at homeownership. The African-
American homeownership rate is 30 percent below the White homeownership 
rate. Analysts have tried to explain this with income and education, 
but that doesn't tell the whole story. Something more troubling is 
going on. With everything else being equal, similarly situated African 
Americans are less likely to own homes than their similarly situated 
White counterparts. That is a legacy of redlining, and that is a legacy 
of racial exclusion at work. It may be in Arkansas, and it may be in 
Ohio. It is all over this country.
  From 1934 through 1962--get this--98 percent of all FHA mortgages 
went to White homeowners. We were a country that was, probably, 85-87 
percent White, but 90 percent of all FHA mortgages went to White 
homeowners. That is not just a problem of the past. Housing is how 
people build wealth for generations. Yet, with there being millions of 
families struggling to afford housing, with the massive disparities and 
access to housing, this administration is turning its back on families, 
communities, and communities of color.
  For 3 years, President Trump has been trying to undermine the Fair 
Housing Act of 1968. I spoke about this on the floor last week with 
Mitt Romney, the Senator from Utah. Senator Romney's father was 
President Nixon's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and he 
worked very hard to implement the Fair Housing Act. He made a lot of 
progress in 1969 and 1970, but so much of that progress is now being 
scaled back. That landmark civil rights law made discrimination of the

[[Page S1249]]

sale, rental, and financing of housing illegal for the first time. It 
was supposed to set us on the path of being a country in which everyone 
could find a safe, stable home--regardless of one's gender and 
regardless of one's race--and have access to opportunity.
  Yet, instead of getting us closer, the Trump administration is making 
things worse. It is trying to make it harder to root out policies and 
practices that have a hidden discriminatory effect on people by its 
cutting the decades-old disparate impact standard. The administration 
is rolling back the 2015 HUD rule that would have finally implemented 
the Fair Housing Act's requirement that we affirmatively further fair 
housing throughout our communities.
  President Trump's budget will only make the affordable housing crisis 
worse for families who are struggling in every community in this 
country. The administration would eliminate the funds that communities 
use to create and preserve affordable housing and that make 
homeownership possible for working families. The Community Development 
Block Grant is an example, as is the HOME Investment Partnership 
  The administration wants to cut the already insufficient Federal 
rental assistance we have. It wants to get rid of the funding for the 
housing trust fund and capital magnet fund--even though this funding 
comes from the GSEs, the government-sponsored enterprises, and not the 
Federal budget--to make it still harder to build homes and apartments 
that people can actually afford.
  To add insult to injury, the Trump administration proposes to make 
mortgages more expensive for working families in order to reduce the 
deficit that it created. We know we have trillion-dollar deficits now, 
even in times of growth with the economy, because of the tax cut that 
went overwhelmingly to the rich. The administration made these 
mortgages more expensive for working families in order to reduce the 
deficit it created and to supposedly level the playing field for Wall 
Street, as if Wall Street doesn't have enough advantages without our 
continuing to shovel money to it.
  We need to fight back. Any economic policy that doesn't put housing 
front and center ignores a family's biggest expense and biggest need. 
We see housing problems in Appalachian Ohio or in Toledo or in big 
coastal cities or in small towns. It is clear this is a national 
problem that needs a national response.
  I will keep hosting roundtables around Ohio so as to hear directly 
from Ohioans about the struggles they face. I invite Ohioans to go to 
my website,, to share their stories about housing. 
They can do it with their names attached, or they can do it 
anonymously, but we value these stories. We have already gotten 
hundreds just out of these two roundtables, and with the attention 
around the roundtables, we have gotten hundreds of many heartbreaking 
stories and instructive stories and ideas for changes.
  We need to hear your struggles, and we need to hear your ideas.
  Congress cannot ignore these challenges. Whether people are in small 
towns or big cities, we cannot just let the administration take away 
the tools that we have and that we have used for years to try to make 
this better and to make people's lives better. If we want to make this 
country work better for everyone, we cannot shrink from these 
challenges. When work has dignity and when people live their lives with 
dignity, everyone can find and afford a safe place to call home.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). The Senator from Ohio.

                                S. 2657

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I am here on the floor to talk about the 
legislation that is now before this body. We just passed the motion to 
proceed to the energy legislation, and we just heard about the 
legislation from my colleague from Alaska and the Presiding Officer's 
colleague from Alaska: Senator Murkowski, who chairs the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources. The legislation is a good package.
  As she said very well, it both helps in terms of the economy and jobs 
and in terms of the environment. Who wouldn't be for that? It also has 
a whole series of proposals with which to do it. The ones I am going to 
talk about tonight are the energy efficiency proposals that she talked 
about. In particular, I am going to talk about a concern I have that 
the legislation that was offered tonight took out part of our energy-
efficiency package, which we hope to add later by amendment, but I want 
to talk about why it is so important to add it back in.
  The legislation on energy efficiency is something I have introduced 
with Senator Shaheen, of the great State of New Hampshire, for 9 years 
now, going back to 2011. Some of it has gotten passed over time, but 
most of it has not, so we are, once again, bringing it up. The 
legislation is entitled the Energy Savings and Industrial 
Competitiveness Act, which is why we commonly call it Portman-Shaheen, 
because it is shorter.
  Our legislation has been voted on by this body before. Back in 2016, 
it passed the U.S. Senate. It has also passed out of the Senate Energy 
and Natural Resources Committee five separate times with bipartisan 
votes. In 2016, the vote was 85 to 12. Again, it was part of a larger 
package at that time.
  There is a reason this legislation has received such broad, 
bipartisan support over the years. It lowers energy bills, which is a 
good thing. It reduces emissions, and it creates new jobs. It does it 
all without putting any new mandates on the private sector. It provides 
incentives but not mandates, and that is great news for the working 
families and businesses, large and small, that I represent.
  It accomplishes all this by improving energy efficiency in three key 
sectors. One is buildings, commercial buildings and residential 
buildings. The second is in the manufacturing sector, the industrial 
sector, of our economy. Then the third is with regard to our U.S. 
  Residential and commercial buildings, by the way, account for, 
roughly, 40 percent of the total U.S. energy consumption, which is why 
it is so important we have these sections with regard to buildings.
  With regard to our industry sector, manufacturers are excited about 
this legislation because it makes them not just more efficient in terms 
of energy, but it makes them more competitive globally. That is why the 
Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers and 
other groups are strongly supportive of the legislation, as are well 
over 100 businesses.
  The Federal Government's part of this bill is also important. Guess 
what entity uses the most energy in this country--the Federal 
Government. It is the No. 1 consumer of energy in the United States. We 
think it is probably the No. 1 consumer in the world. This may not 
surprise you, but it is not terribly efficient. Our Federal Government 
sometimes preaches to the rest of us to be efficient, but our own 
Federal Government is lacking in that.
  So this legislation focuses on those three areas and makes a real 
difference. It moves the needle, as they say. It makes smart 
improvements to energy efficiency across these sectors.
  A recent analysis of Portman-Shaheen found that, over the lifetime of 
the legislation, the bill will save consumers $51 billion on their 
energy bills. It will result in an energy savings that is equivalent to 
the total energy use of all U.S. industry in 1 year, and it will reduce 
the carbon dioxide emissions--these are CO2 emissions--by 
the equivalent of taking nearly 4 million cars off the road every 
single year until 2050.
  As Senator Murkowski said very well earlier today, this is about 
reducing emissions. For those who are concerned about climate change 
and who want to reduce emissions, energy efficiency is a great way to 
do it--and, by the way, by creating jobs not eliminating jobs. Previous 
studies have shown that our legislation will also add more jobs to the 
economy. As I say, 100,000 jobs is our estimate.
  I must tell you that I am supportive of the package, and I am 
supportive of what Senator Murkowski said tonight. My disappointment is 
that the underlying legislation we are debating does not include two 
provisions in the Portman-Shaheen legislation. Those two provisions are 
two of the most important ones, for they result in the energy savings I 
talked about, in the additional jobs I talked about, and in the savings 
to the taxpayers I talked about.

[[Page S1250]]

  The first one is what is known as the SAVE Act. Now, the SAVE Act 
allows the energy savings of an energy-efficient home to be considered 
when determining the loan amount that a home buyer is qualified for 
when he goes to get a mortgage. In other words, it helps to immediately 
offset the cost of a more energy-efficient home by recognizing the 
reduced energy bill, which is often the second biggest expense a 
homeowner will incur after the mortgage payment.
  This bipartisan legislation was first authored by our friend and 
former colleague Johnny Isakson, along with Senator Michael Bennet, of 
Colorado. As a real estate person himself, Johnny championed this 
legislation over many years, and I thank him for his efforts. It is in 
our Portman-Shaheen bill. I was pleased to work with Senators Isakson 
and Bennet and include it in Portman-Shaheen. I am sorry it is not part 
of the energy bill tonight, but it is not the only important provision 
that has missed the boat on this package.
  Another important section of my energy-efficiency legislation that 
has been left out of the energy bill is known as the building codes 
section. This section focuses on providing best practices on how to 
make homes more energy efficient. We know that one of the most 
effective ways to ensure that a homeowner's energy bills are affordable 
is to build a home that is more energy efficient to begin with.
  It is important to note at the outset that the building codes we are 
talking about tonight are and will remain under this legislation as 
voluntary. You are going to hear that a lot tonight. There are no 
mandates in this legislation of any kind for new homes. It is up to 
States, local governments, and Tribes to adopt the building codes on 
their own that they deem fit for their communities.
  In fact, some States have building energy codes. Some States don't. 
Some States adopt part of what is called the model code, which we will 
talk about in a minute, and some States have no model code at all that 
they are going to adopt. In my home State of Ohio, for example, we have 
adopted parts of the 2009 model building energy code and parts of the 
2012 model building energy code. So, instead of mandates or a heavy-
handed government approach, this provision we are talking about is an 
incentive-based, opt-in program that is open, transparent, and cost-
  It is not that the mandates haven't been tried before. Mandated 
building energy codes and mandated energy savings were included as part 
of the 2009 energy bill that passed out of the House of 
Representatives. There was even legislation introduced today over in 
the House that would impose mandates. Our legislation does not. It 
takes a much more commonsense approach, in my view, and leaves it up to 
the States to adopt which, if any, of the model building codes work 
best for them.
  Some of you might not know that these model building codes for 
commercial and residential buildings are developed and updated not 
through our government but through an independent organization outside 
of the Federal Government. For residential buildings codes, it is 
called the International Code Council, or the ICC. Every 3 years, this 
group, the ICC, conducts a process to update the residential model 
building energy code. Every 3 years, it does it.
  During that process, many stakeholders, including industry, builders, 
developers, State code officials, and the Department of Energy, can all 
weigh in with proposals or amendments. Then they vote to approve the 
inclusion of the proposals in the updated code. They all have a vote, 
including home builders.
  Today, the Department of Energy plays a role in the code development 
process just like other stakeholders. It has general authorities to 
offer and support proposals and to vote on the proposals. It has the 
authority to set targets to reach a certain percentage of energy 
savings during a code update. Since 1992, the DOE has had the authority 
to provide technical assistance and funding for States, local 
governments, and Tribes that want to update their building codes.
  So that is the current practice. It is not mandatory. The DOE can set 
targets and can provide technical assistance. However, there have been 
concerns from some stakeholders that the DOE has not been transparent 
enough or has not adequately considered the costs of proposals and 
targets. That is why, in this legislation, in addition to codifying 
much of what the DOE was already doing, our legislation establishes a 
rulemaking process that requires, for the first time, the DOE to work 
with States, Tribes, local governments, and other interested 
stakeholders to set these energy savings targets in advance of the 
model building code update. We require the DOE to do that.
  The purpose of the target is to set an energy savings percentage 
improvement from one model code to the next. It is intended to be a 
benchmark for stakeholders to consider when proposing, supporting, and 
voting on amendments, but it is not mandatory.
  In response to stakeholders' concerns that the target might not be 
cost effective--in other words, that DOE would establish a target that 
wasn't cost effective for homebuilders, as an example--or that it 
wasn't transparent and that what they were doing wasn't open, our bill 
also requires DOE to publish its methodology and provide a ``return on 
investment'' analysis, not previously required, and the estimated cost 
and savings as a result of the target.
  So we are forcing DOE to do much more than they do now--to be more 
transparent, to look at the cost benefit here, and to come up with a 
cost-effective analysis.
  Then, at the end of the day, the target itself is nonbinding on the 
model code process. DOE makes a determination on whether the target was 
met, and then this group, the ICC, sends their options, which they can 
choose to adopt in order to meet the target. They do not have to accept 
the changes, nor does this model code have to meet the target. So it is 
not mandatory even at that stage. They set a target, but it is not 
mandatory for the ICC to adopt it.
  It is also important to again note that the proposed model building 
code at the end that is ultimately published by the ICC is not an 
automatic mandate for new buildings. States are encouraged to take a 
look at the new proposed code and to let DOE know that they have 
considered the proposed code and determined whether to adopt it or not. 
Again, some States adopt it, and some States don't.
  So, as you can see, this whole process is one where the 
recommendation is made, but it is not mandated.
  Just as in the current law today, our bill authorizes DOE to provide 
funding and technical assistance to States to incentivize them to 
update their code. But, ultimately, the updated code and whether the 
States want to consider the updated model code or not is completely 
nonbinding and voluntary.
  I have heard concerns that our legislation will make new homes 
unaffordable. However, DOE's analysis found that, for example, if the 
2015 code was fully adopted--so that was the 2015 code we talked about 
earlier that Ohio has partly adopted--it would result in a 33-percent 
reduction in energy use for that home and cost $2,787 per new home 
compared to the 2006 code. So, remember, this is a recent model code, 
2015. They do it every 3 years. If it had been fully adopted, it would 
result in a 33-percent reduction in energy use for that family, and yet 
only an additional cost of $2,787, compared to the previous code.
  We also know that these upfront costs are typically financed entirely 
by these energy savings through the life of the mortgage, which is 
typically 30 years. So you know there is a little more upfront cost, 
but a 33-percent reduction in energy use would more than finance that 
over the time that the person owned the home.
  So, ultimately, our legislation is going to ensure that energy 
efficiency features of a home will continue to save homeowners money 
throughout the life of the building.
  This incentive-based approached to improving energy efficiency in new 
buildings has bipartisan support from a broad group of stakeholders. In 
particular, my colleagues on this side of the aisle support an 
incentive-based approach rather than a mandated approach.
  Our legislation has the support of the National Association of 
Manufacturers, the American Chemistry Council, and the U.S. Chamber of 
Commerce. It has the support of commercial and real estate developers, 
like BOMA and the

[[Page S1251]]

Real Estate Roundtable. It has the support from efficiency advocates 
and the environmental community, like the Alliance to Save Energy, the 
ACEEE, NRDC, and the BlueGreen Alliance.
  There is not a lot in Washington, DC, these days that has that broad 
group of stakeholders--strange bedfellows, you might say--but this bill 
does because what we do here makes sense. It doesn't take a heavy-
handed government approach, but it takes an incentive-based approach, 
not mandated but providing the information so States, localities, and 
communities can make their own decision and can help to ensure that the 
best practices out there in energy efficiency are known, and where 
people want to use it, they can use it.
  If my colleagues are serious about both protecting the environment 
and growing the economy and increasing jobs, I believe this is the 
right legislation for them and that the voluntary business code 
language in the energy bill has to be included.
  So I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help us with 
regard to an amendment we plan to offer later in this process to ensure 
that we do have the ability to both create jobs, improve the economy, 
and improve the environment.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.