March 2, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 41 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
ADVANCED GEOTHERMAL INNOVATION LEADERSHIP ACT OF 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 41
(Senate - March 02, 2020)
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[Pages S1239-S1251] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] ADVANCED GEOTHERMAL INNOVATION LEADERSHIP ACT OF 2019--MOTION TO PROCEED 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. Coronavirus 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 States. 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 cases. 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. Coronavirus 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, State, [[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. Taliban 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 conflict. 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 correct. 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 myself. 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 ordered. 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 that. 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 themselves. 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 something.'' 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 comprehension. ``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 recovery. 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 Catamounts. ``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 us.'' 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 accept. ``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 that.'' 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 said. 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 something.'' 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. Coronavirus 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. Travis [[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 Act. 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 security. 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 competitiveness. 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 priorities. 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 build? 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 come. 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 buildings. 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 emissions. 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 CO
2removal. 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 emissions. 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.] YEAS--84 Alexander Baldwin Barrasso Bennet Blackburn Blumenthal Blunt Booker Boozman Braun Brown Burr Cantwell Capito Cardin Carper Casey Cassidy Collins Coons Cortez Masto Cotton Cramer Crapo Cruz Daines Duckworth Durbin Enzi Ernst Feinstein Fischer Gardner Gillibrand Grassley Harris Hassan Hawley Heinrich Hirono Hoeven Hyde-Smith Johnson Kaine Kennedy King Lankford Leahy Loeffler Manchin Markey McConnell Menendez Merkley Moran Murkowski Murphy Murray Perdue Peters Portman Reed Risch Roberts Romney Rosen Rubio Sasse Schumer Scott (FL) Scott (SC) Shaheen Shelby Smith Stabenow Sullivan Tester Udall Van Hollen Warner Whitehouse Wicker Wyden Young NAYS--3 Lee Paul Schatz NOT VOTING--13 Cornyn Graham Inhofe Jones Klobuchar McSally Rounds Sanders Sinema Thune Tillis Toomey Warren 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 basis. 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 challenges. 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 benefit. 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 amendments. 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. Housing 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 home. 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 behind. 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 Program. 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, Brown.senate.gov, 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. Government. 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 CO 2emissions--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- effective. 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. ____________________