UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--S. CON. RES. 32; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 3
(Senate - January 07, 2020)

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[Pages S47-S53]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, Members of the Senate, I rise first to 
express my grave concern over President Trump's recent actions and 
words that have brought us to the brink of an unauthorized war with 
  Today I am introducing a resolution with Senator Warren and Senators 
Leahy and Reed and Booker and Wyden because, on Saturday, President 
Trump tweeted that his administration is targeting 52 sites, some of 
which are cultural sites treasured by the Iranian people.
  My resolution is very simple. It says that attacks on cultural sites 
in Iran are war crimes. It is as straightforward as that.
  The President would compound the mistake he has made and turn it into 
something that could be catastrophic for that region, for our country, 
for the world.
  President Trump's repeated threats to add Iranian cultural sites to 
his military target list is a betrayal of American values. It is wrong. 
It is a needless escalation which ignores international law and the 
Defense Department's own policies. Attacking cultural sites is a 
violation of international law.
  Article 53 of protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions prohibits any act 
of hostility against cultural objects, including making cultural sites 
the target of reprisals.
  The 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in 
the Event of Armed Conflict, which has been ratified by this body, also 
prohibits the attack or destruction of cultural sites.
  Attacking cultural sites would also violate the Defense Department's 
own policies. The Department of Defense Law of War Manual states that 
cultural property, the areas immediately

[[Page S48]]

surrounding it, and appliances in use for its protection should be 
safeguarded and respected.
  The fact that President Trump's threatened attacks of cultural sites 
in Iran violate international law and Department of Defense policies 
may be why, yesterday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper appeared forced to 
contradict the President.
  When asked if cultural sites would be targeted as the President had 
suggested over the weekend, Secretary Esper stated that the United 
States ``follow[s] the laws of armed conflict.''
  Well, the U.S. Senate then should speak clearly with one voice to 
tell President Trump it does not condone attacks on cultural sites in 
Iran. Given Secretary Esper's comments yesterday, I cannot see why my 
friends on the other side of the aisle would not support this 
resolution to make that statement very clear and to make it now before 
Iran potentially retaliates against us, and the President begins to 
select the targets inside of Iran.
  Attacking cultural sites is what ISIS does. It is what al-Qaida does. 
It is what the world's most heinous terrorists do. There is no excuse 
for the President to threaten war crimes by intentionally targeting the 
cultural sites of another country. This is not who we are. We are the 
United States of America. We are better than this. We actually fight 
against this. We condemn ISIS. We condemn others who destroy the 
culturally sacred objects in other countries.
  Just a few years ago, in 2017, the Trump administration itself 
opposed and condemned the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage at 
the hands of ISIS. As a top U.S. official to the United Nations, U.S. 
Deputy Permanent Representative to the U.N. Michele Sison said on the 
President's behalf:

       The unlawful destruction or trafficking of cultural 
     heritage is deplorable. We unequivocally oppose it and we 
     will take all feasible steps to halt, limit, and to 
     discourage it.

  Now the President himself is threatening to engage in exactly these 
sorts of illegal and reprehensible attacks on Iran.
  The United States had a choice to make during World War II because 
our military kept putting Japan's ancient capital Kyoto back on the 
target list for the atomic bomb. Kyoto is home to more than 2,000 
Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, including 17 world heritage sites.
  It was Secretary of War Henry Stimson who went directly to President 
Truman to argue that Kyoto should be removed because ``the bitterness 
which would be caused by such a wanton act might make it impossible 
during the long post-war period to reconcile the Japanese to us.''
  So if we want any ultimate reconciliation with Iran, we cannot allow 
Donald Trump to order the destruction of the cultural history of Iran 
so that reconciliation may never be possible. Imagine the outcry the 
American people would have if our symbols of cultural heritage were 
destroyed--the Statue of Liberty destroyed; Independence Hall, where 
the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were drafted, 
destroyed; the memorials along the National Mall destroyed. These 
places house and embody our collective history and the culture of the 
United States of America.
  The assassination of General Soleimani was a massive, deliberate, and 
dangerous escalation of conflict with Iran. What conditions prompt us 
to go to war? The U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Act leave little 
ambiguity. The Congress, not the President, has the power to make or 
authorize the war. The Congress has the authority to determine when and 
how we go to war.
  We cannot and must not get drawn into a costly war with Iran. We need 
to deescalate now. But President Trump's threat to illegally attack 
cultural sites in Iran only aligns us with the world's most sinister 
and draws us further along the path to war.
  Some might say: Well, Secretary of Defense Esper says that President 
Trump will not do this. Let me read you President Trump's tweet at 5:52 
p.m. on Saturday evening. Here is what he said: ``targeted 52 Iranian 
sites . . . some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian 
culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND 
  That was by the President of the United States just Saturday night at 
5:52 p.m., and we are supposed to be assured by Secretary of Defense 
Esper that we don't have to worry?
  Well, here is what we have learned in just the last couple of days. 
The generals were stunned. The generals were shocked that President 
Trump ordered the assassination of Soleimani. So we can't depend upon 
the representations of Secretary Esper.
  We have to make a statement ourselves because no one in his 
administration controls Donald Trump. If he says that he is going to 
target the most valuable cultural sites inside Iran, we should believe 
him. He does what he says he is going to do. He wanted to kill 
Soleimani. Even if the generals were shocked, he did it.
  He doesn't understand the long-term consequences. From his 
perspective, just get over it. Well, if we sow the wind, we are going 
to reap the whirlwind in Iran.
  If the President decides to take the next step after Iran 
retaliates--and they say that they are--and these sacred cultural sites 
are on the list, then taking Secretary Stimson's advice from World War 
II, our ability to ever reconcile may be impossible.
  This is the moment that we have to speak as a Senate because we do 
not know how much time will elapse before Iran strikes back at us, as 
they have promised. We should make our statement right now to Donald 
Trump in the Oval Office that we do not want him under any 
circumstances to order the destruction of the most sacred cultural 
sites inside Iran. It would be a war crime. It would be a violation of 
the Geneva Convention. It would be a violation of the Hague Convention. 
It would have catastrophic consequences for our country and for the 
Middle East for a generation. So this is the time for us to speak--
before it happens, before the President fulfills his promise to destroy 
those sites.
  He is the Commander in Chief. He said that he wants to do this. He 
just killed--assassinated--the top military official, the second most 
powerful person in Iran, to the shock of his own generals. So do not 
think for a second he will not do this.
  This is a potential tragedy for our country. This is a potential 
source of eternal friction between our two countries. Reconciliation 
with Iran would become nearly impossible. So let's make this statement 
as the U.S. Senate. Let's follow up on what Secretary of Defense Esper 
represents as the position of President Trump and of the 
administration--that they don't want to destroy it. But let's make the 
statement because we know that the Defense Secretary just may not speak 
for Donald Trump. No one speaks for Donald Trump. Only his tweets speak 
for Donald Trump, and we know what his tweet said: ``at a very high 
level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and 
  We have a chance here to make a statement before this happens. 
Forewarned is forearmed. We have been forewarned, and our ability to 
act is with a unanimous resolution here from the floor of the U.S. 
Senate, saying to the President as Secretary Stimson said to President 
Truman in 1945: Do not do this, Mr. President. It will be a mistake of 
historic proportions and a war crime. Do not order a war crime to be 
conducted in the name of the American people.
  So the resolution that I bring to the floor is intended to have this 
body vote and vote unanimously for him not to take that action. This is 
our moment to speak before he compounds his original mistake--the 
assassination of General Soleimani--and turns it into a tragedy, which 
we will have to live with for a generation.
  Madam President, as in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent 
that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S. Con. Res. 
32 submitted earlier today. I further ask that the concurrent 
resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to 
reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no 
intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, reserving the right to object, I sit 

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listening to this, and a lot of the American people do too. My good 
friend from Massachusetts has said things that I know he actually 
believes. He actually believes it.
  Here we are with the President of the United States, who has given 
us, over the objections of the gentleman, my friend from Massachusetts, 
the best economy we have had maybe in my lifetime. You could argue 
that. He has been able to do this two ways. One was a way that was 
designed first by a Democrat--by John Kennedy--when he said that the 
best way to increase revenue is to reduce marginal rates, and it 
worked. Unfortunately, President Kennedy died after that.
  Then we have the judges right now; we have, right now, over 170 
judges. The unique thing about this is that these are judges who are 
really constitutional judges. They have read the Constitution. That is 
a unique notion.
  Then the military--again, it is hard to sit here and listen to 
someone who has that level--you hear so much hatred about this 
President, but he is getting so many great things done. If you look at 
the military, not many people know this--now, I chair the Armed 
Services Committee--but we know that during the Obama administration, 
during the last 5 years--this would have been from 2010 to 2015--he 
reduced the budget for the military by 25 percent in constant dollars. 
That has never happened before, even after World War I and World War II 
when reductions took place. This was even more than that at a time when 
you can argue it was the most dangerous time in history. So, here the 
President has been responsible for that, yet there is so much hatred 
out there.

  The issue at hand now with Soleimani--this gentleman's resolution is 
rather interesting. He is talking about cultural sites. I can remember 
at the very beginning of the Trump administration, he went out of his 
way to protect cultural sites. If you talk to different people of 
minority religions in different countries, they talk about what he has 
done to protect minority rights and sites--churches that have been torn 
down. So here is a guy, our President, who has been right in the middle 
of the very thing he has been accused of offending.
  I note that Secretary Esper has made it quite clear that the United 
States will follow the laws of armed conflict.
  I appreciate the spirit of Senator Markey's resolution opposing 
attacks on cultural sites. I agree with that. However, since our votes 
carry the force of law, we need to be specific in our resolutions. It 
is simply not true that attacking cultural sites is always a war crime 
because there are many instances in which cultural sites have been used 
as staging grounds for hostilities. We all know that. I can give you 
examples for that.
  President Clinton noted in his message to the Senate when he sent the 
Hague cultural property convention over for ratification almost exactly 
21 years ago on January 6, 1999, and I am quoting from it:

       Cultural property is protected from intentional attacks so 
     long as it is not being used for military purposes or 
     otherwise may be regarded as a military objective. Misuse may 
     subject such property to attack.

  That is a direct quote.
  To be clear, I am not saying that we should target cultural sites, 
but we certainly should not restrict our military's ability to defend 
itself with rogue actors appropriating cultural sites for attacks or 
strategic reasons. The use of a cultural site to construct IEDs, launch 
missiles, or give snipers carte blanche against our forces is not 
accounted for in this resolution.
  I therefore object to this resolution on those grounds and hope that 
the resolution will be amended to acknowledge an exception for when 
cultural sites are used for staging military attacks or other improper 
  I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.

                   Measure Referred--S. Con. Res. 32

  Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
concurrent resolution be referred to the appropriate committee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, just in response to the Senator from 
Oklahoma, it is deeply disheartening when, on the floor of the U.S. 
Senate, we cannot agree to a simple commitment that the United States 
of America should never engage in military actions that are war crimes 
by attacking cultural sites in Iran.
  When ISIS attacks cultural sites in the Middle East, we condemn that 
because we know what the impact on the cultures of those countries will 
be. When al-Qaida attacked us on September 11, 2001, which targets did 
they select? They selected the World Trade Center, the symbol of 
capitalism in the United States. They selected the Pentagon, the symbol 
of our defense. And but for those brave passengers on that plane in 
Pennsylvania, when they said ``Let's roll,'' that target could have 
been the Capitol Building of the United States of America where we are 
standing right now, the symbol of Democracy. They knew what they were 
doing--they were striking at capitalism, at our Defense Department, and 
at our democracy--and they knew what the impact would have been on our 

  So we have a choice to make right now out here on the floor of the 
Senate, and that is to make a statement before we do that to the 
Iranians because we ourselves experienced it, and we know what our 
reaction was. They will rise up in a way that will make it impossible 
to reconcile. We will be in eternal war in the Middle East.
  My request to the Members is to have this resolution come back out 
here on the floor. I understand the gentleman's objection, but the 
President could be ordering additional retaliatory strikes against the 
Iranians within a week if the Iranians are good for their word that 
they are going to hit us. We have to be sure that if the President does 
that, he does so in a way that does not commit a war crime and that 
does not destroy these culturally significant parts of the Iranian 
culture that go back thousands of years. It would be something that 
ultimately would be catastrophic.
  We are better than this. We are the United States of America. 
President Trump has already made one mistake in assassinating General 
Soleimani. We should not allow him to compound that mistake.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I request a parliamentary inquiry.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator yield for a parliamentary 
  Mr. MARKEY. I yield to Senator Inhofe.
  Mr. INHOFE. I am just asking, are we in a period of morning business?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. We are not.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that at the 
conclusion of the remarks of my friend from Massachusetts, I be 
recognized for such time as I shall consume.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MARKEY. Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. MARKEY. I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. INHOFE. Madam President, 5 days ago, President Trump made the 
boldest defensive policy decision of his Presidency to date. He 
authorized the airstrike against the leader of Iran's Quds Force, 
Soleimani, in accordance with his authorities as Commander in Chief of 
the United States under article II of the Constitution.
  Let's remember who Soleimani was. He was a terrorist. He was 
responsible for training and funding militias across the Middle East--
the very militias that have targeted American personnel, our 
facilities, and our partners for decades. He was behind the plot to 
assassinate the Saudi Ambassador in Washington. That was back in 2011. 
He has been doing this for a long time now. He was responsible for the 
brutal repression of democratic protests within Iran. The terrorist 
groups he armed and trained attacked our partners, including Israel.
  Some of the people out there are more focused on criticizing 
President Trump for taking out Soleimani than they are on protecting 
American diplomats and American troops, conveniently forgetting that 
Soleimani is the architect of Iran's terrorism and is responsible for 
over 600 American deaths during the Iraqi war. When you stop and think 
about how bad he is, it just doesn't get any worse than that.

[[Page S50]]

  We hear a lot recently about getting--I am very happy this President 
was able to put together something and take out al-Baghdadi, but this 
guy was worse than al-Baghdadi--you can argue, even worse than bin 
  Their justification for criticizing the President for killing a 
terrorist who wanted to destroy America--stated it many times--they 
think it was reckless and represents a rush to war. Nothing could be 
further from the truth. Just remember how we got where we are today.
  Remember the Obama apology tour? I remember it well. When he first 
came into office, he went around talking about--all around to our 
adversaries and our friends alike talking about how bad America was. We 
remember that, and it was a game changer for our behavior throughout 
the world at that time.
  First, American credibility hit an all-time low under the Obama 
administration. President Obama set a redline in Syria. We all remember 
that redline in Syria. That was because Syria was using weapons of mass 
destruction, and President Obama said: If you continue to do that, we 
will, you know, take you out--words to that effect. Well, then the 
redline occurred when Syria started dropping weapons of mass 
destruction on its own people there. Now, that kind of, I think, 
changed the thinking of does America mean what they say?
  To make matters worse, Obama signed a deal with Iran that didn't 
address Iran's support for terrorism at all. It gave Iran over $100 
billion, including $1.7 billion in cash. That was a John Kerry thing. 
That was when John Kerry was the Secretary of State and President Obama 
was the President. At that time, $1.7 billion was given to this 
terrorist group in small bills, in foreign currency, for obvious 
reasons--you don't have to stop and think that through--but then, in 
addition, over $100 billion, and they even admitted at that time that 
that could be used to expand terrorist activities.
  One of the quotes in 2016--and I wrote it down, and I have used it 
many times since then--I want you to listen to this. This is a quote 
from John Kerry in 2016. He said: ``I think that some of it will end up 
in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled 
terrorists.'' John Kerry also said: ``You know, to some degree, I'm not 
going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be 
  So is it any wonder that Iran's regional aggression has only gotten 
bolder and bolder? Look what has happened just in the last few months. 
In May of this year, the Iranians attacked oil tankers with land mines. 
We know about that. In June, they shot down a U.S. drone. It is a U.S. 
drone. By the way, the cost of that was classified for a while. It is 
not classified anymore. It was in excess of $100 million. That is what 
they did. What did our President do? He sat back, and it didn't cause 
him to get all excited. He handled it in a very diplomatic way. Then, 
in September, they attacked the Saudi oilfields, taking some 50 percent 
of Saudi Arabia's oil production capability offline.
  President Trump showed incredible restraint after each one of those 
provocations. He responded by increasing pressure on Iran--ramping up 
economic sanctions and increasing their diplomatic isolation but not 
anything that would suggest getting into any type of violence at that 
  The President avoided military action while setting a very clear 
redline. And what was the redline? He said: So long as you don't kill 
an American--if you kill an American, we are going to come after you. 
That is the redline. That is a redline that 95 percent of the people in 
America agree with.
  On December 27, Iran crossed that redline. Soleimani directed the 
attack that killed an American and wounded four other servicemembers. 
President Trump made it clear that there were consequences for spilling 
American blood. He said: You kill an American, we are going to come 
after you. And he is dead now.
  Iran never believed there would be consequences. After all, Obama 
never enforced his redline, and even President Trump was hesitant to 
use military force. Only a day before the strike that killed Soleimani, 
Iran's Supreme Leader tweeted at our President--in fact, you have to 
read this. This is a tweet that came from him to the President: ``That 
guy has tweeted that we see Iran responsible for the events in Baghdad 
& we will respond to Iran. 1st: You can't do anything.'' This is a guy 
telling our President ``You can't do anything.'' That is a quote. That 
whole thing is a quote that came from him. They never believed 
there would be consequences, but there were consequences.

  Only a day before the strike, he said: ``You can't do anything.'' We 
are talking about Iran's Supreme Leader tweeting to our President of 
the United States ``You can't do anything.'' Obviously, they know 
better than that. Well, President Trump could, and he did. He actually 
restored America's credibility around the world. He showed that we mean 
what we say.
  You tell me what is reckless--they talk about this as reckless--a 
President who means what he says and takes the protection of American 
lives seriously or the fringe Democrats who want to tie the President's 
hands and deny him the tools to uphold his constitutional 
responsibility to defend our citizens?
  You know, right now before this Senate, there is a resolution--not 
the one my friend from Massachusetts was talking about but another one 
that would take away a lot of the President's powers of negotiation. We 
are talking about powers that are there as a result of article II of 
the Constitution. That is what our President has--those constitutional 
powers. Yet the President did not use military force until they crossed 
the redline, and that is not a rush to war.
  Listen to folks like former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman. I 
served here in the Senate with Senator Joe Lieberman. He is a Democrat. 
I have one of the quotes that he said just recently in analyzing this. 
I don't recall, but I think he was here probably about 25 years. This 
is a quote from Democrat Joe Lieberman, a former Senator:

       President Trump's order to take out Qasem Soleimani was 
     morally, constitutionally and strategically correct. It 
     deserves more bipartisan support than the begrudging or 
     negative reactions it has received thus far from my fellow 

  That is a quote.
  We have another one from about the same timeframe, just recently. 
Listen to Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security. I got to know him. 
His name is Jeh Johnson. He was one who was eminently qualified for 
that position and did a good job while he was there. This is what he 
said about the action with Soleimani, which the President is being 
accused of all these terrible things about. This is from the Secretary 
of Homeland Security under President Obama. Jeh Johnson said:

       He was a lawful military objective, and the president, 
     under his constitutional authority as commander in chief, had 
     ample domestic legal authority to take him out without an 
     additional congressional authorization. Whether he was a 
     terrorist or a general in a military force that was engaged 
     in armed attacks against our people, he was a lawful military 

  Everything that this President did was perfectly appropriate, and 
these are two prominent Democrats who have come out with this.
  So, you know, there are a lot of people out there who are pretty fed 
up with what has been going on with attacking the president and 
impeachment. I keep hearing that something is going to happen this week 
in terms of sending over the articles, and I don't know--I have a 
personal opinion that a lot of people don't agree with, I am sure. I 
don't think even the Speaker knows right now just what is going to 
happen. Are the articles going to come over? I think a lot of her far-
left friends are saying: Yeah, let's go over there and let's continue 
this thing. Let's continue beating up the President. But she also has a 
bunch of her liberal friends who are saying: Look, the polls don't look 
too good. People are onto this. They realize that there is a problem. 
Maybe we shouldn't be sending them at all.
  We will find out tomorrow. I understand there is a big Democratic 
meeting. I am not invited. There is one over in the House. They are 
going to make a determination, and we will all find out at that time 
what is going to happen to the Articles of Impeachment.
  But again, Soleimani was a lawful military objective--one that 
President Trump took out under article II authority. More to the point, 
nobody is

[[Page S51]]

talking about war. Nobody is calling for an invasion. Nobody is calling 
for a ramp-up. We all know what that looks like here, and it is very 
plainly not what is happening. An airstrike is not war. Defending 
American lives is not war. The President has made it clear that he does 
not desire war, which is why he has continued to call for negotiations 
with Iran to end the standoff, and that is the very thing some people 
are trying to take away from him. It is not just a constitutional 
right; it is a constitutional responsibility.
  Nobody here wants war, but at the same time, nobody should want a 
policy that would leave Americans vulnerable to the whims of Iran's 
terrorist-supporting regime. If we do that, if we tie the President's 
hands so that he cannot defend American lives, we leave ourselves more 
vulnerable and therefore make war imminently more likely. That would be 
  I would just be anxious for this time period to get by so we don't 
have to be facing this on a daily basis.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). The Senator from Arkansas.

              75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge

  Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize members of the 
Greatest Generation who courageously helped to defeat the German Army 
at the Battle of the Bulge and who dealt a critical blow to the Nazi 
  On this day 75 years ago, American soldiers continued the resilience 
they had demonstrated for 4 weeks. On December 16, 1944, in the 
Ardennes Forest of the Luxembourg and Belgium area, American soldiers 
were unexpectedly attacked by the Germans. Allied forces were 
unprepared. They were outnumbered and facing record-low temperatures 
and dwindling supplies, but, still, the men on the frontlines dug in to 
defend against the enemy.
  Arkansan Bill Strauss was one of the brave men who faced the bitter 
cold and dire conditions. With lack of sleep and shortage of food, he 
and his fellow troops endured this extreme test of will and resolve.
  I met with Bill in 2019 to help him celebrate his 100th birthday and 
thanked him for his service and continued commitment to sharing his 
experiences with others. It has been 75 years, but Bill's recollection 
of the details of the unimaginable circumstances he faced was still 
very clear. He talks about his memories as part of the Battle of the 
Bulge in order to honor his fellow soldiers who weren't so fortunate, 
as well as to teach succeeding generations about the realities of war 
and the remarkable perseverance of American troops.
  The 6-week battle demonstrated the commitment, courage, and 
resilience of Bill and all the American soldiers. It was the largest 
battle ever fought by the U.S. Army. British Prime Minister Winston 
Churchill called it ``the greatest American battle of the war.'' It 
came at a considerable cost. More than 89,000 American soldiers were 
casualties, including 19,000 soldiers who were killed, 47,500 who were 
wounded, and 23,000 who were captured or missing in action.
  The people of Belgium and Luxembourg have a close place in their 
hearts for American soldiers who sacrificed their lives on foreign 
soil. They continue to display that gratitude today.
  A couple of weeks ago, I led a group of my fellow Senators to both 
countries to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the 
Bulge. We experienced how the town of Bastogne, Belgium, observes this 
anniversary. The tremendous community support was welcoming of American 
veterans whom fate had brought together in 1944 there in the town and 
in the nearby forest to defend Bastogne and hold off the German 
  I was honored to visit with American veterans who fought in the 
battle and were returning to the land they had defended. There are 
fewer and fewer who are able to join, but that doesn't diminish what 
they did there or the steadfast way they fought and sacrificed in the 
name of freedom.
  My colleagues and I also had the unique opportunity to witness the 
ceremony by the 101st Airborne Division among the foxholes in Belgium. 
These foxholes, once occupied by soldiers, including those from Easy 
Company, the heroes immortalized in the celebrated ``The Band of 
Brothers'' book and miniseries, remain preserved. They stand as a stark 
reminder of the bitter cold and inhospitable conditions our soldiers 
withstood for so many days. This solemn ceremony was a special way to 
remember those who had fought and to honor those whose lives were taken 
too early.
  Following World War II, the Belgium people raised money to build a 
memorial to show their appreciation for the selfless sacrifice of 
Americans troops. The Mardasson Memorial was dedicated in 1950. The 
walls of the star-shaped structure commemorate the battle, paying 
tribute to the units that fought there and representing the States 
where those wounded or whose lives were lost hailed from.
  This memorial is in need of repairs. That is why I support 
legislation that Senator Tillis introduced that would let experts at 
the American Battle Monuments Commission oversee its restoration.
  Maintaining this memorial is critical to making sure what the 
monument stands for: the service and the sacrifices made by Americans 
at the Battle of the Bulge, and that will continue to be remembered for 
generations to come. I encourage my colleagues to support this bill so 
future generations can reflect on the heroism and bravery of our 
  We can be proud of the unwavering bravery of the American 
servicemembers and the Allied forces whose efforts defeated the German 
attack and led to the end of the Nazi regime.
  It is fitting that we recognize the 75th anniversary of a battle that 
both shaped the future of combat and ushered in a new year of comity 
between Europe and the United States.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, first, I thank the Senator from 
Arkansas for his wonderful remarks. We had a similar event in Rhode 
Island with veterans of the Battle of the Bulge who recounted their 
stories and who were celebrated by our State leaders, our adjutant 
general, and a crowd of admirers. It was a wonderful moment and a 
wonderful memory. So I thank him for calling it up on the Senate floor.

                             Climate Change

  Mr. President, here we are in 2020, and I am still coming to the 
floor to try to wake this Chamber up to the perils of climate change--
  Why do I have to be doing another one of these speeches? Why don't we 
heed the warnings of our foremost scientists, of our military, of top 
financial institutions--heck, of our own home State universities? What 
does it take to get our attention around here?
  Why is the fossil fuel industry's unlimited dark money still flooding 
our politics? Why are the biggest lobbying forces in Washington, like 
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, rated as America's worst climate 
obstructors? Where are those trade group members who claim to support 
climate action when their own groups are leading the obstruction? What 
is going on?
  Who around here is so cynical as to still take fossil fuel money and 
block climate action? In 2020, how is that a legitimate deal?
  Who hasn't noticed the world spinning toward climate catastrophe--the 
forests burning, the seas rising, the ocean water acidifying, the 
glaciers melting? How can you miss that?
  To the liars, the deniers, the connivers, and the stooges, I predict 
2020 is going to be a bad year for you. The sand beneath your castle of 
lies is eroding fast. Now, 2019 was a tough year for you, and 2020 will 
be worse. We are going to bring down your castle of lies.
  The fossil fuel industry campaign of obstruction hides behind an 
armada of phony front groups. In 2020, we will out you and your fossil 
fuel funding, too.
  To big oil companies that pretend to want progress, while still using 
that climate denial and obstruction apparatus to attack the very 
progress you claim to want, we will out that truth. We will expose your 
  The fossil fuel industry spoons up the biggest subsidy in the history 
of the planet. The International Monetary Fund estimates their global 
subsidy in the trillions of dollars every year--globally. In the United 
States alone, the fossil fuel industry was subsidized to the tune of 
$650 billion in 2015--the last year the IMF has calculated. We will out 
that massive subsidy and their dark money schemes to protect it.

[[Page S52]]

  The fossil fuel industry's biggest schemers against climate action in 
Congress are the big corporate trade associations. The worst two are 
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of 
Manufacturers. The watchdog InfluenceMap outed NAM and the chamber in a 
virtual tie as the two most obstructive forces on climate change in 
America. That is some prize.
  The chamber works its evil in legislation, through regulatory action, 
in courts, in elections, even fighting State-level progress on carbon 
  The chamber funded the phony debunked report that President Trump 
used to disparage the Paris Agreement.
  The chamber stooged for the fossil fuel industry for years and got 
away with it, but 2019 saw an end to that.
  My colleagues and I took to social media, to op-ed pages, and to the 
Senate floor to out the chamber for its disgraceful record on climate 
change. We pushed on chamber members to demand change within the 
organization. We countered the chamber with amicus briefs, laying out 
its dirty history, when its evil little head popped up in climate 
  Senator Warren and I lodged a complaint with the Clerk of the House 
and the Secretary of the Senate over the chamber's refusal to disclose 
who is behind its lobbying activities--disclosures, by the way, 
required by law.
  Senators even got hashtag ``ChamberofCarbon'' trending on Twitter, 
and I made a little yearend visit to the chamber to make, for no 
charge, a little correction to their sign out front, so that it says 
``Welcome to the U.S. Chamber of Carbon.'' So we have been after them.
  By year's end, there were signs of discomfort over at the chamber. Up 
popped a post on its website that said that on climate ``inaction is 
not an option.'' Hell, for years, inaction had been their purpose. Now 
they say it is not an option.
  The chamber formed a new internal climate change working group. The 
``Chamber of Carbon'' even quietly posted that it reversed itself on 
the Paris Agreement and now was for staying in--OK, baby steps but in 
the right direction.
  I think the chamber and NAM became America's two worst climate 
obstructors because they were paid with fossil fuel dark money, and in 
2020 I intend to find that out. If the chamber is still taking fossil 
fuel money, it is hard to take those baby steps very seriously. They 
are probably just PR to placate the chamber members who are embarrassed 
that their organization got caught and outed as a top climate 
  For that prize, by the way, chamber members have a lot to be 
embarrassed about. Allstate, MetLife, IBM, FedEx, Bayer, Ford Motor, 
United Airlines, Delta, American--they all funded and directed a top 
climate obstructor. Really?
  Really? Did they know it? Did they know the chamber--their own 
organization--was secretly getting fossil fuel money to become a top 
climate obstructer?
  If they did know, by God, they have got some explaining to do. If 
they did not know, what standard of governance makes it OK for a board 
member to not even know who is funding your organization? So, look out, 
board members. We are not letting that go either. The year 2020 is when 
we intend to get to the bottom of all of this nasty mess.
  The real test for the chamber--not baby steps--will be whether it 
puts its back into passing a real comprehensive climate bill. Will the 
chamber stop scheming with climate denial organizations? Will the 
chamber stop opposing climate action candidates? Those are the tests. 
This, by the way, is not a PR test. It is not a PR test of how little 
you can get away with. This is a science test. It is a science test of 
how we keep our planet below 1.5 degrees Celsius, global warming. If we 
fail the science test, how well we did on the PR test is going to look 
pretty silly.
  Help us meet that 1.5 degrees Celsius. We will be talking, gladly. I 
look forward to working with you. Until then, expect the pressure on 
you to rise in 2020.
  We called out one other miscreant in 2019: Marathon Petroleum. This 
gasoline refiner orchestrated the Trump attack on fuel economy 
standards for automobiles. As I laid out in testimony in a House 
Oversight Subcommittee hearing last year, Marathon pressured Members of 
Congress, Governors, and the Trump administration. The corrupt Trump 
administration was only too eager to oblige, issuing an error-riddled 
proposal to freeze the fuel economy standards.
  The Trump administration went after California's authority under the 
Clean Air Act to set fuel standards. Trump's DOJ cooked up a bogus 
antitrust investigation, I believe, to punish the automakers that had 
worked with California to hammer out a separate deal on fuel economy 
standards that defeated Marathon's scheme.
  It looks like the Trump administration also pressured automakers to 
support the administration's legal battle with California, and 2020 is 
the year I hope we expose all this.
  In 2019, investors started noticing Marathon's bad behavior on 
climate. In fact, in September, 200 investors with $6.5 trillion in 
assets under management sent a letter to 47 U.S. companies, including 
Marathon, to urge those companies to align their lobbying with the 
Paris Agreement 2 degrees Celsius climate goal and to warn that their 
lobbying against that goal is an investment risk.
  Well, the four biggest shareholders in Marathon are BlackRock, 
JPMorgan, State Street, and Vanguard. They claim to care about climate. 
We will see, in 2020, if they keep condoning all this Marathon 
  Happily, there are some things the crooked fossil fuel industry 
apparatus can't stop. Even with its massive subsidy for fossil fuel, 
renewables are starting to win on price. New green energy technologies 
are powering up, like offshore wind and battery storage. Electric 
vehicles are driving cost down and performance up for consumers. Old 
coal plants are closing--546 since 2010. New coal plants are 
unfinanceable, and 2019 saw Murray Energy become the eighth coal 
company in a year to file for bankruptcy and the biggest drop in coal 
consumption ever.
  Another trend the industry couldn't stop was economists, central 
bankers, Wall Street, real estate professionals, and asset managers 
waking up to the crash risks that climate change poses to the global 
economy. It is not just that it is wrecking our atmosphere and oceans 
and climate. Our economy stands on those pillars, and at some point 
there will be economic crashes.
  Climate crash warnings used to be scarce. Now they are everywhere. 
Freddie Mac warns that rising sea levels will prompt a crash in coastal 
property values worse than the housing crash that caused the 2008 
financial crisis.
  First Street Foundation found that rising seas have already resulted 
in $16 billion in lost property values in coastal homes from Maine to 
  Moody's warns that climate risk will trigger downgrades in coastal 
communities' bond ratings. BlackRock estimated that, by the end of the 
century, climate change will cause coastal communities annual losses 
that could average up to 15 percent of local GDP--average up to 15 
percent of local GDP--with the hardest hit communities hit far worse. 
Look out, Florida. By the way, Louisiana is not too far from Florida.
  The Bank of England, the Bank of France, the Bank of Canada, and the 
European Central Bank--backed by top-tier, peer-reviewed economic 
papers--are all warning of systemic economic risk--``systemic economic 
risk'' is economist-speak for risk to the entire economy--from stranded 
fossil fuel assets, the so-called carbon asset bubble. On top of that, 
the Commodity Futures Trading Commission here in the United States has 
launched a climate risk review. Even the Trump Fed is starting to echo 
those warnings with reports out of local Federal Reserve banks.
  It is not just big institutions that are grasping the risks of 
climate change. I visited Louisiana, Wyoming, and Colorado last year to 
hear about climate change and see what red- and purple-State Americans 
are doing about it. The answer is: plenty.
  In Louisiana, sea level rise and subsidence are megathreats. I met a 
hunter and fisherman whose personal efforts to restore marshland have 
allowed his local delta wetlands to rebound from mismanagement. A 
scientist with the National Wildlife Federation counted over 30 species 
of birds

[[Page S53]]

just while we were standing around waiting to board the boat.
  The sights and sounds of a healthy marsh were an encouraging reminder 
of nature's ability to find a way to not only survive but to flourish 
if we give her a chance.
  In Wyoming--well, don't get me wrong--climate change isn't always a 
popular subject. The State is basically run by the fossil fuel 
industry, but there I met a younger generation that really gets it. I 
will not forget the determination of leading winter sports athletes in 
Jackson fighting to preserve their winters; nor, in Lander, the 
impassioned argument for climate action from a young outdoor instructor 
from NOLS, National Outdoor Leadership School; nor, out at their 
campsite, the fire-lit, passionate faces of Central Wyoming College 
students on their way up to take glacier measurements, who well 
understand the stakes of climate change for their future and the future 
of the State they love.
  Typically, these climate road trips that I do land me in States where 
the fight for climate change may need a little, say, boost. The 
opposite was true in Colorado. It is a State on a major climate winning 
streak: a State of good climate bills passed during the last 
legislative session; their biggest public utility transitioning to 
renewable energy, building impressive renewable energy and electric 
vehicle infrastructure; and leading research institutes bringing new 
renewable energy technologies to the marketplace.
  The year 2019 also showed polling that showed climate action was 
becoming a top issue for American voters everywhere. A big part is 
young voters--and especially young Republicans. More than three-fourths 
of all millennials and a majority of millennial Republicans agree on 
the need for climate action. Last year, a Republican former Member of 
Congress wrote about climate change: My party will never earn the votes 
of millennials unless it gets serious about finding solutions.
  It is not just younger voters. Americans of all ages and political 
stripes favor many of the solutions that scientists and economists say 
are needed to tackle climate change. An October 2019 Pew poll found 
that two-thirds of Americans believe the Federal Government needs to do 
more to combat climate change. The same poll showed 77 percent of 
Americans believe the United States ought to prioritize developing 
alternative energy over fossil fuels.
  So the decades-long fossil fuel campaign of obstruction and lies and 
denial will not be tolerated much longer.
  In New England, in the springtime, a moment comes when the roof of 
your house warms up enough to send the snow sliding down off the roof 
in a big whumpf. The snow may have piled up slowly, over weeks and 
months, but it comes down all at once in a whumpf.
  The fossil fuel industry and its network of front groups and trade 
associations have spent years piling up their crooked apparatus of 
climate obstruction. Increasingly, their evil behavior is facing 
blowback from the public and from regulators and from investors. Alarm 
bells are ringing ever louder from all quarters about the economic 
  Renewable energy and other green technologies are ever more cost 
competitive. Awareness of climate change dangers is ever growing among 
the American people. These are all signs that the thaw, the whumpf, is 
near, and 2020 could be the moment.
  I know things in Washington can seem hopeless, but 2019 gave me some 
reasons to hope. For 2020, well, it is game on to tear down the crooked 
castle of climate denial and solve this problem while still we can.
  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. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. McSally). Without objection, it is so 

                           Order of Business

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding the provisions of rule XXII, at 11 a.m. tomorrow, the 
Senate vote on the motions to invoke cloture on Executive Calendar Nos. 
329, 462, and 525, in the order listed; further, that if cloture is 
invoked on the nominations, all postcloture time be expired at 5 p.m. 
tomorrow and the Senate vote on confirmation of the nominations with no 
intervening action or debate; finally, that if confirmed, the motions 
to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table and the 
President be immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.