EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 29
(Senate - February 12, 2020)

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[Pages S1000-S1005]
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                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the following 
nomination, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read the nomination of Joshua M. Kindred, of 
Alaska, to be United States District Judge for the District of Alaska.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.


                         War Powers Resolution

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, last week the Senate concluded the 
impeachment proceeding. I heard one of my colleagues say it is the most 
serious thing that the U.S. Senate has the constitutional authority to 
do. That argument can be made, but I would disagree.
  I think the most serious thing we are assigned under the Constitution 
is the declaration of war because, you see, it isn't just a matter of 
the political fate of any individual; it is the matter of the lives of 
many good people in America who serve in our Armed Forces, who may be 
in danger if we decide to go to war. Even under the best circumstances, 
a quick and effective war can lead to the deaths of brave and innocent 
Americans who are simply serving their country. That is why the 
comments made by the majority leader this morning need to be responded 
to.
  His suggestion that Senator Kaine's War Powers Resolution is a 
mistake, I think, really ignores the obvious. It has been 18 years--
almost 18 years--since Congress and the Senate had an active debate 
about the United States engaging in war. I remember that debate in 2002 
very well because it was a debate that consumed the attention of the 
Senate, the House, and the Nation over whether we would invade Iraq and 
whether we would invade Afghanistan.
  Most of us remember the argument made by the Bush administration for 
the invasion of Iraq. We were told there were weapons of mass 
destruction in that country that could threaten the

[[Page S1001]]

neighbors of Iraq, our allies, and even the United States. Over and 
over again we heard that phrase, ``weapons of mass destruction,'' 
``weapons of mass destruction.''
  I was serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee at that time. I 
remember the classified testimony behind closed doors. I had serious 
doubts in my mind as to whether they had established that weapons of 
mass destruction actually existed and whether authorizing a war meant 
we would just use that as a device to force Iraq into better conduct or 
we would actually invade their country.
  As a consequence, I joined 22 other Senators in voting against the 
invasion of Iraq, which we voted on the floor of the Senate in 2002. 
Twenty-two Democrats and one Republican all voted against that invasion 
of Iraq. Obviously, we did not prevail. A majority gave that authority 
to President George W. Bush, and the invasion was underway. I can still 
remember it.
  I can remember the unfolding events as our troops arrived, made their 
impact on that nation, and eventually took control of Iraq.
  Then the search was on for the weapons of mass destruction, which led 
to our invasion of Iraq. The search continued for days and weeks and 
months without any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. It was a 
farce. It was a fraud on the American public. Almost 5,000 Americans 
lost their lives because of our invasion of Iraq, but the premise, the 
pretense that led to that invasion was misleading information from the 
administration. But at least I will say this: There was a debate. There 
was a vote on the floor of the Senate. Did anyone at that time believe, 
18 years ago, that we were voting for a war in Iraq that would continue 
for 18 years?
  On the invasion of Afghanistan, the argument was made to convince me 
and virtually every Member of Congress that the parties responsible for 
the tragedy and terror of 9/11 were somehow camped in Afghanistan, and 
we needed to go after ISIS and all those responsible for that 9/11 
invasion of the United States. I voted for that, but I have to say as 
well, there wasn't a single Senator or Member of the House who really 
believed that 18 years later, we would still be at war in Afghanistan. 
Yet we are.
  The President is now talking about removing more troops from 
Afghanistan. We will see. We have heard these promises before, but 
perhaps it will lead to such a decision by the administration.
  The point I am getting to is, the Kaine War Powers Resolution--I see 
Senator Kaine has come to the floor--really addresses the most 
fundamental question of our constitutional authority and responsibility 
to declare war. As Senator Kaine says in this resolution, which I am 
happy to cosponsor, Congress has the sole power to declare war under 
article I, section 8, clause 11, of the U.S. Constitution.
  When I heard Senator McConnell come to the floor this morning and 
argue against the Senate stepping forward and asserting its 
constitutional authority, I wondered, how does he explain in the 
Commonwealth of Kentucky that we are still engaged in a war 18 years 
after there was any vote for an authorization for use of military force 
in Iraq and Afghanistan?
  The larger question Senator Kaine and I tried to raise in this 
resolution is, What does this mean in terms of our future relationship 
with Iran and their neighbor, Iraq? We know we have had a rocky and 
contentious relationship with that country. We know they have engaged 
in acts of terrorism that cost American lives. There has been tension 
between our countries for decades. We know that full well.
  President Obama tried to at least bring some sanity to the 
relationship by limiting the ability of the Iranians to develop nuclear 
weapons. He felt, I felt, and most Americans felt that was a step in 
the right direction, to take the nuclear weapons out of the hands of 
Iraq so that even if they are engaged in conduct we find reprehensible, 
it would not reach that horrible level of a nuclear confrontation.
  I thought the President was right. I supported President Obama's 
efforts to develop this inspection mechanism where international 
inspectors would come into Iran and see if they were developing weapons 
and report to the world.
  We engaged countries around the world to join us in this effort to 
stop the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. It was an incredible 
coalition that included Russia and China and the European nations that 
joined with us to impose this limitation of nuclear weapons in Iran. I 
thought it was a move in the right direction to have this kind of 
international support.
  Yet, when President Trump took office, sadly, he kept his promise to 
eliminate that nuclear control agreement between the United States, 
Iran, and the other parties. By eliminating it, he basically gave 
permission to the Iranians to continue development of nuclear weapons. 
Yet he warned the Iranians that if they did, there would be a price to 
pay.
  This is the very reason why this resolution by Senator Kaine is 
relevant and why we need to consider what the next step will be, 
because if we are going to stop the Iranians from developing nuclear 
weapons--and I pray they will not--how are we going to do it and how 
much force will we use in response? Will it be authorized by the 
Constitution and by Congress?
  I listened to Senator McConnell this morning, and he has basically 
said to do nothing. Do nothing. Don't assert the constitutional 
authority of the Congress under the Constitution when it comes to any 
declaration of war against Iran or any future military endeavors. He 
described this as a one-off situation, a one-off use of force that we 
have currently seen in the targeting of General Soleimani. Perhaps it 
was, but we don't know the answer to that. When it happened a few weeks 
ago, there was real uncertainty about what would follow, and I suppose 
that uncertainty is still here to this day.
  This morning, the majority leader said that he thought the 
impeachment effort that came to the Senate over the last week would not 
have occurred if we had been patient, and he said this is another 
example of impatience where we are setting up this constitutional 
responsibility of the administration.
  Well, I disagree with him on two counts. If Senator McConnell is 
counseling patience, patience in an impeachment trial would certainly 
have involved evidence, documents, and witnesses. Yet he was impatient 
to get it over with without any evidence coming before the Senate.
  I also would say that patience is a good virtue when it comes to most 
of life's experiences, and it certainly is if there is a prospect of 
war.
  What Senator Kaine is doing is asserting the authority of Congress to 
step up and be party to discussions about whether we move beyond the 
current situation to one that involves troops or any type of invasion 
of territory in Iran.
  I see Senator Kaine is on the floor, and I will defer to him in a 
moment, but I will tell you this before I sit down: As long as I have 
been a Member of the House and Senate, I have felt that Congress has a 
responsibility under the Constitution to declare war. It is a 
responsibility that most Members of Congress talk about a lot but, 
frankly, don't want to face. They don't want to be on the record for or 
against war for fear they will guess wrong in terms of certain foreign 
policy decisions.
  Regardless, I think the Framers of our Constitution understood full 
well that if we are going to ask American families to potentially 
sacrifice the lives of their sons and daughters in combat, in a war, 
they should have a voice in the decision on going to war. That is what 
this article in the Constitution provides--a voice for the U.S. public 
that comes through the Congress as to whether we are going to engage in 
a war. Otherwise, we find ourselves in a situation like today, 18 years 
after an authorization of use of military force--and part of it under 
false pretenses--continuing a military effort that was never truly 
authorized.
  I support Senator Kaine's effort. I am glad it is a bipartisan 
resolution.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Loeffler).
  The Senator from Virginia is recognized.
  Mr. KAINE. Madam President, I rise briefly to thank my colleague. I 
am actually scheduled to talk on this topic later this afternoon, but I 
wanted to come and hear Senator Durbin today. I appreciate his effort. 
He has been a

[[Page S1002]]

powerful advocate of this principle that we don't stand in 
contradiction of this President or any President when we stand for the 
proposition that Congress should do its job under article I of the 
Constitution, and I applaud my colleague for his strong support.
  I will take the floor later today to talk about the bipartisan 
resolution he has just described.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The assistant Democratic leader.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                  For-Profit Colleges and Universities

  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, we are likely to postpone a vote this 
week that had been scheduled on a Congressional Review Act resolution 
of disapproval relative to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's new 
borrower defense rule. I would like to explain the background behind 
this procedure. Although it is likely it will be postponed until after 
our 1-week President's Day recess, I still think Members should reflect 
on the importance of this measure.
  In 1992 Congress added a provision to the Higher Education Act that 
allowed student borrowers who were defrauded by their schools to have 
their Federal student loans discharged. Here is what it boiled down to: 
The Federal Government recognizes the accreditation of colleges and 
universities. With that recognition, those colleges and universities 
can offer Federal loans to the students who attend. So there is a 
partnership that begins this process and this relationship, and the 
partnership is a seal of approval by the Federal Government in the 
authorization of Federal loans.
  What we found was that some of the institutions that were given 
permission to authorize Federal student loans for those attending their 
institutions, in fact, were lying to their students. So the students 
were in a situation where they incurred a debt in student loans for 
promises made by a college or university that turned out to be false.
  We said that under the law, that is not fair to the student and the 
student's family. Those students can be discharged from federal student 
debt if, in fact, that college or university defrauded them.
  What would be a typical fraud? To invite students to enroll in your 
college with the promise that the courses they take in that college 
would be transferrable, that the credits are transferrable to another 
school, and then it turns out to be a lie; the promise that if you 
complete a certain number of courses in the school, you will have 
satisfied the requirements for licensure for nursing, for example, and 
that turns out to be a lie; or the possibility that you would finish 
the courses of this school and get a job in a certain field.
  Great promises were made to the students, and it turns out they were 
lies. In those circumstances, students--many of whom are young and 
facing the first serious financial decision of their lives--were misled 
and defrauded. We said that under the law, those students should have 
an opportunity to discharge their student loan.
  It is bad enough they were lied to, bad enough they wasted their 
time, and bad enough they had a college experience that didn't make 
life better for them, but to be saddled with debt because that school 
lied to them and defrauded them is unacceptable. The process for having 
their loans discharged is called borrower defense.
  Under President Obama, we found that many schools--almost exclusively 
for-profit universities such as Corinthian, ITT, and others--lied to 
students about what their experience would be if they went there. So 
the students, saddled with debt, having been lied to, went to the 
Department of Education to have that debt discharged. There was some 
success in that, but then came the new President.
  President Trump, with his Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, took a 
much different view and has ignored the claims of these students for 
discharge of their student loans. They started stacking up, and nearly 
230,000 students from across the United States who were looking for 
this borrower defense relief from their student loans, after having 
been lied to and defrauded by these colleges and universities, just 
found no response whatsoever from the Trump administration and from 
Education Secretary DeVos. As a consequence, they asked Members of 
Congress to intervene, and we tried but with no success.
  Then Secretary DeVos took this decisive step in changing the rules 
for future students. Do you know what she said? She said to these 
students: In the future, if you want relief from student debt from 
being defrauded, prove your case. Lawyer-up. Get your lawyer, and let's 
have a hearing.
  Well, understand that these students--young and in debt to start 
with--are not likely to turn around and hire a lawyer to prove 
Corinthian, in its catalogues and representations to students, for 
example, misrepresented the education they were offering.
  Under the previous administration, that could be established in 
evidence, and all the students affected by it could use that evidence. 
Under the DeVos administration, it is an individual burden of proof to 
qualify for borrower defense. So that will leave many students with no 
recourse. As a consequence, they will be stuck with the debt for a 
worthless education or one that didn't meet as promised.
  More than 223,000 claims are pending before the Department. Many of 
them have been waiting for years. The claims come from every State in 
the Union--large, small, red, blue and purple--and they are not going 
to stop. These claims have led to this CRA, this Congressional Review 
Act resolution of disapproval.
  I doubt that we are going to be taking it up this week, so I am going 
to withhold making a presentation on this until we return after the 
President's Day recess. But I want to make one last point. We are not 
just bringing this up on behalf of students; we are bringing this 
matter before the Senate on behalf of veterans. Student veterans.
  The American Legion of the United States has stepped up and said to 
us that veterans have been defrauded just like the students we are 
talking about on the floor of the Senate.
  If you believe in these veterans and these military families who are 
stuck with student loan debt because of lies from colleges and 
universities, I urge my colleagues to think twice and join us in this 
effort to stop the DeVos rules and give our veterans a fighting chance 
not to be burdened with this unfair debt.
  Madam President, I yield the floor.


                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Democratic leader is recognized.


                              Impeachment

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, in voting to acquit President Trump of 
an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Senate Republicans 
sought to justify their vote by claiming that the President had 
``learned his lesson.'' The implication was that the ordeal of 
impeachment and its permanent stain on his reputation that can never be 
erased would chasten President Trump's future behavior--a toddler 
scolded into compliance.
  The explanation, frankly, looked like an excuse. It was unconvincing 
the moment it was uttered. No serious person believes President Trump 
has learned any lesson. He doesn't learn any lessons. He does just what 
he wants and what suits his ego at the moment. Observers of the 
President would question whether he is even capable of learning a 
lesson, and, unsurprisingly, the flimsy rationalization by some Senate 
Republicans, desperate to have an excuse because they were so afraid of 
doing the right thing, was disproven within a matter of days.
  President Trump was acquitted by Senate Republicans last Wednesday. 
On Friday, he began dismissing members of his administration who 
testified in the impeachment inquiry, including the patriot, LTC 
Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a clear and obvious 
act of retaliation--very simply, that is all it was--against witnesses 
who told the truth under oath.
  President Trump hates the truth, time and time again, because he 
knows he lies, and when other people tell the truth, he hates it, so he 
fired them. The President even fired the brother of Lieutenant Colonel 
Vindman for the crime of being related to someone the President wanted 
out. How vindictive,

[[Page S1003]]

how petty, how nasty, and yet there are rumors now that the President 
might dismiss the inspector general of the intelligence community, the 
official who received the whistleblower report. These are patriots all. 
President Trump can't stand patriots because they stand for country, 
not for what he wants.
  Yesterday, once again and typically, the White House reportedly 
decided to withdraw the nomination of Elaine McCusker, who was in line 
to serve as the Pentagon Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer. Why 
did he dismiss her--a longtime serving, very capable woman? Because 
over the summer, Ms. McCusker advised--merely advised--members of the 
administration about the legal ramifications of denying assistance to 
Ukraine. Her crime, in the eyes of President Trump and his so many 
acolytes--henchmen--in the administration, was attempting to follow the 
law. How dare she try to follow the law. How dare she even voice this 
is what the law is in this kind of administration.
  Of course, yesterday, after career prosecutors recommended that Roger 
Stone be sentenced to 7 to 9 years in Federal prison for witness 
tampering and lying abjectly to Congress, the President tweeted that 
his former confidant was being treated extremely unfair. It appears the 
Attorney General of the United States and other political appointees of 
the Justice Department intervened to countermand the sentencing 
recommendation. As a result, in an unprecedented but brave, courageous, 
and patriotic move, four career prosecutors working on the Roger Stone 
case--all four of them--withdrew from the case or resigned from the 
Justice Department.
  When asked about the clear impropriety of intervening in a Federal 
case, the President said he has an ``absolute right'' to order the 
Justice Department to do whatever he wants. This morning, the President 
congratulated the Attorney General, amazingly enough, for taking charge 
of the case.
  The President ran against the swamp in Washington, a place where the 
game is rigged by the powerful to benefit them personally. I ask my 
fellow Americans: What is more swampy, what is more fetid, and what is 
more stinking than the most powerful person in the country literally 
changing the rules to benefit a crony guilty of breaking the law?
  As a result, I have formally requested that the inspector general of 
the Justice Department investigate this matter immediately. This 
morning, I call on Judiciary Committee Chairman Graham to convene an 
emergency hearing of the Judiciary Committee to do the same--to conduct 
oversight and hold hearings. That is the job of the Judiciary 
Committee, no matter who is President and whether the President is from 
your party or not. Something egregious like this demands that the 
inspector general investigate and demands that the chairman of the 
Judiciary Committee hold a hearing now.
  The President is claiming that rigging the rules is perfectly 
legitimate. He claims an absolute right to order the Justice Department 
to do anything he wants. The President has, as his Attorney General, an 
enabler--and that is a kind word--who actually supports this view. Does 
anyone think it is out of the question that President Trump might order 
the FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or anyone else 
without any evidence to support such an arbitrary violation of 
individual rights? Oh, I know, some far-right conspiratorial writer, 
who has no credibility, who just makes things up, writes it, FOX News 
puts it on, Sean Hannity or someone talks about it, and then the 
President says ``investigate.'' That is third-world behavior, not 
American behavior. That kind of behavior defiles that great flag that 
is standing above us. This is not ordinary stuff. I have never seen it 
before with any President--Democratic, Republican, liberal or 
conservative.
  Does any serious person believe the President's abuse would be 
limited to the Justice Department? Does any serious person think that 
Trump might not order the Justice Department to treat his friends, 
associates, and family members differently than it treats ordinary 
citizens and that Attorney General Barr would just carry out these 
orders?
  Of course, none of this is out of the question. The President 
asserted his absolute right to do whatever he wants yesterday. We are 
witnessing a crisis in the rule of law in America, unlike one we have 
ever seen before. It is a crisis of President Trump's making, but it 
was enabled and emboldened by every Senate Republican who was too 
afraid to stand up to him and say the simple word ``no'' when the vast 
majority of them knew that was the right thing to do.
  Republicans thought the President would learn his lesson. It turned 
out that the lesson he learned was not that he went too far and not 
that he needed to rein it in. The lesson the President learned was that 
the Republican Party will not hold him accountable, no matter how 
egregious his behavior--not now, not ever.
  Senate Republicans voted to excuse President Trump's abuses of power. 
They voted to abdicate the constitutional authority of Congress to 
check on an overreaching Executive. Senate Republicans now own this 
crisis, and they are responsible for every new abuse of power President 
Trump commits. John Adams famously described our grand Republic that he 
helped create as a government of laws, not of men. Our Founding 
Fathers' foremost concern, of course, was to escape the tyranny of a 
government of men--more specifically, a King. That is why the Founders 
created a republic in America. That is why the patriots died for the 
freedom we are now blessed with.
  Yet, after almost 2\1/2\ centuries of experience in self-government 
as a republic, we are, once again, faced with a very serious and 
looming question: Do we want a government of laws or of men? Do we want 
to be governed by the laws of the United States or by the whims of one 
man?
  I don't think my Republican colleagues fully appreciated what they 
were unleashing when they voted in the impeachment trial to excuse the 
President's conduct--although, maybe they did. They were just afraid, 
fearful, shaking in their boots because Trump might take vengeance out 
on them as he did on Senators Flake and Corker. They voted to acquit 
the President after he used his immense power to pressure a foreign 
leader to announce an investigation to smear a rival.
  What we have seen in the hours and days since that fateful acquittal 
vote last Wednesday is so disturbing. In a parade of horribles, this is 
one of the most horrible things President Trump has done. In a parade 
of horribles, this is one of the most feeble and servile actions of 
Republicans, just no one saying a peep about it. We are seeing the 
behavior of a man who has contempt for the rule of law beginning to try 
out the new unrestrained power conferred on him by 52, 53--well, 52 
Republican Senators, 1 brave one.
  Left to his own devices, President Trump would turn America into a 
banana republic with a dictator who can do whatever he wants, and the 
Justice Department is the President's personal law firm, not a defender 
of the rule of law. It is a sad day in America--a sad day.
  The Founding Fathers created something brand new, a republic, because 
they were afraid of monarchy. The Senate Republicans aided and abetted 
President Trump to get much closer to that monarchy than we have been 
in a long time. Senate Republicans have created something very close to 
a monarchy, if they can keep it.


                         War Powers Resolution

  Madam President, now, on war powers, later today, the Senate will 
begin debate on Senator Kaine's War Powers Resolution, preventing 
President Trump from unilaterally escalating military action against 
Iran.
  The Constitution is clear, Congress alone has the power to declare 
wars. The President has no authority to enter the United States into 
another endless conflict in the Middle East, but I fear that the strike 
against Iranian Major General Soleimani last month may bumble us into 
one.
  With this bipartisan resolution, the Senate can assert its 
constitutional authority and send a clear bipartisan message to the 
President that he cannot sidestep Congress when it comes to matters of 
war and peace. It was immediately clear that the strike against General 
Soleimani was carried out with insufficient transparency, without 
proper notification of Congress, and without a clear plan for what 
comes next.

[[Page S1004]]

  Last month has only magnified these problems. President Trump 
initially claimed that no one was hurt after Iran retaliated against 
forces on January 8. Now the Pentagon says over 100 military personnel 
suffered a traumatic brain injury. Why has it taken so long for us to 
learn that American troops were hurt in the attack? Who ordered the 
withholding of that information? Was it President Trump? It sure 
wouldn't be surprising. And who in the military--the military, which is 
a bulwark, one of the few, particularly when General Mattis was the 
Secretary--who in the military let that happen? Just as importantly, 
what is the President's strategy for keeping our troops safe in the 
coming weeks?
  The administration has deliberately refused to be transparent with 
Congress about the aftermath of the Iranian strike. I fear that by 
keeping Congress in the dark, President Trump is, once again, hoping to 
short-circuit our checks and balances and escape scrutiny. That is why 
Senator Kaine's War Powers Resolution is a matter of urgent necessity. 
I commend Senator Kaine on the job he has done and urge my colleagues 
of both parties to vote in favor of this resolution.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska is recognized.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
confirmation vote on the Kindred nomination begin following my remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.


                    Nomination of Joshua M. Kindred

  Mr. SULLIVAN. Madam President, I rise today in support of the vote 
that the Senate is going to take on here in a few minutes on Joshua 
Kindred to be Alaska's next Federal district court judge, and I commend 
this body, particularly Leader McConnell, for prioritizing putting 
good, solid, young Federal judges in seats in districts and circuit 
courts all across the country--188 so far since the Trump 
administration took office, and now it is Alaska's turn.
  That Federal judge seat that we are looking at filling here in a 
couple of minutes has been empty for almost 4 years, and in our State, 
in the great State of Alaska, we don't have too many opportunities for 
Federal judges. For example, Alaska only has 1 active judge on the 
entire Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals out of 29 active judges. So this 
is an important vote, certainly, for my State.

  I want to talk a little bit about Josh Kindred. I have known Josh 
since he was a young assistant district attorney for the State of 
Alaska when I was attorney general. We talked about how we were going 
to work together to make Alaska's judicial process more efficient and 
more effective for Alaskans during his confirmation process. I 
certainly was impressed then, but I was impressed when I first met Josh 
many years ago and continue to be impressed with his fierce commitment 
to upholding the law, the concept of equal access to justice for all, 
and his keen awareness of Alaska's unique legal landscape.
  Josh was unanimously rated as ``qualified'' by the ABA and is a 
lifelong Alaskan with a broad and impressive legal background.
  As I mentioned, after clerking on the Oregon Supreme Court, he came 
back home to Alaska and was promoted to violent crimes supervisor after 
a number of years working in the Anchorage District Attorney's Office, 
where he worked to punish perpetrators of crimes and with victims of 
some of the heinous crimes, unfortunately, that we have in too high 
numbers in Alaska, particularly as it relates to sexual assault and 
domestic violence. In his career, he has been committed not only to 
prosecuting those kinds of crimes but to doing pro bono work to stem 
this very significant crisis that my State has with these heinous 
crimes of sexual abuse.
  Rounding out his legal experience, Josh served as the environmental 
counsel for the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and, most recently, as 
the regional solicitor for Alaska for the U.S. Department of the 
Interior. Now, when the Federal Government controls over 60 percent of 
the lands in Alaska, the solicitor for the U.S. Department of the 
Interior position in Alaska is actually a really important one and is 
incredibly important in terms of qualifications for a Federal judge.
  This wide-ranging experience will be incredibly valuable as a 
district court judge in Alaska because he is familiar--very familiar--
with the numerous Alaska-specific laws that this body passes year after 
year, decade after decade: the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, the 
Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and the Trans-Alaska 
Pipeline Act. This is an important point because very few States have 
such large, complex Federal laws that are focused solely on their 
State, and Federal courts often misinterpret these laws and don't 
understand these laws, to the detriment of the people I represent.
  Let me just give you a recent example. There was a Federal case under 
the law I mentioned recently, ANILCA, as we call it in Alaska. It 
involved a moose hunter named John Sturgeon who had a hovercraft and 
wanted to go moose hunting, and overbearing Federal Government agents 
told him he couldn't use his hovercraft in certain areas considered 
Federal waters. John Sturgeon knew better. He challenged the Federal 
Government. There were 12 years of litigation, twice up to the U.S. 
Supreme Court, and Federal judges at the district and certainly the 
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals level getting this case wrong every 
single time. Finally, last year, in a unanimous 9-to-0 opinion, Justice 
Elena Kagan summed it up very succinctly when she ruled against all of 
these Federal judges in the Ninth Circuit and for Mr. Sturgeon. She 
said: ``If Sturgeon lived in any other State, his suit would not have a 
prayer of success.''
  She went on: ``Except that Sturgeon lives in Alaska. And as we have 
said before, `Alaska is often the exception, not the rule,' '' under 
Federal law.
  So the Supreme Court gets it, and Josh Kindred will get it. He 
understands Alaska's unique legal jurisprudence. He is committed to 
honoring the commitments this body has made to Alaska's first peoples 
and others in my great State, and he is committed to justice.
  I believe he will serve with honor and integrity on the Federal 
court, and I urge my colleagues to vote for his confirmation.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the question is, 
Will the Senate advise and consent to the Kindred nomination?
  Mr. SULLIVAN. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Wisconsin (Mr. Johnson).
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Wisconsin (Mr. 
Johnson) would have voted ``yea.''
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Colorado (Mr. Bennet), 
the Senator from Minnesota (Ms. Klobuchar), the Senator from Vermont 
(Mr. Sanders), and the Senator from Massachusetts (Ms. Warren) are 
necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 41, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 41 Ex.]

                                YEAS--54

     Alexander
     Barrasso
     Blackburn
     Blunt
     Boozman
     Braun
     Burr
     Capito
     Cassidy
     Collins
     Cornyn
     Cotton
     Cramer
     Crapo
     Cruz
     Daines
     Enzi
     Ernst
     Fischer
     Gardner
     Graham
     Grassley
     Hawley
     Hoeven
     Hyde-Smith
     Inhofe
     Kennedy
     Lankford
     Lee
     Loeffler
     Manchin
     McConnell
     McSally
     Moran
     Murkowski
     Paul
     Perdue
     Portman
     Risch
     Roberts
     Romney
     Rounds
     Rubio
     Sasse
     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)
     Shelby
     Sinema
     Sullivan
     Thune
     Tillis
     Toomey
     Wicker
     Young

                                NAYS--41

     Baldwin
     Blumenthal
     Booker
     Brown
     Cantwell
     Cardin
     Carper
     Casey
     Coons
     Cortez Masto
     Duckworth
     Durbin
     Feinstein
     Gillibrand
     Harris
     Hassan
     Heinrich
     Hirono
     Jones
     Kaine
     King
     Leahy
     Markey
     Menendez

[[Page S1005]]


     Merkley
     Murphy
     Murray
     Peters
     Reed
     Rosen
     Schatz
     Schumer
     Shaheen
     Smith
     Stabenow
     Tester
     Udall
     Van Hollen
     Warner
     Whitehouse
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--5

     Bennet
     Johnson
     Klobuchar
     Sanders
     Warren
  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the votes 
following the first vote be 10 minutes in length.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there any objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered. The votes will be 10 minutes.

                          ____________________