(Senate - February 12, 2020)

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[Pages S1012-S1036]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the joint resolution by 
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A resolution (S.J. Res. 68) to direct the removal of United 
     States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic 
     Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, it has been more than a month since 
President Trump brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran 
by ordering the killing of Iran's top general, Qasem Soleimani.
  Now, no one here mourns Soleimani's death. He was a ruthless killer. 
He has American blood all over his hands. But decisions over whether to 
attack sovereign nations or whether to send American troops to war are 
not decisions for the executive branch to make. These are decisions 
that the Constitution vests only in the U.S. Congress. That is why we 
need to pass, on a bipartisan basis, the War Powers Resolution that is 
currently pending before this body.

[[Page S1013]]

  I want to come to the floor today to raise three issues for my 
colleagues--and I will try to do it briefly--surrounding the 
President's decision to use force against Iran and what the 
implications are for us, both as a body and as a nation.
  First, when we are talking about the topic, I just think it is always 
important to level set. I think it is important for us to realize how 
much President Trump has thrown away.
  This is a President who is running a master class right now on 
creating crises that didn't exist before he started flailing away in 
the china shop, and then this President claims we all have to get 
together behind his efforts to clean up the mess that he and his 
administration largely created.
  Let's just remember where we were with Iran when President Trump came 
into office. When President Trump arrived in the Oval Office, Iran had 
stopped their quest for nuclear weapons capabilities. They were 
compliant with an intrusive inspections regime to make sure they didn't 
cheat on that agreement. Iranian-backed militias had stopped firing 
rockets at U.S. personnel in Iraq. In fact, those militias were 
actively working on a U.S.-led project--the eradication of ISIS.
  President Obama had unified the entire world against Iran. Even 
Russia and China were working side by side with the United States to 
constrict Iran's nuclear program. And with the nuclear agreement 
secured, this global coalition had essentially been teed up for 
President Trump, to be used to make new progress to pressure Iran on a 
next set of concessions, on their ballistic missile program and their 
support for terrorist proxies across the region.
  But President Trump threw this all away. And now, despite the 
sanctions that he has imposed on them unilaterally, Iran is more 
powerful than ever. We went from a construct in which we had the United 
States, Europe, China, and Russia aligned against Iran to a moment 
today where, on many issues, it is Iran, the European Union, China, and 
Russia aligned against the United States.
  How much ground have we lost? This town tends to view power only 
through a military prism. So we have kind of lost sight of Iran's 
provocative actions because, since the strike in Iraq against our 
troops, we haven't had front-page headlines about what Iran is doing.
  Let's talk about that strike for a moment, because we need to make it 
clear that, contrary to the administration's assertions, the Soleimani 
strike did not deter Iran at all. They levied a barrage of rockets at 
our forces in Iraq that were designed to kill. Some suggested that 
night, or the next day, that maybe their attack was calibrated to 
sustain minimal damage. Now we know that is not the case. In fact, it 
was calibrated to try to wipe out over 100 American soldiers. They 
missed. But, of course, now we are finding out that they actually 
didn't miss. At first, the administration reported no injuries. Then, 
it was a few. Then, it was dozens. Now the injury report is over 100. 
Thank God that nobody was killed.
  But let's be clear. Iran fired rockets that injured over 100 American 
soldiers, and we didn't respond at all. I am glad we chose a path of 
military deescalation, but nobody in this administration and none of 
their allies in Congress can pretend that we ``restored deterrence.''
  Second, it is important to note that Iran is retaliating. They are 
retaliating all over the region. In Iraq they are stronger than ever 
before. They have a new Prime Minister-designate who is incredibly 
close to Iran. They managed to get a vote in Parliament--nonbinding, 
admittedly--to kick all American soldiers out of that country. We are 
still in the middle of a negotiation to try to keep some American 
military presence there to fight ISIS, but Iran has used this 
opportunity to get more and more embedded in the Iraqi infrastructure. 
And the protests--the anti-Iran protests that were happening in Iraq--
are no longer making headlines because many of those elements are now 
lined up against the United States instead of against Iran.
  Remember, Soleimani was working every single day to try to get 
American troops out of Iraq, and it may be that he gets closer in death 
to his goal than he did while he was alive.
  In Yemen, Iran is fighting back. It is hard to see into the 
relationship between the Houthis and the Iranians, but the Houthis are 
acting out in provocative ways that are fundamentally different today 
than they were prior to the death of Soleimani. They are restricting 
humanitarian aid. They are launching attacks against civilian sites. We 
don't know that the Houthis are undertaking these actions because of 
orders from Iran, but it is likely that it is not coincidental that the 
Houthis' increase in activity in Yemen, further destabilizing a country 
that is really important to the United States, is happening at the very 
moment that Iran is looking for ways to get back at the United States 
for the Soleimani strike.
  Remember, ISIS and al-Qaida are inside Yemen. The wing of al-Qaida 
that has the clearest designs against the United States takes advantage 
of the chaos inside Yemen to recruit, to grow, and to expand their 
territory. So as the Houthis are further destabilizing Yemen, the 
enemies of the United States are potentially getting stronger. Iran is, 
once again, back on the march inside Yemen.
  Then, in Lebanon we had this moment in which there were protests on 
the streets that were demanding a Lebanese Government free of 
corruption and free of Iranian influence. We were this close to getting 
a technocratic government in Lebanon that might--that might--finally 
break the grip of Iran on elements of Lebanese politics. Instead of 
taking advantage of that moment, the United States decided that it was 
going to cut off aid to the army that was protecting the protesters. 
The combination of that mistake and then the assassination of General 
Soleimani allowed Iran to upend the momentum that was running against 
Tehran inside Lebanon.
  Now guess what we have in Lebanon. We have a Hezbollah government in 
Lebanon. Instead of getting a citizen-focused technocratic government, 
we have an Iranian-aligned Hezbollah government in Lebanon.
  Iran is fighting back. They are escalating. They may not be shooting 
missiles at American military bases, but they are gaining ground. They 
are taking provocative actions throughout the region.
  It is really important for us to understand that. It is really 
important for us to understand how we are losing ground in places like 
Iraq and Yemen and Lebanon and how much stronger Iran is getting as a 
direct consequence of the action that was taken without congressional 
  My third and last point is this. Even if we pass this War Powers 
Resolution, this President is still going to maintain that he has a 
Mack truck-sized loophole through which he can run military action 
overseas without coming to Congress.
  As for the President's article II authority, he has it. I am not 
denying that the President doesn't have constitutional authority to 
protect America prior to a congressional authorization, but the 
President's article II authority has morphed over time into a monster, 
and Congress needs to do more than just pass War Powers Resolutions to 
contain this Godzilla.
  For years, Presidents of both parties have stretched executive war-
making power too far. I have been on this floor criticizing a 
Democratic President--President Obama--who I argued should have come to 
Congress for authorization for airstrikes against Libya and should have 
come to Congress to ask for authorization before launching an offensive 
against ISIS, or waging drone wars in Yemen and Pakistan. But President 
Trump has taken this abuse to new levels, and the threat of falling 
into a new war with Iran, based on whispers of intelligence and without 
any authorization from Congress, is a real possibility that we have to 
take seriously in this body.
  In fact, I listened to an administration official this week make the 
case that the President was actually authorized to kill Soleimani 
because the IRGC, the military group that he led, was listed by the 
administration as a terrorist organization.
  I know that many of my colleagues have heard the administration make 
elements of this argument as well. That is a ridiculous argument that 
fails on its face. Remember, the administration, not Congress, 
designates who

[[Page S1014]]

is on the terrorist list, so you cannot argue that the executive-level 
designation of a terrorist group is a declaration of war. It is not 
even a debatable proposition, but the administration is apparently 
making it.
  So what I am saying is that we need to be looking toward the reform 
of the war powers process more broadly. The overreach of multiple 
administrations proves the need for an enforcement mechanism for 
Congress and, more specifically, definitions around the circumstances 
in which a President can use force before coming to Congress--a new War 
Powers Act. It should sunset the existing authorizations of military 
force and force us to come back to the table and write new 
authorizations for the military engagements that we still need to be in 
overseas, and it should create templates for new authorizations of 
military force that include reasonable sunset provisions on those new 
AUMFs and protections to make sure that those authorizations don't get 
stretched to cover groups and geographic areas that were never 
contemplated by the legislators who drafted the initial authorizations.
  For many folks, it feels all too familiar to be down here today 
having this argument over the President's military escalation with 
Iran. We are talking about manipulated intelligence, a drumbeat of war. 
We are listening to the administration and its advocates bully Congress 
and the American people into avoiding this debate--the suggestion that, 
by questioning U.S. military objectives overseas, we are somehow 
hurting the troops.
  It all brings back these flashbacks of the disastrous path to war in 
Iraq. This vote is essential, in my mind, so that we warn ourselves 
against going back down that wretched path again. So, yes, let's pass 
this resolution, but we can't stop there. Congress needs to do our job 
to reform the war powers system so that this President and future 
Presidents of both parties respect both Congress's role and the deepest 
responsibility that we all have to the American people when we make a 
decision to go to war.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise today to discuss my concerns with 
respect to Iran and to express my support for the Kaine resolution, of 
which I am a cosponsor.
  No American mourns the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, and 
my thoughts remain with the servicemembers who were injured by Iran's 
retaliatory ballistic missile attacks in Iraq. The President was wrong 
to diminish their wounds by referring to them as ``headaches.'' 
Traumatic brain injuries are serious, and the President's comments 
undermine efforts to educate our military personnel about their 
potentially lasting consequences. Unfortunately, the President still 
does not seem to grasp that his words and actions have real 
  Tensions with Iran and the potential for miscalculation remain 
exceptionally high. We are likely in a period of calm before the storm. 
No serious analyst doubts there will be a future Iranian violent 
reaction to the death of Soleimani and continued pressure by the United 
  This temporary calm is the result of several factors. First, 
Soleimani's death has caused a disruption in the command and control of 
the IRGC Quds Force. He is not irreplaceable, but he is very difficult 
to replace. Second, Iran's principle objective in Iraq is to expel the 
United States, to get them to leave Iraq.
  The killing of Soleimani has given Iran political leverage it did not 
imagine, and violence at this time could dissipate that advantage, 
especially as Iraqi political leadership remains in flux. Finally, the 
tragic downing of the Ukrainian airliner swiftly reversed an outpouring 
of nationalistic ardor in Iran, with renewed criticism of the 
Ayatollah. Again, Iranian violence in Iraq or elsewhere at this time 
could exacerbate internal opposition.
  The Iranians are likely to continue to act via proxies. For example, 
Iranian-backed Shia militia in Iraq have signaled their intent to 
avenge the death of Popular Mobilization Forces Deputy Commander 
Muhandis, who was killed along with Soleimani.
  Our national security interests related to Iran, Iraq, and the 
counter-ISIS campaign are on a negative trajectory because of the 
administration's policies and the impulsive decision making we have 
seen. Since coming into office, the Trump administration has waged a 
maximum pressure campaign against Iran that has included crippling 
sanctions, the unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and 
now the killing of Soleimani.
  Secretary Pompeo and the President have stated that the goal of this 
campaign is allegedly to bring Iran to the negotiating table, but it 
instead has had the opposite effect of driving Iran so far into a 
corner that it now sees little downside to escalating and direct 
conflict with our country. In addition, the ripple effect of the so-
called maximum pressure campaign has resulted in the following: the 
disruption of counterterrorism operations in Syria and Iraq to defeat 
ISIS; the direction from the Iraqi Parliament to remove U.S. troops 
from Iraq; the resumption of Iran's nuclear program; and the growing 
diplomatic distance of the United States from our traditional allies 
and partners. That is not what anyone would call a win. It should be 
clear to all that these policies are not working.
  The administration continues to let events in the region dictate our 
response rather than proactively and strategically shaping them, in 
collaboration with our allies and partners, in a way that benefits U.S. 
national security and foreign policy objectives. We should take the 
opportunity now to step back from the brink of conflict, engage in real 
diplomacy with Iran, and to rebuild our relationship with Iraq. We need 
a diplomatic channel, either directly or through third parties, to 
avoid miscalculation on either side that could lead to military 
  Such efforts in Iraq, however, have been made all the more difficult 
because of our reduced diplomatic presence in Baghdad. Indeed, 
according to the inspector general for Operation Inherent Resolve, the 
State Department has indicated that--in his words--``the ordered 
departure . . . has affected all operations of Mission Iraq, and has 
limited the Mission's ability to help Iraq become a more resilient, 
independent, democratic country, and to support counter-ISIS efforts.''
  Unfortunately, the situation at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq is 
indicative of our country's entire diplomatic structure, which has been 
hollowed out and hampered at every turn. I am particularly concerned 
that Secretary Pompeo has not assumed the traditional role of the 
Secretary of State in advocating for diplomatic options but, instead, 
has been the loudest voice in the administration for violence and 
confrontation. Weaponizing diplomacy as the first step, rather than the 
last, is a sure path to diplomatic failure.
  War with Iran is not inevitable, but the risk that we stumble into 
conflict because of the President's misguided policies has never been 
higher. As dictated by the Constitution, the decision to take the 
Nation to war rests solely with the Congress. The Kaine resolution is 
an important step in preserving the constitutional role of Congress in 
matters of national security.

  Some have argued that Congress should not debate the issues of 
hostilities with Iran. They claim that questioning the President's 
policies means one is not an opponent of the Iranian regime. I 
wholeheartedly disagree. Before being sent to war, our troops deserve 
to know that the Nation has determined the objectives of the armed 
conflict to be valid and worthy of their potential sacrifice. Our 
military men and women deserve to know that they have a clear mission 
and that they have the full backing of not only the Congress but also 
the American people whom we represent.
  The administration not only owes the American people a transparent 
explanation for escalating conflict with Iran but also a credible 
strategy to conclude hostilities, if they occur, and ensure an enduring 
peace. As we have painfully experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan over 
much of the last two decades, securing the peace is no easy task.
  I am also deeply troubled by the evolving and, at times, 
contradictory justifications offered by the administration for the 
killing of Soleimani. Even in a highly classified briefing to Senators 
following the strike on Soleimani, the administration failed to provide 
relevant details. There is simply no justification for refusing to

[[Page S1015]]

share intelligence with Congress that underpins the administration's 
assessment that Soleimani posed an ``imminent threat'' to Americans in 
the region. Determining imminence requires a careful and thorough 
analysis of both the immediate intent and the immediate capabilities of 
the enemy. The administration has not provided a sufficient response to 
the Senate on either point.
  The President has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness not just to 
bend the facts but to indulge in outright fabrications. This behavior 
is particularly concerning and unacceptable when it may result in the 
deployment of troops into harm's way. Congress has a responsibility to 
demand and, if necessary, challenge the basis for assertions that could 
be used to take this country to war.
  We must not repeat the mistakes that led us to war in Iraq in 2003. I 
voted against that conflict, in part because I believed it was an 
unnecessary war of choice and the Bush administration had not provided 
the American people with a sober assessment of the likely costs or the 
nature of the threat.
  Going to war in Iraq took our focus off the priority effort to defeat 
al-Qaida and consolidate gains in Afghanistan, a decision that has 
contributed to our inability to secure the country in the years since. 
Once again, we are risking an avoidable conflict in the Middle East at 
the expense of our efforts to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and to 
place increased emphasis on the great power competition with China and 
Russia, in line with the National Defense Strategy.
  Conflict with Iran is not a hypothetical proposition given the 
steadily escalating cycle of violence we have witnessed over the past 2 
years, which has ultimately led to the outbreak of conventional 
military action between the United States and Iran involving the 
killing of Soleimani and Iran's retaliatory ballistic missile strikes 
in Iraq.
  Iran has also announced that it will no longer comply with 
constraints placed on its nuclear program by the Joint Comprehensive 
Plan of Action, or the JCPOA, likely resulting in a reduction of the 
so-called ``breakout'' timeline for Iran to produce enough fissile 
material for a nuclear weapon. Meanwhile, President Trump has declared 
repeatedly that he will not allow Iran to acquire such a weapon. Absent 
capitulation by Iran or a change in course by the administration, the 
President appears to be creating a situation wherein his only option is 
military action when it comes to preventing Iran from acquiring a 
nuclear weapon. However, we have received no assurances that this 
administration would consult with Congress and seek authorization in 
advance if it believed it needed to take such military action. Congress 
cannot stand idly by as the President careens toward possible conflict.
  The potential of conflict with Iran has already upended the 
priorities outlined in the President's own National Defense Strategy, 
led to the deployment of nearly 20,000 U.S. troops to the region in the 
last year, disrupted our operations against ISIS, and made Americans 
less safe.
  The administration's ill-conceived approach has not worked, and the 
time has come to try real and sustained diplomacy rather than relying 
on blind faith in the power of coercion. I urge the President to change 
course and engage with our allies and partners with the goal of seeking 
a diplomatic solution to the current situation immediately.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Organ Allocation System

  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, Missourians and many of our closest 
neighbors waiting for the life-changing moment that happens when you 
have a liver transplant now have to have one more hurdle in the process 
that they have to go through to make that happen. There is a new, and I 
think terribly flawed, organ allocation policy.
  Senator Moran and I have really led an effort to slow this down. We 
have both been the chairman of the Health and Human Services 
Appropriations Committee. We understand how that agency is supposed to 
work and how some of these healthcare issues are supposed to be 
  Frankly, I don't think either one of us think this one has been 
handled in the right way. With the policy we see today, nearly half the 
country is disadvantaged by a new policy that has been put in place.
  It used to be that when someone donated a liver, those organs were 
matched with the transplant candidates, first at the local level, then 
regionally, and finally at the national level. It is my belief, and I 
think Senator Moran's belief, that when you know your neighbors are 
going to benefit from that decision, you are more likely to make the 
decision that you want to be part of that organ donor community. In the 
neighborhood where we live and where the Presiding Officer lives, I 
think people have approached this in a pretty dynamic way, wanting to 
be part of that.
  In Missouri, 17 percent of people are organ donors or at least 
willing to be organ donors. Other States in the Midwest and the South 
and, frankly, the rural parts of the country just simply have the 
highest donation rates of people who are willing to be an organ donor. 
That is not the case everywhere. In New York, for example, 32 percent 
of people are organ donors. There is a big difference between 73 
percent and 32 percent. I don't know how much of that difference 
relates to the fact that in Missouri and Kansas and Arkansas and other 
places, people look at this and they think: If I am willing to be an 
organ donor, then people I know--people whom my kids go to church with, 
go to school with, people we go to church with, people we see in the 
grocery store--have a better chance, if they have that crisis in their 
life, to benefit from it than others do.
  On February 4, a new policy went into effect that will take livers 
that were specifically donated by Missourians and allocate them to 
other parts of the country. You will no longer know, if you are an 
organ donor, that the people who live closest to you have the greatest 
chance of getting that organ that you have been willing to donate. The 
change in liver allocation means that roughly 32 percent fewer liver 
transplants will happen in Missouri than will happen otherwise.
  Senator Moran is joining me here on the floor. We have both talked 
about this a lot. We had the group come into our offices. They are 
supposed to be making this system work. In Missouri, we have six 
transplant centers. We currently have 109 people on the transplant 
list--10 of them are younger than 18 years old--and they simply will 
not have as good an opportunity or likelihood to have a transplanted, 
lifesaving liver than they would have had before.
  It is not just Missourians who suffer. As much as 40 percent of the 
country will see a decrease in what was available to them. In my view, 
this was not decided by transplant experts. Most of them have talked to 
us, in fact, about their concerns about having to transport--in this 
case again, livers--longer distances, having to take more time and 
expense to get that organ than they would otherwise.
  It was decided by what appears to be an unaccountable government 
contractor--at least unaccountable to us. We have talked to them about 
this. We have been trying to make a case that makes sense and trying to 
make them not rush through this, but they did. The contractor in this 
case serves as the administrator of the organ allocation system and is 
the determiner of who gets the organ. It seems to me that there is a 
conflict there. Contractors held a contract for nearly 35 years. Again, 
it seems to me that competition might be a good thing here.
  This policy became a policy without due process, without 
transparency, and I think without fully evaluating the consequences. I 
think it was rushed. In fact, even the Department of Health and Human 
Services--I will mention again, Senator Moran and I have chaired their 
appropriating committee, and we shared our concerns on this. They 
failed to fully exercise the authority they had.
  I turn to Senator Moran now. I think we can do that based on how we 

[[Page S1016]]

for this time. I join him as he talks about his concerns and my 
concerns. We had people come to us and talk about this and how 
important it is. I am glad to join him on the floor today.
  I am disappointed for people in both of our States and in our part of 
the country, really, who are going to be disadvantaged by this new 
policy, where significant donors where we live are going to be having 
their donations sent to States where people simply don't sign up to be 
part of this process. If they did, there would have been no interest in 
changing the other system.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I rise to support the remarks of my 
colleague from Missouri, Senator Blunt. I thank him for his leadership. 
He is in an important position as the chairperson of the Health, 
Education, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee, which is responsible 
for appropriating funds to the Department of Health and Human Services. 
I serve on that subcommittee with him. He is a leader in so many ways.
  I am so pleased that we are allies in this issue of life and death 
for Kansans and Missourians. To my colleagues on the Senate floor, it 
is really a life-and-death issue for many of your constituents across 
the country but particularly in rural areas, in the Midwest, and in the 
  The decisions that are being made have huge consequences that will 
affect families, individuals, and their lives today and for years to 
come. I express my concerns and my deeply held belief that the 
Department of Health and Human Services is failing to do its job. Their 
harmful actions will damage the liver allocation policy in this country 
in the way I just described.
  The policy discussion we are having here today is important. It is 
important any day, but it is relevant since National Donor Day is this 
Friday, February 14.
  I want to take a moment to thank those across Kansas and Missouri and 
around the country who have donated their organs to give that gift of 
life. Senator Blunt is right. I think there is a tendency on the part 
of people to donate an organ knowing that somebody--maybe they don't 
necessarily know them, but somebody who might live down the street or 
live in the same community or live in the same State. There is a sense 
of community across this country that is being destroyed. The end 
result of that is there will be fewer donors donating organs for the 
lives of others.
  These changes to the United Network for Organ Sharing's distribution 
policy will redistribute the organs from States and regions that have 
high organ donor rates to areas that have historically underperformed. 
This results in patients in Kansas and those in the Midwest and 
Southern States to wait a much longer time for the organ.
  I have spoken on this topic on the Senate floor before, as this 
destructive policy was pushed forward. I spoke in 2018. We are still 
here today. The lack of interest and concern exhibited by those 
involved in this process is appalling to me. I stand here today because 
of the outright refusal of the Secretary of Health and Human Services 
to halt the implementation of this damaging and unfair health policy 
that has not withstood examination by either medical experts or our 
Nation's judicial system. In fact, the U.S. district court has been 
forced to place multiple injunctions on the implementation of this 
policy last year as HHS tried to force this policy upon patients across 
the Nation, despite a lawsuit from a collection of our Nation's best 
transplant centers.
  The organizations that are fully engaged in opposing this process are 
the people who transplant the organs to those who are in desperate need 
of it. They are the experts--the surgeons, the transplant centers in 
universities and hospitals across a wide swath of the country. HHS has 
ignored the initial injunction order and began to implement this 
harmful policy. They had to seek a second injunction in order force the 
injunction to be upheld. In explaining the court order, this district 
judge in the district of Georgia described the policy as ``difficult 
and wrenching,'' ``creating profound issues and institutional 
disruption'' and concluded that this policy will undoubtedly cause harm 
to patients, particularly those in rural areas.
  There is also mounting evidence that the United Network for Organ 
Sharing and its CEO have acted in callous disregard for rural areas in 
the Midwest and South throughout the development of this policy. These 
are the same areas that have the highest donation rates and play an 
enormous role in the lifesaving transplant system. The people who live 
there are the ones who are being harmed.
  Those who are crafting and implementing this system continually 
disregard the evidence that shows these areas are already suffering 
under the suffocating weight of HHS's new policy. As I said before, 
this policy tosses aside all public concerns from patients, transplant 
surgeons, and hospitals on best practices to improve the availability 
of organs across the Nation. There is no reason to have a regional 
fight. There are ways to do this that benefit all regions of the 
  It also carries the risk of decreasing those organ donations that 
will then damage everyone. This limits availability and access to 
donated organs and damages the ability for major transplant hospitals--
in the case of Kansas, the University of Kansas Hospital--to perform 
these services for patients.
  This is particularly frustrating because dating back to December 
2017, the board of the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network has 
approved an equitable liver allocation process that served the entire 
community's best interest. This was a necessary policy reform that took 
years of consideration that would benefit the entire country, based on 
compromise by transplant experts, patients, and important stakeholders.
  That policy was abandoned. We were assured when it was abandoned by 
OPTN and Health Resources--or HRSA--that public comments would be 
considered. That policy that took years to develop and involved the 
valuation of experts and a give-and-take in a process was overturned so 
easily. We were promised we would have the opportunity for those who 
have concerns about this policy to have input, and the reality of that 
fact is that was a lie. It was not true.
  Many concerns made by patients, by transplant centers, by surgeons 
were never considered in OPTN's rushed process to finalize the policy. 
The reasons they were not considered was because of the overwhelming 
negative response that caused the entire comment system to completely 
shut down. People across the country commented on it with such 
frequency that the ability for the telephone system to log the input 
crashed. Of course, did OPTN wait until they could get those comments 
and consider them? No, they made the decision without that input. In 
fact, the president of OPTN has informed many commenters in the 
transplant community that their concerns over the new policy were not 
even read by the board that approved the policy.

  So the many transplant hospitals, surgeons, and medical professionals 
who had deep concerns and took time out of their busy days to express 
them were never heard. They were ignored. These are the people who are 
tasked with saving lives through the transplants they perform each and 
every day. Yet their opinions were essentially deemed invalid. It 
appears that HRSA's and OPTN's making policy in such a reckless fashion 
has become the normal state of affairs.
  Despite the continual efforts by Senator Blunt and me to get 
Secretary Azar to review, to modify, to consider, to reconsider, or to 
put on hold this policy, we have had no success. Additional oversight 
is desperately needed to restore some semblance of common sense in the 
actions and policies that are being taken and deployed.
  I am deeply disappointed in the actions by Secretary Azar, HRSA, 
OPTN, and UNOS. This process has been flawed from start to finish, 
guided by not what is best for the country but how best to sidestep a 
specific, single lawsuit. Organ procurement and allocation policy is 
too important to be decided in this fashion.
  Secretary Azar, the University of Kansas Health System typically 
performs 8 to 10 liver transplants per month. Since this policy has 
been implemented under your administration, it has performed zero 
transplants. This is as a direct result of the policy. At KU Hospital, 
current estimates are

[[Page S1017]]

that it may take up to 6 months before it is able to provide another 
one of these lifesaving donation organ operations. Meanwhile, those on 
the transplant list in Kansas watch their wait times grow, and their 
hope begins to dwindle.
  This is really a lot about hope, and it is about saving lives, but if 
you are on a list that continually grows longer while you are waiting 
for that organ, what a depressing, discouraging circumstance for you 
and your family.
  Secretary Azar's policy is causing direct harm to the people of my 
State. It is time that he steps up and takes responsibility for the 
actions of his Department, which are causing real harm to patients.
  These transplant hospitals from across Missouri and Kansas and 
elsewhere have written the President and Secretary Azar within the last 
2 weeks and have asked for a halt in the policy until we have had time 
to let a judge decide the issues in the court case and also to make 
sure that we ultimately get it right.
  I call on Secretary Azar to halt the implementation of this 
disastrous policy and save lives from being unnecessarily lost.
  Again, I thank my colleague from just across the State line, from the 
home of the Kansas City Chiefs, for his support in this effort. He has 
a voice that has to be heard and that will be heard, and I am pleased 
to be allied with him in his concern for the patients in my State and 
for the patients in his own.
  I yield to the Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. BLUNT. Mr. President, this policy is shortsighted and wrong, and 
it was rushed to its implementation. There was no reason for any of 
those things to happen.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.

                          Operation Homecoming

  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, it is February 12, and I am here to 
remark on an anniversary and tell a story. It is quite appropriate that 
Senator Leahy should be here on the floor with me because he is a great 
friend of Vietnam and has done great work in the U.S.-Vietnam 
relationship. We are about to be joined by Senator Carper, who flew as 
a Navy pilot in Vietnam.
  This story goes back to February 12, 1973. February 12, 1973, was the 
day that our POWs were freed in Vietnam. I told this story to Dan 
Sullivan when we were having dinner together a few months ago. He said: 
Sheldon, you should tell that story on the Senate floor and put it in 
the Senate Record. So, at Dan's suggestion, I am here today.
  What happened on February 12, 1973?
  Two things happened. The first was that the prisoners being held in 
North Vietnam were released at the Hanoi Airport and were delivered 
into U.S. custody, and that went quite smoothly. The North was 
organized, for the prisoners were there, and the planes were there. Our 
prisoners, who were released from North Vietnamese custody on that 
day--this one will look familiar to many of us here; he was our 
colleague John McCain--climbed aboard their aircraft and went to the 
Philippines for medical treatment.
  Down at Tan Son Nhut Airport, in Saigon, things were a little bit 
different. Huey helicopters had been sent off to the rally point at Loc 
Ninh, where our helicopters were to pick up 27 American prisoners of 
war who had been held by the Vietcong, and that did not go smoothly. 
The helicopters took off. The military aircraft, with their hospital 
insignia, were waiting at Tan Son Nhut for our soldiers and Foreign 
Service officers to come out. Actually, the longest held POW in the 
group who was going out to the Tan Son Nhut Airport was a Foreign 
Service officer who had been held for more than 7 years. They were all 
waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting, and there were 
disagreements and uncertainties and suspicions. So the day on which the 
POWs were supposed to return and go to Tan Son Nhut wore into evening 
and then into night.
  While everybody was waiting, there were some dignitaries there. This 
was the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam at the time, Ambassador Ellsworth 
Bunker. This was the Deputy Ambassador. This was the first time a U.S. 
Embassy had two Ambassador rank officials. It was because the operation 
was so big in Vietnam. The Deputy Ambassador was a guy named Charles 
Sheldon Whitehouse, who was my father. Because he was there and because 
I was visiting--one of a very small group of dependents who was in 
Vietnam at the time--I was there. I was on the field at Tan Son Nhut 
during that long day as we waited for the prisoners to come out and as 
we tried to get intel on what was holding things up, on why the 
helicopters were not bringing them back.
  The day became night, and they brought out huge klieg lights that lit 
up the field. I can still remember the bright insects flying around in 
front of the lights, against the dark sky, in the hot night, on the hot 
tarmac of the airport. We waited and we waited and we waited, and we 
did not know when this was going to happen or what had gone wrong.
  Then, late into the night, we finally heard the familiar ``toka, 
toka, toka, toka'' coming--the sound of the helicopters--which every 
person who spent time in Vietnam during that conflict remembers very, 
very well. Pretty soon, they came close enough that you couldn't just 
hear them--you could see them. You could see the red belly lights 
flashing on the helicopters. What happened is something that I will 
remember always. Obviously, after many years like this, memories can 
fade a little, but I think I have this right because it struck me very 
much at the time.
  The helicopters came in, and they hovered in a row over the airfield. 
Now, anybody who knows helicopters knows that the easiest thing to do 
is to fly them forward. It is harder to hover the helicopter than it is 
to fly it forward, and it is harder to hover a helicopter near the 
ground, because of the variations in the ground effect, than it is to 
hover it up high. What is very hard, which shows a mastery of 
helicopter piloting, is to be able to hover low above the ground in 
traffic, with other helicopters around that are beating the air and 
making it difficult to stay in place. So here came these helicopters. 
They lined up, one behind the other, at a hover--maybe 4 or 5 feet off 
the ground. You could hear the whine of the engines, and you could hear 
the beating of the rotors. The air was all kicked up by the wind that 
they had put up, but those pilots held that position.
  I have never spoken to any of those pilots, but I took it as their 
last salute to their prisoner-of-war friends as they brought them out 
to freedom and, ultimately, home. This was their way they could show 
their skills and salute these men who were coming home.
  Then all at once--it must have been by a signal on the radio--all of 
the helicopters--and I remember maybe 8 or 10 of them--settled down at 
once to the landing. All of the skids hit the pavement. They all 
wobbled a little bit and then settled. The engines kept roaring for a 
minute. Then, on another signal, all of the engines shut off. You could 
hear them wind down, and you could hear the blades slow down, and you 
could hear the quiet fall over the Tan Son Nhut airfield.
  Out of those helicopters came these spectral men--these pale, 
undernourished, often ill men. One had to be carried out on a 
stretcher. One of them was photographed while greeting Ambassador 
Bunker. How glad he must have been to have seen a U.S. Ambassador. I 
don't know that there has been any time in the history of the U.S. 
Foreign Service when anyone has been more happy to see a U.S. 
Ambassador than these men who came off those helicopters were to see 
our Ambassador of Vietnam and to know that they were on their way home. 
With Ambassador Bunker and my father was also Fred Weyand, who was the 
MACV commander--the overall commander--of U.S. Forces.
  One of the legendary Vietnam reporters, named Fox Butterfield, wrote 
about this evening in a story in the New York Times, and he closed out 
the story in this way:

       After the freed men had boarded the plane for the flight to 
     Clark [Air Force Base], General Weyand put his arm around 
     Gen. John Vogt, the commander of the Seventh Air Force. They 
     stood looking at the [departing hospital] plane.

  ``It's the greatest day we've ever had in Vietnam,'' General Weyand 
  I had the chance to share that day. I had the chance to see what 
those remarkable helicopter pilots did in that final salute to their 

[[Page S1018]]

  I thank Dan Sullivan for urging me to come to the floor and tell that 
story on this February 12 anniversary of their freedom.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, while the distinguished Senator from Rhode 
Island is still on the floor I recall that, just within the last year, 
I had the privilege of being on the lawn of our former Embassy in 
Saigon. I stood there with other Senators, Republicans and Democrats, 
and with officials from the State Department, and I was mesmerized as 
Senator Whitehouse recounted what he had observed there a lifetime ago.
  I think every one of us had the same reaction. We stood there and 
looked around. We could feel the helicopters, we could hear the 
helicopters, but of course we didn't see them. Mostly, I saw the face 
of my dear friend, the Senator from Rhode Island, and heard what he 
said. What he was saying ultimately showed his pride in being an 
  I thank Senator Whitehouse for recounting that again.

                              S.J. Res. 68

  Mr. President, on another subject, last month the United States and 
Iran came frighteningly close to war. If any of Iran's missiles had 
killed American soldiers at those military bases in Iraq, President 
Trump would have reacted very differently and, most likely, without 
consulting Congress.
  Rather than the self-congratulatory statements by the President who 
depicted the brazen, ballistic missile attacks against our bases that 
failed to kill any of our troops stationed there a victory, we could be 
in the midst of a calamity spiraling out of control.
  Obviously, I think of the soldiers who have brain injuries from the 
attack, injuries that the President dismissed as minor headaches. Well, 
those who have actually served in the military and were not able to get 
deferments from serving know that an attack like that can produce 
lasting injuries.
  This is the nightmare scenario we have to avoid. We have been on a 
path to war with Iran ever since President Trump recklessly abandoned 
the Iran nuclear agreement, with no credible alternative strategy. 
There was nothing to replace it.
  Today, while the White House insists there is no need for the 
resolution we are debating because the danger is behind us, the 
possibility of war with Iran remains very real. As we saw only a month 
ago, we could again find ourselves on the brink of war with Iran at any 
  For too long, this President and previous Presidents have sent U.S. 
forces into hostilities without obtaining the consent of Congress, and 
the Congress has been a willing party. The Congress has abdicated its 
constitutional responsibility as the sole branch of government with the 
authority to declare war. It has permitted the misapplication of open-
ended and outdated authorizations for the use of military force.
  The result is endless wars the American people don't support, at a 
cost of thousands of American lives lost and trillions of dollars spent 
that could have been far better used fixing problems here in our own 
  No one denies any President's right to act in self-defense, to 
respond to an imminent threat if reliable intelligence shows that such 
a threat exists. But neither is it credible to rely on an authorization 
for the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein--an authorization that 
was based on lies by the White House about nonexistent weapons of mass 
destruction--to justify attacks against Iran nearly two decades later.
  Not a single Member of this body who voted for that use of force in 
2002--and I did not because I had read the intelligence and knew the 
stories coming from the White House were not true. Not a single Member, 
though, who voted for that use of force can honestly say they could 
have imagined or intended that authorization for the use of force in 
Iraq would be used to justify armed hostilities against Iran so many 
years later.
  A few weeks ago, a top administration official said it would be a 
mistake for the Senate to even have a debate about the President's war 
powers. He said it would embolden Iran's leaders if they saw that there 
are differences of opinion among us. Has he ever read a history book? 
Has he ever read our Constitution? He said it would be wrong for us to 
disagree on an issue as consequential as attacking another country, as 
though in the United States we should simply serve as a rubber stamp 
for the President.
  That is so beneath the United States of America. That is so beneath 
our Constitution. It is so beneath the democratic principles we believe 
in, to be told by a top administration official that we shouldn't even 
debate an issue like this. As others have said, including Senators in 
the President's party, that is an insult, it is dangerous, and it 
belies a fundamental lack of understanding of Congress's role in this 
  Others, including the President, have falsely accused Democrats of 
sympathizing with Mr. Soleimani or even with the Ayatollah, both of 
whom are responsible for heinous crimes. That kind of baseless, 
partisan slander and fearmongering is what we have come to expect from 
this White House, but it belittles the Office of the Presidency, as 
does a statement from a top official that we should not discuss our 
  But too many of our friends in the other party--unlike the way the 
Senate used to be--have remained mute. By saying nothing, they condone 
such reprehensible behavior. One can only wonder how they would react 
if the tables were turned and they were the targets of such despicable, 
ad hominem attacks.
  Under the Constitution, it is our job, it is our responsibility to 
debate and vote, especially if it involves war and peace and the lives 
of our servicemen and women and their families.
  I would make a suggestion to the President and to members of his 
Cabinet: Read the Constitution. And I would say to those in this body 
who too often ignore what the Constitution says: Read the Constitution. 
Think of the lives lost, the many more grievously wounded, the families 
destroyed, the millions of innocent people forced to flee the carnage, 
and the huge amount of tax dollars wasted because of that fateful vote 
in 2002. A vote based on false pretenses. A vote that made the world 
less safe. We can't afford to repeat that unforgiveable mistake.
  This resolution, of which I am a cosponsor, ensures that debate will 
happen, and that we will have another chance to exercise our authority 
under article I of the Constitution and do what is right.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.


  Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, our Presiding Officer, if I am not 
mistaken, is a veteran himself--I want to say Army. Navy salutes Army. 
Different uniform, same team.
  I want to express my thanks to Senator Whitehouse for his comments 
relating to the Vietnam war. I stand before you as the last Vietnam 
veteran serving in the U.S. Senate, with the death of John McCain.
  I had the privilege of leading a bipartisan congressional 
delegation--three Democrats, three Republicans--back to Southeast Asia 
to try to find out what happened to our MIAs in 1991--Vietnam, 
Cambodia, Laos. One of the people with me in that delegation--amazing 
meetings we had with the brandnew leader of Vietnam, a Gorbachev-like 
character with whom we met during that visit. We carried with us to 
Southeast Asia on that trip a roadmap to normalize relations between 
the United States and Vietnam. Vietnam by that time was not North 
Vietnam, South Vietnam. Out of our meetings, we started something that 
went really well and led to normalizing relations. John McCain worked 
it here and John Kerry worked it here in the Senate. A bipartisan codel 
worked it in the House.
  One of the members in the codel was a former POW--was Air Force, shot 
down over Vietnam, POW for 5 or 6 years--named Pete Peterson. He was a 
longtime friend and still is my friend. He became the first U.S. 
Ambassador to a united Vietnam all those years ago.
  I know every time I run down to the Lincoln Memorial and I run back 
to the Capitol, I run past the Vietnam

[[Page S1019]]

Memorial with the names of 58,000 brothers and sisters with whom I 
served all those years ago.
  So I want to express my thanks to Senator Whitehouse for raising up 
our colleagues, my brothers and sisters, as he just did.

                       Clean Economy Act of 2020

  Mr. President, I rise today with a message to our colleagues and to 
this world we inhabit: Climate change has become the greatest threat to 
our planet. There are others, but this is the greatest.
  This image right next to me was designed by climate scientist Ed 
Hawkins. From left to right, these are called warming stripes. In fact, 
this work of art is called ``Warming Stripes.'' It visualizes our 
planet's annual average temperature from 1850 over here to 2018 over 
there, going from deep blue to a brilliant orange and red.
  What this design fails to capture is just how menacing these rising 
temperatures have been and will continue to be for our planet and what 
this means for all of us who inhabit this planet today and will in the 
years to come.
  Our rising seas are already at the highest levels ever recorded. Our 
Nation's leading scientists have warned us that if we fail to start 
seriously reducing carbon emissions now, by the end of this century, we 
may well witness sea levels rise another 6 feet. I am 6 feet tall. 
Another 6 feet of sea level rise puts a large part of the United States 
and, frankly, other nations around the world underwater--underwater. 
The east coast and west coast won't look like they do today.
  For America alone, that would result in an estimated $3.6 trillion--
that is trillion with a ``t''--$3.6 trillion in cumulative damages to 
our country's coastal properties--think gulf coast, west coast, east 
coast, Great Lakes--$3.6 trillion in cumulative damage to our country's 
costal properties and infrastructure over the next 70 years.
  I might add that the Flood Insurance Program for our country is, the 
last time I checked, billions of dollars and maybe tens of billions of 
dollars underwater, in the red, already.
  While global temperatures warm, ice caps melt, and sea levels rise, 
we also know that the extreme weather we are witnessing throughout the 
world is not going to get better. It is going to get worse. The 
devastating hurricanes and typhoons, torrential rains and catastrophic 
floods, the heat waves and drought-fueled wildfires will only become 
more dangerous and more disruptive to our economy and to our lives. 
Let's take a look at one of the places where that happened just last 
  This is a real picture from Australia. It is not a movie; it is a 
real picture. This is Australia.
  The world watched in horror last month as bushfires scorched millions 
of acres of forest in Australia--an area the size of my native State of 
West Virginia. At least 25 people died in those bushfires, including 3 
American firefighters. Experts initially estimated that 500 million 
animals died in those bushfires. More recently, that was doubled to 1 
billion animals--1 billion, in 1 country.
  Meanwhile, our country has been no stranger to tragedy and 
devastation caused by wildfires--including fueled by drought and heat--
like those that continue to plague the State of California. Scientists 
tell us that by 2050, we could face wildfire seasons that burn up to 
six times more forest area each year than today. I will say that 
again--wildfire seasons that burn up to six times more forest area each 
year than today.
  If we do nothing to address carbon emissions, the extreme weather 
events we are experiencing now will pale in comparison to the 
devastation that lies ahead.
  Last year, some 13 agencies across the Trump administration released 
a report that predicted that the United States could see climate-
related losses of up to half a trillion dollars by the end of this 
century--half a trillion dollars.
  If we do nothing, the effects from climate change could slash up to 
10 percent of our gross domestic product by the next century--more than 
double the losses of the great recession. How much is 10 percent of our 
GDP? More than double the losses of the great recession.
  This is something provided to us I think by the United Nations and 
called U.N. Warning. In order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of 
climate change, the world's leading scientists have warned us that we 
need to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius--a 
1.5-degree increase in Celsius, period. To do that, humanity would need 
to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by the 
middle of this century. Right now, we are not on track to meet that 
goal. I wish we were. We are dangerously close to losing our only shot.
  As the latest United Nations annual ``Emissions Gap Report'' made 
clear, collective global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are 
falling short, and time is running out.
  If we want to avoid the most catastrophic impact of climate change, 
we need to step up. We need to step up our game.
  This is a chart that indicates the countries that are not in the 
Paris accord. It looks like--I am looking at all these countries here, 
and I see only one country, ours, that is in red. Ours is the only 
country today that is not in the Paris Agreement.
  The climate crisis is one that can be solved only by everyone who 
shares in the plan working together as one. That is why nearly 200 
nations came together in common cause to implement the Paris Agreement 
and why they are working together to find solutions to the climate 
crisis, but instead of leading the world in this fight, America stands 
  We know the EPA already has the authority and tools to reduce 
greenhouse gas emissions, but under the Trump administration, EPA's 
policies have been used to increase harmful emissions, not decrease 
them. President Trump is putting America in the slow lane while much of 
the rest of the world races toward a global clean economy.
  President Trump claims Americans must choose between a healthy 
economy on one side and a healthier planet on the other side. In the 
words of a good friend of mine, that is malarkey--or in the words of 
President Trump, that is--fill in the blank. Come up with whatever you 
  Choosing between environmental progress and economic growth is a 
false choice. On the one hand, we do face a very real choice, one that 
was made clear in the U.N. report released this past December. We 
either act now on climate change or we ``face the consequences of a 
planet [that has been] radically altered by climate change.''
  I say let's choose to save our one and only planet, planet Earth, and 
I say it is time for the United States to once again lead the world in 
this fight.
  The next chart we are going to take a look at is something called the 
Clean Economy Act, which we introduced yesterday with over 30 
cosponsors. I introduced with my colleagues--33 of them, actually--
legislation that will put the United States on a path to achieve net 
zero emissions by 2050. The Clean Economy Act heeds the call for bold 
climate action while fostering economic growth that is fair for 
  The Clean Economy Act empowers the EPA to use the authorities and 
tools already at its disposal to reach net zero greenhouse gas 
emissions by no later than midcentury, 2050. This is the quickest way 
we can jump-start governmentwide climate action, by empowering agencies 
to use the tools they already have.
  The Clean Economy Act builds upon successful climate programs in 
States, cities, and private companies, and ensures that economywide 
climate change actions continue regardless of who sits in the Oval 
Office. Our legislation sets important guardrails to make sure all 
Americans reap the benefits as we move our country toward net zero 
  Here are just three examples of those protections. The Clean Economy 
Act minimizes costs. First, EPA must maximize greenhouse gas reductions 
while minimizing costs to consumers and providing regulatory 
flexibility to industry.
  Our next floorchart shows that the bill prioritizes environmental 
justice. Under our legislation, the EPA must consider and protect 
frontline communities. We know climate change disproportionately 
affects impoverished and disadvantaged communities. More often than 
not, these communities are downwind from dangerous pollution,

[[Page S1020]]

located near industrial facilities or factories, or located in areas 
that are already experiencing flooding and extreme weather fueled by 
climate change. This legislation will prioritize input from and 
investment in those communities.
  Our next chart on the Clean Economy Act prioritizes American workers. 
The Clean Economy Act focuses on American competitiveness and on the 
American worker. Our legislation compels EPA to use American workers, 
domestic materials, and strong labor standards to get the job done--
relying on our country's talents to get to net zero emissions no later 
than 2050--no later than 2050. The Clean Economy Act also requires EPA 
to work with other Federal agencies on programs to protect and uplift 
communities and workers displaced or dislocated by our transition to a 
cleaner economy, such as in places like West Virginia where my sister 
and I were born.
  This legislation will not come at the expense of jobs or economic 
growth. Moving toward a clean economy will drive innovation and create 
millions of new jobs here at home. The Clean Economy Act is about 
realizing our true economic potential, potential that under this 
administration, sadly, has gone untapped. The Clean Economy Act hits 
what we call the sweet spot between organized labor, business 
community, and environmental group support.
  I just want to thank the many organizations that helped us in 
crafting our bill, the Clean Economy Act, including the Environmental 
Defense Fund, Moms Clean Air Force, the League of Conservation Voters, 
NRDC, Environment America, the BlueGreen Alliance, and the Utility 
Workers. I also want to thank the organizations that joined me 
yesterday in unveiling this legislation, including the United 
Steelworkers, Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, and CERES.
  To say the least, it is disappointing that President Trump has 
decided to abandon the tremendous economic opportunity to create 
millions of clean energy jobs. There are already 3 million. Sadly, for 
the folks in West Virginia and Wyoming and other places, they lost a 
lot of coal mining jobs. The country is down to about 65,000 coal 
mining jobs, but folks who can be trained to mine coal can be trained 
to create windmill farms off of our coast. Folks who have the skills to 
mine coal have the ability to create corridors of fueling stations for 
hydrogen and natural gas and to create charging stations for electric-
powered vehicles in the heavily traveled corridors across our country.
  Part of what we tried to do in this legislation is to make sure that 
we looked out for those workers and to help make sure they have a place 
to go and ways to support themselves and their families while at the 
same time having clean air to breathe where they call home.
  I think it is shameful that our President has forsaken our country's 
leadership in this fight for our one and only planet for the sake of 
misplaced political gain. That abdication of leadership will be a dark, 
indelible stain on his legacy, but while President Trump may not be up 
for the climate challenge, our colleagues and I are here to say to the 
world that the majority of Americans are ready for that challenge. We 
have faith in American innovation. We have faith in American workers to 
take on this climate fight and win. The Clean Economy Act will put the 
United States on a path to once again lead the world in the fight 
against climate change while lifting up America and American workers.
  This bill corrects our President's failure to lead on this issue and 
directs the EPA and other agencies to move swiftly to address this 
serious problem for the good of our planet and for the strengthening of 
our economy and creation of even more new jobs.
  Famed economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said these words:

       All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in 
     common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the 
     major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not 
     much else, is the essence of leadership.

  That is worth repeating. All of the great leaders we have had share 
one common characteristic, and that is the willingness to confront 
unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, 
and not much else, is the essence of leadership. I am Tom Carper, and I 
approve that message.
  The Clean Economy Act is our message to the rest of the world about 
climate leadership. The United States is preparing to once again lead 
the fight against this climate crisis. America, let's roll.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. UDALL. 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. CARPER. Madam President, I am sorry. Will the Senator from New 
Mexico please yield?
  Mr. UDALL. The Senator from New Mexico will yield.
  Mr. CARPER. Thank you, Madam President, and I thank the Senator for 
yielding to me.
  Madam President, former Senator and Vice President Joe Biden was 
blessed with many wonderful staff members over the years, and one of 
them was John DiEleuterio.
  I would like to take just 3 minutes to mention him. He just passed 
away. He was a giant in the State of Delaware and also served in the 

                    Remembering John M. DiEleuterio

  Madam President, I rise today on behalf of Delaware's congressional 
delegation, Senator Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, 
in tribute to John M. DiEleuterio, a dedicated public servant who 
proudly served our State and country throughout his long career and 
  John was what I call a happy warrior--in the military for many years 
and in his service to the people of Delaware. He supported a multitude 
of nonprofits that focused on helping people in need. He was a person 
who loved people, and they loved him just as much.
  John exemplified what it means to be the ``go-to person'' to get 
things done. His relationships and friendships with people throughout 
our State enabled him to get things done with speed and dispatch and, I 
would add, with a sense of joy.
  John's persistence and innate ability to work a room and make 
connections, his strong work ethic and ever-present sense of humor was 
the core of what made John so successful. His impressive career 
included serving as State director--and you know how important our 
State directors are in New Mexico, Delaware, and Tennessee. He was 
State director for then-Senator Joe Biden, his longtime friend and 
former University of Delaware classmate. They were classmates together 
for a number of years.
  His service included more than 30 years of combined service as a 
decorated officer in both the Delaware and Maryland Army National 
Guard. He had an impressive career for over 26 years with the Campbell 
Soup Company as their vice president of human resources.
  In addition, John gave freely of his time serving all kinds of 
community groups, including serving on the board of the Delaware 
Military Academy, a blue-ribbon public high school. He served on the 
board of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, the Leukemia Society of 
America, the U.S. Service Academy Selection Committee, the Cavaliers 
Country Club, St. Anthony's Communion Committee, and New Castle County 
Ethics Commission, among others.
  He was equally committed to his family, including his wonderful wife 
Marlene for 30 years, their children and grandchild, and the many 
friends he made along the way, and they are legion.
  So on behalf of Senator Chris Coons and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt 
Rochester, I am privileged to rise today to evoke the name of our dear 
friend John DiEleuterio. People from many walks of life loved serving 
with him, loved being with him. I am certainly one of them. The people 
of Delaware and our country are very fortunate to count John as a 
fellow Delawarean, and it is a far better place to live and work 
because of his stewardship.
  I will close with the words of another beloved Delawarean who used to 
say this: If you want to be happy for an hour, take a nap. If you want 
to be happy for a week, take a vacation. If

[[Page S1021]]

you want to be happy for a lifetime, help people. Think about that. I 
will close with the words of another beloved Delawarean, who used to 
say this to us and to me: If you want to be happy for an hour, take a 
nap. If you want to be happy for a week, take a vacation. If you want 
to be happy for a lifetime, help people. That is exactly what John 
DiEleuterio did his whole life. He helped people. I said earlier he was 
a happy warrior. Boy, he was, and we are going to miss him. Thank you 
for allowing me to add these comments.

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.

                              S.J. Res. 68

  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, thank you for the recognition, and I very 
much appreciate Senator Carper talking about the wonderful, young 
employees whom we have around us and the young people who come here who 
are dedicated and work, and we have some great ones on the committees. 
I see Mary Frances back here behind you, and I have Matthew Padilla 
over here on my right. There are so many great young people that just 
come to Washington or live in Washington, and they are really dedicated 
to see that we do a good job. It is wonderful to hear you talk about 
that young man.
  I rise to affirm the Congress's constitutional authority to declare 
war and to support the War Powers Resolution before us. The chilling 
events of last month bring into stark relief why this resolution is 
absolutely needed. The President brought us to the very edge of war 
with Iran by his attack on its top general.
  We must pass this resolution because, even if the President does not 
respect the plain words of the Constitution, the Members of this body 
  Look at this chart here. Here they are, clear as day: The ``Congress 
shall have power . . . to declare War.'' The Congress alone has the 
power to declare war. The President does not.
  I did not come to this view recently. I held the same view under 
President Obama's administration. I spoke up against his plans for 
airstrikes in Syria, and I voted against an authorization for those 
airstrikes in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So, whether you 
support war with Iran or not, I urge every single Member here to stand 
up for our Constitution and to vote for this resolution.
  Last month, as we were on the brink of war with Iran, the whole 
Nation and the whole world watched on edge, braced for conflict, 
bloodshed, and terror. Yet, to this day, this administration has not 
provided a serious justification for the strike on General Soleimani. 
The administration claimed the 2002 authorization for use of military 
force against Iraq justified the strike, but the AUMF, which I voted 
against, authorizes force ``against the continuing threat posed by 
Iraq,'' not any threat posed by Iran. That authorization was passed in 
2002, and here we are, 18 years later, and it is being specifically 
used to get us into another conflict.
  The administration claims Soleimani posed an imminent threat to U.S. 
troops, diplomats, and citizens, but the administration gave no 
convincing evidence to the Congress or the American people that an 
attack from Iran on U.S. interests was imminent or that the killing 
would have stopped such an imminent attack.
  During the Senate briefing, when we asked questions trying to get 
real answers about the evidence and why they didn't seek congressional 
approval, the administration wouldn't answer our questions. One 
Republican Senator, at the briefing that we had from administration 
officials, called that briefing the ``worst'' briefing he had ever had. 
He said it was ``insulting and demeaning.''
  While the President claimed on Twitter, without evidence, that Iran 
had targeted four U.S. Embassies, his own Secretary of Defense 
disavowed that claim. We come to find out that the operation was 
planned months in advance and was even broader than General Soleimani. 
That is not a response to an imminent threat. That is an unauthorized 
and thus unconstitutional act of war.
  In the end, the President all but admitted the attack was 
retaliatory, not defensive, when he tweeted that any justification for 
the strike ``doesn't really matter . . . because of [Soleimani's] 
horrible past.''
  This President has misled the public on many things, big and small. 
It is clear that he will mislead us on the most consequential matters 
we face--war and peace. He cannot be entrusted with the sole power to 
risk lives of American troops in war, and he does not have that power 
under our Constitution.
  The President's strike took us to the edge of an unauthorized war, 
but we didn't get here overnight. The President's unilateral decision 
to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement in May of 2018, combined 
with his disastrous maximum pressure campaign, destabilized the region. 
Since we pulled out of the nuclear agreement, the President 
dramatically increased the number of troops in the Middle East, despite 
his campaign promise to do the opposite.
  Between May and December of last year, the President deployed an 
additional 15,000 troops to the Middle East. Days before the strike on 
Soleimani, he sent in 1,000 more Army and Marine troops. Post-strike, 
he sent 3,500 more troops. In response to our strike, Iran withdrew 
from the nuclear agreement's limits on the production of centrifuges, 
uranium enrichment, and research, decreasing the time for Iran to 
acquire enough fissile material for one bomb.
  The Iraqi Parliament voted to oust U.S. troops from Iraq, which could 
lead to an increased ISIS presence. We have refused to leave the 
country, setting up a conflict with our ally Iraq.
  Our strike pushed the Iraqi Government and the people of Iraq closer 
to Iran and unified the Iranian people against us just as protests 
against the Iranian Government were sprouting up. The region is still a 
powder keg, and we just don't know when and where Iranian proxy forces 
will attack our troops.
  Finally, worst of all, Iran launched a missile attack against U.S. 
troops in Iraq, risking American lives. While I am grateful no one was 
killed, I am anguished that more than 100 of our soldiers suffered from 
traumatic brain injury from the attack. While the President said he 
doesn't consider their injuries serious, I agreed with the Veterans of 
Foreign Wars, who asked the President to apologize for that callous 
remark. The President's insults to injured servicemembers is appalling, 
and his injury to the Constitution is deeply troubling.
  We have a President who claims he doesn't need congressional approval 
to go to war with Iran. He has actually said that, under article II of 
the Constitution, he has ``the right to do whatever I want as 
President.'' That sounds like a claim of total unlimited power. That 
isn't what our Constitution was about.
  The Founders of our Constitution would be shocked to hear that and 
even more shocked to learn that Congress refuses to act to assert its 
power. The Founders rejected the notion that the President alone should 
have the power to send the country into war. They believed it unwise to 
vest the President--one person--with that power. So they vested that 
decision with the people's representatives, to make sure that any war 
would have broad-based support.
  That decision makes as much sense today as it did 230 years ago. It 
is our job, as the representatives of the people, to decide whether to 
go to war. The American people do not want war with Iran. Yet, even if 
you disagree with the overwhelming will of the American people, the 
issue before us is not whether you would support war with Iran or not. 
The issue is whether we are going to uphold our oath to support and 
defend the Constitution.
  The War Powers Resolution before us exercises that constitutional 
prerogative, ending hostilities unless Congress authorizes it. This 
President is fully capable of starting a war without getting 
congressional approval or even without consulting with us. He has 
already proved that.
  The stakes are too high. We cannot wait until the next time he orders 
a strike he can't justify with consequences no one can predict. We 
cannot wait until the next time he gambles with American soldiers' 
lives. Now is the time to set straight the boundaries, not only for 
this President but for future ones as well. Now is the time to vote for 
this resolution and to send the President a message that there is

[[Page S1022]]

no support in Congress for an unconstitutional war of his own making.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. Madam President, I come to the floor today to add my voice 
to the debate on the system of checks and balances that are essential 
to and that define our very democracy. I am here, in no small part, 
because of a series of events that unfolded slowly over 40 years, and 
then, with a sharper tempo, near the end of last year, culminated in a 
strike by U.S. forces on January 3 that killed General Qasem Soleimani 
of the Quds Force of the IRGC of Iran.
  That precipitated a series of briefings and debates here among 
Senators and with our constituents in the country, and, today, after an 
important 51-to-45 vote to proceed, we are debating this measure. This 
measure is S.J. Res. 68, from Senators Kaine, Durbin, Lee, and Paul, to 
direct the removal of U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities against the 
Islamic Republic of Iran that have not been authorized by Congress.
  I want to simply make a few observations today about the importance 
of the war making power and the role of Congress.
  In my view, we are at a critical inflection point in our Nation, one 
where history will question whether we served our Nation or served more 
partisan or parochial aims.
  To be clear, I do not seek or want a war between the United States 
and Iran. I think our best path forward is a multilateral, several-
nations-coming-together initiative to deescalate rising conflict 
between the United States and Iran, with so many--tens of millions of 
people--displaced from their homes around the world from conflicts 
ranging from Syria and Yemen, to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 
to the Central African Republic. There is conflict in many places in 
our world, and our country has seen what happens in the absence of 
effective diplomacy.
  But I came to the floor today really in no small part because, in the 
group briefings that happened after the strike that killed General 
Soleimani, a number of points were made that I think deserve to be 
  One, a suggestion was made by one participant that simply debating 
whether the authorization for the use of military force that was 
adopted by Congress back in 2001 or 2002--simply debating whether that 
authorized this strike and simply questioning whether this strike 
should be authorized and future actions authorized by this Congress 
would weaken the morale of our troops and would send a signal to our 
enemies and adversaries of a lack of resolve by our Nation, and so we 
in Congress should simply allow the President, under article II, which 
gives to him, the Commander in Chief, responsibility, to simply 
exercise the overwhelming capabilities of the United States and our 
tremendous Armed Forces to keep us safe and to push back on our 
  I don't think anything could be further from the truth. I actually 
think it strengthens our democracy when we engage in a robust and 
vigorous debate on this question. I actually think showing that we have 
confidence in our Constitution and that we in the Senate realize that, 
over decades, we have gradually allowed our central role in authorizing 
war to be weakened--that retaking some of that role is, in fact, 
showing confidence in our democracy.
  Let me be clear up front. I support the men and women of the U.S. 
Armed Forces, and I have great confidence in their ability to carry out 
their mission. I am clear-eyed about the threat that Iran, the Islamic 
Republic of Iran, poses to our interests, to the region, and to the 
world. As one of the world's great state sponsors of terrorism, as one 
of the great sources of instability in the region, as a country that 
for 40-plus years has been genuinely opposed to much of what the United 
States believes in and tries to do in the region--I am clear-eyed both 
about supporting our troops and about the threat posed by Iran. But if 
we are to do right by the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, whom 
we ask to go around the world and to serve us and to sacrifice for us 
and to keep us safe, we can do no less than to ask whether we are 
sending them with the full support of the American people.
  This S.J. Res. 68 begins with a simple but important finding: 
``Congress has the sole power to declare war under article I, section 
8, clause 11 of the United States Constitution,'' and ``Congress has 
not yet declared war upon, nor enacted a specific statutory 
authorization for the use of military force against . . . Iran.'' That 
makes a simple point.
  Previous administrations of both parties have overused the 
authorizations for the use of military force passed here in 2001 and 
2002. An overwhelming majority of the currently serving Members were 
not present for the debates that led to those authorizations, and the 
fact patterns and circumstances that led to their being adopted have 
long since passed into history. So if we in this Chamber are to 
exercise our responsible role, we shouldn't simply let the President 
take the responsibility and possibly the blame for the conduct of war 
overseas; we should take that responsibility back on ourselves.
  In 2001, Congress authorized the use of force against al-Qaida and 
associated forces based on the deadly strike against the United States 
and our territory that happened on 9/11 but did not authorize the use 
of force against Iran. In 2002, Congress did the same against Saddam 
Hussein's Iraq, which is one of Iran's greatest enemies, then and now. 
So, frankly, I think to suggest that either of these former 
authorizations for the use of military force, or AUMFs, authorize this 
action goes way beyond its scope.
  I have heard from hundreds of constituents at home in Delaware about 
their rising anxiety and concern, and I have heard from many both 
currently serving and formerly serving that we should do our job, that 
Congress has a role, and that we need to debate and demand a strategy 
from this administration and a path forward that we can articulate and 
  We are in a scenario now where the possibility of military conflict 
between the United States and Iran is entirely foreseeable. President 
Trump has drawn a line in the sand, much as his predecessor did, and 
said: We will never let Iran have a nuclear weapon.
  With the United States having withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, 
the JCPOA, and with Iran and our European allies increasingly further 
and further apart on their conduct and with Iran restarting centrifuges 
and restarting enrichment, it is not an unforeseeable moment that, 
whether weeks or months or years from now but quite possibly months, a 
team from the senior ranks of our military will go to the President and 
say: Here is a range of options. That might include striking Iran. That 
is a fact pattern that requires Congress to have provided 
  Yes, I recognize there are exigencies, there are emergencies, there 
are moments when the President must take action to authorize our Armed 
Forces to strike in order to defend our troops and to defend our 
interests at home and abroad, but this entirely foreseeable scenario--
one which we should all be working to avoid but which is foreseeable--
is exactly why I am supporting the bipartisan resolution introduced by 
Senators Kaine and Lee.
  The Senate must take back its responsibility for authorizing our 
Armed Forces to protect us overseas, and we need to show clear-eyed 
support for our Armed Forces and for the path forward.
  President Trump, like all Presidents before him, does not have the 
authority to wage war without consulting this Congress. And Democrats 
and Republicans are concerned about this administration's apparent 
indifference toward Congress and its critical role in deciding matters 
of war and peace.
  The House has just passed two measures to restrict the President's 
war-making powers. The Senate needs to have that same debate, that same 
discussion, and needs to take up and pass this resolution.
  This is how our system of government works best--through respectful 
disagreement, through thoughtful, informed debate, and through votes in 
both Chambers to express the will of the American people.
  Let me close by saying this to servicemembers whom I meet in Delaware 
and to many more serving around the country and around the world: War 
should be our last resort.
  If diplomacy should fail in this case or others, I will insist our 
administration produce a clear strategy and a

[[Page S1023]]

mission for our troops that our service men and women can accomplish 
and that our Congress provide our military with the resources and 
authorities they need.
  We are blessed with a system of democratic governance that challenges 
us in times when stakes are highest to rise to the occasion and to earn 
our place in the history of this democratic Republic. We do that by 
reaffirming our faith in our Constitution, including article I, which 
gives to this body the responsibility to weigh vital decisions of war 
and peace.
  Thank you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Madam President, debates between the executive branch and 
Congress over the power to conduct war is not a new topic, but in many 
ways, I think this debate has been blown out of proportion. A lot of 
this has to do with the decision made by President Trump, with the 
advice of his advisers, to eliminate one of the worst terrorists in the 
Middle East, Qasem Soleimani, who was plotting to burn down the 
American Embassy in Iraq and also threatened the lives of American 
troops--to take him off the battlefield. This is clearly within the 
President's authority under the Constitution. It really isn't a matter 
of whether Congress needed to give him the authority to do that.
  I think we all agree that the President, as Commander in Chief, has 
to have his constitutional authority to defend American lives and 
American interests when Congress doesn't have the time--and we don't 
have the time--or is, frankly, not built for speed when it comes to 
addressing threats to national security like that.
  We do have a shared responsibility, but primarily the responsibility 
of the Congress can be exercised through our appropriations authority. 
We could literally cut off the funds that the executive branch would 
use to conduct operations if Congress sees fit.
  If this resolution succeeds, it will tie the Commander in Chief's 
hands while the threat posed by Iran and terrorist organizations, like 
the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, and the Quds Force 
that was headed by General Soleimani, remains high.
  Actually, I think the President should be congratulated. Former 
general David Petraeus said that what the President did by taking 
Soleimani off the battlefield reestablished some level of deterrence. 
In other words, if you are going to be stepping into the shoes of the 
head of the Quds Force and the IRGC to lead terrorist attacks against 
the United States and our allies, you are going to have to think twice 
before you do that because you might end up in the same condition that 
General Soleimani did. Reestablishing deterrence is very, very 
important because when our adversaries sense weakness, it is a 
provocation and an invitation to attack America and our allies and our 
  Again, I know some of our friends were upset that General Soleimani 
was taken out by a drone strike, but he was one of the most 
consequential military leaders in the Middle East and was directly 
responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American servicemembers, 
training Shia militias and others in the war in Iraq, providing them 
with improvised explosive devices. Actually, they are designed so they 
literally will melt through armor like a hot knife through butter. That 
all came from Iran and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of American 
  When a successful mission carried out by U.S. forces finally brought 
an end to Soleimani's reign of terror, our colleagues couldn't even 
acknowledge the President's decisive action and that it undoubtedly 
saved lives. My mind immediately went back to, how did Republicans and 
Democrats act when President Obama directed the raid that took out 
Osama bin Laden? We didn't draw partisan lines. We didn't say: Well, he 
didn't have the authority to do that, so we are going to come back to 
Congress and tie his hands for the fight in the War on Terror. We 
didn't do that. The reaction is like night and day between the 
operation directed at taking out Osama bin Laden and the operation that 
took out General Soleimani, the head of a terrorist organization from a 
country that is a leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
  As I said, I strongly disagree with the claim that President Trump's 
actions were outside his authority or that he should have come to 
Congress and sought congressional approval before acting.
  You may remember what Congress was doing while the President was 
having to deal with this. The House was voting on Articles of 
Impeachment, and then the Senate had to conduct a trial of these 
Impeachment Articles. Obviously, it failed, but it took up time, where 
we literally could not have dealt with this emergency action and an 
opportunity to take a world-class terrorist off the battlefield.
  This was clearly not only within the President's constitutional 
authority, but it was also his duty to prevent and stop threats against 
the United States, including those posed by the Iranian regime and 
their allies and the Shia militias. One of the other individuals who 
died in the attack directed at Soleimani was leader of the Shia 
militias in Iraq, had been plotting the destruction of the U.S. Embassy 
there and perhaps even a hostage situation, like we saw in 1979, but 
also plotting attacks against American servicemembers there assisting 
the Iraqi people in trying to rebuild their government and provide them 
a means to govern themselves safely and to eliminate the terrorist 
  Passing this resolution would limit the President's authority to 
defend American servicemembers against imminent attacks and would place 
our troops further in harm's way. So I will vote against the 
resolution, and I would implore our colleagues to do the same.
  I know that, in an era of Trump derangement syndrome, anything that 
the President is for some people are reflexively against, and I think 
this falls in that category. Again, I don't question the motives of 
Members of Congress in wanting to make sure that the shared powers that 
Congress and the President have under the Constitution to wage war--I 
don't question their motives in trying to find the appropriate balance, 
but here I think we stepped across the line, literally, to try to tie 
the President's hands as a punishment for conducting a fully authorized 
operation against one of the world's worst terrorists, something we 
should applaud rather than condemn.

                       Violence Against Women Act

  Madam President, on another matter, over the last year we have 
witnessed unprecedented foot-dragging, political gamesmanship, and 
downright obstruction by our Democratic colleagues in Congress on a 
number of bills. They have derailed the appropriations process. They 
have knuckle-dragged during important trade negotiations. They have 
held up things that used to have common support, nonpartisan support--
things like the Debbie Smith Act.
  Of course, the Debbie Smith Act was designed to fund the testing of 
untested rape kits. This had been an area of broad bipartisan consensus 
that should be nonpartisan, but we saw the House of Representatives 
dragging their feet in order to gain leverage against the Senate for 
months, and they allowed the Debbie Smith Act to expire, along with 
potentially threatening the funding used to eliminate the rape kit 
  The latest tactics have now been deployed, if you thought that was 
about as low as things could get. The latest tactic is to weaponize the 
Violence Against Women Act. This is more than a 25-year program, and it 
is at the forefront of our commitment to support victims of domestic 
violence and sexual assault. Until recently, it always had been high 
above the political fray.
  The first time this program came up for reauthorization, there were 
disagreements over some aspects of the bill, but we were able to work 
together and reach a compromise. That is the only way anything gets 
done around here--bipartisan compromise. But when it came time to 
reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act last year, some in the House 
and some in the Senate saw an opportunity to score political points--
not solve a problem, not reauthorize a program we all agree is 
important and necessary. They saw it as a political weapon. They 
allowed VAWA, or the Violence Against Women Act, to get caught in the 
crosshairs of a funding debate and insisted that we

[[Page S1024]]

should not fund that vital program because it was overdue for updates.
  Well, let me be clear. Both sides agree there are things we could do 
to improve the Violence Against Women Act, and that is what our 
colleague from Iowa, Senator Ernst, has been leading on our side. But 
this ``my way or the highway'' legislative strategy isn't the approach 
that is designed to get anything done, and vital funding for victims of 
domestic violence and sexual assault should never, ever be used as 
leverage to gain political advantage.
  Though our colleagues allowed the authorization of the Violence 
Against Women Act to expire, thankfully, saner heads prevailed. It did 
receive record funding levels last year, but that doesn't mean we are 
in the clear. We need to figure out a long-term solution that will 
reauthorize this important program. As the Presiding Officer knows--as 
we all know--there has to be an authorization bill and then funding to 
meet the terms of that authorization. We need both.
  Last fall, we thought we were making good progress. As I said, 
Senator Ernst spent months working with the bipartisan group of 
Senators, including Senator Feinstein, the senior Senator from 
California, trying to work on a compromise. Before these negotiations 
could be completed, Democrats got up and left the negotiating table and 
headed straight for the TV cameras and held a press conference 
condemning Republicans for not falling into line on their partisan 
  Well, what was the big news at the press conference? Not that a deal 
had been reached or that negotiations were making progress. The 
Democratic leadership marched up to the microphone and said they would 
be introducing a near replica of the House's partisan bill, which 
doesn't have the support needed to pass it in the Senate. During the 
press conference, one of our colleagues, the Senator from Hawaii, even 
conceded five times that the bill was going nowhere, proving that our 
Democratic colleagues had no intention of introducing a bill that could 
become law.
  If this sounds familiar, if you have seen this movie before, well, 
that is because we went through the same exercise back in 2012 and 
2013. Our Democratic colleagues used this issue to attack Republicans 
up for reelection for not supporting their partisan bill at that time, 
after they chose not to negotiate in good faith for a bipartisan bill.
  So I think that is what is happening again. They are not interested 
in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. If they were actually 
interested in solving a problem, we would solve the problem and get it 
passed, but they would rather have the issue that they can use in their 
campaigns for November and show contempt, frankly, for the people who 
would benefit from passing the Violence Against Women Act and turn this 
into purely a partisan issue.
  I believe that our colleague from California, Senator Feinstein, 
wants to get a bipartisan bill done. I have worked with her a number of 
times on a number of pieces of legislation. She is a good partner to 
work with on the other side of the aisle. I know her commitment to 
continue negotiating with Senator Ernst is genuine, but, frankly, I 
don't think she is pulling the strings on the Democratic side.

  I think our colleague, the Democratic leader, is the one preventing 
negotiations here, because his main goal, as we have seen through the 
impeachment circus and elsewhere, is to become the next majority 
leader, and he thinks this is the best weapon the Democrats can use to 
beat Republicans running for the Senate in 2020.
  How shameful is that? How degrading and disrespectful is that to the 
people who would benefit from the passage of a consensus, bipartisan 
Violence Against Women Act?
  I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail and that our 
colleagues across the aisle--but, principally, the Democratic leader--
will just quit weaponizing this dispute over VAWA and return to the 
negotiating table. Until then, we will keep working on a bill that 
could win the support of folks on both sides.
  Senator Ernst produced such a bill, an alternative to the bill 
produced by the Senate Democrats, and I am proud to cosponsor that 
legislation. Overall, this bill sends more funding and resources to the 
victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse than does the Democrat bill, 
and it authorizes the program for twice as long. That is critical to 
protecting the Violence Against Women Act from the kind of partisan 
games that we are seeing played out today, and it gives the Department 
of Justice the stability it needs to plan for the future, because it is 
the Department of Justice that hands out the grants to the various 
organizations that provide aid and comfort to victims of sexual 
  While this increased funding would be a welcomed victory for the 
program, it is only part of what sets this bill apart. It goes further 
than other reauthorizations by addressing a number of horrific crimes 
that are being committed against women and girls in our country. Sex 
trafficking, for example, is not always recognized as a form of sexual 
assault, and this bill would change that.
  It also enhances the maximum criminal penalties for sexual abuse of 
minors and other vulnerable groups. It takes aim at heinous crimes like 
mutilation and addresses crimes in rural areas and on Tribal lands.
  This bill also takes aim at relatively new threats, like when abusive 
images and videos are posted online. It will empower victims of this 
kind of abuse to remove the content from the internet by using 
copyright takedown authority.
  Unlike the Democratic bill, this legislation includes provisions of a 
number of bipartisan bills that have been introduced by our colleagues 
in the Senate. One example is a bill I introduced with Senator 
Feinstein called the HEALS Act, which would remove some of the hurdles 
that exist between victims of domestic violence and safe housing. One 
of the toughest things for a victim of sexual violence and sexual 
assault is finding a safe place to live. This provision that Senator 
Feinstein and I have included in Senator Ernst's version of the 
Violence Against Women Act reauthorization includes greater flexibility 
for transitional housing so survivors can get back on their feet 
without fear of losing the roof over their head or exposing themselves 
to their attacker.
  The Violence Against Women Act is a lifeline for countless survivors 
of domestic violence and sexual assault, and we need to come together 
to reauthorize this critical program. The bill introduced by Senator 
Ernst includes a range of bipartisan proposals to strengthen the 
Violence Against Women Act without the poison pills being offered by 
the Democrats' version. I can only hope that our colleagues on the 
other side of the aisle will return to the negotiating table and work 
with us to finally reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This is 
simply too important to use as a partisan bludgeon during the runup to 
the 2020 election.
  We need to address the problem. We need to solve the problem applying 
the 80-20 rule. If you can agree to 80 percent of it, let's get it 
done, and we can save the 20 percent we don't agree on for another day 
and another fight, and not hold victims of sexual violence at risk, as 
the status quo currently does.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I hadn't planned to say anything 
about the Violence Against Women Act, but given the remarks from my 
colleague from Texas, let me just say that the bill that passed the 
House last year is here in the Senate. While it is true that it did not 
have a majority of Republican House Members supporting it, it did have 
Republican votes in the House. It expands protections under the 
Violence Against Women Act, and, like many bills that passed the House, 
it had very broad support.
  It is sitting right here in the Senate, along with legislation that 
requires universal background checks to reduce gun violence, along with 
legislation to get secret money out of politics and make sure we 
refresh our democracy and reduce barriers to voting, along with many 
other bills, including a long-overdue increase in the Federal minimum 
  I would suggest that the best way to find out whether or not it, in 
fact, has majority support here in the Senate is to let us vote on it, 
and anyone who

[[Page S1025]]

wants to vote against it, obviously, has a right to do so. It might 
well surprise us and pass here, and then we would have addressed a very 
important issue.

                              S.J. Res. 68

  Madam President, I am here today specifically to talk in support of 
the joint resolution offered by Senator Kaine of Virginia that directs 
the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities against Iran 
without an authorization from the Congress.
  The Framers gave Congress, and Congress only, the power to declare 
war. As James Madison noted, ``the history of all governments 
demonstrates that the executive is the branch of [government] most 
interested in war and [therefore] most prone to it.'' The Constitution 
``has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the 
legislature''--meaning in the Senate and in the House of 
Representatives. The Framers did that because they didn't want one 
person--and one person alone--to be able to make such a momentous 
decision for the entire country.
  They wanted to have a clear check on the President's ability to send 
our sons and daughters into harm's way.
  The text of the Constitution cannot be more clear. Article I, section 
8 states: ``The Congress''--not the President--``shall have Power . . . 
To declare War.''
  The resolution before us is equally clear. It reaffirms Congress's 
power and ``directs the President to terminate the use of United States 
Armed Forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or 
any part of its government or military, unless explicitly authorized by 
a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of military 
force against Iran.''
  That is what the resolution says. I hope my Senate colleagues see 
this resolution for what it is: a clear and important reminder to the 
executive branch of the power granted to Congress by the Constitution. 
The much tougher votes would come on questions of whether to authorize 
military action in Iran or any other circumstances. This resolution is 
a simple reaffirmation of our solemn duty to make these decisions.
  Whether or not we agree with President Trump's approach to Iran or 
the decision to strike Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, we should all 
agree that any decision to go to war should be made by Congress, not by 
the President alone.
  The President's ability to protect the United States and our forces 
from an imminent threat--or any other power granted to the President as 
Commander in Chief--cannot, and should not, be a blank check, not for 
this President, not for any other President.
  Why are we here at this moment, discussing this important issue? 
Because just a short time ago, we almost stumbled into a war with Iran. 
And make no mistake, the tensions may not be playing out on our TV 
screens today, and they may not be making headlines at this particular 
moment, but it is still a very dangerous and volatile time. The pot is 
still boiling, and unless cooler heads prevail, it could boil over at 
any moment. We cannot allow that to happen. We must not fall into 
another unnecessary war in the Middle East. Certainly, no one should 
take the United States to war without a full debate in the U.S. 
Congress and a vote in the U.S. Congress.
  How did we get here? The Trump administration came into office with 
one organizing principle to undo everything the Obama administration 
did: Undo the Affordable Care Act; get rid of the Paris climate 
agreement; and, of course, get rid of the agreement to prevent Iran 
from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
  Reversing the policies of a previous President is a campaign slogan; 
it is not a strategy for the national security of the United States. In 
the case of Iran, the Trump administration put nothing realistic in its 
  The fundamental idea behind the nuclear agreement with Iran was 
simple and realistic. It recognized that Iran is a malign influence in 
the region. But it also recognized that a nuclear-armed Iran engaged in 
malign activities in the region is even worse. If our strategy could 
contain the Soviet Union, we could also apply a similar strategy to 
  The agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, known 
as the JCPOA, came from a deliberate strategy and painstaking 
negotiations to unite key powers--powers that are often in 
disagreement--allies, competitors, and adversaries, including Britain, 
France, Germany, the European Union, China, and Russia.
  Together, we created and enforced a truly global sanctions regime to 
bring Iran to the negotiating table to reach an agreement. It was that 
unity and pressure that succeeded in reaching the agreement to prevent 
Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
  It was working. Under the agreement, Iran committed to dismantling 
large sections of its nuclear infrastructure, to severely limit its 
production of uranium and plutonium, and it agreed to an intrusive, 
around-the-clock international inspections. It was compliant with its 
obligations under the nuclear agreement, and we were succeeding in 
pushing back Iran's so-called breakout time--the time it would need to 
build a nuclear weapon. Even this administration agreed with the 
international community that Iran was complying with the agreement. 
There was no need to beat the drums of war.
  Then comes the Trump administration, with many of the same people who 
got us into the unnecessary war in Iraq, and they took a different 
path. Instead of working to build on the agreement to prevent Iran from 
obtaining a nuclear weapon, they tore it up. They alienated our allies 
who, even to this day, are still working to salvage that agreement.
  Instead of building on the progress we had made, President Trump 
launched a campaign of what he called maximum pressure, which has 
resulted only in total failure.
  Secretary Pompeo made 12 demands of Iran as part of the maximum 
pressure strategy, and the administration has not achieved any of 
them--not a single one. Instead, faced with increased economic 
pressure, Iran predictably lashed out. Instead of dialing down its 
malign activities in the region, it has intensified. Tensions have 
  Without any endgame or any sign that this administration will 
negotiate in good faith--any sign of that--Iran has no incentive to 
change course.
  It is long past time that we have a strategy that recognizes simple 
political geography. We must recognize Iran has a strong hand in Iraq. 
They are neighbors. They share a long border. They are both majority 
Shiite countries. Nothing we can do here will change those facts.
  Instead of recognizing realities on the ground and smartly countering 
Iran's natural advantages in the region, this administration's policies 
actually strengthened Iran's hands. In short, it has taken a bad 
situation and made it much worse. In this very combustible mix, a 
single spark can ignite a war. That almost happened just a very short 
time ago. We were on the brink.

  We learned recently that the original action that set off the 
sequence of escalation may have been based on a mistake. A rocket fell 
into an Iraqi military compound where we had U.S. Forces providing some 
training and took the life of an American contractor in Iraq. The Trump 
administration claimed that the rocket was fired by an Iraqi militia 
force backed by Iran. Just very recently, Iraq--our ally Iraq--says 
that the rocket may have been fired not by Iranian-backed militia but 
by ISIS. We don't know because the administration hasn't shared any of 
that intelligence with us.
  Acting on what may have been a false assessment from the start, we 
then saw a series of escalatory acts. Then, when things appeared to be 
cooling down, the President ordered the strike against Iran's top 
military leader while he was visiting Iraq.
  I think all of us know that no one in this Chamber is grieving the 
death of General Soleimani. He has lots of blood on his hands. Make no 
mistake, killing him has not weakened Iran's hand in Iraq in the long 
term; it has strengthened it. There have been growing calls in Iraq to 
expel U.S. Forces, including a vote by Iraq's Parliament, and 
increasing pressure to throw all U.S. Forces out.
  What was Soleimani's main objective in Iraq? What is Iran's main 
objective in Iraq? To get rid of U.S. Forces there. So, in death, 
Soleimani has gotten closer to his goal of throwing out U.S. Forces 
than he did in life. That is not

[[Page S1026]]

a strategic success for the United States by any definition.
  The administration justified its attack against Soleimani on the 
grounds that he posed an ``imminent threat.'' At least that is what 
they said at the beginning. Since then, we have heard a lot of other 
rationales. They used that particular expression because it has a very 
specific meaning under international law, and it was the only legally 
justifiable rationale for ordering the execution of Soleimani.
  The problem they have is that it just isn't true. Soleimani was a 
very bad guy. He had blood on his hands. But it is not true that he 
posed an imminent threat under the definition that is applied in the 
use of force.
  We know this because while the Trump administration took a very long 
time to do it, when they finally provided the Senate with the 
classified briefing on the situation, it was clear the evidence did not 
support the claim of an imminent threat. In fact, the information 
proved the opposite was true.
  We have been here before. We have seen what happens when 
administrations manipulate intelligence or mischaracterize 
intelligence, which is closer to the case we are looking at now--
mischaracterizing intelligence in order to justify a particular course 
of action.
  In the case of Iraq, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and many 
other members of that administration were determined to go to war to 
``remake'' the Middle East. They searched for pretexts. They embraced a 
source called Curveball. They cherry-picked the intelligence to justify 
their predetermined plan.
  We know the end of the story. We know the end of that story. Their 
claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction were fake, but 
the toll of the Iraq war was very real.
  The cost in blood and treasure were nearly 4,900 American lives lost, 
and counting; tens of thousands wounded, and counting; $2 trillion 
spent, and counting. The amount we will spend caring for those who bore 
the battle, and their families, will not be fully known for decades, if 
ever. The death toll of Iraqi civilians is not precisely known but is 
certainly horrific.
  The biggest winner from the war in Iraq was Iran--Iran--that had 
fought in an almost 9-year war against Iraq and was able to take 
advantage of a weakened Iraq. It just goes to show the many unintended 
consequences of action not thoroughly thought through.
  Before we get into another war in the Middle East, whether by design 
or by miscalculation, let's come to our senses. A war with Iran would 
do incalculable harm to the United States and to people throughout the 
Middle East. It will result in huge loss of American lives and the 
lives of thousands of other innocent people.
  That is why our Founders did not put the power to take our country to 
war in the hands of one person. They did not empower the President to 
take our Nation to war. President Trump has said that article II gives 
him ``the right to do whatever I want as President.''
  We know that is not true. We know that is not what the Constitution 
says. We know that the Framers vested the power to go to war in this 
Senate and the House of Representatives, and they did it for a reason.
  For goodness sake, let us not betray our constitutional duty. Let us, 
at the very least, have the courage to assert the powers the 
Constitution entrusts in us.
  I yield back the time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I rise today to support my colleague, Senator 
Kaine, in support of this resolution before us, a resolution that would 
prohibit the United States from conducting offensive military strikes 
against Iran unless or until some time as Congress may authorize it.
  This is how security policy in our constitutional Republic is 
supposed to work. It is how decisions like these are supposed to be 
made. Congress authorizes the use of military force and the President--
as Commander in Chief--directs the military as it undertakes the effort 
to complete its missions.
  This arrangement gives the American people the best of both worlds--a 
deliberative, representative legislature to declare war and a single, 
decisive Commander in Chief to lead the troops.
  Unfortunately, Congress has not upheld its end of this 
responsibility. Our system of checks and balances--while very 
beneficial to the American people and while giving us the greatest 
opportunity to protect our freedom, our liberty, and our system of 
government--imposes a degree of rigor and accountability on Congress, 
which its Members, unfortunately, sometimes are inclined to shirk 
whenever possible. This trend has sadly gained momentum for decades, 
and it has done so under Presidents, House of Representatives, and 
Senates of every conceivable partisan combination. Now, nearly two 
decades into multiple wars without clear missions or paths to victory, 
it is time for Congress to reassert, on behalf of our constituents, our 
vital constitutional role in American warmaking.
  Before addressing the merits of this particular resolution, let me 
first dispel two very mistaken assumptions being made about it.
  First, it is not about defying President Trump. Quite to the 
contrary, this resolution supports President Trump and his particularly 
deferential approach--one that defers to the American people, one that 
accepts, at the outset, the fact that we can't fight wars all around 
the globe in perpetuity, and we certainly can't and shouldn't do that 
without the consent of the American people and that of their elected 
representatives in Congress. Indeed, on this issue, President Trump is 
the most restrained and the most Constitution-minded Commander in Chief 
we have had in decades. I believe he is the most restrained and 
Constitution-minded Commander in Chief we have had in my entire 
lifetime. He is exactly the kind of partner Congress needs in order to 
get the Constitution's warmaking process back on the rails--back on the 
same rails that were designed in 1787.
  Second, this resolution is not about condemning the strike against 
General Soleimani last month. After all, the strike against Soleimani 
worked. He was an enemy of the United States, with the blood of 
hundreds of Americans and thousands of Iraqis, Syrians, and even other 
Iranians on his hands. Everything we know about him and his work of 
terror confirms that he was planning to kill again and to do so soon.
  Rather, what this resolution is about is Congress reclaiming its 
rightful powers to restore accountability and consensus to this most 
grave of all public policy decisions that we, as Members of Congress, 
are asked to make.
  I understand why Members of Congress are OK with pretending to be 
pundits on matters of national security, cheering the troops when 
things go well and attacking the President when they don't, but we are 
not just political pundits on cable news shows. We have a job to do 
based on an oath that we took right here in this Chamber to uphold and 
``protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.''
  In order to enable the President of the United States to do his job 
correctly, we have to be willing to do ours. You see, this is part of 
the evil design of the military industrial complex to convince Members 
of Congress, first and foremost, that they don't have to and shouldn't 
want to put their name on the line when it comes to war power. This 
unfairly puts the blame and the accountability all on the President of 
the United States. That is wrong.
  Just as importantly, it disconnects the American people from their 
elected representatives here in the Senate and in the House of 
Representatives from a process that really could put not just American 
treasure but also American blood--the blood of their own sons and 
daughters--on the line. That is not right.
  The Founders could not have been any clearer about this. That is 
especially true when it comes to the greatest Founder of them all. 
Remember when the Miami and Wabash Indians attacked Americans north of 
the Ohio River between 1791 and 1794, President George Washington 
carefully confined his military operations to exclusively defensive 
measures. ``The Constitution,'' Washington wrote, ``vests the power of 
declaring War with Congress, therefore no offensive expedition of 
importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated 
upon the subject, and authorized such a measure.''

[[Page S1027]]

  Our first President, George Washington, was a humble man, and he was 
a modest man. One of my favorite paintings in this entire building can 
be found in the Capitol Rotunda, where you see George Washington 
handing his commission back to the Continental Congress. This at the 
moment when he had ascended the apex of power; this at the moment when 
he was the most respected, well-known person, certainly, in the Western 
Hemisphere, possibly in the entire world; this at a moment when, in any 
other land and any other point in world history, George Washington was 
in a position to become a Monarch, a King, he chose not to be. He said 
right then and right there: not on this soil; not on my watch. I am 
handing my commission back to the Republican institution that employed 
me to begin with.
  So, yes, he was a humble man, and he was a modest man, but this 
wasn't just an act of humility or modesty; it was duty. He understood 
that he had taken an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the 
Constitution of the United States. As President, he would not deviate 
from it because he had taken an oath that he wouldn't.
  Under the Constitution--whose drafting President Washington oversaw 
before he was President of the United States, while he was President of 
the Constitutional Convention and to which he swore an oath of office 
later--the power to direct war would reside in him as President of the 
United States as Commander in Chief, but the power to declare war 
resided exclusively with Congress.
  This was, of course, very different than the form of government that 
we had left just a few years prior to that. Under our previous system 
of government, the one based in London, the Parliament had no role in 
declaring war. Declaring war was up to the Executive, the Monarch, the 
King. The King could--and in many instances would and did--take the 
country to war. It was the job of the legislative branch of government, 
of the Parliament, to figure out what to do about it, how to fund it, 
and where to go from there, but it was up to the King and the King 
alone to take us to war.
  This, Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 69, was exactly the 
kind of system we didn't want. It would be up to Congress in the first 
instance to declare war. Congress and Congress alone would have this 
power. Why? Well, because it is the branch of government most 
accountable to the people with the most regular intervals. When the 
American people are called upon to put their own blood and treasure--
their own sons and daughters on the line in the name of safety, 
security, freedom--nothing else can suffice but a vote in Congress. 
George Washington understood that.
  Donald Trump understands that today, and to his great credit, 
President Trump has followed this standard. He has countered recent 
Iranian aggression through economic sanctions. They are working, and it 
appears that Iran is standing down. Tehran has already had to cut back 
support for international terrorist organizations and its nuclear 
program, and its oil exports are plummeting. Iran's economy has been 
crippled, contracting by almost 10 percent. The Iranian people know it 
is the fault of their own government, their own government officials. 
Tens of thousands of Iranian protesters have taken to the streets to 
protest their own government, even knowing that such action may lead 
them to injury or imprisonment or even death.
  Even the New York Times has admitted that the Iranian regime is 
losing the will to confront the United States. There may be a pathway 
to peace and prosperity for the Iranian people through sanctions relief 
and trade if the Iranian Government is willing to cease its support for 
radical Islamic militant organizations and abandon its pursuit of 
nuclear weapons and ICBMs.
  Until then, the United States, under President Trump's leadership, 
will maintain maximum pressure through sanctions and defend the United 
States from any further attacks.
  I stand firmly behind President Trump in this course of action, and 
like President Trump, I believe that we ought to avoid war if we can. 
After nearly two decades of military entanglement in Iraq and 
Afghanistan--much of which was fostered by Department of Defense 
bureaucrats deceiving Congress and misleading the American people, as 
we have recently tragically learned--the last thing we need is another 
aimless, protracted conflict in the Middle East. The other last thing 
we need is to have such a conflict occur without Congress even 
authorizing it.
  In any event, war with Iran is currently neither warranted nor 
consistent with our strategic interests. To be very clear, under this 
resolution, the President would retain all of his authority as 
Commander in Chief to take defensive measures against active threats to 
U.S. persons, assets, and the homeland, including our Armed Forces 
abroad and our diplomats in U.S. Embassies, even without a declaration 
of war or authorization for the use of military force. Such power 
inheres and resides in article II. He already has that power. Nothing 
in this resolution can or would or even attempts to undermine or erode 
that power.
  However, even when defensive measures are conducted, the 
administration should share the justifying evidence with Congress. 
This, you see, is how this inherent tension between, on the one hand, 
the congressional war declaration of power in article I and, on the 
other hand, the article II power that the President has as Commander in 
Chief. This is how they are held in balance. It is for that 
information-sharing process to be ongoing.
  As a separate branch of government--the branch with the 
constitutional prerogative over the power to declare war--we are not 
required to simply accept an administration's talking points as a 
matter of faith, especially after almost two decades of deception in 
Afghanistan. Intelligence-sharing ensures that Congress can 
appropriately determine whether it should or should not provide the 
administration with further authority to conduct offensive military 
  The intelligence so far shared with Congress on recent actions taken 
against Iran has fallen short, but my main concern with the briefing 
that I called the ``worst'' that I had ever witnessed on military 
matters in my more than 9 years in the Senate was that we were given no 
indication, whatsoever, that any ongoing offensive action against Iran 
would occur with consultation and authorization from Congress. This was 
  This was, moreover, not the President's approach. It was not 
something that would have occurred in the President's presence. It 
certainly is not something that would have been communicated by the 
President, himself, because this is not how Donald Trump operates. That 
briefing was not the President's fault. That briefing was the fault of 
individuals who decided to go off on a detour of their own, forgetting 
whom they represent. Worst of all, in that briefing, it was suggested 
that engaging in public debate, discussion, and deliberation about 
further military action in Iran--in other words, precisely what we are 
doing right here and right now--would somehow empower our enemies and 
undermine the morale of our men and women overseas. This is as false as 
it is insulting to the American people and demeaning to the 
constitutional framework to which each of us has sworn an oath. It is 
contrary to our very form of government.
  Constitutionally separated powers, exercised with accountability to 
the people via checks and balances, are precisely what makes the United 
States strong. Bowing to the politicians' impulse to avoid 
responsibility and subvert our constitutional duty--that is what 
empowers our enemies and undermines the morale of our Nation.

  Whether the United States sends our young men and women into harm's 
way, yet again, is on us--not to cheer or jeer but, rather, to decide 
and stand accountable for. So, of course, that decision ought to be 
made at the end of a very public debate that requires not only our 
attention but our contributions and, ultimately, our assent. Our names 
have to be on the line if we are going to offer up our fellow beings to 
stand in harm's way.
  For too long, Congress has deliberately and in a very cowardly manner 
shrunk from its constitutional responsibility for its own narrow, 
selfish, shallow, political interests. Yet, by taking itself out of the 
process of debating and declaring war, Congress has taken the American 
people out of the process, and that is simply unacceptable.

[[Page S1028]]

  It is time to turn the page.
  Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are the 9/11 terrorists. General 
Soleimani is dead, and Iran is weakened and isolated. Saddam Hussein is 
dead and has been out of power for a generation, and Iraq is a 
sovereign nation that can and should dictate its own course. We now 
face new challenges. Our priorities have rightfully changed, and they 
  While this resolution speaks only to offensive action against Iran, I 
believe it is time to repeal the 2002 AUMF and bring our troops in Iraq 
home. It is also time to repeal the 2001 AUMF and bring our troops in 
Afghanistan home. That is a question that we can and should address in 
this body.
  In the meantime, we as a body and as a nation should at least agree 
that there is no justification for further military action in Iran in 
the absence of a new authorization for use of military force or a 
declaration of war by Congress.
  This resolution is consistent with the President's desire to keep us 
out of excessive, unnecessary, and especially undeclared, 
unconstitutional wars. It is consistent with the vision of our Founding 
Fathers, who sought to make it harder to enter into war by the 
requiring of express consent from a bicameral legislature, and it is 
consistent with the conviction that the American people, whose sons and 
daughters lay down their lives to defend us, should get a say in this 
  President Trump wants to make America great again. I stand with him. 
The military-industrial complex wants to make America Great Britain 
again, and I stand strongly against the military-industrial complex. 
Making America Great Britain again would include such things as giving 
the executive the power and keeping the legislative branch out of the 
power of declaring war. That is wrong. That is not what our 
Constitution allows. It is not even what President Trump wants. We need 
to support this resolution.

                  Commemorating Utah Women's Suffrage

  Mr. President, on February 14, 1870, a remarkable thing happened in 
Utah--something that changed the course of history not just in our 
State but in our entire Nation.
  Seraph Young, a 23-year-old schoolteacher, became the first American 
woman to cast a vote in a political election under an equal suffrage 
law. It was a moment that both followed and preceded a long line of 
remarkable contributions from Utah women--women who have pioneered and 
led in our State and in our Nation.
  Take Mary Fielding Smith, the wife of Hyrum Smith, who was one of the 
early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After 
Hyrum was murdered, the resilient widow followed in Brigham Young's 
footsteps. She took her children and led a group of pioneers across 
1,300 miles of wilderness into the West. Through a combination of faith 
and grit, she braved treacherous weather, a massive buffalo stampede, 
and a myriad of hazards and successfully led the entourage to a 
settlement where they could build a new life and live in freedom.
  Other Utah women continued to blaze trails, and Martha Hughes Cannon 
stands out among them. At a time when women rarely went to college, 
Martha aspired to be a medical doctor. She earned a degree in both 
medicine and pharmaceuticals. A skilled public speaker, she also earned 
degrees in oratory and public speaking, which gave her four degrees by 
the time she was 25 years old. In the late 19th century, she quickly 
became a leader in Utah's burgeoning women's suffrage movement, and she 
put her speaking skills to good use.
  At a large suffrage meeting in 1889, held at Temple Square, she 

       No privileged class either of sex, wealth, or descent 
     should be allowed to rise or exist. All persons should have 
     the [same] legal right to be the equal of every other.

  In the first year that women could vote and run in a Utah election, 
Martha ran as a Democrat for one of the five State Senate seats. She 
even ran against her own husband. She became the first woman to be 
elected as a State senator either in Utah or in any other jurisdiction 
in the United States, and she went on to sponsor many successful and 
influential legislative proposals. All the while she was in public 
office, she continued to run her private medical practice and raise her 
three children.
  It is, indeed, fitting that we will soon be installing a statue of 
this extraordinary woman here in the U.S. Capitol Building.
  Fast-forward to today, when Utah women are continuing to carry the 
banner of public leadership and service.
  We have Ruth Watkins as president of the University of Utah; Astrid 
Tuminez as president of Utah Valley University; Noelle E. Cockett as 
president of Utah State University; Deneece Huftalin as president of 
Salt Lake Community College; and Beth Dobkin as president of 
Westminster College.
  We have Gail Miller, philanthropist and entrepreneur, who took over 
the ownership of the Utah Jazz after Larry, her late husband, died. She 
took over his other companies as well. She has led the team and 
companies with exceptional grace, dedication, and success and has 
helped their philanthropic arm champion education, homelessness, and 
family causes. We also have Carine Clark, president and CEO of Banyan, 
who is forging paths in Silicon Slopes and Utah's tech community.
  In all different capacities and in all different fields, Utah women 
are continuing to make invaluable contributions in our State and in our 
Nation. These women have offered and continue to offer much needed 
gifts to their families, communities, schools, churches, businesses, 
and governments.
  When Martha Hughes Cannon spoke before a U.S. Senate committee about 
the success of women's suffrage in Utah, she said: ``The story of the 
struggle for Woman's suffrage in Utah is the story of all efforts for 
the advancement and betterment of humanity.''
  As we approach the 150th anniversary of Seraph Young's groundbreaking 
vote and as we enter the centennial year of the 19th Amendment, it is 
only fitting that we honor the legacy of these remarkable women and all 
they have given to my State and to our country.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.

                              S.J. Res. 68

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I take this time to urge my colleagues to 
support S.J. Res. 68, which, as I understand, we will be voting on 
tomorrow. It is a resolution that was introduced by Senator Kaine. I 
acknowledge Senator Kaine's longstanding commitment to the U.S. 
Senate's and Congress's carrying out our constitutional 
responsibilities as they relate to the authorization for use of 
military force, which rests solely with the Congress of the United 
States, and we have a responsibility to speak as to that authority.
  In the last Congress, with Senator Flake, there were efforts in the 
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to try to bring us together in 
regard to the passage of an AUMF, the authorization for use of military 
force, because we had seen successive administrations using our 
military without their having authorization from Congress.
  S.J. Res. 68 is aimed at one specific conflict for which we can come 
together, and I am optimistic that we will be able to act on this 
resolution. It deals with the use of force in Iran. It is very specific 
as to say that, unless explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or 
a specific authorization for use of military force against Iran, there 
is no authority to use our military against Iran.
  Now, certainly, for legitimate reasons, the President can use force 
to defend us from an imminent attack. That is, certainly, how I think 
all of us perceive the authorization for use of military force from 
Congress needs to be qualified. In the case of an urgent situation, the 
President can, in fact, act.
  Why do we need this resolution passed now?
  I need not tell my colleagues that there is a heightened sense of 
tension between the United States and Iran. It has been building for 
some time--certainly, with the U.S. military action in which General 
Soleimani was killed. He was the leader of the Quds Force in Iran, and 
he was taken out by our U.S. military. That has presented a heightened 
tension between the United States and Iran.
  Congress has the sole responsibility to commit our troops to combat. 
It is in article I, section 8 of the Constitution that Congress has the 
power to declare war. This is not a decision made

[[Page S1029]]

by the President; it is a decision made by Congress. Our Founders were 
very concerned about having the appropriate balance between the 
executive branch and the legislative branch. It is called checks and 
balances. We did not want a monarchy. We wanted to make sure that there 
was sufficient support before war was declared; that it was in our 
national security interest; that the Congress and the President and the 
American people were all together in the effort if we were going to 
initiate war against another country; that the use of the military 
should always be a matter of last resort; and that we should always 
exhaust diplomacy--that we should always exhaust other means before 
America initiates war against another country or the use of military 
  This authority that rests in Congress was tested in the Vietnam war. 
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed by Congress at the early 
stages during the Vietnam conflict to give the President the authority 
to use force to defend our military against attacks coming from 
Vietnam. It was never intended to lead us into an act of prolonged war, 
but, as we know, it was used by successive administrations for 
maintaining a prolonged war in Vietnam. I think historians would agree 
that this was an abuse of the interpretation of authorization and that 
the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was never intended for offensive military 
operations in Vietnam. Yet it was used for that purpose.
  In 1973, Congress took action to make sure this would never happen 
again. It passed what is known as the War Powers Act. Now, the War 
Powers Act was passed in a strong bipartisan vote by both the House and 
Senate, and it was vetoed. Congress overrode the President's veto 
because we knew that it was our responsibility to commit our troops to 
  What does the War Powers Act require?
  First, it requires consultation by the President with Congress, in 
every possible instance, before our committing troops to war. That is 
the exact language in the War Powers Act. There are consultation 
requirements. Then there has to be reporting within 48 hours of 
American troops being sent into hostilities or into situations in which 
imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the 
circumstances. Third, the War Powers Act requires an end to foreign 
military action after 60 days unless Congress provides a declaration of 
war or an authorization for the operation to continue an authorization 
for use of military force, an AUMF.
  Why do we need S.J. Res. 68 if we have the War Powers Act?
  Like Vietnam, now in Iran, the President is usurping the 
constitutional powers of Congress by saying he has certain authorities 
that go well beyond what was intended in the Constitution or in the War 
Powers Act.
  Let me get to General Soleimani for one moment. He was killed on 
January 2, 2020, in Baghdad. There is no sorrow over his loss. He was 
an evil person who caused the death of so many different people. He was 
clearly a person who is not missed in this world. That is absolutely 
  But President Trump's actions violated all three of the provisions of 
the War Powers Act that was passed in 1973 to try to prevent this type 
of circumstance that happened in Vietnam from happening again.
  Now, why do I say all three? Well, first, was there an imminent 
threat that allowed the President to make this decision without 
congressional authorization?
  Well, we have been through a classified briefing, and I am not going 
to talk about what was presented in that classified briefing, but I 
think it is fair to say that we were not presented with the 
documentation at all that there was an immediate threat against 
  The President has not made that case, and we have heard public 
comments that have been made by administration officials that they did 
not know about specific threats at that particular time.
  So, one, the War Powers Act was violated because there was not an 
imminent threat before the President used military action.
  No. 2, we now know that this had been planned for some time as one of 
the potential operations that could have been given to the President to 
respond to Iranian action; that is, taking out General Soleimani. So 
there was plenty of time to consult with Congress, but yet, before the 
military action, there was no prior consultation with Congress--a 
second violation of the War Powers Act.
  Then, third, congressional notification and removal of troops within 
60 days. The President has not submitted nor does he intend to submit 
to Congress an authorization for use of military force or a declaration 
of war against Iran. He clearly does not intend to do it, but he has 
made it clear by his own statements that he will use force again 
against Iran if he believes it is justified, and his determination of 
justification is not what Congress intended when it passed the War 
Powers Act in 1973.
  Even more urgent, the President claims that he has authorization from 
Congress. So the President, through his lawyers, has said: Well, OK, 
maybe we don't have the inherent power, but we have specific 
authorization that has been previously passed by Congress that allows 
us to use military action against Iran.
  So let me go through the two authorizations that are still active and 
used by Presidents.
  First, we had the authorization to use military force that was passed 
in 2002. This is the authorization that was passed to go after Iraq.
  Now, I must tell you I voted against this authorization. I thought 
that there was no evidence that Iraq was involved in the attack on our 
country on September 11, 2001. I didn't think there was evidence of 
that so I opposed that resolution in the House of Representatives when 
I was a Member of the House of Representatives. That resolution says 
the use of force to defend the national security of the United States 
against the continuing threat posed by Iraq. We are talking about Iran, 
not Iraq. How could the President conceivably use the 2002 
authorization to claim that he had authority to go after an Iranian 
general? I don't understand that. I can't figure that out for the life 
of me, but that argument has been made.
  Then we have the old fallback of the 2001 AUMF that was passed 
immediately after the attack on our country on September 11, 2001. That 
authorization was passed ``to use all necessary and appropriate force 
against those nations, organizations, or persons that planned, 
authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attack that occurred on 
September 11, 2001.''
  Now, this has been used by many administrations so it goes back well 
before President Trump in the misuse of the 2001 authorization.
  Iran was not involved in the attack on our country in 2001, 9/11. So 
how do you use this authorization to say you have authorization now to 
take out a general in Iran or use force in Iran? It is clear to me that 
that is a total misreading of the authority of Congress. Congress never 
intended, when they voted for that authorization now 19 years ago--
almost 19 years--that it intended that it would be used as it is being 
used today. That is a total misuse of the authorization by Congress.
  So in regard to Iran today, there is no AUMF; we have not passed 
authorization for Iran; the President has already shown that he will 
act and will not comply with the War Powers Act; and he is likely to 
use force again that could lead to a lengthy military engagement with 
Iran. That is a possibility.
  So we need to pass S.J. Res. 68 because it is specific--it is 
specific to Iran--that there is no congressional authorization.
  And just as importantly, if the President wants to use the military, 
he must seek prior authorization from Congress as is envisioned in the 
Constitution of the United States. It gives the President the power to 
protect us against imminent threat.
  So for good reason, Congress has the constitutional powers here. My 
generation paid a very heavy price because of the Vietnam war in the 
way that we got into the Vietnam war without the voice of the U.S. 
Congress giving the specific authorization. Let us not cede our 
responsibility under the Constitution or allow the President to exceed 
  I urge my colleagues to support and vote for S.J. Res. 68.

[[Page S1030]]

  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, when the Senate begins its debate, as it has 
been doing today on the War Powers Act, in considering this resolution, 
we are considering whether to do our duty to the Constitution.
  The debate over war powers is bigger than any one Senator, bigger 
than any one President, and bigger than any political party. The debate 
over war powers is a fundamental constitutional debate, and the 
Constitution and our Founding Fathers were clear: The power to declare 
war lies in the legislature.
  Madison put it this way: The executive is the branch most prone to 
war. Therefore, the Constitution, with studied care, vested the power 
to declare war in the legislature.
  Yet we have increasingly deferred and delegated the war powers back 
to the executive. We have abdicated our role as the body that should be 
deciding with the people when to go to war.
  While the President may have the power to repel an attack, Congress 
has done little to stop increasingly bold arguments that everything is 
in response to an imminent attack.
  I will never forget President Obama coming to speak to the Republican 
caucus a few years ago, and he said: Well, they were under imminent 
attack, and we were like: Who, in the Libyan war, and he said: Well, 
Benghazi. And it was like: For goodness' sake, we thought imminent 
attack was of America, not of a foreign city. That is how far afield we 
have come, that a President would come to us and say: I can do whatever 
I want if there is an imminent attack of a foreign city. How ludicrous.
  Given Congress's inaction, it should come as no surprise that 
administration lawyers increasingly argue that everything is imminent 
and that statutes limiting their authority actually don't limit their 
authority; that the statutes actually say they can do whatever they 
  Presidents actually argue that article II of the Constitution--this 
is what gives the President power. Article I is the congressional 
power; article II is the President. They argue that the article II 
section of the Constitution lets the President do anything he or she 
wishes; that there are no limits on Presidential authority. That is 
  Under President Obama, we droned hundreds of people in Pakistan; we 
bombed Libya to help defeat Qadhafi; we put military personnel in 
dozens and dozens of countries around the world fighting militants and 
regional thugs here and there, but with each passing year it had less 
and less to do with 9/11. It is hard to explain to someone how a goat 
herder in Mali has anything to do with the attacks of 9/11. Yet every 
President comes back to us and says: Well, you voted for this 
proclamation in 2001. It gives me the power to do whatever I want 
wherever I want.
  In our Republic, if we are going to go to war, the Constitution says 
you must come to Congress, not for consultation but for permission.
  Today's vote is not a vote for or against the current President. 
Today's vote is for or against the Constitution. Either you believe 
that war requires the permission of Congress or you don't.
  Why is this vote necessary? Because we live in a topsy-turvy world, 
where Presidents now argue that their war power is absolute. Don't talk 
to me. I will do what I want--but the Constitution envisioned that we 
did not ever want one person to decide when we went to war.
  Presidents now argue that a decades-old authorization of force 
against a long-deceased autocrat--Saddam Hussein--is still valid and 
applies to an Iranian general, and that is absurd. That is insulting to 
the people; it is insulting to the Constitution; and it shouldn't be.
  You cannot argue that the Constitution gives the President unlimited 
power and say: Oh, well, if that doesn't work, I am also arguing that 
in 2002 Congress voted to go to war with Saddam Hussein, and that gives 
me the power to kill an Iranian general.
  Presidents have also argued that bombing is not war. They argue 
somehow that bombs are not war and that there is a certain attitude of, 
well, maybe 100 soldiers aren't, maybe 1,000. What does it take to be 
at war?
  They argue sometimes that we are not in hostilities when we are 
dropping bombs everywhere around a country. They sometimes argue that 
battles are kinetic action and not really war.
  We have been at war too long in too many places. It is time to bring 
our soldiers home.
  This week, I joined the President to honor two of our soldiers who 
were killed in action. I stopped with the President at Dover Air Force 
Base. Let me tell you, it was a sad and somber memorial for two of our 
Nation's heroes. But people need to think about this. This isn't a 
chess game. This isn't a geopolitical chess game and we are just moving 
troops here and there and they are somehow represented by symbols on a 
big map or a board. This is about people. It is about our young people 
of our country, and they deserve better. Our soldiers deserve to know 
what they are fighting for. Our soldiers deserve to know what the 
mission is. Our soldiers deserve to know if we are making progress. 
They deserve to be told the truth.
  America's longest war in Afghanistan is in its 20th year. We now have 
kids fighting who weren't even born when the war began.
  My committee this week held a hearing to discuss the Afghanistan 
Papers--papers that reveal that the highest ranking officials in our 
military and in our government and in our State Department have known 
for many years that the Afghanistan war lacks a real mission; that it 
lacks a real national security rationale.
  My vote today is not simply about Iran or the killing of Soleimani. 
My vote today is about the constitutional requirement that Congress 
must declare war. This vote should be 100 to 0. It is a vote for or 
against the Constitution. This is about acknowledging the Constitution 
says no one man, no one woman can take a nation to war.
  Many Members will quietly acknowledge that the separation of powers 
assigned Congress the power to declare war, but when push comes to 
shove, many Senators are afraid to appear to oppose a President of 
their own party.
  For me, this debate is not about party. I have supported the 
constitutional mandate that Congress must declare war under both 
Democratic and Republican Presidents, and I will continue.
  For me, this debate is not a dry and esoteric or meaningless debate. 
It is a debate about life and death. It is a debate that, more than any 
other debate, embodies our commitment to our soldiers. It is a debate 
that strikes at the heart of our duty to do everything possible to 
protect human life.
  Today's vote is historic in that the majority of the House and the 
Senate will now be on record affirming Congress's power over issues of 
war. Even at the height of the Vietnam war, the height of America's 
probably most unpopular war, congressional majorities did not stand up 
and assert their constitutional prerogative. Today we are doing that. 
That is a step forward.
  In the aftermath of the most partisan impeachment in our history, 
today, though, marks a high-water mark for the bipartisan assertion of 
the separation of powers.
  For me, it will have all been worthwhile when I see our troops 
returning home to their families safe and sound. For me, it will all be 
worthwhile when we finally end the Afghan war, when we finally end the 
Iraq war, and when we finally end the wars in Yemen and throughout 
Africa. When that day comes, I look forward to standing arm-in-arm 
across the political divide to welcome our brave soldiers home. Until 
that day, I will continue to fight for the truth that great nations 
don't fight perpetual wars.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  (The remarks of Mr. Enzi pertaining to the introduction of S. 3287 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. ENZI. I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

[[Page S1031]]


                            Opioid Epidemic

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I am here on the Senate floor to talk, 
once again, about the addiction crisis in our country. Over the past 4 
years, I am told I have given over 64 speeches on this topic, and that 
is because it is a crisis, and a national one, and we have done a lot 
here in this Senate and also in the House of Representatives to deal 
with the issue.
  We passed some important legislation. We are making some progress, 
but, gosh, prescription opioids, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, and 
cocaine continue to harm so many people in our communities and so many 
of the families we represent. We put new policies in place to help deal 
with it--better prevention, better treatment, and better recovery 
  Among other things, we passed legislation like the SUPPORT Act, the 
Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, the 21st Century Cures Act, 
and the STOP Act. Through these new laws, we have also provided over $4 
billion in additional Federal resources just over the last 3 years to 
be able to combat this epidemic--particularly, the opioid epidemic.
  In Ohio alone, our State received nearly $140 million through the 
CARA and Cures legislation. It has gone toward innovative, evidence-
based programs to try to figure out how we intervene at the appropriate 
time to keep people who are addicted from overdosing and, instead, to 
get them into treatment and into longer term recovery in a successful 
  I have gone to visit many of these programs across our State, and I 
can tell you many of them are working, and they are working because 
local volunteers, local communities, and the State are also involved. 
So that is the positive thing. I was very pleased that the year-end 
spending bill passed with a record $658 million, as an example, in 
funding for these CARA grants that again go to these innovative ideas 
back home.
  Let me give you an example of one. In many of our communities now, we 
have the ability, after somebody has overdosed, not to simply have them 
go back home and go to the same neighborhood and get addicted, and 
continue to be addicted and overdose again and again and again, but, 
rather, to intervene and to go there with law enforcement, with 
treatment providers, with first responders, and get them into 
  It is working. In a program I was recently at in Columbus, OH, the 
RREACT Team, 80 percent of the people whom they go to visit end up 
getting into treatment. And the evidence is, not only are they getting 
into treatment, but because there is the ability to monitor that, they 
are also going into longer term recovery programs. It is helping to 
save lives, but for the first responders, it is also a great relief 
because no one is more frustrated than they are. Think about it. You 
help somebody through an overdose by applying Narcan--that miracle drug 
that reverses the effects of the overdose--and the next day they are 
right back again. This is the right thing to do, and, again, we have 
made progress in that.

  The good news is, it looks like it is starting to pay off. After 
many, many years of increases in overdose deaths every single year, 
finally, we are making progress. In States like mine, overdose deaths 
had climbed to the No. 1 cause of death in our State; in other words, 
surpassing car accidents or anything else. There were more people dying 
of drug overdose deaths than anything else.
  Nationwide, we had some great success between 2017 and 2018. We now 
have those numbers in. In 2017, we had about 70,700 people who died of 
overdoses. In 2018, it went down to about 67,700. That is a decrease of 
4 percent. Now, that is nothing to write home about, 4 percent. On the 
other hand, this is after three decades of increased overdose deaths 
every year and in some years substantial increases. So just to have 
that 4-percent decrease--and we are waiting for the 2019 figures to 
become available--was a big deal.
  In Ohio, we are one of the States that has been hardest hit. In 2018, 
our number was a 22.4-percent reduction. We were one of the States that 
led the country in this, and I am proud of that. That means a lot of 
lives saved. Still, though, the overdose rate is way too high--way too 
  On the positive side, I think we are also seeing more accountability 
for the opioid crisis, in particular. As courts around the country hear 
cases of those affected by prescription opioids, like OxyContin, these 
drug companies are being held accountable by individual States, by some 
local governments, and by the Federal Government. Every day we learn 
more about what they did and how wrong it was.
  The sheer number of pain pills that drug companies pumped into the 
United States is astounding, with more than 100 billion pain pills 
between 2006 and 2014. So during that one period of time, 8 years, 
there were 100 billion pain pills.
  We have one county in Southern Ohio, Scioto County, where we had 48 
million opioid pain pills distributed by manufacturers during those 8 
years. By the way, that is 617 pills for every man, woman, and child in 
that one county in Southern Ohio. We were flooded with pain pills that 
were addictive, and we have to be sure that that kind of a crisis 
doesn't start again.
  As I travel around the State of Ohio, I hear stories all the time of 
people who had an accident or had an injury, and they took pain 
medication prescribed by a doctor. That led to physical addiction. 
Something in their brain changed. They became addicted. They couldn't 
get the prescription drugs because they are too expensive or not 
accessible enough, so they turned to heroin. In many cases, the tragedy 
that occurred was not just an overdose but sometimes an overdose and a 
life lost. I hear this all the time.
  Just this morning at my weekly Buckeye Coffee, where we have 
constituents come in once a week and meet with Ohioans, I met an 
impressive young man from northeast Ohio. He told me about his brother, 
Dylan. He reminded me that I had met his mom. I already knew about 
Dylan because his mom had told me, but Dylan struggled with pain pill 
addiction before tragically dying of an opioid overdose. It is a 
pattern that we have seen too often in our communities, and it needs to 
  We are making some progress there, I think partly because of the 
lawsuits, partly because we increased awareness, partly because of the 
Federal legislation we discussed that has helped on this, and partly 
because doctors and others are beginning to get the message.
  We have cracked down on pill mills as well. I mentioned Portsmouth, 
OH, and Scioto County, OH, where there were hundreds of pain pills per 
person. They had pill mills. Because of all of that, the number of 
prescription pain pills prescribed between 2013 and 2018 fell by more 
than 80 million--about a 33-percent decrease nationwide. So pushing 
back against this opioid flow that flourished for way too long here in 
the United States is helping, and that is a positive sign as well.
  Again, while the CDC--Centers for Disease Control--has shown an 
overall decrease in drug overdose deaths for the past 18 months or so, 
I want to talk tonight about some new troubling trends and the need for 
us in Congress not to take our eye off the ball because sometimes 
around here, you get a little progress, and you think: OK. Let's go on 
to the next thing. Unfortunately, that is not the way addiction works, 
and we have seen this over time.
  Back in the 1990s, we thought we had solved the cocaine crisis; we 
didn't. Now some think we have solved the opioid crisis; we haven't. In 
addition, there are new troubling trends I want to talk about tonight.
  The most worrying is, while the overall number of opioid deaths has 
fallen, the number of overdose deaths related to the very deadliest of 
opioids--synthetic opioids like fentanyl or carfentanil--has actually 
increased. In fact, in 2018, more deaths were attributed to fentanyl 
than to heroin and prescription drugs combined. So it has shifted. 
Think about this. From the prescription drugs to the heroin, now to 
  Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. A few flakes of this 
stuff can kill you. Unfortunately, it is being mixed into other drugs, 
partly because it is so powerful and a few flakes can kill you.
  According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40 percent of drug 
overdoses in 2017 were at least partly because of

[[Page S1032]]

fentanyl use--40 percent. It is by far the largest problem. That data 
also showed that overdose deaths due to fentanyl had increased by 88 
percent per year since 2013. So it has been going up really since the 
2013, 2014 time period.
  We are seeing this mixing occur in a lot of overdose reports from 
Ohio communities, where declining prescription opioid and heroin use 
has opened the door now for this other form of addiction. In 
particular, psychostimulants, as they are called, like crystal meth and 
cocaine, are being laced with fentanyl. This is a deadly combination. 
According to our State's deputy attorney general for law enforcement, 
Carol O'Brien, Ohio law enforcement officials in 2018 tested double the 
amount of methamphetamine samples as they had in 2017 and triple the 
amount from 2016. So crystal meth is, unfortunately, making a 
resurgence in our communities.
  By the way, you may remember in the past couple of decades in your 
community you heard about these meth houses, where people would be 
cooking meth, literally, in a home or in a trailer or in the basement 
and causing environmental concerns and so on. You don't hear about that 
anymore. Do you know why? It is because crystal meth coming straight 
from Mexico is so powerful and so cheap that people don't have to make 
it at home anymore. That is a bad thing because this has expanded to 
the people who have become addicted to methamphetamine because of this 
powerful crystal meth.
  Today I met with law enforcement officers from around the State of 
Ohio. The FOP was in town, the Fraternal Order of Police. Many of my 
colleagues met with them. They confirmed this troubling trend. They 
told me that the crystal meth and the cocaine, because they are 
psychostimulants, are much more difficult for them to deal with and 
puts their lives and their safety more at risk, as well as the citizens 
whom they are there to protect. Why? Because it causes a more violent 
  Think about it. With heroin, with other opioids, prescription drugs, 
fentanyl, people talk about the nodding effect. It calms people more. 
Whereas, with heroin, with cocaine, and with the other 
psychostimulants, like crystal meth, it makes people more agitated and 
more violent. We have seen not just more assaults on individuals but 
more violent crime overall coming out of this. So it is a shift that is 
impacting our police officers and our citizens, as well, in terms of 
increased violent crime.
  I am really pleased to say that the legislation we passed in 
December--just about a month and a half ago--responded to this issue of 
the increase in meth and cocaine. It is because it included our 
legislation called the Combating Meth and Cocaine Act. It is a really 
important bill. Basically, what it says is, let's give local 
communities the flexibility to use the opioid grant money that I talked 
about earlier, that has increased over the last 3 or 4 years, also to 
be used for psychostimulants. I felt very strongly about this because I 
was hearing it back home: Thank you very much for your help on the 
opioid crisis. By the way, we have shifted now in our community. 
Opioids are not as big a deal, but we need the funding to also help us 
deal with the consequences of crystal meth or cocaine.
  I thank my colleagues for passing that legislation. It is going to 
make a big difference, and I think we will now begin to see the ability 
to address this new threat.
  The U.S. attorneys for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio 
have recently weighed in and told me what is going on in terms of this 
mixing of cocaine and crystal meth with fentanyl. They say it is a 
crisis. Preliminary data from Cuyahoga County, which is in Cleveland, 
OH, suggested about 45 percent of the fatal overdoses in the county 
last year were associated with cocaine, much of that mixed with 
fentanyl. By the way, that is twice the amount of heroin overdoses over 
that same time period from the previous year, which shows how, again, 
the frontlines of addiction have shifted, partly in response to our 
successes on the opioid front.
  We are hearing similar things in the Southern District of Ohio, where 
more than a third of overdose deaths are from cocaine and fentanyl, 
where they just had 10 overdose deaths from the combination of fentanyl 
and cocaine in the last several days.
  I met with the Columbus, OH, police chief, Tom Quinlan, on Friday, in 
the middle of a spike there, a spike in overdose deaths that they have 
seen from this mixture. In the first 10 days of February, this month, 
Columbus, OH, Franklin County, had 28 overdose deaths involving some 
combination of fentanyl and cocaine--28 in 10 days.
  I was actually in Columbus on Saturday, a day in which five people 
died from overdoses of a mixture of fentanyl and cocaine.
  Just yesterday, the Columbus police informed me that in one drug 
bust, they seized over 200 grams of cocaine and nearly 2 kilograms of 
fentanyl. That is enough to kill about 1 million people.
  Again, we have made some progress on the opioid front, no question 
about it. We have made progress in terms of the overprescribing of 
prescription drugs, but, unfortunately, my colleagues, this issue is 
not going away. The more flexible funding we got in at the end of the 
year is important, and we will begin to see that take effect here over 
the next several months--it is just being implemented now--but we have 
to deal with it.
  The other thing we have to deal with in terms of fentanyl is being 
sure that some evil scientist doesn't slightly change the molecular 
compound of fentanyl, making it an analog of fentanyl that is not 
illegal. You have to schedule a drug to make it illegal. As we have 
seen an uptick in these fentanyl copycats, we have seen the reality 
that it is not just about fentanyl. It is also about carfentanil, and 
it is also about other analogs.
  As an example, we had an 819-percent increase from just a year ago in 
Cleveland with carfentanil deaths in 2019. So from 2018 to 2019, there 
was an 819-percent increase.
  That is why the DEA--the Drug Enforcement Administration--has made 
the right call in 2018 in temporarily making these fentanyl-related 
substances, like carfentanil, illegal to possess, transport, or 
manufacture. Thanks to that designation, our law enforcement officials 
have been better able to protect our communities by seizing and 
destroying this fentanyl-related substance because it is illegal.
  We had a real problem in the last couple of months here in Congress 
because, as of early this month--just last week--that scheduling of 
those analogs expired, and we almost had a situation where these drugs 
were going to become illegal. Thank goodness, at the last minute, we 
stepped in, and we provided a temporary extension; otherwise, again, 
last week, we would have had a real crisis.
  Unfortunately, the temporary extension, like so much stuff around 
here, was kind of kicking the can down the road. So in May of next 
year--just a year and a few months from now--again, it is going to 
  I strongly urge my colleagues to join me, Senator Manchin, and others 
on both sides of the aisle in passing legislation that puts these 
analogs on the schedule, making them illegal permanently. It should be 
permanent. The legislation is called the FIGHT Fentanyl Act. Again, it 
just codifies what the DEA has done but also gives them the flexibility 
to be able to schedule new things, as, again, these scientists come up 
with ways to slightly alter the molecular compounds for these 
incredibly dangerous and deadly drugs.
  By the way, our legislation has strong bipartisan support but also 
has the support of every single attorney general in every State in 
America and six territories. Fifty-six of our attorneys general have 
come forward and endorsed our bill, and I thank them for that.
  Let's do that. Let's push back against these deadly copycats of 
fentanyl and be sure that our communities are just a little bit safer.
  Again, we have made a lot of progress in the fight, but as we have 
seen, addiction--not a particular drug but addiction--is really the 
crisis we face. As we have made progress against opioids, including an 
unprecedented Federal response here--and I appreciate that very much--
we now see the playing field changing. We see these psychostimulants 
like cocaine and crystal meth making a comeback. We see this mixing 
with fentanyl.

[[Page S1033]]

  Again, the funding bill passed last year will help as it begins to 
implement these changes. We need to be sure that the FIGHT Fentanyl 
legislation is passed, and we need to be sure that we continue the 
funding. It is easy to say: Well, this crisis is better; let's move on. 
We have to keep our eye on the ball.
  So I thank my colleagues as we go through the funding process again, 
but we have to keep the funding for the CARA legislation and others.
  We also have a new bill called CARA 2.0, so Comprehensive Addiction 
and Recovery Act 2.0, and it expands the reach of these evidence-based 
programs we are talking about, particularly longer term recovery 
programs, because we have learned that it is so critical to actually 
get somebody into recovery and keep them in recovery for a long enough 
time so they don't relapse.
  In that legislation, we also have important legislation with regard 
to opioid prescriptions because that is still a problem. We say that 
there should be a limit of 3 days for acute pain--not for chronic pain 
but for acute pain, limit it to 3 days. That comes from a 
recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but 
also from the FDA.
  I have heard from too many families--like the young man I heard from 
this morning--about someone whose child has become addicted because the 
doctor gave them too many opioids. By the way, I now know several 
families whose son or daughter was given opioids when he or she had a 
wisdom tooth removed, which apparently is one of the top two or three 
most common procedures in America. Doctors and dentists are still 
giving these kids opioids. I think that is wrong, and I think that 
should be stopped altogether. In the meantime, 3 days is a sensible 
limit. A doctor can always prescribe more if you have an issue. And I 
think there are proper exceptions for chronic pain.
  I think our legislation would make a big difference. It also has a 
prescription drug monitoring program, which would require States to 
make their monitoring programs and their data available in other States 
because people go from State to State to get these prescription pain 
pills. This would help against overprescribing, making sure people are 
treated as soon as possible and identified.
  I urge my colleagues who are not yet cosponsors of any of these 
bills--the FIGHT Fentanyl bill and the CARA 2.0 bill--to help us and to 
join us in responding to this ever-evolving challenge we have, which is 
not just an opioid problem; it is an addiction problem. Every State 
represented in this Chamber is affected by this epidemic, and these two 
bills at least provide us an opportunity to continue to give law 
enforcement the tools they need to give our communities the help they 
need to be able to overcome this crisis.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii.

                              S.J. Res. 68

  Ms. HIRONO. Mr. President, the Constitution vests Congress with the 
power to declare war and ultimately to authorize the use of military 
force in order to provide a critical check on a President's decision to 
deploy troops overseas. Congress has for too long abdicated this 
responsibility in deference to Presidents from both parties.
  Presidents have used a broad interpretation of the 2001 and 2002 
authorizations for the use of military force to justify American 
military interventions in far-flung theaters such as Yemen and North 
Africa. I have supported bipartisan efforts to revisit these 
authorizations because nearly 20 years later, they are still being used 
to justify action unforeseen by the Congress that initially approved 
  This effort has become more urgent as this President's reckless, 
impulsive actions are bringing us precipitously close to war with Iran. 
Contrary to whatever he says, Donald Trump's Iran policy has not made 
us safer. In fact, his Iran policy has undermined America's national 
security, isolated the United States from our allies, put the safety of 
American troops at risk, and, yes, brought us closer to war.
  To understand how we arrived at this moment and why Congress needs to 
act, we should begin by evaluating the consequences of the President's 
misguided and dangerous decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear 
  By all accounts, the administration inherited a deal that was 
working, one painstakingly negotiated over many months with the UK, 
France, Germany, Russia, China, and Iran.
  It bears repeating. The deal explicitly stated in its first paragraph 
that ``Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, 
develop or acquire any nuclear weapons,'' and it put a comprehensive, 
intrusive, and verifiable enforcement mechanism in place to achieve 
this objective. It blocks pathways Iran would need to produce the 
highly enriched uranium or plutonium it would take to produce a nuclear 
weapon. Under the verification regime created by the deal, 
international inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, 
the IAEA, were afforded extensive access within Iran to ensure their 
  The Iran nuclear deal was reached through tough, principled 
diplomacy. These negotiations culminated in an agreement that world 
leaders could credibly declare would prevent Iran from ever obtaining 
nuclear weapons.
  In May 2018, President Trump recklessly undermined our credibility 
and isolated the United States from our allies by unilaterally 
withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. It is important to emphasize 
that Iran was in compliance with the agreement when the President tore 
it up.
  Our unilateral withdrawal from the agreement and the administration's 
subsequent so-called maximum pressure campaign has exposed the United 
States to enormous risk. We have seen the consequences almost every day 
for the past 2 years as Donald Trump has engaged in an escalating and 
increasingly violent tit-for-tat with Iran.
  The President's chaotic escalation culminated with his impulsive and 
incredibly risky decision to target and kill high-level Iranian and 
Iraqi military officials, including Iranian General Soleimani, on Iraqi 
  The question before us is not whether General Soleimani deserved this 
fate. He was a loathsome figure who was responsible for killing many 
U.S. servicemembers and for orchestrating terrorism throughout the 
Middle East. The question before us is whether carrying out this risky 
and provocative act made the United States and the Middle East safer or 
more secure. It has not.
  Over the past month, the consequences of the President's impulsive 
actions have become clearer. We now know President Trump directed the 
attack without notifying leaders in Congress or our Iraqi partners or 
even our allies who have troops positioned in Iraq. He ordered the 
attack without preparing for what came next, exposing the United States 
to further hostilities without a plan for how to deescalate tensions.
  After Iran retaliated with a coordinated missile strike on American 
military infrastructure in Iraq, the President was quick to reassure 
the public that no American soldiers were harmed in the counterattack. 
We now know this was a lie. After weeks of denials--or even comments 
from the President that some troops were suffering from ``headaches''--
the Pentagon on Monday finally acknowledged that 109 servicemembers 
suffered traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian attack. For the 
President of the United States to make light of these serious 
injuries--injuries that, in many cases, may impact these soldiers for 
the rest of their lives--is unconscionable and dishonors the service 
and sacrifices made every day by our men and women in uniform.
  In a sign that tensions continue to escalate, the President has 
deployed more than 14,000 additional servicemembers to the Middle East 
in the wake of the strike on General Soleimani, exposing even more 
Americans to potential retaliation from Iran or its regional proxies. 
These developments further reinforce our conclusion that President 
Trump did not give much thought to the consequences of his actions.
  The administration has provided ever-evolving and very troubling 
after-the-fact explanations that fail to assuage our concerns about 
this impulsive decision. Only a few weeks ago, the President tweeted in 
all caps that ``Iran will never have a nuclear weapon.'' Given that the 
President tore up the Iran nuclear deal which would have prevented Iran 
from ever getting a nuclear weapon, one cannot help but

[[Page S1034]]

question where this bellicose rhetoric is coming from and what it 
  The American people have made it explicitly clear that they do not 
want to go to war with Iran, especially if war is the result of the 
President's reckless and impulsive actions. It is therefore imperative 
that Congress exercise its exclusive--exclusive--war powers under 
article I of the Constitution to prevent this President from launching 
a disastrous war with Iran.
  In normal times, we could have confidence during a crisis like this 
that the President of the United States would mobilize a whole-of-
government response to this crisis, and in normal times, the President 
would lead our allies and the international community in seeking a 
diplomatic outcome to our escalating tensions with Iran, but these are 
not normal times.
  Congress must reassert its constitutional authority by demanding the 
President seek explicit authorization prior to any military action 
against Iran. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting Senator Tim 
Kaine's War Powers Resolution tomorrow.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, I am pleased to join my colleagues, 
many of whom have spoken already in support of S.J. Res. 68, which I am 
proud to cosponsor. It prohibits an unauthorized, unconstitutional war 
with Iran. It seeks to prevent the Trump administration from stumbling 
into a real and reckless military conflict. I want to thank bipartisan 
colleagues who have provided leadership in this effort, and it has been 
truly bipartisan as an effort. I appreciate their efforts and from many 
other colleagues to reassert our constitutional war powers and to 
represent the will of the American people.
  Americans do not want a new war. They do not want another endless 
military conflict that harms our national interests without protecting 
our national security. The Constitution trumps any statute. Without 
congressional authorization and anything short of a declaration of war 
from the Congress, starting a war with Iran would be unconstitutional.
  Congress did not authorize war with Iran when it passed an 
authorization to use force against al-Qaida more than 18 years ago in 
the wake of 9/11. Congress did not authorize war with Iran when it 
passed an authorization to use military force against Saddam Hussein's 
regime in 2002. Very simply, Congress has not authorized war with Iran 
in any way, shape, or legal form.
  The President's authorizations for use of military force in no way 
cover starting a new war with Iran. We cannot let the intent of either 
of those authorizations to be so distorted and stretched as to be a 
pretense for such a war. That is why this resolution is so important. I 
urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it tomorrow.
  But just as alarming as the lack of legal authorization for war, is 
the Trump administration's lack of strategy. It isn't that we have a 
dangerous policy toward Iran. It is that we have no policy, no 
strategy, and no endgame, which is the most dangerous situation of all.
  I am pleased that we have deescalated the dramatic rise in tensions 
between Iran and the United States, which well serves the interests of 
both countries. We must continue the potential for reducing, not 
escalating, military tensions, but President Trump's reckless actions 
that brought us so close to military conflict are still in play. We 
need to continue to deescalate, not raise, the level of tension, if 
  These kinds of reckless actions, in fact, brought us close to 
expulsion from Iraq and halted key training exercises with our allies 
in the counter-ISIS mission. As is the case with most of the Trump 
administration's military strategy--or lack of it--we are just lurching 
from one crisis to another, with no objectives, no means to an end, no 
decision on ending, all putting our security and our allies at grave 
risk. Congress, not to its credit, has failed to conduct critical 
public oversight that is necessary to hold the administration 
accountable and to insist on a strategy, an endgame, a set of 
  The Trump administration has kept Congress and the American people in 
the dark under the guise of classification. I will say, on a personal 
note, that at the end of so many of our classified briefings in the 
SCIF, I will say to a military officer or to an intelligence community 
representative: Our adversaries and our enemies know what you have just 
told us because you are telling us about what they are doing. And they 
know we know, and we know they know. In fact, they know a great deal 
about what we are doing. The only ones who don't know are the American 
people. They are kept in the dark.
  The Trump administration cannot wage war while hiding behind 
classification gag orders behind closed doors. The Trump administration 
tried to make the claim that there was an ``imminent threat'' to 
justify the strike against Soleimani. I disagree. The Trump 
administration failed to provide the evidence in any setting, 
classified or not, to support this claim, and the American people 
deserve to know our path forward with Iran.
  There is no conceivable reason that our goals must be kept secret 
from Members of Congress or the people we represent, and we certainly 
must prevent a reckless administration from pursuing a war when it is 
unwilling to account to the American people. In short, there is a 
fundamental purpose that is served by a declaration of war. It gives 
the people who will have to sacrifice in that war a voice in the 
decision. We represent those people--the families of soldiers, marines, 
airmen, and sailors whose lives will be in harm's way, as well as 
themselves. It gives a voice to the experts in this body who may have a 
perspective and a wisdom on these topics. That is a useful check on the 
executive branch.
  Let us not forget that military actions conducted without a strategy 
and without the consent of the American people have real consequences 
for all who serve our Nation in uniform.
  We continue to hear reports about the number of troops who have 
suffered brain injuries in the Iran strike against Iraq military bases. 
The total is now up to 109 American servicemembers. The President of 
the United States has minimized those kinds of injuries as headaches, 
but, in fact, traumatic brain injury--concussion, post-traumatic 
stress--are among the most painful and damaging wounds of war, in part 
because they are invisible and they are sometimes minimized.
  So let us never forget the consequences of war--the consequences to 
our economy, to our faith in American democracy, to the credibility of 
our leaders, to our people in lives lost and damaged. That is true 
especially of a war that has never been authorized by Congress and 
fails to have the support of the American people.
  That is why this vote is so important today. There are many, many 
reasons to vote in favor of S.J. Res. 68. I call on my colleagues to 
send a clear, unmistakable message to this administration: You do not 
have congressional authorization, you do not have the support of the 
American people, and you do not have permission from this Congress, 
under the Constitution, to wage war or to begin it against Iran.
  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. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I am proud to rise in support of S.J. 
Res. 68, the Kaine-Lee resolution to ``remove United States Armed 
Forces from hostilities against the Islamic Republic of Iran or any 
part of its government or military.''
  This resolution is crucial at a momentous moment in our Nation's 
history. As U.S. Senators, we are no strangers to tough decisions. When 
this institution is functioning properly, we make such decisions all 
the time. There are tough questions, and we make tough decisions on 
which programs to fund or on who sits in judgment over their fellow 
citizens on the Federal bench or on issues of civil rights or equality 
or fairness. Yet, without doubt, the most difficult decision any 
Senator will ever face is whether to authorize war--whether to, through 
such authorization, open the

[[Page S1035]]

gates to send the men and women of our Armed Forces into harm's way.
  It is a solemn responsibility that all of us here take very 
seriously, and it is a responsibility that the Founding Fathers 
intended to rest solely here in the Congress of the United States of 
America, not down Pennsylvania Avenue, in the White House, not in the 
hands of any one person sitting in the Oval Office.
  At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, George Mason, a delegate 
from Virginia, said he was ``against giving the power of war to the 
executive'' because the President ``is not safely to be trusted with 
  In speaking to the Pennsylvania ratifying convention that same year, 
James Wilson stated:

       This system will not hurry us into war; it is calculated to 
     guard against it. It will not be in the power of a single 
     man, or a single body of men [such as just the Senate or just 
     the House], to involve us in such distress, for the important 
     power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large.

  James Madison, the ``Father of the Constitution,'' wrote to Thomas 
Jefferson in 1798:

       The Constitution supposes, what the History of all 
     Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of 
     power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has 
     accordingly with studied care vested the question of war to 
     the Legislature.

  All of these comments and so many more are about the gravity of 
deciding to go to war--deciding on whether hundreds or thousands or 
tens of thousands will walk into the face of danger, suffer injuries, 
suffer death. Questions about war are questions of great human calamity 
that cannot be taken lightly. They cannot be taken at the spur of the 
moment. They cannot be taken with the judgment of a single individual.
  Our Founders noted that the decision should not be by any single 
President, not by a particular individual. This is not about the 
individual in the Oval Office at this moment; it is about the Founders' 
vision that it should be the collective decision of Congress, 
representing the people of the United States, to weigh this question of 
national defense--whether or not we should send our sons and now our 
daughters into harm's way in a military fashion, where many will be 
injured and many will die. It is an issue of the National Treasury as 
well because the cost of war is a huge cost in blood and a huge cost in 
injuries and a huge cost to the Treasury. That is why this 
responsibility was placed with us and with the House of 
  In this Constitution--and all Senators here probably have one in 
their desks--one just simply has to look in article I, section 8, which 
is where that specific responsibility is given to us, not to the 
President, not to the executive. Upon coming into this body, we did 
swear an oath to this Constitution, not to some vision of our personal 
desire that maybe a President would be better at making this decision 
and not to any scholars' opinion but to this document, which vests its 
power in this body, not in the President of the United States.
  For too long, Congress has allowed a steady expansion of the exercise 
of military power without authorization--without a declaration of war 
from Congress. So this is one of those rare moments in which we are 
standing up to say: No. Any decision to conduct war against Iran needs 
to come in accordance with the Constitution, in accordance with the War 
Powers Act, in accordance with the decision and debate that would occur 
  S.J. Res. 68 lays out what the War Powers Act reads, which is, ``At 
any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities 
outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and 
territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory 
authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the 
Congress so directs.'' This is a debate over whether the Congress 
should so direct.
  Indeed, it also lays out in this document the vision of our 
Constitution and reads that the question of whether U.S. forces should 
be engaged in hostilities against Iran should be answered following a 
full briefing to Congress and the American public of the issues at 
stake--a public debate in Congress and a congressional vote as 
contemplated by the Constitution.
  This resolution does not read that Congress will not debate the 
issue; it reads that Congress should debate the issue if the President 
so requests and come to a decision as to whether to open the gates of 
our Nation to war. It then proceeds to do exactly what the War Powers 
Act provides for, which is to ``[direct] the President to terminate the 
use of United States Armed Forces from hostilities against the Islamic 
Republic of Iran or any part of the government or military unless 
explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or a specific 
Authorization for Use of Military Force.''
  This is all about the vision of our Constitution. Are we going to 
support it? Are we going to say no to this warfare unless it is 
authorized as envisioned by the Constitution or are we going to say, 
``No. We don't want the burden of that responsibility. It is a tough 
decision to make. We are not sure we will get it right, so we will just 
let the executive do what he wants even though the Constitution says 
  Let us honor the vision of the Constitution. Let us support this that 
is before us. Let us ponder how easy it is for there to be a cycle of 
provocation, an escalation. We have seen that in Iran. Iran is not a 
friendly power to the United States of America. Iran has been involved 
in activities that we greatly oppose in its supporting forces in Syria, 
in Lebanon, and Yemen; in its developing ballistic missiles; in its 
creating concerns inside of its neighbor Iraq with its Iranian 
militias. The United States has been involved in this cycle of 
provocation and escalation.
  We made a deal with Iran of economic assistance to Iran if they 
abandoned their nuclear program. They abandoned the nuclear program, 
and the inspectors certified they had abandoned it. Then, we have 
broken the deal, and we have tightened the sanctions, making life very 
difficult for the people of Iran.
  Iran launched rockets at our forces inside of Iraq, and the United 
States responded and attacked militias sponsored by Iran, killing a 
good score of Iranians in the process and assassinating an Iranian 
general. Iran responded with ballistic missiles attacks at the U.S. 
forces in Iraq, injuring, at this moment, an estimated 100 U.S. 
forces--a cycle of provocation and escalation.
  We are on the edge of war. We are involved in hostilities that have 
not been authorized, and the Constitution essentially says, in this 
situation, it is Congress's responsibility to debate and wrestle with 
whether to unleash our forces against Iran. So let's carry that 
responsibility, and as we do so, let's think how close we were to a 
third major war in the Middle East.
  We had a war and are still at war in Afghanistan. Now, the 
authorization for the use of military force in regard to Afghanistan 
was very narrowly tailored. That authorization said that our forces are 
authorized to attack those who attacked us on 9/11 and those who harbor 
those forces.
  It is now as if that AUMF had language added to it, language which 
essentially said and: any other group we disagree with in the world. 
The words that are often quoted as being part of that AUMF are ``and 
related forces.''
  But do you know what? That language isn't in that AUMF. This Congress 
gave a very, very narrow assignment for the authorization of force, and 
it has been expanded massively. We could debate whether or not that 
authorization has been stretched to the breaking point. I think it has. 
I think it has been abused. It has been misused, and it dishonors the 
fact that Congress was so specific with that authorization.
  The result is that here we are, 19 years later. We didn't pursue a 
simple mission of taking out the training camps. We pursued a mission 
that has cost this Nation $1 trillion and thousands of our sons and 
daughters and tens of thousands with lifetime injuries.
  So we have that war. We know what kind of damage and costs there can 
be to an ill-considered strategy.
  Then, we have the war we had against Iraq and authorized by a 2002 
authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, and this was also 
very narrowly crafted. The President is authorized to use the Armed 
Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and 
appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United 
States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq--not posed by anyone 
else, just by Iraq--and to enforce

[[Page S1036]]

the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding 
Iraq--very, very specific.
  Now, the administration is arguing that this AUMF from 2002, about 
Iraq, provides authority to go to war against Iran. It is just like the 
stretching of the 2001 AUMF that said go after those who harbored the 
9/11 terrorists but has been stretched to go after other groups all 
over the world.
  But in both these cases, it was an authorization. Congress did 
debate. Yes, they have been abused after they were passed, but what 
there wasn't was an open door without Congress involved.
  So we must do our job here and realize the gravity of these conflicts 
and get the full, extensive information and make sure there is no fake 
news in that information.
  On the Iraq AUMF, this body operated on the solemn guarantee that 
there were weapons of mass destruction being developed by Iraq. It 
proved out to be false.
  So when we do hold the debate over Iran, let's make sure we get the 
absolutely honest intelligence, not the spin, not the cherry-picked 
intelligence, not partial, not selected to drive a conclusion--the 
honest, fully honest, situation of our activities and their activities 
and the threats that they pose.
  That is the responsibility we have--to make sure that the information 
we wrestle with is absolutely accurate and then to weigh the heavy cost 
of different strategies that may or may not involve force before we 
vote for force. It is a big responsibility, and I have heard Members of 
this Chamber say: You know what; it is such a tough decision. What if I 
get it wrong? Let's just let the Executive make that decision. If I 
misjudge it and don't vote to go to war and, for example, maybe there 
were those weapons of mass destruction equivalent to Iraq, I don't want 
to make that mistake, and people back home will not like it if I make 
that mistake. If I vote to go to war and the information is wrong and 
the strategy is wrong, well, then, people back home won't like that 
  So let's just ignore the Constitution. Let's just ignore our oath to 
the Constitution. Let's just let the person down Pennsylvania Avenue do 
what he wants because we don't like the burden imposed on us by this 
document that says that issue has to be debated here.
  The decision to use force has to be debated and decided here, not 
there, because it is too big a question to leave to a single 
  Our Constitution starts out with these words: ``We the people.'' They 
did not want to create a King. They did not want to create an imperial 
Presidency that acted like a King. They wanted a nation run of, by, and 
for the people.
  The question of war is our responsibility. We must make the decision 
here, and that is why I urge my colleagues to take and say yes, we will 
vote for this S.J. Res. 68 because it says we are demanding the 
administration do what the Constitution demands, which is to place the 
question of going to war with Iran with this body.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). The Senator from North Dakota.

                           Order of Business

  Mr. CRAMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the only 
first-degree amendments in order to S. J. Res. 68 be the following: 
1301, 1322, 1305, 1314, 1320, and 1319; I further ask that no second-
degree amendments be in order to the amendments listed, with the 
exception of amendment No. 1319; that the Senate vote in relation to 
the amendments in the order listed at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow; and that 
there be 2 minutes of debate, equally divided, prior to each vote. 
Further, I ask unanimous consent that all debate time on S.J. Res. 68 
expire at 1:45 p.m. tomorrow, with the last 40 minutes, equally 
divided, under the control of Senators Risch, Inhofe, Menendez, and 
Kaine; and finally, that upon use or yielding back of that time, the 
joint resolution be read a third time and the Senate vote on passage of 
the joint resolution, as amended, if amended, with no intervening 
action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.

     Amendment Nos. 1301, 1322, 1305, 1314, 1320, and 1319, En Bloc

  Mr. CRAMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
amendments listed be called up by number en bloc.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the amendments by number, en bloc.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from North Dakota [Mr. Cramer], for other 
     Senators, proposes amendments numbered 1301, 1322, 1305, 
     1314, 1320, and 1319.

  The amendments are as follows:

                           Amendment No. 1301

                    (Purpose: To amend the findings)

       In section 1, insert after paragraph (3) the following:
       (4) Members of the United States Armed Forces and 
     intelligence community, and all those involved in the 
     planning of the January 2, 2020, strike on Qasem Soleimani, 
     including President Donald J. Trump, should be commended for 
     their efforts in a successful mission.

                           amendment no. 1322

                    (Purpose: To amend the findings)

       On page 2, between lines 23 and 24, insert the following:
       (5) More than 100 members of the United States Armed Forces 
     sustained traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian retaliatory 
     attack on the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq despite initial 
     reports that no casualties were sustained in the attack.

                           Amendment No. 1305

  (Purpose: To exempt from the termination requirement United States 
  Armed Forces engaged in operations directed at designated terrorist 

       On page 4, line 14, insert ``except United States Armed 
     Forces engaged in operations directed at entities designated 
     as foreign terrorist organizations under section 219 of the 
     Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189),'' after ``or 

                           Amendment No. 1314

                    (Purpose: To amend the findings)

       On page 1, between lines 7 and 8, insert the following:
       (2) The President has a constitutional responsibility to 
     take actions to defend the United States, its territories, 
     possessions, citizens, service members, and diplomats from 

                           amendment no. 1320

                    (Purpose: To amend the findings)

       In section 1, strike paragraph (6) and insert the 
       (6) The United States Armed Forces are not currently 
     engaged in hostilities, as contemplated by the War Powers 
     Resolution, against Iran. The United States strike against 
     terrorist leader Qasem Soleimani to protect the lives of 
     United States service members and diplomats is lesser in 
     scope, nature, and duration than, and consistent with, 
     previous administrations' exercises of war powers.
       (7) The United States' maximum pressure strategy against 
     Iran has reduced the Government of Iran's resources available 
     to attack the United States and United States interests by 
     limiting the resources available to the Government of Iran to 
     support weapons development and terrorist proxies throughout 
     the region.

                           amendment no. 1319

              (Purpose: To amend the rule of construction)

       In section 2, amend subsection (b) to read as follows:
       (b) Rule of Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
       (1) to prevent the United States from defending itself, 
     including its territories, citizens, troops, personnel, 
     military bases, and diplomatic facilities from attack, 
     including acting to prevent an attack; or
       (2) to restrict missions related to force protection of 
     United States aircraft, ships, or personnel.