EXECUTIVE SESSION; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 112
(Senate - June 17, 2020)

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[Pages S3038-S3057]
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                           EXECUTIVE SESSION

                                 ______
                                 

                           EXECUTIVE CALENDAR

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Cloture having been invoked, the Senate will 
proceed to executive session to consider the following nomination, 
which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read the nomination of Justin Reed Walker, of 
Kentucky, to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of 
Columbia Circuit.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Romney). The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, this morning, the Senate narrowly invoked 
cloture on the nomination of Justin Walker to the DC Circuit. Within 
the week, the Senate is expected to confirm, by the thinnest margins, 
both Judge Walker and a separate nominee, Cory Wilson, to the Fifth 
Circuit. That fills the final two available seats on the circuit 
courts. In one case, there isn't a vacancy yet, but he is preemptively 
filling it. This will complete Leader McConnell's rush to pack our 
appellate courts with President Trump's nominees.
  I want to speak about this because I have had more experience on 
nominations, only because of tenure, than anybody else in this body. I 
note that both Judge Walker and Judge Wilson are partisan ideologues 
who have given no indication that they will leave their politics 
outside the courtroom. This has become par for the course under this 
President--choosing nominees not for their judicial qualifications and 
in spite of their political leanings but because of those partisan 
leanings. Extreme partisanship has become a qualifier, not a 
disqualifier. It is a prerequisite.
  My Republican friends may consider these confirmations a great 
achievement; however, I fear that the damage left in the wake of their 
effort--to the courts, to the Senate, to the country--is going to 
remain with us for years to come after most of us have probably left 
this body.
  Let us consider the backdrop in which we consider these nominees. We 
are in the throes of a global pandemic that has taken almost 120,000 
American lives. It has plunged our economy into a deep recession. It 
has deprived nearly 45 million Americans of their jobs, something I 
have never seen in my years here in the Senate. Yet are we here today 
considering legislation that further assists Americans struggling 
during this pandemic? Indeed, we have done nothing to respond to COVID-
19 for months even though the House passed $3 trillion in further 
assistance last month.
  The Senate today is not working together to find bipartisan 
meaningful ways to address the plagues of racial and social inequality, 
despite the fact that we see millions of Americans of all backgrounds, 
ages, creed, and color who flood our streets and squares with protests 
in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.

[[Page S3039]]

  What are we doing to respond as a body? We are busy processing and 
confirming an endless stream of partisan ideologues, such as Justin 
Walker and Cory Wilson, to our Federal courts. I think it has to be 
noted, again, that Judge Walker, who is a protege of Senator McConnell, 
has been nominated to a seat that isn't even vacant until September.
  It would be one thing if we were coming together in the Senate across 
party lines to confirm mainstream nominees, something we have done so 
many times in years past, but nothing about Judge Walker and Judge 
Wilson is mainstream. Judge Walker is not shy about his overt 
partisanship. He is openly hostile to the Affordable Care Act, even 
though the Affordable Care Act has provided a critical lifeline to 
millions of Americans during this pandemic. He has dangerously 
suggested that the FBI Director--whom we provided with a 10-year term 
to avoid politicization--``must think of himself as an agent of the 
President.'' One can see why President Trump is interested in a nominee 
like him. People should worry about somebody who would want the FBI 
Director--who is supposed to treat everybody the same and just uphold 
the law--to be, instead, an instrument of whoever is present. Even if 
we ignore his hyperpartisan writings and countless cable news 
appearances before he became a district court judge--and that was just 
a few months ago, last fall--he has already shown he does not leave 
politics at the door when he puts on his robes. Even his judicial 
investiture ceremony could have been a lead-in for a Trump campaign 
rally, where he lamented that his legal principles have not yet 
prevailed and feared losing ``our courts and this country'' to his 
critics. These may be the words of Judge Walker, but they are not the 
words of any other judge I have ever known, Republican, Democrat, 
Independent. This judge wears his partisanship as a badge of honor, 
knowing that it will only appeal to a President who knows nothing of 
the role of the Federal judiciary and, sadly, knowing it will not deter 
this Senate from confirming him.
  Judge Cory Wilson is no better. Again, I spoke about the Affordable 
Care Act, which has provided help to millions of Americans during the 
coronavirus epidemic. What does he call it? He calls the Affordable 
Care Act ``perverse'' and ``illegitimate.'' Golly, how would he vote on 
that? I wonder if those Americans--Republicans and Democrats alike--who 
are receiving lifesaving care through the ACA would call the law 
perverse.
  He has attacked President Obama in ugly, personal terms, berating him 
as a ``fit-throwing teenager'' and ``shrill, dishonest, and 
intellectually bankrupt.'' That is a good attitude to hold when you are 
coming to the Senate as a Federal judge where you are supposed to be 
impartial. Such baseless accusations were laughable when he made them. 
They are beyond parody today.

  Judge Wilson has a long record of undermining minority voting rights 
and dismissing the scourge of voter suppression, which we saw again 
last week during primary elections. He dismisses that as ``phony,'' 
even though everybody watching the news, from the right to left, can 
see it happening.
  What message do these nominees of President Trump send to the country 
in this moment? Well, it says that the Republicans in the Senate are 
fast-tracking nominees who are eager to overturn the Affordable Care 
Act in the midst of a public health pandemic. They are fast-tracking 
nominees who are dismissive of racial injustices in the midst of a 
national reckoning on racial injustices.
  The Senate has a constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to 
a President's nominee. When I came to the Senate, that meant something. 
It meant something under both Republican leadership and Democratic 
leadership. It meant something with both Republican and Democratic 
Presidents. But under this President, that constitutional duty has 
meant no more than serving as a mindless conveyer belt to rubberstamp 
nominees, however unqualified, however extreme, and however 
inappropriate at the moment.
  You couldn't have two more inappropriate nominees at a time when we 
need healthcare because of the coronavirus or so inappropriate at a 
time when we are trying to do away with racial tensions and address the 
racial tensions of our country. It says that we don't believe in our 
standing as a coequal branch of government and that the Senate is 
willing to have that position as a coequal branch of government 
diminished.
  Worse is the damage we inflict upon our courts. The Senate has now 
reshaped our Federal courts, especially our appellate courts, to 
resemble an extreme partisan arm of the Republican Party. For 
generations, Americans have valued our judiciary for its independence, 
a place where all Americans--of any political party or background, 
race, or belief--believed they could obtain fair and impartial justice. 
That is changing every day under President Trump.
  When I tried cases before Federal courts at the district level or the 
appellate level--and the same with State courts at the trial level and 
the appellate level--I never worried that I would come before that 
court and my political beliefs would in any way affect the outcome. 
What I thought would affect the outcome would be the facts and the law. 
I have appeared before courts of appeals and Federal courts of appeals. 
Most of the time I had no idea what the political position or political 
party of the judge was. Yet today, anybody who comes in trying a case 
or appealing a case has to say: No matter what my facts are or no 
matter what the law is, I have to face a partisan ideology with a judge 
who is supposed to be nonpartisan. We have seen fair and impartial 
justice, as I said, changing every day under President Trump.
  I have to hope that the Senate can rediscover its better angels. I 
can hope that we can again reassert ourselves as the crucible in which 
the great issues of the day are debated heatedly but resolved amicably, 
across party lines. I hope that one day the Senate will again serve as 
the conscience of the Nation, as it has during so many moments of 
upheaval and uncertainty in our history.
  Today, more than any other time since I have been here, when we 
should be the conscience of the Nation, we are keeping that conscience 
locked up behind closed doors.
  I hope, one day soon, the Senate will again demand--as it has under 
Republican and Democratic leadership in the past--that our President's 
judicial nominees are deserving of lifetime appointments to our Federal 
courts, possessing the qualifications and temperament that, until now, 
were rarely in question and now, time and again, are in question.
  I ask my colleagues to go back to being the U.S. Senate. We owe it to 
ourselves. We owe it to the Constitution. Most of all, we owe it to the 
American people. Let the Senate once again be the conscience of the 
Nation, as it should be.


                        Justice in Policing Act

  Mr. President, I also looked at the policing bill that Senator Scott 
announced today and Leader McConnell will proceed to next week. I am 
still reviewing the text. From the descriptions I have heard, the bill 
may be well-intentioned but falls far short on the reforms we need. It 
fails to meet this moment. That doesn't mean we can't come together and 
make it meet this moment.
  We need more than a Rose Garden signing of an Executive order that 
has no authority and does nothing except look good. Millions of 
Americans in both parties are demanding real change. This moment 
doesn't call for a handful of studies and some grant programs; it calls 
for fundamental reforms to ensure our accountability and restore our 
trust. It requires a thoughtful debate, a real debate in which we have 
a real amendment process. Let Senators stand up and vote yes or no on 
amendments. Let the American people know where they stand. Let them 
take a position.
  If our Republican leadership won't commit to such a real debate and 
such real votes or amendments--a real amendment process--they fail the 
American people at a critical time; they fail them in favor of partisan 
politics.
  Each one of us has to cast votes on this floor. Some are very routine 
and easy to do, but so many are monumental. We have to speak to our 
conscience. We have to speak to our background. We have to speak to who 
we are. I will look at my background as a former prosecutor. I will 
look at my

[[Page S3040]]

background as one who has served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary 
Committee. I will look at my background as one who has listened to 
Republicans and Democrats alike in my State, but then I will call upon 
my conscience to vote for what is best.
  Don't fail the American people by having something that feels good, 
that says nice things but doesn't make any change. If there were ever a 
time America needs changes--we have two crises. One, of course, is 
COVID-19, and we are not addressing that. The other is, once again, 
every American, of all races, has to look at racism in policing. We are 
better than that. Most of our police departments want to be better than 
that.
  Let us stand up. Let the U.S. Senate be the conscience of the Nation. 
Again, I note we have been in the past. Wouldn't it be nice to be so in 
the present?
  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.
  (Mrs. LOEFFLER assumed the Chair.)
  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Perdue). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.


                    The Great American Outdoors Act

  Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I rise today to celebrate the passage of 
the Great American Outdoors Act. The passage of this historic 
legislation marks a once-in-a-generation step by this body to restore 
and conserve our national parks, as well as our country's national 
heritage. It builds on an American tradition of conserving our natural 
wonders and shared public spaces. It reaffirms our commitment to 
preserve them for future generations.
  It is also important to note that this is a jobs bill. According to a 
recent study, the Great American Outdoors Act will help create or 
support 100,000 jobs all over the country, including 10,000 in my home 
State of Virginia, at a time when millions of Americans are out of 
work.
  Currently, the National Park Service has a deferred maintenance 
backlog of $12 billion. A chronic lack of funding from Congress has 
forced the Park Service to defer maintenance on countless trails, 
buildings, and historic structures, as well as thousands of miles of 
roads and bridges. Today, over half of all Park Service assets are in 
desperate need of repair.
  To address these needs, a little over 3 years ago, I approached my 
colleague and friend, Senator Rob Portman, with an idea. What if we 
took unobligated Federal energy revenues and used them to address the 
maintenance backlogs at our national parks. So we came together, in a 
bipartisan partnership, and introduced the National Park Services 
Legacy Act. A little over a year later, we combined our efforts with 
Senator Alexander and Senator King to introduce our Restore Our Parks 
Act. Earlier this year, this legislation was combined with Senator 
Gardner and Senator Manchin's Land and Water Conservation Fund 
legislation to form the Great American Outdoors Act.
  This legislation represents one of the largest investments in the 
infrastructure of our national parks in its over 100-year history. Over 
the next 5 years, the Great American Outdoors Act will fund more than 
half of all the deferred repairs and completely fund the Park Service's 
highest priority needs. As my friend from Maine, Senator King, has 
noted, deferred maintenance is really simply a debt for future 
generations. With the passage of this bill today, we are one step 
closer to paying down that debt.
  Few States in the country are as impacted by the Park Service's 
deferred maintenance backlog as the Commonwealth of Virginia. In the 
Commonwealth, we have a maintenance backlog of over $1.1 billion. That 
is the third largest behind California and DC. I want to give a few 
examples of how this legislation will help preserve our historical 
heritage and create jobs in my State.
  Here in the National Capital Region, the George Washington Memorial 
Parkway, which is managed by the National Park Service, has over $700 
million in deferred maintenance. As a matter of fact, anyone in this 
Chamber who travels on that road actually knows that we had a sinkhole 
appear in the parkway within the last year--an enormous safety threat, 
as well as an enormous inconvenience to anybody who travels on this 
important road. Our legislation would help rebuild this critical 
transportation route between Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland--
reducing traffic and, again, creating jobs.
  Further south on I-95, the Richmond National Battlefield Park has 
over $5 million in deferred maintenance. The nearby Maggie L. Walker 
National Historic Site--this is the site actually of the first African-
American-owned bank created by Maggie Walker, as well as the first bank 
owned by an African-American woman. I visited it last year, and it has 
maintenance needs approaching $1 million. At the nearby Petersburg 
National Battlefield Park, the maintenance needs have grown to $9 
million over the years. This legislation will help support critical 
infrastructure needs of these parks, preserving these important pieces 
of our heritage while again supporting our local economies.
  Let me take you a little farther west, out to one of the real gems of 
our National Park Service--probably one of the parks best known in 
Virginia around the country--and that is the Shenandoah National Park. 
It is one of the crown jewels of our Park Service. Again, the 
maintenance backlog there in the Shenandoah sits at over $90 million. 
Our legislation will put people to work on these overdue repairs, 
including to Skyline Drive and stretches of the Appalachian Trail, 
which are really at the heart of Virginia's outdoor tourism industry.
  Let me take you a little farther down Skyline Drive, down farther in 
Southwest Virginia. As you head southwest, the Blue Ridge Parkway right 
here, which has accumulated over $500 million in deferred maintenance--
that is, as a matter of fact, over $1 million of deferred maintenance 
for every mile of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Great American Outdoors 
Act will, again, put Virginians to work on these repairs so visitors 
can continue to appreciate the beauty of Southwest Virginia and support 
the local economy.
  Let me end my visual tour of Virginia going to the eastern part of 
the Commonwealth. This is one final example. Colonial National 
Historical Park, which is home to historic Jamestown and the Yorktown 
battlefield--some of our country's most significant sites from the 
birth of our Nation. At this park and along the Colonial Parkway, there 
are deferred maintenance needs totaling over $430 million. With this 
legislation, the wait on many of these repairs is over. We are going to 
create jobs, make sure this important part of our history is around for 
years to come, and make sure we leave our kids and grandkids that sense 
of who we are as a nation.
  Now, before I close, I want to touch on the other half of this 
legislation, which provides full mandatory funding for the Land and 
Water Conservation Fund, the LWCF.
  For decades, the LWCF has been the most important tool of the Federal 
Government that States have had to protect critical natural areas, 
water resources, and, again, cultural heritage. Virginia has received 
over $368 million in LWCF funding, which has helped preserve and expand 
critical recreation areas within the Commonwealth.
  For example, the American Battlefield Protection Program, which is 
funded through the LWCF, has been vital for communities across 
Virginia, providing them with technical assistance and funding to help 
them preserve their history and, again, attract tourists. LWCF has also 
allowed us to expand and preserve land within the George Washington and 
Jefferson National Forests and along the Appalachian Trail. These 
efforts support the health of unique wildlife habitats and provide new 
access for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
  Through this combination of the parks bill and the permanent funding 
for the LWCF, the Great American Outdoors Act ensures that we will 
continue to make these important investments in conservation in our 
parks for years to come.
  In closing, I thank my colleagues, again, for supporting this 
historic legislation with an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote and a piece 
of legislation

[[Page S3041]]

that is supported by the administration. My hope is that the House will 
move quickly on this. What better present to our Nation than to have 
this legislation signed into law, hopefully, by July 4.
  As we all know, at a time of significant division in our country, the 
fact that this body was able to come together and pass this bill with 
over 70 votes gives me a little bit of hope. Again, I am proud of my 
colleagues for stepping up to restore our national parks and public 
lands, and as I mentioned at the outset, this legislation will create 
over 100,000 jobs, jobs that are extraordinarily needed at this 
critical moment when our economy has been shattered. So for current 
Americans and future Americans, job well done.
  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. SCOTT of South Carolina. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent 
that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                              JUSTICE Act

  Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. Mr. President, I woke up this morning, 
Wednesday morning, June 17, 2020, and for so many Americans, this is 
just another Wednesday morning. You wake up; you get ready for work--
but not in South Carolina.
  In South Carolina, this Wednesday, June 17, is the fifth anniversary 
of when a racist walked into Mother Emanuel Church, sat through a Bible 
study for an hour and listened to believers talk about their love of 
God. At the end of that Bible study, he pulled out a weapon and killed 
nine people. So for me and so many South Carolinians, this is a hard 
day.
  I will tell you this: Standing on this floor, remembering the words 
of one of the victims' son, Daniel Simmons, Jr., 5 years ago on a 
Wednesday, 1 week later--I asked Daniel Simmons, Jr., whose father, 
Daniel Simmons, Sr., had been killed in an attempt to start another 
race war at the home of the Civil War: What should I say to the people 
who would be watching around the country?
  He said what I could not believe. It was this: Please remind them of 
Romans 8:28--that all things work together for good for those who love 
God and are called according to His purpose.
  I was standing at those doors on my cell phone. I could not believe 
the words he was speaking. In an act of true, unconditional love, he 
inspired me. He encouraged me. He taught me lessons of strength and 
courage and mercy our Nation needs to remember.
  I came to the floor today to speak about my new bill, the JUSTICE 
Act, our Republican response to police reform. I was sitting in my 
office when the Senator from Illinois talked about the ``token'' 
legislation on this day, the day that we remember Mother Emanuel Church 
and the nine lost lives and my friend, the pastor of the church, 
Clementa Pinckney--the first person ever to call me a Senator, the 
pastor of that church, a Democrat pastor of that church said to me ``My 
Senator,'' in December of 2012--and reflect back on the fact that I 
have on my phone today the text for Clementa in which I said: Are you 
OK? He didn't answer because he was already dead.
  To think that on this day, as we try to make sure that fewer people 
lose confidence in this Nation, to have the Senator from Illinois refer 
to this process, this bill, this opportunity to restore hope and 
confidence and trust to the American people, to African Americans, to 
communities of color--to call this a token process hurts my soul for my 
country, for our people.
  To think that the concept of anti-lynching that is a part of this 
legislation would be considered a token piece of legislation because, 
perhaps, I am African American and the only one on this side of the 
aisle--I don't know what he meant, but I can tell you that, on this 
day, to hear those comments, again, hurts the soul.
  To think about how, in the same year, 2015, Walter Scott, in my 
hometown of North Charleston, running away from the police, was shot 
five times in the back--I sponsored legislation then, and I don't 
remember a single person saying a single thing on that side of the 
aisle about helping to push forward more legislation on body cameras. 
But, today, this is a token piece of legislation. I think it is 
important that we stand up and be counted and make sure that we have 
more resources available for every officer to have a body camera 
because, as we saw in Georgia with Mr. Arbery, had it not been caught 
on video; in Walter Scott's case, had it not been caught on video; in 
George Floyd's case, had it not been caught on video, we might be in a 
different place.
  On the other side, they are wanting to race-bait on tokenism, while 
this legislation would provide resources for body cameras, for anti-
lynching, and for deescalation training. But, no, we can't concern 
ourselves with the families I sat with at the White House yesterday and 
in my office yesterday. Instead, we want to play politics because this 
is 2020, and we are far more concerned about winning elections than we 
are about having a serious conversation on reform in this country. No, 
we would rather have a conversation about tearing this country apart, 
making it a binary choice between law enforcement and communities of 
color instead of working for the American people, bringing the reforms 
to the table so that we have a chance to balance this Nation and direct 
her toward due north. No, that is too much to ask on June 17, 5 years 
later.
  I started this conversation on body cameras in 2015, in the Walter 
Scott Notification Act in 2015. But, no, we want to have a political 
conversation. I reject that. I reject that.
  I will tell you that I believe my friends on the other side of the 
aisle are serious about police reform. There are just some who are more 
interested in scoring political points than they actually are in 
getting a result.
  It is not the majority of them. The majority of them have the same 
heart that we have for the American people. That is where we should be 
focusing our attention, not the color of my skin, not tokens. It is 
cool when you are out in the public. I get it all the time on Twitter. 
I am used to it. But on this day, my heart aches for my State. My heart 
aches for my uncle's church, which he attended for 50 years before he 
passed. So I am a little riled up.
  I sit here quietly trying to pass good legislation that was based on 
the House bill because I knew that if I wanted a chance to get 
something done, we had to do it in a bipartisan fashion. I am not 
running for anything. I am not up for reelection. I am not trying to 
support someone for their victory. I am simply saying to the families I 
met with yesterday at the White House without a camera and in my office 
yesterday without a camera: I hear you. We see you. You are not simply 
sitting there silent. We are working on serious, tangible, measurable 
results.
  Why is that not enough? Why can't we just disagree on the three or 
four items that we disagree upon? Why can't I say what I have been 
saying, which is that the House bill is, in fact, the blueprint for 
some progress? It goes too far for me in some areas, but, yes, I like 
the concept of more information. This is a good thing. The House does 
it; we do it. That is a good thing. I like the concept of more 
training. The House does it; we do it. I like the fact that we are 
looking for a way to ban choke holds. We do it by taking money from 
different departments; they do it in a different fashion. We are about 
90 percent there.
  But where do we go? Where do we go? People wonder why our country is 
so divided. It is because it is so easy to walk onto this floor and say 
``token'' and send the same race-baiting message that we have heard for 
a very long time.
  If you are a Democrat, hey, it is OK. That is not ever OK. It is not 
OK to say to our kids: You can't think what you want to think and be 
who you want to be. If you are not in line with one idea and the way 
they think, it is bad news. Then you are a sellout
  What message do you send the kids? I am going to be OK, but what 
message are we sending the kids throughout our country--that you can't 
be taught just to think; we have to teach you how to think. That is the 
kind of conclusion that is wrong. It is toxic. It is pushing our 
country toward an implosion that is avoidable.

[[Page S3042]]

  That is why I started my legislative day today with remembering 
Mother Emanuel. It is why I read my Bible next--because I knew I needed 
a little extra strength. That is why I turned immediately to my first 
interview trying to talk about police reform because, as a guy who has 
been stopped 18 times in the years of the 2000s, I take it seriously. 
Being stopped seven times in a single year, being stopped this year, 
being stopped last November, being stopped coming into the Senate with 
my pin on--sure, I get it. But I don't point fingers at the other side, 
saying that they are just not serious about the issue. It is just not 
what we should do.
  I assume that everybody should be serious about the issue, but I have 
to tell you, it is with a heavy heart--it is with a heavy heart that I 
believe that, had we had more money for body cameras, we would be in a 
different position today than we were in 2015. But I didn't have 
anybody who wanted to have this conversation or, at least, they didn't 
have this conversation.
  I believe there are good people of good intent on the other side of 
the aisle. I think there are people of good intent on our side of the 
aisle. I think the fact is that most Americans are tired of Republicans 
and Democrats talking about Republicans and Democrats. I think most 
Americans are tired of our talking about election outcomes and polls. 
``What about me?'' is what they are saying.
  I am suggesting that this bill, the JUSTICE Act, is a serious 
nationwide effort tackling the issues of police reform, accountability, 
and transparency. It is grounded in bipartisan principles because I 
believe that the other side has some stuff we have to hear and that our 
side has some stuff they need to hear. If we do that, we will have the 
votes to have a real debate next week on this bill, but if we don't do 
that, we will just talk about scoring political points, and you will go 
on MSNBC or CNN, and we will go on FOX, and everybody will have their 
chatter, and more people in the communities of color will have less 
confidence in the institutions of power and authority in this Nation 
because we missed the moment. We missed it 5 years ago. We don't have 
to miss it now.
  As you know, I am not really into theatrics. I don't run toward 
microphones. I have had a lot of them these last 7 days. I don't talk a 
lot in conference because, why say what other people are saying? They 
have probably said it better. I don't demonize the other side because I 
know that in order to get anything done in this conference, on this 
committee, in this Senate, you have to have 60 votes. Plus, if you have 
a grievance with your brother, talk to them. Talk to them. I have tried 
to do that.
  As I am sure I am running out of time, let me just say that the 
families I sat down with yesterday--they don't think working on body 
cameras is a token experience. They don't think sitting down with the 
President of the United States, with tears filling their eyes, running 
down their cheeks, talking about their lost loved ones is a token 
experience. The law enforcement officers in that meeting with those 
families do not believe that having a serious conversation about police 
reform is a token experience. They don't believe that coresponders for 
the one man who was in the room, whose son was having a mental episode, 
who was shot on the scene--he doesn't think this was a token 
experience.
  Shame on us. Shame on us if we are unwilling to have a serious 
conversation about a serious issue that, in my opinion, is a greater 
threat to this Nation than perhaps anything we have seen. We have never 
solved it because we are all having political points. That is wrong. It 
is just not right.
  Let me say to all of my colleagues, Senator Lankford, Senators 
Capito, Sasse, Lindsey, Barrasso, and Alexander: Thank you. Thank you 
for giving a voice to a serious issue.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oklahoma.
  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, first, I would like to associate my 
remarks 100 percent with everything Senator Scott just said. Somehow I 
am supposed to speak after he just said it.
  The frustration that I have had over the past couple of days as we 
have worked very hard in pulling the legislation together is we have 
talked to people all over. I have talked to people of all backgrounds 
all over Oklahoma. I have talked to members of the community. I have 
talked to law enforcement. I have talked to leadership in law 
enforcement. We have worked to build a coalition of ideas, things that 
would pass, answering the question that Tim Scott started with: Could 
we pull together a piece of legislation that would actually help--not 
to just pass something so we can walk away, pat each other on the back 
and say ``We passed something,'' knowing quietly that it really isn't 
going to make any difference? Is there something we could do that would 
actually make a difference?
  Over the weeks we have worked to identify what could pass, what could 
make a difference, what answers the questions everyone is asking. We 
didn't look at whether it was a Republican or Democratic idea. We just 
asked the question, what would make the difference, because I don't 
believe equal justice under the law is owned by a party. It has been 
fascinating to me, the questions I have had over the past couple of 
days as members of the media would quietly pull me aside and say: Hey, 
are Republicans going to be able to pass a bill on race? Quietly, they 
are asking the question: We know all those Republicans are racist, so 
are you going to be able to pull something off? That is really what 
they are saying in the background. Over and over again, I heard it 
through the media and have seen it put out there: You know those 
Republicans are all racist. I don't think they are going to be able to 
pass something dealing with race.
  As this dividing message continues to go out, we continue to do our 
work because we also believe in equal justice under the law. As a 
friend of mine said to me a couple of weeks ago, we also believe we 
should be able to work toward a more perfect Union.
  For me, it is not only a practical issue, not only a family issue; it 
is not only a friendship issue; it is not only a basic freedom and 
liberty issue; it is not just a constitutional issue. For me, it is 
also a Biblical issue. You can go back as many pages as you want to in 
Scripture and work your way from beginning to end, and you are going to 
find some very consistent themes. Throughout the book of Deuteronomy, 
there is a statement about how God's affection is ``for equal weights 
and measures.'' His first challenge to government when literally the 
Jews were establishing their first government, God spoke to them, 
saying, make sure there are equal weights and measures. It is a simple 
way of saying, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are a 
foreigner, whether you are a member, whether you are in or out, 
everyone is to be treated the same, equal weights, equal measures. Find 
that passage over and over and over again through the Old Testament. 
Read it all the way to the Book of the Revelation at the end.
  At the Book of Revelation at the end, there is a gathering around the 
throne that is pictured. At the very end, there is the gathering of the 
Kingdom of God. As they gather around the throne, it is described as 
every tribe, every nation, every language, every people, all gathered.
  For me, this is a Biblical issue as well as being a personal issue, 
but for us as a nation, it is a legal issue. It is about where we find 
inconsistencies in the application of the law, we are to correct it, 
and we do what we can to make it right.
  This bill is designed with a simple statement in mind. How can we 
provide accountability, transparency, and training in law enforcement 
so that the good cops shine and those who are bad apples in the mix, 
the light shines on them.
  That is all we are asking. We want to see things change. People in my 
towns across my State want to see things change and want to know that 
this is not just a vote that is a partisan vote; it is a vote to 
actually get something solved.
  It wasn't that long ago that this body was gathering and voted 
unanimously on an almost $3 trillion bill dealing with a major problem 
in America, COVID-19. Why don't we get together again, hash out the 
issues, and unanimously come to some decisions again on a major problem 
in America, injustice?
  We can't pass something that bans racism. I wish we could. We would 
have

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all taken that vote. We can't ban racism. That is passed on through 
families and individuals. Children are not born racist. They are raised 
racist. Families have to make a decision about what they are going to 
do in their family. The national conversation about race doesn't happen 
in this room. The national conversation on race happens in kitchens and 
dining rooms.
  We can do something about justice. There are simple things we tried 
to gather, a set of ideas that aren't partisan. They are ideas and 
solutions that have come from all over the place, some Democratic and 
some Republican, and we pulled these things together, and we are asking 
a simple question: Will our Democratic Members take a vote with us next 
week to move to this bill to amend it, debate it, talk about it, have a 
real dialogue, and pass something that we think will work? Will this 
bill look exactly like this? It probably will look a lot like this 
because there are aspects of this that look like this in the House 
right now. Will there be additional ideas? Probably. Why don't we 
debate it and talk about it? Why don't we both open it up and discuss 
it and why don't we actually try to solve it?
  There are things such as, if there is bodily injury or death in 
police custody, that all of that information has to come in to the FBI 
so we can disseminate it and get transparency in the country. In fact, 
40 percent of the departments report that, but a lot of them do not.
  There are a lot of places that do no-knock warrants. We don't have 
information about that. We know it is happening all over the country, 
and there is some conversation about maybe we should end part of it or 
keep part of it. What would that look like? We don't have the 
information gathered. Why don't we get information on no-knock warrants 
so that we can make an informed decision and then act on it?
  Why don't we deal with some basic problems that are out there that we 
have seen several times in some of the worst moments? Something 
happens, and law enforcement is not wearing a body camera, and it is 
one opinion against another opinion. Why don't we get more body cameras 
in the streets, and why don't we make sure those body cameras are 
actually turned on all the time? There is new technology in body 
cameras so that they automatically turn on when there is a call. Law 
enforcement doesn't have to worry about, ``I forgot to turn it on.'' It 
turns itself on. Why don't we incentivize it to encourage new body 
cameras with automatic features to turn it on so we always 
have footage?

  Why don't we hold people to account if there is a false police report 
that is filed? In several cases of late, when the incident was over, a 
written police report was filed. Later, cell phone video came out that 
was completely different from the original police report. Well, that is 
a false report. Why don't we hold that bad apple to account?
  Why don't we end choke holds? Most departments already have. Why 
don't we just end it nationwide? Why don't we say to departments: If 
you want to get a Federal grant for any law enforcement purpose, you 
can't get that or you get a reduced amount or you get a big deduction 
unless your department has already banned choke holds. Basically, we 
lay the marker out there and say: We expect you to take action on this.
  Why don't we deal with the issues that are before us that people are 
asking questions about, and where we lack information, let's go get it.
  It was several years ago that Senator Peters, on the Democratic side, 
and Senator Cornyn, on the Republican side, put out a proposal to have 
a Commission study these issues and more, to gather information and 
make recommendations and to start passing legislation in a unified way. 
It passed in the Senate unanimously and died in the House. Let's bring 
that legislation back up.
  We tried to do some work in the Senate to head this off. Let's do it 
again and see what we can actually do. Where we find departments that 
are recruiting officers and the department doesn't match the ethnicity 
of their community, why don't we provide grants for that community and 
that police department to be able to have a Black recruiter recruit 
more Black officers and to help them financially in the earliest days 
through the police academy to make sure that department profile matches 
that community?
  One of the great gains of the last 30 years has been community 
policing, allowing officers to be able to get out of their car and meet 
their community and to engage so communities are policing together. Why 
don't we do that?
  I did a ride-along with an officer several years ago, and I will 
never forget it. As we were riding through his community and his 
neighborhood where he always patrolled, we drove by an elderly lady as 
sweet as she could be sitting on her front porch. As we drove by I 
asked: Does she sit out there every day?
  The police officer laughed and said: Yep, she sits out there every 
day.
  I asked: Have you ever stopped to meet her?
  He hesitated for a long time, and he said: No, I never have.
  Community policing does make a difference. When you get a chance to 
meet the people in the community, get to know them, and share the 
responsibility together for actually working to solve problems that we 
face.
  We are laying down a set of ideas that we feel will make a 
difference, not just make a message. Other people have other ideas. 
Bring them. Let's open it up.
  Let's not have heated debate. Let's have debate that solves the 
problems so that at the end of this, we know what we are solving. We 
solve it, and then we keep going.
  I yield the floor
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Carolina.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, for one, I would like to say something 
about Senator Scott. I know how hard it is to work on this, and it has 
not been an easy enterprise for Tim. He is a conservative Republican, 
who happens to be African-American, and he has decided to take the lead 
on something that is very important to the country.
  He has had experiences that I don't have. He has been stopped 
multiple times on Capitol Hill. I have never been stopped. One year, he 
was stopped seven times for lane changes. The point is that Tim 
believes--and every African-American male I have talked to in the last 
couple of weeks is told early on, if you are stopped by the cops, watch 
what you do; keep your hands on the wheel and don't go toward the dash 
because that could end badly. I don't know how that happened, but it is 
real. For us not to realize that would be a huge mistake.
  Let me be on record as saying I understand that if you are an 
African-American male, your experience with the police is different 
than mine. It is unacceptable, and it needs to stop.
  So how do you stop it? You bring about change. So what kind of change 
are we looking for? Our Democratic friends have a list of changes. I 
think it is Justice in Policing. The House is marking it up. Here is 
what I would say to my Democratic colleagues: Stop lecturing me. You 
had 8 years under President Obama to do the things in the Justice in 
Policing Act, and 90 percent of it you never brought up. I am not 
saying we are blameless, but there has not been this sense of urgency 
to deal with these problems institutionally like there is today. Why? 
Because of Mr. Floyd and a few other things all happening together.
  Tim said in 2016 we had our chance. These episodes come and they go. 
The question for the country is, Will anything ever change? The only 
way it is going to change is to find common ground. So the proposal 
Senator Scott has collected, along with other colleagues, has 
bipartisan support, but if it is not enough, I am willing to listen 
regarding doing more.
  Senator Sasse was with me yesterday. We had a 5-hour hearing, and I 
learned a lot. I learned that a police department looking like the 
community is important, Senator Lankford, but, more importantly, is 
that you live where you police.
  I asked a gentleman from New Jersey: What is more important, race or 
community attachment? He said: Community attachment. You are less 
likely to hurt somebody in a community you feel a part of.
  Now, having said that, we need more African-American police 
personnel. We need more women. Apparently, women do their jobs a lot 
better than men. I haven't heard one person come forward and say: I had 
a bad experience with a

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policewoman. More women would be helpful. But the main thing is, we 
need people from the community being in charge of policing that 
community with a system that is more accountable.
  So Cory Booker and I have worked together on a lot of things--great 
guy. Tim and Cory are good friends, and I admire the heck out of Tim 
Scott. I am not going to take any more time. He is one of the most 
decent people I have ever met, and we are lucky to have him in South 
Carolina and the country is lucky.
  The bottom line, as Cory said, there are two issues that have to be 
addressed or everything else doesn't matter--242 and qualified 
immunity. I wrote them down. For those who are not conversant in 242 or 
qualified immunity, there is nothing wrong with you. This is a very 
archaic area of the law. Qualified immunity is a judicial doctrine that 
has developed over time that relates to the 1983 civil rights statute 
that allows people to sue governmental entities for abuse of force, for 
excessive force.
  There is nothing in the statute about an objective standard where the 
reasonably prudent police officer in the same circumstances acted 
accordingly. There is nothing about good faith.
  Justice Thomas is a pretty conservative guy. He wanted to revisit 
qualified immunity. I don't know how he would substantively come out on 
the issue, but in his dissent denying certiorari of the concept, he 
explains how this judicial concept has exploded beyond every attachment 
of common law analysis. This is Clarence Thomas. If you presented to me 
qualified immunity in its current form as a legislative proposal, I 
would vote hell, no. Police officers need not worry about losing their 
house or being sued if they act in good faith in performing duties that 
are hard on any good day, but when police departments time and again 
fail to do the things necessary to instill good policing, I think they 
should be subject and accountable like any other business. There is 
common ground here.
  Not one Democrat has suggested to me to make the individual officer 
civilly liable under 242, but I had Democrats suggest to me that the 
standard has become almost absolute immunity.
  The Presiding Officer has run all kinds of businesses. Being in the 
policing business is not your normal business. There needs to be a 
filter when it comes to lawsuits. It can't be about outcome. But it is 
now time, in my view, to look at the development of the qualified 
immunity doctrine as it relates to the 1983 underlying statute and see 
if we could make it better, not gut it.
  To my Democratic friends, if you want to eliminate qualified 
immunity, it will be a very short conversation. If you want to reform 
it so that municipalities and agencies and organizations running police 
departments will have some protection but not absolute immunity, let's 
talk. Maybe we can get there if it is that important. Let's at least 
try. That is what the legislative process is all about.
  Section 242 allows the Federal Government to bring charges against an 
individual for denying another American their constitutional rights. 
This is about policing but not exclusive to policing.
  The Presiding Officer is from Georgia. I am from South Carolina. 
There was a time in the South where juries would nullify all the 
evidence in front of them because the victim was a Black man and the 
perpetrator was White. A mountain of evidence could be presented, and 
there would be an acquittal in like 15 minutes. So we came up with a 
concept to allow the Federal Government to intervene in cases like that 
and hold somebody liable for violating the constitutional rights of 
another American under law Federal law.
  The standard to prosecute is ``willful.'' You have to prove that the 
police officer willfully understood the constitutional right and 
violated it. My friends on the other side want to lower the standard to 
``reckless.'' What I would say is, this is not 1965. The police officer 
involved in Mr. Floyd's death is going to be prosecuted. So while it is 
important to talk about section 242, most States where these events 
have occurred have acted responsibly. We don't need the Federal 
Government sitting in judgment of every cop in the country. What we do 
need is a system of accountability. I will talk to you about 242, but I 
think that is not the issue.
  What is the issue? It is that police departments that are immune from 
liability when they engage in abusive conduct over and over are 
unlikely to change until that changes. You can throw all the money you 
want to at training and improving best practices, and they will gladly 
accept your money. If they don't do it right, they don't get the money. 
Add one thing to the mix. By the way, if you shoot a dog and you wind 
up killing a kid--your police officer shouldn't have shot the dog 
anyway in a fashion to kill the kid who was right by the dog--you are 
going to wind up having your ass in court. That will change things.
  I have been a lawyer, and I know how people feel about this. If you 
are exposed, in terms of your conduct being subject to a review by a 
court and a jury, you are all of a sudden going to think differently.
  Don't misconstrue what I am saying. I am not for abolishing qualified 
immunity; I am for revisiting the concept because I think it has grown 
too much from judicially created fiat. It is time for the legislative 
body--for us to speak as to what we would like to have happen to the 
statute that we create that now has a component to it that was never 
envisioned when it was originally passed. That is what Clarence Thomas 
is telling us as a nation we need to do.
  To my friends on the other side, if it is about qualified immunity, 
let's talk. If it is about 242, let's talk. If it is about keeping this 
issue alive, don't waste my time. We have all had plenty of time around 
here to do better. Now we have a chance to actually do some good. The 
only way we are going to do some good is talk. The only way you get a 
law passed is to engage in debate. If you don't want to debate the 
topic, if you don't want to have amendments about the topic, that tells 
me all I need to know about where you are coming from.
  I yield to the Senator from Nebraska.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska.
  Mr. SASSE. Mr. President, I want to start by saying thank you to my 
friend from South Carolina--Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee spoke, but I mean my desk mate, Senator Scott from South 
Carolina--not only for his leadership and hard work and the hard work 
of Jennifer and the rest of that their team. Over the course of the 
last 2 weeks, they have been working around the clock to lead our six-
person working group on this project.
  I want to thank Tim, not just for his leadership, but for his speech 
30 minutes ago and for his spirit. That speech is a speech that needs 
to be watched by every American.
  I sincerely hope that the 100 people in this room will come together 
and try to get an outcome and not just maintain a political issue as 
has happened so often around here. I think if we had the process that 
was the custom in the Senate until a few decades ago of committees 
happening in the morning and the Senate convening for most of the 
afternoon--if this room were actually full when Tim Scott delivered his 
speech, it would be real tough for people to be talking about not 
voting on the motion to proceed next week and getting on this piece of 
legislation where we could then debate it and argue about it and fight 
about technical pieces here and there and figure out how we make it 
better. We would be on a piece of legislation, and we would be trying 
to get an outcome. I sincerely hope that is true. I sincerely hope 
people listen to Tim Scott's speech from today.
  George Floyd's murder, obviously, shocked the nation. It shocked us 
in two ways. It shocked us, on the one hand, because we saw a man being 
murdered for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, and we saw three other police 
officers stand by while he was murdered. But it also shocked us because 
it reminded us, yet again, that America's struggle for equal justice 
under the law is far, far from over.
  The American creed is a beautiful thing. The American creed 
celebrates the dignity, the inherent self-worth, the fact that we 
believe, as so many of our Founders believed, that people were created 
Imago Dei--created in the image of God as image bearers. That

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dignity is male and female, Black and White. Every man, woman, and 
child in this country is created with inherent dignity. They are 
beautiful, and that creed is beautiful. That proposition that all men 
are created equal should inspire every generation of Americans. We 
aren't doing a very good job right now of passing on the glories of 
that creed to the next generation. It is a beautiful and profound 
creed, but throughout our history, our failures to live up to that 
creed have been ugly over and over again.
  George Floyd's murder was horrific for that man and for his family 
and for everyone in his communities--Minneapolis, Houston, and other 
places where that man had made a mark. But it was also horrific because 
it was yet another reminder of all the ways that we fail to live up to 
our creed. The creed is beautiful, and our execution has so often been 
ugly.
  When communities of color have lost faith in law enforcement, we 
aren't living up to that creed. When an American tells you that he 
fears being pulled over for driving while Black, we need a lot more 
conversations in a lot more communities so people know this experience.
  Again, Senator Scott is one of my closest friends in this body. The 
experiences he has had with law enforcement in South Carolina are 
different from the ones I have had with law enforcement in Nebraska. 
The experiences he has on Capitol Hill with law enforcement have been 
different from the experiences I have had on Capitol Hill. No one 
should be wearing skin pigment or racial heritage as something that 
changes our experience of law enforcement, yet it is regularly the 
case. That is ugly. The creed is beautiful.
  Our attempts to become and to be a more perfect Union and to live up 
to the glories of that creed are an important part of our shared 
project together. At the risk of sounding too theological, east of 
Eden, sin is always ugly, and that includes America's original sin. 
That tells us that we have work to do together.

  We have work to do as 330 million Americans, but we have work to do 
as 100 Senators. What that should mean is that next week we are going 
to be in this body trying to live up to that creed and to do more.
  There is a lot of technical stuff inside this bill. As Senator Scott 
said, 70 percent of what is in this bill is pretty darn 
noncontroversial, largely because it is lifted and summarizing many 
pieces that are also in the House of Representatives' Democrat bill.
  The JUSTICE Act puts forward a number of commonsense reforms that 
seek to force more accountability. This has been stated on the floor 
many times today, but I want to say it again: When police use lethal 
force, there is a voluntary opportunity today for them to report that 
to the FBI. We want to make that mandatory. We want all that data to be 
captured and to be passed along so there is a lot more transparency on 
all lethal uses of force.
  The commonsense reforms include increasing police resources. There is 
a lot of training that needs to be done better across this country. 
There are a lot of practices in local law enforcement--when you look at 
the 15,000, 16,000, whatever the current number is of local entities 
that have the capability and capacity to have law enforcement 
authorities, those policing powers, there is a lot of diversity in 
their practices. Some of those practices are improving but are still 
bad. Senator Scott and our legislation want to try to use the Federal 
grant-making powers to squeeze out some of those bad practices.
  We want to see trust rebuilt between this Nation's communities and 
the police. We reject the false binary that you have to make a choice 
between being on the side of communities of color or being on the side 
of law enforcement. No, we don't want that to be the choice. We want 
the choice to be law enforcement to get better and communities of color 
to have more trust. We want to see more collaboration. We want to see 
more progress. Frankly, that is what the vast majority of individual 
police and that is what the vast majority of police departments want.
  The overwhelming majority of Americans--Republican and Democrat, 
women and men, Black and White--the overwhelming majority of Americans 
want us to build more trust. We can do that in this body next week.
  We want to strive toward equal protection under the law. That starts 
with trying to narrow the differences and figuring out what we can do 
to move forward together. That is what this bill does. This bill is an 
architectural frame to do a bunch of good things that are pretty darn 
noncontroversial and to do a bunch of things that we can build on in a 
debate and amendment process.
  We should be passing something 100 to 0. There will be debate. There 
will amendment votes underneath that will be contentious, but we should 
ultimately be getting onto a piece of legislation to start the process 
100 to 0, and at the back end we should be passing something 100 to 0 
even though, in the middle, there should be a bunch of amendments where 
people argue about the best way that we do the particulars.
  There is no reason we shouldn't be moving forward. We can get this 
done. We can take another step to make America's beautiful creed a 
reality for every single one of God's children. That is what we should 
do, and we should do it without delay.
  I yield to the Senator from West Virginia.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cotton). The Senator from West Virginia
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, I am pleased to be here with my fellow 
Senator from Nebraska and the other Members of the small team that was 
really blessed to be asked to join Senator Scott as he led us to where 
we are today, which is introducing the JUSTICE Act.
  I am thinking about where the great talents lie in the Senate. One of 
the things we all know all of us do well is talk. We know how to talk. 
Sometimes we talk too much. Senator Scott doesn't talk that much. He 
even said that about himself. I can tell you the skill that he has that 
a lot of us need more of. Always, when I am asked by school children 
``What is the best skill to have?'' I say it is the ability to listen. 
He has listened for years and years. He has not just lived this; he has 
listened. He said, just yesterday, he was with the family of one of the 
victims, and it was a very moving day for him.
  I am here today to rise with my colleagues in support of the JUSTICE 
Act. I join the overwhelming majority of Americans and West Virginians 
who, in sadness and frustration and sorrow, witnessed the horrifying 
video of the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police 
Department. It was absolutely unacceptable.
  The vast majority of our law enforcement officers here and around the 
country are just like us. They want to have a great and peaceful 
nation. They want to have great and peaceful communities. They want 
their families to feel safe in their homes and out in the streets of 
their communities just as we do. A lot of them take their oath 
seriously and do their best to protect our communities.
  It is not enough to say that the death of George Floyd was a 
terrible, isolated tragedy because we know many of these have preceded 
this date. I have said it is almost like popping a balloon and 
revealing all of this unrest underneath, all the questions and sorrow 
that have been festering.
  Here we are today. I think the great majority of us want to put all 
this energy and frustration into action. We want to have something 
substantive so we can tell the American people: We listened. We heard. 
We feel this. And we want to find solutions.
  We have to recognize that every time force is used inappropriately by 
law enforcement, our justice system has eroded. We have to understand 
our history, wherein Black Americans have been too frequently denied 
their basic rights. It is our job to make sure that Americans, 
regardless of race, can feel that law enforcement is there to protect 
them and their families and that they trust that. The trust factor is 
where the erosion has been most remarkably in view of all of us--the 
lack of trust.
  It is our job to hear these voices and to act. In my opinion, it 
doesn't mean defunding the police; it means improving the police and 
improving equal protections so that everybody has basic protections and 
we are all equal in the eyes of justice and the law.
  We have seen the looting. We have seen officers who have lost their 
lives.

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We have seen an underbelly to our country that has been difficult to 
watch. Yet what we have seen, too, is an outcry of the American 
citizens peacefully protesting what they see as inequities in their 
lives. When I look in the crowd--I was right there in Washington last 
week when a crowd of about 150 protesters walked by me very peacefully 
with signs and chanting in solidarity. Most of the people in that group 
were probably under 30 years old. There were a lot of Black faces, a 
lot of White faces, men and women, young people who felt that lack of 
trust. We look at how people have exercised their First Amendment 
rights. It is a beautiful thing to see. Unfortunately, it has been 
eroded by some of the destructive things that have come along with it, 
but at the base of it, we are hearing the same things in our States 
every day.
  While we want to know that our Declaration of Independence has lived 
up to--and that the 14th amendment, which guarantees that no 
government, including State and local governments, can deny basic 
constitutional rights, we haven't quite lived up to all of that.
  A century passed before we passed major civil rights legislation in 
1964. One of the sources of great pride for me is that my father was 
one of the leading Republicans in the House of Representatives 
representing West Virginia in 1964 who helped make sure that passed. In 
my office, I actually have a pen that was used in signing that and a 
picture of my dad at the White House when it was signed.
  Our job is not done. When I hear the voices of mothers who say that 
they are fearful their son might not survive a simple traffic stop or 
they must have certain behaviors--as Senator Sasse said, it is so 
different from what he learned growing up as a young man about how to 
interact with police officers in that situation. We can't have those 
anguished cries and that double system anymore. That is what this bill 
is about.
  I am proud to be with Senator Scott introducing the JUSTICE Act. It 
has been interesting to watch him and all of us listen to the different 
segments of our society who have talked to us--friends, neighbors, 
police, members of communities of color, our religious communities, our 
news commentators. I did six interviews today on the TV about this. 
Every single one of them asked me one fundamental question, and I wish 
some of my friends on the other side of the aisle would be here. They 
asked: You don't have a very good history in this body of having 
Republicans and Democrats joining together to get something done. How 
do you think you can do this now? I said: Well, today we did. We did 
the Great American Outdoors Act. Several months ago we did the CARES 
Act. We can do it. Where there is a will, we can do it.

  If we don't do it, we are failing so many people. We are failing 
ourselves. We are failing our country, our communities, failing our law 
enforcement communities. I would say that we need to begin this job of 
a difficult conversation and make sure that we get this bill onto the 
Senate floor and debate it in front of the general public.
  When we start debating things on the Senate floor in front of the 
general public, do you know what happens? The same thing that happened 
during the impeachment trial. I know all of us were getting all kinds 
of input from people all around. People are watching it. They are 
seeing what is actually going on. That is what we need. If we want to 
have discussions on qualified immunity, if we want to ban choke holds, 
which I want to do and our bill does, essentially, but if you want 
something more definitively, yes, I am all for that. Let's have the 
discussion and talk about it in front of the American people.
  I believe that law enforcement has a lot of great people who work in 
and around law enforcement. They need the equipment. They need the 
cameras. They need to have the realtime evidence--the realtime evidence 
of wrongdoing and evidence of doing it right. It is a protective 
device. Everybody should have the availability of that in law 
enforcement.
  We also require that law enforcement agencies retain disciplinary 
records on officers and make sure that they check an officer's record 
from other agencies before making a hiring decision. I kind of thought 
that was going on anyway. I sort of did. We need to make sure and make 
clear that is what we absolutely want to do.
  The bill incentivizes State and local police agencies to ban choke 
holds. As I mentioned earlier, I am for even more definitive language 
on that.
  It also provides training in all kinds of areas--deescalation or if 
an officer is in a situation where another officer is using 
overwhelming force improperly, that officer is trained on how to 
interdict that situation. We saw that happen in Minneapolis. Sadly, the 
officers did not, but maybe they didn't know how to do it, when to do 
it, what form it should take. Let's explore that.
  To keep our communities safe, we need our police officers. We need 
trust in our law enforcement. There should be no conflict between a 
pro-civil rights bill and a pro-law enforcement bill. They should be 
able to be joined together. This supports our police officers while 
bringing about positive change that will guarantee equal protection to 
all of our citizens. The police reform bill will make a real difference 
in advancing our constitutional ideals and in making our communities 
safer.
  I am proud to stand with Senator Scott, but I want to stand with the 
entire body to talk about the ways to make this bill even better, to 
take the 70 percent of this bill that we have shared ideals on and 
shared ideas and put those into action and to not dither here, to not 
score political points, and to say to the American people: These are 
tough decisions, and we are going to make them. We are going to have 
this where you can see it, right here on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
  So thank you very much. I am proud to be with my colleagues.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.


                    Nomination of Justin Reed Walker

  Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, we are in the middle of a pandemic. The 
President of the United States doesn't act like it, but Americans are 
still dying by the hundreds--several hundred almost every day.
  We are in the middle of an economic crisis. Again, the President of 
the United States doesn't act like it. He crows about the unemployment 
numbers when they are the worst since World War II.
  And we are in the middle of a crisis of conscience. Millions of 
Americans have taken to the streets to protest the murders of Black and 
Brown Americans by the people supposed to protect them.
  With all of these challenges, the President of the United States is 
failing. The Senate should be stepping in right now to fill that 
leadership void, to get more help to families and to communities that 
are going bankrupt, to protect workers--to use every tool we have to 
force the administration to get some kind of test trace isolate regime 
in place to truly stop the spread of the coronavirus. We should be 
listening to the protestors demanding justice in communities all across 
the country, large and small.
  They remind us this pandemic isn't a separate issue from racial 
justice--it is all connected. It is not a coincidence that President 
Trump stopped even pretending to try to fight the coronavirus once he 
realized it was disproportionately Black and Brown Americans dying, not 
very often one of his rich friends.
  In the Senate, we have plans to get help and protections to workers; 
we have plans to fund a scale-up of testing that gets us closer to the 
level we need; we have plans to work to hold police accountable; we 
have begun to tackle the systemic racism in our justice system.
  Look at it this way: The last time I was on an airplane was in mid-
March. I live close enough--6-hour drive between Cleveland and 
Washington. In mid-March, there were about 90 coronavirus cases 
diagnosed in the United States--halfway around the world from where the 
Presiding Officer likes to emphasize it came from, Wuhan. About 900 
miles from Wuhan is the capital of South Korea--Seoul. In South Korea, 
around that same time, there were 90 cases. So South Korea had 90 
diagnosed cases; the United States had about 90 diagnosed cases.
  Since that date in March, fewer than 300 Koreans have died of the 
coronavirus; over 110,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus.

[[Page S3047]]

  In Korea, their unemployment rate now is under 4 percent; our 
unemployment rate is somewhere between three and four times that.
  That is clearly the incompetence--this is not a partisan statement. I 
have watched my Republican Governor of Ohio, who has done a good job, 
teamed up with Dr. Amy Acton, the health director, in combating this 
virus early, while the President of the United States was still blaming 
the virus on--saying it was a hoax or not real or whatever he said, and 
then his inept leadership didn't scale up testing, didn't have any 
national program to provide protective equipment to our people.
  So we have seen the bungled leadership out of the White House--
110,000 Americans passed away, an unemployment rate higher than at any 
time in my lifetime--but we are not doing anything about that here in 
this body. Why? Because Leader McConnell doesn't want to do anything 
about it, for whatever reason. Instead of rising to meet the crisis of 
the pandemic or unemployment or the protests on our streets, Senator 
McConnell wants to create a new crisis by confirming more extreme 
judges that are trying to take away America's healthcare.
  The challenges we are facing as a country are bad enough. Imagine if 
Leader McConnell and President Trump get their way--their handpicked 
judges throw tens of millions of Americans off of their health 
insurance in the middle of a pandemic. That sounds farfetched? Well, 
no, it isn't.

  In the middle of a pandemic, this President continues his lawsuit to 
try to overturn the Affordable Care Act, even though the voters have 
ratified it through a number of elections in 2012 and 2014 and 2016 and 
2018. It still stands, but the President of the United States is trying 
to take away people's healthcare. They are trying to sneak ACA repeal 
through the courts since they couldn't do it in Congress.
  While the rest of the country is distracted just trying to keep their 
families safe, judges are deciding the fate of America's health 
coverage right now.
  The nomination we are considering this week--right now on the floor--
of Judge Walker is part of that effort. Judge Walker has served in the 
Western District of Kentucky for just 6 months.
  What makes him qualified for the DC Circuit? It is not the 6 months 
he served in Kentucky. In fact, the bar association in Kentucky said he 
wasn't qualified for that job. He has only had it for 6 months. What 
makes him qualified?
  Just go down the hall. I am sure you could have seen many, many times 
Judge Walker when he was Law Clerk Walker or Young Man Walker or 
Grandson of Contributor Walker going in and out of Senator McConnell's 
office. He is a protege of McConnell's. He thinks the way McConnell 
thinks; he acts the way McConnell acts; and that is what it is all 
about.
  Before his nomination to the district court, Walker praised then-
Judge Kavanaugh for providing a roadmap the Supreme Court could use to 
strike down the ACA. So it isn't just that Judge Walker is a young, 
unqualified, extremist, far-right protege of the majority leader. It is 
not just that. I mean, talk about the swamp. That is what that is.
  What it is all about is putting another vote in a key place to 
overturn the Affordable Care Act. He is calling upholding the ACA 
indefensible and catastrophic.
  I don't know how, in the middle of a pandemic, you look at the 
American landscape, you see how many people have been sick--millions of 
Americans have been sick--110,000 Americans have died, hundreds more 
every day, and you think one of the most important things you can do is 
strip millions of Americans of their healthcare.
  He has continued his attacks on American healthcare protections since 
he joined the Federal bench. In March 2020, at his formal swearing-in 
ceremony as district judge, Judge Walker said the worst words he heard 
while clerking for Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court were the Chief 
Justice's rationale for upholding the ACA. The worst words he heard 
from the man for whom he was working were his words to uphold the ACA, 
the Affordable Care Act.
  Now, what I forgot to mention was that when Judge Walker said that at 
his swearing-in ceremony, there were a couple of important visitors 
there.
  Although the Senate should have been in session and finished our work 
on the first round of the coronavirus, Senator McConnell--his office is 
down the hall. As we know, Senator McConnell decided to adjourn the 
Senate and go back to Kentucky for this swearing-in. Judge Kavanaugh, 
another protege, if you will, of Senator McConnell's was there too.
  So don't forget, Senator McConnell is on the ballot this year. 
Senator McConnell faces an opponent who is running neck and neck with 
him. It is a very Republican State, but Senator McConnell is not a 
particularly well-liked figure in his State, as we have seen through 
many years.
  So Senator McConnell didn't do his job here. It is not just he didn't 
do his job. He stopped us from doing our jobs so he could fly back, be 
with Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, to remind the voters in Kentucky 
that he is the strong man who got Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court 
and then to celebrate the swearing-in of just another young judge to a 
Federal district court. That is where Senator McConnell's priorities 
are.
  We know Judge Walker is the latest in a long line of judges pushed by 
President Trump, rammed through by Leader McConnell, as his minions, 
shills, obedient junior Senators or sheep--you choose the noun for your 
colleagues--all vote yes so you could put another member on another 
Federal court who is trying to take away Americans' healthcare.
  Chad Readler, from my State, who is now serving on the Sixth Circuit, 
led the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle the entire 
Affordable Care Act, and David Porter, who holds a Pennsylvania seat on 
the Third Circuit, wrote that the ACA ``violates the Framers' 
constitutional design.''
  What kind of law training do you have, and what kind of upbringing do 
you have--what kind of way do you think?--that you would think that 
providing healthcare to citizens is a violation of the Framers' 
constitutional design? Who thinks that way? On and on it goes.
  The American people want to keep their healthcare. They have made 
that clear. They especially want to keep that healthcare in the middle 
of, for gosh sakes, a pandemic. Leader McConnell needs to stop trying 
to take it away through the courts and start letting us actually get to 
work to make people healthier.
  Let's get to work to save lives from the coronavirus. Let's get to 
work to save lives from police violence. Let's get to work to save 
lives from all of the inequities in our healthcare system. Let's get to 
work to put money in people's pockets, help them pay the bills and stay 
in their homes, and help State and local governments from laying off 
thousands and thousands of workers.
  Leader McConnell, let us do our job, the job for which we were 
elected.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.


          Unanimous Consent Requests--S. Res. 596 and S. 3798

  Mr. HAWLEY. Mr. President, I am here today to talk about the death of 
democracy, and I am here today to talk about how we can stand with 
those who are fighting to preserve it.
  In the United States, the death of democracy might seem like a 
distant and unfamiliar thing. We study examples in the history books. 
We read of nations and peoples who are forced, through no choice of 
their own, to surrender their basic liberties. We remind ourselves of 
the need always to stay vigilant, to stay aware, but we are seeing 
today the death of democracy unfold in realtime, right before our eyes, 
in the city of Hong Kong.
  A diverse and global city, rich in culture and arts and commerce and 
people, Hong Kong is an outpost of liberty. For decades, under a 
special set of laws and protections, it has stood as a haven of 
liberty--a beacon, a light--but I fear that light is fast dimming, 
nearly overcome by darkness and by tyranny.
  This body, along with all free peoples, has a special responsibility 
to take a stand for the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong. We must 
take a stand to ensure that the light of Hong Kong does not go out 
forever. We must take a stand to ensure that this outpost of liberty 
lives on. We must take

[[Page S3048]]

a stand so that the flame of freedom is not extinguished forever by the 
Chinese Communist Party.
  On May 28, Beijing announced that it would adopt legislation that 
will essentially jettison the basic law under which Hong Kong has been 
governed for decades. It is legislation that will trample upon 
Beijing's own treaty commitments in the 1984 Sino-British Treaty, 
legislation--they call it legislation, but, of course, what it really 
is is just fiat, fiat by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing--that 
will strip Hong Kong of its basic liberties, strip Hongkongers of the 
right to freedom of speech, strip Hongkongers of the right to 
peacefully assemble, strip Hongkongers of their rights to redress in 
fair and open courts with some process of law.
  Beijing wants to deny the people of Hong Kong all of these things 
because liberty is a threat to the authoritarian Communist regime in 
Beijing. Oh, it fears that more than anything else. It fears the 
people. It fears the will of the people, and it fears the liberty of 
the people. It is trying to destroy the last outpost of liberty in its 
nation--the great city of Hong Kong.
  Now, we were promised that it would not come to this. We were told, 
when China joined the World Trade Organization, when China was given 
permanent normal trade relations, when China was ushered into this so-
called community of nations, that it would liberalize China and that it 
would make the Chinese Communist Party more moderate. Well, I think we 
know how that has turned out.
  After decades now of stealing our jobs, decades of ripping us off in 
trade, decades of impoverishing our own workers here in this country 
while stealing our intellectual property, decades of building its 
military on the backs of our middle class and our working people, now 
Beijing wants to dominate its region, snuff out Hong Kong, and then 
turn to the rest of the world.

  We have to send a clear message that we will not stand idly by. We 
will not allow Beijing to erase the history of its misdeeds. We will 
not allow it to erase the history of Tiananmen. We will not allow it to 
erase the history of the concentration camps it is running at this very 
moment, and we will not stand by while it destroys the liberties and 
the rights of the people of Hong Kong.
  It is time now for this body to stand and send a clear message that 
will call the other free nations to stand in support of the values we 
hold dear, in support of all that this country stands for, in support 
of the liberty of the people of Hong Kong.
  I yield to my colleague Senator Blackburn of Tennessee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Missouri for 
the work he is doing as he brings forward this resolution for Hong 
Kong.
  I want to take just a couple of minutes to remind those of us who 
have been watching this issue and have concerns about this resolution 
that the aggression we are seeing now is not something that is new. 
This is newly realized.
  As those of us who have followed this and followed the dealings of 
the Chinese Communist Party know, the newest so-called national 
security law is nothing more than the party's response to the threat 
that uprisings and protests in Hong Kong pose to its hold on power. It 
just can't stand it. It watches the freedom fighters in Hong Kong, and 
it thinks: What if it gets away from us?
  Hong Kong is our financial center, and it is watching what is 
happening in the rest of the free world. Australia, Canada, and the UK 
all have signed the official joint statement with us, the United States 
of America, expressing deep concern with this so-called national 
security legislation, which really is the Communist Party's way of 
stepping into Hong Kong and usurping the power--of going back on a deal 
it made long ago.
  Beijing claims that it needs this law to control against ``subversion 
of state power,'' but, again, anyone who has been paying attention 
knows that it will use this standard as an excuse to redefine 
``subversion'' and engage in the violent repression of speech, 
association, and movement--with no cause and without mercy. This is how 
it has kept control. It is a pattern, and there is no reason to believe 
it is going to do anything differently this time around.
  Over the past year, we have seen how willing Chinese officials are to 
trample every international norm, every law, every principle of 
diplomacy to force their hand on their own people and on other 
countries. Now, against all odds, forces in Beijing have found a way to 
make life in Hong Kong more dangerous than it has been by 
delegitimizing peaceful and nonviolent protests and journalism that 
doesn't mirror party propaganda. They have seized even more hope away 
from the freedom fighters who have captured the world's attention in 
their stunning displays of defiance.
  It is really quite a battle that is taking place, and I thank my 
colleagues for the good work they have done in standing against the 
Chinese Communist Party's aggression.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Missouri.
  Mr. HAWLEY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Tennessee for her 
tremendous work on this issue. I thank her for her leadership and for 
her strong stance in favor of the people of Hong Kong and their basic 
liberties, guaranteed to them by the international treaty commitments 
that Beijing has ascribed to, that Beijing has signed up for, and that 
it now seeks to violate with impunity.
  Let's be clear about what Beijing wants. It says that Hong Kong is 
its plaything to do with as it chooses. That is not the case. Beijing 
has undertaken internationally binding commitments, agreements, by 
which it has agreed to protect and honor the basic liberties of the 
people of Hong Kong, and it is those commitments that it is seeking to 
violate today with impunity. It is those commitments Beijing is seeking 
to wriggle out of just as it has, time and again, violated its 
agreements with this country, just as it has, time and again, cheated 
on its obligations to Americans.
  That is another reason I am calling on the Senate today to pass a 
resolution that makes it our position that China has gone too far. We 
must go on record and tell the world that this new national security 
law--this fiat that has been issued by Beijing--is a violation of what 
Beijing has committed to. It is a violation of the fundamental 
liberties of the people of Hong Kong, and nothing less than freedom is 
at stake.
  My resolution also calls on this administration to use every 
diplomatic means available to stay Beijing's hand. The President has 
already begun the process of downgrading Hong Kong's special trade 
status. We must build on that effort now by rallying nations--the free 
nations of the world--to pressure China to back down from their attempt 
to strip away the basic liberties of the people of Hong Kong because, 
in the end, Hong Kong's struggle is the struggle of all free people.

  Do you know what I said when I had the chance to visit the city, see 
the protests, and be out on the streets myself last fall? That 
sometimes the fate of one city defines the struggle of a generation. In 
the 1960s, that city was Berlin. Today, that city is Hong Kong, and it 
is time for this body to take a stand.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Blackburn). The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. HAWLEY. 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. HAWLEY. Madam President, as if in legislative session, I now ask 
unanimous consent that the Committee on Foreign Relations be discharged 
from further consideration and the Senate now proceed to S. Res. 596. I 
further ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the 
preamble be agreed to, and that the motions to reconsider be considered 
made and laid upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I am reserving the right to object.
  As I listened carefully to the statements made by the Senator from 
Missouri about the aggressive and unacceptable conduct of the 
Government of

[[Page S3049]]

China, or Hong Kong, he is absolutely right, I believe, that it is 
important that the U.S. Senate--in fact, that the U.S. Government take 
action strongly expressing our disapproval but also take action to 
actually show the Government of China that there will be a price to pay 
if they continue down that path of aggression and try to snuff out the 
freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.
  That is why, immediately after the Government of China announced its 
intentions to move in that direction, we introduced a bipartisan bill. 
Senator Toomey introduced the bill. I am proud to join him as a 
cosponsor. We have other Democratic and Republican cosponsors to the 
bill. I am pleased to see the Senator from North Dakota on the floor. 
He is a cosponsor of that bill. It is called the Hong Kong Autonomy 
Act.
  In addition to expressing the sentiments that the Senator from 
Missouri lays out in his Senate resolution, it proposes that we take 
action as the Government of the United States. While we have heard 
statements from Secretary Pompeo, the reality is that this 
administration has not exercised any of its existing sanctions 
authority that it could take to express our strong disapproval of the 
actions the Government of China is proposing to take with respect to 
Hong Kong. That is why we introduced the bipartisan bill, again, 
outlining all the transgressions the Senator from Missouri talked about 
but actually doing something about them by requiring that the 
administration impose sanctions on individuals in the Government of 
China who are undermining the rights of the people in Hong Kong and 
requiring them to impose sanctions on Chinese Government entities that 
are depriving the people of Hong Kong of the freedoms the Senator 
talked about. It goes beyond that. It says that any bank that is aiding 
and abetting the Government of China in snuffing out the rights of the 
people of Hong Kong can be subject to sanctions.
  Now, I know the Senator from Missouri knows the Government of China 
well enough to understand that the Senate passing a resolution and 
leaving it at that is not going to change their conduct. I think the 
Senator is enough of a student of the Chinese Communist Government to 
recognize that. So that is exactly why we introduced this bipartisan 
legislation because if we want to have any chance of influencing the 
conduct of the Government of China, we have to make it clear there will 
be a price to pay. There is no price to be paid in the Senate passing a 
resolution. It is a nice statement. I support the statement, but I am 
also a little tired of this body passing a lot of resolutions, 
sometimes thinking we have actually done something when we haven't 
changed a thing.
  That is why I am here on the Senate floor to ask my colleagues to 
support what is a bipartisan bill that actually has some teeth in it. 
It is not just a statement from the Senate. It is an action that will 
be taken by the Senate and the House and, hopefully, by this 
administration, which apparently doesn't want to take action. We have 
heard them already express concerns about this legislation.
  I would hope that if our colleagues on the Republican side feel as 
strongly as the Senator from Missouri does, they would want to back up 
those words with legislative action, and they would want to back up 
those words with something that is more meaningful and something that 
tells the Government of China that we stand together in making sure 
there is a price to pay.
  I know the Senator from Missouri has worked on other bills making it 
clear that we do not find acceptable all sorts of conduct by China. I 
have as well--bipartisan bills. I hope we can join together right here, 
right now, to support the expression--the statement--that the Senator 
from Missouri has brought to us but also go beyond that and send a 
signal right now that we, the U.S. Senate, want to be joined by the 
House and by the administration in putting action behind those words. 
That is exactly what the bipartisan Hong Kong Autonomy Act does.
  So I would respectfully request that the Senator from Missouri modify 
his request to ask, in addition to what he proposed, that the Banking 
Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. 3798, a bill 
to impose sanctions with respect to foreign persons involved in the 
erosion of certain obligations of China with respect to Hong Kong; that 
the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration; that the bill be 
considered read a third time and passed; and that the motion to 
reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no 
intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator from Missouri so modify his 
request?
  Mr. HAWLEY. I do.
  Is there objection to the request as modified?
  Mr. CRAMER. Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. CRAMER. Madam President, reserving the right to object, it is 
clear to the five or six of us Senators who are in the room right now 
that there is passion, that it is an important issue, and that there 
may even be unanimous consent in the hearts and minds, certainly, of 
the Senators with regard to both the spirit of the resolution and 
perhaps the letter of the bill, of which I am a cosponsor, that has 
been introduced by UC by the Senator from Maryland.
  I think it is clear that we all have the same objective here, but I 
also know there is just a handful of us in the room talking about a 
very important issue that may seem simple but we know is very 
complicated.
  We know that the administration has provided both technical and 
policy views on the bill, and I think with such an important issue that 
so many of us care deeply about, it deserves a little more discussion 
and debate than just to come to the floor with a UC.
  I am committed, as a member of the Banking Committee and as a 
cosponsor, to working with both committees and with the chairs of both 
committees of jurisdiction over the resolution and the bill to make 
sure we get it right as opposed to this UC.
  I want to work hard. I know you all do. I think we should work at 
looking at the comments from the administration, working together as 
Republicans and Democrats who care about this country, care about the 
people of Hong Kong, and who are concerned about the behavior of China. 
So I object to adoption of this bill before we have a chance to do 
exactly that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Minnesota


                        Justice in Policing Act

  Ms. SMITH. Madam President, it has been a little bit over 3 weeks 
since my constituent, George Floyd, was murdered by the Minneapolis 
police, and for a little over 3 weeks, millions of people have marched 
on the streets, raising their voices in grief and anguish to protest 
the police brutality and systemic racism that killed George Floyd, 
Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, and so 
many others. But the killing hasn't stopped.
  Just last Friday, police in Atlanta killed Rayshard Brooks, shooting 
him twice in the back. Just moments ago, it was announced that this 
officer will be charged.
  The killing will not stop until we take action. The Senate needs to 
act now to take up and pass the Justice in Policing Act.
  I joined my colleagues, Senators Booker and Harris, in introducing 
this bill last week. I am grateful for their strong leadership toward 
creating a more fair and equitable justice system.
  The scale of the injustice can feel overwhelming, and the path can 
seem very long, but passing the Justice in Policing Act would provide 
concrete steps on that path. It is a necessary step toward stopping the 
killing and advancing our work to make transformative changes that we 
need to fulfill the promise of freedom and equality in America.
  The Justice in Policing Act would make some of the changes that we 
urgently need to stop the scourge of police violence against 
communities of color. This legislation would prohibit some of the most 
dangerous police practices. It would strictly limit the use of force, 
and it would begin holding law enforcement accountable in a system that 
was designed to shield them from accountability.
  First, the bill prohibits the most dangerous police practices. It 
would ban the use of choke holds like the ones the police used to kill 
George Floyd and

[[Page S3050]]

Eric Garner. It would also ban no-knock warrants like the one the 
police used when they killed Breonna Taylor in her own bed.
  Choke holds pose an unacceptable risk, and that risk is not borne 
equally. Black men are nearly three times more likely to be killed by 
police use of force than White men.
  The use of no-knock warrants also disproportionately harms 
communities of color. The practice was popularized in the 1990s as a 
tool in the war on drugs so that officers pursuing drug charges could 
enter a person's home unannounced, with guns drawn, inherently and 
unnecessarily endangering their lives.
  Communities and activists have been warning us about the inherent 
danger and injustice of choke holds and no-knock warrants for decades. 
It is long past time to end the debate and to ban these practices 
nationally, but experience has shown us that it is not enough to ban 
egregious practices. When Los Angeles banned choke holds in 1982, 
officers took up batons to beat and subdue civilians.
  In 1991, the officers who beat Rodney King actually argued that their 
actions were necessary because they weren't permitted to use a choke 
hold, and those officers were never held fully accountable.
  American policing resists reform and accountability, so it is not 
enough for us to ban the most dangerous practices; we need to set a 
national standard for police use of force. That is what the Justice in 
Policing Act does.
  Today, the current standard in law asks only if an officer's use of 
force was reasonable, and this makes it nearly impossible to hold 
officers accountable because the system--a system designed to protect 
officers, not Black and Brown bodies--has built up decades of precedent 
excusing officers from the harm that they cause. So if we are serious 
when we say that Black lives matter, if we are serious about our 
commitment to equal justice, we need to hold police officers to a 
higher standard of care in their use of force. That is why the Justice 
in Policing Act would set a national use of force standard that asks 
whether the force was necessary and hold officers accountable for 
exhausting other options before resorting to violence.
  The Justice in Policing Act would eliminate qualified immunity for 
law enforcement officers and reset the impossibly high standard for 
convicting law enforcement officers of a crime. Today, our system 
effectively puts cops above the law by insulating them from civil and 
criminal liability when they violate the rights of those who they are 
sworn to serve. No one should be shielded from accountability for their 
actions in a free society.
  When we change these rules, we will finally be able to provide long 
denied justice for victims of police brutality, their families, and 
their communities. But we will also be able to prevent such brutality 
in the first place.
  When law enforcement officers believe that they will never face 
consequences for crossing the line, they will continue to ignore that 
line. The Justice in Policing Act will begin to make this change
  The House is poised to pass the Justice in Policing Act next week, 
and I urge this Senate to take it up. Let's debate it, and let's pass 
it.
  We are at a crossroad, and we cannot fail to act. Four hundred years 
of structural racism cannot be erased by a single piece of legislation 
or with a single generation of legislators, but passing this bill is a 
crucial step toward ending the killing and the violence against 
communities of color. It is a necessary step on the path toward racial 
justice.
  The path toward justice leads us toward transformative changes to 
redefining the role of policing in America. Reimagining policing means 
recognizing that not every social ill and every emergency is answered 
by calling in the armed officers. We have other better and more 
effective tools when dealing with the hurt of mental illness, of 
substance abuse, of homelessness, of economic insecurity. Reimagining 
policing means asking whether outfitting officers with military-grade 
weapons and equipment makes it safer--or does it escalate conflict and 
violence and encourage officers to see the communities they serve as 
hostile enemies?
  Reimagining policing means addressing the overpolicing of communities 
of color. It means that we ask questions about whether anyone is really 
safer when we surveil neighborhoods, searching for possible violations. 
This only feeds the system of mass incarceration.
  Reimagining policing means that we reassess our criminal code, our 
justice system, and our sentencing laws that irrevocably disrupt lives 
and communities for minor offenses with minimal impacts on public 
safety.
  Above all, reimagining policing means recognizing that our current 
system is not inevitable; it is the result of thousands and thousands 
of policy choices made over, literally, hundreds of years, designed to 
control and punish Black and Brown and indigenous communities--choices 
that compound injustice and unequal opportunity.
  As we imagine a new way forward, we need to face some uncomfortable 
truths about the history of policing in our country. We can, and we 
must, make different choices this time. We know better, and we have to 
do better.
  I want to close by thanking the community leaders and young activists 
who are showing us the path forward. This path requires us to be 
courageous. It requires us to be humble. It requires us to be 
uncomfortable. It requires us to listen. But it is a path rooted in 
love and in trust and in hope.
  I am committed to walking this path with my constituents, and I am 
hopeful that my colleagues and my fellow American citizens will join 
me.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee


                               Telehealth

  Mr. ALEXANDER. Madam President, it is hard to think of much good that 
has come out of the 3-month experience with COVID-19, but here is one 
thing: the number of patients who have seen their doctors remotely 
through the internet, FaceTime, and all of the other remote 
technologies we have, including the telephone. We call that telehealth.
  Our Health Committee this morning had a fascinating hearing on 
telehealth. There was a lot of bipartisan interest from the Senators--
Democrat and Republican Senators. The Senator from Minnesota was the 
ranking member of the committee today at the request of Senator Murray. 
My sense at the end of the hearing was that there were a number of 
things we agreed on.
  I ask unanimous consent that my opening statement at the hearing 
today be included in the Record following my remarks.
  My colleague, the Senator from Tennessee who is presiding today, and 
I both know Tim Adams, who is the CEO of the Saint Thomas hospital 
system in Middle Tennessee.
  He told me on the phone last week that Saint Thomas employs about 800 
physicians in its several hospitals. During the month of February, 
there were 60,000 visits between physicians and patients in the Saint 
Thomas system. Only 50 of those 60,000 were by telehealth, were remote. 
But during the 2 months of March and April, Ascension Saint Thomas 
conducted more than 30,000 telehealth visits. That is 50 to 30,000--
more than 45 percent of all of the visits between patients and doctors 
during that time.
  Tim Adams expects that to level off, but there will still be probably 
15 to 20 percent of all of Saint Thomas 60,000 visits a month by 
telehealth.
  I talked to the CEO of the largest hospital in San Francisco a few 
weeks ago, and he said that during February, about 5 percent of their 
visits between doctors and patients were telehealth. He said that was a 
very high percentage for a hospital. But in March, it was more than 
half, more than 50 percent.
  Think about that for just a moment. There were 884 million visits in 
2016 between doctors and patients, according to the Centers for Disease 
Control. If 15 to 20 to 25 percent of those were suddenly by telehealth 
instead of in-office visits, that would mean hundreds of millions of 
visits a year would be by telehealth. It is hard for me to imagine that 
there has been a bigger change in the delivery of healthcare services 
in recent history or maybe in our country's history than the sudden 
shift to telehealth in visits between patients and doctors.
  Telehealth has been around for a long time. Our witnesses testified 
to that. We had some excellent witnesses. Dr. Rheuban from the 
University of Virginia; Dr. Kvedar from Harvard, who is

[[Page S3051]]

the new president of the American Telemedicine Association; Dr. Arora, 
who is the founder of Project ECHO, which is well known across the 
country; and Dr. Andrea Willis, who is the chief medical officer of 
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, which apparently is the first 
major insurance company to say that it will insure telehealth visits in 
the same way that it insures other visits.
  What I recommended following the hearing was that two of the policy 
changes--which I judge to be the two most important changes in policy 
that the Federal Government made--be made permanent.
  The first is that physicians can be reimbursed for a telehealth 
appointment wherever the patient is, including the patient's home. That 
would change the originating site rule, as it is called.
  The second is that Medicare, during COVID-19, has begun to reimburse 
providers for nearly twice as many types of telehealth services. That 
rule, those changes, I believe, also should be made permanent.
  What has happened is that we have had an incredible pilot program on 
telehealth. We have crammed 10 years of experience into 3 months, and 
we have a rare opportunity to look at the 3 months of experience and 
make a decision about what works, what doesn't work, and right the 
rules of the road for the future.
  It is not just the Federal Government changing, I think, a total of 
31 different policies, all of which we should examine, but States have 
made some changes too. Those changes involve allowing individuals to 
cross State lines more easily to get appointments with doctors with 
whom they need to talk.
  Then the private sector is beginning to change too. I don't know of 
other insurance companies that have done what Tennessee Blue Cross Blue 
Shield did, but I know there will be some who decide on their own to 
begin to move to cover those services.
  Senator Braun and Senator Cassidy on our committee brought up the 
point that we want to watch carefully to see that we are not just 
adding to the cost of healthcare by telehealth; in fact, we ought to 
have an opportunity to reduce it. Our goal is always, when delivering 
healthcare services, to have as an objective a better outcome, a lower 
cost, and a better patient experience. It may very well be possible 
that telehealth not only improves the patient experience--we have had 
very few complaints about the experience of that--and improves the 
outcomes, but it may also lower costs, which is a major objective of 
our committee.
  Last week, 10 days ago, I issued a white paper about the changes I 
thought we needed to make--Congress needs to make--so that we could be 
well prepared for the next pandemic after COVID-19, the one we know 
will surely come. We don't know when, we don't know what the name of 
the virus will be, but we know it will come, and we need to take a 
number of steps to be as well prepared for that virus as we can.
  Whether its accelerating treatments and testing and finding a vaccine 
or collecting data in a different way or better coordination of Federal 
officials, all of those things are part of what we need to examine, and 
we need to do that this year--this year--because our attention spans 
are short in this country. We move on quickly to the next crisis. While 
COVID-19 is fresh on our minds, we should do whatever we need to do to 
get ready for the next crisis. We should do those things this year.
  Among those things we need to do this year is to make permanent the 
changes in Federal policy on telehealth that allowed this explosion of 
doctor and patient meetings by remote visits. People have been trying 
to think of ways to do this for a long time. Unfortunately, it took a 
pandemic to cause it to happen. Now, while we can see the result, make 
sure we don't have unintended consequences that are unfortunate. While 
we are doing that, we need to make those changes.
  So I recommend to my colleagues, the testimony from our excellent 
witnesses this morning. There were 884 million doctor-patient visits in 
2016 in the United States, and very few of them were by telehealth. In 
the future, the estimates are there could be as many as 20, 25, 30 
percent of all of them, hundreds of millions of doctor-patient visits, 
by telehealth. That most likely is the largest change in the delivery 
of medical services that our country has ever seen
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                           Opening Statement


     Telehealth: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic--June 17, 2020

       I spoke recently with Tim Adams, the CEO of Ascension Saint 
     Thomas Health, which has 9 hospitals in Middle Tennessee and 
     employs over 800 physicians, who told me that in February 
     before COVID-19, there were about 60,000 visits between 
     patients and physicians each month.
       Almost all of those visits were done in person. Only about 
     50 were done remotely through telehealth using the internet.
       But during the last two months, Ascension Saint Thomas 
     conducted more than 30,000 telehealth visits--or around 45 
     percent of all its visits--because of changes in government 
     policy and the inability of many patients to see doctors in 
     person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
       Tim Adams expects that to level off at 15-20 percent of all 
     its visits going forward.
       The largest hospital in San Francisco told me that 5 
     percent of its visits in February were conducted through 
     telehealth--and the hospital considered that to be a very 
     high number. Then in March, telehealth visits made up more 
     than half of all its visits.
       Because of COVID-19, our health care sector and government 
     have been forced to cram 10 years' worth of telehealth 
     experience into just the past three months.
       As dark as this pandemic event has been, it creates an 
     opportunity to learn from and act upon these three months of 
     intensive telehealth experiences, specifically what permanent 
     changes need to be made in federal and state policies.
       In 2016, there were almost 884 million visits nationwide 
     between patients and physicians, according to the Centers for 
     Disease Control and Prevention. If, as Tim Adams expects, 15-
     20 percent of those were to become remote due to telehealth 
     expansion during COVID-19--that would produce a massive 
     change in our health care system.
       Our job should be to ensure that change is done with the 
     goals of better outcomes and better experiences at a lower 
     cost.
       Part of this explosion in remote meetings between patients 
     and physicians has been made possible by temporary changes in 
     federal and state policies. The private sector, too, has made 
     important changes. One purpose of this hearing is to find out 
     which of these temporary changes in federal policy should be 
     maintained, modified, or reversed--and also to find out if 
     there are any additional federal policies that would help 
     patients and health care providers take advantage of 
     delivering medical services using telehealth.
       Of the 31 federal policy changes, the three most important 
     are:
       1. Physicians can be reimbursed for a telehealth 
     appointment wherever the patient is, including in the 
     patient's home. That change was to the so-called 
     ``originating site'' rule, which previously required that the 
     patient live in a rural area and use telehealth at a doctor's 
     office or clinic.
       2. Medicare began to reimburse providers for nearly twice 
     as many types of telehealth services, including: emergency 
     department visits, initial nursing facility visits and 
     discharges, and therapy services.
       3. Doctors are allowed to conduct appointments using common 
     video apps on your phone, like Apple FaceTime, or phone 
     texting apps, or even on a landline call, which required 
     relaxing federal privacy and security rules from the Health 
     Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.
       Many states made changes as well, most importantly making 
     it easier for doctors to continue to see their patients who 
     may have traveled out of state during the pandemic.
       For example, a college student from Memphis, who attends 
     college in North Carolina and has a doctor she sees in Chapel 
     Hill, was able to go home to Tennessee during the pandemic 
     and continue seeing her Chapel Hill doctor by FaceTime. Or, a 
     patient in Iowa has been able to start seeing a new 
     psychiatrist in Nashville.
       The private sector adapted to these changes, too. One of 
     our witnesses today is from Blue Cross Blue Shield of 
     Tennessee, which has already begun to make permanent 
     adjustments to its telehealth coverage policies based on some 
     of the temporary federal changes in Medicare.
       Looking forward, of the three major federal changes, my 
     instinct is that the originating site rule change and the 
     expansion of covered telehealth services should be made 
     permanent.
       One purpose of this hearing is to hear from the experts and 
     discuss whether there may be unintended consequences, 
     positive or negative, if Congress were to do that.
       It's also important to examine the other 28 temporary 
     changes in federal policy.
       The question of whether to extend the HIPAA privacy waivers 
     should be considered carefully. There are privacy and 
     security concerns about the use of personal medical 
     information by technology platform companies, as well as 
     concerns about criminals hacking into these platforms. When 
     HIPAA notification requirements are waived, a person might 
     not even know that their personal information has been 
     accessed by hackers.

[[Page S3052]]

     Additionally, several of these technology platforms have said 
     they want to adjust their platforms to conform with the HIPAA 
     rules.
       Another lesson from these three months is that telehealth 
     or teleworking or tele-learning is not always the answer, 
     especially for people in rural areas or low-income urban 
     areas who do not have access to broadband.
       And still another lesson is that personal relationships 
     involved in health care, education, and the workplace cannot 
     always be replaced by remote technology. Children have 
     learned about all they want to learn over the internet, 
     patients like to see their doctors, and workplaces benefit 
     from employees actually talking and working with one another 
     in person. There are some limits on remote learning, health 
     care, and working.
       There are obvious benefits to allowing health care 
     providers to serve patients across state lines during a 
     public health crisis. As a former governor, I am reluctant to 
     override state decisions, but it may be possible to encourage 
     further participation in interstate compacts or reciprocity 
     agreements.
       Last week I released a white paper on steps that Congress 
     should take before the end of the year in order to get ready 
     for the next pandemic. One of those recommendations was to 
     make sure that patients do not lose the benefits that they 
     have gained from using telehealth during the COVID-19 
     pandemic.
       Even with an event as significant as COVID-19, memories 
     fade and attention moves quickly to the next crisis, so it is 
     important for Congress to act on legislation this year.
       Because of this 10 years of telehealth experience crammed 
     into 3 months--patients, doctors, nurses, therapists, and 
     caregivers can write some new rules of the road, and should 
     do so while the experiences still are fresh on everyone's 
     minds.

  Mr. ALEXANDER. I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that 
the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.


                          The COOL Online Act

  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Madam President, I rise today to encourage all 
Americans to join the fight to support our Nation and our jobs and 
stand up against the growing threat of Communist China. I have been 
saying it for months, but the best way each and every one of us can 
make a difference is to buy American products whenever possible. It is 
time we addressed the new Cold War occurring between the United States 
and the Chinese Communist Party and be crystal clear about the negative 
impacts of continuing to buy Chinese-made products.
  Communist China is stealing American jobs and technology and spying 
on our citizens. Data collected by Chinese companies is shared with the 
Communist Government of China, which is focused solely on global 
domination. Xi, the General Secretary of the China Communist Party, is 
a dictator and human rights violator who is denying basic rights to the 
people of Hong Kong, cracking down on dissidents, militarizing the 
South China Sea, and imprisoning more than 1 million Uighurs in 
internment camps simply because of their religion.
  The coronavirus pandemic should be the last straw. We can no longer 
rely on other countries like Communist China for our critical supply 
chain. Washington politicians have been too concerned with short-term 
political success and have long ignored the long-term threats to our 
way of life.
  It is time for action. Now, more than ever, Americans must remember 
that every time we buy a product made in China, we are putting another 
dollar into the pockets of the people who steal our technology, deny 
people their basic human rights, and are propping up dangerous 
dictators like Maduro in Venezuela.
  I am proud to lead my colleagues in a bipartisan resolution calling 
on Americans to buy products made in the United States whenever 
possible. Buying American is not partisan, and I am glad my colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle are coming together to encourage Americans 
to take a stand.
  I know it is not always easy, but it is an important step we can all 
take at home to support American jobs, American producers, and American 
manufacturers and help build up the U.S. supply chain.
  I am also working with Senator Baldwin to pass our COOL Online Act, 
which will make sure all goods sold online list their country of origin 
to create more transparency for American consumers.
  In my State, we take immense pride in products made in Florida. It is 
a driving force that led to our incredible economic turnaround. A 
return to this pride in homegrown businesses ensures America remains 
strong and the undisputed leader in the global economy. We must all do 
our part to support our Nation and make it clear to Communist China 
that the United States will not stand for their behavior.
  I am committed to supporting American businesses over Chinese 
products. I hope my colleagues will join me.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cramer). The Senator from Tennessee.


                                Protests

  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. President, for more than 200 years, the American 
people have exercised their right to petition the government for a 
redress of grievances. We understand how very vitally important it is 
for each of us to have that right to petition our government, to have 
our say.
  But just as we learned from our moms and dads when we were kids, 
there is a right way and there is a wrong way to get things done when 
we feel that, in our opinion, the government has fallen short. I would 
understand if this differentiation between right and wrong sometimes 
causes confusion because, although the American people are united in 
their desire for justice and equality, that sense of unity, they feel, 
is under attack.
  Over the past few weeks, we watched thousands of protesters 
peacefully march in the memory of George Floyd and countless other 
Black Americans who have been killed--who have lost their lives at the 
hands of law enforcement. Sometimes these protests are vigils, and they 
are very quiet. There are other times they fill the streets and they 
are a bit disruptive and they demand accountability from their 
government in a way that has really captured the attention of the 
entire world.
  On the other side, however, we have watched professional agitators 
who have come into some of these protests, and then they have turned 
them into riots. The self-prescribed culture warriors silence anyone 
and anything that deviates from their own chosen narrative, and that is 
very unfortunate.
  The paths we take to achieve our desired outcomes are informed by the 
goals we have, not the other way around. This is why we must question 
the goals of those whose activism has taken a repressive turn because 
peaceful protest is an essential element of addressing government. That 
is how you achieve change. That is how you get people with you and 
working with you. It is a part of who we are.
  This absolute protection against suppression in any form makes the 
recent dismantling of meaningful public discourse all the more 
disturbing because as you look back through our Nation's history, you 
realize freedom and freedom's cause has been well served by robust, 
respectful, bipartisan debate--hearing all voices.
  Do you remember how sometimes we would joke about the cancel culture 
because it was the product of social media influencers and 
overenthusiastic fan clubs? What we see now is that has taken hold of 
the entertainment industry, corporations, and editorial boards. Outrage 
manufactured along partisan lines dominates every news cycle, all in an 
intentional and targeted effort to divide the American people and, 
thereby, what would that do? It destroys our cultural identity. If this 
isn't what chilling speech looks like, then I don't know what does.
  I would like to be able to say this body stands united against this 
wave of malice or that I am confident we have demonstrated a commitment 
to real reform, but I fear that we have not yet arrived at that place. 
In spite of everything, in spite of it being clear that those who seek 
to divide and destroy this country are working just as hard as those 
who seek to unite it, other priorities remain in play. This has become 
especially evident today.


                              Justice Act

  Last week, my friend and colleague Senator Tim Scott from South 
Carolina announced that he was leading a working group with the goal of 
drafting a comprehensive police reform bill.

[[Page S3053]]

You all know what happened next. He spoke about it just a few hours 
ago, but I think it is important to get on the record just one more 
time today that he deserves our thanks, and he deserves credit.
  Before Senator Scott had a chance to write a single word of his bill, 
some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle were ready to 
shut it down. It was stunning. Let me read you a few of these 
statements.
  Someone said they suspect it ``is going to be window dressing.'' 
Another said: ``It's so far from being relevant to really the crisis at 
hand.'' Another: ``This is not a time for lowest common denominator, 
watered down reforms.'' And then there was another unfortunate comment 
for which an apology was offered late today, and that apology was 
accepted. All of this is disappointing. It is hurtful, yes, but 
disappointing because this is a time when we have to carry on. We have 
to move forward.
  Senator Scott announced the introduction of the JUSTICE Act. I am 
honored to be a cosponsor of that legislation, and I think it is 
imperative that we move forward with our discussions and our 
deliberations just as we would with any other bill. This Chamber is 
going to find a way to move forward with suggestions, but, above all, I 
urge my colleagues to consider some of the words that have been said. I 
urge them to take those words to heart, and I urge them to remember 
what we are fighting for and to stop focusing so hard on whom you have 
convinced yourself that you should be fighting against.
  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. SANDERS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered


                            Policing Reform

  Mr. SANDERS. Mr. President, as everybody knows, this country faces an 
extraordinary set of crises--crises that are unprecedented in the 
modern history of our country.
  Over the last several weeks, hundreds of thousands of Americans have 
taken to the streets and courageously demanded an end to police murder 
and brutality and to urge us all to rethink the nature of policing in 
America. In the midst of all that, we continue, of course, to suffer 
from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken the lives of over 115,000 
Americans and infected over 2 million of our people.
  Then, on top of that, we are experiencing the worst economic meltdown 
since the Great Depression of the 1930s, with over 32 million Americans 
having lost their jobs in the last 3 months. In the midst of all of 
that, enough truly is enough.
  The U.S. Senate must respond to the pain and the suffering of our 
constituents. Let us begin work today, not next week, not next month 
but right now in addressing the unprecedented crises our people are 
facing. If there is anything that the torture and murder of George 
Floyd by Minneapolis police has taught us, it is that we have to 
fundamentally rethink the nature of policing in America and reform our 
broken and racist criminal justice system.
  Let us be clear--and I think everybody understands this--the murder 
of George Floyd is not just an isolated incident. It is the latest in 
an endless series of police killings of African Americans, including 
Rayshard Brooks, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Tamir 
Rice, Alton Sterling, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd, Walter Scott, and many, 
many others.
  The American people are rightly demanding justice and an end to 
police brutality and murder. And we have to hear that cry coming from 
all across this country, from large cities and small towns, and the 
Senate must act and act now.
  Here is some good news in the midst of a lot of bad news, and that is 
thanks to a massive grassroots movement, the Senate will finally begin 
to debate legislation dealing with the police. That is a good thing. 
The bad news is that the Republican legislation, at least what I have 
seen this morning, goes nowhere near far enough as to where we need to 
go.
  Now is not the time to think small or respond with superficial, 
bureaucratic proposals. Now is not the time for more studies. Now is 
the time to hold racist and corrupt police officers and police 
departments accountable for their actions. Now is the time to implement 
far-reaching reforms that would protect people and communities that 
have suffered police brutality, torture, and murder for far too long. 
Now is the time to act boldly to protect the First Amendment right to 
protest.
  Let me very briefly describe some of the areas in which I think the 
Congress should move with regard to police brutality and the whole 
issue of policing.
  First, and maybe most importantly, every police officer in our 
country must be held accountable, and those found guilty must be 
punished with the full force of law. That includes officers who stand 
by while brutal acts take place. Every single killing of a person by 
police or while in police custody must be investigated by the 
Department of Justice.
  We must create a process by which police departments look like the 
communities they serve and be part of those communities, not be seen as 
invading, heavily armed, occupying forces. That is not what police 
departments should look like. We must, therefore, prohibit the transfer 
of Department of Defense military equipment to police departments.
  Further, we need to abolish qualified immunity so police officers are 
held civilly liable for abuses. We need to strip Federal funds from 
departments that violate civil rights. We need to provide funding to 
States and municipalities to create a civilian core of unarmed first 
responders to supplement law enforcement.
  For too long, we have asked police departments to do things which 
they are not trained or prepared to do, and we have criminalized 
societal problems like addiction and homelessness and mental illness, 
severe problems that exist in every State in the country. But these are 
not problems that will be solved by incarceration. We are not going to 
solve the crisis of addiction or homelessness or mental illness by 
incarceration. We have done that for too long, and it is a failed 
approach.
  We need to make records of police misconduct publicly available so 
that an officer with a record of misconduct cannot simply move two 
towns over and start again. We need to require all jurisdictions that 
receive Federal grant funding to establish independent police conduct 
review boards that are broadly representative of the community and that 
have the authority to refer deaths that occur at the hands of police or 
in police custody to Federal authorities for investigation. We need to 
amend Federal civil rights laws to allow more effective prosecution of 
police misconduct by changing the standard from willfulness to 
recklessness. We need to ban the use of facial recognition technology 
by the police.
  Finally, and certainly not least importantly, we need to legalize 
marijuana. In the midst of the many crises we face as a country, it is 
absurd that, under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is 
at schedule 1, along with killer drugs like heroin. State after State 
have moved to legalize marijuana, and it is time for the Federal 
Government to do the same. When we talk about police department reform, 
we must end police officers continuing to arrest, search, or jail the 
people of our country, predominantly people of color, for using 
marijuana.
  We need to ban the use of rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas 
on protesters. The right to protest, the right to demonstrate is a 
fundamental, constitutional right and a right that must be respected.


                                 Racism

  But let us be clear. Police violence is not the only manifestation of 
the systemic racism that is taking place in America today. Just take a 
look at what is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic. In recent months, 
we have seen Black and Brown communities disproportionately ravaged by 
this virus. We have seen workers, who earn starvation wages, forced to 
go to work day in and day out in unhealthy workplace environments 
because, without that paycheck, they and their families would go 
hungry. These working class families have, with enormous courage, kept 
our economy and society together in hospitals, in meat-packing plants, 
in

[[Page S3054]]

public transportation, in supermarkets, gas stations, and elsewhere.
  These workers--again, disproportionately Black and Brown--have risked 
infection and death so that the rest of us can continue to get the food 
that we need, get our medicines, or put gasoline in our car. In the 
wealthiest country in the history of the world, workers should not have 
to choose between going hungry on one hand or getting ill or dying on 
the other.
  When we talk about starvation wages in this country, I was happy to 
hear today that Target has raised its minimum wage for its many, many 
thousands of workers to $15 an hour. That is something that I and many 
others here have long advocated for. This follows a decision 2 years 
ago by Amazon to raise the minimum wage for their workers to $15 an 
hour and the effort in seven States across this country to raise their 
minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  Now is the time for Walmart--the largest employer in America, owned 
by the wealthiest family in America--to also raise their minimum wage 
to $15 an hour. I should add that the Walton family, the family that 
owns Walmart, can more than afford to do this because, since Donald 
Trump has been President, their wealth has increased by about $75 
billion. Let me repeat. Their wealth has increased by about $75 billion 
in the last 3-plus years, and they are now worth some $200 billion as a 
family. You know what? I think the Walton family can afford to pay 
their workers $15 an hour.
  By the way, when we talk about racial justice, please understand that 
about half of Black workers in this country earn less than $15 an hour.
  Further, the House has done the right thing by passing legislation to 
raise the Federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The time is long overdue 
for the Senate to do the same.


                              Coronavirus

  Despite what we hear from the Trump administration, the COVID-19 
pandemic is far from over. In fact, as you may know, nine States 
today--nine States--hit record highs for new cases in a single day. 
What we have seen unfold over the last several months and continue to 
see unfold is an administration that continues to ignore the 
recommendations from scientists and physicians.
  No one doubts anymore, for example, that masks can play an important 
role in cutting back on the transmission of the virus. We need to 
utilize the Defense Production Act and manufacture the hundreds of 
millions of high-quality masks our people and our medical personnel 
desperately need. As part of the Defense Authorization Act, I will be 
offering an amendment to do just that. Other countries around the world 
are sending masks on a regular basis to all of their people. We can and 
should do exactly the same thing.
  Not only do we need to act boldly and aggressively to address this 
horrific pandemic that we are experiencing, not only do we need to act 
boldly to fix a broken and racist criminal justice system, but we need 
to respond with a fierce sense of urgency to the worst economic crisis 
in the modern history of our country.
  Over the last 3 months, over 30 million Americans have lost their 
jobs, and because half of our people live paycheck to paycheck, having 
virtually nothing in savings, many of those people are now facing 
economic desperation. Today, all across our country, tens of millions 
of Americans are in danger of going hungry. In Vermont and in States 
all over America, we are seeing long lines of people in their cars 
lining up in order to get food that the Federal Government is now 
supplying.
  But it is not just food. Millions of Americans are frightened to 
death that they will soon be evicted from their apartments or lose 
their homes to foreclosure. Imagine that. In the middle of an economic 
meltdown, in the middle of a pandemic, millions of people are in danger 
of being thrown out onto the streets.

  Further, as part of the economic crisis, we are in danger of losing 
over half the small businesses in this country within the next 6 
months--impossible to contemplate. Half of all small businesses in 
America are threatened with destruction.
  I would say to Senator McConnell and the Republican leadership here 
in the Senate that the American people cannot afford to wait. They need 
our help now, not a month from now, not 2 months from now. We need to 
respond vigorously to the enormous economic pain and suffering and 
anxiety that the American people, today, are experiencing.
  What does that mean specifically? It means, among other things, that 
the Federal Government must guarantee 100 percent of the paychecks and 
benefits of American workers up to $90,000 a year through a Paycheck 
Security Act, which is legislation that I introduced with Senators 
Warner, Jones, and Blumenthal. Countries in Europe that have taken this 
approach have not experienced the skyrocketing levels of unemployment 
we have seen here in the United States.
  As a result of the economic downturn, we know that over 16 million 
Americans have already lost their health insurance. Further, there are 
estimates that that number could go as high as 43 million people losing 
their health insurance, and that is on top of the 87 million Americans 
who were already uninsured or underinsured before the pandemic.
  Responding with a fierce sense of urgency to the economic crisis 
means that, in the midst of the horrific pandemic, every man, woman, 
and child in this country must receive the healthcare they need, 
regardless of their income. That means that Medicare must be empowered 
to pay all of the healthcare bills of the uninsured and underinsured 
until this crisis is over. If this crisis has taught us anything, it 
has taught us that we are only as safe as the least insured among us.
  Responding with a fierce sense of urgency means providing every 
working-class person in America with a $2,000 emergency payment each 
and every month until this crisis is over, so that they can pay the 
rent, feed their families, and make ends meet. A one-time $1,200 check 
does not cut it. An emergency $2,000 monthly payment will serve also as 
a major stimulus in reviving the economy.
  Responding with a fierce sense of urgency means making sure that no 
one in America goes hungry, which means that we have got to 
substantially expand the Meals on Wheels program, the school meals 
program, and SNAP benefits.
  Responding with a fierce sense of urgency means making sure that the 
Postal Service receives the emergency funding that it desperately 
needs. If we could bail out large corporations, if we could provide 
over $1 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthy and the powerful, please 
do not tell me that we cannot save and strengthen the Postal Service, 
an agency of huge importance to our entire economy.
  Acting with a fierce sense of urgency means extending the $600 a week 
in expanded unemployment benefits that expires in July. Failure to 
extend these benefits would slash the incomes of millions of Americans 
by 50, 60 or even 70 percent. You can't do that in the midst of an 
economic crisis.
  Here we are today. We are in the midst of the worst public health 
crisis in over 100 years, and the Republican Senate is doing nothing 
about it. We are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the 
Great Depression of the 1930s. People all over this country in every 
State in America are financially hurting, and the Republican Senate 
today is doing nothing about that. We continue to see African Americans 
brutally murdered and tortured by racist police officers, and the 
Republican Senate leadership proposes a woefully inadequate solution.
  Now, I understand that not everyone in America is hurting, not 
everyone in America needs help from the Senate. While over 32 million 
Americans have lost jobs during this horrific pandemic, 630 
billionaires in America have seen their wealth go up by $565 billion--
amazing, but true. Over the first 3 months of this horrific pandemic, 
America's top 630 billionaires have seen their wealth go up by $565 
billion--hard to believe.
  In other words, at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, 
which is already today worse than at any time since the 1920s, a 
horrific situation is becoming much worse. During the last 3 months, 
while the very, very rich have become much richer, American households 
have seen their wealth go down by $6.5 trillion. Billionaires see their 
wealth increase by over $600 billion; American households see their

[[Page S3055]]

wealth go down by $6.5 trillion. In the midst of everything else that 
we are experiencing, we are currently witnessing what is likely the 
greatest transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poor to the 
very rich in the modern history of our country.
  In the midst of these unprecedented crises, it is time for the Senate 
to act in an unprecedented way. In every State in this country, our 
constituents are hurting, and they are calling out for help. Let us 
hear their cries. Let us hear their pain. Let us act and act now.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.


                                 China

  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I am here on the floor this evening to 
talk about China and to talk about how we can have a better 
relationship with China, one that is fair and equitable.
  I am going to talk specifically about some of the investigations and 
reports that we have worked on here in the U.S. Congress over the past 
couple of years. I am going to be talking about four specific reports 
that came out of what is called the Permanent Subcommittee on 
Investigations. I chair that subcommittee. It is under the Committee on 
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and it is a committee that 
takes these investigations seriously. We do a fair, objective, thorough 
job. All of our investigations are bipartisan. I am going to talk a 
little about why these investigations that we have done have led me to 
the conclusion that we need to do much more here in this country to be 
able to respond to China and to be able to have the kind of fair and 
equitable relationship that we should all desire.
  A lot of China's critics talk about the fact that China needs to do 
things differently, and I don't disagree with most of that, but the 
reality is there is much we can do right here in this country to create 
a situation in which we do not have the issues that I will talk about 
tonight--some of the unfair activities that have occurred here in this 
country. Frankly, I think we have been naive and not properly prepared. 
I will also talk about some legislation that we are proposing tomorrow 
morning, which will focus on how to make America more effective at 
pushing back against a specific threat to our research and our 
intellectual property.
  Our goal is not to have China as an enemy. Our goal is to actually 
have China as a strategic partner, wherein there is a fair and 
equitable and sustainable relationship, but it is going to require some 
changes. Again, I am going to focus tonight on some changes we need to 
make right here, changes that are within our control.
  Our investigations have been thorough--in fact, driven--and our 
reports have been objective, bipartisan, and eye-opening, and I 
encourage you to go on the PSI website--psi.gov--and check it out.
  Our first report was in February of 2019. It detailed a lack of 
transparency and reciprocity, among other concerns, with the Confucius 
Institutes that China operates here in this country. These Confucius 
Institutes are at our colleges and universities. Some people are aware 
of that, but some may not be aware that they are also at our elementary 
schools, middle schools, and high schools. Our reports show how these 
Confucius Institutes have been a tool to stifle academic freedom where 
they are located, toeing the Chinese Communist Party line on sensitive 
issues like Tibet or Taiwan or the Uighurs or Tiananmen Square.
  By the way, when I talk about China tonight, I hope people realize I 
am not talking about the Chinese people. I am talking about the Chinese 
Government; therefore, I am talking about the Chinese Communist Party. 
With regard to the Confucius Institutes, for example, which are spread 
around this country, ultimately, they report to a branch of the Chinese 
Government that is involved with spreading positive propaganda about 
China. Ultimately, it is controlled by whom? The Chinese Communist 
Party.
  So I hope the comments I make tonight will not be viewed as comments 
that are regarding the Chinese people as much as a small group in 
China, the Chinese Communist Party, that, with regard to the Confucius 
Institutes and other approaches it has taken to the United States, have 
led to these issues.
  By the way, it is thanks to our report and to the broader scrutiny 
that followed that we learned about the lack of academic freedom and 
about the fact that history is being taught a certain way at the 
Confucius Institutes. By the way, it also pointed out that the Chinese 
language is taught. It is a good thing to have this intercultural 
dialogue and the opportunity to learn more about China, but there needs 
to be, again, an understanding and a history of China that is fair and 
honest, which does include discussions of what happened in Tiananmen 
Square or what is happening today with regard to the Uighurs--a 
minority group in China that is being oppressed.
  In the year that followed our scrutiny--so, really, in the last year 
and a few months--23 of the, roughly, 100 Confucius Institutes on 
college campuses in America have closed, and others have made some 
positive changes as to how they operate. So I believe our report made a 
significant difference in terms of how we relate to the Confucius 
Institutes.
  I said earlier that one of my concerns about the Confucius Institutes 
was the lack of reciprocity. When our State Department has attempted to 
set up something comparable on Chinese university campuses, it has been 
unable to do so. In fact, whereas the Confucius Institute employees and 
members of the Chinese Government are able to come on our college 
campuses, we are told that U.S. Government officials and, for that 
matter, private citizens cannot go on Chinese campuses without having a 
minder, somebody to be there to monitor what they are doing. Sometimes 
they are not permitted to go at all, which goes to the lack of 
reciprocity.

  Yet my goal, really, is to, again, talk about what we can do here. I 
would urge those tonight who are watching and who are connected with a 
college or a university that still has a Confucius Institute--or a high 
school or a middle school or an elementary school--to check it out. 
Check out our report in which we have many instances when the American 
students who are learning there are not getting the full story. That 
may not be true in the case of all Confucius Institutes, but I would 
recommend that you do the research yourself.
  Then, in March of 2019, after the Confucius Institute report, our 
report into the Equifax data breach here in America showed how China 
had targeted private U.S. companies and stolen the information of 
millions of Americans. In the Equifax data breach of 2017, which we 
studied and which is one of the largest in history, the personal 
information of 147 million Americans was stolen by IP addresses that 
originated in China. So we should just be aware of that, and we should 
take precautions and protections and encryptions and security measures 
here to avoid it. Again, this is about our doing more here in this 
country to be prepared for the reality of the 21st century.
  Then, in November of last year, we released another eye-opening 
report, this one detailing the rampant theft of U.S. taxpayer-funded 
research and intellectual property by China by way of its so-called 
talent recruitment programs--meaning, China systematically finds 
promising researchers who are doing work on research that China is 
interested in, and China recruits them. These programs have not been 
subtle. The Thousand Talents Plan is the most understood of these 
programs, although there are a couple hundred others. Yet we showed, in 
studying the Thousand Talents Plan, how this problem has been ongoing 
for two decades in this country. Through this program, much of what 
China has taken from our labs and then taken to China has gone directly 
toward fueling the rise of the Chinese economy and the Chinese 
military.
  Again, this is about China, but it is really about us. How have we 
let this happen?
  Specifically, we found that the Chinese Government has targeted this 
promising, U.S.-based research and its researchers. Often, this 
research is funded by U.S. taxpayers. As taxpayers, we spend $115 
million a year on research to places like the National Institutes of 
Health or to the National Science Foundation or to the Department of 
Energy for basic science research. It has been a good investment 
because, through some of these investments, we have discovered cures to 
particular kinds of cancer and technologies that have helped our 
military,

[[Page S3056]]

but it is not good if the U.S. taxpayer is paying for this research and 
then China is taking it.
  China has not just taken some of this research funded by U.S. 
taxpayers but has paid these grant recipients to take their research 
over to the Chinese universities in China--again, universities that are 
affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party. This is not about the 
people of China. This is about the Chinese Communist Party, and it has 
been very clever. It wants to make sure that China is a stronger 
competitor against us, so it literally takes the research from the 
United States to a lab in China where it tries to replicate the 
research and provide the money to these researchers.
  Just last week, we released a fourth PSI report that showed that this 
problem of China's not playing by the rules extends to the 
telecommunications space as well. Let me explain that situation. Then I 
will go back to the Thousand Talents Program.
  You may remember that, in May of last year, the FCC prohibited a 
company called China Mobile and its U.S. subsidiary from providing 
telecom services from the United States on the grounds that doing so 
would jeopardize our national security--the first time such a ruling 
had been issued. The fact that this was only the first time that a 
foreign telecommunications company had been denied approval to operate 
in the U.S. on national security grounds prompted us to investigate 
other Chinese state-owned carriers that were already authorized to 
operate in the United States. We asked an important question: Why was 
China Mobile USA any different than these other three Chinese 
companies?

  We discovered in our report, which again we issued just a month ago, 
that it wasn't different. We conducted a yearlong investigation into 
the government processes for reviewing, approving, and monitoring 
Chinese state-owned telecommunications firms operating here in the 
United States, and we found, once again, over the years, the Federal 
Government had been lax when it comes to securing our 
telecommunications networks against risks posed by Chinese state-owned 
carriers. Again, it is what we can do here in this country that we 
haven't done.
  In fact, three Chinese state-owned carriers have been operating in 
the U.S. for nearly 20 years, but it has only been in recent years that 
the FCC, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland 
Security have focused on the potential risks these firms bring when 
they operate in the United States. What we didn't know 20 years ago, we 
do know today, and we should use that information to protect ourselves.
  We now know that the Chinese Government views telecommunications as a 
strategic industry and has expended significant resources to create and 
promote new business opportunities for its state-owned carriers. We 
also learned in our investigation and said in our report that Chinese 
state-owned telecommunications carriers are ``subject to exploitation, 
influence, and control by the Chinese government'' and can be used in 
the Chinese government's cyber and economic espionage efforts aimed at 
the United States.
  This isn't a surprise. We have seen this time and time again that the 
Chinese Government targets the United States through cyber and economic 
espionage activities and enlists its state-owned entities in these 
efforts. The Chinese telecommunications firms have been part of our 
U.S. telecommunications industry as a result, and, of course, that is 
critical to our everyday life. Its services from cellular networks to 
broadband internet connections help break down barriers between people, 
nations, and continents. That is good. It has helped our economy and 
the economies of many other countries grow immensely. We all benefit 
when telecommunications are global.
  It makes sense then that the Federal Government has tasked the FCC 
with ensuring that foreign telecommunications can establish a foothold 
in the United States, but only if it is done in a fair and safe manner. 
Again, what we have learned is that the FCC and other Federal agencies 
have been slow to respond to the national security threats these 
telecom companies can pose in terms of cyber security and economic 
espionage.
  As we detail in our report, the FCC, which lacks the national 
security and law enforcement expertise required to assess these risks, 
has turned to other executive branch agencies to assess them, 
specifically the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland 
Security, and the Department of Defense, a group commonly known as the 
Team Telecom.
  Team Telecom was an informal arrangement and has lacked formal 
authority to operate, making it overall an ineffective solution to 
assessing these risks. The informality has resulted in protracted 
review periods and a process FCC Commissioners have described as broken 
and an inextricable black hole that provided ``no clarity for the 
future.''
  For example, Team Telecom's review of China Mobile USA's application 
lasted for 7 years. This points to a troubling trend we have found in 
all of these reports--how, frankly, our government and our institutions 
over a space of time, the last couple of decades, have permitted China 
to take advantage of lax U.S. oversight, be it on our college campuses, 
our research labs, or in cyberspace.
  At our PSI hearing on the Thousand Talents report, the FBI witness 
before us acknowledged as much saying:

       With our present day knowledge of the threat from Chinese 
     talent plans, we wish we had taken more rapid and 
     comprehensive action in the past. And the time to make up for 
     that is now.

  That is our own Federal Bureau of Investigation. Again: ``We wish we 
had taken more rapid and comprehensive action in the past.'' They don't 
say that often, but it is true, and I commend them for saying it at the 
hearing and for starting to make up for it now because they have made a 
number of arrests just in the past few months with regard to the 
Talents program.
  It is my hope that PSI's work has opened the eyes of our government 
to these systemic problems, and I think that is the case, as what we 
have seen in the Trump administration is they have taken a firmer 
stance towards the Chinese Government in every one of the four areas I 
talked about.

  As PSI was nearing the end of its telecom investigation, for example, 
the responsible Federal agencies announced that they would review 
whether these Chinese state-owned carriers that we were studying should 
continue to operate in the U.S., given the national security threats. 
The Trump administration also recently issued an Executive order to 
establish Team Telecom as a formal committee, which is a good idea, as 
well as addressing many of the issues the subcommittee report 
identified in Team Telecom's processes.
  Again, these are good steps, and I am pleased to say that they were 
prompted by the thorough and, again, objective, nonpartisan inquiry 
that we made through PSI. These four investigations combined show us 
that China, frankly--and, again, the Chinese Government and the Chinese 
Communist Party, not the people of China--is not going to play by the 
rules unless we require it. Until we start to clean up our own house 
and take a firmer stance on foreign influence here in this country, we 
are not going to see much improvement. Rather than pointing the finger 
at China, we ought to be looking at our own government and our own 
institutions and doing a better job here.
  Along those lines, I found it interesting that, just last week, 54 
NIH-funded researchers nationwide have resigned or have been fired 
because they had been found to be hiding their ties to foreign research 
institutions as part of an NIH investigation into this problem. Again, 
after our PSI investigation talking about how the Thousand Talents 
program and other programs work, there are now 54 people just last week 
who have been fired or have resigned.
  Of the cases NIH has studied, 70 percent of the researchers failed to 
disclose foreign grant funding, while more than half failed to disclose 
participation in a foreign talent program like Thousand Talents. By the 
way, the FBI just recently warned universities across the country that 
China may be attempting to steal our research on the coronavirus--
therapies, antiviral therapies, vaccines, other research. This problem 
is ongoing.
  I think, in a fair and straightforward manner, we have got to insist 
that

[[Page S3057]]

there be a level playing field. We have got to insist that there be 
fairness and accountability, again, in an objective manner and a 
straightforward manner.
  At the same time, our law enforcement officials and other Federal 
entities that are working to hold China accountable are limited in the 
actions they can take. That is part of cleaning up our own house. We 
need to make some changes around here, including in our laws, which has 
to come through this body.
  In the case of the Thousand Talents plan, we have seen first-ever 
arrests related to Thousand Talents recently. They followed our 
investigation, our report, and our hearings. We even saw it in my home 
State of Ohio. All of the arrests in connection with the Thousand 
Talents plan, by the way, had been related to peripheral financial 
crimes, like wire fraud and tax evasion--not the core issue of a 
conflict of commitment, the taking of American taxpayer-paid research.
  Why? Because amazingly, it is not currently a crime to fail to 
disclose foreign funding of the same research on Federal grant 
applications. In other words, if you are doing research and paid by the 
taxpayer of the United States in your research and also being paid by 
China to do the same research and to have the research go to China, you 
don't have to disclose that under law.
  These arrests that have been made haven't been about that core issue. 
They have been about other things like tax evasion or wire fraud, kind 
of like they went after the gangsters in the old days on tax evasion 
because they couldn't get them on a RICO statute.
  We need to change the laws so that we can give our law enforcement 
community the tools they need to be able to do the job that all of us 
expect is being done. It is incumbent upon Congress to work in a 
bipartisan manner to pass those laws and to put a stop to this 
behavior.
  This shouldn't be a partisan issue, and it isn't. It is about 
defending the interests of the United States, and that is something we 
should all agree on. The good news is we are starting to do just that. 
Tomorrow, we plan to introduce bipartisan legislation called the 
Safeguarding American Innovation Act based on recommendations from our 
Thousand Talents report from late last year to protect U.S. taxpayer-
funded research.
  First and foremost, our bill is going to help the Department of 
Justice go after Thousand Talents participants by holding them 
accountable for failing to disclose their foreign ties on Federal grant 
applications. Again, it is a tool that they desperately need. Our bill 
goes directly to the root of the problem. It makes it punishable by law 
to knowingly fail to disclose foreign funding on Federal grant 
applications
  This isn't about more arrests. We should all agree that transparency 
and honesty on grant applications are critical to the integrity of U.S. 
research and the U.S. research enterprise. These provisions will help 
promote those principles as well.
  Our bill also makes other important changes from our report. It 
requires the Office of Management and Budget, OMB, to streamline and 
coordinate grant making between the Federal agencies so there is more 
continuity and accountability in coordination when it comes to tracking 
the billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded grant money that is being 
distributed. This kind of transparency is long overdue.
  We have worked closely with the National Science Foundation, with the 
National Institutes of Health, with the Department of Energy, and 
others on this legislation, and they agree this is very important. Our 
legislation also allows the State Department to deny visas to foreign 
researchers who they know are seeking to steal research and 
intellectual property by exploiting exemptions in our current export 
control laws.
  This may surprise you, but the State Department can't do that now. 
Career Foreign Service Officers and employees at the State Department 
have asked us to please provide them this authority. They testified 
before our hearing, asking us to help them to be able to do what they 
know needs to be done.
  Our bill also requires research institutions and universities to 
provide the State Department basic information about sensitive 
technologies that a foreign researcher would have access to. Providing 
this information as part of the visa process should help streamline the 
process for the State Department and for the research institutions.
  This allows for college campuses to rely on the State Department to 
do some of the vetting for these applicants and to help keep bad actors 
off the campus. This is why many research institutions and universities 
will be endorsing our legislation tomorrow because we have worked with 
them on this issue and others, including new transparency standards for 
universities.
  They are now going to be required to report any foreign gift of 
$50,000 or more, which is a lower level from the current threshold of 
$250,000, but it is also going to empower the Department of Education 
to work with these universities and research institutions to ensure 
that this can be complied with in a way that doesn't create undue 
redtape and expenditures. It also allows DOE to fine universities that 
repeatedly fail to disclose these gifts.
  I believe this legislation can be a model going forward as to how we 
use the lessons we have learned from these, again, objective and 
straightforward PSI reports to get to the root causes of these cases. 
We have gotten widespread support across my home State of Ohio, from 
research leaders, hospitals, colleges and universities, and other 
stakeholders who want to see us continue to have an open and 
transparent research system and have the United States be the center in 
the globe for innovation and research, but to ensure that can continue 
to happen, they want to be sure we are holding China accountable.
  We are now at work on this legislation to codify into law some of the 
steps taken by the Trump administration in response to our new 
telecommunications PSI report as well. This legislation we will 
introduce tomorrow will be led by myself and Senator Tom Carper, my 
colleague from the other side of the aisle from Delaware, who was also 
my partner on this report with regard to the Thousand Talents program 
and the hearing.
  We also have five other Democrats who will be joining us tomorrow, 
all of whom have an interest and understanding of this complicated 
issue. We will also have about an equal number of Republicans joining 
us, probably six to eight Republicans. So, again, this is going to be a 
bipartisan effort--I would say even a nonpartisan effort--to ensure 
that, in a smart, sensible, practical way, we can respond to the threat 
that we are facing, in this case, from China taking our intellectual 
property, our innovations, our ideas, and taking them to China and 
using them in China, sometimes against the United States.
  In addition to the four examples we discussed tonight, the 
subcommittee will continue its work to shine a light on other examples 
where China and other countries aren't living by the rules, so we can 
ensure that, with regard to China and in regard to other foreign 
governments, we can create a more durable and a more equitable and a 
more sustainable relationship between our countries.
  Again, we don't want to be enemies with China, but what we do want is 
to have a relationship with mutual respect. When we have the right to 
ask them that they treat us with the same respect that we treat them, 
at the end of the day, that is what is going to be best for the Chinese 
people, best for the American people, and best for all of us moving 
forward.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.

                          ____________________