[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 208 (Wednesday, December 20, 2017)]
[Pages S8157-S8159]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                            TAX REFORM BILL

  Ms. MURKOWSKI. Madam President, last night--I guess, actually, early 
this morning--was a pretty historic time for us. Our final vote to 
approve the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a historic moment for America, 
and it was clearly a historic moment for my State of Alaska.
  For the first time in 31 years, since President Reagan was in office, 
we passed tax reform that will make our Tax Code work better for 
American families and businesses.

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  After 37 long years--yesterday, I said it was 38. I stand corrected. 
It was 37 years. That is a long time that we have been working to 
advance the opportunity to open a small portion of the non-wilderness 
1002 area in northeast Alaska, up in our North Slope, to responsible 
energy development.
  Many in our State believed this would happen in the early 1980s after 
Congress specifically set aside the 1002 area for exploration--and it 
is something we have been fighting for ever since. It is a long time to 
be working on an issue. It has been decades and, in many instances, 
  Through this bill, we voted to let Americans keep more of their hard-
earned dollars. We voted to make our businesses more competitive on a 
global scale. We voted to strengthen our Nation's energy security. And 
we voted to create new jobs, new wealth, and new prosperity for a 
generation to come.
  One thing we know for sure is that legislation like this doesn't 
happen by accident. It doesn't happen quickly or with the sleight of 
hand. It happens with a considerable amount of work. So I wish to take 
a few moments this afternoon to simply say thank you--thank you to 
those who have worked so hard and for so long to help us reach this 
  I want to start by personally acknowledging our majority leader, 
Senator McConnell. He was the first one I went to back in early January 
to ask about how we might be able to proceed to include the opening of 
the 1002 area. We discussed avenues and opportunities. He told me he 
thought we could make it work, and he committed to me that we would 
work to do just that. He did, and I thank him for his considered effort 
and his belief in the cause.
  I also need to thank and recognize our Budget Committee chairman, 
Senator Enzi. He was the second person I went to early this year. He 
agreed to provide an instruction in the reconciliation bill and allow 
us to run with this opportunity. He, too, recognized the significance 
of this as a policy initiative and how it dovetailed with what he was 
seeking to achieve through the Budget Committee.
  The work of many within the Energy and Natural Resources Committee is 
significant, and I thank them for their efforts. An excellent group of 
Senators in that committee worked with me to craft our energy title and 
to report it out of the committee. We reported it on a bipartisan 
basis--not as strong as I would have liked, but we did receive support 
from our colleague Senator Manchin, from West Virginia. Again, it was a 
solid effort by the committee, and it was a good and important part of 
the process.
  Along similar lines, I would like to thank all of the Members of this 
Chamber who supported our work here on the Senate floor--first, to 
protect the instruction and then to protect our good work to meet it.
  For some, ANWR has been an issue which they have had an opportunity 
to weigh in and vote on for many years and thus was not a new matter in 
which education was needed. For others, it was important to be able to 
update them, to let them know that many of the issues they may have 
heard over the years were outdated, that the arguments were stale and 
needed to be refreshed, thus allowing them to understand what we are 
doing with new technology. Today, technology is helping us to 
facilitate development in a way that allows us to access more resources 
with less of a footprint, with less land, and with less intrusion on 
the surface, working to ensure that we are not only protecting the 
wildlife that is there, whether it be caribou or polar bears, but also 
ensuring that the people who live there in the 1002 region--the people 
of Kaktovik, the children who are going to school there, those who have 
called this place home for decades, if not centuries--will have an 
opportunity there not only for the potential for jobs, but for what the 
resources will bring to them.
  I thank my colleagues for being open to the new reality of what we 
have been developing in Alaska's North Slope, as we have been seeking 
to provide resources the country needs, jobs my State and the country 
need, and truly to help us from an energy security and a national 
security perspective. So I thank the Members of the Senate.
  I thank the members of the Finance Committee, led by Chairman Hatch, 
for their excellent work and for letting us ride shotgun when it came 
to tax reform. We knew we had to make it to the finish line together, 
and that is exactly where we are right now.
  I thank the President and Secretary Zinke, among others in this 
administration, who have been working with us, fighting for Alaska, as 
we have moved forward.
  Of course, this wasn't just a Members-led effort. We could not have 
done it without the men and the women who work for us and whom we work 
for in many ways but who were at the very core of the effort.
  As usual, within the Energy Committee, certainly it is always a team 
effort. Everyone contributed in a rock-solid way. My team was very ably 
led by Brian Hughes, supported by Kellie Donnelly, Lucy Murfitt, Chuck 
Kleeschulte, Patrick McCormick, Annie Hoefler, Brianne Miller, Nicole 
Daigle, Michelle Lane, Lane Dickson, Isaac Edwards, Chester Carson, Ben 
Reinke, Suzanne Cunningham, Melissa Enriquez, Sean Solie, John Starkey, 
Tonya Parish, Robert Ivanauskas, Barbara Repeta, and Diana Nielsen. 
There were so many on the committee who came together in a host of 
different ways, some of them working the issue new; others, like Chuck 
Kleeschulte--27 years working here in the U.S. Senate and, prior to 
that, working for the State of Alaska. If there is anyone who has a 
collective history and wisdom about the background of ANWR and the 
battles we have endured, it is Chuck Kleeschulte. I know that, as he is 
approaching retirement, he is looking forward to knowing that we have 
successfully moved this opportunity forward for Alaskans and for the 
  I also thank those in my personal office who helped not only with 
ANWR but with the tax provisions as well. My chief of staff, Mike 
Pawlowski, has done an extraordinary job for me. My assistant, Kristen 
Daimler-Nothdurft, has done amazing things. Karina Petersen, Garrett 
Boyle, Madeline Lefton, and Parker Haymans, among many others--you 
really recognize a team when you reflect on how so many have given in 
so many different ways.
  It is not just within my own office or the Energy Committee; it is 
those who run the operations here. Specifically, I want to thank Leader 
McConnell's staff--Sharon Soderstrom, Hazen Marshall, and Terry Van 
Doren--and especially the outstanding floor staff here, led by Laura 
Dove. I know many of them--certainly Laura and Sharon--have been around 
for their fair share of the ANWR debates and fights, and this is no new 
issue for them. I appreciate their help and their support a great deal.
  From Budget, I thank Betsy McDonnell, Eric Ueland, Paul Vinovich, and 
Alison McGuire.
  From Finance, I thank and congratulate Jay Khosla, who has done a 
terrific job, and Mark Prater. I had the added benefit of going to law 
school with Mark Prater, a brilliant guy then and even more brilliant 
now. I greatly appreciate all they did on the tax reform bill.
  I also want to give a shout-out to Tara Shaw, who is now with Senator 
Enzi and who has been a good friend and a help to me.
  Lastly and certainly not least, I thank all of the Alaskans who have 
contributed to this effort over the years. We had a group of about two 
dozen Alaskans who traveled all the way from Alaska's North Slope--some 
5,000 miles--to be here last night for this vote. These are men and 
women who, for decades now, have fought to open up the 1002 area for 
the opportunities it presents to them and to their families. For them, 
to see this advance is as significant and as historic as most anything 
they have seen in a considerable period of time.
  Oliver Leavitt is an elder. He is certainly a legend in my time. To 
have Oliver here last night was extraordinarily significant. Matthew 
Rexford and Fenton Rexford, who live in Kaktovik--there were four or 
five different individuals from the village of Kaktovik--again, those 
who actually reside in the 1002 area. Crawford Patkotak and his wife, 
Laura, were also with us and also Richard Glenn of Utqiagvik. They were 
here not only to

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be a part of the culmination of this effort, but they are men and women 
who have been part of this battle for decades, truly decades. The 
number of trips they have made to Washington, DC, over the years, the 
doors they have knocked on, and the efforts they have contributed to 
are considerable.
  When I start to name names, I think of Tara Sweeney and the folks who 
have been there year in and year out, those who have been supportive by 
traveling here and those who call and those who write.
  It is gratifying, it is heartwarming, and it is a reality that one 
can never say thank you enough for the efforts that you have made over 
the years. To know that you spoke as Alaskans, your voices have been 
heard, and that Congress has finally listened is, indeed, gratifying.
  Of course, we would not have reached this point without two 
particular Alaskans--the ones I am proud to serve with here in our 
delegation. Don Young, the dean of the House and Congressman for all 
Alaska, has singlehandedly kept this issue alive in the House for a 
generation. He reminds me that it has been 13 times now that he has 
passed it out of the House. To be able to recognize his extraordinary 
work is, indeed, a pleasure and an honor. And, of course, my friend, my 
very able partner in the Senate, Senator Dan Sullivan, was an 
incredible partner in this effort, and I thank him greatly for his 
  I also recognize that it is not just the delegation present who needs 
to be thanked. As I have said, this has been a decades-long battle. 
This has been a generational battle. We are standing in the footsteps 
of those who have preceded us, including my father, Frank Murkowski, 
who was chairman of the Energy Committee and at a point in time had 
advanced this, only to see it fail at the very end. And, of course, my 
dear friend, my mentor, one who helped give me such great guidance over 
the years was our former Senator, Ted Stevens.
  Yesterday, you may have noticed I was wearing some unusual earrings. 
When my friend Ted, the former Senator Stevens, had a serious matter in 
front of him, he wanted the rest of his colleagues to know that, by 
gosh, he was serious that day, and this was an issue to be taken 
seriously, and he would don a Hulk tie. It was somewhat legendary 
around here. I am not one to wear ties, but after finding a nice pair 
of Hulk earrings, it seemed to me only appropriate to wear them on a 
day that would acknowledge the work of extraordinary Alaskans who went 
before me. I think, today, Uncle Ted is smiling and happy, and he is 
probably wearing his Hulk tie.
  This is a big moment for Alaska. There is a spirit and an optimism 
that I am taking home right now that I think we haven't seen in years. 
I think it is worth noting that today is winter solstice. This is the 
shortest day of the year--today and tomorrow. In Alaska, it is the 
darkest day of the year. I mentioned yesterday the effort we have seen 
from the Senate, which, hopefully, we will finalize shortly, is one 
that will bring a brightness and an energy to the people of Alaska. For 
that, I thank my colleagues. I thank the many Alaskans who have 
supported us in this epic battle, and I thank all those who have helped 
to make it possible.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Strange). The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. FRANKEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.