[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 69 (Thursday, May 7, 2015)]
[Pages S2702-S2726]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senate will 
resume consideration of H.R. 1191, which the clerk will report.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

[[Page S2703]]

       A bill (H.R. 1191) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 
     1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not 
     taken into account as employees under the shared 
     responsibility requirements contained in the Patient 
     Protection and Affordable Care Act.


       Corker/Cardin amendment No. 1140, in the nature of a 
       Corker/Cardin amendment No. 1179 (to amendment No. 1140), 
     to require submission of all Persian text included in the 
       Blunt amendment No. 1155 (to amendment No. 1140), to extend 
     the requirement for annual Department of Defense reports on 
     the military power of Iran.
       Vitter modified amendment No. 1186 (to amendment No. 1179), 
     to require an assessment of inadequacies in the international 
     monitoring and verification system as they relate to a 
     nuclear agreement with Iran.
       Cotton amendment No. 1197 (to the language proposed to be 
     stricken by amendment No. 1140), of a perfecting nature.
       Cotton (for Rubio) amendment No. 1198 (to amendment No. 
     1197), to require a certification that Iran's leaders have 
     publically accepted Israel's right to exist as a Jewish 

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the time until the 
cloture vote will be equally divided in the usual form.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I will have to ask for a unanimous consent 
request on something in just a moment, but I think they are still 
working out some details.
  Before I move to that, I thank the Senator from Indiana. He has done 
so much to further this cause of us having a congressional review on 
whatever is negotiated with Iran. All of us want a good agreement, but 
we want to ensure that we play a role in ensuring that is the case. I 
cannot thank the Senator enough for his leadership on this issue and so 
many other issues that matter relative to our national interests around 
the world and the safety of our citizens. Again, I thank the Senator so 
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule 
XXII, the Senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the pending 
substitute amendment at 2 p.m. today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I further ask unanimous consent that at 11 
a.m., Senator Lankford be recognized to deliver his maiden speech and 
that the time from 11:30 a.m. until 12:50 p.m. be equally divided, with 
the majority controlling the first half and the Democrats controlling 
the second half.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORKER. 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. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in 
morning business.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Baltimore and CVS Health

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, yesterday, I took the floor to talk about 
the events in Baltimore over the last 10 days, 2 weeks, and I spoke 
about how Baltimore is coming together and recognized that in order to 
move forward, there are two pillars we need to work on, and one of 
those is public safety and justice. I talked about some initiatives we 
are looking at, including legislation that I filed that will eliminate 
profiling by police and how we need to deal with the restoration of 
voting rights and other issues that deal with accountability of police.
  I also talked about rebuilding and dealing with the core issues of 
our urban centers. I just want to supplement those remarks with a 
conversation we had with CVS Health. I mention that because it was the 
CVS pharmacy that was destroyed a week ago Monday night in Baltimore. I 
think that was seen not only in this country but around the world. It 
was one of the major assets in a community that for too long a period 
of time did not have access to a pharmacy. It was tragic to see that it 
was destroyed during the events in Baltimore.
  I wish to bring to my colleagues' attention that CVS has spoken about 
that episode, and they have made a commitment to restore the two 
pharmacy locations, which will be rebuilt in the same communities in 
which they were destroyed. They are committed to return to the 
community as quickly as possible with those services which are 
critically important to those communities.
  I just want to point that out that they have gone further than that. 
Previously, I said we need the Federal Government's help in rebuilding 
and dealing with the core problems, we need State and local 
governments, and we need the private sector to step up and help us. CVS 
has listened to that.
  First, one of the things they are doing is providing a $100,000 
donation to the United Way of Central Maryland's Maryland Unites Fund 
and the Baltimore Community Foundation. These are funds that will be 
used to help rebuild Baltimore.
  This is a quote from the CVS release:

       These funds will help provide immediate and longer-term 
     support to people in hard-hit areas and give those 
     communities much-needed resources.

  I also wish to point out what CVS did, and I think this is very 
  This is also a quote.

       To help minimize the financial impact of the store closing 
     for its Baltimore employees, CVS/pharmacy paid them their 
     regularly scheduled hours the week of the protests, whether 
     or not they were able to work. All displaced employees who 
     want to work in other CVS/pharmacy locations will able to do 

  To me, that is part of rebuilding and dealing with the problems in 
our community; that those employees, through no fault of their own, 
could have been at a tremendous disadvantage and will get their full 
paychecks. They have a job to return to, and we are going to have those 
pharmacies relocated in the communities which desperately need 
that. That is the private sector helping us in rebuilding and dealing 
with the problems in our city. I just wanted my colleagues to know 
about the work of CVS Health.

  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. KAINE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

            ISIL and Authorization for Use of Military Force

  Mr. KAINE. Mr. President, I rise today to commemorate an anniversary, 
as well as to challenge my colleagues in Congress.
  Today marks the completion of 9 months of America's war against ISIL. 
Tomorrow, May 8, starts the 10th month of this war.
  In the war on ISIL, here is what has happened so far. We have 
deployed thousands of troops far from home to support military 
operations in Iraq and Syria. A significant number of them are from 
Virginia, including the Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group based in 
  We have conducted more than 3,000 U.S. air strikes on ISIL from land 
bases in the region as well as from aircraft carriers.
  We have spent more than 2 billion American taxpayer dollars--and 
  We have lost the lives of American servicemembers and seen American 
hostages killed by ISIL in barbaric ways.
  And while we have seen some significant progress on the battlefield 
in Iraq, we have also witnessed ISIL spread and take responsibility for 
attacks in Afghanistan, Libya, and Yemen. We have seen other terrorist 
groups, such as Nigeria's Boko Haram, pledge alliance to ISIL. We have 
seen acts of terrorism in Europe and now in the United States that have 
been influenced or at least inspired by ISIL.
  All of this has happened in 9 months.
  Here is what hasn't happened. Congress, the article I branch whose 
most solemn power is the duty to declare war, has not done its job, has 
not debated this war, has not taken any formal step to authorize what 
was started unilaterally by the President 9 months ago.
  As of today, ISIL has no indication whether Congress cares one iota 
about the ongoing war. Our allies in the region who are most directly 
affected by

[[Page S2704]]

the threat of ISIL have no indication whether Congress cares one iota 
about the ongoing war. And most importantly, the thousands of American 
troops serving in the region and serving in the theater of battle have 
no indication whether Congress cares one iota about this ongoing war.
  In the Senate there has been no authorization vote or even debate on 
the floor. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee did report out a war 
authorization in December, but it died without floor action at the end 
of the 113th Congress. In the House, there has been no debate or 
authorization on the floor. In fact, there has been no action in any 
House committee during the 9 months of this war.
  The silence of Congress in the midst of this war is cowardly and 
shameful. How can we explain to our troops, our public, or ourselves 
this complete unwillingness of Congress to take up this important 
  President Obama maintains that the authorizations voted on by 
Congress in 2001 and 2002 give him the power to wage this war without 
Congress. Having reviewed the authorizations carefully, I find that 
claim completely without merit. The 2001 authorization allows the 
President to take action against groups that perpetrated the attacks of 
9/11. ISIL was not a perpetrator of the 9/11 attack; it was not formed 
until 2 years after the attacks, in 2003. It is not an ally of Al 
Qaeda; it is now fighting against Al Qaeda in certain theaters. The 
only way the 2001 authorization could be stretched to cover ISIL is if 
we pretend that the authorization is a blank check giving the President 
the power to wage war against any terrorist group. But that was 
precisely the power that President Bush asked for in 2001, and Congress 
explicitly refused to grant that broad grant of power to the President, 
even in the days right after the 9/11 attacks.
  The 2002 authorization to wage war in Iraq to topple the regime of 
Saddam Hussein also has no relevance here. That regime disappeared 
years ago.
  The War Powers Resolution of 1973 does grant the President some 
ability to initiate military action for 60 to 90 days prior to 
congressional approval, but it also mandates that the President must 
cease military activity unless Congress formally approves it. Here we 
have blown long past all of the deadlines of the act, Congress has said 
nothing, and yet the war continues.
  So the President does not have the legal power to maintain this war 
without Congress. Yet Congress--this Congress--the very body that is so 
quick to argue against President Obama's use of Executive power, even 
threatening him with lawsuits over immigration actions and other 
Executive decisions, is strangely silent and allows an Executive war to 
go on undeclared, unapproved, undefined, and unchecked.
  So 9 months of silence leaves the impression that Congress is either 
indifferent about ISIL and the threat that it poses or lacks the 
backbone to do the job that it is supposed to do.
  That is why I rise today to challenge my colleagues to take this 
seriously and promptly debate and pass an authorization for military 
action against ISIL. We should have done this months ago. By now, all 
know that ISIL is not going away soon. This problem will not just solve 
  I am given some hope by recent actions of the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee and this body on the pending matter, the Iran 
Nuclear Agreement Review Act. On a challenging and important national 
security issue, because of strong leadership by Senators Corker, 
Cardin, and Menendez, we have shown the ability to act in a bipartisan 
way to assert an appropriate congressional role in reviewing a final 
nuclear deal with Iran. We are taking an important stand for the 
congressional role in matters touching upon diplomacy, war, and peace, 
and we have fought off thus far the temptation to play politics with 
this important matter.
  This gives me some hope that we might do the same with respect to the 
war on ISIL, because the role of Congress in war is undisputable. The 
Framers of the Constitution were familiar with a world where war was 
for the Monarch, the King, the Sultan or the Executive. But they made a 
revolutionary decision to choose a different path and place the 
decisions about the initiation of war in the hands of the people's 
elected legislative branch.
  They did so because of an important underlying value. The value is 
this: We shouldn't order young servicemembers to risk their lives in a 
military mission unless Congress has debated the mission and reached 
the conclusion that it is in the Nation's best interest. That value 
surely is as important today as it was in 1787.
  To conclude, I hope we will remember that right now in places far 
from their homes, thousands of members of the American Armed Forces are 
risking their lives on behalf of a mission that Congress has refused to 
address for 9 long months. Their sacrifice should call us to step up, 
do our job, and finally define and authorize this ongoing war.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I want to echo the sentiments of my 
colleague from Virginia, who is also my colleague in the Foreign 
Relations Committee, for taking action on authorization for use of 
military force against ISIL. This is an issue that has confronted us 
for a while, and the Senator from Virginia has stood up forcefully time 
and again to insist that Congress fulfill its necessary role here, and 
yet we have not.
  As he mentioned, the United States has led a multination coalition 
since September of last year to achieve the President's stated 
objective to ``degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.'' The White House 
insisted when operations began that it didn't need an AUMF for this 
mission because it was on solid legal footing by using the AUMF which 
Congress had passed in 2001--2001--14 years ago. That authorization for 
use of force went after Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the wake of the 9/
11 attacks. Many of us took umbrage with the assertion at the time, and 
we pushed for the administration to work with Congress to authorize a 
mission against ISIL. It was important then and it remains important 
now for Congress to voice its support for the mission and to signal to 
our allies, as well as our adversaries, as well as our troops who are 
in harm's way, that our commitment will not change based on prevailing 
political winds.
  It wasn't until the Foreign Relations Committee took initiative to 
consider its own view on that, that the administration was forced to 
engage with Congress. The President submitted a draft AUMF to Congress 
in February of this year and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
held hearings thereafter. Yet movement of this vital piece of 
legislation has seemingly stalled. It remains a stalemate because the 
majority and minority parties can't agree on how to address the use of 
combat troops in this conflict. This is damaging to the effort to 
defeat ISIL. Frankly, it is also damaging to the credibility and 
relevance of this institution with regard to the conduct of foreign 
  The war against ISIL has been waged continuously since September of 
last year with Congress appropriating funds for its operations. Yet 
Congress has yet to authorize the mission itself. What kind of message 
does that send to our allies? What kind of resolve does it provide to 
ISIL? And what does it portend for others who are out there watching to 
see what Congress will do?
  Members of both parties in the House and the Senate pushed the 
President to send us an AUMF so we could authorize this mission, and in 
the end we were successful. The White House did send language in 
February of this year. When we demand engagement from the President on 
this issue--an issue as vital as this one--and then we disengage 
ourselves due to internal discord, it provides those who would choose 
not to take Congress seriously, perhaps, further reason to avoid it.
  Those who might be watching, whether at the White House or anywhere 
else in the world, might be left wondering whether this Congress means 
what it says. Last Congress, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
marked up and voted on two authorizations for use of military force: 
one to address Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons and the other 
to authorize the mission against ISIL. Both resolutions went no further 
than recorded votes in committee. That would lead some to question the 
relevance of the committee, when resolutions as grave

[[Page S2705]]

and as important as these are simply allowed to languish.
  The committee needs to reassert itself. We need to reassert our 
relevance by marking up a resolution to authorize military force 
against ISIL and to advance it to the floor where it can get a strong 
bipartisan vote. We all know this needs to be a bipartisan product. I 
am convinced that working with other Members of the committee, we can 
arrive at a bipartisan product. Obviously, I look forward to working 
with my colleague from Virginia on this matter.
  When we look just over the past couple of years at the engagements 
that we have had overseas, particularly at Libya, where we had for 
several months a bombing campaign without Congress weighing in at all, 
would we not have benefitted with a fulsome debate on that engagement 
and for Congress to speak and delineate our involvement there? Now we 
are faced with a situation where we have basically a failed state that 
spawns terrorists. We cannot continue to do that. We have to take 
ourselves more seriously and this institution more seriously by taking 
action on this AUMF.
  Along with the Senator from Virginia, I have been encouraged by the 
actions of the committee and this Congress recently on the Iran review 
package that we will likely vote on later today. That vote bodes well 
for bipartisanship here. We need to return to the time, to the extent 
possible--and we are not naive to those who believe that partisanship 
can always stop at the water's edge--but we have to have a situation 
where we have a bipartisan foreign policy and where the Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee takes its traditional role in formulating that 
policy in authorizing these engagements.
  With that, 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. LANKFORD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

            Debt, Defense, and Directives and the Work Ahead

  Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, it is my honor to represent my family, 
my neighbors, and the millions of people in my very diverse State of 
Oklahoma. I am an ordinary Oklahoman. I do not come from a prominent 
political family or from any kind of political machine. My wife of 23 
years, Cindy, is here in the Gallery today. We have walked through life 
together and have raised two incredible girls who love God and love our 
Nation. Stepping into this body was a high cost for my family. We took 
this on together.
  We have a tremendous staff, both here in Washington, DC, and in 
Oklahoma, who sacrifice incredible time and energy for the future of 
our Nation. Every day they work incredibly hard to solve the issues 
that we face as a nation. I am grateful to serve in this Chamber and 
for this to be my very first time to be able to speak in this Chamber. 
There are a few issues that I want to be able to raise and address in 
our conversation today.
  I have the opportunity to be able to live in a heritage of 
distinguished Oklahomans who have served in this Chamber. I serve 
alongside Senator Jim Inhofe, who has stood for conservative principles 
in this body for two decades. I am humbled to follow the irreplaceable 
Dr. Tom Coburn. For those of us who are Dallas Cowboy fans, my coming 
here is kind of like being Danny White after Roger Staubach.
  There have been 17 other Senators from Oklahoma, great names such as 
Don Nickles, Henry Bellmon, Robert S. Kerr, David Boren, and Mike 
Monroney, just to name a few. I have the honor to sit at the same desk 
on this Chamber floor used by fellow Republican Senators Tom Coburn, 
Dewey Bartlett, and Edward Moore.
  In the 1930s, Oklahoma's favorite son and humorist, Will Rogers, 

       Congress is so strange. A man gets up to speak and says 
     nothing. Nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees.

  This is my first official moment to join the ranks of those who step 
up to speak, but I want to speak about a few things that I consider 
essential to the work ahead for all of us--what I call the three Ds, 
which I talk about all the time: debt, defense, and directives.
  Let me take those in reverse order. The directives. People ask me all 
the time: What do Oklahomans want from their Federal Government? The 
answer is simple. They want to be left alone. They do not want someone 
else, over 1,000 miles away, telling them what to do, how to run their 
business, and how to run their lives. It is not that people in Oklahoma 
are antigovernment--far from it. We have a strong patriotism that 
drives us to serve our Nation and honor those who give their lives to 
public service.
  Twenty years ago, Oklahoma and the Nation were devastated by a truck 
bomb in the Oklahoma City Federal building, killing 168 people, most of 
those Federal employees. We are grateful for people in government who 
serve faithfully every day.
  But we also understand that our Federal Government has a task, and it 
also has a territory. Federal officers should do their task efficiently 
with great transparency and accountability, but they also stay out of 
other people's tasks and do theirs with great effectiveness. When I 
step into a restaurant, I may have an idea for a new recipe. But I 
cannot just wander back into the kitchen and start cooking and changing 
the way the restaurant works. Neither can a Federal regulator drift 
into every business and decide they are going to redo how that business 
is done. That is not their territory. That is not their job.
  But today in America, if you want to start or run a business, you 
will find out that the government has already made most of the 
decisions for you about how you will run your business. Well, an 
Oklahoma company recently paid a fine for not reporting to a Federal 
agency that they had nothing to report. Now, I am fairly confident that 
the Founding Fathers, when they were envisioning a country of the 
people, by the people, and for the people, were not envisioning that 
citizens of the country would pay fines to their government for 
reporting they have nothing to report.
  In the past week, I have started a bipartisan initiative called the 
Cut Red Tape Initiative to try to identify ways to streamline 
government, to return decisions back to individuals and local 
governments, and clear the clutter of regulations that benefit the 
government but slow down business. Just so that people would know that 
this process is difficult, I have faced weeks of red tape here in the 
Senate to start an initiative called Cut Red Tape. We will work through 
  In the past few years, over 30,000 pages have been added to the 
Federal Register. Nothing in American life does not face a Federal 
regulation. To make sure the government considers the cumulative effect 
of all of those regulations, agencies are required to do a regulatory 
lookback to evaluate problem regulations each year. But most don't take 
it seriously.
  The Department of Labor has 676 regulations and rules. This year, 
their regulatory lookback includes 4 regulations--4 of 676. That is not 
a serious review. The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has no 
accountability to the American people, and it has no limit to its 
authority. They are becoming a fourth branch of government with no 
checks or balances.
  The EPA spends their time looking for gray areas of law in places 
where they can reinterpret old laws to fit their new agenda. Consent 
decrees and novel interpretations of statutes have superseded 
consistent rulemaking and statutory and State primacy of enforcement. 
Agencies now write rules, interpret their rules, enforce their rules, 
and establish the punishment for not following their rules. Many people 
want to blame this administration. I disagree. This administration has 
become expert at pushing the boundaries; that is true. But the rise in 
the regulatory state is not new. For decades, the Congress has 
delegated responsibilities to agencies and given them very few 
  Since the 1970s, in the Chevron case, the courts have increased the 
power of the regulatory agencies by allowing them to have deference to 
determine their own rules. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. 
It is an American issue, which will not improve until this body demands 
its constitutional authority back and clarifies to the courts that the 
Constitution states

[[Page S2706]]

that all legislative authority shall lie in Congress--not in an agency.
  The American people want to give the Federal Government their own 
directive: Leave us alone. Now, I am willing to work with anyone who is 
willing to work on some of these issues. So far this session, I have 
coauthored or cosponsored bills and worked on ideas with Ted Cruz, 
Elizabeth Warren, Gary Peters, John Cornyn, Heidi Heitkamp, Dianne 
Feinstein, Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee, Steve Daines, Tim Scott, Rob Portman, 
Tom Carper, Angus King, Rand Paul, Jeanne Shaheen, John McCain, Mike 
Enzi, Kelly Ayotte, Mark Kirk and Ron Johnson, just to name a few.

  I did not have to sacrifice my conservative values, but I did have to 
admit that anyone can have a good idea. Just because we disagreed on 
one thing does not mean I have to belittle people. I told my wife 
several years ago, when I first came to the House of Representatives, 
that I had this deja vu moment, thinking I had felt this way before. I 
have never been in politics or Congress, but I know this feeling. After 
about 6 months I called her and I said: I finally figured out what this 
feeling is to be in Congress. It is the emotion you have in middle 
school lunch. It is that feeling that I get more popular by sitting at 
my table and making fun of everyone else at everyone else's table. And 
if I ever say something nice about someone else at another table, my 
table shakes their head and says: Why would you do that? But if I ever 
say something unkind, everybody says: Way to go. Welcome to Congress.
  Only we can turn this around. We will strongly disagree on areas, but 
we should find the areas of common ground where we do not have to 
sacrifice our values and be able to find ways to work together.
  The second issue is defense--directives and defense. Our freedom is 
foreign to most of the world, and it is a threat to them, not because 
the United States is an aggressor nation--far from it--but because the 
liberty we export is so powerful they know well it can depose their 
dictatorships and weaken their control. Many government leaders around 
the world would rather keep their people poor and closely managed than 
allow them to be prosperous and free.
  Iran is on the rise. Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has exported 
terrorism around the world. I am convinced that some individuals--even 
in this administration--trust Iran's words more than they trust 
history, the facts on the ground or even their own intuition. We cannot 
allow the largest exporter of terrorism in the world to have nuclear 
weapons. We cannot do that.
  Dictatorial governments around the world and totalitarian Islamic 
leaders consistently test our mettle, probe our infrastructure and 
computer systems, test our passion for freedom and our resolve for the 
dignity of every person. By the way, that is one of our core values. 
Every person--even people we disagree with--is valuable. It is why the 
issue of race--just as a side note--is so important to us in America--
because we understand that in many parts of the world if you are from 
the wrong family, the wrong tribe, the wrong race or the wrong faith, 
you cannot get a job, you cannot get government services, you cannot 
get housing--all of those things.
  That is how other places do it. That is not us. We have chosen not to 
be like that as a nation. Where injustice exists, we want to bring 
freedom and equality--within our boundaries or around the world.
  We believe every person is created equal and is endowed by their 
Creator with certain inalienable rights--every person. When brutal 
thugs attack innocent nations, we have the moral high ground to call 
out the aggressor and to stand with the oppressed. We always work with 
resolve to solve the issues peacefully. We understand this proverb: ``A 
gentle answer turns away wrath.''
  Our diplomacy leads the way. But when nations and philosophies will 
not stop their aggression, they learn that we do not bear the sword for 
nothing. I have the privilege--and I do count it as a privilege--of 
serving thousands of men and women and their families who faithfully 
protect our Nation every day in all branches of the military--first 
responders on our streets, in the intelligence community, at our ports, 
in the air, training, equipping, and protecting hundreds of thousands 
in Oklahoma. In fact, without Oklahoma, just so this body will know, 
our Nation could not sustain our Air Force, train our pilots, rearm our 
munitions, fire artillery or rockets, talk to our subs, train our young 
soldiers, refuel our aircraft, control battlefield airspace or deliver 
supplies. So you are welcome for what happens in Oklahoma every day.
  Our Guard and Reserve units have fulfilled everything that has been 
asked of them by their Nation, some of them to their last full measure 
of devotion. But in Oklahoma our patriotism also challenges us to deal 
with military waste when it takes money, especially directly from the 
warfighter. Why would we call waste in defense patriotism? Let's solve 
it. We want the intelligence community to be well equipped. We want 
them to be attentive to the issues around the world, but we also want 
our Fourth Amendment freedoms protected. Remember, Oklahomans like to 
just be left alone.
  The third issue is our debt--directives, defense, and debt. Our 
economy runs on increasing debt. That is how we are actually managing 
life day to day nowadays. We gamble every year that interest rates will 
not go up and the rest of the world will still want our bonds. This 
year we paid $229 billion in interest payments. Think about that for a 
minute--$229 billion.
  The highway trust fund is short just $10 billion, and we are spending 
$229 billion just in interest payments this year. CBO estimates that we 
will spend over $800 billion in interest payments by the end of the 10-
year window. That is more than we spend on all defense spending, 
education, transportation, and energy combined--what we will do just in 
interest payments in the years ahead.
  We need to fix two things in this budget hole: efficiently manage 
Federal spending and a growing economy, duplication in programs. All 
these things need to be resolved.
  Let me take a couple of these things. Efficiency in the Federal 
Government. We need to deal with the tremendous fraud and waste and 
duplication. Where we see it, we should go after it. For the past 2 
weeks, I have held a bill that funds a grant program for bulletproof 
  I am not opposed to the program. I am opposed to the fact that we 
have two programs that do the same thing--two different applications, 
two different sets of processes, two programs that do the same thing. 
If we see it, we should solve it. Yesterday, we marked up and passed a 
bill in committee that I authored called the Taxpayer Right to Know 
Act, which will identify duplicative programs, the administrative cost, 
the number of full-time staff, and how and if programs are evaluated.
  It is a commonsense thing to do that, and it passed by a voice vote 
out of the committee. In the days ahead, I hope we will use that tool 
wisely to be able to actually identify where we have duplication, and 
instead of complain about it, we solve it as a body. The goal is to 
find those and eliminate them.
  A friend of mine in Oklahoma is a former marine. His name is Hank. 
Hank runs a small business. Hank is a guy who if you see him, you need 
to brace yourself because when he shakes your hand you know it. Hank 
runs his small business from a desk in his unair-conditioned garage.

  When I think about the way we spend money, I often think of Hank. 
Hank is not a guy who wants to have our government suffer or our Nation 
do something weak. Hank is an incredible patriot, but he wants us to 
spend money wisely, and when we find waste, he would expect us to get 
rid of it. He does. He would expect that we do.
  A good example of that may be Social Security disability. It is a 
difficult issue for us to talk about because we want a safety net for 
the truly vulnerable, but we all know there is incredible waste in that 
program, and there are people who are ripping off the system. To have a 
strong safety net for the vulnerable doesn't mean we allow people to 
freeload off the top. Disability is designed for people who cannot work 
in any job in the economy, not someone who just doesn't want to.
  Let's find a way to protect our vulnerable but incentivize those who 
are freeloading off the system to engage them back into work. We need 
people to work.

[[Page S2707]]

  The earned-income tax credit is another one of those. We read the 
reports every year: a 24-percent fraud rate, the highest fraud rate in 
the Federal Government. Last year, there was $14.5 billion in loss; one 
program, $14.5 billion.
  We have to pay attention to this. We have to get the economy going or 
we will never fix the debt. We can't just fix it by reducing spending. 
We all know that well. Tax reform seems to be the elusive dream of our 
economy. I can only hope that as a body we will not continue to strive 
for large-scale tax reform and fail to do some things that are 
significant and possible.
  Banking reform must be done. Dodd-Frank is choking out lending. Now, 
I don't want to attack any individual who voted for it, but I am very 
well aware that there are many unintended consequences that have come 
down, especially on community banks.
  People can feel our economy tightening and the lending tightening. 
They don't know why. Main Street community banks are dealing with 
uncertain regulations. We have to get our community banks back in 
business. We can do that by exempting traditional banks from heavy 
regulatory burdens that complex banks face and replacing simple capital 
requirements. This isn't controversial or complicated. We just need to 
work on some simple things while we still work on the complex.
  Trade. We are a nation that believes in trade. Quite frankly, our 
Navy was created in the infancy of our Republic to protect our trade. 
In fact, one of our grievances that we had with King George in the 
original Declaration of Independence was the King was cutting off our 
trade with all ports of the world. Trade has been a big deal to us as a 
nation since before we were a nation.
  Currently, this ongoing debate about whether we will be a nation of 
trade seems to be a little odd to me. Yes, we are going to be a nation 
of trade. We always have been. Let's work it out and let's continue to 
grow our economy.
  Energy issues. The past 6 years the brightest star in our economy has 
been energy. If we want to have the economy grow, energy is going to be 
a major part of that formula. If anyone disagrees with that, I would 
love to get a chance to meet them because I can show you all the job 
growth that has happened in America just circled around energy. But we 
all know EPA policies make energy development harder and increase the 
energy cost of everything for every person in America.
  Energy jobs are great-paying jobs, but they are suddenly fading away 
because of this mixture of low oil prices and bad energy policy. A few 
years ago, America was led to believe they were running out of oil and 
gas and our supplies were going away. Now our supplies are at record 
numbers and we keep finding more.
  In the past 6 months, America has lost 100,000 jobs because we have 
stopped drilling because our tanks are full and the prices have 
collapsed. If we could only sell that oil, what a difference that might 
make to our economy. You see, we can sell our coal and we can sell our 
natural gas, but for whatever reason we as a nation are still thinking 
we can't sell oil. Now, we can sell gasoline, just not oil. It would be 
kind of like saying you can sell flour, but you can't sell wheat.
  Currently, we import about 27 percent of our crude. Most of that is 
heavy oil that is imported. Most of that is done by foreign ownership, 
foreign ownership of refineries. They are bringing in their own oil. 
Most of our new finds are in light sweet oil, a different type of oil 
that our refineries don't need. Do you know who needs this? Mexico 
needs it, Canada needs it. So, literally, while our storage tanks are 
at maximum capacity and the prices continue to drop in America, the 
rest of the world is craving our oil, and we are debating whether that 
is a good idea. It is the ultimate irony right now that the 
administration is in negotiations to open the sale of Iranian oil to 
the world market, and we cannot sell oil from America on the world 
  Let's pay attention to American jobs. Let's get our economy going. 
There are some basic things we can do.
  All this talk about security, economy, and liberty boils down to one 
thing, though--our families. Nothing is bigger in our Nation than our 
families--nothing. We are not a nation of wealth, we are a nation of 
families. The rise of government is directly connected to the collapse 
of families. It is not that government is pushing down families, it is 
that families are collapsing and government is trying to rise to fix 
that. It will not fix it. Government can't fix a family, but we can 
make sure there is no marriage penalty in our tax law. We can make sure 
we don't incentivize broken families and our social welfare programs. 
We can actually use our moments in our times when we speak to state the 
obvious. America is strongest when American families are strong. Let's 
not be afraid to step out and protect what we know works. We don't live 
in a nation with no hope. We live in a nation of incredible hope.
  The seeds are all still there. It is a matter of how much we are 
going to engage in those things, whether we are going to be an exporter 
of freedom and of our basic values. That is what I think we should do.
  We should export our freedom to the world. We should export our 
values to the world. We will do that best as we protect our families 
and as we rise to speak about the things we know are right.
  There is a tremendous diversity of American opinion, freedom of 
speech, but before the Framers even mentioned free speech, they 
mentioned the free exercise of religion. It is popular culture now for 
people to be intolerant of people of faith and people who live their 
faith. You can say you have faith, but you are pushed down if you 
actually practice the faith you say you have. I served 22 years in 
ministry before I came to Congress. I have a little different 
perspective than some on that. I see our Nation with a great spiritual 
hunger. I don't criticize Washington, though, in the process. Quite 
frankly, I believe Washington perfectly reflects our culture, and to 
people who are frustrated with what Washington has become, I remind 
them, this is who we are as a nation.
  What we are going to do about it becomes the big issue. What are we 
going to become? While we beat ourselves up, we lose track that the 
rest of the world still looks at us, and they still want to be us.
  Last September, I was in Central America for a few days meeting with 
some of the leaders there talking about immigration. I don't know if 
anyone has noticed, but there are a few issues about immigration now. 
We had this conversation about immigration and started talking about 
what are we going to do and how are we going to limit the number of 
these unaccompanied minors coming in and what is actually driving them 
to come.
  One of the leaders there said: Sir, I don't know if you have noticed, 
but you are the United States of America. Everyone in the world wants 
to go there. There doesn't have to be a driving factor to go to your 
nation. Everyone wants to be your nation.
  We do not have open borders, nor should we. But it was another lesson 
learned that while we argue among ourselves, we have the opportunity to 
be able to serve in the greatest Nation, in the greatest body in the 
world. We still lead the world with our values. We should represent 
that well. That is our greatest export, our values.
  This is the National Day of Prayer, and I thought it would be 
entirely appropriate to be able to end this conversation with both a 
reminder to call our Nation to prayer and to remember Psalm 46:1-2:

       God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in 
     trouble. Therefore we will not fear.

  So we not only remember that, but let us actually call this Senate to 
  Let us pray.
  Our Father, I pray for our Nation. I pray that You would give us 
wisdom and direction. I pray for this body, incredible men and women 
who have set aside their families, their careers, and their life, to 
come serve their Nation. I pray that You would give us unity of 
attitude and diversity of opinion and that You give us the capacity to 
be able to solve the issues ahead of us.
  I pray for President Obama, for Vice President Biden, the Supreme 
Court, for the House of Representatives, for the men and women around 
the world right now who are serving quietly in ways of intelligence, 
publically as first responders and leaders, and our military scattered 
across the Earth. God,

[[Page S2708]]

would You protect them and would You allow us, as families and as 
leaders, to represent You and the values of our Nation to a world that 
needs our leadership still.
  God, use this time. Use us. As broken as we are, we know that You are 
an ever-present help in time of trouble, and we will not fear.
  Thank you, Jesus. Amen.
  Madam President, I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mrs. Fischer). The majority leader.

                    Congratulating Senator Lankford

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I wish to say to my new colleague 
from Oklahoma, what an insightful assessment of the challenges facing 
our country and an extraordinary list of solutions to those challenges, 
not to mention reminding us all that we are the envy of the world.
  So I congratulate our new colleague from Oklahoma. I wish him well 
and thank him for his fine remarks.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. ISAKSON. 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. McCONNELL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Under the previous order, the time from 11:30 a.m. until 12:50 p.m. 
will be equally divided, with the majority controlling the first half 
and the Democrats controlling the second half.

                      NSA Counterterrorism Program

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, since the unlawful leaks of NSA 
programs, opponents of our counterterrorism program have painted a 
distorted picture of how these programs are conducted and overseen by 
exploiting the fact that our intelligence community cannot discuss 
classified activities. So what you have is an effort to characterize 
our NSA programs, and the officials who conduct them cannot discuss the 
classified activities. So they are clearly at a disadvantage.
  Since September 11, 2001, FISA has been critically important in 
keeping us safe here in America. According to the CIA, had these 
authorities been in place more than a decade ago, they would likely--
likely--have prevented 
9/11. Not only have these tools kept us safe, there has not been a 
single incident--not one--of an intentional abuse of them.
  The NSA is overseen by the executive, legislative, and judicial 
branches of our government. They are not running rogue out there. The 
NSA is overseen by the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of 
our government. The employees of NSA are highly trained, supervised, 
and tested.
  The expiring provisions of FISA are ideally suited for the terrorist 
threats we face in 2015. These provisions work together to protect us 
from foreign terrorists abroad who use social and other media to 
conspire and eventually plan attacks inside the United States.
  ISIL uses Facebook, uses Twitter, its online magazine, and other 
social media platforms to contact and eventually radicalize recruits 
online. If our intelligence community cannot connect the dots of 
information, we cannot stop this determined enemy from launching 
  Under section 215 authority, the NSA can find connections--find 
connections--from known terrorists overseas and connect that to 
potential terrorists in the United States. But the NSA cannot query the 
database, which consists of call data records such as the number 
calling, the number called, and the duration, without a court order.
  Let me say that again. NSA cannot query the database, which consists 
of call data records such as number calling, the number called, and the 
duration, without a court order. Under section 215, the NSA cannot 
listen to phone calls of Americans at all. Under section 215, the NSA 
cannot listen to the phone calls of Americans at all.
  Despite the value of the section 215 program and the rigorous 
safeguards that govern it, critics of the program either want to do 
away with it or make it much more difficult to use. Many of them are 
proposing a bill--the USA FREEDOM Act--that they say will keep us safe 
while protecting our privacy. It will do neither. It will neither keep 
us safe nor protect our privacy. It will make us more vulnerable and it 
risks compromising our privacy.
  The USA FREEDOM Act would replace section 215 with an untested, 
untried, and more cumbersome system. It would not end bulk collection 
of call data. Instead, it would have untrained--untrained--corporate 
employees with uncertain supervision and protocols do the collecting. 
So it switches this responsibility from the NSA, with total oversight, 
to corporate employees with uncertain supervision and protocols. They 
get to do the collecting. It would establish a wall between the NSA 
analysts and the data they are trying to analyze. At best, the new 
system envisioned by the USA FREEDOM Act would be more cumbersome and 
time consuming to use when speed and agility are absolutely crucial. At 
worst, it will not work at all because there is no requirement in the 
legislation that the telecoms hold the data for any length of time. Put 
differently, section 215 helped us find the needle in a haystack, but 
under the USA FREEDOM Act, there may not be a haystack to look through 
at all.
  In short, the opponents of America's counterterror programs would 
rather trust telecommunication companies to hold this data and search 
it on behalf of our government. These companies have no programs, no 
training or tools to search the databases they would need to create, 
and if that isn't bad enough, we would have to pay them to do it. The 
taxpayers would have to pay them to do it.
  In addition to making us less safe, the USA FREEDOM Act would make 
our privacy less secure. The section 215 program is subject to rigorous 
controls and strict oversight. Only a limited number of intelligence 
professionals have access to the data. There are strict limits on when 
and for what purpose they can access the data. Their access to the data 
is closely supervised with numerous--numerous--levels of review. These 
safeguards will not apply to the untried and novel system under the USA 
FREEDOM Act, and rather than storing the information securely at NSA, 
the information would be held by private companies instead.
  There was an excellent editorial today in the Wall Street Journal 
pointing out the challenges we face. It was entitled the ``Snowden 
Blindfold Act.'' The ``Snowden Blindfold Act'' was the headline in the 
Wall Street Journal today.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the 
Record a copy of that article.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

              [From the Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2015]

                       The Snowden Blindfold Act

       Congress moves to weaken antiterror surveillance while 
     France expands it.
       At least one of the gunmen who shot up a Texas free speech 
     event on Sunday was known to the FBI as a potentially violent 
     radical and was convicted in 2011 on a terror-related charge. 
     The Islamic State claimed credit for this domestic attack, 
     albeit an unproven connection. So it is strange that Congress 
     is moving to weaken U.S. surveillance defenses against the 
     likes of shooters Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi.
       Two years after the leaks from Edward Snowden's stolen 
     dossier, a liberal-conservative coalition is close to passing 
     a bill that would curtail the programs the National Security 
     Agency has employed in some form for two decades. Adding to 
     this political strangeness, France of all places is on the 
     verge of modernizing and expanding its own surveillance 
     capabilities for the era of burner cell phones, encrypted 
     emails and mass online jihadist propaganda.
       The Patriot Act expires at the end of the month, and a 
     fragile House-negotiated compromise on reauthorization would 
     end NSA sweeps of telephone metadata--the date, time stamps 
     and duration of calls. The content of those calls isn't 
     collected without a separate warrant. The measure also 
     includes mostly cosmetic nuisance changes such as a panel of 
     outside amicus lawyers to advise the secret Foreign 
     Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that supervises and 
     approves NSA activities.
       But the metadata eulogies are premature before what ought 
     to be a sturdy debate in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch 
     McConnell introduced a ``clean'' extension of current law as 
     a base bill that the chamber will open to amendments later 
     this month. The Senate narrowly defeated a bill similar to 
     the House measure last year, and we hope it does so again.
       Senators should think carefully about the value of metadata 
     collection, and not only because the technical details of the 
     House bill are still being parsed by security experts. In 
     January 2014, President Obama

[[Page S2709]]

     tried to suppress the Snowden wildfire by pronouncing the end 
     of ``bulk metadata program as it currently exists,'' via 
     executive order. Civil libertarians rejoiced. Yet NSA 
     transparency disclosures show the FISC court approved 170 
     search applications of the database in the same calendar 
       Presumably the NSA continued to analyze metadata--despite 
     pro forma White House opposition--because these details 
     provide intelligence that is useful for uncovering plots, 
     preventing attacks and otherwise safeguarding the country. 
     The NSA must demonstrate to FISC judges a ``reasonable, 
     articulable suspicion'' to gain approval for each 
     ``selector,'' or search query.
       In other words, there is little invasion of privacy because 
     the searches are narrow. The NSA isn't even using automated 
     algorithms to reveal suspicious patterns the way that credit 
     card companies and retailers mine consumer data every day. 
     The NSA's 170 metadata searches involved merely 160 foreign 
     targets and 227 known or presumed U.S. citizens.
       There is still no evidence that the data have been abused. 
     The Supreme Court has held since Smith v. Maryland in 1979 
     that the Constitution provides no guarantee of metadata 
     privacy. Domestic police and prosecutors in routine criminal 
     investigations enjoy more warrantless access to metadata well 
     beyond even the NSA status quo.
       The House bill pretends not to undermine intelligence 
     collection by requiring telecom and tech companies to retain 
     metadata business records. The NSA could then request these 
     documents with FISC consent or unilaterally in an emergency. 
     But assembling this information retroactively may be too slow 
     in a true crisis--in return for little or no added privacy 
     protection. After the hacking breaches at Sony, Target and a 
     string of health insurers, Americans may reasonably wonder if 
     their data are safer fragmented across many private third-
     party repositories.
       The Members of Congress who know the most about 
     intelligence know all this, but they say that ending metadata 
     collection is the price of blocking a political stampede that 
     might also kill more important provisions such as Section 702 
     that authorizes foreign-to-foreign wiretaps. That might have 
     been true immediately after the Snowden heist, but it may not 
     be true after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and in Texas by 
     Islamic State-inspired jihadists.
       Those shootings show that surveillance is more crucial than 
     ever to prevent mass murder on U.S. soil by homegrown or 
     foreign radicals. The French understand this, which is why 
     they are widening their intelligence reach. No prevention can 
     ever be perfect. But the House measure is a deliberate effort 
     to know less and blind U.S. spooks to potentially relevant 
     information. This self-imposed fog may be politically 
     satisfying now, but deadly if there is another attack.

  Mr. McCONNELL. Finally, I would like to ask the senior Senator from 
North Carolina, who is the chairman of the Select Committee on 
Intelligence, the following question: Why was it necessary to enact the 
provisions of the PATRIOT Act after the attacks of 9/11/2001, and why 
are they relevant today given the threat we face from ISIL and Al 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I appreciate the question the leader has 
asked, and, also, I ask unanimous consent to enter into a colloquy with 
my Republican colleagues.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BURR. The leader raises a great question, and it is really the 
purpose for which section 215 was created. It is the reason the NSA 
looked at ways to effectively get in front of threats that take us back 
to 9/11 and the attacks.
  As we reacted, through our law enforcement tools within the United 
States, we used an instrument called a national security letter. They 
produced a national security letter. They had to go to the telecoms and 
ask that they search their systems for this information.

  The leader alluded to the fact that many looking back to pre-9/11 
said that had we had the tools we have today, we might have stopped 
this attack. But over a series of years, Congress, the executive 
branch, the Justice Department, and our intelligence community worked 
to refine the tools we thought could effectively be used to get in 
front of a terrorist attack.
  That brings us to where we are today. Over those years, we created 
section 215, the ability to use bulk data. What is bulk data? Bulk data 
is storing telephone numbers--we have no idea to whom they belong--that 
are foreign and domestic. The whole basis behind this program is that 
as a cell phone is picked up in Syria and we look at the phone numbers 
that phone talked to, if it is someone in the United States, we would 
like to know that--at least law enforcement would like to know it--so 
we can understand if there is a threat against us here in the homeland 
or somewhere else in the world.
  Section 215 allows the NSA to collect, in bulk, telephone numbers 
with no identifier on them. We couldn't tell you who that American 
might be. And if for a reason they believe they need to look at that 
number because of an Executive order from the President, they go to a 
judge, and the judge is the one who gives them permission to search or 
query that data. If, in fact, they find a number that connects with one 
of a known terrorist, they have to go back to the court and prove there 
is reason for them to know whose number that is and the duration of 
time of the conversation. Further information requires further judicial 
  Why are we here today? Because this expires on May 31. Some would 
suggest it is time to do away with it.
  Over the same period of time, we added something the American people 
have been very close to. It is called the TSA. Every time we go to an 
airport, we go through a security mechanism. Americans have never 
complained about it. Why? Because we know that when we get on the 
airplane, there is a high degree of likelihood that there is not a 
terrorist, a bomb, or some type of weapon that is going to be used 
against us.
  The leader said there has not been a single instance of a breach of 
privacy. Yet, those who suggest we need to change this do it 100 
percent on the fact that privacy has been invaded. Let me say to all my 
colleagues, to the public, and to both sides of the Hill, today every 
American now has a discount grocery card on their key chain. They go 
and buy groceries and they proudly scan that card because it gets them 
a discount, it gets them coupons, it gets them a gas reduction. Here 
are the facts: Your grocery store collects 10 times the amount of data 
that the NSA ever thought about collecting on you.
  There is a big difference between the NSA and your grocery store: The 
NSA doesn't sell data; your grocery store does. From the data they 
collect, they could do a psychological profile on an individual. They 
could tell you how old they are, what their health is, where they live, 
how often they shop, therefore when they work. We are not in the 
business of doing that. They are. But I don't hear anybody complaining 
about the grocery stores' discount card because you get a discount, so 
you are willing to do that.
  What we haven't shared with the American people is, what do you get 
through this program? You get the safety and security of knowing we are 
doing everything we possibly can to identify a terrorist and the act 
and to stop it before it happens.
  So we are here today with a choice. The choice is whether we are 
going to reauthorize this program, which has been very effective, with 
the same conditions the President has in place--you have to go to a 
judge--and with important controls on privacy by professionals with 
rules, or whether we are going to roll it back to the telecoms. Make no 
mistake about it--the compromise legislation rolls us back to the same 
thing we were doing pre-9/11.
  So whether we let it expire or we reauthorize it, those are the two 
choices because this compromise bill actually forces it back to 
telecoms--very cumbersome, time-consuming, and, I would say, fraught 
with privacy issues, as the leader pointed out. It is my choice to 
continue the program because the program has worked.
  NSA only has less than three dozen people who have the authority to 
look at this data. I will bet there would be more people in every 
telecom company who are authorized to search data.
  Let me suggest this to my colleagues: If their argument is valid, 
then they should be on the floor with a similar bill eliminating the 
TSA. I am not sure anybody invades my privacy any more than the TSA 
process. When I go through, they x ray me, they look at my luggage. In 
some cases, they stop me and wand me and, in some cases, hand-check me. 
I am not sure there are any more blatant privacy concerns than that. 
But they are not in here suggesting we do away with TSA because they 
know the public understands the safety TSA provides to aviation.
  Our big mistake is we haven't been out here sharing with the American 
people why it has been so long since there has been an attack. We were

[[Page S2710]]

lucky this week in Garland, TX--lucky because 40-some Texas law 
enforcement officers happened to be at a museum, and everybody there 
was carrying. We are not going to be lucky every time.
  I remind my colleagues and the public, in the same week, ISIL went on 
social media networks and said: America, don't think that you have got 
this in your rearview mirror. There are over 70 terrorists that we have 
in America in 15 States, and it is a matter of time before it happens.
  Why in the world would we think about rolling back the tools that are 
the only tools that put us post-9/11 versus pre-9/11?
  The threat is greater today domestically and around the world than it 
has ever been, and the argument we will be consumed with is whether we 
do away with tools that have been effective for law enforcement to 
protect America.
  I would suggest that we reauthorize this bill for 5.5 years as is and 
that we make the same commitment to the American people we do when we 
reauthorize and fund the TSA: No matter where you are, we have 
controls. We are going to keep America safe. We are not going to let it 
revert back to where we are susceptible to another 9/11.
  With that, I turn to Senator Cotton, my distinguished colleague from 
Arkansas, and ask whether he agrees that the collection of telephone 
and call data does not raise any reasonable expectations of privacy 
under the Fourth Amendment.
  Mr. COTTON. Madam President, I thank the Senator from North Carolina, 
and I appreciate his work and the majority leader's work on this 
critical issue. I have been working hand in glove with them all along.
  I would say the answer to the question is, no, this does not raise 
any reasonable concern about privacy. In fact, the program does not 
collect any content. It does not surveil any phone call. It doesn't 
even include any personally identifiable information.
  I have spent hours with the intelligence officers and the FBI agents 
who are responsible for administering these programs--not merely the 
general counsels or the directors of these agencies but the men and 
women who administer them. I have asked them what they think poses a 
greater risk to their privacy--the discount grocery card the Senator 
from North Carolina mentioned or the fact that e-commerce Web sites 
have their name, address, credit card number, and personal history? And 
to a person, every one of them said a greater threat to their privacy 
is commercial marketing practices, not this program.
  The program has been approved 40 times by 15 different independent 
Federal judges based on 36 years of Supreme Court precedent and has 
been approved by two Presidents of both parties. If President Obama 
wanted to end the program tomorrow, he could, but he hasn't. That is 
because this program is lawful, it is faithful to the Constitution, it 
is smothered with safeguards against abuse, and it is needed to fight a 
rising terrorist threat that we face today. In fact, those threats 
today are greater than they were on 
9/11. And that is not my opinion; that is the testimony of this 
administration's senior intelligence officials.
  The rise of Al Qaeda affiliates in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula 
and the broader Middle East illustrates the metastasis of Al Qaeda 
following its retreat from Afghanistan. These groups are larger and 
more spread out than their predecessors. They are also more 
technologically and operationally savvy, developing new, nonmetallic 
bombs, recruiting westerners, and using the Internet to spread their 
hatred. They even publish ``how to'' manuals for becoming a successful 
terrorist at home.
  Of course, there is the Islamic State--the Obama-described ``JV 
team''--which has cut the heads off of innocent Americans, is torturing 
and murdering Christians and other religious minorities, and has 
sadistically burned people alive. More than 20,000 foreigners have gone 
to Syria and Iraq to join this enemy. Some have returned to their home 
countries, including the United States, some have remained in their 
home countries, becoming more radicalized and ready to inflict harm 
against Americans.
  We don't have to look any further than this past week, when two 
Islamic State-inspired jihadists decided to open fire in Texas. Press 
reports indicate that one of the attackers was in contact with an ISIS 
supporter currently located in Somalia. This conduct illustrates why 
this program is so important. It helps close the gap that exists 
between foreign intelligence gathering and stopping attacks here at 
home. This is the gap that contributed in part to our failure to stop 
the 9/11 attacks.
  There are also open source reports of ISIS cells in Virginia, 
Maryland, Illinois, California, and Michigan. As a member of the 
Intelligence Committee, I receive regular briefings on such threats, 
and I invite all my colleagues to receive these briefings if they doubt 
that the wolves are at the door or even in our country.
  This highlights one challenge of this debate: Most of the information 
surrounding the plots and the programs is classified. The intelligence 
community has been very accommodating in providing classified briefings 
to Members of the Senate and the Congress. The issue, though, is often 
getting Members to attend or to visit with the agencies. That is why I 
believe the Senate may have to enter a closed session as we debate 
these programs, so that Members are not woefully ignorant of the 
threats America faces.
  Under consideration in the House and proposed in the Senate is the 
so-called USA FREEDOM Act, which will eliminate the essential 
intelligence this program collects. Proponents of the bill claim that 
it provides alternative ways for the intelligence community to obtain 
critical information needed to stop terrorist attacks and that it 
doesn't compromise our counterterror efforts. But let me be clear. This 
is wrong. The alternatives to the current program do not come close to 
offering the capabilities we now have that enable us to protect 
  One alternative offered by opponents is to have phone companies 
retain control of cell data and provide the NSA only the data 
responsive to searches phone companies would run on the agency's 
behalf. This isn't technologically feasible.
  At the request of the President's own Director of National 
Intelligence, the independent National Research Council examined this 
proposal, and its experts concluded that the technology does not 
currently exist that would enable a system spread among different 
carriers to replace the capabilities of the current NSA metadata 
program. Any such system would create holes in our ability to identify 
terrorist connections.
  First, phone companies don't store the data for longer than 180 days 
and oftentimes for much shorter periods, and nothing in the USA FREEDOM 
Act requires them to store it any longer. The current NSA program, 
however, stores data for 5 years, which allows the NSA to discover 
potential terrorist links during that time period. A system that keeps 
data with multiple carriers that store their data for much shorter time 
periods is close to useless in discovering terrorist network and 
sleeper cells, many of which lie in wait for years before launching an 
  Second, a system that tries to search multiple carriers and then 
collects and unifies their responses is cumbersome and time-consuming. 
In many investigations, the loss of valuable minutes, hours, and days 
may mean the difference between stopping an attack or seeing it 
  Third, data stored with phone companies rather than the NSA is more 
vulnerable to hackers who would seek to abuse queries of the stored 
  Fourth, the costs are unknown, and the American people will bear 
them--either as taxpayers if the telecom companies ask to be reimbursed 
or as consumers as the companies pass along the costs on your phone 
bill, perhaps as an NSA collection fee.
  Fifth, to those people who say that this is technologically feasible 
and that we can easily execute it, I would remind you that this is the 
Federal Government that brought you healthcare.gov.
  A second alternative offered is to pay a third-party contractor or 
quasi-private entity to store data and run the program. I would argue 
that this is untested and unworkable.
  First, the proposal would also require an indefinite stream of 
taxpayer dollars to fund it.

[[Page S2711]]

  Second, the private entity may be subject to civil litigation 
discovery orders as it may hold information relevant to cases, which 
would expose Americans' data to judicial proceedings with no connection 
to national security and without the security and privacy protections 
in place today.
  Third, a new organization will create the need for heavy security, 
top-secret clearances for employees, and strong congressional 
oversight. As more resources are devoted to such an entity, what we end 
up with is a reconstituted NSA program but at additional cost to 
taxpayers and greater threats to privacy.
  As I mentioned, I have taken the opportunity in recent months to go 
and visit the men and women who work at the NSA and FBI. I can tell you 
all that they are fine Americans with the highest character. I spent 
hours with the very small number of men and women at Fort Meade who are 
allowed to search this data. I would ask how many critics of the 
program have actually done that.
  Let's examine in detail how these men and women search this data. An 
independent Federal court regularly approves NSA's authority to collect 
and store the data in the first place. But for these men and women to 
even look at the data, it must go through a multistep process that 
includes approval by four different entities at the NSA, numerous 
attorneys at the Department of Justice, and those very same judges who 
sit on that court. Even if a search request is granted, not just anyone 
at the NSA can access the data; access is limited to this small group 
of men and women, all of whom undergo regular background checks, drug 
tests, and are subject to regular polygraphs, many of whom are military 
  To prevent abuse of the program in retrospect, searches of the data 
are automatically recorded and regularly audited by both the inspector 
general and the Department of Justice, with strict penalties for anyone 
found to have committed abuse.
  Moreover, I, the Senator from North Carolina, and other members of 
the intelligence committees of both Houses of this Congress participate 
in these reviews. This is a robust and layered set of protections for 
Americans, their privacy, and these protections would not exist under 
the proposed USA FREEDOM Act.
  There are also protections that almost definitely will not be adopted 
by private telecom providers, which some wrongly suggest might retain 
exclusive control of this data.
  These multiple safeguards are why to date these programs have a 
sterling record, with no verified instances of intentional abuse, not a 
single one.
  In conclusion, in the wake of the traitorous Snowden disclosures, 
Senator Chambliss and Senator Feinstein showed great leadership when 
they came together to defend these programs as both legal and 
effective. As Senator Feinstein wrote when she was chair of the Senate 
Intelligence Committee, to end this program will substantially increase 
the risk of another catastrophic attack in the United States. That is a 
proposition with which I wholeheartedly agree.
  I now see my colleague from the Judiciary Committee on the floor. He 
is a former U.S. attorney and State attorney general, and I wonder if 
he agrees that this program is both constitutional and does not differ 
in substantial ways from the traditional tools prosecutors can use 
against criminals while also providing adequate safeguards to American 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, that is an important question. First, 
I would like to thank the Senator for volunteering to serve in the 
forces of the United States to protect the security of our country and 
the Middle East and dangerous areas.
  We do need to protect our national security. We lost almost 3,000 
people on 9/11. The Nation came together. I was a member of the Senate 
Judiciary Committee at the time, and we evaluated what to do about it. 
We worked together in a bipartisan way and in a virtually unanimous 
agreement passed the PATRIOT Act to try to help us be more effective in 
dealing with international terrorism.
  What I have to tell you is what we were facing. Many people were 
shocked to see the improper obstacles that were placed in the way of 
our intelligence community as they sought to try to figure out how to 
identify and capture people who wanted to do harm to America. It was 
stunning. There was a wall between the CIA, which did the foreign 
intelligence, and the FBI. They could not say to the FBI: We have 
intelligence that this person might be a terrorist. The FBI has 
jurisdiction within the United States. That wall was eliminated when we 
developed these intelligence tools. And we did other things in an 
overwhelmingly bipartisan way.
  As a person who spent 15 years as a prosecutor, I would say there is 
nothing in this act that alters the fundamental principles of what 
powers investigators have to investigate crime in America.
  A county attorney can issue a subpoena from any county in America--
and they do every day by the hundreds of thousands--including subpoenas 
to phone companies for telephone toll records. Those toll records have 
the name, the address, and the phone numbers called and how many 
minutes. What is maintained in this system basically is just numbers.
  Not only can a county attorney, who is a lawyer, but also a drug 
enforcement agent and an IRS agent can issue an administrative subpoena 
on the basis that there is information in telephone toll records 
regarding John Doe that are relevant to the investigation they are 
conducting. They can get that information. It is done by law, and there 
is a written document, but that is the way it is done every day in 
America. There does not have to be a court order to get those records. 
We are talking about hundreds of thousands of subpoenas for telephone 
toll records.
  In every murder case, virtually every robbery case, every big drug 
case, the prosecutor wants to use those toll records to show the 
connection between the criminals. It is extremely valuable for a jury. 
This is part of daily law practice in America.
  To say that the NSA analysts have to have a court order before they 
can obtain a telephone toll record is contrary to everything that 
happens every day in America. I am absolutely amazed that the President 
has gone further than the law requires and is requiring some form of 
court order.
  Apparently, this bill would go even further, this FREEDOM Act. It is 
not necessary. You do not get the communications. All you get is--the 
person may be a terrorist in Yemen, and they are making phone calls to 
the United States, and you check to see what those numbers are and who 
they may have called. You might identify a cell that is inside the 
United States that it is on the verge of having another 9/11, hijacking 
another airplane to blow up the Capitol. I mean, this is real life.
  I think we only had a couple hundred queries. I think that is awfully 
low. One reason is, I am sure, we have such a burden on it.
  I would say, let's not overreact on this. Please, let's not overreact 
on this.
  Former Attorney General Mukasey, a former Federal judge himself, has 
really pushed back on this, and he believes it is the wrong kind of 
thing for us to be doing at this time.
  This is what he said:

       To impose such a burden on the NSA as the price of simply 
     running a number through a database that includes neither the 
     content of calls nor even the identity of the callers is 
     perverse. The president said that this step may be dispensed 
     with only in a ``true emergency,'' as if events unfold to a 
     musical score with a crescendo to tell us when a ``true 
     emergency'' is at hand.

  He was talking about the additional requirements the President put on 
  One more thing. This is the way the system works and has worked for 
the last 50 years--40 years at least. A crime occurs. A prosecutor or 
the DEA agent investigates. They issue a subpoena to the local phone 
company that has these telephone toll records--the same thing you get 
in the mail--and they send them in response to the subpoena. They send 
those documents. They maintain those records.
  Now the computer systems are more sophisticated. There are more phone 
calls than ever. The numbers are by the tens of millions, probably 
almost billions of calls. So they are reducing the number that they are 
maintaining in their computers--I believe Senator Cotton said it was 18 
months. Maybe

[[Page S2712]]

they abandon or they wipe out all these records. Well, an investigation 
into terrorism may want to go back 5 years.
  The government downloads the records, they maintain them in this 
secure system, and they are accessible just as they had been before but 
actually with less information than the local police get when they 
issue a subpoena.
  I believe this would be a big mistake.
  Senator Burr.
  Mr. BURR. I thank the Senator from Alabama.
  Madam President, I ask unanimous consent for 5 additional minutes on 
the majority side and 5 additional minutes on the minority side.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I am very curious to hear what my 
colleague Senator Rubio has to say and whether he is in agreement with 
what we have said on the floor to this point.
  Mr. RUBIO. Madam President, I think my colleagues have made an 
excellent point today in outlining all the details of how this program 
works. Let me back up and point out why we are even having this debate, 
other than the fact that it is expiring. It is because the perception 
has been created--including by political figures who serve in this 
Chamber--that the U.S. Government is listening to your phone calls or 
going through your bills as a matter of course. That is absolutely 
categorically false.
  The next time that any politician--Senator, Congressman--talking 
head, whoever it may be, stands up and says ``The U.S. Government is 
listening to your phone calls or going through your phone records,'' 
they are lying. It is not true, except for some very isolated 
instances--in the hundreds--of individuals for whom there is reasonable 
suspicion that they could have links to terrorism.
  Those of us in this culture in our society are often accused of 
having a short attention span. We forget that less than a year ago, 
Russian separatists shot down a commercial airliner armed by the 
Russians. Maybe even the Russians themselves did it. We forget that it 
was not long ago that Assad was using chemical weapons to slaughter 
people in Syria. The world moves on.
  What we should never forget is what happened here on the 11th of 
September of the year 2001. There are a number of seminal moments in 
American history that people always remember. They remember when 
President Kennedy was assassinated. Everyone in this room remembers 
where they were and what they were doing on that morning of the 11th of 
September of the year 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked and 
the subsequent attacks happened.
  Here is the truth. If this program had existed before 9/11, it is 
quite possible we would have known that 9/11 hijacker Khalid Al Mihdhar 
was living in San Diego and was making phone calls to an Al Qaeda safe 
house in Yemen. There is no guarantee we would have known. There is no 
way we can go back in time and prove it. But there is a probability we 
would have; therefore, there is a probability American lives could have 
been saved.
  This program works as follows: If the intelligence agencies of the 
United States believe there is an individual who is involved in 
terrorist activity--a reasonable belief--and that individual might be 
communicating with people as part of a plot, they have to get an order 
that allows them access to their phone bill. The phone bill basically 
tells you when they called, what number they called, and how long the 
call was. Why does that matter? Because if I know that subject X is an 
individual who is involved in terrorism, of course I want to know whom 
they are calling. I would not be as interested in the calls to Pizza 
Hut or the local pharmacy, but I would be interested in calls overseas 
or calls to other people because they could be part of the plot as 
well. That is why this is such a valuable tool.
  My colleagues have already pointed out that if the IRS wants your 
phone bill, they just have to issue a subpoena. If virtually every 
agency--any agency of American Government--if your local police 
department wants your phone bill--in fact, if you are involved in a 
proceeding in a civil litigation and they want access to your phone 
bill because it is relevant to the case, they can just get a subpoena. 
It is part of the record. The intelligence agencies actually have to go 
through a number of hoops and hurdles, and that is fine. That is 
appropriate because these are very powerful agencies.
  I will further add that the people who are raising hysteria--what is 
the problem we are solving here? There is not one single documented 
case, not one single documented case--there is not one single case that 
has been brought to us as an example of how this program is being 
abused. Show me the story. Give the name to the world. Show us who this 
individual is who is going out there and seizing the phone records of 
Americans improperly. There is not one example of that--not one. And if 
there is, that individual should be fired, prosecuted, and put in jail. 
The solution is not to get rid of a program at a time when we know the 
risk of homegrown violent extremism is the highest it has ever been.

  We used to be worried about a foreigner coming to the United States 
and carrying out an attack, and then we were worried about an American 
traveling abroad and coming back and carrying out an attack. Now we are 
worried about people who may never leave here, who are radicalized 
online and carry out an attack.
  This is not theoretical. Just last weekend two individuals who were 
inspired by ISIS tried to carry out an attack in the State of Texas. 
One day--I hope that I am wrong--there will be an attack that is 
successful. The first question out of everyone's mouth will be: Why 
didn't we know about it? And the answer better not be because this 
Congress failed to authorize a program that might have helped us know 
about it. These people are not playing games. They don't go on these 
Web sites and say the things they say for purposes of aggrandizement. 
This is a serious threat, and I hope we reauthorize this bill.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I thank my colleagues for their 
participation, and I thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle 
for their accommodation.
  I will conclude by saying that in the very near future this Congress 
will be presented two choices: to reauthorize a program that works or 
to roll back our tools to pre-9/11. I don't believe that is what the 
American people want, and I don't believe that is what Members of 
Congress want.
  I urge my colleagues to become educated on what this program is, what 
it does, and more importantly, how effective it has been implemented.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.

      Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act

  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
following Senators be added as cosponsors to S. 697, the Frank R. 
Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, a bill to reform 
the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976: Senators Barrasso, Booker, 
Cornyn, Cotton, Isakson, Kaine, McCaskill, Merkley, Murkowski, Murphy, 
Rubio, Scott, Shaheen, and Whitehouse.
  There is a substantial list here that brings the total up to 36 
cosponsors on this piece of legislation.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, I came from a press conference on the 
third floor, with Chairman Inhofe, Senator Vitter, Senator Whitehouse, 
and Senator Merkley, about the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for 
the 21st Century Act. So I thought I would talk a little bit about what 
we are trying to do and where we are headed.
  Americans trust that when they go to the grocery store or when they 
are in their own homes, the products they reach for are safe. The 
current system fails that trust. It fails to provide confidence in our 
regulatory system, and it fails to provide confidence in our consumer 
products. We cannot let that failure continue.
  I rise today to urge support for the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical 
Safety for the 21st Century Act. It is the best chance we have--
possibly for many years--to protect our kids from dangerous chemicals.
  The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, or TSCA, is supposed to 

[[Page S2713]]

American families. It does not. There are over 84,000 known chemicals 
and hundreds of new ones every year. Of all of these chemicals, how 
many have been regulated by the EPA? Less than half a dozen. The EPA 
cannot even regulate asbestos, a known carcinogen, since losing a court 
battle in 1991. So for decades, the risks and the dangers are there, 
but there is no cop on the beat.
  Some States are trying to fill the gaps by regulating a few 
chemicals. But my home State of New Mexico, and the vast majority of 
other States, have no ability to test chemicals. They have no 
department to write regulations. Without a working Federal law, they 
have no Federal protection--no protection at all.
  Even in the 7 years since California--which probably has the greatest 
capacity of all States to test and regulate--passed a law to regulate 
chemicals, it has only begun the process on three. We have an 
opportunity and an obligation to reform our broken chemical safety law. 
That is why I and others have worked so hard to find compromise. That 
is why I introduced the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 
21st Century Act.
  I have been privileged to work with Senator Vitter on this bill. I 
thank the Senator from Louisiana and our colleagues who have worked 
with us. This is a true bipartisan effort. We don't always agree, but 
we have one goal. Reform is overdue--40 years overdue.
  Our esteemed former colleague, the late Senator Lautenberg, led the 
way for many years with great determination. His bipartisan effort with 
Senator Vitter to reform TSCA was the last major legislation he 
  Two years ago, the New York Times endorsed the Lautenberg-Vitter 
bill. The Times said correctly that previous efforts at reform had gone 
nowhere and the bill ``deserves to be passed because it would be a 
significant advance over the current law.''
  I was honored to take over as the lead Democrat on the bill. Since 
then, I have listened to concerns, I have reached across the aisle, and 
I have brought everyone into the room--or at least tried to. With 
Senator Vitter we have improved the bill.
  By working with three of our colleagues on the Environment and Public 
Works Committee--Senators Whitehouse, Merkley, and Booker--we made more 
progress. I thank them and Senator Vitter for coming to the table and 
working with us.
  I also thank our cosponsors. We are up to 36 cosponsors from both 
sides of the aisle--half Democrats, half Republicans. This is a big 
  The bill is even stronger now with more protections for consumers and 
a stronger role for States to play in keeping their citizens safe.
  I want to talk for a moment about how this bill moves forward. First, 
the manufacturer of a new chemical cannot begin until the EPA approves 
it. More than 700 new chemicals come into commerce each year. Our bill 
gives the EPA the time it needs and keeps these chemicals out of 
American homes in the meantime.
  Second, the current TSCA has no requirement for evaluating existing 
chemicals--none. Our bill does and includes deadlines even more 
aggressive than the EPA itself said it was ready for.
  Third, we require a stronger safety standard for all chemicals to be 
evaluated. No longer will the EPA be required to choose the least 
burdensome regulation. Its criteria will be safety, science, and public 
health--never costs or convenience.
  Fourth, our bill requires, for the first time, that the EPA protect 
our most vulnerable populations--pregnant women, infants, the elderly, 
and workers--from chemicals in commerce or manufacturing.
  Fifth, TSCA is silent on animal welfare and testing. The Lautenberg 
act minimizes animal testing and develops a strategy to do so.
  Finally, we limit the protection of confidential business information 
so that businesses cannot hide information from the public.
  Let's be clear. We have a choice. We can continue with a law that has 
failed, we can continue to leave the American people unprotected or we 
can actually make a difference. I believe the choice is obvious. Our 
bill will make Americans safer--and not just for Americans fortunate 
enough to live in States with protections. All Americans, no matter 
where they live, will be protected.
  For those Americans in States with existing safeguards, that will not 
change. Those safeguards will stay in place. Any regulations in place 
as of August of this year will remain. And there is a role for States 
to play to help with the thousands of chemicals that the EPA will not 
be able to evaluate. But the EPA has the largest staff on chemical 
safety of any country in the world. They should be able to put that 
staff to good work. To do otherwise is wasted opportunity and continued 
  This has not been an easy process, but it has been a necessary one. I 
believe it will result in a good bill. We welcome a healthy debate, we 
welcome constructive amendments, and at the same time we should not 
lose sight of the key goal to actually pass a bill.
  I believe we can do this, and Senator Lautenberg, who was a great 
environmental champion, believed we could as well. He used to talk a 
lot about his children and grandchildren and that this bill might save 
more lives than anything he had ever done.
  We have a historic opportunity to create a chemical law that works 
and provides American families with the protections they expect and 
deserve. Let's work together. Let's make that happen. Let's not wait 
another 40 years.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I may speak again after Senator Durbin has finished his statement on 
the floor.
  I thank Senator Durbin. I have had some very good exchanges with him 
on this bill. I look forward to working through the issues that 
Illinois has. I know that Illinois is a big State, and the Senator 
cares about chemicals and chemical safety. I want to make sure the 
Senator is comfortable with what we have in this bill and will try to 
work with my colleague as we move down the road.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The assistant Democratic leader.
  Mr. DURBIN. Madam President, I commend my colleague from New Mexico. 
It is difficult to put in words the way I feel about his effort on this 
  It was first brought to my attention when there was a series in the 
Chicago Tribune about fire retardant chemicals in furniture. It turned 
out that many people who were making furniture were putting fire 
retardant chemicals in the fabric of the upholstery, as well as in the 
cushions of chairs and couches.
  After further examination, we found that these chemicals were not, in 
fact, fire retardant, and secondly, they had properties that were 
dangerous and, frankly, should not be in our homes.
  I thought about that series over and over again because my wife and I 
have two of the cutest grandkids on Earth who are a little over 3 years 
old. I thought to myself: Every time I plop down on the couch to play 
with the kids, I am pushing down on that cushion and spraying those 
chemicals into the room. I thought long and hard about it. I didn't 
know what those chemicals meant, what they could do to my grandkids or 
what they could do to innocent people. It never crossed my mind.
  Senator Udall has taken on what is in many ways a thankless task but 
a very important one--to try to come up with some standards for new 
chemicals so they are reviewed and so we know they are safe for 
Americans and for families.
  He has taken his share of grief in the process. I may have given him 
a little of grief along the way because it is a critically important 
subject. But he is right to invoke the name of Senator Frank 
  The Senator's widow, Bonnie Lautenberg, was in to see me yesterday. 
We talked about Frank and all the things he had done over the years. He 
was my Senate sponsor when I was a House originator of the bill banning 
smoking on airplanes 25 years ago. Frank Lautenberg carried the flag 
over here in the Senate. He was my partner.
  One of the last press conferences I ever had with him was on this 
subject, the toxic chemicals and the review of these chemicals. I 
remember that it was right outside.
  I thank the Senator from New Mexico for continuing this. I am not one 

[[Page S2714]]

the cosponsors, but I might be. I have three or four issues I want to 
sit down and go over with my friend and make sure I understand them and 
maybe suggest some changes. But I commend the Senator for sticking with 
this. I know it has not been easy. There are those who disagree with 
him, even within our own caucus.
  Again, I thank the Senator for trying, on a bipartisan basis, to deal 
with an issue that we should deal with as a nation. I commend the 
Senator for that. I thank the Senator from New Mexico for his 

                  For-Profit Colleges and Universities

  Madam President, for several years I have been coming to the floor 
and giving speeches--which some of the staff here can repeat because 
they have heard them so often--about the for-profit colleges and 
universities in America. I always preface my talk about these for-
profit colleges and universities by saying: I am going to give you 
three numbers that are going to be on the final. So get out your pen 
and paper, students, because this will be on the final.
  Ten percent of college students go to for-profit colleges and 
universities. Who are the for-profit colleges and universities? The 
biggest ones are the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, DeVry 
University, and many others that I will mention. Ten percent of college 
students go to these colleges and universities that are run for profit. 
How do they find them? They cannot avoid them. Ask a high school 
student when the last time was that they logged in on the Internet with 
the word ``college'' or ``university'' and whether they were not 
inundated for ads to go to for-profit schools. They are on billboards 
and on television. They are everywhere. So 10 percent of students go to 
these schools. That is the first question on the final.
  The second question: What percentage of Federal aid to education goes 
to for-profit colleges and universities? The answer is 20 percent--20 
percent of Federal aid to education. Why so much? Ten percent of the 
students and 20 percent of the Federal aid? These schools aren't cheap. 
They charge a lot of money. Students have to borrow a lot more money to 
go to school.

  So the Federal aid to education, which includes student loans to for-
profit schools, is 20 percent. Ten percent of the students; 20 percent 
of the Federal aid to education.
  But here is the important number: 44. Forty-four percent of all of 
the student loan defaults in the United States are from students at 
for-profit colleges and universities. Why? Well, there are two 
reasons--maybe more but two that are obvious. They accept everyone. If 
a student is low income--particularly a minority student--they can't 
wait to bring them in the door. Why? Because they automatically qualify 
for about $5,000 in Pell grants that the school can get right away, and 
they automatically qualify for college loans because their family 
doesn't have a lot of money. So those are the great opportunity 
students: low-income students.
  What happens to those students? They start in these schools. They 
sign up and pay to the schools what they can afford. They take their 
grant money and give it to the schools, and then they sign up for 
student loans and they start their classes. Then they find, for a 
variety of reasons, they can't continue. Maybe they are not ready for 
college. Maybe--just maybe--they start adding up all of the loans they 
have taken out and say, I have to stop; it is getting too much--because 
the indebtedness of students coming out of for-profit colleges and 
universities is twice what it is for those who go to public 
universities. It is a very expensive undertaking.
  Then there is the other category: those who finally finish at these 
for-profit colleges and universities but can't get a job. One of them 
was at a press conference with me last Monday in Chicago--a sweet young 
woman who was born in West Virginia and raised in Eastern Kentucky. She 
moved to Chicago, went to Everest College in Chicago, a for-profit 
school owned by Corinthian Colleges. She didn't quite finish, but she 
spent several years there. Then she learned something after she went 
out looking for a job. The employers would look at her and say: 
Corinthian, that is not a good college. Why did you go there? Don't put 
that on your resume. Stop putting that on your resume because it makes 
you look bad.
  Here she is in debt $20,000 to this for-profit college and her 
employers are saying stop putting that on your resume; it is not a real 
  This poor young woman, now in City Colleges, is trying, at a very 
young age, to put it back together again.
  So that is where we start: for-profit colleges and universities, 10 
percent of the students, 20 percent of the Federal aid to education, 
and 44 percent of all of the student loan defaults.
  I have been giving this speech on the floor for literally years 
saying something is wrong. Why are we accrediting these schools that 
have such dismal records? Why are we looking the other way when the 
students who go to these schools have massive debt and can't pay back 
their student loans? When are we going to wake up as a Federal 
Government and stop shoveling hundreds of millions--and billions--of 
dollars at this industry?
  For-profit colleges and universities' share of Federal aid to 
education--if it were a separate line item in the Federal budget, would 
be the ninth largest Federal agency. That is how much money we send to 
these people. These are for-profit, private sector companies--baloney. 
Their revenues--80 to 95 percent of their revenues come right from the 
Treasury. This is the most heavily subsidized industry in America.
  But now something historic has happened. Corinthian Colleges, one of 
the largest for-profit colleges and universities, announced its 
bankruptcy last week, and that isn't the end of the story. Yesterday, 
Career Education Corporation, headquartered in my home State of 
Illinois, announced it would teach out, which means close, its 14 
Sanford-Brown institutions across the country and online. This follows 
the decision to close its Harrington College of Design in Chicago and 
to look for a buyer for its Le Cordon Bleu culinary schools. Ever heard 
of those? I can guarantee my colleagues that high school kids have 
heard of them. I have run into students at these places.
  Harrington College of Design. I cannot tell my colleagues how many 
students went there, took out the loans, and found out it was 
worthless, and then contacted my office and asked, What are we supposed 
to do next?
  I had a hearing on for-profit colleges and universities in Chicago 
and there were students from these for-profit colleges picketing 
``Durbin is unfair.'' I went out to the students and I said: Where do 
you go to school?
  One student said: I go to the Institute of Art of Chicago. Now, there 
is a Chicago Art Institute, but this play on words turned out to be 
  I said: What are you studying there?
  The student said: I am going to be a super chef.
  Oh, really. How much is it going to cost you to take the culinary 
courses to be a super chef?
  It is $54,000 in tuition.
  To be a chef? I have asked the major restaurants in Chicago; they 
don't even want to see those degrees. They don't look for them. They 
don't value them. These poor kids, these young men and women who watch 
these cooking shows on TV and get all caught up in it and say, That is 
for me, end up getting suckered into these schools.
  Le Cordon Bleu is another one. Le Cordon Bleu--doesn't that sound 
great? My wife has a cookbook that says that on it. These students 
quickly sign up for this French-sounding culinary school and get in 
debt and deeply in trouble. Now they are in more trouble because the 
school is in the process of going out of business.
  In a public statement about their decision, CEO Ron McCray of Career 
Education Corporation blamed a more difficult higher education 
environment and challenging regulatory environment. Do people know what 
the challenge is? The Department of Education is finally challenging 
these schools when they say to the Department, Oh, our kids all get 
jobs--when they graduate, they all get jobs.
  When they challenged Corinthian Colleges, here is what they found 
out. Corinthian graduates would be employed--check the box--after they 
graduate for about 30 days, sometimes less. Corinthian had cooked a 
deal with employers to hire their graduates for 30 days, and it paid 
them to do it, and they were caught redhanded and eventually went out 
of business. Fraud--

[[Page S2715]]

fraud in reporting to the government, fraud on the taxpayers leading to 
the collapse of Corinthian Colleges.
  Career Education Corporation, incidentally, is under investigation--
this for-profit school--by 17 different State attorneys general 
relating to recruitment practices and graduate placement statistics, 
among other things. In 2013, this company, Career Education 
Corporation, settled with the New York attorney general for 10 million 
bucks. The company is on the Heightened Cash Monitoring list, meaning 
they are suspect, of the U.S. Department of Education.
  What else happened yesterday? This is all within the last 2 weeks.
  Education Management Corporation--EDMC--announced that it was going 
to close 15 of these art institute campuses. Remember that one? I told 
my colleagues about that costs $54,000 tuition to become a cook? They 
are going to close 15 of these campuses, including reportedly one in 
Tinley Park, IL. They have been financially faltering for some time. 
They had recently tried to do a debt restructuring which apparently 
didn't work. They are currently being sued by the Department of Justice 
for false claims violations.

  The Justice Department alleges that this one, Education Management 
Corporation, falsely certified compliance with provisions of the 
Federal law that prohibit the university from paying financial 
incentives to its admissions staff that is tied to the number of 
students they recruit. We made it a law that said you can't pay a 
bounty for bringing in kids and signing up in the school. They did it 
  In addition, this company is under investigation by 17 State 
attorneys general, just like the other one, related to, among other 
things, marketing and recruitment. EDMC is also on the Department of 
Education's Heightened Cash Monitoring list.
  Let me say a word about ITT Tech. We have to watch the names of these 
places because they sound like real schools. We have an Illinois 
Institute of Technology that is a real university, one of the best in 
the Nation--one of the best in the world--when it comes to engineering 
and science. So along comes a for-profit school and makes a little 
change. It is ITT Tech, hoping the Illinois students will not catch it. 
They are another company under heavy scrutiny.
  They have been sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for 
predatory lending to students. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 
alleges that ITT pushed students into high-cost private loans that they 
knew were going to end in default. Sometimes these students are still 
eligible for government loans at low interest rates and good terms and 
these schools don't care. They push them into private loans with high 
interest rates.
  Do my colleagues know how high the interest rates on the student 
loans were from private lenders to these kids at ITT Tech? How about 
16.25 percent. Think about that for a minute. At a time when the 
interest rates in our country are at rock bottom, these kids were 
paying 16 percent to the lenders for private loans.
  There is something else we should know. Unlike virtually any other 
loan that we take out in America, student loans are not dischargeable 
in bankruptcy. No matter how deep a hole these kids get into--and their 
families--no matter how deep the hole, if they go bankrupt over student 
loans, they can't discharge them in bankruptcy. Student loans follow 
you to the grave. That is what these kids at age 19 and 20 are getting 
into. Sadly, these for-profit schools are dragging them in that 
  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau believes ITT misrepresented 
the basics, including how often you can get a job, the quality of the 
diploma. Does this sound familiar? It is a recurring theme in this 
industry. ITT is under investigation by everybody in sight: 15 State 
attorneys general, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New 
Mexico attorney general is suing them, and ITT is on the Department of 
Education's Heightened Cash Monitoring list.
  What happens when these schools go bankrupt, when they close or teach 
out and finish? Well, Corinthian ended up closing many of their 
campuses a week or so ago and now the students who are in debt because 
they went to school there have an opportunity. They can walk away from 
the credits they earned at a Corinthian college and then walk away from 
their college debt associated with them since their school closed. But 
some of these other students will not be so lucky. They will have ended 
their education at these worthless schools and have a mountain of debt 
to show for it and the school will go out of business.
  This isn't fair. There comes a point where we are supposed to step 
in, the government is supposed to step in. This is our money, hundreds 
of millions of dollars from taxpayers going to these rotten schools 
that are abusing students, leaving them deeply in debt and then going 
out of business.
  We shouldn't be surprised to learn that the CEOs of these schools do 
quite well. The CEO of Corinthian College that went bankrupt: $3 
million a year--not bad for what turned out to be a fraudulent 
  That is why this week I joined several of my colleagues and sent a 
letter to the Department of Justice. The Department of Education said 
we don't know how to go after these individual wrongdoers at these for-
profit college corporations. So we said to the Attorney General: We 
hope you will investigate this. Take a look at it. If you cheat on your 
income tax or you defraud the government, you are going to be held 
responsible for it. Why shouldn't these people who took hundreds of 
millions of dollars not only from Federal taxpayers but at the expense 
of students now burdened with the debt of their schools also be 
investigated? I think it only stands to reason they should be.
  Madam President, I have another statement to make, but I see two of 
my colleagues. I will come back a little later in the day.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.
  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, I would ask the Chair to notify me when I 
have consumed 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator will be so notified.
  Mr. UDALL. Madam President, I rise to support the President's 
negotiations with the P5+1 and Iran and to speak about the tremendous 
work--especially at our national laboratories--to create a framework 
agreement that meets the scientific requirements to prevent Iran from 
acquiring a nuclear weapon.
  I also wish to express my support for the Corker-Menendez bill as 
passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  Congress must have an oversight role; there is no doubt about that. 
While I do not believe this bill is necessary to have such a role, I do 
believe it is the best compromise to ensure a congressional oversight 
role without weakening the President's hand to continue critical 
  First, let's be clear, we all agree on one basic point: a nuclear-
armed Iran is a serious threat. No one doubts this. No one questions 
the history of Iran's deception. That history is well documented and 
the danger is evident. This is the greatest nuclear nonproliferation 
challenge of our time. It is of tremendous import to our Nation, to the 
Middle East region, and to our ally, Israel. It is a challenge we must 
meet. We do not disagree on the danger; we disagree on the response.
  The Corker-Menendez bill is truly bipartisan. It passed the Foreign 
Relations Committee on which I am proud to serve unanimously. I wish to 
thank Chairman Corker and Ranking Member Cardin for their leadership 
and all of their hard work to find a compromise solution. This is a 
solid bill. It gives Congress the opportunity to review a final 
agreement, to hold hearings and ask tough questions, and it creates an 
orderly method for Congress to approve or disapprove of any final 
agreement, providing more than enough time for both.
  The administration still has work to do and needs time to do it. I 
believe the framework agreement has promise to stop Iran from acquiring 
a nuclear weapon, to protect Israel, and to prevent a new war in the 
Middle East. And it would take longer for Iran to secure the nuclear 
materials needed to make a bomb. As a result the United States and its 
allies would have much more time to respond if Iran attempted to break 
out and build a nuclear weapon.
  This is not speculation. This is not wishful thinking. Energy 

[[Page S2716]]

Moniz and Secretary of State John Kerry make this commitment clear. If 
anyone doubts this, visit our nuclear security experts at the labs in 
New Mexico, California, and Oak Ridge, TN, or Argonne in Illinois. Talk 
to the engineers and scientists who know the most about nuclear weapons 
and what is needed to make them.
  The Secretary said in his recent op-ed in the Washington Post:

       An important part of the parameters is a set of 
     restrictions that would significantly increase the time it 
     would take Iran to produce the nuclear material needed for a 
     weapon--the breakout time--if it pursued one. The current 
     breakout time is just two to three months . . . that would 
     increase to at least a year for more than 10 years, more than 
     enough time to mount an effective response.

  Secretary Moniz goes on to say: ``The negotiated parameters would 
block Iran's four pathways to a nuclear weapon--the path through 
plutonium production at the Arak reactor, two paths to a uranium weapon 
through the Natanz and Fordow enrichment facilities, and the path of 
covert activity.''
  These negotiations must continue. The President and his team must 
have room to proceed. Let's not kid ourselves. This process is complex. 
It is daunting. Success is not guaranteed.
  I will oppose any amendments to the Corker-Menendez bill that would 
tie the President's hands. Efforts such as the letter sent by 47 
Members of this body and other efforts to derail negotiations only 
serve to confound and weaken our position. Politics must stop at the 
water's edge.
  The Senate will have ample time to review any agreement and to 
approve or reject any agreement. But our debate is within these halls. 
It is with each other and with our fellow Senators and with our 
President. The Ayatollah has no place in that debate. The Congress 
should give the President the room he needs to negotiate. This is a 
world of imperfect choices. And if negotiations fail, make no mistake, 
our options are limited and likely costly.
  We are dealing with an unstable region. Use of force or regime change 
has unforeseen consequences. That path may seem simple. It is not. Both 
recent history in Iraq and the history of our interactions with Iran in 
the 20th century surely have taught us that much.
  Senators Corker and Cardin have given us a solid bill, one that is in 
the best tradition of the Senate and in the best interest of our 
country. I commend them for this, and I urge my colleagues to support 
the bill.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Jersey.
  Mr. MENENDEZ. Madam President, I rise to speak on the Corker-Menendez 
Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act. As I have said from the start, 
bipartisanship on this legislation has always been the key to making 
sure that Congress has the ability to review any agreement with Iran--a 
nation that we cannot trust. It is critically important that 
bipartisanship is preserved.
  As we head to a 2 o'clock vote on cloture to move forward on this 
bill, let me just say I want to thank Chairman Corker for his 
leadership. I want to thank Ranking Member Cardin for taking up the 
cause and for helping to bring this legislation to this point, starting 
with a unanimous vote out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. At 
the end of the day, we can pass a bipartisan bill almost as Senator 
Corker and I first envisioned it.
  It has been a long and difficult process. There has been debate, 
disagreement, and some amendments, but we have almost reached the 
finish line. Despite the good intentions--and I would say the good 
intentions of many of the amendments, some which I agree with--we 
cannot risk a Presidential veto. And we cannot at the end of the day 
risk giving up congressional review and judgment.
  That is the critical core issue before the Senate. Will we have 
congressional review and judgment on probably the most significant 
nuclear nonproliferation national security--global security--question, 
I think, of our time? We cannot risk having no oversight role, and 
without the passage of this legislation, we will have missed an 
opportunity to send a clear message to Tehran.
  As we near the finish line and, hopefully, agree to govern as we 
should, I believe we will ultimately pass legislation without 
destroying what Senator Corker and I carefully crafted and was passed 
unanimously out of the committee. From the beginning, we fashioned 
language to ensure that Congress plays a critical role in judging any 
final agreement. I want to also recognize Senator Kaine, who had 
significant input as we were devising the bill, for his support.
  The bill we crafted was intended to ensure that if the P5+1 and Iran 
ultimately achieved a comprehensive agreement by the June deadline, 
Congress would have a say in judging that agreement. A core element of 
the framework agreement that is the foundation of the negotiations 
leading into June is about sanctions relief as a core point, at least 
from the Iranian perspective. The sanctions relief that the 
administration is proposing is at the heart of these negotiations from 
their perspective. For us, it is about their nuclear infrastructure and 
their drive for a nuclear weapon. Why are they seated in negotiations 
in the first place? As the administration itself recognized, it is 
because of the sanctions. Well, the sanctions were crafted by Congress 
and enacted by Congress, and we should be the ones to make a 
determination as to whether or not it is appropriate to relieve those 

  I have to say, as one of the authors of those sanctions, I never 
envisioned a wholesale waiver of sanctions against Iran without 
congressional input and without congressional action. The message I 
believe we can send to Iran--and I hope we will do it powerfully--is 
that sanctions relief is not a given and it is not a prize for signing 
on the dotted line.
  Make no mistake. Having said that I hope we can have a strong 
bipartisan vote on this bill, I have serious questions about the 
framework agreement as it stands today, from the different 
understandings that both sides have of the agreement--which is, I 
guess, part of the challenge of not committing it to one document in 
writing--and about the pace of sanctions relief. I increasingly get 
alarmed that there is a suggestion that there will be greater upfront 
sanctions relief. I don't believe that Iran should get a signing bonus. 
I am concerned about the recent statement by the President that he 
could consider greater sanctions relief coming upfront for Iran. I have 
real questions about where the spectrum is of Iran's research and 
development authority as we move forward and how far they can advance 
their research and development as it relates to nuclear power. Greater 
research and development means, among other things, more sophisticated 
centrifuges that can spin faster and dramatically reduce breakout time 
towards a nuclear bomb.
  I am concerned about the ability to snap back sanctions if there are 
violations of any agreement. Certainly, what I have seen in the first 
instance--which sounds like a committee process--doesn't guarantee that 
a snapback will take place or that it will be done in a timely fashion. 
Ultimately, snapback, in and of itself, is a challenge because it 
doesn't recognize the time it takes for sanctions actually to take 
effect. So even if you snap them back and say that we won't have to go 
to the law again to have them take place, to have them take effect and 
to pursue enforcement, we have learned that it takes time, and time is 
something that is ultimately not on our side.
  I am concerned about the International Atomic Energy Administration's 
inability to obtain at any time and place snap inspections. We have 
already heard the Iranians say they are balking at that. They are also 
balking about the possibility that the IAEA believes that such a 
location might be on a military installation. They are saying: Oh, no, 
we are not going to allow any of our military installations to be 
inspected. That is a surefire way to guarantee that if you want 
ultimately to violate a deal, then do it at a military site where you 
are not allowing inspections to take place.
  I am concerned that I hear the administration is trying to 
differentiate between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and the Quds 
Force to provide greater sanctions relief. Both, as far as I am 
concerned, are terrorist groups. As far as I am concerned, they are 
clearly covered by U.S. law. So trying to get the Treasury Department 
to differentiate is really problematic and concerning.
  I am deeply disturbed that the agreement does not speak to the long-
established condition that Iran must come

[[Page S2717]]

completely clean on the question of their possible weaponization of 
their nuclear program. We need to know how far along Iran has 
progressed in their weaponization so that we can understand those 
consequences as it relates to other breakout time issues.
  Above all, I am concerned that when you read about the framework 
agreement, while it does talk about something in longer timeframes, the 
core question as to when Iran could advance its nuclear program in a 
way they want to--and which I think is problematic--is that the 
expiration is 10 years. Does that mean we are ultimately destined to 
have Iran as a nuclear weapons State after that period of time? That 
cannot be and should not be the ultimate result.
  I state all of those concerns to say to my colleagues that, even 
though I passionately believe this legislation is critical for us, it 
is not that I don't have concerns. This legislation is the vehicle by 
which we can judge. Now, maybe these issues will be resolved in a 
negotiation. I don't know. Ultimately, without this vehicle we have no 
final say on an agreement, and we have no oversight role with 
established parameters for compliance.
  I am concerned that the sanctions relief comes without what appears 
to be a broader Iran policy, in terms of how we contain its acts of 
terrorism. It clearly is the largest State sponsor of terrorism. We see 
its hegemonic interests. We see it as a major patron of Assad in Syria, 
what is happening in Yemen, what is happening in different parts of the 
region. I am concerned about its missile technology. So there are a lot 
of elements here of concern at the end of the day.
  I would say to my colleagues who feel passionately about some of 
these amendments they have offered, this isn't the only bill in which 
we could consider these issues. I stand ready to work with colleagues 
immediately on pursuing other concerns, such as missile technology, 
terrorism, their human rights violations, their anti-Semitism, and the 
Americans who are being held hostage; and to look at either sanctions 
or enhanced sanctions that may already exist on those elements that we 
should be considering and which are separate and apart from the nuclear 
program. I would be more than willing to work with my colleagues to 
deal with all of those issues.
  I will say that even as we have worked to give the administration the 
space to negotiate and believe very passionately in this legislation, 
it bothers me enormously that just last week Reuters reported that 
Great Britain informed the United Nations sanctions panel on April 20 
of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network, apparently linked to 
two blacklisted firms, Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company, called 
TESA, and Kalay Electric Company, KEC.
  If what Great Britain brought before the U.N. Security Council 
sanctions panel is true, how can we trust Iran to end its nuclear 
weapons ambitions and not be a threat to its neighbors when, even as we 
are negotiating with them, they are trying to acquire illicitly 
materials for their nuclear weapons program in the midst of the 
  Forgetting about everything they are doing in Yemen and Syria, 
forgetting about their hostility to ships in the Strait of Hormuz, 
forgetting about their actions of terrorism, this is square-on trying 
to ultimately use front companies to get materials for their nuclear 
program. So we cannot build this on trust alone. I know the 
administration says we are not going to trust them, we are going to 
verify, but it goes beyond that.
  It can't be a fleeting hope that Iran will comply with the provisions 
and change their stripes. I believe they will not. It cannot be built 
from the aspirations or good intentions, like the North Korea deal, not 
when Iran continues to sponsor terrorism, not while it asserts its 
interests from Yemen to Bahrain, from Iraq to Lebanon, not as events in 
Syria continue to worsen.
  I just had the U.N. relief coordinator in on Syria. This is a human 
tragedy of unimaginable proportions. We have become almost 
desensitized. We do not hear about it on the Senate floor anymore. It 
is all supported, encouraged, and financed by Tehran, and not while 
Iran 's fingerprints remain in the dust of the bombings of Israel's 
Embassy and Jewish community center in Argentina, even as it seeks to 
bargain with that country's leaders for absolution.
  That is the Iran we are dealing with. That is the state we are being 
asked to hope will change. Well, hope is not a national security 
solution when it comes to dealing with Iran. Congress having a say on 
any final agreement is critical to how we deal with Iran. So I urge my 
colleagues to have a strong vote on cloture and I hope, after that, a 
unanimous vote on passage.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sasse). The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Mr. President, I rise to address legislation before us, 
the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which sets up a 
deliberate process for congressional review of a final nuclear 
agreement with Iran. The United States, our citizens, our President, 
and probably every Member of the Senate and House stand united in our 
commitment to prevent Iran from securing a nuclear weapon.
  Nuclear proliferation is a huge danger to human civilization on our 
planet. The more nations that possess nuclear weapons, the more 
opportunities there are for misunderstandings between nations to 
trigger first use of a nuclear weapon. The more nations that possess 
nuclear weapons, the more opportunities there are for failures in 
command and control to result in the unintended use of a weapon.
  The more nations that possess nuclear weapons, the more opportunities 
there are for terrorist groups to gain acquisition of a weapon. 
Certainly, the possibility of Iran possessing a nuclear weapon poses 
special security concerns. The Middle East is being torn asunder by 
longstanding conflicts and challenges. If Iran acquires a nuclear 
weapon, then other nations like Saudi Arabia are likely to also seek to 
secure a nuclear weapon.
  Moreover, in the fervent rivalry between Shia Islam and Sunni Islam, 
which brings powers into bloody and extensive conflict from Syria, to 
Yemen, to Iraq, there are abundant scenarios that could generate 
potential use of a nuclear weapon, either through misunderstandings or 
misguided perceptions of military advantage. None of us will ever 
forget that the Government of Iran has put forth a steady stream of 
invectives against our close ally Israel calling for her destruction.
  Iran's possession of a nuclear weapon would pose a very real threat 
to the existence of the State of Israel. For all of these reasons, 
Americans are united. Our 100 Senators are united in believing it is 
imperative that Iran does not secure a nuclear weapon, but the question 
we must debate and resolve is, Which strategy is most effective to 
achieve this outcome? There are three basic options: a negotiated 
dismantlement of Iran's nuclear weapons program with an intrusive 
inspection and verification regime to ensure Iran is keeping its word; 
second, a reliance on indefinite extension of tough multinational 
economic sanctions in hopes that will continue to dissuade Iran from 
pursuing a nuclear weapons program; third, a military option designed 
to destroy critical components of Iran's nuclear weapons 
infrastructure. Of these options, for reasons I will explain in due 
course, the first is the far superior option. To understand this set of 
possibilities, however, we have to understand the current situation. 
The United States has imposed sanctions against Iran since 1979.
  Many of the sanctions Iran faced in that time from 2008 were 
unilateral. These sanctions, however, were largely ineffective. Iran's 
trade with the United States was diminished, but sanctions had little 
overall effect because Iran was able to continue trading through other 
  President Obama, coming into office in 2009, saw this clearly. He 
recognized the importance of enforcing existing U.N. resolutions, 
passing stronger ones, and convincing our allies to go beyond those 
resolutions and truly tighten the web of restrictions on Iran's trade 
and finances. The result was coordinated with the P5+1--France, United 
Kingdom, Germany, United States, Russia, and China.
  These multilateral sanctions have come about in several phases. In 
2010, Congress enacted a series of sanctions targeting Iran's banking 
and oil sectors. In 2011, section 1245 of the National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 was passed. In 2012, we

[[Page S2718]]

passed the Iran Threat Reduction Act and Syria Human Rights Act. In 
2013, we passed the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act. Those 
sanctions--the American sanctions--and the multilateral sanctions have 
had an enormous impact on the economy of Iran.

  Their crude oil exports fell from around 2.5 million barrels per day 
in 2011 to about 1.1 million barrels per day at the end of 2013. Trade 
between Europe and Iran plunged. It plunged from almost $32 billion in 
2005 to about $9 billion today. Iran's economy has taken a huge hit. 
Iran's current President was elected on a platform of negotiating with 
the goal of alleviating the enormous economic impact created by the 
  The sanctions have accomplished their intended goal. They have 
brought Iran to the negotiating table in search of an agreement based 
on a simple, straightforward formulation. Iran will forgo a nuclear 
weapons program if the international coalition will, in return, lift 
its devastatingly effective sanctions.
  That is the background to the negotiations underway today between 
Iran and the P5+1. But when these negotiations got into full motion, 
they were not just about talking, they agreed on a set of conditions to 
free and, to some degree, reverse elements of Iran's domestic nuclear 
program, not waiting until the conclusion of the negotiations but as a 
condition of the negotiations.
  This Joint Plan of Action or JPA that Iran and the P5+1 agreed to has 
a substantial number of elements. I will mention a few. First, Iran has 
to refrain from any further advances of its activities at three 
critical nuclear facilities: at the Fordow underground uranium 
enrichment facility, at the Natanz underground commercial scale uranium 
enrichment facility, and further activity at the Arak heavy water 
reactor that could--that reactor could, when completed, produce 
plutonium that could be utilized in a bomb.
  Second, Iran, in this Joint Plan of Action, has agreed to provide the 
International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, with additional 
information about its nuclear programs, as well as access to sensitive 
nuclear-related facilities, to which Iran's IAEA safeguards agreement 
does not require access.
  Third, and again as a condition of the negotiations, Iran agreed not 
to produce 20 percent enriched uranium. That is a form of uranium--
uranium hexafluoride or enriched uranium--in Iran's stockpile that has 
caused the most concern. Fourth, Iran has agreed to fully eliminate its 
existing stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium by diluting half of 
that stockpile to uranium hexafluoride, containing no more than 5 
percent of uranium 235, and converting the rest of the material to a 
uranium compound unsuitable for further enrichment.
  These conditions, in effect as I speak on the floor of the Senate, 
have not only frozen Iran's nuclear program during the negotiations, 
they have also given the P5+1 coalition members enormously improved 
understanding of Iran's nuclear program. That understanding of Iran's 
program has increased the ability of the P5+1 to shape a framework for 
a final agreement designed to block all the possible pathways to a 
nuclear weapon.
  There are four Iranian pathways to a bomb. One pathway is to utilize 
fissile material from the Fordow underground uranium enrichment 
facility. This is the secret uranium facility--formerly secret uranium 
facility--built deep underground beneath a base of the Iranian 
Revolutionary Guard, massively reinforced with concrete and steel to 
enable it to withstand most bombing assaults.
  The second pathway is to utilize fissile uranium made in the Natanz 
underground enrichment facility. The third pathway is to utilize, at 
some future point, plutonium processed from spent fuel at the Arak 
heavy water reactor. I say at some future point because this reactor is 
still under construction. The fourth pathway is to utilize covert 
operations to acquire or to make sufficient fissile material for a 
  On April 2, last month, Iran and the P5+1 coalition announced a 
framework for a joint comprehensive plan of action on Iran's nuclear 
program intended to address and block all four of these pathways to a 
bomb. Now, as reported by the State Department, I am going to review a 
few of those details of this framework. These are essentially the bones 
of the agreement that have to be fleshed out in the weeks to follow.
  Let's talk first about the Fordow, this deep underground, massively 
reinforced, formerly secret uranium enrichment facility. Iran would 
repurpose Fordow for peaceful nuclear research. Iran would not retain 
any fissile material at this installation. They would not enrich 
uranium at this facility. Iran would remove approximately two-thirds of 
the centrifuges. The remaining centrifuges and related infrastructure 
would be placed under IAEA monitoring.
  Let's turn to Natanz. Here are a few of the restrictions to the 
second pathway--second possible pathway for an Iranian nuclear weapon. 
Iran would remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at 
Natanz and place them under IAEA monitoring for 10 years. Iran would 
engage in limited research and development with some of its advanced 
centrifuges according to a schedule and parameters agreed to by the 
  Iran would use only its less-efficient first-generation centrifuges 
to enrich uranium at Natanz, a process that would be closely monitored. 
Beyond 10 years, Iran would abide by its enrichment R&D plan submitted 
to the IAEA under the addition protocol, resulting in certain 
limitations on enrichment capacity.
  Let's turn to the third pathway. That is the possibility of plutonium 
secured from nuclear fuel used at this heavy water reactor. To block 
this pathway to a nuclear bomb, Iran would agree to ship all of its 
spent fuel out of the country and to not build a reprocessing facility 
for such nuclear fuel.
  Iran would redesign and rebuild its heavy water reactor in Arak based 
on a design that is agreed to by the P5+1.
  The original core of that reactor, which would enable the production 
of significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, would be 
destroyed or removed from the country, and Iran would not build any 
additional heavy water reactors.
  Finally, the framework provides major design--provides high 
confidence that Iran is not employing covert operations to develop a 
bomb. This is the fourth pathway, the covert pathway.
  Under the agreement, the IAEA would have regular access to all of 
Iran's nuclear facilities, including Natanz and Fordow. Inspectors 
would have access to the supply chains, starting with the uranium 
mines, the uranium milling. They would have continuous surveillance at 
the uranium mills. They would have continuous surveillance of Iran's 
  In addition, all of the centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure 
removed from Fordow and Natanz would be placed under continuous 
monitoring by the IAEA.
  Iran and the P5+1 would establish a dedicated procurement channel for 
Iran's nuclear program to monitor and approve the supply, sale, or 
transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual-use materials and 
  Iran would be required to grant the IAEA access to investigate 
suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, 
conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake 
production facility anywhere in the country.
  Iran would implement an agreed set of measures to address IAEA's 
concerns regarding the possible military dimensions of its program.
  Many of the framework elements I have just described are to last 10 
years. Some have a lifetime of 15, 20, or 25 years under this initial 
framework. So this framework, as many have pointed out, does not lock 
into place all of these elements for an eternity. But by building a 
deep cooperation, consultation, and coordination over a 10-year period, 
we create the best possible chance of forging a long-term enduring 
agreement that will preclude the proliferation of nuclear weapons in 
the Middle East.
  The challenge now is to take this framework as articulated by the 
State Department and generate detailed agreement language. That will 
not be an easy task. Already, you can tell the complexities from just 
the elements I

[[Page S2719]]

have mentioned on each of these four pathways.
  Earlier, I noted that while Senators are united in believing we must 
prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear bomb, there is disagreement over 
the best strategy. I have laid out the main elements of the negotiated 
strategy, but in addition to the negotiated verified dismantling of 
Iran's nuclear program, there are two other options that are widely 
  One option that has been articulated by Members of this Chamber and 
others would be simply to end negotiations and try to continue with an 
intensified, multilateral sanctions regime. It is important to note, 
however, that if you end negotiations, it means an end to the measures 
that are currently in place, measures in place today as I speak on this 
Senate floor. It would mean an end to the freeze on construction of the 
Arak reactor; an end to the negotiated elimination of stockpiles or the 
modification of the 20-percent enriched uranium; an end to the 
inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities and infrastructure, which has 
enabled us to learn so much about their activities.
  Moreover, without any interim agreement on inspections, Iran could 
decide to vastly expand its nuclear program--an outcome that is in 
direct contradiction of the security interests of the United States and 
our allies.
  Furthermore, there is no guarantee that if the United States ends 
negotiations, multilateral sanctions would survive. If our partners in 
the P5+1 believe the United States has deliberately undermined the 
success of the negotiations, the partners may very well be unwilling to 
maintain and enforce a strong, multilateral sanctions regime. And that 
is not just speculation. Representatives from Britain, France, and 
Germany have conveyed strong concerns that to undermine the 
negotiations to withdraw could fracture the international coalition 
that has made the sanctions effective.
  Where are we, then? Without effective multilateral sanctions, Iran 
would have achieved its top negotiating objectives. Its economy would 
improve, and the pressure to make concessions on nuclear activities and 
international monitoring would evaporate.
  In short, pursuing aggressive sanctions as an alternative to 
negotiations could have disastrous consequences, with our major 
objectives undermined, Iran's economy improved, and Iran's nuclear 
program unleashed--an outcome that would further degrade international 
  The third option discussed in this Chamber is to destroy Iran's 
nuclear infrastructure through military force.
  Advocates for the use of force point to Israel's 1981 attack on 
Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in Iraq and Israel's 2007 destruction 
of a Syrian reactor. Advocates for this military option paint a picture 
in which a small group of American bombers conduct limited strikes 
using bunker buster bombs. Thus, they argue, the United States could 
easily break key links in a nuclear fuel cycle and set Iran's program 
back by 3 to 5 years.
  This simplistic analysis is way off the mark. Military experts paint 
a very different picture. I encourage all of my colleagues to read the 
analysis prepared by the Center For Strategic and International Studies 
entitled ``Analyzing the Impact of Preventive Strikes against Iran's 
Nuclear Facilities,'' revised September 10, 2012. This analysis 
recognizes that a competent campaign would involve many complicated 
offensive and defensive elements. Here are a few of them: an extensive 
strategy to diminish Iranian anti-aircraft radars, missiles, and 
batteries; an extensive strategy to destroy Iran's ballistic missiles 
and other weapons Iran could use in a retaliatory strike; an extensive 
strategy for the direct assault on Iran's nuclear facilities; extensive 
refueling and supply logistics; a rigorous strategy to prevent Iran 
from shutting down the Strait of Hormuz; extensive strategies to 
protect neighboring Gulf States and Israel from retaliatory fights; and 
a huge effort to defend against asymmetrical attacks on American assets 
throughout the world.
  That is just a modest list of the complexities of the military 
option. I again encourage folks to read the analyses by serious 
military analysts. Hopefully you get the picture. There is nothing 
quick, nothing easy about a military option.
  Moreover, retaliatory threats to the United States and our allies 
might come from sources other than Iran. Attacks by Shia groups or a 
nation sympathetic to Iran are a possibility.
  One thing is clear: The course of war is messy and unpredictable. 
What we can be sure of is that in the chaos and complexity of war, 
there will be significant detrimental developments. We know this 
because it is true of virtually every war ever fought.
  Our recent history provides more than enough evidence that, once 
unleashed, a military option that looks simple in the beginning can be 
very difficult to control and very costly.
  Ask yourself this question: Which American leaders thought that our 
efforts to eliminate terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and 
destabilize that nation's government would lead to a 14-year 
occupation, thousands of deaths, a huge number of life-debilitating 
injuries, and the loss of vast national treasure exceeding $1 trillion?
  Ask yourself this question: Which American leaders thought that 
attacking Iraq to eliminate phantom weapons of mass destruction would 
shatter that nation, strengthen Iran, and unleash ISIS?
  In addition, the military option has a substantial risk of increasing 
rather than decreasing Iran's determination to acquire a nuclear 
weapon. Iranian leaders, after attack, might well decide it is their 
top national priority to acquire nuclear weapons no matter the cost so 
that neither the United States nor any other nation would dare to 
attack Iran in such a fashion again.
  So if the United States chooses a military option, it is most likely 
committing to a cycle of war as Iran rebuilds a nuclear program in the 
future with more steel, more concrete, and more depth underground.
  So let's return to the three options before us.
  A negotiated and verifiable agreement for Iran to dismantle its 
nuclear program promises the possibility of achieving our core security 
objectives without a massive cost in terms of lives, injuries, and 
treasure. It addresses uranium, plutonium, and covert pathways to a 
  Compare this to the second option: ending negotiations and resuming 
the toughest possible sanctions. Under this option, there is a 
substantial possibility that the multilateral coalition will fracture, 
ending multilateral sanctions, with the additional disadvantage that 
all the uranium nuclear programs that are frozen or diminished under 
the current negotiating process will be free to operate again.
  Let's turn to the third option. The third option will be 
extraordinarily expensive in blood and treasure. It could generate a 
cycle of warfare that would diminish rather than enhance the security 
of the United States and our allies. This is an option that could 
motivate Iran and other nations not to give up their nuclear programs 
but to redouble their efforts to secure a nuclear weapon.
  So the single-best option, if achievable, is a negotiated, verifiable 
agreement for Iran to dismantle its nuclear program. Thus, we in 
Congress, we in the Senate Chamber, should do everything possible to 
increase the likelihood of this option succeeding.
  One valuable role of this Chamber and of the House is to articulate 
the need to have key elements of an agreement well designed. My 
colleague from New Jersey was raising a series of questions. These are 
the types of questions the State Department negotiations will be paying 
close attention to so that when an agreement is delivered for our 
consideration, there will be strong answers.
  We need ironclad assurances about the dismantlement, storage, and 
control of key materials and equipment; rigorous and enforceable 
boundaries on any ``research'' nuclear program; extensive and effective 
inspection protocols; and strong snapback provisions in the event Iran 
breaks its obligation.
  We need an orderly process in which to conduct this assessment of an 
agreement to confirm that it meets these standards. Such a coherent 
congressional process has several advantages. First, it strengthens our 
President's hand in negotiation. The President and his team must strive 
to get all key elements nailed down, knowing they will

[[Page S2720]]

be reviewed by a sometimes skeptical Congress. Second, such a review 
strengthens the agreement as an enduring framework that will provide 
the transition to the next Presidency. This can contribute confidence 
that phased implementation will be honored by both sides and help 
generate the momentum necessary to hammer out the final agreement.
  Thus, I support the bill reported out in the Foreign Relations 
Committee unanimously on April 14 and currently under debate before the 
Senate. This bill gives Congress the right to review the agreement and 
classified and unclassified versions of a verification report Secretary 
Kerry must provide to Congress. It gives Congress the right to 
disapprove of the agreement. It requires the President to provide 
important information to Congress, including evidence of material 
breaches of the agreement, of Iran's involvement in acts of terrorism, 
Iran's violation of human rights, and advances in Iran's ballistic 
missile capabilities.
  In addition, the President must certify that Iran has not materially 
breached the agreement or, if they breached, they have cured that 
breach; that Iran has not taken any action that would advance its 
nuclear weapons program; that the suspension of sanctions is both 
appropriate and proportionate to Iran's efforts under the agreement and 
vital to the national security interests of the United States; and that 
the agreement does not compromise in any way our enduring commitment to 
Israel's security.
  Congress shaped the sanctions regime that put the pressure on Iran 
and forced them to the negotiating table. It is logical, therefore, 
that Congress should be involved in making sure the results of these 
negotiations fully serve the security interests of our Nation and our 
allies. What we must not do, however, is turn this bill, this 
structure, or appropriate and valuable congressional review into an 
instrument designed to undermine or poison the success of the 
negotiations in order to pave the path for war.
  I will oppose the adoption of any poison pill amendment designed to 
undermine the viability of the negotiations. What is at stake is much 
bigger than the ordinary day-to-day politics of this Chamber. The 
content of any final agreement with Iran is of profound significance to 
the national security of the United States, the national security of 
our allies, and to international peace and stability.
  I urge my colleagues to carry the weight of this responsibility, of 
this topic, of this process, this concern over nuclear proliferation--
and particularly, proliferation that could put a nuclear weapon in the 
hands of Iran--and to keep our eyes on the prize.
  I urge my colleagues to work together in partnership with our 
President to develop and implement a tough, verifiable end to Iran's 
quest for nuclear weapons.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to enter into a 
colloquy with the Senator from Tennessee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

         Committee Examination of Issues in Their Jurisdiction

  Mr. SULLIVAN. I rise today to speak about the importance of 
additional congressional consideration during the congressional review 
period of a final negotiated nuclear agreement. The involvement of 
other committees in examining the issues in their jurisdiction will be 
important. I think my distinguished colleague would agree with me that 
extended committee consideration means more American voices in the 
process, and an agreement of this significance--and the resulting 
implications of possible violations--call for supplemental review. 
Senator Corker has reaffirmed the benefits of this process and so I 
thank him for his support.
  I appreciate the leadership of my colleague and look forward to 
working with him to further advance constructive, deliberative 
consideration of an agreement that has multilateral effects on the 
security of our nation and its people.
  Mr. CORKER. I agree with my colleague, the Senator from Alaska, that 
other committees should consider the relevant issues in their 
jurisdiction. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will, of course, 
consider any resolution of approval or disapproval, but the involvement 
of other committees in the hearing process will certainly assist the 
full Senate as it debates this issue.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the Iran 
Nuclear Agreement Review Act.
  I intend to vote for this bill because it provides appropriate 
congressional review of a tremendously important executive agreement 
that is now being negotiated by the world's major powers and Iran.
  First of all, I want to point out that a final agreement with Iran 
would not be a treaty. It would be an executive agreement which follows 
agreements in the past going back at least until 1972.
  In 1972, President Nixon signed the Shanghai Communique, which 
reestablished relations with China.
  In 1975, the Ford administration signed the Helsinki Final Act, which 
eased tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during 
the Cold War.
  In 1986, at Reykjavik, Iceland, President Reagan and Mikhail 
Gorbachev discussed the possibility of complete nuclear disarmament. 
Even though no agreement was made, Reykjavik laid the groundwork for 
the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the 1991 Strategic Arms 
Reduction Treaty.
  The next year, in 1987, the Reagan administration established the 
Missile Technology Control Regime. To this day it helps restrict the 
proliferation of nuclear-capable missiles and related technology.
  In 2013, the United States and Russia came together and disarmed 
Syria of its most lethal chemical weapons.
  Like a potential deal with Iran on its nuclear program, these 
examples are not treaties and did not require formal ratification by 
the Senate.
  That said, I don't believe there has been an agreement in recent 
memory that has been as difficult or as complicated as the P5+1 
  Perhaps more than any other single subject in the 22 years I have 
been in the Senate, there has never been more secure briefings--both 
for the leadership of national security committees and the entire 
Senate--as we have received on the negotiations with Iran.
  This constant engagement with Congress has created an opportunity for 
us to get involved in a constructive manner.
  The elected representatives of this country should have an 
opportunity to weigh-in on and review this agreement.
  Several bills have been offered by the Banking Committee and the 
Foreign Relations Committee, but I believe the bill that was negotiated 
by Senators Corker and Cardin is an appropriate mechanism for Congress 
to review any agreement with Iran.
  What this legislation is about is an agreement preventing Iran from 
developing a nuclear weapon. Nothing else. To put other issues on this 
bill jeopardizes the agreement taking shape between the United States, 
Russia, Germany, China, France, and the U.K. And that is because the 
only thing discussed in the negotiation has been a nuclear agreement.
  Rather than adding extra issues, we should be evaluating the final 
agreement as it comes together over the coming months.
  The bottom line is that this bill--as currently written--does not 
interfere with the ongoing negotiations. Adding extra issues at this 
time, no matter how important they may be, could derail diplomacy. As 
such, I will oppose them.
  If a final agreement is reached, the bill requires Congress to review 
it within 30 days. If Members wish to prevent implementation of the 
agreement, the bill requires two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor 
of a resolution of disapproval. The bill's requirement of an 
overwhelming majority to disapprove provides significant deference to 
the President, which is entirely appropriate. If an overwhelming 
majority of the Congress stands in opposition to an agreement, there is 
a high likelihood that the agreement will not work regardless of 
passage, since Congress would likely not vote to lift sanctions--
something that has to be factored in to any long-term agreement.
  I would like to speak briefly on the framework agreement announced on 
April 2, 2015. In my view it is strong and deserves to be supported.

[[Page S2721]]

  For me, the technical assessment of Energy Secretary Moniz is 
critical. Secretary Moniz is an extremely distinguished nuclear 
physicist and a man I deeply respect. According to Secretary Moniz, the 
framework blocks Iran's four possible pathways to a nuclear weapon. 
Those are the plutonium pathway through the Arak heavy water reactor, 
the uranium pathway through the Natanz facility, the uranium pathway 
through the Fordow facility, and the covert pathway, where Iran 
enriches nuclear material for a weapon in secret.
  When each of these pathways is explained in detail, the strength of 
the framework is apparent.
  First, the agreement requires Iran to redesign the Arak heavy water 
reactor, making it impossible to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Iran 
will be required to ship the reactor's spent fuel abroad for the life 
of the reactor; prohibited from building another heavy water reactor, 
and indefinitely barred from researching the critical technologies 
needed to build a plutonium weapon. Under the framework, Iran will be 
prevented from developing a plutonium bomb forever.
  Second, with regard to the Fordow facility, Iran will not be able to 
store nuclear material or conduct any enrichment-related research and 
development at the site. Only 1,000 of Iran's least efficient 
centrifuges will remain in the facility, about a third of what it has 
today. And they will not be used to enrich uranium. The facility, set 
deep in a mountainside, will become a nuclear medical research center, 
not a proliferation risk.
  Third, with regard to Natanz, Iran will operate no more than 5,060 of 
its first-generation centrifuges, and it will enrich uranium far short 
of weapons grade. As Secretary Moniz has said, not only are the 5,060 
centrifuges a stark decrease from their current inventory of nearly 
20,000, but they are Iran's oldest and least capable model. Iran will 
place its more-advanced and more-capable second-generation centrifuges 
in storage under IAEA seal and supervision. Natanz will be the only 
location where Iran is permitted to enrich uranium, and solely for 
peaceful purposes.
  Further, Iran will not be able to stockpile much of the material it 
can enrich at Natanz. Iran will only retain 300 kilograms of uranium 
gas enriched to 3.67 percent. That is a fraction of the nearly 10,000 
kilograms of near-5 percent enriched uranium it has today.
  Finally, the framework agreement blocks Iran's covert pathway to a 
nuclear weapon. The framework requires unprecedented inspection of all 
of Iran's nuclear facilities, including suspect sites.
  In addition, Secretary Moniz notes that this access applies to ``the 
full uranium supply chain, from mines to centrifuge manufacturing and 
  Having eyes on Iran's entire supply chain makes it impossible for 
Iran to breakout using covert facilities. For instance, if uranium 
cannot be accounted for or if centrifuges go missing, the onus will be 
on Iran to explain what happened. If it cannot do so, sanctions can--
and will--be reimposed. Iran will also be required to implement the 
Additional Protocol and Modified Code 3.1, which forever increase 
Iran's obligations to provide access to all of its nuclear sites 
anywhere in the country.
  The combination of strict limits on Iran's nuclear program and highly 
intrusive inspections will extend Iran's breakout time--that is the 
time it would need to develop enough nuclear material for one nuclear 
weapon--from the estimated 2 to 3 months today to a year.
  Under the framework, the international community will know if Iran 
attempts to skirt its obligations and will have sufficient time to 
  If the P5+1 nations and Iran reach a final accord that reflects the 
framework agreement, Iran will be blocked from developing a nuclear 
  In addition to this important goal, an agreement could possibly 
reopen Iran to the world. It could provide Iran an opportunity to 
decrease its destabilizing activities in the region. A deal could 
potentially lead Iran to drop its financial and military support for 
Hezbollah and other proxies. Perhaps more importantly, the nuclear deal 
could open the door to soliciting the help of Iran and Russia on an 
intractable and to date unsolvable issue: ending the Syrian civil war.
  The regime, backed by Iran, of Bashar al-Assad has killed more than 
200,000 of its own people and continues to commit war crimes with 
chemical weapons. Besides the sheer magnitude of the death toll, the 
manner in which Assad has killed so many--through the continued use of 
chemical weapons, barrel bombs, and even starvation--is abhorrent.
  Further engagement with Iran could also aid our efforts to rid Iraq 
and Syria of ISIL and its grotesque campaign of terror.
  It is far from certain that Iran will change its behavior, but it is 
far more likely with a nuclear deal than without. Without an agreement, 
the likelihood of a major military confrontation in the Middle East--as 
well as more chaos and instability--increases dramatically. This is to 
no one's benefit. Without an agreement, Iran's nuclear program would be 
unconstrained, directly jeopardizing the security of our partners and 
allies in the region, including Israel.
  Mr. President, I intend to vote for this bill so that a comprehensive 
agreement with Iran will be strengthened by congressional review. It is 
my hope that this bill does not become a vehicle to scrap a verifiable 
agreement capable of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. 
The coming months will bear that out.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I just want to clarify a few aspects of 
this legislation and to make clear the collective understanding of the 
Senate in acting on this bill.
  First, we should be clear that the bill as it stands would prohibit, 
during the review period, any sanctions relief that goes beyond the 
JPOA or any materially identical extension, including but not limited 
to any increase in the amount of hard currency or other assets that 
Iran has access to under the JPOA.
  That is, during the review period, the amount of relief available 
under the JPOA could still be offered, if an extension was agreed to in 
the timeframe provided for in the bill, but no additional amounts could 
be provided.
  Second, the term ``statutory sanctions'' as used in the legislation 
means sanctions that Congress has imposed or specifically authorized 
with respect to Iran, including but not limited to all of the sanctions 
imposed with respect to Iran under the Iran Sanctions Act, the 
Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 
2010, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the 
Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act, and the National 
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
  That is, the term statutory sanctions as used in the bill, means all 
of the sanctions contained in these statutes and other Iran-related 
sanctions that Congress has imposed.
  Finally, as discussed during the committee markup, we all agree that 
the period for review only begins when all the documents required to be 
submitted along with the agreement itself and all of the annexes and 
other materials that are covered by the definition of agreement in the 
bill have been submitted to Congress.
  That is, the period for review under our bill only begins to run when 
all of the documents that make up the agreement and have to be 
submitted with it are submitted to Congress, as provided in the bill.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that if cloture is 
invoked on the Corker substitute amendment No. 1140, that a point of 
order against all of the pending nongermane amendments be in order and 
be considered to have been made; that the Corker amendment No. 1179 be 
withdrawn; that the Senate consider and agree to the Corker-Cardin 
technical amendment No. 1219; that the Corker substitute amendment No. 
1140, as amended, be adopted, the cloture motion on H.R. 1191 be 
withdrawn, and the bill, as amended, be read a third time and the 
Senate vote on passage of H.R. 1191, as amended, with no intervening 
action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the request?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, I wanted to come to the floor to speak 
about the

[[Page S2722]]

risk Iran poses to the world as a result of the legislation before the 
Senate at this moment.
  A lot has been talked about in the media over the last months--years, 
quite frankly--about the notion we are going to work out a deal with 
Iran that will prevent war. Sadly, I believe the direction the deal is 
headed almost guarantees war at some point, certainly in our lifetime, 
but maybe before the end of the decade.
  Let me back up and first describe the issue at hand. The issue at 
hand is that Iran, run by a radical Shia cleric--its government, I 
should say. Its people perhaps don't partake in this thought process, 
but its government whose head and supreme decisionmaker is a radical 
Shia cleric has made two decisions: The first is they feel it is their 
obligation to export their Islamic revolution everywhere in the world, 
and of course it begins with the Middle East; two, they have decided 
they want to become the hegemonic power in the region. They want to 
become the dominant nation, the dominant movement in the Middle East 
and in that entire region.
  So how do you achieve that? First, it requires you to drive the 
Americans out of the area, which is why we have seen them invest in all 
sorts of asymmetrical capabilities, such as these small little swarm 
boats they sometimes use to harass U.S. naval vessels. That is why we 
saw them just a week ago basically hijack a commercial vessel in 
international waters.
  The second thing they do is they sponsor terrorism. They have all 
these proxy groups in all these countries in the region doing their 
bidding. That is also asymmetrical warfare--asymmetrical meaning it is 
not frontal. It is using some nontraditional method to expand or to 
show their power. They use groups such as Hezbollah or the Houthis they 
are now involved with in Yemen and other parts of the world.
  The threat is, if you attack Iran, these terrorist groups will attack 
you. In fact, we have seen the hand of the Iranian Government in 
terrorist attacks. For example, we saw an attempt to assassinate the 
Ambassador of Saudi Arabia here in Washington, DC. We know that in 1994 
there was a bombing in Buenos Aires linked to Iran. So they sponsor 
  The third aspect of their desire to become the hegemonic regional 
power is a nuclear weapon. What do you need to acquire a nuclear 
weapon? You need three things: The first thing you need is a bomb 
design. The truth is you can buy a bomb design. The second thing you 
need is a delivery system, an ability to deliver the weapon whether it 
is on an airplane or on a missile.
  That is why Iran is developing long-range rockets. They are expending 
a lot of money--despite all the sanctions on them, they are expending a 
lot of money to build these long-range rockets. That isn't for some 
fancy fireworks show or to put a man on the Moon. They are building 
these long-range rockets because they understand that is the second 
critical component of a nuclear weapons program.
  The third thing is you have to be able to get your hands on enriched 
uranium or reprocessed plutonium. No one in the world is going to 
import to them weapons-grade uranium or plutonium, so they have decided 
to build the infrastructure to do it themselves, and they do it the way 
North Korea did it. They do it the way other nations have done it when 
they tried to hide their programs. They do it by claiming they have a 
peaceful nuclear program they are trying to build. In essence, their 
argument is we don't want to build a weapon. We are just trying to 
build a nuclear reactor so we can provide electricity.
  That argument makes no sense for two reasons: The first reason is 
this is an oil-rich country. They do not really need nuclear energy in 
order to provide cost-effective energy for their country, and the other 
reason is it costs so much money to build the equipment to enrich and 
reprocess, they could just buy it already reprocessed or enriched. They 
could bring it into the country the way South Korea does and the way 
other nations do.
  So if it would be cheaper to bring these things in by simply 
importing it, as opposed to spending all this money enriching and 
reprocessing it themselves, why are they spending all this money on the 
infrastructure? The answer is because, at some point in the future, 
they know they are going to want a nuclear weapon. Now, perhaps they 
haven't made the decision they need it today, next week or next year, 
but they certainly, at a minimum, want to have the option to be a 
threshold nuclear power.
  I believe, knowing everything we know about them--both open source 
and classified--that whether they have decided to build a nuclear 
weapon or not, they will decide to build a nuclear weapon because it 
provides for them the sort of regime stability they crave.
  The radical Shia cleric who heads that country looks at North Korea 
and he looks at Libya and he says: Libya is what happens when you don't 
have a nuclear capability. North Korea is what happens when you do. 
Muammar Qadhafi is dead and out of power, but North Korea is still run 
by that madman. Why? Because he has a nuclear weapon. You can't invade 
him or touch him because of what he will do in response.
  I think they are guided by that principle. They are guided by the 
principle that they want to be the regional hegemonic power and nuclear 
weapons gives them that role. They are guided by a third equally 
sinister motivation; that is, the open and repeatedly stated desire to 
destroy the State of Israel, to wipe it of the face of the Earth. They 
haven't said this once in passing, the Supreme Leader of Iran has said 
this on hundreds of occasions.
  In fact, every Friday in Iran, at government-sanctioned religious 
events, they chant ``Death to America'' and ``Death to Israel.'' If 
there is one lesson in history, it is that when a nation or leader 
repeatedly says that we are going to kill you, you should take that 
seriously. When the nation that says we are going to kill you is using 
its governmental money to sponsor terrorism, you should take that even 
more seriously. When the nation that is going out saying we are going 
to kill you and wipe you off the face of the Earth is reprocessing 
plutonium or enriching uranium, you have a right to be extremely 
  The world understood this 8 years ago, 10 years ago, so it imposed 
U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran--international sanctions. They 
were not easy to put together. A lot of countries in Europe had 
companies in those countries that were dying to do business in Iran. 
They didn't want these sanctions, but they did it. They were put in 
place. Then, about a year and a half or two ago, the President decided 
it was time to try to open up to Iran and try to work out a deal with 
  Look, in normal circumstances, there is nothing wrong with that; 
right? Two countries that have a disagreement on some issues can work 
things out. There is a place for diplomacy in the would. The problem is 
the issue we have with Iran is not based on a grievance. They are not 
mad we did something and so that is why they are acquiring a nuclear 
weapon and if only we stopped doing what it is that aggrieved them they 
would go away. This is not a grievance-based problem. This is an 
ideological problem.
  If you read the founding documents of the Islamic Republic, it 
doesn't describe the Supreme Leader as the leader of Iran. Iran happens 
to be the country from which they operate. It describes him as the 
Supreme Leader of all Muslims in the world. That is why they believe it 
is their mandate, it is their calling to export their revolution to 
every corner of the planet but beginning in the Middle East, and the 
nuclear weapons capability would give them leverage in carrying out the 
goal they have. In their mind, nothing would be more glorious than the 
destruction of the Jewish State.
  So the President enters these negotiations, and it has been a process 
of constant appeasement, moment after moment. We went from saying no 
enriching or reprocessing, to you can enrich and reprocess at 5 
percent, to you can enrich up to 20 percent for research purposes. We 
went from saying no enrichment ever to saying in 10 or 15 years all 
bets are off.
  There are still items in the negotiations that are not clear. The 
White House put out a fact sheet, a piece of paper, and it said this is 
what we agreed to. Iran put out a piece of paper just like it except it 
sounded like a totally different deal.
  For example, the U.S. fact sheet said sanctions on Iran would not 
come off until Iran complied, but Iran's fact

[[Page S2723]]

sheet said no, no, sanctions come off immediately. Now, when you press 
the White House on it, they refuse to say that, in fact, it will be 
phased in and not immediate.
  That is why I filed an amendment. Even though I thought the 
President's deal as outlined in the fact sheet was not good enough, I 
filed an amendment to at least hold them to that. The amendment to this 
bill read very simply. It just said that whatever deal the President 
crafts has to reflect the fact sheet he provided the Senate, but we 
couldn't get a vote on it.
  The other amendment I filed is that any deal with Iran should be 
conditioned on Iran recognizing Israel's right to exist, and here is 
why that was so important. That was important because this is not just 
about the nuclear program. The deal the President is trying to sign is 
about removing sanctions, meaning money is now going to flow back into 
the Iranian Government's coffers. What are they going to do with this 
money? Are they going to build roads, hospitals, donate it to charity? 
No. Are they going to buy food and medicine for people hurting around 
the world, the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced by Assad, 
their puppet? No. They will use that money to sponsor terrorism, and 
the prime target of the terrorism they sponsor is the State of Israel.
  We couldn't get a vote on that amendment either. Apparently, there 
are Senators terrified of voting against that amendment, so they would 
rather not have a vote at all.
  So I am deeply disappointed by the direction this debate has taken 
because I felt--and I understand this deal was carefully crafted 
because I am on the committee that passed it, but I also understand 
that every Member of the Senate has a right to be heard in this debate. 
Unfortunately, only a couple of amendments were allowed to be voted on, 
with no one else having an opportunity to get their amendments voted 
on, amendments I thought would make this bill much more meaningful.
  Now we have reached this point where the majority leader has filed 
cloture on the bill because it is time to move on to these other 
issues, and I respect that. We now have to make a decision. The 
decision is not whether we are going to pass the bill we want or 
nothing at all, the decision is are we better off as a country with 
this bill or with no bill.
  If we don't pass a bill, the Senate can still weigh in on the Iranian 
deal, but the Iranian deal kicks in immediately, and unless and until 
the Senate acts, the sanctions will be off. At least the U.S. sanctions 
will be off. There is also no guarantee the White House will even show 
us the agreement if we don't pass a bill.
  If we pass a bill, it delays the sanctions being lifted for a period 
of time. It requires the White House to submit the deal to us so we can 
review it, and ultimately it calls for a vote--up or down--on approving 
the deal or not. It actually requires that the vote will have to 
happen, and there can't be any procedural process to impede it, for the 
most part.
  So at the end of the day, while this bill does not contain the 
amendments--we didn't even get a vote on the amendments we wanted--it 
doesn't contain the different aspects I thought would make it stronger, 
if left with the choice we have now, I don't think there is any doubt 
we are in a better position if this bill passes because, at a minimum, 
it at least creates a process whereby the American people, through 
their elected representatives, can debate an issue of extraordinary 
  If I am troubled by anything, it is that while this issue gets a lot 
of coverage, I am not sure the coverage accurately reflects what a 
critical moment this is. I said at the outset that I think a bad deal 
almost guarantees war, and here is why. Because the State of Israel--
such an important ally to the United States--is not thousands of miles 
away from Iran. Put yourself in their position for a moment. This small 
country, with a small population, 9 miles wide at its narrowest point--
with a neighbor to the north that openly and repeatedly says it wants 
to destroy them and is on the verge of acquiring a nuclear capability--
feels like their very existence is being threatened. Faced with that, 
Israel may very well take military action on their own to protect 
themselves. I think a bad deal exponentially increases the likelihood 
of that happening.
  I also think we look at the other nations of the region, because Iran 
is a Shia country--a Shia Persian country--but its Sunni Arab neighbors 
aren't big fans of the Shia branch of Islam.
  For example, Saudi Arabia, an incredibly wealthy country, has already 
said: Whatever Iran gets, we are going to get. If Iran gets the right 
to enrich and reprocess, we will enrich and reprocess. If Iran builds a 
weapon, we will build a weapon. And so it creates the very real specter 
that we will have an arms race--a nuclear arms race--in the Middle 
East. We are talking about a region of the world that has been unstable 
for 3,800 years.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. RUBIO. I ask unanimous consent for an additional 30 seconds to 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. RUBIO. We are talking about a region of the world that could have 
a nuclear arms race--one of the most unstable regions of the planet.
  So I hope we are going to get a good deal. I am not hopeful that we 
will. But I think we are better off if we have this process in place. 
So I hope this bill passes here today so that at least we will have a 
chance to weigh in on an issue of critical importance.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. NELSON. Mr. President, my colleague from Florida knows the 
personal affection I have for him, and I enjoy so much his friendship 
and working with him on issues regarding Florida.
  I think this is an example of how two Senators from the same State 
can come to different conclusions, apparently not about this 
legislation--advancing it, because this Senator will in fact vote to 
move this legislation forward--but on the ultimate judgment that we 
have to make.
  Senator Rubio has correctly stated, in my opinion, that Iran's is a 
regime that is bent on aggression, that they cannot be trusted, that 
Israel is threatened, and that we are basically the backstop protector 
of Israel. All of those things are very true.
  But the question is what is in the interest of the national security 
of the United States--which, in most cases, always folds into what is 
in the interest of the national security of Israel as well--and the 
Senator and I come to different conclusions.
  First of all, we don't know the final details. But we do know a 
framework that was put out, and if that framework is fleshed out, as is 
suggested, with the details by June 30, then the simple bottom line for 
this Senator is if it prevents Iran from building a nuclear weapon over 
at least a 10-year period, with the sufficient safeguards, intrusions, 
inspections--unannounced, as well--that prevent them from having a 
nuclear weapon without our getting, conservatively, a year's advanced 
notice and we know that is a guarantee for a 10-year period--if not 15 
and 20 years--is that in the interest of the United States? And this 
Senator has concluded that yes, it is.
  I hope the agreement comes out as suggested by the framework. I will 
be looking forward to examining that. And, as a result of our passing 
this legislation today, we will have a guarantee that we will vote on 
parts with regard to the lifting of sanctions, and we will be able to 
weigh in on the specifics.
  It is interesting how two Senators from the same State can come out 
with such different conclusions having shared a lot of the similar 
information, as this Senator has served on the Intelligence Committee 
for 6 years and Senator Rubio is on the Intelligence Committee as well.
  It will be an interesting debate as we get into the details.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, it is interesting that I am not a Senator 
from Florida but I am a Senator who was born in Florida.
  With due respect to my friend, Senator Nelson, there was something 
the Senator said that I had not thought to

[[Page S2724]]

talk about, but I think we have to. It has to do with a bit of a shift 
in the thinking of this President, unlike any other President in the 
last 40 years, since the Ayatollahs have come into power.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for not more than 5 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I hate to object. There is only 10 minutes 
remaining and all the time on the Republican side has been used up.
  Would my colleague limit his remarks perhaps to 3 minutes so I could 
have a little bit of time on our side?
  Mr. TILLIS. Yes, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. TILLIS. Mr. President, with the limited time, first, I am 
concerned now that we have gone away from President after President 
saying that Iran could never have a nuclear weapon, to the words of: 
Well, Iran shouldn't be able to have one at least for 10 years. Or, if 
they do get one before 10 years, we will know about it a year in 
advance. That is a fundamental change in the direction of negotiations 
with this hostile regime.
  That is the other thing in my limited time that I wish to point out. 
I think those of us who are voting for this bill today are voting in 
large part because of a distrust we have for the Supreme Leader and the 
regime in Iran. This is not about the Iranian people. There are tens of 
millions of Iranians that I believe are concerned with this deal as 
well. They are concerned that this is going to enable the Iranian 
government to continue to fund terror throughout the world through the 
Iran terror network. They are funding even Hamas, a natural enemy, to 
destabilize the region.
  We need to worry about what the Prime Minister of Israel said just a 
few months ago here in this Chamber: This represents a dire threat. 
Does anyone think that Israel can stand by on their own and allow Iran 
to continue to be unfettered and potentially move forward with a 
nuclear program? I don't think so.
  But I also want to make sure that the Iranian people know we are also 
concerned that we have a President who is willing to negotiate with a 
regime that is guilty of human rights violations, that is guilty of 
spreading terror through the world, that is guilty of meddling in the 
affairs of other Middle Eastern nations. And we are sitting along the 
sidelines and saying maybe we can still move this deal through, because 
at least knowing when Iran gets a nuclear weapon is better than the 
current state.
  I think the current state is working. Sanctions are working. Pressure 
on Iran to respect human rights, to get out of the terror business is 
very important.
  The last slide I wanted to show and that I wanted to spend more time 
on--how on Earth does anyone think that a nation that is not intent on 
launching a nuclear missile at some time would invest in this sort of 
infrastructure to reach different parts of the globe? It is only a 
matter of time. Now, we have heard that maybe it will only be 10 years 
or maybe a year from when we find out about it. But make no mistake 
about it. If Iran is left alone, they are going to have the ability to 
deliver this sort of terror anywhere in the world.
  That is why I will be supporting the bill, and hopefully, we can 
defeat any bad deal that comes from the administration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, after 2 weeks on the floor, in a few 
moments we will have a chance to advance the Iran bill to passage and 
then vote on passage. I urge my colleagues to support the cloture 
motion and to support final passage.
  First, I thank Senator Corker. Senator Corker has been an incredible 
partner, and the two of us have worked in the best interests not only 
of the Senate but in the best interests of our country. We recognize 
this Nation is stronger when in foreign policy we are united and speak 
with one voice. That is exactly what we were able to do in the Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 19 to 0.
  This is an extremely controversial area. We understand that. But we 
reached a position where we could get a 19-to-0 vote in the committee. 
We were able to bring that forward and were able to get the 
administration to work with us on this. So the bill will be signed by 
the President of the United States.
  I just want to thank Senator Corker for his incredible leadership 
through these very difficult times so that we could reach this point.
  It gives us the best chance to accomplish our goal. Our goal is to 
prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state--pure and simple. We 
will be in a stronger position to achieve that objective with the 
passage of this legislation.
  We understand what that means. We understand that it has to be an 
agreement that prevents Iran from a breakout capacity to have a nuclear 
weapon in a period of time where we would be compromised, because we 
know we have to be able to inspect, we have to be able to see what they 
are doing, and we have to be able to react if they cheat. This bill 
allows us to have that type of an oversight over such an agreement.
  It spells out the proper role for Congress. It was in the 1990s that 
Congress started to impose sanctions against Iran for its nuclear 
weapons program. Only Congress can remove those sanctions or 
permanently change them. So it is in our interests to be able to have 
an orderly way to review an agreement. And it is an orderly review 
because it requires the President to submit the agreement to us so we 
have opportunities for open hearings and for closed hearings, to do 
what we need to in order to make our judgment as to how to proceed. 
There is no required action, but we could take the appropriate action, 
and we have the time to take the appropriate action.
  Congress would then have oversight of the agreement. The 
administration would be required to report to us on a quarterly basis 
that Iran is in compliance with the agreement. If there is a material 
breach, there are expedited procedures for us to be able to take action 
to reimpose and strengthen the sanctions regime that is in place.
  So it really gives us the opportunity not only to have oversight on a 
potential agreement if one is reached but then to monitor to make sure 
that the agreement is complied with.
  But we go beyond that. I have heard a lot of my colleagues talk about 
Iran and what it is doing on its sponsoring of terrorism, what it is 
doing on human rights violations, their ballistic missile programs. We 
understand that. We require reports from the administration as to their 
activities in each of these areas. It is very clear, as the President 
made in his summary of the April 2 framework, that nothing in this 
agreement affects the other sanctions that are imposed against Iran 
because of ballistic missiles, because of terrorism or because of human 
rights issues.
  So I think we have found the right balance.
  Lastly, let me say we have also made it very clear in this agreement 
that the security of Israel is critically important, and we have 
spelled that out in our legislation.
  So for all those reasons, I think the fact that we were able to reach 
this type of an agreement--we had a couple votes. The votes were pretty 
decisive as to how they came out on the floor. I thank all our 
colleagues for the way they cooperated with us on being able to reach 
this moment.
  Mr. President, I yield the remainder of the time to the chairman of 
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished ranking member. 
I will be very brief.
  I thank our ranking member, who could not have been more of a 
gentleman, more of a leader on this issue, and I cannot thank him 
enough for his efforts and his staff's.
  I thank also Senator Menendez, who before was ranking member of the 
committee and is such a leader on this and has been from day one 
relative to the sanctions on Iran and bringing them to the table.
  I would also thank Senator Graham. We began this process in July of 
last year. And so many others have been involved. Senator Graham 
obviously helped drive this. So did Senator Kaine, on the Democratic 
side of the aisle. But we have had so many rocks,

[[Page S2725]]

such as Jeff Flake and others who have just been steady in helping make 
this happen.
  Since there is only a short amount of time, I do want to encourage my 
colleagues here in the Senate to support this cloture motion. We have 
been on the floor now for 2 weeks, and I know there have been a lot of 
process issues that we have dealt with.
  At the end of the day, without this bill there is no review of what 
happens relative to Iran. So we worked hard to create a great 
bipartisan balance. I think we have an opportunity to do something that 
really is in some ways a landmark piece of legislation, in that the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a bipartisan way with a 19-to-0 
vote has basically taken back the power that the President now has to 
work collaboratively to make sure that we have the opportunity to see 
the details, as my colleague has mentioned, of any deal that may be 
negotiated with Iran, that it stand before the Senate and give us time 
to actually go through those details, that we see all the classified 
annexes and everything that go with this. We have the opportunity, 
should we choose, to pass a resolution of approval or disapproval. And 
then, very importantly, the President has to certify every 90 days that 
Iran is in compliance.
  So let me just restate that, without this bill, there is no 
limitation on the President's use of waivers to suspend the sanctions 
Congress has put in place. There is no requirement that Congress 
receive full details of any agreement with Iran. There is no review 
period for Congress to examine and weigh in on an agreement. There is 
no requirement that the President certify Iran is complying. And there 
are really no expedited procedures for Congress to reimpose rapidly 
sanctions should Iran cheat.
  So, in summary, no bill, no review; no bill, no oversight. I think 
the American people want the Senate and the House of Representatives on 
their behalf to ensure that Iran is accountable, that this is a 
transparent process, and that they comply.

  With that, I concede that the Presiding Officer wants to move ahead.
  Again, I thank our ranking member for his distinguished service and 
all of my colleagues who have brought us to this moment.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before 
the Senate the pending cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the Corker 
     amendment No. 1140 to H.R. 1191, an act to amend the Internal 
     Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure that emergency services 
     volunteers are not taken into account as employees under the 
     shared responsibility requirements contained in the Patient 
     Protection and Affordable Care Act.
         Mitch McConnell, Bob Corker, Joni Ernst, Rob Portman, 
           Johnny Isakson, Shelley Moore Capito, Thad Cochran, 
           Orrin G. Hatch, David Perdue, Daniel Coats, Jeff Flake, 
           Kelly Ayotte, Cory Gardner, John Hoeven, Roger F. 
           Wicker, John Thune, John Cornyn.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
Corker amendment No. 1140 to H.R. 1191, an act to amend the Internal 
Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are 
not taken into account as employees under the shared responsibility 
requirements contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care 
Act, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) 
is necessarily absent.
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 93, nays 6, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 173 Leg.]





                             NOT VOTING--1

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Hoeven). On this vote, the yeas are 93, 
the nays are 6.
  Three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in 
the affirmative, the motion is agreed to.
  Under the previous order, amendments Nos. 1155; 1186, as modified; 
1197; and 1198 fall, as they are not germane.
  Amendment No. 1179 is withdrawn.
  Amendment No. 1219 is agreed to.
  The amendment agreed to is as follows:

                  (Purpose: To make technical changes)

       On page 7, line 17, strike ``the Congress'' and insert 
     ``both Houses of Congress''.
       On page 7, strike line 24 and insert ``such passage''.
       On page 8, line 6, strike ``the Congress'' and insert 
     ``both Houses of Congress''.
       On page 9, between lines 2 and 3, insert the following:
       ``(7) Definition.--In the House of Representatives, for 
     purposes of this subsection, the terms ``transmittal,'' 
     ``transmitted,'' and ``transmission'' mean transmittal, 
     transmitted, and transmission, respectively, to the Speaker 
     of the House of Representatives.
       On page 10, lines 13 and 14, strike ``the Congress adopts, 
     and there is enacted,'' and insert ``there is enacted''.
       On page 10, lines 17 and 18, strike ``the Congress adopts, 
     and there is enacted'' and insert ``there is enacted''.
       On page 13, line 17, strike ``enhance'' and insert 
       On page 17, line 9, strike ``covert action'' and insert 
     ``covert activities''.
       On page 19, strike lines 8 through 17 and insert the 
       ``(e) Expedited Consideration of Legislation.--
       ``(1) Initiation.--
       ``(A) In general.--In the event the President does not 
     submit a certification pursuant to subsection (d)(6) during 
     each 90-day period following the review period provided in 
     subsection (b), or submits a determination pursuant to 
     subsection (d)(3) that Iran has materially breached an 
     agreement subject to subsection (a) and the material breach 
     has not been cured, qualifying legislation introduced within 
     60 calendar days of such event shall be entitled to expedited 
     consideration pursuant to this subsection.
       ``(B) Definition.--In the House of Representatives, for 
     purposes of this paragraph, the terms `submit' and `submits' 
     mean submit and submits, respectively, to the Speaker of the 
     House of Representatives.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The substitute amendment, No. 1140, as 
amended, is agreed to.
  The cloture motion on H.R. 1191 is withdrawn.
  The amendment was ordered to be engrossed, and the bill to be read a 
third time.
  The bill was read the third time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The bill having been read the third time, the 
question is, Shall the bill pass?
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. Boxer) 
is necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 98, nays 1, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 174 Leg.]



[[Page S2726]]




                             NOT VOTING--1

  The bill (H.R. 1191), as amended, was passed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Tennessee.
  Mr. CORKER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the title 
amendment to H.R. 1191, which is at the desk, be considered and agreed 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 1220) was agreed to, as follows:

                     (Purpose: To amend the title)

       Amend the title so as to read: ``A bill to provide for 
     congressional review and oversight of agreements relating to 
     Iran's nuclear program, and for other purposes.''.

  Mr. CORKER. I yield the floor.