[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 168 (Wednesday, October 10, 2018)]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the nomination.
The senior assistant legislative clerk read the nomination of Jeffrey
Bossert Clark, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Attorney General.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, I seek recognition to speak at this time.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.
Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, I rise to convey my strong support for the
America's Water Infrastructure Act, which passed Congress earlier
With communities throughout Massachusetts and the country working to
improve the quality of their drinking water, bracing for rising seas
and more intense storms, and seeking to be more competitive in the
global economy, this legislative package will provide welcome relief
and support for critical infrastructure.
I have long focused on providing resources needed to improve the
maritime linchpin of my State's economy: Boston Harbor. But this
economic engine needs direct Federal funding to fire on all cylinders,
especially as we transition to a new, supersized shipping era.
Two years ago, the Panama Canal completed an expansion project that
allows bigger vessels, called post-Panamax ships, to pass through the
canal. These ships, which are the length of aircraft carriers and can
carry more than three times as much cargo as their competitors, are too
large to dock at Boston Harbor today. That is why, in the 2014 Federal
water resources bill, I fought to authorize $216 million in Federal
funding for the Boston Harbor improvement project, which will deepen
the harbor to accommodate those post-Panamax ships. I am pleased that
my provision dedicating an additional $16 million to this crucial
project was included in the 2016 water resources bill.
The Boston Harbor improvement project is projected to double the
harbor's container volume, protect and grow 7,000 jobs, and generate
$4.6 billion in economic activity throughout the New England region. It
is a simple formula: Larger ships mean more cargo, more cargo means
more commerce, and more commerce means more jobs for Boston and the
State of Massachusetts.
I am pleased that the Corps has to date allocated $91 million of
funding to this critical project thus far, but deepening the harbor
alone does not ensure that the Port of Boston can accommodate these
new, gargantuan giants of the seas. We must also deepen the berths, the
area where the ships dock. That is why I am proud to secure a provision
in this bill that will allow the port to construct more expansive
berths, and I am pleased to help secure
a $42 million Federal grant to expand these berths.
By no means is Boston Harbor the only coastal gem in Massachusetts.
In 2020, we will be celebrating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of
the Mayflower and the settlement at Plymouth, but the celebration won't
be complete if the ships can't get into and out of Plymouth Harbor.
Regrettably, Plymouth Harbor has filled up with so much sand that ships
are having trouble navigating--including the centerpiece of the
celebration, the newly restored Mayflower II. That is why I secured a
provision in this bill requiring the Corps to dredge this important
landmark for the 400th anniversary. Just a few months ago, I helped
secure $14.5 million needed to ensure that this hallmark of American
history is swiftly deepened.
With this statutory requirement and funding, Plymouth Harbor will be
able to host a great birthday party in 2020--one that Americans from
all corners of the country and people from around the world are going
to attend. But those Bay Staters living on Cape Cod will most likely
experience a little traffic on the way to the event because Cape Cod is
only accessible by two bridges, which span the Cape Cod Canal. If Cape
Cod is the arm of Massachusetts, then these two bridges are the vital
arteries delivering the island's lifeblood. The strength of those two
bridges will determine the strength of the island's economy and health
Regrettably, these two 80-year-old bridges, which are owned by the
Army Corps, are structurally deficient. That is a problem for
businesses that need an uninterrupted flow of commerce and residents
who must have a safe means of evacuation in the event of an emergency.
Imagine if there were an accident at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station
or the equivalent of a Hurricane Maria. These two bridges are the only
way for many Cape Cod residents to escape to safety.
I am proud that this bill includes my provision directing the Corps
to replace these critical evacuation routes, helping preserve the very
safety of island residents. In a time of emergency, Massachusetts
residents shouldn't have to think twice about the best way to get their
families to safety.
The bill also includes legislation that I have authored to help
protect consumers from unjust and unreasonable increases in their
electricity rates. Right now, if the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission has a vacancy--as is currently the case--and deadlocks 2 to
2 on whether to improve a rate increase, the increase goes forward. To
make matters worse, the public can't even challenge a decision in this
circumstance. That is exactly what happened in New England in 2014,
leading to a $2 billion increase for our region's consumers.
My legislation would fix that by allowing the public to bring a
challenge when FERC deadlocks, as they can for every other FERC
decision. In sports, a tie isn't a loss, and the Fair RATES Act will
ensure that a tie at FERC won't mean consumers lose with higher
electricity rates. We must ensure that ratepayers are protected from
unjust and unreasonable increases in energy prices. The legislation
will help return the power to the people when it comes to energy prices
by providing an outlet for consumers to challenge rate increases.
I thank Senators Murkowski and Cantwell for working with me to move
this legislation forward, and I thank my great partner in the House of
Representatives, Congressman Kennedy, for his tireless work to address
this issue and to protect consumers.
I am pleased that this legislation contains several other key
provisions that increase the funding caps for three coastal protection
programs, allowing the towns of Salisbury, Newbury, and Sandwich to
implement larger beach-nourishment projects--pumping sand onto the
beach--to protect their communities; reevaluate the Muddy River
environmental restoration project to pave the way for reauthorizing
this crucial project; permit the town of Sandwich to use sand pumped
from the Federal Cape Cod Canal that otherwise would be dumped in the
ocean to fortify their town from rising seas; ensure that the Corps
takes on all the costs to repair the town of Sandwich's beaches, which
experience severe erosion due to the jetties at the mouth of Cape Cod
Canal; and require the EPA to appoint liaisons to minority, Tribal, and
low-income communities so these disenfranchised groups can have better
access to the resources and tools provided by the Federal Government to
improve the quality of our Nation's drinking water.
From fortifying our communities, to dealing with the present-day
impacts of climate change, to eradicating the environmental
contaminants of the 20th century from our water infrastructure, this
legislation package will provide the funding and direction needed to
help modernize the Commonwealth's water infrastructure.
I thank Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper for working with
me on this important legislation. I was proud to vote in favor of
America's Water Infrastructure Act today. It is something that I think
is going to work very successfully for the State of Massachusetts. It
is something that, in my opinion, is the quintessential example of how
bipartisanship should, in fact, animate the legislative process in this
With that, I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
S.J. Res. 63
Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, just a little bit ago, a few hours ago,
we had a matter before the Senate relating to S.J. Res. 63. This was a
resolution of disapproval, which would have worked to disapprove of the
rule that was issued jointly by the Treasury, Labor, and Health and
Human Services regarding these short-term, limited duration insurance
I had hoped, actually, to have an opportunity to speak to this prior
to the vote but was not able to. I want to take just a couple of
minutes this afternoon to weigh in on this issue from an Alaskan
perspective. I think there have been some suggestions that with this
rule in place, those of us who care about protecting those with
preexisting conditions, somehow or another, are taking these
I have weighed this carefully. In fairness, I think some of the
arguments that have been made are, perhaps, not quite as clear cut as
would be suggested and, perhaps, certainly, in a State like mine, where
we still have the highest healthcare costs in the country and some of
the highest costs for coverage in the country.
I think Members here in the Senate know full well that while I have
opposed many aspects of the Affordable Care Act, I have supported and
have strongly supported certain parts of it as well. Again, one of
those things that I feel very strongly about is the need to ensure that
we protect those who have preexisting conditions. That is a debate
that, I think, is ongoing in other places as well. Yet I want to make
clear that, certainly, my vote this morning is in no way meant to erode
or undermine where I am coming from when it comes to preexisting
Back to the situation that we face in Alaska, as I mentioned, we are
the highest in terms of the cost of care and the highest in terms of
the cost of coverage, and we are still one of those States that has but
one insurer on the exchange in Alaska. So our options are, really,
pretty limited. As I am speaking to individuals about what they are
hoping for when it comes to coverage, they are looking for additional
options, but they are looking for affordable options as well.
It is true--it is absolutely true--that these short-term plans do not
offer as much or, certainly, may not offer as much in the way of
coverage as those plans that are offered on the individual exchanges. I
understand that, but I have had to come down on this issue on the side
of more choice for consumers and more options being a good thing for
In Alaska, our population, as one knows, is relatively small. We have
about 720,000 people in the whole State, but we are talking about
18,000 people, give or take, who are enrolled on the individual
exchanges each year. The
universe here is 18,000 people when we are talking about the exchanges.
In the year 2016, which was the most recent year about which the IRS
can give us information, there were about 15,000 people who chose to
pay the individual mandate penalty rather than to buy the insurance.
Think about what that means. They are weighing this, and they are
saying: I would rather pay a fine, pay that penalty. It is not that I
don't want the insurance, but I cannot afford it.
So you had 18,000 people on the individual exchanges, and 15,000
people chose to pay the individual mandate penalty rather than buy the
insurance. That is because, if an Alaskan does not get the subsidy--and
a pretty heavy subsidy--the exchange plans just aren't affordable. Even
though you want to have that coverage--you want that insurance--wanting
it doesn't necessarily get it to you if you cannot afford it.
The average premium for plan year 2018--this is according to CMS
data--is $804 per month. What am I getting from constituents, from
folks who are writing in to me and calling me? They are telling me what
they are paying for their plans. For a family of four, the premium was
over $2,000 a month, with a $7,500 deductible. Think about what that
actually means for this family, for folks with those kinds of bills,
who, basically, only have catastrophic coverage, as it is. Again, you
think about the number of folks on the individual exchanges, and you
think about those who choose not to pay the fines. You look at the
numbers of those who receive the subsidies in the State of Alaska,
which is quite considerable.
We also have about 10,000 or so Alaskans--this is according to the
State division of insurance--who have enrolled in healthcare sharing
ministries. This is yet another option for people out there. A
significant number has turned to these healthcare sharing ministries,
and these folks have managed to avoid the penalty in prior years. In
fairness, some of the ministry plans do not provide much in the way of
coverage, but it is an indicator of what people feel they have to do in
the face of just very, very high-cost plans.
I understand where those who oppose this rule are coming from, and I
have had good, long conversations about this. I guess I would ask that
they turn to the realities that we are facing in a State like Alaska
and just appreciate where people are coming from when you think about
the 15,000 Alaskans who have chosen not to buy insurance over these
past few years because it has been too expensive, but they want to have
something they can afford. These short-term plans, while not ideal--I
am not suggesting that they are--are an option for them to consider.
What about the people who don't get subsidies and are paying over
$50,000 per year before their insurance covers anything? That too is a
situation in which they are looking for alternatives. So perhaps these
short-term plans could be a viable option. For the 10,000-some-odd
people who are currently using a sharing ministry, again, these types
of plans could be an alternative. For the people who may choose to drop
off the individual exchanges next year, these plans could be a path
forward for some having some level of coverage.
Again, I am not saying that this is perfect, and I am not saying that
this is ideal. I am saying it offers a limited option in a place in
which we have very few affordable options to turn to.
Another reason these shorter term plans are helpful for us and why I
have heard from so many Alaskans on this is that we are a State in
which our employment base is very, very seasonal.
You have a construction industry, but it is not like it is back here.
Construction is, maybe, 6 months out of the year--longer in some parts
of the State and shorter in other parts of the State. Yet you have a
Our fishing industry is a great example. If you are working in the
processing end of fishing, it may be 3 months. If you are working as a
crabber, it may be 2\1/2\ months. If you are working on a tender up in
Bristol Bay, it may be a very truncated 2 months.
Then we have the tourist season. Again, we would like to think that
we can entice you all to come up year round, but quite honestly, it too
is very, very seasonal. So we need to have some level of flexibility
for those many, many Alaskans who move between many of these seasonal
Under the prior rule, a short-term insurance plan could only last for
3 months. That is not going to help out, say, those in the fishing or
in the tourism industry or, again, in so many of these areas in which
you need longer term coverage but you don't need a full year. So
flexibility is something that people have been asking for as well.
Where that sweet spot is, I am not sure. I am telling you that, for us,
3 months doesn't make it. Maybe 3 years is too long. Maybe we do need
to look at that. I happen to think that we do, but that is an area that
is open for review.
The last point I would make is that I think we have to have some
trust in both our States as regulators and in individuals, the
consumers. The rule that we were speaking about this morning really
does allow States to have a great deal of leeway in regulating at the
local level. We are seeing that among many of the States. I had a long
conversation with our director of insurance up in the State of Alaska.
We talked about where our State might take this and looked again at,
perhaps, the length of these short-term, limited duration plans and how
they might be regulated.
Also, there is the transparency side of this, and this is something
that concerns me. Some of the things we have heard are that people have
bought these less expensive plans, these shorter term plans, and then,
when they need them the most, they realize the coverage doesn't take
care of them. That is also not a place we want anyone to be. Making
sure that there is a level of transparency, that there is a level of
disclosure that is real and not just the tiny boilerplate that nobody
can understand--it has to be, again, transparent in that way.
I think this is one of those areas where trusting in our laboratories
of democracy, which are our States, to tailor plans that fit a State
well should not be an action that we here in the Senate are so
unwilling to take.
As we look to how we do more in this Congress and how we do more to
help those for whom healthcare--the cost of healthcare and access to
healthcare--is still their No. 1 issue, still the No. 1 subject of
discussion, I have come to speak on this particular issue today because
there are maybe 25,000 people in my State who could see some benefit
from these types of plans being available and also because I believe
that trusting the regulators, certainly in my State, to handle the
plans intelligently is an important part of how we move forward as
I wanted to put that on the record today following the discussion
from earlier this morning and the vote at noon.
Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh
Mr. President, I want to transition really quickly and just take a
minute because last week, as we all know, was a very difficult time in
the Senate as we processed the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to serve
on the U.S. Supreme Court.
That vote has concluded. Judge Kavanaugh is now Justice Kavanaugh,
and I truly wish him all the best as he begins his new term on the
highest Court in the land. But there is a residue--I don't know if it
is a residue. I don't know how we make sure we are able to move forward
after difficult votes that divide us all and work to come back
I am going to speak very directly about my friend who sits right here
next to me on the Senate floor. She and I went through, probably, a
similar deliberative process. It was probably the same as everybody
else here on the floor, but we perhaps shared more discussion about it
than I did with other colleagues. At the end of the day, we came down
on different sides, but both of us--both of us--agonized over the
decision and the process.
She is now enduring an active campaign against her. It is not just an
active campaign against her, but there are protests at her home every
weekend, and she cannot travel without a police escort.
I made comments as I prepared for the final vote last week. I said:
We are better than this. We have to set the example here.
I am really touched that after I had taken a hard vote within my
there are some who are notably angry at me. But we are working together
on the next issue of the day, and we are moving forward. We need to set
that example in this body because if we don't set it here, I don't know
how we can expect anyone on the outside to follow us.
There is a need for civility. It is a hard time for us, but I would
urge us all to choose our words carefully. Don't be afraid to speak
with kindness toward one another. Don't be afraid to call out the good
in somebody else, even though you have voted against them. We are
better than what we are seeing right now.
I am smiling only because I feel I should recommend that my
colleagues watch a movie, a documentary. I don't do that often, but
after the vote on Saturday, I just, by chance, picked up a DVD that had
been sent to me. It is a documentary about the life and career of Fred
Rogers--Mister Rogers--``Won't You Be My Neighbor?'' I figured I needed
something kind of calming for the night.
It is OK to be good to one another. It is OK to accept people for who
they are. It is OK to just find the good.
With that, Mr. President, I thank you for allowing me to speak a
little bit from the heart. I would ask us to be civil with one another
now, not civil when the next election comes.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Toomey). The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. DURBIN. 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. DURBIN. Mr. President, I will oppose the pending nomination of
Jeffrey Clark to be the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the
Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. This
is the division that leads the Department of Justice's enforcement of
environmental laws and regulations. Mr. Clark is not the right person
for that job.
In 2014, he said the science of climate change is ``contestable.'' He
represented British Petroleum in litigation over the Deepwater Horizon
explosion and oil spill. He has represented the Chamber of Commerce and
other industry groups in challenging EPA greenhouse gas regulations.
He is a favorite of the Federalist Society, having chaired that
group's environmental law and practice group. But his nomination is
strongly opposed by groups that care about protecting the environment.
The Sierra Club called him an ``outspoken opponent of environmental
and public health protection.'' The Natural Resources Defense Council
described him as an ``enemy of the environment.'' He is exactly the
wrong person to be in this job of enforcing regulations to protect our
Just during these last few days, the United Nations put out an alert
to all of the members around the world. We are going to pay dearly for
this current administration's decision to remove ourselves from the
Paris Agreement, where literally every country on Earth agreed to try
to do something to clean up the mess of our environment and leave our
children a better place to live. We decided, under President Trump, to
be the only Nation to step away from it. Why? What in the world were we
thinking? Can you believe that things that are happening that are
easily documented can be ignored? Do you see the flooding that is going
on now in Florida on a regular basis? That is just 1 of 1,000 different
If we don't accept responsibility in our generation to make this a
better world, shame on us. We want to leave our kids a better world,
but for goodness' sake, do we have the political courage to do it? Will
we be able to say to the President: You are just wrong.
We have to work together with nations around the world. The United
States should be a leader, not an apologist. The President said he
wants to make America first. How about America first when it comes to
cleaning up the environment? There is nothing wrong with that
leadership. It is something we should be proud of.
This man, Jeffrey Clark, who is aspiring to be the Assistant Attorney
General, just doesn't buy into what I just said, and I can't support
him as a result.
Mr. President, the 2018 WRDA bill--the Water Resources Development
Act--that we are considering on the floor this week is an important
step in modernizing our Nation's water infrastructure and ensuring
access to clean drinking water. It goes back to my earlier comment. If
we are talking about the environment, one of the first things people
say is, I want safe drinking water for myself and my family. Next to
that, I want to be able to breathe in air that is not going to make me
sick or hurt any member of my family.
Our Nation's infrastructure is aging and in need of significant
investment. Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our
Nation's levees, inland waterways, and drinking water infrastructure a
D rating in terms of its infrastructure report card. They estimate that
$80 billion is needed over the next decade to improve our Nation's
levees--$80 billion. They also estimate that $4.9 billion is needed
over the next 2 years to maintain our inland waterways--$4.9 billion--
and $1 trillion is needed over the next 25 years to expand our drinking
water infrastructure. These are massive numbers, and they are going to
require sustained and significant Federal investment if we are ever
going to reach these goals.
This bill--the WRDA bill--is a step in the right direction. It
authorizes $6.1 billion in funding for the Army Corps flood control,
navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects around the country.
These are critical projects in every State.
I just went down a few weeks ago with Senator McConnell to the Ohio
River. The Olmsted Locks and Dam that has been under construction for
decades is finally completed. It is an amazing investment. It is the
most expensive civil infrastructure project in our Nation's history,
and it is an indication of the kind of investment that is necessary if
we are going to try to tame rivers like the Ohio River.
There are critical projects like that in every State. They improve
our inland waterways to help deliver $600 million in goods and 60
percent of our grain imports each year.
If we want the United States to literally lead the world--if we want
America first--for goodness' sake, we need to be first in investing in
our infrastructure. These projects maintain levees and build reservoirs
that protect millions of people and an estimated $1.3 trillion in
property, and they protect the environment, they restore wetlands, and
they prevent the spread of invasive species.
I am especially proud that this bill includes an important cost share
change for the future operations and maintenance costs at the Brandon
Road Lock and Dam in my State of Illinois. I worked with Senator Tammy
Duckworth on this project.
The Brandon Road project is integral to ensuring that invasive Asian
carp never spread to the Great Lakes. Knock on wood. We have held up
that carp from going into the Great Lakes and, in doing so, we have
preserved an important part of the fisheries and the lake itself. I
want to continue those efforts, if not redouble them.
While I am proud to support passage of this authorizing bill, I also
implore my colleagues to remember that unless we are willing to work
together--Republicans and Democrats--to provide these authorized
projects with consistent and increased appropriations each year, then
we are sending out press releases and not even getting the job half
Let me say it another way: It is not enough to go home and take
credit for passing the WRDA bill, which is an authorization bill, if
you aren't also willing to pass an appropriations bill that actually
provides the money to break ground on these projects. An authorization
bill is just that: It gives you permission to do a project, but then
you need to go to the spending bill--the appropriations bill--to come
up with the money to actually achieve it.
Listen to this number. I want to make this part of the record as we
debate water resources and infrastructure. An analysis by the Roll Call
newspaper from earlier this year found that while Congress has
authorized more than $25 billion toward Army Corps projects in the last
decade--$25 billion in the last decade--Congress has
only appropriated $689 million. So $25 billion authorized, $689 million
appropriated. What percentage of money have we actually come up with to
finish these projects? We have come up with only $689 million out of
$25 billion--2.7 percent.
We send out all of these press releases congratulating ourselves
about projects that are never going to happen. We send out the releases
and say: This is going to be great for future generations. We are not
doing it. We are not investing in America.
Slow and inconsistent Federal funding for these projects results in
years of added delay and millions in added costs. Instead of funding
new projects, we have to spend more on ongoing projects because
Congress just doesn't get its act together--Democrats and Republicans.
I am proud of the work of the Appropriations Committee on which I
have been honored to serve. Both sides of the aisle do work to get
their job done in record time and ensure the Corps has stable funding
for the next fiscal year, but this year's appropriations process should
not be unusual.
Unless we as a Congress commit every year to getting our budget work
done and appropriating these Federal dollars, we will never get ahead
on investing in our infrastructure. Our competitors like China and
others around the world are making massive investments in
infrastructure not just in their own country but in other countries
that are teaming up with them, with an economic vision for the future.
What is our goal? What are we trying to achieve right here in the
United States, and how are we working to build our economy and create
good-paying jobs for the future?
Our Nation's water infrastructure is in need of significant
investment. The good bill we are considering today is just a step in
the right direction, but an authorization bill without appropriation is
just an empty press release.
I hope we can work together to ensure funding gets appropriated each
year to actually complete these important projects.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for
the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gardner). Without objection, it is so
Remembering Joseph D. Tydings
Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I regret to inform our colleagues of the
death of Joe Tydings, who died on Monday, succumbing to cancer at the
age of 90. Senator Tydings was one of the most outspoken progressive
Democrats in this body.
He was born to privilege. His father was a Democratic Senator from
the State of Maryland--a conservative Democratic Senator. His
grandfather was one of our first Ambassadors to the Soviet Union. His
paternal grandfather married Marjorie Merriweather Post, who built Mar-
a-Lago, which most of us know is in Palm Beach. He came from a family
of great privilege. Yet he was known in Maryland as a person of the
people, representing the people of our State.
His first elected office was president of the Young Democrats of
Maryland. From there, he became a member of the Maryland House of
Delegates, where he fought the establishment, took on the network in
Annapolis, and investigated the savings and loan situation in our
State. He really shined a lot of light on what was happening in abuses
in that industry.
He was chosen by then-Senator Kennedy to head up his campaign for
President. Joe Tydings handled his campaign in Maryland for President
and helped in other primaries around the Nation, leading to President
Kennedy's election as President of the United States.
President Kennedy asked him to serve as the U.S. attorney for
Maryland, and Senator Tydings served as the U.S. attorney. He was known
for his independence at the U.S. Attorney's Office. He pursued white
collar crime and political corruption. He indicted and convicted a
former Member of the House of Representatives, as well as the speaker
of the Maryland House of Delegates. He recruited young talent to his
office in the U.S. Attorney's Office, including Ben Civiletti, who went
on to become the Attorney General of the United States, and Stephen
Sachs, who continued to become the attorney general for the State of
In 1964 he ran and was elected to the U.S. Senate. He worked on
progressive causes, including the Voting Rights Act, which he helped to
get enacted under President Johnson, and also gun safety legislation.
After leaving the Senate after one term, he continued to be extremely
active in our community. He was best known, I believe, for his work at
the University of Maryland. He served three terms on the board of
regents of the University of Maryland system, giving back to the school
where he graduated from both undergraduate and law school, and he was
known as one of the most aggressive people in the reform of our
University of Maryland System and also in the independence of the
On a personal note, let me tell you that he helped with my election
to the U.S. Senate 12 years ago and gave me a great deal of support and
friendship and was an adviser and role model for me. I remember his
being here when I took the oath of office as a Senator, walking me down
the aisle. I had a great deal of pride that he was with me.
He is going to be missed by all of us--just an incredible person, a
person who put his principles over practical politics. It may have cost
him an election, but he did what he thought was right. I can tell you
that we are all proud of his service to the people of Maryland and our
Mr. President, we will miss this man, who was determined to help bend
the arc of the moral universe toward justice as fast as possible.
Joe Tydings was born as Joseph Davies Cheesborough in Asheville, NC,
on May 4, 1928, to Eleanor Davies of Watertown, WI, and Tom
Cheesborough of Asheville. Tydings' sister, Eleanor Cheesborough, was
born in 1932. In 1935, his parents divorced, and his mother married
Millard Tydings, who was then serving his second of four terms as one
of Maryland's U.S. Senators. Several years later, Millard Tydings
formally adopted Joe and his sister, Eleanor.
Joe Tydings' illustrious family included his namesake grandfather,
Joseph Davies, an early adviser to Woodrow Wilson, who later was
appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as America's second
Ambassador to the Soviet Union. While Joe was still a boy, his maternal
grandfather married one of the richest women in America, Marjorie
Merriweather Post, who owned homes in New York City and Long Island,
the Hillwood Estate here in Washington, DC, the Topridge Great Camp in
the Adirondacks, and built Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach. Joe sailed home
from Europe aboard the Sea Cloud, Post's luxurious 322-foot, four-
masted barque, the largest privately owned sea-going yacht in the world
at the time.
Joe Tydings attended public schools in Aberdeen, MD, before entering
the McDonough School in Baltimore County as a military cadet in 1938.
After he graduated, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 and served in
one of the Army's last horse platoons as part of the postwar occupation
of Germany. When he returned to the United States in 1948, he entered
the University of Maryland, where he played lacrosse and football and
was student body president and then earned his law degree at the
University of Maryland Law School in 1953.
Joe Tydings was surrounded by tremendous wealth and prestige and
political power while he was growing up. The obituary that appeared in
the Baltimore Sun notes that, despite the fact that Joe was born into a
life of privilege, he was a frugal person and quotes his daughter, Mary
Tydings, as saying, ``He was a man of the people despite how he grew
up.'' His adoptive father was also a Democrat but opposed some of the
New Deal legislation because he was a fiscal conservative. Joe, on the
other hand, was a progressive from the get-go and attributed his
Wisconsin-born mother as the influence, but it is clear that his
father, who was known for taking principled, if often controversial,
stands on many issues, also shaped Joe's approach to politics and to
As I said earlier, Joe Tydings started his political career by
serving as president of the Maryland Young Democrats. While he was
president, he confronted a hotel owner in Ocean City who refused to let
Black members of the organization stay at the hotel for an event being
held there. In 1954, Joe was elected to represent Harford County in the
Maryland House of Delegates. Once there, it was clear that he was
willing to fight established powers. He started with the State's
savings and loan, S&L, associations following a banking scandal. In
``My Life in Progressive Politics: Against the Grain,'' an
autobiography cowritten by former Baltimore Sun reporter John W. Frece
published earlier this year, Joe reflected, ``I was appalled no one was
doing anything about it.'' The reason, he argued, was that many too
many Maryland politicians were profiting from the schemes that led to
While Joe Tydings had a famous last name in Maryland political
circles, it was his early and enthusiastic association with Senator
John F. Kennedy that pushed Joe onto the national stage. In 1960, Joe
directed Kennedy's Presidential campaign in Maryland and then helped
out in other primaries, at the party convention in Los Angeles, and
throughout the fall election. After Kennedy won, Tydings was offered a
post in the new administration, and he asked to be appointed U.S.
attorney for Maryland. The Maryland Democratic Party establishment was
wary of the young reformer; nearly every Democratic Congressman in the
State opposed his appointment. President Kennedy questioned his
brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about the opposition,
saying ``how can I appoint him with all these people opposed to him.''
Robert Kennedy replied, ``That's exactly why you are going to appoint
As U.S. attorney, Joe Tydings assembled a staff of neophyte trial
attorneys that included a future Attorney General of the United States,
Benjamin R. Civiletti, and a future Attorney General of Maryland,
Stephen H. Sachs, and many other lawyers who would become judges and
successful attorneys with prominent law firms. He worked hard to
establish the nonpartisan reputation of the U.S. attorney's office in
Maryland and build a modern Federal prosecution force that has
effectively targeted political corruption in Maryland up to the present
day. Joe successfully prosecuted Representative Thomas Johnson, a
fellow Democrat, for receiving illegal gratuities. He successfully
prosecuted Maryland House Speaker A. Gordon Boone, another Democrat,
for mail fraud connected with the S&L scandal.
In 1963, President Kennedy visited Oakington, the Tydings' 550-acre
estate along the Chesapeake Bay in Harford County, to urge Joe to run
for the Senate, which he agreed to do. On the November day that Tydings
held his farewell luncheon with colleagues to prepare for his Senate
run, he learned that President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas.
Joe ran as a reformer and had to win a primary against the State's
beloved comptroller, Louis L. Goldstein. Joe, whose campaign slogan was
``Working for Maryland, Not the Machine,'' energized reformers within
the State party, attracted an army of volunteers, and won. It was Louis
Goldstein's only loss during six decades in public office. Joe then
went on to defeat the incumbent Republican Senator, James Glenn Beall,
Sr., in the general election.
As a Senator, Joe Tydings backed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and
the Fair Housing Act of 1968. He supported controversial decisions of
the Warren Court, including the one-man, one-vote requirement for
apportionment of State legislatures; the prohibition of prayer in
public schools; and the guarantee of the rights of defendants to remain
silent and to be represented by counsel. He was an early advocate for
family planning and worried all his life about the detrimental health
and environmental effects of worldwide overpopulation. He reached
across the aisle to get things done, working with Republican colleagues
such as then-Representative George H.W. Bush. He regularly decried the
lack of bipartisanship in the Congress today.
Like many of his congressional peers, Joe Tydings came to office
supporting American involvement in Vietnam, but as the war escalated,
deaths mounted, and protests spread throughout the country, Tydings
finally broke with President Lyndon B. Johnson and came out against the
Although Joe was ranked 100th in seniority when he arrived in the
Senate, he authored legislation to make long overdue improvements to
the Federal court system, many of which are still in place today. He
helped to create the system of Federal magistrates to lighten the
workload of Federal judges; improved jury selection so that Federal
juries more fairly represent the make-up of their communities; and
worked to keep unfit, unqualified, or mentally or physically
incapacitated judges off the bench. Joe became an ``enemy'' of
President Richard M. Nixon by helping to defeat two of the President's
Supreme Court nominees, Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr., and G. Harrold
Joe Tydings was an avid outdoorsman and hunter, but supported
sensible gun safety laws, including the Firearms Registration and
Licensing Act, which earned him the enmity of the gun lobby and the
National Rifle Association.
By the time he stood for reelection in 1970, Joe later admitted, he
had probably supported one liberal position too many. The country had
changed, and Joe's progressive outlook had been supplanted by the
backlash to new civil rights laws, fear over race riots in American
cities, and a deep division over Vietnam. Vice President Spiro Agnew,
who had been Governor of Maryland, called Joe a ``radical.'' Joe
narrowly lost his reelection bid to John Glenn Beall, Jr., the son of
the man he had defeated in 1964, 51 percent to 48 percent.
I mentioned that Joe was an avid outdoorsman. He was also a great
horseman. One of the many causes to which he dedicated his energies
after he returned to private life was the protection of Tennessee
Walking Horses from the inhumane practice of ``soring.'' He sought
vigorous implementation of the Horse Protection Act of 1970, which he
had authored while still in the Senate, and was honored by the U.S.
Humane Society for his efforts.
After Joe left the Senate, he kept his hand in Maryland politics,
supporting various reform candidates and pushing for legislation to
protect his beloved Chesapeake Bay. He went on to serve as a member and
later as chairman of the board of regents of his alma mater, the
University of Maryland. He was appointed to three separate terms on the
regents by three different Governors in three different decades. In
1977, Joe called for the board of regents of the University of Maryland
to divest its endowment from companies doing business with the
apartheid regime in South Africa. In September 2008, then-Maryland
Governor Martin O'Malley appointed Joe to the board of the University
of Maryland Medical System.
Joe Tydings was indefatigable. He built a national and international
career in law, offering his legal services pro bono in cases
challenging the death penalty. As the Baltimore Sun obituary noted,
``At an age when his peers were considering retirement, Sen. Tydings
worked as an attorney with the Washington law firm Blank Rome LLP. `He
didn't need to be here for the last 20 years of his life,' said Jim
Kelly, chairman of Blank Rome's Washington office. But Sen. Tydings
chose to continue to work toward causes he deemed important. `It sounds
a little trite, but he really was committed to basic notions of justice
and fairness,' Kelly said. `He was not afraid to wear that on his
sleeve, and he was not afraid to stand up and be counted.' ''
When I was sworn in as U.S. Senator for the first time in the 110th
Congress, I was honored to have Joe Tydings join Senators Paul Sarbanes
and Barbara Mikulski and escort me to the well to take the oath of
office. One of his political slogans was ``Joe Tydings doesn't duck the
tough ones.'' So true. Joe's life of service serves as an example to so
many people, including me, particularly in these difficult times.
Former Vice President Joe Biden wrote in the forward to ``My Life in
Progressive Politics: Against the Grain,'' ``In reading this memoir,
you can't miss the salient parallels to challenges facing our nation
today. The issues on which Joe staked his Senate career a half-century
ago are the same ones that still require
our advocacy and attention. Protecting voting rights. Safeguarding our
environment. Pushing back against the forces of inequality that are
hollowing out the middle class. Standing up for common-sense gun safety
In the Gospel of Luke, there is the saying, ``Every one to whom much
is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit
much they will demand the more,'' Luke 12:48. Joe Tydings was given
much; he gave back more.
I know my Senate colleagues will want to join me in sending our
condolences to Joe Tydings' family: his sister, Eleanor Tydings Russell
of Monkton, MD; his four children from his first marriage, Mary Tydings
Smith of Easton, MD, Millard Tydings of Skillman, NJ, Emlen Tydings
Gaudino of Palm Beach, Australia, and Eleanor Tydings Gollob of McLean,
VA; and Alexandra Tydings Luzzatto of Washington, DC, the daughter of
his second marriage. He is also survived by nine grandchildren:
Benjamin Tydings Smith, Jill Campbell Gollob, Sam Tydings Gollob,
Margaret Campbell Tydings, Jay Davies Gollob, William Davies Tydings,
Ruby Anne Luzzatto, Emerson Almeida Luzzatto, and Maeve Chaim Luzzatto.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I rise today to thank my colleagues for
passing America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 and to discuss the
importance of it to the State of Washington. This legislation is going
now to the President's desk, and it is very needed to help make our
ports more competitive, to protect thousands of jobs, and to help
protect our salmon habitat in the State of Washington.
This legislation means the ports of Seattle and Tacoma will be able
to deepen their harbors to allow them to meet the much larger cargo
demands to compete with other ports on the west coast, specifically in
This legislation also improves the critical habitat for salmon and
waterways like the Puget Sound and the Columbia River, and it also
helps utilities make commonsense investments for the future and helps
to protect our ratepayers and the environment.
I am proud to have worked on this legislation with our colleagues
because we need to keep moving forward on investments that help make
our region competitive.
Our ports are essential to our economic growth in the Northwest. I
always say ``ports are us'' because we have so many along the Columbia
River and on the west coast, and trade is a cornerstone of our economy,
with $95 billion in exports and $92 billion in imports each year.
The fact that this legislation helps us on important maintenance and
operations for both large and small ports and for locks, dams, and
waterways is so important to our future. It also helps us with the
important alliance that Seattle and Tacoma formed together to help our
marine cargo operations at the ports, which generate $4.3 billion in
economic activity and on which 48,000 jobs are dependent.
What happened is that as the world market changed and large
containerships could double in size the amount of products they were
shipping, it was so important for our west coast ports to be
competitive and to be able to serve these large ships. These megaships,
which are twice the length of the space needle and wider than a
football field, carry twice the number of containers compared to ships
that typically call on west coast ports and need deeper waterways.
To maintain a top-grade lane through the Pacific Northwest and to
compete with the Canadian ports, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma have
to deepen their ports and make the navigational changes to address the
large container ships.
The Army Corps and the Northwest Seaport Alliance teamed up with the
Seattle Harbor Navigational Improvement Project study, the Tacoma
Harbor Navigational Improvement Project study, and many other partners
to make sure we were making the right investments.
In this legislation, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are big economic
winners. They are economic winners because we are authorizing over $29
million to deepen the East and West Waterways in the Port of Seattle to
57 feet. When the project is completed, the Port of Seattle will be the
deepest in the country. It will allow us to serve those megaships.
Instead of having just 1,000 to 12,000 cargo containers, it will be
18,000 cargo containers or more. We are expecting to complete a
feasibility study at the Port of Tacoma, which is currently at 51 feet.
These two projects are going to help us continue to build the
reputation of the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, moving our products
throughout the United States to Asia quickly and reliably and reaching
We don't want our shippers to have to pay more because we haven't
made these infrastructure investments. Moving freight is what we do.
This bill is about making it in our waterways as well. Deepening the
waterways in the Ports in Seattle and Tacoma will ensure they can
compete with Canadian ports. It will help us to continue to grow our
jobs in the maritime sector, and it will help us to continue to be a
gateway from North America to Asia and around the world.
This legislation also helps us in restoring waters adjacent to Puget
Sound and helps us with our salmon recovery efforts. For the last 18
years, the Puget Sound Adjacent Waters Restoration Program has focused
on protecting and restoring habitat within the Puget Sound Basin.
Using this program, the Army Corps was able to work with places like
the city of Burien to remove a seawall on the Seahurst Park shoreline.
Now that shoreline is a habitat for endangered salmon and the home to
bald eagles and osprey, and it is attracting visitors to the park.
The Army Corps was also able to use the program to work with the
Tulalip Tribe to restore critical habit along the Snohomish River. That
was lost in the early 20th century. The estuary now provides access to
spawning, rearing, and feeding areas for salmon.
Puget Sound--the second largest estuary in the United States--is home
to thousands of species that this bill will also help. Over a dozen of
these species are listed as endangered or threatened, and our helping
by making these improvements to clean up Puget Sound and restore
habitat is so important to the viability of the Pacific Northwest.
The bill increases funding for the Puget Sound Adjacent Waters
Restoration Program from $40 million to $60 million and the per-project
funding from $5 million to $10 million.
These are just expanded numbers, but they mean everything to meet the
goals of the projects around Puget Sound. We are returning to Puget
Sound waterways that are unblocked and providing cleaner habitat for
salmon--for threatened juvenile salmon--and opportunities in areas like
Spencer Island in the Snohomish River estuary near Everett, WA.
Another project will restore tidal flows and create open coastline
inlets at the creek originating near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, in South
Puget Sound. This will help us to restore spawning habitats for forage
fish, support salmon recovery, and improve those shoreline conditions
that are so important.
These projects are an example of the diversity that our region uses
when it helps our ecosystem, known as Puget Sound, and in helping
This legislation also helps in making sure those who make great
improvements to water infrastructure, particularly our hydrosystems,
get rewarded for doing that and ensures that they don't wait or
hesitate to get that done. This legislation provides an early action
provision for licensees on hydrosystems to make improvements and makes
sure they will be recognized later. This provision would remove an
impediment, and it encourages people to take corrective action sooner
rather than later.
That is good for our environment, and it is good for taxpayers and
helps us save on energy. Most importantly, it does not take away any
regulatory oversight from the agency but simply rewards people earlier
for doing the right thing.
I know that Chelan PUD is a good example of this and will take
advantage of this as they plan to rehabilitate units at Rock Island
hydro project--a significant investment of over $500 million. This area
needs to have these upgrades, and this provision will help them get
them done sooner.
In this legislation, we are also helping with one of the most
challenging things we see in our waterways, and that is protecting the
physical infrastructure and waterways in our hydro system from invasive
species. The highly invasive Quagga and Zebra mussels have invaded our
waterways in 20 different States. If invasive mussel populations invade
the Pacific Northwest, it is estimated that it could cost our region
over $500 million in annual costs. That would be devoting way more of
our resources just to manage that infestation.
The Columbia Basin is the last major uninfected watershed in the
United States, much of it to the credit of watercraft inspection
stations on the Columbia River. The Columbia River inspection stations
help inspect the boats that travel up and down the river for such
invasive species, and an inspection of all watercrafts is required. I
am pleased that this bill authorizes money specifically for the
Columbia River inspection stations. This helps us because, as I said,
with a river that hasn't seen these invasive species, the fact that we
still do these inspections is critical.
Last year, over 9,000 boats were inspected throughout Washington, and
because of the funding for the Columbia River, these invasive species
were kept out of our waters. That means they were kept out not just in
Washington but in other parts of the Pacific Northwest as well.
This legislation also continues the great downpayment on the Drinking
Water State Revolving Fund, which was created in 1997 and has helped
our State--millions of dollars in annual grants. This is so important.
As we saw with the many problems in Flint, MI, and other places, many
of our colleagues know that this Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is
necessary for us to keep clean water in the United States.
These funds helped the city of Lynden replace its 1926 surface water
treatment plant and ensured a reliable water supply to the Lynden
community and surrounding area. The funds also helped the city of
Prosser make improvements to its aging water system to ensure that
communities have access to a clean water supply. At the end of this
week, the city of Kelso will be celebrating the completion of the Minor
Road Reservoir, which replaced two aging reservoirs that were leaking
and that would have failed in the event of a natural disaster in the
area. The city was able to complete the project with the help of the
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and I am so glad that is going to
help secure more resources for that part of our State.
This also provides States and communities with additional financial
resources to make investments in their economies for the future, and it
also helps to right wrongs from the past.
I am pleased that the bill also delivers on an 80-year-old promise
from the Army Corps to complete the Tribal Village Development Plan for
four Tribes who were displaced when the dams of the Columbia River were
constructed. The Yakama, Nez Perce, Umatilla, and Warm Springs Tribes
all signed treaties with the Federal Government in the 1850s, and these
treaties reserved the right of the Tribes to fish, hunt, and gather at
``all usual and accustomed fishing places.'' The Army Corps and treaty
Tribes entered into agreements on fishing access. These sites were
designed for day-to-day fishing, but out of need and the desire to be
close to the Columbia River, they have turned into permanent housing.
This has resulted in very challenging and unsafe living conditions
along the river. I am so glad that my colleague Senator Murray and my
colleagues from Oregon, Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden--that we have
been able to make it crystal clear to the Army Corps of Engineers that
we need to correct this problem. This bill ensures that those families
will get what they were promised years ago.
In closing, I want to thank our colleagues Senator Barrasso and
Senator Carper, as well as the leadership of the House Transportation
and Infrastructure Committee, for all the hard work on this bipartisan
When it comes to our waterways, infrastructure investment means jobs.
It means the continued protection of clean water, and for us in the
Northwest, it means helping us preserve our salmon populations.
I am so happy that we have finally taken another step to strengthen
the competitiveness of our ports in the Northwest. These are real jobs.
In the future--near future--with this deepening, we will be able to
serve larger cargo container ships, which will help us keep our
competitiveness in moving product.
While we move about $77 billion worth of products in Washington, we
move much more than that from all States of the United States, moving
through our ports. So while it sounds like an investment in two very
large port infrastructures on the west coast, I guarantee you that it
affects many Midwestern States and many products and the ability to
cost-effectively ship to other parts of the world.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, before my friend from Washington State
leaves, I want to thank her for her advocacy on water infrastructure,
and I agree with her that this is a great bipartisan bill. The
distinguished Senator from Washington State mentioned Flint, MI, and I
just want to thank her one more time. No one stood stronger with me and
Senator Peters in trying to help the people in Flint, and I greatly
appreciate her help, support, and advocacy.
Mr. President, in addition to praising the water resources bill,
which was a great bipartisan effort--there are some wonderful wins in
there for Michigan--specifically at this moment, I want to speak about
my deep regret that a little while ago, a very important resolution did
not get the bipartisan votes necessary to pass on the Senate floor.
That resolution, which failed, would have stopped the administration's
short-term plan rule, which is gutting comprehensive healthcare and
undermining people with preexisting conditions getting the healthcare
they need and deserve.
About half the families in Michigan have someone in their family with
a preexisting condition. It could be anything from high blood pressure,
to diabetes, to something like cancer or whatever other illness it
might be. They are in a situation now, with these junk plans, as we
call them, where they are going to be undermined, and they either won't
be able to get any health insurance, or it will cost much, much more.
I have often said that healthcare isn't political; it is personal. It
is not political. We all care about being able to get the healthcare we
need for ourselves, our children, our moms, and our dads. When a family
has a child born with a seizure disorder, they aren't wondering whom
their pediatrician voted for in the last election. When a single mom of
two teenagers learns she has breast cancer, she is not concerned about
who is up in the polls and who is down in the polls. When a senior is
forced to make a decision between buying the medication that helps him
breathe better or keeping his heat on, he is not interested in what is
happening on Twitter.
Healthcare isn't political--not to any person I represent or to me or
my own family; it is personal, and it affects every one of our
families, whether we are Democrats, Republicans, urban, rural, red
States, and blue States. I wish we could come together and work on ways
to provide more healthcare and reduce costs based on that premise--that
it is personal, not political.
When people tell me their healthcare stories, I can assure you that
they don't start with their political affiliation because it doesn't
matter; they simply want to know that the healthcare they depend on for
themselves and their families will be there. That is why I am so
concerned about the short-term, limited-duration insurance plans, which
we are calling junk plans because that is what they are. They may be
cheap, but they don't cover much, if anything, and you don't know until
you get sick. Many of them are medically underwritten, meaning
that insurance companies can charge whatever they like based on the
applicant's health, their gender, their age, their health status.
Remember when being a woman was considered a preexisting condition? I
certainly do. These plans are coming back. They are coming back through
these junk plans. One recent study found that none of the plans cover
maternity care. As a member of the Finance Committee, I led the fight
to cover maternity care and birth control services and other preventive
services for women. That is pretty basic for the women of this country.
And if, as a man, you think you didn't need it, well, just ask your mom
whether she did.
On top of that, these plans can exclude people with preexisting
conditions or impose yearly or lifetime caps on care. As I indicated,
it is estimated that half of Michigan families include someone with a
preexisting condition--everything from diabetes, to asthma, to
arthritis, to cancer. Under the Affordable Care Act, we didn't have to
worry about people with preexisting conditions being covered--until it
began to be undermined through these new administrative rules put
forward by the administration.
Louisa is a beautiful little Michigan girl who was born with half a
heart. I was so fortunate to meet her and her parents earlier this
year. Louisa didn't ask for half a heart. She and her parents didn't do
anything to cause it. Louisa didn't have a choice. She needs
comprehensive health insurance.
Unfortunately, that kind of insurance is getting less and less
affordable. Thanks to short-term plans and other health insurance
changes, comprehensive health insurance will cost over 12 percent more
next year in Michigan than it would otherwise cost, and it is only
Louisa should be able to focus on starting school, growing up,
learning to drive, going to college, and having a family of her own,
not whether she will pay more for insurance, if she can get it, because
she was born with a preexisting condition.
Louisa isn't alone. She is just one of the estimated 130 million
people in our country with preexisting conditions. That is 130 million
people who could be hurt either directly or indirectly by these short-
term junk plans.
Perhaps you are incredibly lucky, and nobody in your family has a
preexisting condition. These short-term policies are a good choice,
then, right? Well, just ask Sam, who came to DC earlier this year to
share his story.
Sam is self-employed. He owns a small landscape design business. In
2016, Sam was shopping for health insurance. He had been healthy, aside
from some back pain. He told his insurance broker that he had been to
the chiropractor a number of times and that the chiropractor had taken
x rays but had not been able to make a diagnosis for his back pain. The
broker assured Sam that as long as he didn't have a diagnosis, he would
be wasting his money if he bought anything other than a short-term
insurance plan. Sam took her advice, thinking he was signing up for a
quality health insurance plan that would meet his needs.
Fast-forward to 2017 when at age 28 Sam was diagnosed with stage IV
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. What he thought was simply back pain turned out
to be an aggressive form of blood cancer. After 6 months of
chemotherapy and radiation, Sam's cancer was in remission; however, his
doctors told him that a bone marrow transplant was his only hope for a
Then Sam heard from his insurance company. They refused to pay for
any of his treatment--any of his treatment--even though he had
insurance, including the bone marrow transplant, because they claimed
the cancer was a preexisting condition even though his broker had told
him that was not the case. Sam appealed this decision and endured nine
additional rounds of chemotherapy to keep his cancer in remission.
After months of waiting--months of waiting--his appeal was denied.
Sam was left with no health insurance, no way to pay for a lifesaving
bone marrow transplant and about $800,000 in medical bills, even though
he had bought an insurance policy. Sam eventually was able to buy some
real health insurance--the kind that covers you when you get sick--and
get the bone marrow transplant he needed. He is healthy again, thank
goodness, but his finances aren't.
In his words: ``Instead of planning a life together with my
girlfriend and a future for my business, I am kept up at night worrying
about staying afloat, how to pay the next bill, how to avoid
This is the story of too many people before the Affordable Care Act
passed, requiring comprehensive coverage and requiring people with
preexisting conditions to be able to get affordable coverage. As I said
before, healthcare isn't political; it is personal. People with
preexisting conditions deserve to know their insurance will be there
when they need it. Families with a sick child deserve to focus on
getting her better, not how they are going to pay the bill for the
doctor, and small business owners like Sam deserve insurance that
covers them while they are sick or hurt and doesn't leave them on the
verge of bankruptcy.
That is what we are talking about. These current plans undermine the
capacity for people to be able to get real coverage. They are less
expensive, but they don't cover much, if anything, and the problem is
you don't know until you get sick. What we need and what everyone needs
is the confidence that they are buying affordable insurance that will
actually cover them and cover their families. Everyone deserves that
kind of insurance. This isn't about politics; it is about protecting
what is most precious--our families and our health. Unfortunately,
because of the administration's actions, we are seeing tremendous
rollbacks that are putting more and more power back into the hands of
insurance companies that are making their decisions based on what is
best for their profits, not what is best for families.
I am very disappointed that we weren't able to stop that today, but I
am going to continue to try, as are my Democratic colleagues. We are
committed to doing everything we can to ensure that people in the
greatest country in the world know they can have affordable healthcare
coverage that actually covers their healthcare needs.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, the topic of healthcare affordability
should unite us as a common cause. We all need healthcare, whether
young or old or male or female, rich or poor.
Not one of us will go through life without experiencing a major
health concern. Even if we have a clean bill of health today, we all
face the prospect of accidents, illnesses, and the inherent universal
health challenges of aging.
The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but it has moved us toward a
shared goal of making healthcare more affordable for everyone. Most
significantly, the Affordable Care Act prevents insurers from denying
coverage or increasing premiums because of a preexisting condition.
This critical protection has been widely and wildly popular, and
rightly so. If you don't have a preexisting condition, you probably
have a family member who does.
The Affordable Care Act also requires plans to cover a full set of
benefits that enrollees will realistically need over the course of
their lives, and, overall, it encourages Americans to get their health
insurance so that they will have the appropriate support when they need
it the most.
I will be the first to recognize that there is room for improvement
in our healthcare law, but we need to be working together to fix it,
not allowing the Trump administration to continue its relentless push
to undermine the affordability of healthcare. Since the beginning of
his administration, President Trump has taken every possible step to
weaken consumer protections in health insurance, all the while
misinforming the public about what the real impact will be on their
daily lives. But Americans right now are feeling the impact. For too
many hard-working families, health insurance and healthcare costs are
still not affordable. Today, premiums are going up, healthcare prices
are soaring, and the burden of cost is increasingly shifted to the
We should be focused on ways to strengthen our healthcare system so
that it lowers out-of-pocket costs, removes barriers to healthcare, and
incentivizes cost efficiency. But the flawed Trump administration
policy the Senate voted on earlier today is a step in the wrong
direction. It is a step toward terrible coverage for consumers who will
not understand what their plan fails to cover until they need it.
We are seeing yet another Trump administration effort to roll back
parts of the Affordable Care Act that are actually working every day to
help Americans. President Trump is creating a new loophole for some
insurers to ignore the Affordable Care Act's central patient
protections. This is moving us back toward a period where insurance
companies could discriminate against Americans based on their
conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and even pregnancy--
yes, even pregnancy. Millions of Michiganders rely on the Affordable
Care Act's safeguards for preexisting condition coverage.
Americans should have the power to choose their own healthcare, but
unfortunately this administration has it backward. President Trump
wants to give more power to insurers to not only choose who they cover
but also what they cover.
The Affordable Care Act's 10 essential healthcare benefits are truly
just that; they are indeed essential. The list includes things like
prescription drugs, hospitalizations, and preventive care. Before the
Affordable Care Act, we saw insurance companies neglect to cover
services like maternity care, substance abuse disorder treatment, and
mental health care. These are all truly essential elements of any true
The Trump administration is allowing for risky plans that make
insurance companies money while shifting costs to taxpayers and
Michiganders who choose to cover these essential health benefits. The
Trump policy will create a parallel market that targets only relatively
healthy, less costly individuals, and that is why I am deeply
disappointed by today's vote and the actions of this administration.
The true message President Trump is sending to the public is that he
wants you to be misinformed. He wants you to make bad decisions and buy
these flawed plans, increasing the profits of insurers.
American taxpayers will be left with the bill when patients find out
that their insurance and all of the money they have put into that
insurance over so many years simply does not cover their healthcare
needs when they need it the most.
No matter where you live, how much money you make, or what your
health record looks like, no one should be forced to make the
impossible choice between seeking medical assistance or paying the
bills for other basic necessities. Regardless of what the health
condition is or when it arises, all Americans deserve certainty that
their decision to go to a doctor will not push them into bankruptcy.
Let's be clear that any Member who voted to support the Trump
administration's efforts to undermine the ACA casts a vote today
against coverage protections for preexisting conditions and against
affordable, quality healthcare for all American families.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
Ms. CORTEZ MASTO. Thank you, Mr. President.
I rise today to share the story of one of my friends, Jesse
Kleinedler. Jesse and her husband own and operate one of Reno's most
successful small businesses--the Under the Rose Brewing Company. They
are also the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy. Jesse, her family,
and their business are doing great. But when I met Jesse last year, she
told me her path to this point in life had not been easy.
In 2012, Jesse left her job at a large firm--and the health insurance
it provided--to pursue her dream of starting a brewery with her husband
Scott. About 1 year later, she learned that she was pregnant. During a
routine checkup 9 weeks before her due date, Jesse's midwife advised
her to see an OB/GYN. Jesse didn't feel sick, so she hesitated, but the
midwife urged her to go see a specialist anyway.
Midway through her visit, the OB/GYN became concerned that Jesse's
life was in danger. He diagnosed her with preeclampsia and rushed her
to the hospital. Jesse's son was born a few hours later via emergency
C-section. The doctors who delivered her baby agreed that had Jesse
waited even 24 hours to see an OB/GYN, both she and her son would have
In no uncertain terms, Jesse told me that she and her son owe their
lives to the Affordable Care Act. Without the affordable coverage
having been purchased on the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange,
Jesse would not have been able to have seen a specialist, and she and
her husband, certainly, would not have been able to have afforded the
$1 million in medical costs Jesse's son incurred over the course of a
months-long stay in the NICU.
Jesse's son is now a happy, thriving toddler, but he has a medical
issue that interferes with his growth. Jesse and Scott, her husband,
fear that President Trump's efforts to roll back protections for people
with preexisting conditions will make it impossible for them to afford
their son's health insurance.
Donald Trump has not yet been able to get the support in Congress he
needs in order to repeal protections for people with preexisting
conditions, but he has taken steps to circumvent the wheel of Congress
and hack away at these protections bit by bit.
In August, he signed an Executive order to expand access to what are
called junk plans. These are health insurance plans that don't cover
essential services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits, or
maternity care. These plans are designed for short-term use only and
don't include protections for people with preexisting conditions. That
means, if you sign up for one of these plans and are a cancer survivor
or are a pregnant woman or are a war veteran, you could be charged a
higher rate. It also means you could be forced to pay tens of thousands
of dollars out of pocket for the care you receive in an emergency.
Junk plans come in all shapes and sizes, but none of them comply with
consumer protections established by the Affordable Care Act. The Kaiser
Family Foundation looked at junk plans in 45 States and found that 43
percent did not include coverage for mental health services, that 71
percent did not cover outpatient prescription drugs, and that not a
single one covered maternity care.
Junk plans appear to be cheaper than comprehensive health insurance
plans--that is, until you read the fine print. Junk plans have low
monthly premiums and astronomical out-of-pocket costs. President
Trump's Executive order allows insurance companies to trick consumers
into signing up for these plans. Consumers think they are getting a
good deal, only to find out, as soon as they get sick, that their
medical bills are not covered.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says junk plans
pose ``a serious threat to cancer patients' ability to access quality,
affordable health coverage.'' It also says the present administration's
rule will likely leave older and sicker Americans in the individual
insurance marketplace, with few, if any, affordable health coverage
choices and that patients who are living with serious conditions will
be left paying more for the coverage they need if they can afford
coverage at all.
President Trump's Executive order to expand access to junk plans is
not just an attack on our healthcare system, it is an attempt to send
us back to the days when families like Jesse's could not afford the
healthcare they needed. Jesse told me she owes her life to the health
insurance she purchased through the ACA. Where would Jesse and her
family be without it? What if she had not been able to afford a
comprehensive plan? What if she had purchased a junk plan instead?
There are 1.2 million Nevadans who live with preexisting conditions.
That is nearly one in two. That number includes nearly 159,000 children
and nearly 270,000 people who are nearing retirement. The junk plans
rule directly threatens their healthcare.
Heather Korbulic, who is the executive director of the Silver State
Health Insurance Exchange, summed up the risk junk plans pose.
She said: ``[Junk plans] are designed to basically take your
preexisting condition and charge you more or tell you that you can't be
on those plans at all.''
She continued: ``If they find that you've not disclosed a preexisting
medical condition . . . then you're left high and dry with no
I don't want to go back to a world where Nevadans with preexisting
conditions can't get the care they need or where insurance companies
aren't required to cover basic services like maternity care.
I was a proud cosponsor of Senator Tammy Baldwin's resolution to
overturn President Trump's Executive order. In failing to pass this
resolution, the U.S. Senate has done a profound disservice to families
and communities all across the country. I will continue fighting to
restore protections against junk plans, and I encourage all of my
colleagues to do the same.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from South Dakota.
Mr. THUNE. Mr. President, 2 years ago, when Republicans took control
of the White House as well as of Congress, we promised the American
people that growing the economy was going to be our No. 1 priority, and
we got right to work.
Under the Obama administration, American workers and businesses faced
a lot of obstacles, including burdensome regulations and an outdated
Tax Code that acted as a drag on economic growth, so we immediately
focused on removing burdensome regulations. Then we focused on
developing a historic, comprehensive reform of our Tax Code, which was
signed into law last December. Now, the Tax Code isn't necessarily the
first thing people think of when they think of economic growth, but the
Tax Code has a huge impact on our economy.
It helps to determine how much money individuals and families have to
spend and save. It helps to determine whether a small business can
expand and hire. A small business owner who faces a huge tax bill is
highly unlikely to be able to expand her business or hire a new
employee. The Tax Code helps to determine whether large businesses
hire, grow, and invest in the United States. A large business is going
to find it pretty hard to create jobs or improve benefits for employees
if it is struggling to stay competitive against foreign businesses that
pay much less in taxes. A large business is also unlikely to keep jobs
and investment in the United States if the Tax Code makes it vastly
more expensive to hire American workers.
Prior to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last December, our
Tax Code was not helping our economy or American families. It was doing
just the opposite so we took action.
We cut tax rates for American families, doubled the child tax credit,
and nearly doubled the standard deduction. We lowered tax rates across
the board for owners of small and medium-sized businesses, farms, and
ranches. We lowered our Nation's massive corporate tax rate, which, up
until January 1, was the highest corporate tax rate in the developed
world. We expanded business owners' ability to recover the cost of
investments they make in their businesses, which frees up cash that
they can reinvest in their operations and their workers, and we brought
the U.S. international tax system into the 21st century so American
businesses would not be operating at a competitive disadvantage next to
their foreign counterparts.
Now we are seeing the results. The economy is thriving. Our economy
grew at a robust 4.2 percent in the second quarter of this year. The
unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1969--almost 50 years
ago. Think about that. In other words, it has been almost 50 years
since the last time unemployment was at this low level.
More than 1.8 million jobs have been created since the Tax Cuts and
Jobs Act was signed into law. Wages are growing at the best rate in
years, and incomes are up 4.2 percent. Businesses are bringing money
back into the United States, and business investment is up--from an
average of 1.8 percent before the 2016 election to an average of 10
percent so far this year. Small business optimism is at historic
levels. Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high. The list goes on.
Those are a lot of stats, but they basically boil down to one thing;
that is, that life is getting better for American families. Incomes are
growing, and families have access to more jobs and opportunities and
better benefits. That means fewer families have to live paycheck to
paycheck, that an unexpected car repair or doctor bill is less
devastating, that it is easier to afford that family vacation or the
fees for piano lessons, and that more families have money to save for
their kids' college or for their retirement.
That was the goal--getting the economy thriving again so American
families can thrive. I am proud to say, we are succeeding. I am proud
that our policies are making life better for American families. Yet we
are not stopping there. We are going to keep working to secure the
gains we have made for the long term and make sure every American has
access to a future of security and opportunity.
Tribute to Chuck Grassley
Mr. President, I want to take a brief moment to express my gratitude
to the Judiciary Committee chairman, Senator Chuck Grassley, for his
leadership over the past months as we worked to confirm Judge--now
Every Supreme Court confirmation process is a somewhat arduous
affair, but Chairman Grassley had to contend with more than an
increased workload. He had to contend with Democratic colleagues who
did everything they could to delay and disrupt the process and to taint
Justice Kavanaugh's confirmation. Yet no matter what tactics the
Democrats resorted to, from interrupting the confirmation hearing to
withholding critical information, Chairman Grassley stayed above the
fray. He carried on with what needed to be done, whether that was
compiling information from Justice Kavanaugh's time in the White House
or interviewing witnesses. He made sure the entire confirmation process
was thorough and fair, and he ensured that Dr. Ford and Justice
Kavanaugh were treated with dignity and respect.
I am grateful we had him at the helm of the Judiciary Committee
during this process, and I am grateful that, once again, he helped to
put an outstandingly qualified Justice on the Supreme Court.
Tribute to Nikki Haley
Mr. President, I also want to take just a minute to recognize the
outstanding work that Nikki Haley has done as the U.S. Ambassador to
the United Nations.
Ambassador Haley has been a terrific ambassador and a real leader on
the President's foreign policy team. She has been a clear, unequivocal
voice for the principles our country values, and she has been a tough
and outspoken critic of the tyrannical regimes that threaten our
country and the free world.
I am sure the President will choose an excellent replacement, but
Nikki Haley will be a tough act to follow. I wish her all the best as
she begins her next chapter. She will be missed.
I yield the floor.
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, 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. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Lee). Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that at the
conclusion of my remarks, the Senator from New Hampshire, Senator
Shaheen, be recognized. She will be picking up at the end of my
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, it is a real pleasure to be joined
here today on the Senate floor by Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New
Hampshire. Senator Shaheen has been a tireless advocate for clean
energy and is the Senate's bipartisan champion on energy efficiency,
alongside Senator Portman.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a major
warning last week. Ninety-one authors and editors from 40 countries
reviewed more than 6,000 scientific papers to assess what it would take
to hold global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial
levels. The report says that we will need to invest roughly five times
what we do now in low-
carbon energy and energy efficiency by 2050. The Shaheen-Portman energy
efficiency legislation would help move us toward that target.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy says that the
bill would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 650 million metric
tons over a 15-year period. The cumulative net savings from the bill
would reach nearly $100 billion.
My State of Rhode Island is a national leader in promoting energy
efficiency, so we know how good programs like the Shaheen-Portman
reforms are for consumers, for businesses, and for the environment.
Rhode Island has consistently ranked among the top States for energy
efficiency. This year, we are in the top three on the State Energy
To keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the IPCC tells us we
need renewables to grow to about half of the world's energy mix by 2030
and to perhaps 80 percent of the world's energy mix by midcentury. Coal
in the global electricity mix needs to be mostly phased out by 2050.
The fossil fuel industry's front groups, of which there is a
considerable legion, tell us that this will raise costs on consumers,
but renewables are now beating fossil fuel power on cost, and renewable
costs are still falling.
In a recent report on global energy trends, Deloitte notes:
Solar and wind power recently crossed a new threshold. . .
. Already among the cheapest energy sources globally, solar
and wind have much further to go.
The Deloitte report shows the top solar States here in yellow, the
top wind States here in blue, and these two--Texas and California--are
in green because they are leaders in both wind and solar.
If you look at the top 20 U.S. solar and wind States, three-quarters
of those States have electricity prices below the national average, so
clearly renewables don't hurt energy costs. By the way, these States
include some of the reddest politically, including Oklahoma, Kansas,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Iowa, and Texas.
The cost transition with renewables coming down through the price of
fossil fuel is showing up in U.S. solar projects' purchased-power
agreements. You can see in this chart from Greentech Media that over
time, solar generation costs have come down in line with new-built
natural gas generation. That is what this band is. This is the price
for new-built natural gas generation.
This dot here represents a new project by NextEra Energy to sell
power to the southern Arizona utility, Tucson Electric Power, from a
100-megawatt solar array with an accompanying 30-megawatt energy
storage system for $45 per megawatt hour, right in line with new
natural gas plants. One industry analyst suggested that this facility
effectively took the place of a peak-demand gas plant.
Defenders of old, dirty energy sources paint renewables as
unreliable, as intermittent, but Deloitte's report finds that
renewables have actually proven ``to strengthen grid resilience and
reliability.'' Integrating renewable capacity into the grid has gone
well in practice, and FERC analyses predict increased renewable uses to
improve grid security and resiliency.
The grid operator in Iowa, the most heavily wind-powered State,
figured out a while ago the algorithms to treat wind across its grid as
baseload. When you pair wind or solar projects with battery storage,
like that NextEra project, then individual renewable projects become
baseload power sources. You don't have to aggregate and run algorithms;
that is a new baseload source.
The transition involves batteries, and batteries are booming. Wood
Mackenzie Power & Renewables projects worldwide storage capacity
currently around 6 gigawatt hours to grow tenfold, to at least 65
gigawatt hours by 2022; 2022 is right around the corner--a tenfold
Costs are falling fast. Lithium-ion batteries are down in price 80
percent since 2010, just in these 7 years. That is an 80-percent drop
Regulators are adapting. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
just finalized a new rule--a unanimous and bipartisan new rule--for
energy storage on America's electric grids.
One study has predicted the rule could spur 50 gigawatts of
additional energy storage across the United States, enough to power
roughly 35 million homes.
Energy storage is actually coming to market already. The Colorado
State Public Utility Commission just unanimously approved an Xcel
Energy Program to build $2.5 billion in renewable energy and battery
storage, to retire 660 megawatts of coal-fired power, shutting down
ongoing plants for cheaper, new renewable battery combinations. The
request for bids didn't just smoke out this one bid; it brought out a
flood of renewable energy proposals at costs that beat out existing
coal and natural gas facilities.
The IPCC warning was particularly serious and specific about the
urgent choices before us, and we, too, need to be serious about a new
direction to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are our pathways in that
direction, along with a new technology--trapping carbon emissions to
use or store them, even pulling carbon dioxide straight from the air.
These carbon-captured technologies have been starved without revenue
because of a failure in energy market economics, which is that there is
no revenue proposition for capturing carbon pollution. Which brings me
to the Nobel Prize in economics just won by William D. Nordhaus of Yale
Nordhaus aligns with the well-established market economics that
polluters should pay for damage to the environment and to public
health. That is econ 101. Without that, the price signal, which is at
the heart of market economics, is off, and subsidies result. The market
fails. And when the International Monetary Fund estimates the fossil
fuel subsidy at $700 billion per year just in the United States, that
is a massive market failure.
Nordhaus recommends that we correct the enormous market failure which
the fossil fuel industry now so busily protects politically. ``There is
basically no alternative to a market solution,'' Nordhaus said in
response to the Nobel Prize award. ``The incentives,'' he said, ``are
market prices--to raise the price of goods and services that are carbon
intensive and lower the ones that are less carbon intensive.''
The science on this, as I think most of us understand, is firmly
established, and the economics are widely understood. It is the
politics that keep getting in the way--the fossil fuel industry dark
``This is the last frontier of climate change,'' said Nordhaus. ``I
think we understand the science,'' he said. ``I think we understand the
economics of abatement,'' he said. He said: ``We understand pretty much
the damages. But we don't understand how to bring countries together.
That is where the real frontier work is going on today.''
America should be leading at this frontier, not lagging. Lost in our
fossil fuel politics, we are failing in leadership. History will not be
kind with our failure.
It is well past time for Congress to wake up.
Mr. President, I yield the floor to my distinguished colleague from
New Hampshire, saluting her once again for the leadership that I
remarked on at the beginning of my remarks in working with Senator
Portman to be the Senate's bipartisan leader on energy efficiency.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Hampshire.
Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I thank my colleague Senator Whitehouse,
not just for those kind words but for all of the work he has done and
continues to do. For the last 6 years, Senator Whitehouse has come to
the floor of this Senate week after week, every week, to talk about
climate change and to talk about its effects throughout the United
States and around the globe and our need to take action to address this
Thank you very much, Senator Whitehouse, for your leadership.
Climate change is real, and it is a present threat to our planet.
Senator Whitehouse talked about some of the science involved with that.
It is very clear to anybody who has looked at the science who doesn't
have a political agenda that this is real. It is a threat, and we need
to address it.
In New Hampshire, we are already seeing the impacts of climate change
in so many ways. Rising temperatures
are shortening our fall foliage season, they are disrupting our maple
syrup production, and they are shortening our ski seasons and our
snowmobiling. Ice-out occurs earlier each year on our lakes. They are
causing sea level rise that can imperil businesses and homes along our
The strains on our fisheries and the increases of insect-borne
diseases that endanger our wildlife can all be tied to the effects of
I have here a photo that I think it is important for people to see.
Moose have been one of New Hampshire's iconic wildlife representatives,
to put it, I guess, the easiest way. The moose are something that we
are very proud of in New Hampshire. We have seen them in the wildest
parts of our State, some even as far south as where I live in southern
New Hampshire. What we are seeing as the result of climate change is a
40-percent reduction in the moose in New Hampshire. As I said, that is
happening because of increases in insect-borne diseases.
If we look very closely at this picture, it looks like there are
little round balls on this moose. Those are ticks. Those are ticks that
have been able to attach to the moose and, in so many cases, kill the
moose. They are there because it is not getting cold enough in our
winters to kill off those ticks, so they multiply in such numbers that
they attach to the moose and they kill them. You can see this is a
distressed moose that has been affected by those ticks. She shouldn't
look like this, but it is the ticks. Those insect-borne diseases are
also responsible for something called brain worm that affects moose as
So for our hunters and the people who enjoy the outdoors and wildlife
viewing, that is being threatened now because of climate change.
The beautiful maples that produce maple syrup and that produce such
beautiful colors in our fall foliage are being threatened because of
climate change. The estimate is that in several decades, we will no
longer see either moose or maple trees in New Hampshire because they
will have been forced out because the warming temperatures will mean
they can no longer survive.
Climate change is also affecting the public health of New Hampshire
citizens. Rising temperatures increase smog levels. They heighten the
effects of allergy season. They increase the number of children with
asthma. New Hampshire has one of the highest childhood asthma rates in
the country, and that has gotten worse because of climate change.
Scientists have proven without a doubt that CO2 and other
greenhouse gases are the primary culprits for the climate changes that
we are seeing and that human activity has increased the concentration
of these greenhouse gases.
If we are going to stop global warming, the United States must reduce
its greenhouse gas emissions in every sector, starting with how we
produce and consume energy.
One of the things that I have learned since my days as Governor is
that the easiest, fastest way to reduce our energy use is through
energy efficiency. It is without a doubt America's largest energy
resource. It has contributed more to our Nation's energy needs over the
last 40 years than any other fuel source. Without the economy-wide
improvements in energy efficiency that have occurred since 1973, it is
estimated that today's economy would require 60 percent more energy
than we are now consuming. In fact, savings from energy efficiency
improvements over the last 40 years have reduced our national energy
bill by an estimated $800 billion--with a ``b''--all while growing and
expanding our economy. Put another way, in the last 40 years, we have
saved more energy through energy efficiency than we have
produced through fossil fuels and nuclear power combined. So think
about that. Think about the potential of energy efficiency in
addressing our energy needs.
Energy efficiency is also the largest sector within the U.S. clean
energy economy. It employs nearly 2.25 million Americans nationwide,
and the majority of those people work in our small businesses. We know
that small businesses create about two-thirds of the new jobs in this
country. They are overwhelmingly responsible for innovation. Sixteen
times more patents are produced by small businesses. So this is where
innovation is going on, and it is going on in energy efficiency.
Just to reiterate, energy efficiency measures have proven time and
time again to be the easiest and most cost-effective way to address
climate change, while reducing energy costs and creating private sector
The thing that I like about energy efficiency is that you don't have
to live in a certain part of the country and you don't have to be a
proponent of other types of fuel sources to appreciate and to support
energy efficiency. Everyone benefits from energy efficiency.
Unfortunately, since he took office, President Trump and his
administration have proposed policies that seek to undermine America's
clean energy economy and delay our progress toward addressing climate
change. The administration has proposed rollbacks to clean car
standards that will force Americans to pay more at the gas pump and
harm our environment.
Here is a chart that shows very clearly what rolling back CAFE
standards--the vehicle emissions requirements--would do. By 2035, the
rollback would add at least 158 million metric tons of carbon dioxide
annually. It would increase U.S. fuel consumption by 13.9 billion
gallons per year. This is according to the American Council for an
Energy-Efficient Economy. If we think about that in terms of fossil
fuels--this fuel consumption--that is more fuel than we import from
Iraq or Venezuela each year. Think about what that will mean for
The administration has also proposed to replace the Clean Power Plan
with regulations that would relax standards for powerplants at the
expense and well-being of current and future generations. Appliance
efficiency standards have been frozen in place. After four decades with
energy efficiency as a bipartisan cornerstone of Federal energy policy,
the President has once again proposed profound cuts to energy
efficiency and to renewable energy programs at the Department of
For those of us who support energy efficiency, there can be only one
response to these rollbacks: We must address them head-on, and we must
redouble our efforts to keep America on the right track.
As a result of bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate--as I said,
energy efficiency is one thing that we can get behind, Republicans and
Democrats--last month the President signed into law a spending bill
that includes increased investments for clean energy programs at the
Department of Energy--something that has enjoyed strong bipartisan
In addition to increasing those investments, this appropriations bill
marks the first time since 2009--so the first time since I have been in
the Senate--that the Department of Energy will secure its funding
before the start of a fiscal year. This financial certainty will
strengthen these programs and the industries they support.
The passage of the Energy and Water appropriations bill that we did
today demonstrates that Congress remains committed to advancing
commonsense, bipartisan policies that will strengthen our Nation's
Just last week, this Senate adopted a bipartisan resolution that was
sponsored by Senator Portman of Ohio and me, along with 19 of our
colleagues, that recognizes the economic and environmental benefits
that energy efficiency has contributed to this country. Senator Portman
and I are also committed to advancing our legislation to spur energy
efficiency innovation and other initiatives across the most energy-
intensive sectors of our economy. Senator Whitehouse talked about the
efforts that we have engaged in over the last 7 years. We have
introduced our bill into Congress in each Congress over the past 7
years. Each time, we are getting a little more momentum in getting this
through. We have gotten certain provisions of the bill through in the
last two Congresses.
It has been far too long since Congress passed a comprehensive energy
bill, so it is time for us to work together to pass an energy bill that
includes energy efficiency. This is bipartisan legislation. If it were
brought to the floor today, I guarantee you it would pass
overwhelmingly, and it would improve our Nation's energy policies and
help to grow the economy.
We have some great examples of what is being done, and Senator
Whitehouse talked about some of what is being done around the country
to address energy efficiency and reduce our energy use.
New Hampshire, like Rhode Island, is one of the States that are part
of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. At the State, local, and
grassroots levels, individuals, businesses, and governments are rising
to the challenge by intensifying their efforts to advance energy
efficiency and clean energy.
This chart shows what has happened in the States that have been part
of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Carbon pollution has gone
down 51 percent, and electricity prices are down 6.4 percent. For us in
New England, where we have very high energy costs, that is very
positive. So if you don't support energy efficiency for any other
reason, you should support it because it reduces costs. Look at how
much in energy savings to consumers: $773 million.
Since 2009, the nine States in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
have outperformed the national average in terms of all of these
measures. Because the majority of proceeds are invested in energy
efficiency, they have allowed electricity prices to fall, and they have
saved consumers millions on their energy bills. As we look in the
outyears, billions more are expected in savings, thanks to those
investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy under the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
In August of 2017, RGGI's nine States agreed to strengthen their
program by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 30 percent more
by 2030. New Hampshire and other RGGI States have shown the Nation that
States can make smart clean energy choices that benefit the environment
while strengthening the economy. For those who say we need a market-
driven approach to addressing climate change, this is a perfect example
Climate change represents an enormous challenge, but solutions are
within reach if we put into place policies that will allow for swift
action. We have a responsibility to help protect our children and
grandchildren from the severe consequences of global warming. We have
to start now, and we have to start with energy efficiency.
Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I note that my allergies are a
result of that climate change.
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, 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. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Tribute to Lisa Sauder
Mr. SULLIVAN. Mr. President, as the Presiding Officer knows, I have
been coming down here nearly every week--usually Wednesday or
Thursday--for the last 2 years to talk about somebody who is making a
big difference in my State, the great State of Alaska. I call this
person our Alaskan of the Week.
Most of the people who visit Alaska do so in the summer--I was
honored the Presiding Officer and his family came up to visit this
summer--and we know that is understandable, to come up when the Sun is
high in the sky, but this time of year is truly magnificent in my great
State. To borrow a phrase that is no doubt familiar to many, including
some of the pages: Winter is coming. Winter is coming.
Every day, the Sun comes up later and sets earlier. Snow is already
on the ground in some places in Alaska. In some places in the State,
the mountains are dusted--termination dust, we call it--and that dust
is quickly turning into deep snow and making its way down the
mountains. It will not be long before it spreads out all throughout our
communities in Anchorage and other cities. The whole State is crackling
with energy to get ready for the long winter, like we do every year.
For some, though--particularly for the hungry and the homeless--
winter in Alaska can be incredibly difficult and incredibly
challenging. Actually, as we all know here, for the hungry and the
homeless any time of the year can be incredibly difficult and
In Anchorage, there is a place where everyone, no matter who you are,
is greeted with dignity, respect, and a hot meal. The place is called
Bean's Cafe, and the person who makes sure it all happens and comes
together is Lisa Sauder, the executive director of Bean's Cafe, and
Lisa is our Alaskan of the Week.
Let me tell you a little bit about Lisa. She was born in Anchorage
and moved to the west coast with her parents when she was a young
teenager. When she graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree
in communications and political science, she was on her way back home
to Alaska. ``Alaska always calls you when you leave it,'' she said.
``It's always the place that feels most like home.''
She worked at a local bank and the Anchorage Convention and Visitors
Center, where she was able to travel all around the country to talk
people into visiting our great State, particularly in the off seasons
like fall, like now. Then her husband's job took them to the east
coast, where they stayed for some time, but, once again, Alaska
beckoned, and they returned.
Shortly after coming back home again, Lisa saw an ad to help run
Bean's Cafe, and she knew she had to go for it. She knew that passion
was in her heart. The fact that it is completely local and completely
community supported was a huge lure to her, she said but so was helping
and working with the homeless throughout the State.
Lisa's uncle, for example, was a Vietnam veteran with mental health
challenges after serving in Vietnam. For decades, he lived on the
streets in Seattle. She saw the pain that her uncle's homelessness
caused her mom and the rest of the family, and of course her uncle, but
then he got help at a place like Bean's Cafe, and she also saw the
positive impact that not only had on her uncle but the entire family,
the entire community.
Bean's is an Anchorage institution. It serves breakfast and lunch
every day--about 950 meals a day--to the hungry and the homeless. This
requires the work of about 120 volunteers a day. People from all across
the community come to help out. On any given day, you will see a
business executive, maybe a pastor, a construction worker,
politicians--so many, from all walks of life--serving food to the
homeless and hungry. We have also seen the recipients of that
generosity of food volunteering themselves, all of them--such a
supportive community--working together to help one another.
Bean's is so much more than a place for a meal. It serves as a
mailing address for their clients. It is a place where you can call a
loved one, a place to get some dry socks, a hat and a coat, warm
clothing for the cold winter. You can get help with your VA benefits.
You can get help finding a job or it is a place to get out from the
cold for a few hours.
Oftentimes, the day that someone walks into Bean's Cafe is
the worst day of that person's life. And we're there to greet
them with compassion and respect.
Lisa has also expanded the program to include a very popular program
now in Anchorage called Children's Lunchbox, which provides after-
school and weekend meals for children. All told, between the meals
served at Bean's and for the Children's Lunchbox, under Lisa's
guidance, leadership, and passion, more than 700,000 meals were served
Lisa loves her job. She loves how supportive the community is. She
loves watching people grow and helping them get the help they need--and
then their coming back to help others. She said:
We're all very fortunate here. We get to help people,
[which is a passion]. Not everybody can say that.
Lisa's work extends far beyond Bean's Cafe and the Children's
Lunchbox. She is also very involved in Alaska's recovery community--
recovery from addiction, particularly in the past few years.
Anchorage, AK, like the rest of the community, isn't immune to what
is happening all across the country with regard to the opioid and
heroin crisis. The good news is, we are working in the Senate and in
the House on this issue. We just passed a bill, a very important bill,
that will help States and communities address this, but we have a long
way to go.
Too many young people--people of all ages--are being lost to us
because of this horrible epidemic, and, unfortunately and very
tragically, Lisa's son
Tucker, 23 years old, was one of those we lost. She has put the pain--
the deep pain of losing her son--to good work. She has turned into a
fierce advocate for those suffering from addiction. She talks about
Tucker often, wanting people to know that this can happen to anyone.
That is why we need to continue to focus.
Through her work and the work of so many advocates across the State,
people are finally getting the help they need. Lisa said:
The peer mentorship that is going on right now is saving
lives. So much progress has been made. There are so many
people who have really helped to shine a light on the issue.
Lisa is such a force for good in my State. She has tenacity, grit,
courage, and a huge heart. She is doing so many things. For that, we
want to thank Lisa for all she is doing.
Congratulations on being our Alaskan of the Week.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Ohio.
Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, today in the Senate we were faced with two
opportunities to side with cancer patients over insurance companies. In
our country, almost everybody would say that we ought to side with the
cancer patients over the insurance companies, but the Senate failed
again in both cases. Let me explain.
Today, as we considered this, we wanted to make clear whose side we
are on. The side the Senate chose, and it looks like the Judiciary
Committee chose, is not the side of patients.
This morning, I testified at the Judiciary Committee's hearing on the
White House's two nominees to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Chad
Readler and Eric Murphy. Both of these men have a troubling record of
stripping Ohioans of their rights, and Mr. Readler's actions on
healthcare are particularly threatening to millions of Americans--not
just the 5 million Ohioans who have preexisting conditions but millions
of Americans with preexisting conditions. Five million Ohioans under
age 65, as I said, have preexisting conditions. That is half the
population in my State.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, these Ohioans can rest a little
easier, knowing they can't be turned down for health coverage or have
their rates skyrocket because their child has asthma or their husband
has diabetes or their wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Mr.
Readler is willing to take that peace of mind away and throw those
families into financial chaos.
This summer, he did what three career attorneys with the Department
of Justice refused to do. He filed a brief challenging the law that
protects Americans with preexisting conditions. The next day, the White
House appointed him to a Federal circuit court judgeship. Filing this
brief earned him rebukes from across the legal community. Three
attorneys withdrew from the case, and one actually resigned in
objection to the Department of Justice's unprecedented action.
Our Republican Senate colleague from Tennessee, Mr. Alexander, called
the brief ``as far-fetched as any [he has] ever heard.'' Mr. Readler
had no problem putting his name right at the top and filing it.
We should not be putting on the bench for life anyone who puts
partisanship ahead of cancer patients or ahead of people with diabetes
or ahead of someone with high blood pressure or ahead of Americans'
Unfortunately, the White House is also chipping away at the ability
of Ohioans with preexisting conditions to get affordable coverage that
actually covers their conditions. Again, we are talking about 5 million
Ohioans, tens of millions of Americans. You can talk about anxiety and
autism. You can talk about heart disease or heartburn, cholesterol,
stroke, thyroid issues. We are talking about families. We are talking
about neighbors. We are talking about some of the people in this body.
Everyone here, by the way, takes care of themselves. We all have good
health insurance. We don't mind, apparently, denying it to millions of
Some Senators think it is fine to let insurance companies sell junk
to our constituents back home. These insurance policies are just that:
They are junk. They are insurance until you need the insurance.
Allowing insurance companies to sell these plans drives up healthcare
for everyone. They weaken protection for anyone with a preexisting
Under their new rules, insurance companies could force Americans with
preexisting conditions into these junk plans--and ``junk'' is the right
word--that barely cover anything. They can charge exorbitant,
unaffordable rates for a decent plan.
Half of my colleagues--exactly half--voted for Senator Baldwin's
motion. Senator Baldwin, from Wisconsin, has been a hero on this. Half
of my colleagues--all with health insurance paid for by taxpayers--have
told the people: Sorry, you are on your own. We are letting the
insurance companies do whatever they want--rip you off, hike up your
costs. That is the way it goes.
It all comes down to whose side you are on. Chad Readler, the
President's nomination for the Sixth Circuit, has made it clear: He
stands with insurance companies, not with cancer patients. The
administration has made it clear: They stand with insurance companies,
not kids with asthma.
Today, the Senate chose to stand with those insurance companies over
their constituents who need prescription medicines.
Mr. President, a free, independent press is critical to our
democracy. Reporters do vital work, not just in Washington but around
the country. They shine a light on the important issues in our
communities. Right now, that means covering the addiction crisis that
grips our country.
Today alone--if today is an average day in Ohio, as I assume it is--
11 people will die of an opioid overdose. Yesterday, 11 died. Tomorrow,
11 will die. Friday, 11 will die.
We have been working bipartisanly to help get communities the
resources they need. This month we passed a bipartisan package to fight
opioid addiction. It is a start. We need more help from a generally
disengaged White House. We need a State government to get out from
under its corruption, day to day, that afflicts it and get out and do
what they should be doing to fight opioid addiction.
Everyone has a role to play. Local journalists do vital work keeping
Ohioans informed of all the resources we have in our State. That is
why, this week, I want to highlight another story in an Ohio paper
informing the public, reported by a journalist serving his community.
I remind my colleagues that the media are not the enemy of the
people, as the White House likes to say, but they serve our
communities. They live in our communities. They are part of our
communities. They fight for our communities.
Joshua Keeran reported for the Delaware Gazette about Maryhaven, a
local addiction and mental health treatment center. Maryhaven is
Central Ohio's oldest and most comprehensive treatment center. It has
been a great partner to my office in our work, along with Senator
Portman, to help Ohioans fighting addiction.
In my conversations with Maryhaven clients, it is clear what a
difference this organization makes in so many lives in Central Ohio.
Mr. Keeran reported on Maryhaven's Families in Recovery Program, which
provides education, training, and counseling support to families
confronted with substance abuse problems. Through its reporting, the
Delaware Gazette is raising awareness about this important local
This kind of reporting is what journalists do every day in every
community in Utah, Rhode Island, Ohio, and across the country. That is
why they are deserving of respect. We should reject the out-and-out
attacks by the President of the United States and others who call
journalism and journalists in the media enemies of the people. They
serve their readers. They serve their viewers. They serve their
communities. They deserve our respect.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
Russian Hybrid Warfare
Mr. REED. Mr. President, today I rise to continue my series of
speeches on Russian hybrid warfare and the threat it poses to our
national security. Russian hybrid warfare occurs
below the level of direct military conflict, yet it is no less a threat
to our national security and the integrity of our democracy and our
society. We must reframe our thinking to understand that these are
attacks from a foreign adversary on our democratic institutions, our
free markets, and our open society.
We recently honored our fallen and observed the attacks of September
11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission Report, which looked into what happened
after the attacks, assessed that one of our government's failures in
preventing those attacks was a failure of imagination. Now, too, we
have the Director of National Intelligence telling us that the ``system
is blinking red,'' akin to the threats we received before 9/11. We must
be focused on the current problem as a national security threat. This
threat requires that the United States defend itself against hybrid
attacks with the same level of commitment and resolve as we would
against a military attack against our country.
For far too long, we have failed to recognize that hybrid attacks are
the new Russian form of warfare. As laid out in the Russian National
Security Strategy of 2015, the Kremlin's approach to conflict includes
weaponizing tools and resources from across government and society. The
Russian strategy states: ``Interrelated political, military, military-
technical, diplomatic, economic, informational, and other measures are
being developed and implemented in order to ensure strategic deterrence
and the prevention of armed conflicts.''
The Russian strategy describes the conventional and nonconventional
arenas of warfare as the Kremlin envisions it and how Russia has
utilized all of the tools of statecraft to engage an adversary without,
in many cases, firing a shot. These different disciplines make up a
Russian hybrid approach to confrontation below the threshold of direct-
armed conflict, a method that has been developing and escalating since
the earliest days of Putin's rise to power in Russia.
The main tenets of the Kremlin's hybrid operations are these:
information operations with cyber tools, which people commonly think of
as hacking; propaganda and disinformation; manipulation of social
media; and malign influence, which can be deployed through political,
legal, or financial channels.
A further characteristic of Russian hybrid warfare is denial and
deception used to obscure its involvement. The Kremlin deploys more
than one hybrid warfare tactic simultaneously to provide maximum
A look at the Russian hybrid warfare doctrine also illuminates that
the Kremlin sees deterrence and prevention differently than we do. This
is a critical point. We see deterrence as a way to avoid conflict. They
are not merely using these tactics as deterrence or strategic
prevention in the way we think about these conflicts.
Instead, they are deploying these tactics aggressively but below the
threshold of where they assess we will respond with conventional
weapons. One such example was the hybrid warfare operations the Kremlin
deployed in Crimea, including covert forces sometimes referred to as
``little green men'' and the use of coercive political tactics,
including an illegitimate referendum.
Now, previously I have addressed aspects of Russia's hybrid warfare
operations against the United States dealing with tactics of financial
malign influence and multiple hybrid tools they have deployed against
our democratic elections. Today I will discuss another Russian tactic
and its hybrid warfare arsenal: the use of assassination, politically
motivated violence, intimidation, or detention to pursue the Kremlin's
objectives. These tactics are sometimes referred to as dirty active
With dirty active measures, the immediate attack is deployed against
an individual who is working counter to the Kremlin's strategic goals
by challenging Putin's power base, exposing corruption, or unearthing
hybrid warfare operations.
But the damage of these hybrid warfare tactics goes well beyond the
individual killed, hurt, threatened, or jailed by the Kremlin. These
tactics cause chaos, fear, and instability to bystanders and have a
deterrent effect, sending a chilling message to others that might seek
to challenge the Kremlin's rule.
Further, the reach with which Putin has deployed these weapons inside
Russia, across Ukraine, Europe, and even in the United States instills
fear that if the Kremlin wants to get rid of you, there is nowhere to
Like all aspects of Russian hybrid warfare, dirty active measures are
part of a pattern of behavior that serve Russia's strategic interests.
Putin's highest strategic objective is preserving his grip on power. He
also seeks to operate unconstrained domestically and in the near
abroad. Finally, Putin seeks for Russia to be seen equal to the United
States and to regain the great power status it lost at the end of the
He knows he cannot effectively compete with the United States in
conventional ways and win. Instead, he seeks to use tools from his
hybrid warfare arsenal in order to divide us from our allies and
partners in the West and weaken our democratic societies from within.
The Putin regime has been engaged in a pattern of dirty active
measures for more than a decade, and the tempo has only increased since
he retook the Presidency in 2012. These tactics have increasing
implications for the United States and allied national security.
I want to address this tactic of dirty active measures because it has
taken on greater urgency due to recent events. In particular, I am
thinking of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military
intelligence officer, and his daughter on British soil and Putin's
threat against Ambassador McFaul and other U.S. Government officials at
the Helsinki Summit. These events may seem unrelated, but they are
actually part of a pattern of malicious and threatening Russian
Today, I will explain the connection and make recommendations for how
we can deter and counter Russia's use of dirty active measures as part
of its hybrid warfare operations below the level of military conflict.
Dirty active measures have a long and sordid history in Russia and
the Soviet Union, dating back to czarist times. For assassinations,
poison was often the weapon of choice, including the attempted cyanide
poisoning of Rasputin in 1916. In 1921, Lenin opened a poison
laboratory to test methods to be used against political enemies named
the ``special room,'' which was also known as the ``lab of death.'' At
this lab, they developed the nerve agents known as novichoks, which
were designed to be undetectable and were recently deployed against the
Skirpals. These tactics were amplified under Stalin and featured
killings by hired assassins, staged automobile accidents, and
poisonings, used inside Russia and deployed abroad. Stalin notoriously
Death solves all problems. No man, no problem.
Given President Putin's background as a spy master, it should come as
no surprise that Russia's use of dirty active measures have continued
under his regime. Before becoming Prime Minister and President, Putin
spent the majority of his career in the KGB, the state's security
service, and its successor, the FSB.
As Russian journalist Andrei Soldatov wrote, the KGB's ``main task
was always to protect the interests of whoever currently resided in the
Kremlin.'' In this system, loyalty and fidelity to the state is prized
above all, and Putin's values were shaped by it.
In 2005, Putin lamented that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the
greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century. When he assumed
power, he resurrected a system that reflected Soviet methods. He
employed all of the instruments of the state, including the Parliament,
the courts, and security services, to protect his power base and to
allow him to pursue strategic objectives in the foreign arena
Putin's use of hybrid warfare tactics of assassination, political
violence, intimidation, and detention--the dirty active measures--are
tenets of this system he created to cement his hold on power.
Putin has also manipulated the Parliament and the court system to
make and enforce laws that manufacture legal consent for tactics of
dirty active measures. As opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza, who
twice poisoned, wrote recently in the Washington Post, ``in Vladimir
Putin's Russia, laws are often passed with specific people in mind,
whether to reward or punish.'' Notably, in July of 2006, the Russian
Parliament gave President Putin permission to use Russian armed forces
and security services to perpetrate extrajudicial killings abroad on
people that Moscow accused of extremism. Companion legislation passed
about the same time expanded the definition of extremism to include
libelous statements about Putin's administration. This legislation
effectively gave those who carry out dirty active measures immunity.
In addition to the use of the legislative and legal mechanisms at
their disposal, the Kremlin unleashes a barrage of propaganda against
those targeted for dirty active measures. These information operations
contribute to a climate of fear targeting both the individuals the
Kremlin is trying to silence and the broader population. Propaganda
campaigns are also deployed after the dirty active measure is carried
out, in order to sow confusion and make people doubt whether Russia is
Putin and his inner circle have drawn a distinct narrative, branding
those who oppose the Kremlin as criminals, thus deeming them as
deserving of punishment. They are often also accused of being part of
the so-called ``fifth column,'' Russians that Putin defines as
advancing foreign interests.
Worse than criminals in Putin's mind are those the Kremlin viewed as
having been loyal in the past but who are now working against the
interest of the state. These people are branded as traitors, and as the
New York Times reported last month, traitors hold a special status for
Putin. Putin's disdain for traitors stems from the early days of the
end of the Cold War, when dozens of former Soviet intelligence officers
became defectors or informants for the West.
According to the Times, ``Mr. Putin cannot speak of them without a
lip curl of disgust. They are `beasts' and `swine.' Treachery, he told
one interviewer, is the one thing he is incapable of forgiving. It
could also, he said darkly, be bad for your health.''
Putin publicly threatened those considered traitors on multiple
occasions. One of those episodes occurred in 2010. After a spy swap
between Russia and the United States, which included the recently
poisoned Skripal, Putin stated ominously: ``A person gives his whole
life for his homeland, and then some . . . [blank] comes along and
betrays such people. How will he be able to look into the eyes of his
children, the pig? Whatever they got in exchange for it, those thirty
pieces of silver they were given, they will choke on them. Believe
For Putin, labeling his political opponents in these stark terms
helps to justify the dirty active measures deployed against these
These tactics of dirty active measures have been used with impunity
inside Russia to silence and intimidate Kremlin critics and preserve
the system of power Putin created. They have been unleashed against
journalists, opposition leaders, oligarchs, and others seen as
betraying the system. A Senate Foreign Relations minority staff report
from January detailed more than two dozen Kremlin critics who died
under mysterious circumstances in Russia since Putin took power in
2000. The report separately compiled violent attacks and harassment on
human rights activists and journalists.
Russian opposition activists are also a target of dirty active
measures inside Russia. One example was the assassination of Boris
Nemtsov, a popular regional Governor and Deputy Prime Minister under
Yeltsin, who became disenchanted with Putin's political system. He
publicly exposed extensive corruption and covert use of Russian hybrid
warfare tactics in Ukraine. Arkady Ostrovsky, a Moscow correspondent
for the Economist, described the tactics of intimidation deployed
against him, including that he was stigmatized as a ``national
traitor'' and an ``American stooge.'' He was demonized on television
and on the streets banners with Nemtsov's face were hung on building
facades framed by the words ``fifth column--aliens among us.''
These threats were followed with Nemtsov being brazenly assassinated
steps from the Kremlin. Nemtsov appears to have been killed for
exposing corruption in Putin's inner circle and trying to serve as a
constraint on his ability to conduct hybrid warfare operations in
Ukraine. These acts were clearly seen as a threat to Putin's power and
his ability to act with impunity.
Attacks of dirty active measures inside Russia continue unabated.
This April, Russian journalist Maxim Borodin fell to his death after
investigating the Wagner paramilitary forces linked to a close Putin
ally and Russian troll farm patron, Yevgeny Prigozhin. Three additional
Russian journalists who were investigating Prigozhin-sponsored,
Kremlin-linked military activities, particularly in the Central African
Republic, were killed under suspicious circumstances in August. Just a
few weeks ago, the publisher of a website that exposes Kremlin abuses
in the criminal justice system fell ill from apparent poisoning. This
attack occurred on the same day he expected to receive the results of
an investigation he commissioned into the deaths of the journalists in
the Central African Republic.
As I have detailed here, these attacks are not officially linked back
to the Kremlin, allowing for plausible deniability, but are part of a
clear pattern of tactics deployed against those who work to expose
activities that may hurt Putin's base of power.
Putin has resorted to using dirty active measures beyond Russia's
borders, which demonstrates the willingness of the Kremlin to use these
tactics not only for domestic political purposes but also as part of
its hybrid warfare operations to advance Russia's strategic interests
against other countries.
Similar to other tactics of hybrid warfare operations, Ukraine is
usually where Russia deploys these tactics first, a testing ground for
tools that may be deployed in the West at a later time.
We see these tactics of dirty active measures deployed in Ukraine as
far back as 2005, when the more Western-oriented Viktor Yushchencko was
poisoned after he won the Presidency, beating Victor Yanukovych, the
preferred pro-Russian candidate.
The Kremlin continues to deploy dirty active measures, including
assassination, in Ukraine with impunity. Last May, Denis Voronenkov, a
former FSB colonel and a former Russian Parliament Member, was shot in
the head on a crowded Kiev sidewalk in broad daylight. Voronenkov was
once a close Putin ally who used his position to promote key Kremlin
priorities, including, ironically, annexing Crimea. He fled to Ukraine
in October of 2016 and began to criticize Putin's government. He was
slated to provide testimony to Ukrainian authorities that would expose
Kremlin deliberations prior to hybrid warfare operations against
Ukraine. Forebodingly, a few days before his murder, he told the
Washington Post: ``They say we are traitors in Russia.'' Again, the
idea that he could be shot brazenly in broad daylight served as a
warning to others who might want to expose hybrid warfare operations to
think twice, and that they can't escape even if they leave Russia.
Similar tactics were deployed against Montenegro as it considered and
ultimately chose to join NATO in 2015 and 2016. The Kremlin saw the
Montenegrin Government's decision to move closer to the West as a
threat to its strategic interests, including Russia's ability to
operate in Eastern Europe unconstrained.
When several other hybrid warfare operations, including propaganda
and information operations, failed to keep Montenegro from joining the
alliance, Russian military intelligence officers planned and attempted
to execute an election day coup that included a plan to assassinate the
Montenegrin Prime Minister. The attempt on the Prime Minister's life
was unsuccessful, fortunately. However, it showed the extremes to which
the Kremlin would go and the methods that were used to try to maintain
its strategic interests.
Beyond Ukraine and Montenegro, the Kremlin has increasingly
demonstrated a willingness to use dirty active measures in the West,
suggesting a sense that Russia feels it can operate with impunity even
in these countries.
One Western country where a pattern of Russian dirty active measures
appears prominently is in the United Kingdom. Investigative reports
unearthed an estimated 16 suspicious deaths over the past 12 years, and
that may not even be the totality.
The most well-known measure of Russian dirty active measures inside
the UK is Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB and FSB officer who blew
the whistle on corrupt practices of the FSB. While Litvinenko had
retired from spying, he did consulting work with the British and
Spanish intelligence services, helping both governments understand
connections between the Russian mafia, senior political figures, and
the FSB. Further, he continued to speak out against the Putin
government and expose Kremlin corruption.
Because of these actions, the Kremlin branded Litvinenko a traitor.
He received threatening emails from a former colleague who told him to
``start writing a will.'' Litvinenko was later poisoned with polonium-
210. The poisoning also served as a deterrent to others.
The day after Litvinenko's death, a member of the Russian Parliament
The deserved punishment reached the traitor. I am sure his
death will be a warning to all the traitors that Russian
treason will not be forgiven.
Litvinenko's poisoning served as a prologue for the poisoning of
Sergei Skripal 12 years later. Skripal was a former Russian military
intelligence officer who was convicted of being a double agent and
sentenced to prison. As I mentioned earlier, he was traded as part of a
spy swap in 2010. He was given asylum in the United Kingdom. Press
reports indicate that, similar to Litvinenko, Skripal appeared to have
been working with the Spanish, Czech, and Estonian intelligence
This March, he and his daughter were poisoned by novichok sprayed on
the door handle of his Salisbury, England, home. In conjunction with
the assassination attempt, Kremlin officials deflected, denied, and
deployed absurd propaganda and disinformation. They unleashed an
estimated 2,800 bots to cast doubt on Prime Minister May's assessment
that Russia was responsible and to amplify divisions among the British
people. They blamed the West for the poisoning and suggested it was a
hoax. Once the UK named suspects and pointed a finger at Russian
military intelligence, the two alleged perpetrators went on TV and
absurdly claimed to be sports nutritionists with a yearning desire to
visit a Salisbury cathedral.
Again, these killings are part of a pattern. Both Litvinenko and
Skripal were part of security services. They turned on the state and
were deemed traitors. Even when they appeared to be safe, they were
targeted for dirty active measures, sending the message that the
Kremlin was the ultimate arbiter and that they could reach traitors
anytime or anywhere. This message was also directed at others who might
wish to expose Putin's secrets in the future or try to constrain or
challenge his power.
The pattern of dirty active measures also extends to the United
States. This includes Mikhail Lesin, a former Kremlin insider who was
crucial to Putin's consolidation of the Russian media. Lesin was also
responsible for the rise of Russian TV and internet platform RT, a tool
the Kremlin uses to deploy propaganda and disinformation across the
world, including against the United States during the Presidential
election in 2016.
Lesin was reported to have had a falling out with two members of
Putin's inner circle, including a longtime friend known as Putin's
banker. Lesin was found dead in a Washington, DC, hotel room in
November of 2015. The DC coroner concluded that the death was
accidental and that he died alone, despite noting that Lesin had
sustained blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, and upper and lower
extremities. Lesin was allegedly planning to tell the secrets of a
major component of the Kremlin's hybrid warfare operations to the
Justice Department when he appeared to have conveniently died before he
could explain its inner workings.
Similar to other dirty active measures campaigns, the Kremlin
unleashed a disinformation campaign to ensure plausible deniability and
generate confusion about the circumstances surrounding his death. Here,
too, Lesin appears to fit the pattern of being targeted for revealing
aspects of the hybrid warfare campaigns that the Kremlin has come to
In what appears to have been an even more brazen move for Putin, he
engaged in dirty active measures while the whole world was watching.
While standing next to President Trump in Helsinki, President Putin
proposed that he would allow Special Counsel Mueller to interview the
12 Russian military intelligence officers indicted on charges of
``large-scale cyber operations to interfere with the 2016 Presidential
election.'' But there was a catch. Putin announced that in return, he
would expect that Russian authorities would be able to question current
and former U.S. Government officials whom Putin described as having
``something to do with illegal actions on the territory of Russia.''
President Trump stood next to President Putin during this
disinformation operation and endorsed it as being an ``incredible''
offer that he and his administration actually considered.
The very next day, Russian officials announced a list of 11 accused
``criminals'' whom they wanted to interrogate because, in the course of
doing the work of the United States of America, they took stances that
the Kremlin opposed. Among those listed was a congressional staffer who
helped write the Magnitsky sanctions act and former U.S. Ambassador to
Russia Michael McFaul, who served as the point person during the Obama
Administration and as Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.
During McFaul's time as Ambassador to Russia, the Kremlin unleashed
its hybrid warfare playbook against him. They denounced him as an enemy
and had security forces follow his family. The Kremlin also deployed a
disinformation campaign against him that accused him of being a
pedophile. The Kremlin was using these active measures in an attempt to
instill fear in him and others that they could be killed, hurt, or
jailed for doing the work of the U.S. Government.
The United States and Western countries more broadly must understand
that these attacks are not random; they are part of a pattern, a
doctrine of hybrid warfare being expressed across the globe. We need to
understand that assassinations, violence, threats, and intimidation are
tools and tactics that Putin is using to achieve strategic or foreign
policy goals, and these activities are harming our national security.
For instance, the New York Times reported in August that vital
Kremlin informants have gone silent, leaving our intelligence community
in the dark about what Russia's plans are for November's midterm
elections. The report continues that American officials familiar with
the intelligence ``concluded they have gone to ground amid more
aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill
These are not just brutal tragedies or incidents; the use of dirty
active measures are purposeful and are intended to advance Putin's
agenda short of using tools of conventional warfare.
The United States must lead with strong denouncements against dirty
active measures and all other hybrid tactics used by Russia or any
other country. It is particularly critical that the President denounce
Russian threats against U.S. officials for their actions in carrying
out U.S. foreign policy or advancing our national security interests.
Instead, the President's deference to Putin at Helsinki sent the wrong
signal to Putin in the face of his threats.
Fortunately, the Senate has taken some action, including voting 98 to
0 to protect our diplomats and other government officials implementing
U.S. policy after Putin requested they be turned over for questioning.
However, our government must speak with one voice and send consistent
messages that this kind of action will not be tolerated and that Putin
will pay consequences for his behavior.
While it is important that we respond to these attacks, including
with unequivocal denouncements of these tactics by the President and by
the Congress, we should not be in the business of trying to respond to
these attacks symmetrically. Putin resorts to using these tactics
because he believes they give him an advantage over the West. We need
to stay true to our ideals of democracy, human rights, and liberty.
We don't need to normalize or legitimize these methods by engaging in
them ourselves. Doing so would simply create a false moral equivalence
that plays right into Putin's hands. Instead, we must employ responses
that play to our strengths. We stand for transparency and
accountability in the United States. We stand for the rule of law. We
must develop and implement a comprehensive strategy that deploys tools
that are consistent with and showcase these values. We must shine a
light on corruption at the highest levels of the Putin regime. We must
shine a light on how Putin's cronies are hiding their ill-gotten gains
in the West. We must deploy a systematic and strategic messaging
campaign that counters the base of Putin's power, reputation, and
We must take these actions in concert with our allies and partners.
In response to the Skripal poisoning, the United States expelled 60
Russian diplomats, joining with more than 25 ally and partner nations
in applying diplomatic pressure on Russia. This action sent a strong
signal that the world would not allow Putin to act with impunity. When
we act together with our allies and partners to push back against these
hybrid operations, it imposes a cost to Putin's reputation on the world
stage, which thwarts one of his major strategic interests.
While these steps were in the right direction, they have been
undermined by the President's words and actions. Despite punitive
measures in response to the Skripal poisoning, the Kremlin thought that
the Helsinki summit erased that damage. Press reports indicate that
Western and U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that the Kremlin was
pleased with the outcome of the summit at Helsinki and is confused as
to why President Trump is not implementing more Russia-friendly
One important tool in our arsenal for holding the Kremlin accountable
is sanctions, including those on Putin's inner circle. In particular,
sanctions implemented under the Magnitsky Act appear to be particularly
threatening to him. This act was passed in response to the death of
Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered massive tax fraud and corruption that
was traced back to Kremlin officials. He was arrested in Russia and
placed in jail, where he was tortured until he died.
The origins of the Magnitsky Act were to hold accountable those in
the Russian Government who were complicit in Magnitsky's abuse and
death by sanctioning their assets and barring them from receiving
American visas. Subsequently, the Magnitsky Act has been expanded to
include others who are culpable of acts of significant corruption and
Russia expert Heather Conley of the Center for Strategic and
International Studies testified recently at a Banking Committee hearing
about the significance of the Magnitsky sanctions to Putin. She said:
Because the Kremlin has based its economic model and its
survival on kleptocracy, sanctions and other policy
instruments dedicated to preventing the furtherance of
corruption--or worse yet in the minds of the Kremlin, to
providing accurate information to the Russian people of the
extent of this corruption--are a powerful countermeasure to
Russia's malign behavior.
The Magnitsky sanctions, along with those designated under the
Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA,
threaten Putin's power structure and present a counter-narrative of
corruption and abuse by the Kremlin.
We need to continue to use these sanctions to hold those who are
complicit in dirty active measures and those who are responsible for
aggression, corruption, and interfering in our elections accountable.
Ratcheting up sanctions on those in Putin's inner circle is a way to
make Putin and his cronies feel pain and has the potential to change
their behavior. Additional sanctions should be imposed on oligarchs and
high-ranking government officials to target Putin's base of power and
further expose the corrupt nature of their sources of income.
We should also consider declassifying the so-called 241 report
compiled by the intelligence community along with the Departments of
Treasury and State. This report required an assessment of the net worth
of senior Kremlin officials and oligarchs, their relationship to Putin
and his inner circle, and evidence of corrupt practices. If we were to
release such a report--with redactions for portions with national
security implications--to the public, it would further expose malign
activity and unexplained streams of wealth.
Congress has provided many tools for the administration to implement,
and it is time to utilize them fully. Implementing them in a
transparent, public manner is likely to cause reputational harm to
Putin himself and restore a level of confidence in the administration
here at home. However, specifically targeting sanctions this way is
unlikely to cause large-scale harm to the Russian people or to our
It is very clear that implementing sanctions is far more effective
when done with the cooperation of the international community. The most
effective sanctions regimes are those that are implemented in a
I urge the administration to engage with our allies and partners to
coordinate sanctions enforcement and further escalatory steps as
warranted. That includes working through diplomatic channels to ensure
that the sanctions placed on Russia by the European Union remain in
place. A coordinated front of the United States and our European allies
provides the greatest chance of successful implementation of sanctions
and deterring further aggression by Russia.
The administration must also place a premium on exerting diplomatic
pressure to isolate those who flout or do not enforce sanctions on
Another form of pressure should be an increase in assistance to pro-
democracy and civil society groups in Russia and in nations of the
former Soviet Union. Working with these groups in conjunction with our
allies, partners, and the private sector would provide another means of
raising the costs of Putin and his oligarchs. Putin is threatened by
the success of democracies and private enterprise.
In addition to sanctions, we must continue to play a strong role in
law enforcement, along with our allies and partners. That includes
aggressive prosecution of murders and threats of violence to limit the
impunity. With Litvinenko, it took almost 10 years for the United
Kingdom to have an official inquiry into the assassination. The United
Kingdom has acted quicker in the wake of the Skripal poisoning, moving
to identify suspects and hold the Kremlin accountable for these
actions. We need to adopt UK's lessons learned to ensure that those who
seek to use these weapons will be prosecuted fully and without delay.
We have missed too many of these dirty active measures operations for
far too long. We must recognize this is an element of Russia's hybrid
warfare. We must not fail to have the imagination to see what is
happening right before our eyes. We must do more to identify and
attribute these attacks from Russia. These attacks have only grown more
brazen and will not stop unless we take strong measures to counter them
and send the message that dirty active measures are unacceptable and
will be costly to Russia or any other country which uses them.
I yield the floor.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Sullivan). The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Unanimous Consent Agreement
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that
notwithstanding the provision of rule XXII, all postcloture time on the
Clark nomination be considered expired at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday,
October 11, and that if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be
considered made and laid upon the table and the President be
immediately notified of the Senate's action.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.