[Congressional Record Volume 167, Number 177 (Thursday, October 7, 2021)]
[Pages S6954-S6975]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          MOTION TO DISCHARGE

  Mr. SCHUMER. Pursuant to S. Res. 27, the Health, Education, Labor, 
and Pensions Committee being tied on the question of reporting, I move 
to discharge the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 
Committee from further consideration of the nomination of Catherine 
Elizabeth Lhamon, of California, to be Assistant Secretary for Civil 
Rights, Department of Education.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the provisions of S. Res. 27, there will 
now be up to 4 hours of debate on the motion equally divided between 
the two leaders or their designees, with no motions, points of order, 
or amendments in order.
  Mr. SCHUMER. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays are ordered.
  Mr. SCHUMER. Thank you, Mr. President.
  I ask unanimous consent that the time during the quorum call be 
equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SCHUMER. 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. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                          INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

  Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to oppose, of 
course, the Democrats' reckless tax-and-spending bill. I have been 
coming to the floor to talk about this--the wasted taxes, the spending, 
all of the sorts of things the Democrats are trying to do.
  You know, right now, the Democrats are pushing a Big Government, 
socialist agenda. There can be no question about it. They want 
additional, permanent welfare programs. They want to--to me, this 
bankrupts current programs, like Medicare. It takes--it is very hard to 
think about this amount of spending without realizing the risk that it 
proves for Social Security. And, of course, the Democrats are proposing 
this big green new disaster.
  For all this spending, what do they want to do?
  Well, they want to raise taxes by trillions and trillions of dollars. 
But it is still not enough to pay for all of the spending that they 
want to do.
  That is why Democrats are now working and pushing this backdoor tax 
increase. Democrats want to supersize the least accountable and most 
powerful Agency of the Federal Government. And that, of course, is the 
Internal Revenue Service.
  Now, what we know about this Agency, the IRS, is that they have, time 
and time again, proven they can't be even trusted to properly secure 
data, when we look at the leaks that come out of the IRS.
  But they are looking for more data and more information, private 
information, private business by American taxpayers.
  Democrats are asking, in this $3.5 trillion bill, $80 billion of 
additional funding for the Internal Revenue Service. They want to give 
the IRS enough money and power to hire a full new army of bureaucrats.

[[Page S6955]]

  President Biden's Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been very 
clear. She knows what she wants to do with some of the money. She wants 
to force banks to tell the IRS every time anyone writes or deposits a 
check above a certain amount in their banking account, checking 
account. And right now, the number that she is talking about is $600--
$600 for a check written or deposited. So every time someone pays the 
rent, deposits a paycheck, Democrats want the IRS to know about it.
  Not enough to know that government knows how much people make; they 
want to know how much they spend. It is Big Brother initiative to 
squeeze every last penny out of working families.
  I mean, why else would they want to go after every hard-working man 
and woman in America to find out this information?
  As Americans find out about that, they are furious. They are smart 
enough to know that when Joe Biden first says we are only going to tax 
the billionaires--they are only going to tax the billionaires--why are 
they looking into the banking accounts and the checking accounts and 
the deposits and the withdrawals of people all across the country?
  Because the tax man is coming for them as well when it comes to 
trying to pay for this massive tax-and-spending blowout.
  So as more and more people find out about it, the more furious they 
become. I got a report again this morning, 488 more emails and letters 
into Wyoming Senate--Senator from Wyoming about that from my home 
State. I have received more calls, more emails, more letters from 
people from Wyoming on this one topic than on any one topic that I can 
recall in the time that I have been in the U.S. Senate.
  And everyone calling and writing about it has the same position. It 
is not like, well, half of the people are for it and half of the people 
are against it. Everybody is against this. Everyone we have heard 
from--the 488 that I heard from within the last 24 hours--everyone is 
against this proposal. Thousands and thousands of emails.
  I talked to Senator Lummis, the other Senator from Wyoming. Her inbox 
is completely full as well, all related to this topic. It is what I 
heard about in the grocery store this past weekend at home in Wyoming.
  This new scheme will be terrible, and not just for the taxpayers. It 
is going be a heavy weight around the neck of the community banks and 
credit unions in Wyoming.
  I talked to one of the bankers from Wyoming. She was in the grocery 
store getting food for the weekend. What did she--it was the only--it 
was the thing she wanted to talk about, is the fact they would have to 
hire three new employees to comply with all of the regulations coming 
out that would relate to trying to get this information from their bank 
to the IRS.
  In addition, this would be quite an attack on our privacy. This Big 
Brother scheme would make bankers and credit union associates into de 
facto IRS agents.
  And as this bank officer said to me, she said: Look, I don't want--I 
am not going to be working for the IRS. I work for my customers, my 
clients, the people of Wyoming. The last thing I want to do is be 
somebody reporting into the IRS.
  This is what I am hearing from bankers all around the State of 
Wyoming. They don't want to be invading people's privacy. They don't 
want to become agents of the IRS.
  People in Wyoming have a straightforward response to this 
administration, and it is this: Leave us alone. We don't need you 
looking over our shoulder, prying into our life and our activities.
  If Democrats go forward with this Big Brother plan, the people all 
across this country will not stand for it. Many people in Wyoming will 
look for alternatives to traditional banks and credit unions because 
they don't want the IRS and the government and Big Brother to know 
their personal activities. They want to protect their privacy. They may 
find other places to put their money.
  Look, that is going to devastate local banks, local credit unions, if 
people take their money out because they don't want the government 
boring into their data and their financial transactions.
  It is going to happen in every State. Hard to believe the government 
would want to do that, but yet Secretary Yellen came to Capitol Hill, 
and that is what she is doing. She is still defending this indefensible 
idea; and I believe she is doing it because that is what Joe Biden, the 
President of the United States, is telling her to do as his Treasury 
  So she went on television Tuesday--today is Thursday--2 days ago, 
essentially said it was no big deal. That is what the Treasury 
Secretary of the United States believes, that violating the individual 
privacy of individuals of this country is no big deal.
  Last week, Senator Lummis from Wyoming questioned Secretary Yellen 
before the Banking Committee. Secretary Yellen, actually astonishingly, 
doubled down. She said, ``I think you misunderstand the proposal.'' She 
said, ``The IRS already has a wealth of information about 
  Well, Madam Secretary, we understand that really well. We know you 
have a wealth of information about individual taxpayers. You know how 
much they make. You know how they make it. That is enough. If you have 
all this, you don't need more, but yet you are asking for more, and you 
want $80 billion for an army of IRS agents to be able to find it out. 
That is the problem. The IRS has so much information about us already.

  Now, Senator Lummis did get Secretary Yellen to admit working 
families are not the ones skimping out on their taxes. Why else do we 
have this army of IRS agents looking into our taxes? Secretary Yellen 
didn't seem to care. She doubled down, still defending this massive 
invasion of privacy, and that is what it is. It is a huge invasion of 
privacy, and I contend that they want all this information so they can 
try to squeeze more money from people who the Secretary even admits are 
not trying to cheat on their taxes. They are trying to find ways to 
take more money out of their pocketbooks, when they are already feeling 
the big bite of Joe Biden's inflation at the gas pump and at the 
grocery store.
  This Big Brother plan is reckless. It treats the American people like 
criminals. It turns the IRS into the judge, the jury, and the lord high 
executioner. This scheme shows how desperate Democrats are to get their 
hands on taxpayer money. Why? So they can spend more. They are so 
desperate for more spending that they are willing to spy on the 
American people to try to get more money to spend.
  Watch and listen to the Democrats talk. There is a food fight going 
on, and the food fight is: How much more can we tax and how much more 
can we spend? It is a food fight between the really big spenders and 
the extremely big spenders. Look, Democrats think that Washington knows 
best. Now, the people of Wyoming know differently. We don't need 
Washington looking over our shoulders. It is time for Democrats to drop 
the entire plan, mind their own business, and stop demanding more money 
to spy on the American people.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                            Flood Insurance

  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. President, today is Thursday, October 7, 2021, and 
Risk Rating 2.0 has officially been in effect for 6 full days.
  What is Risk Rating 2.0?
  It is a new rating system for the National Flood Insurance Program 
that will increase premiums higher than sustainable for homeowners and, 
therefore, higher than is sustainable for the program.
  In Louisiana, 80 percent of policyholders will see increases in the 
first year, and at times, for some, premiums will become unaffordable 
and can collapse the value of their home. The Presiding Officer is also 
from a coastal State. This will absolutely affect everyone who lives in 
a coastal State.
  Now, particularly, in my State, in light of recent storms, it is 
important that we understand the sustainability of the National Flood 
Insurance Program is key.

[[Page S6956]]

  Congress never passed a bill requiring that FEMA implement Risk 
Rating 2.0. President Biden can stop it. He has chosen not to. We have 
asked that FEMA delay implementing this program or reconsider it 
  Now, by the way, FEMA has been slow to share information with 
policyholders and, frankly, misleading Congress by hiding the true 
consequences of 2.0 and not being up front with the cost in the out-
years. They said they would tell policyholders by August 1 of the 
increase in premiums, but they missed the deadline. It didn't come down 
to homeowners and insurers until the middle of September. Some are 
still trying to figure out what this rating system will mean for their 
  In 2019, my office reached out to the administration, and we were 
able to successfully delay the implementation saying that there needed 
to be further consideration. This time, however, the Biden 
administration has chosen not to delay it.
  Now, let's just take a quote from a working family in Lake Charles, 
LA, who does not--I repeat--does not live in a flood zone. They 
currently pay $572 for flood insurance on a single-family home that is 
worth approximately $250,000. The quote he received--this is real life. 
This isn't theoretical. The quote that he received under Risk Rating 
2.0 raises his premium to over $5,000--$572 to $5,000.
  Now, rate increases are capped at 18 percent annually, so it doesn't 
happen next year. But this is 18 percent compounded. It is kind of like 
a balloon on one of those little helium things. It starts off and it 
doesn't seem that it is inflating, and then, all of a sudden, it 
inflates rapidly, like a balloon note on a mortgage.
  So with progressive increases, when it gets to $5,000--actually, 
$5,624--he will have to choose: Do I continue my policy?
  Now, he is not in a flood zone. If you think about actuarially, you 
want people who are not at high risk to spread the cost for everybody 
  Under this, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 20 percent 
of policyholders will drop their insurance. That has a risk of putting 
the National Flood Insurance Program into an actuarial death spiral 
where those at lower risk drop the insurance, the remaining risk is 
forced upon a relatively small number of people raising their risk even 
more, and you gradually have a continual falloff of the number of 
people in the program.
  Now, some policyholders are required to pay for the insurance by law, 
but this puts them in an even worse situation. They will either have to 
put thousands of dollars up for their insurance or risk losing their 
  I would ask President Biden, who unquestionably is an empathetic man 
and empathetic to the working families of our country, to consider 
delaying Risk Rating 2.0.
  Now, there are a couple of criticisms of the flood insurance program, 
in general, which are unfounded.
  First: These are millionaires' vacation homes; why do we even have a 
  This is factually not true. When CBO looked at samples of home values 
in the program, it ranged from $220- to $400,000. And I imagine the 
President from New Jersey--President of the Senate from New Jersey--can 
think of a middle-income family, a police officer and a teacher; who 
now live in a home worth $400,000. These are not millionaires or 
  In my home State of Louisiana, these are middle-income and working 
families, folks trying to make ends meet. They are not folks in a 
vacation home. And here is an example of homes, after recent Hurricane 
Ida, that would need flood insurance: middle-income homes.
  By the way, you can see these homes are built a little bit on a berm. 
They have actually taken the effort to protect their homes from 
flooding. So the home itself is not flooded, just everything else 
around it. On the other hand, I can promise you that there are older 
neighborhoods in which the water is above the doorstep.
  Now, looking specifically at Risk Rating 2.0, data shows who will see 
the rate hikes. It is bad news for Louisiana, where rates will increase 
for almost everybody.
  The second criticism of the program is that it subsidizes people who 
suffer repetitive flood damage. Now, this argument is mitigated, if you 
will, by offering mitigation. Data shows that mitigation is good for 
the taxpayer. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, 
for every $1 spent in Federal mitigation grants, it saves the program 
an average of $6.
  In the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, there is $3.5 billion 
in flood mitigation assistance grants--grants going towards buying up 
properties that have experienced repetitive loss. Shoring up the 
program by removing high-risk properties protects other properties. It 
is true in your State, and it is true in my State. It is a wise 
investment to protect the National Flood Insurance Program.
  So we can have a conversation, by the way, about a criticism that if 
mitigation opportunities are offered to homeowners and they decline 
them, what to do about that. On the other hand, when folks are offered 
mitigation, they almost always accept the opportunity for that.
  Finally, some argue that private insurers will replace the National 
Flood Insurance Program. But let's be honest, that will not occur. I 
support the expansion of private insurance covering flood properties. 
Consumers should have options. If nothing else, this highlights the 
need for a long-term fix to the program.
  In the past, I proposed reforms to ensure that NFIP is affordable and 
accessible to homeowners, accountable to taxpayers, and sustainable. I 
worked on flood insurance programs with Senators Menendez and 
Gillibrand, both of them coming from States affected by flooding, just 
as mine did as well. This makes it bipartisan, two different regions. 
It is not only about the Gulf Coast; it is about the Atlantic Coast, 
the Pacific Coast; and it is about our island properties.
  By the way, I have been speaking about Louisiana, but Risk Rating 2.0 
applies nationwide. It impacts all those living on our coasts. Once 
more, we should all--all of us representing States with coastlines--ask 
the Biden administration to halt Risk Rating 2.0.
  This Congress, I will continue to work to reform NFIP. In addition to 
affordability, accessibility, accountability, and sustainability, there 
needs to be an emphasis on supporting prevention and mitigation efforts 
to prevent future floods.
  At the end of the day, flood insurance must be affordable for the 
homeowner, accessible, accountable to the taxpayer, and sustainable for 
the future.

                   Tribute to Pastor A.R. Harris, Sr.

  Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to honor a man in my 
State of Louisiana, who has dedicated nearly 80 percent of his life to 
preaching the gospel and serving others through his faith.
  Pastor A.R. Harris, Sr., was born December 16, 1932, in Jonesboro, 
LA. He has preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ since he was 7 years old 
and led God's people for over six decades.
  Pastor Harris is a veteran who served our country in the United 
States Army during the Korean war. He and his wife Eva of 63 years have 
six wonderful children, four of whom followed their father's footsteps 
to preach the Good Word to spread the Gospel. He and Eva are being 
honored for their 46 years of service at their church, Zion Hill 
Missionary Baptist Church #2.
  He is a man of God, family, and country; and it is my privilege to 
stand here on the floor of the U.S. Senate and recognize the faithful 
service of Pastor A.R. Harris, Sr.
  God bless him, his family, and God bless the United States of 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 2953

  Mr. TUBERVILLE. Mr. President, you know, it is no secret that I 
oppose President Biden's tax proposal. I think it is bad policy that 
would undercut growth and derail American prosperity.
  But one of the worst parts of the President's plan is the provision 
requiring financial institutions to report their customer's 
transactions of $600 or greater to the IRS.
  That means anytime an American pays a bill, makes a deposit, 
transfers funds, or makes a purchase of $600 or more, their bank, 
credit union, or financial institution would be forced to report that 
data to the IRS.
  Opposition to this proposal is deep and bipartisan. I don't care if 
you are a

[[Page S6957]]

Republican, Democrat, or Independent. No one wants the IRS looking over 
their shoulder every time they make a financial transaction. The IRS 
doesn't efficiently use the data it collects now.
  Why in the world would we give them more information?
  If the IRS has reason to believe you are not paying all that you owe 
in taxes, they have the ability to audit you. They don't need any more 
private financial data on any of us. The bulk of the data collection 
they are proposing will do nothing to close the so-called tax gap. All 
it does is violate the liberty of every freedom-loving American who 
values their financial property.
  The proposal would dramatically increase IRS audits of working 
Americans. The overwhelming majority of people the IRS would look into 
as a result of this policy would not have done a single thing wrong, 
but when the IRS starts snooping, it will cost you big money. That 
means hiring a high-priced attorney/accountant who will bleed you dry.
  President Biden claims his proposal would only impact the rich, but 
middle-class families are the ones who will ultimately pay the price.
  Additionally, the IRS has a history of data security failures. Just 
earlier this year, the confidential tax information of over a dozen 
well-known Americans leaked from the Agency and was published in the 
press. That was unacceptable and unlawful, but nothing was done to hold 
the IRS accountable.
  But this is, unfortunately, nothing new. Under President Biden's 
watch, when he was Vice President, conservative groups and individuals 
were targeted for aggressive audits. And as recently as this year, a 
Texas-based charity was denied tax-exempt status because the IRS 
considered the charity too close to Republicans and too close to 
  Folks, that is pitiful.
  Providing the IRS with massive amounts of financial-transaction data 
will only make it easier for them to target groups or individuals they 
disagree with. If anything, we need to be reining in the IRS and 
holding officials accountable who go after taxpayers for political 
  The outcry from voters has been strong and swift. Some of my Democrat 
colleagues are feeling the heat from their constituents and are 
starting to walk back the President's proposal. The American people 
have them on the run.
  Democrats in Congress are talking about only requiring transactions 
of only $10,000 or more to be reported to the IRS. While fewer 
Americans would be directly impacted by this threshold, we would still 
feel the broader, negative effects.
  That being said, on Tuesday of this week, Treasury Secretary Janet 
Yellen, the President's top economic adviser, defended the Biden plan 
and doubled down on the $600 IRS proposal.
  Regardless of whether Democrats settle on $600 or $10,000 threshold, 
every American would suffer. That is because our community banks and 
credit unions will be overwhelmed--I mean overwhelmed--with a tidal 
wave of compliance data. Small banks and credit unions won't be able to 
afford to hire the staff that they are going to need, forcing them to 
close their doors in a lot of rural and minority areas.
  And for Americans, including many minorities, living in rural 
communities across the country, these small banks and credit unions are 
a focal point for the community. They provide the money folks need to 
buy their first home or car; they fuel the economic development, 
provide good-paying jobs, and pump resources back into these rural 
  If these community banks and credit unions close, it would cut off 
access to capital for millions of Americans in communities. They would 
suffer. Livelihoods would be destroyed.
  That is why I, along with my colleague from Florida, Senator Rick 
Scott, have introduced a bill prohibiting the IRS from creating, 
implementing, or administering a financial reporting regime that would 
require financial institutions or individuals to report data or 
financial transactions or account balances to the IRS.
  To be clear, my legislation does not touch the Bank Secrecy Act or 
any of the regulations either implemented or issued under that act.
  My bill has been endorsed by the American Bankers Association, the 
Independent Community Bankers of America, the National Association of 
Federally-Insured Credit Unions, the Credit Union National Association, 
the Heritage Action for America, the League of Southeastern Credit 
Unions, and the Alabama Bankers Association. These organizations and 
their members know that if President Biden's proposal goes through, 
banking, as we know it, will end.
  At this time, I would like to yield the floor to my distinguished 
colleague from Florida, Mr. Scott.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Schatz). The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Mr. President, I would like to thank Senator 
Tuberville for leading this very important effort.
  I want to be very clear. What President Biden is proposing here is as 
close to policy from communist China as we have seen in the United 
States. In oppressive regimes like Cuba and communist China, we have 
come to expect a surveillance state where the government has access to 
every part of a person's life. Now Joe Biden wants to bring that here 
to America.
  Let me explain what the Biden administration and Democrats in 
Washington are proposing. Democrats want to open your bank account to 
Federal agents. Under Joe Biden's America, the Federal Government's 
authority would be vastly expanded so the IRS can get a look at any 
account over $600. The madness doesn't stop there. This new rule from 
Joe Biden would also require banks to report every transaction of $600 
or more. Does anyone honestly think the Federal Government will keep 
your private information safe?
  Want to buy a bed? Here comes the Federal Government. But say you 
want to buy a new shotgun. Hunting season is coming up. Again, here 
come the feds. How about giving money to your favorite charities; 
supporting a cause or a political candidate you care about; for 
childcare or paying for mental health counseling? Perhaps you are just 
selling off a little furniture and want to put your profits in a 
savings account. For every one of these transactions I have just 
described, the government is going to come take a look.
  Every American should be disgusted and furious by this insane 
overreach of the Federal Government. Think about the private, personal 
information the government would have access to. It is incredibly 
intrusive, and Joe Biden wants to make it nearly limitless. Again, does 
anyone honestly think the Federal Government would keep your private 
information safe? I understand that families are angry. I have heard 
from more than 18,000 constituents over just the last 2 weeks about how 
disgusted they are with this plan.
  Biden wants to expand the surveillance state of the Federal 
Government to target every American family. Ninety-five percent of 
American households have a bank account, and this policy will have 
impacts on every single one of those accountholders. But it is not just 
banks; Joe Biden is expanding the Federal surveillance state to monitor 
your finances across the board. They will be watching your local credit 
union and your PayPal and Venmo accounts. They will even be watching to 
see how you spend and earn cryptocurrency. This is an outrageous 
violation of Americans' privacy.
  I think the Democrats are also hearing from their constituents. 
Recent reports say the President and Democrats in the House are looking 
at raising the threshold from $600 to $10,000. That would still hit 
many Americans families.
  We are not just talking about checking accounts; this applies to 
savings, retirement, and investment accounts. You name it, the feds 
want to take a look.
  Again, I am not describing something in Cuba or communist China; I am 
talking about what Joe Biden and the Democrats want to do right here in 
the U.S.A. I can't wait for my Democratic colleague to explain why 
President Biden is even proposing this. How can you possibly justify to 
the American people that the IRS should be snooping around in their 
bank, retirement, or investment accounts?
  There is only one explanation, and it is simply terrifying. The 
Democrats want to control how you spend your money. Democrats want to 
control your expenditures, your charitable and

[[Page S6958]]

political giving, and your investments. The more power Democrats can 
grab from American families, the more control they think they will get 
over each and every American.
  This all boils down to Joe Biden and the radical left bringing the 
American people under the thumb of his socialist tax-and-spend agenda. 
After all, how else is he going to be able to squeeze every last penny 
out of American families' bank accounts to pay for his socialist plans?
  Here is how the Democratic Party works: They refuse to audit our 
Federal Agencies that year after year send billions in improper 
payments to the wrong people, which they rarely ever recover. They 
refuse to hold their government accountable for reckless waste and 
massive debt. But they want to put the magnifying glass on hard-working 
families who are just trying to live their dreams.
  Under Biden's socialist regime, it is rules for thee but not for me. 
How is that different from communist China, where the government lives 
in opulence while their citizens live totally dependent on the 
government in poverty?
  I will not stand for this outrageous plan. No American should 
tolerate this unprecedented overreach. I am proud to support Senator 
Tuberville's legislation and hope every one of my colleagues looks at 
this for what it is: communist China-style totalitarian surveillance.
  I yield back to Senator Tuberville.
  Mr. TUBERVILLE. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. TUBERVILLE. I would like to yield the floor to my distinguished 
colleague from Indiana, Senator Braun.
  Mr. BRAUN. Thank you, Senator Tuberville.
  Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.
  Mr. BRAUN. Every year, I travel and visit every county in the State 
of Indiana--92 of them. You know, I can't ever recall anyone saying 
that they want the IRS to poke into their business more on a day-to-day 
basis. In fact, they bemoan the fact that many years ago, the IRS was 
actually sifting through stuff to determine who was conservative or not 
before they might grant status to your entity.
  We have gotten to a point--and I think Senators Tuberville and Scott 
have eloquently laid out the details. I want to take a little different 
  I have been here a little less than 3 years, and this kind of 
entrepreneurialism through government, growing the Federal Government, 
having an Agency like the IRS that can't do its job well with the money 
that we do give to it, is just another example of trying to pile on one 
bad thing after another.
  It would be different if we weren't doing it borrowing 23 percent of 
the money we spend every year. Imagine that in your own household, in a 
State or local government, a business. You would be laughed out of the 
banker's office if you did that and then wanted a loan to cover it and 
then do it the next 10 years. It doesn't work anywhere else.
  This is an example that I think, along with maybe the vaccine 
mandate, where you are now forcing small businesses to do something 
when they finally got a rhythm--and businesses have protected their 
employees and their customers as well as anybody out there in that 
journey. You have got that nonsense that is going to be unfurled here 
soon. But it is an example of where, at some point, enough needs to be 
  The IRS has had a poor record of doing things to boot. Earlier, 
ProPublica released illegally obtained tax records of many Americans. 
We had the incident of issues with conservative businesses being 
discriminated against in getting proper status set up. I introduced the 
Protect Taxpayer Privacy Act in June for that because the IRS is 
already doing things that they shouldn't be doing. This would be a 
perfect companion to what Senator Tuberville is putting out here.
  To wrap it up, we have to be careful when we send people here. If you 
were knocking it out of the park, delivering results, not borrowing 
money to do the things we try to do anyway, and then you tee up 
something like this--this is going to do nothing more than unleash more 
of an Agency that doesn't do well in its job anyway, and it is truly an 
example of government gone wild.
  I thank Senator Tuberville for bringing this to a focal point.
  I yield back to him.
  Mr. TUBERVILLE. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. TUBERVILLE. Mr. President, I want to thank Senator Braun and 
Senator Scott again for supporting this bill.
  I am proud to partner with him in this effort to safeguard the 
financial privacy of American citizens.
  Mr. President, as if in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent 
that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of S. 2953, 
which is at the desk. I further ask that the bill be considered read a 
third time and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered 
made and laid upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection?
  Mr. WYDEN. Reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President and colleagues, the Senator's proposal in 
effect would be a game-winning touchdown for wealthy tax cheats.
  IRS Commissioner Rettig, a Republican appointee, came before the 
Finance Committee earlier this year and said the total amount of taxes 
evaded each year could be as high as $1 trillion. Cheating by those at 
the very top is one of the major causes of that huge tax gap. A big 
reason why is that the automatic reporting and strict rules that apply 
to the typical, hard-working taxpayer--nurses and firefighters, for 
example--they don't always apply to those at the top. That means the 
tax cheats are able to hide their cheating in the shadows.
  The Senator's proposal would help them keep it that way. This 
proposal would make it extraordinarily difficult to collect the 
information necessary to crack down on the high-flying tax cheats.
  The argument against information reporting is always the same, and it 
has been consistently wrong. Despite what opponents say, what President 
Biden and Democrats have proposed is focused on rooting out tax 
cheating at the top. It wouldn't apply to accounts with deposits and 
withdrawals under $10,000. And for most people, that is $10,000 on top 
of your paycheck. It is not about anybody's transactions. They wouldn't 
be reported, colleagues. It wouldn't create any new surveillance of 
digital currency. This information-reporting proposal is about 
reporting only two numbers: the total amount going into an account and 
the total amount going out of it. Social Security income does not count 
  So this idea--and I have listened to my friends--that somehow this is 
going to end Western civilization just doesn't hold up.
  In fact, Commissioner Rettig, a Republican appointee, pointed out 
recently that this plan could actually reduce the odds of an audit for 
middle-class taxpayers, those folks that I was talking about, the 
nurses and the firefighters.
  I am going to close with just a couple of other points. Most of my 
colleagues know that I am about as strong a privacy hawk as there is in 
the Senate. And I don't take a backseat to anybody when it comes to 
fighting for Americans' privacy, whether it is taxpayer data, 
communications, web traffic--you name it. And, colleagues, all of that 
work, all of that private work, is on the public record. It is a matter 
of public record. It isn't an atomic secret.
  In those debates about privacy, it is also striking that it is most 
often Members of the other side attempting to stop reforms, for 
example, to government surveillance of phone records and emails and web 
browsing--web browsing. But when Democrats are working to crack down on 
ultrawealthy tax cheats, that is when, suddenly, we have got 
Republicans saying: Oh, my goodness; who is going to be sensitive to 
  I want to repeat, as I have on this floor again and again, I will 
talk to anybody on either side of the aisle with any philosophy about 
protecting taxpayer data. As the chairman of the

[[Page S6959]]

Senate Finance Committee, which handles privacy policy, I want it 
understood that our committee--and I, particularly, given my record on 
privacy issues--we take privacy very seriously.
  That is not what is on offer by the other side today. The bottom line 
is wealthy tax cheats are ripping off the American people to the tune 
of billions and billions of dollars per year. Tax cheats thrive when 
the reporting rules that apply to them are loose and murky. Democrats 
want to fix this broken approach and crack down on cheating at the top. 
The Senator's proposal would make that impossible, and it would hand--
colleagues, it would hand, the Senator's proposal--a big fourth-quarter 
victory to the tax cheats.
  For that reason, I object.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is heard.
  The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. TUBERVILLE. Mr. President, this is a simple two-page bill that 
will protect every American from an invasion of privacy by Big Brother 
Government IRS. I am sorry to see that my Democratic colleagues oppose 
protecting the financial privacy of American taxpayers. That is a real 
  I think you would be hard-pressed to find a Member of the U.S. Senate 
who can honestly say that a majority of their constituents support 
President Biden's proposal for the IRS to monitor a $600 or more 
transaction. I don't think you could find one.
  We ought to be able to stand up together, in a bipartisan fashion, to 
reject this radical proposal. I am confident that the American people 
will continue to put pressure on their elected representatives to 
reject this plan. I will work with my colleagues to address legitimate 
concerns, though I suspect there are none, and any position is going to 
be purely political.
  Americans across the country can count on Senator Scott and myself to 
keep up the fight of this important issue.
  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. BLUMENTHAL. 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 Request--H.R. 5323

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, we have reached a really important 
point in our relationship with one of our great allies in the world. 
The United States has before it the challenge--and this Congress can 
meet that challenge--for $1 billion of supplemental security assistance 
to replenish Israel's Iron Dome system.
  That funding is provided in H.R. 5323, the Iron Dome Supplemental 
Appropriations Act of 2022, passed by the House of Representatives by 
an overwhelming--and I emphasize ``overwhelming''--bipartisan support.
  I want to thank my Connecticut colleague Rosa DeLauro of New Haven 
for her leadership and all of the Members of the House of 
Representatives for their vision and courage in separating this measure 
and passing it. And we should do so now, as quickly as possible.
  All of us know that the 2016 memorandum of understanding negotiated 
between Israel and the United States provides $500 million per year in 
security assistance for Israel's missile defense. The MOU allows Israel 
to request additional funds to replenish and restore missile defense 
capabilities in exceptional circumstances.
  We all remember vividly the May 2021 conflict between Israel and 
Hamas, and in our minds still vividly and graphically are the pictures 
of that Iron Dome system intercepting missiles aimed at civilians in 
Israel. The Iron Dome defense system intercepted about 90 percent of 
those potentially lethal missiles targeting populated areas of Israel.
  In total, about 4,400 rockets were launched by Hamas. Should the Iron 
Dome have failed, countless Israeli civilians would have been killed. 
This system performed with such extraordinary and exceptional prowess, 
showing its necessity for both humanitarian and defensive purposes.
  I recently returned from a trip to Israel, where I talked to the top 
leadership of the new government, including Prime Minister Naftali 
Bennett. I was inspired and excited by the determination of the Israeli 
leadership and, I believe, the Israeli people to inaugurate a new era 
where we are even closer to Israel than we have been in the past.
  There have been some bumps in the road; there have been some 
potential disagreements in this body; but we should focus on making 
sure that Israel's defense is completely bipartisan; that our 
relationship with Israel crosses party lines. We have that opportunity 
today to renew the sense of bipartisanship in our unshakeable 
relationship with Israel.
  And that relationship goes beyond just security concerns. We are 
bound by culture, heritage, faith, and a common commitment to 
democracy. And Israel has that commitment in perhaps the most 
constantly dangerous neighborhood in the world.
  Iron Dome is a defensive system. It is solely defensive, and it 
defends against the loss of civilians on both sides, in Gaza as well as 
Israel, because the loss of life in Israel, if it occurs, if Iron Dome 
is lacking, will lead to escalating violence that will cost lives in 
Gaza as well.
  The Iron Dome prevents escalating hostilities that will cost lives 
among both Palestinians and Israelis. So its defensive value is 
indisputable, and that is why it does have bipartisan support here. It 
has the President's support. He stated:

       We're also going to discuss Israel's unwavering--unwavering 
     commitment that we have in the United States to Israel's 
     security. And I fully, fully, fully support replenishing 
     Israel's Iron Dome system.

  A quote from his meeting prior to meeting with Prime Minister Bennett 
at the White House.
  Just 2 days before he made those remarks, Secretary Austin also 
expressed his support:

       You can also see that commitment as we advocate for the 
     replenishment of the Iron Dome missile defense system. The 
     administration is committed to ensuring that Iron Dome can 
     defend Israeli civilian population centers targeted by 
     terrorist attacks, and we're working closely with Congress to 
     provide all the necessary information to respond positively 
     to your request for the--for $1 billion in emergency funding, 
     and it's going to save more innocent lives.

  I am concerned that Members of the U.S. Senate are blocking passage 
of this bill. Senator Paul has demanded that we add unrelated language 
to rescind funds from the Department of State and the Department of 
Defense before he will agree to a unanimous consent decree. We should 
prevent this sacred relationship from becoming a political football. We 
should make sure that we preserve it as a bipartisan source of 
  And that is not to say necessarily that we agree with every single 
act, every single measure that our Israeli allies take. We can be 
friends and family and still disagree.
  But our aid should not be conditioned on agreeing with every single 
policy or action taken by our Israeli friends. This measure is a 
defensive platform that saves lives. It is a humanitarian step that 
should be regarded for what it is--essential to our alliance, our 
relationship, and our bond with Israel.
  Mr. President, as in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent 
that, at a time to be determined by the majority leader, following 
consultation with the Republican leader, the Senate proceed to the 
consideration of Calendar No. 140, H.R. 5323; that there be up to 2 
hours of debate; that upon the use or yielding back of time, the bill 
be considered read a third time, and the Senate vote on passage of the 
bill, without intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I agree with 
the Senator from Connecticut that we should pass the proposal. In fact, 
I have offered a proposal to fund the Iron Dome with $1 billion that 
should be paid for, though. We are facing a $30 trillion debt. We 
borrow $2 million a minute. Inflation is rising. They are wanting to 
pile more debt upon our country. So, if we are going to help our ally 
Israel, I think we need to be strong to do it, we need to be not piling 
on debt without consequences, and this should be paid for.
  There is a very easy pay-for that I have proposed. There is $6 
billion left in a reconstruction fund for the Afghan national 
government. Well, the Afghan

[[Page S6960]]

national government no longer exists. In the haste to leave, the Biden 
administration has let the Taliban overrun the country.
  So I asked the other day, in committee, of Secretary Blinken: This $6 
billion, are you planning on giving it to the Taliban?
  And he said: Well, it depends on whether they fulfill their 
  To me, that sounds like a pretty big ``if,'' but if the Biden 
administration says that they fulfill their commitment and 
expectations, the understanding is the Biden administration is going to 
give $6 billion to the Taliban.
  So, not only do they let them take $80 billion of equipment, not only 
did we leave in complete disarray, Democrats now want to say: Oh, we 
have got to keep this money because we have to give it to the Taliban.
  That is obscene.
  We should immediately rescind all of that money. If you want to give 
money to Afghanistan, let's vote on it again. But you gave the money to 
the previous government, and now you want to give the money to the 
Taliban, which has overrun the country. It is a disgrace. The Taliban 
shouldn't get a penny. And we should pay for things, even for things 
that we are trying to give to allies.
  So I have a proposal before the desk. My proposal says to fully fund 
the $1 billion for the Iron Dome project. Fully fund it. We have 
already given billions for it. We are willing to give $1 billion more, 
but we are going to pay for it by not giving money to the Taliban. So 
it is a pretty easy sort of list. We asked every Senator on the 
Republican side if they objected to this, and not one Republican 
objected to this. So the reason the Iron Dome is being held up is 
because the Democrats are objecting to its being paid for.
  I am here today to support the Iron Dome. I am giving a proposal that 
would give them their $1 billion right now. It could happen today. All 
I ask is that it be paid for with money that has already been 
appropriated and that is, in all likelihood, going to be given to the 
Taliban if we don't take it away now. I think it is a very reasonable 
  I am disappointed that the Democrats are objecting to Iron Dome 
today. It is a disappointment that they are against paying for it with 
a fund that is already out there, and that they so much love the idea 
of giving the money to the Taliban that they are going to insist on 
blocking Iron Dome funding because they are insistent on ``No, no, we 
can't get rid of the $6 billion because, if the Taliban behaves, we are 
going to give it to them.''
  Look, I don't care if the Taliban behaves. I wouldn't give them a 
penny. There are other ways of trying to have a diplomatic relationship 
other than giving money to people. People think that somehow, if the 
Taliban behaves, we have got to give them money? I think that is a 
crazy notion.
  So, without question, I will object.
  I ask the Senator to modify his request so that, instead of his 
proposal and as in legislative session, the Senate proceed to the 
immediate consideration of Calendar No. 140, H.R. 5323; further, that 
the only amendment in order be my substitute amendment, which is at the 
desk. I further ask that there be 2 hours of debate, equally divided 
between the two leaders, and that upon the use or yielding back of that 
time, the Paul substitute amendment at the desk be considered and 
agreed to; that the bill, as amended, be considered read a third time, 
and that the Senate vote on passage of the bill, as amended, with no 
intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Does the Senator so modify his request?
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, in reserving the right to object, 
let's set the record straight.
  There is no possibility of this money or any other money going to the 
Taliban. Section 9021 of the fiscal year 2021 Defense Appropriations 
Act--we all voted for it--makes funding the Taliban illegal, and if any 
Pentagon official breaks that law, they could go to jail under the 
Antideficiency Act.
  Whatever the Secretary of State may have answered to Senator Paul's 
question at a hearing, we should know and he should know that spending 
money in any way that enables it to go to the Taliban would be breaking 
the law, and he would have to come to Congress to use any of that money 
to aid the Taliban. So this is a false issue.
  The funds that the Paul amendment seeks to rescind have actually not 
yet been appropriated. He targets the $3.3 billion in the fiscal year 
2022 request. You can't rescind funds that haven't yet been 
appropriated. So the amendment falls of its own weight, but I want to 
deal with the merits.

  No. 1, the Paul amendment seeks to rescind funds from the Department 
of Defense's Afghan Security Forces Fund. Those funds are still needed 
to complete the withdrawal. They are in an account that is urgently 
needed to terminate contracts that are already in place and secure 
military equipment that has been withdrawn from Afghanistan.
  All of the complaints about the withdrawal and all of the complaints 
about the need to secure that military equipment are met by this 
funding. Defunding the Pentagon in this way will, in fact, disrupt the 
shutdown of these activities and open the United States to legal action 
from contractors. I have been advised, for those reasons, that the 
Department of Defense strongly opposes the Paul amendment because it 
makes ending the war in Afghanistan more difficult.
  Let me just close by saying that there is a need for humanitarian 
support in areas where the Palestinians live. There is a need for aid 
for water treatment and vaccines and health and all of the needs--
humanitarian needs--of the Palestinian people.
  One of the encouraging parts of my visit with the Israeli leadership 
was their recognition that Israel has a humanitarian obligation in this 
area. They recognize, as well, that we may not always agree on every 
facet of our relationship, but this measure should be unconditional 
because it is defensive, and it is humanitarian to support the Iron 
  I wish my Republican colleagues were here to refute Senator Paul, 
because I know many of them support it.
  Therefore, I will not modify my request.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Is there objection to the original request?
  The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, in reserving the right to object, I am 
disappointed that the Democrats will again today block the Iron Dome 
funding as paid for. I think it is important that we do support our 
allies. I am in support of the Iron Dome funding, but I think, at the 
very least, it should be paid for. We have offered them various 
permutations of this--either the entire $6 billion from the Afghan 
reconstruction fund or $1 billion. We have offered them other 
alternatives to look at other funding in government that already exists 
to see if we could pay for this.
  So the real reluctance is on the Democrats' part to pay for aid, and 
the thing is that we can't just blindly keep giving money away without 
repercussions. We are $30 trillion in debt.
  So I am disappointed today that the Democrats will block the Iron 
Dome funding as paid for, and I do object to the underlying 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. I would just close, Mr. President, by saying we need 
to pass this measure. We need to do it now, and there is no need for 
pay-for. We should move ahead with this unanimous consent. I regret the 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.

                  Unanimous Consent Request--H.R. 5323

  Ms. ROSEN. Mr. President, when I traveled to Israel in 2019, I saw 
with my own eyes the Iron Dome system up close and in person. I met 
with the brave soldiers who operate and protect it--young men and 
women, in many cases, no older than 18 or 19 years old.
  Iron Dome is a missile defense system that has successfully 
intercepted thousands of missiles fired by terrorist groups, like 
Hamas, at Israeli population centers. It has protected Jews, 
Christians, and Muslims. It has protected them all from harm and saved 
countless lives, Israelis and Palestinians alike.
  This incredible feat of defense technology is a shining example of 
the unbreakable U.S.-Israel security partnership. The U.S. Army is in 
the process,

[[Page S6961]]

as well, of acquiring Iron Dome batteries, and it tested the system as 
recently as August, meaning this lifesaving technology could also 
protect American men and women in uniform from a variety of missile 
  Let me be clear. I want to emphasize the word ``defense.'' Iron Dome 
is a purely defensive system. It is a shield--a miraculous shield--
against death and destruction, one that America should be proud to help 
support and has supported across both Democratic and Republican 
administrations and in Democratic and Republican Congresses for over a 
decade. Iron Dome saves lives; Iron Dome prevents an escalation of 
violence; and Iron Dome provides a critical window for diplomacy.
  This past May, terrorist organizations launched over 4,400 rockets at 
Israel. That is right--4,400 rockets. Iron Dome was key to preventing 
90 percent of these rockets from reaching their targets, saving the 
lives of innocent Israeli citizens. We should be proud to support this 
technological feat that has protected countless lives and will continue 
to do so.
  My trip to Israel and my visit to see Iron Dome, well, is on my mind 
today because Israel needs our help, and they need it now.
  This summer, following the barrage of rocket fire--those 4,400 
missiles that Israel had to endure and which the Iron Dome protected 
Israel against--Israel made an emergency request to the United States 
for security assistance in order to replenish and repair the Iron Dome 
defense system to defend against future potential conflicts.
  To Israel's north, on the border with Lebanon, which I went to see 
just 2 years ago, Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, 
is estimated to possess over 100,000 missiles. Those 100,000 missiles 
are pointed at Israel, including thousands of precision missiles. If 
war were ever to break out again between Israel and Lebanon, as it did 
in 2006, Iron Dome would play a crucial role in protecting civilians--
all civilians in Israel.
  Just a few months ago, I joined Democratic and Republican colleagues 
in urging the continued support for Iron Dome. Support for Iron Dome is 
about the integrity of the U.S.-Israel relationship. There has always 
been strong bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel defense partnership. 
That bipartisan support continues today.
  The failure to fund this critical defensive tool would be 
catastrophic for Israel and would result in lives lost. It would lead 
to more conflict, and it would weaken the bond between the United 
States and our greatest ally in the Middle East. We must take action to 
ensure that this program remains fully operational.

  The House of Representatives has already passed legislation on an 
overwhelmingly bipartisan basis to fund Iron Dome. It was a vote of 420 
for, and only 9 against. So now it is the Senate's turn to act.
  Earlier this week, my colleague Senator Menendez, Chairman of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this: ``There is no 
conceivable reason why anyone in this Chamber or on either side of the 
aisle should stand in the way of U.S. support for this lifesaving 
defense to be fully ready for the next attack.''
  He is exactly right. Opposition to Iron Dome is contrary to U.S. 
national security interests and violates the commitment that the U.S. 
Government made to Israel.
  We have an opportunity to rebuild the Iron Dome shield, to support 
the security of our most important ally in the Middle East, and to save 
lives. But we must take action right here and right now.
  So as if in legislative session, I ask unanimous consent that at a 
time to be determined by the majority leader, following consultation 
with the Republican leader, the Senate proceed to consideration of 
Calendar No. 140, H.R. 5323; that there be up to 2 hours for debate; 
that upon the use or yielding back of time, the bill be considered read 
a third time, and that the Senate vote on passage of the bill without 
intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Kentucky.
  Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, as we speak, 
the Taliban is regaining control, has control over most of Afghanistan, 
is brutalizing women, kicking women out of school. Women will no longer 
be participating in the government.
  It is really just unconscionable that Democrats insist that money be 
there to give to the Taliban.
  Any person who believes and truly believes that the Taliban is a 
menace to women's rights and to women in a civilized world should join 
me in saying: We should make sure that no money ever goes to the 
  When Secretary Blinken was asked about this, he said that if there is 
cooperation and if they meet expectations, the $6 billion--and some say 
up to $10 billion--available for the previous government will be given 
to the Taliban, who violently overthrew this government.
  We are asking something very simple. We could fund Iron Dome today. 
Make sure that everybody who listens to this understands. This is being 
blocked by Democrats who don't want to pay for it.
  We have a proposal that would have proposed $1 billion today for Iron 
Dome, but it would have been paid for by taking money out of an account 
that has been allocated and that Secretary Blinken has indicated he 
will give to the Taliban if they behave.
  So I think it is a real problem, and it is a problem of this body 
that the cavalier nature of just letting our country pile on $30 
trillion of debt. You ask how we got here. We got here $1 billion at a 
  So rarely do we have an episode or a time where we can object. You 
know, I would object to a trillion if it were on the floor. I would 
object to $50 billion on the floor.
  But the billion dollars ought to be paid for. And there are so many 
pay-fors. But this is why government grows by leaps and bounds and 
becomes more and more wasteful over time.
  So I do object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Nevada.
  Ms. ROSEN. Mr. Paul's objection is unacceptable. He knows it is 
unacceptable. This is no time for political games. It could jeopardize 
the support for our allies and people in need of lifesaving assistance.
  I challenge all my Republican colleagues to let us take up the House-
passed bill, passed 420 to 9, and fund Iron Dome for our national 
security--our national security--as well as Israel's.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.

                        Internal Revenue Service

  Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, I want to use the opportunity of the Senate 
floor today to call to the attention what I think is an alarming 
proposal that would allow the Internal Revenue Service to track nearly 
all inflows and outflows of Americans' bank accounts.
  I heard this story--I heard this proposal while I was home in Kansas, 
and my reaction was: I assume this is just something on the internet, 
something that people are perhaps fabricating. Surely no one seriously 
is proposing that every transaction of $600 in one's bank account and 
$600 out of one's bank account is something that the Internal Revenue 
Service should be monitoring and recording, or that records would need 
to be provided to the IRS with that information.
  It is one of those thing I thought, well, that is just some crazy 
something that somebody is talking about. But, lo and behold, 
unfortunately, I have learned that, over the years--sometimes my 
constituents have brought me things in the past that tell me the story. 
It is, like, I can't believe that would be true, but let me check it 
out; and far too often, it turns out that it really is someone's 
proposal in the Nation's Capital.
  Most Kansans would react to this concept by saying: I can't believe 
it is true. And then: Make sure you do something to keep it from 
  In this case, it is apparently true. And not only is it true, it is 
true because it is supported, it is proposed by the Biden 
  It is the Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, who believes and 
testified that this is a good idea. It is Charles Rettig, the IRS 
Commissioner, who believes that this is important to accomplish. It is 
not just somebody's ideas. It is somebody who has something that--
because they have something to say that matters that can cause it to 
happen is for this.

[[Page S6962]]

  For the IRS knowing how much money a Kansan earns, that just isn't 
enough. How much an American earns, it isn't enough to know our income. 
Now the IRS wants to know how you spend that income.
  This is an invasion of privacy that focuses on account flows, not 
just on income, and it intrudes on virtually every American.
  The claim that this will help tax wealthy cheats--I am all for taxing 
wealthy cheats, but instead, this isn't that. It gives the government 
the unprecedented access to nearly every working American's bank 
  Rather than listening to the enormous pushback from Americans and 
eliminating from consideration this invasive mandate, Democrats are 
simply suggesting to tweak the proposal depending on the revenues 
needed to fund this massive tax-and-spend spree that is around the 
  In recent weeks, I have heard from more than 1,000 Kansans who are 
alarmed at this massive expansion of IRS reach and authority, this 
invasion of privacy. The last thing my Kansas constituents would want 
when it comes to their own bank account is more bureaucrats watching 
and dictating how they live their lives. This provision is a threat to 
their privacy. They see it that way, and it is.
  Kansas relies heavily on small-town banks and credit unions to 
provide rural communities and their citizens with lending services to 
finance a small business expansion, to allow a family to pay for 
college, or to buy a home.
  The relationship between our bankers, our credit unions, and their 
customers and clients is a special one. It is personal. That private 
relationship between a banker and their customer is one that is based 
upon trust. The banker no more wants to be in the middle of invading 
their customers' privacy. Mandating that banks report to the government 
their customers' account activities will significantly breach the trust 
that a customer, a client has with their banker.
  These financial institutions are often run by just a handful of 
employees, and are often a family operation handed down from one 
generation to the next. We have lots of small local banks and credit 
unions already knee-deep--perhaps waist-deep--in red tape; something 
they have to deal with every day, and something we have tried nearly 
every day to reduce or eliminate.
  Our bankers and credit unions spend millions of dollars to comply 
with the anti-money laundering policies, and those often yield minimal 
  This proposal would turn our banking system into an extension of the 
Internal Revenue Service while forcing local banks to shoulder the 
cost. And these costs, of course, ultimately would be paid for--guess 
who--the customer, the citizen.
  So not only are we--would this proposal allow our privacy to be 
intruded upon, but we would be paying as it happens.
  Unfortunately, the IRS has increasingly politicized and--has been 
politicized and has a history of targeting disfavored groups and 
individuals, and has proven incapable of protecting taxpayers' data 
from leaks.
  Entrusting this bureaucracy, the IRS, or, really, any other 
bureaucracy in Washington, DC, with the supervision of your personal 
finances is no way to close a tax gap.
  At a time when the American people are more weary than ever of the 
Federal Government and their Agencies, this proposal will do nothing 
but further increase that distrust.
  Democrats in Congress and particularly in the Biden administration 
should prioritize strengthening the faith in the financial service, not 
pursuing these kinds of policies that will push underbanked Americans 
  Ultimately, this plan will not achieve its stated goal of increasing 
tax revenues. Rather, it will lead to more harassment of average 
Americans and those who work at their financial institutions.
  It is clear to me that there is an attempt here to leave no stone 
unturned to find every possible way to tax everyday Americans in order 
to fund a massive spending spree.
  So while we hoped that this proposal was just idle talk, something 
that somebody said over a cup of coffee at the local doughnut shop or 
the cafe, something that when we went to find out if there was any 
truth to it we discover: Oh, no, I could tell my constituents this 
isn't happening, this is just something that somebody is gossiping 
  But no. It is a serious proposal by the Biden administration, and it 
has serious consequences to the well-being, financial, but perhaps more 
importantly, the privacy, something that Americans deserve, something 
that Americans request, and something that is already too often lacking 
in our lives--privacy--and in this case, privacy from the Federal 
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. King). The Senator from Iowa.

                          Trump Investigation

  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I would like to address the Senate 
Judiciary majority's Trump investigation examining the period from 
December 14, 2020 through January 3, 2021.
  The majority released their report this morning; the minority 
released our report this morning.
  This truncated investigation doesn't support the long-running 
Democratic narrative that Trump used the Justice Department to try to 
overturn the 2020 election. And it is truncated because we don't have 
all the records and this committee only interviewed three witnesses.
  The available evidence shows that President Trump didn't use the 
Department of Justice to subvert the 2020 election. For example, one 
witness testified that President Trump had no impact--I repeat, no 
impact; and the words ``no impact'' come from that witness--on what the 
Department did to investigate election allegations.
  In fact, the evidence shows that President Trump listened to his 
advisers and to their recommendations, and that he followed those 
  The witnesses also testified that President Trump didn't fire anyone 
at the Justice Department relating to the election.
  Records from this investigation indicate that President Trump's focus 
was on ``legitimate complaints and reports of crimes.''
  Witnesses testified that President Trump's main focus was on making 
the Department aware of the potential criminal allegations and to 
ensure that the Department did its job. It wasn't President Trump 
directing or ordering specific investigative steps. Witnesses also 
testified that it wasn't unreasonable for President Trump to ask the 
Department what it was doing to investigate election fraud and crime 
  Now, with respect to the other core issues in the Democratic 
narrative, the available evidence shows three facts.
  Fact No. 1: President Trump rejected sending the letter drafted and 
advocated by Assistant Attorney General Clark to various States to 
contest the election.
  Fact No. 2: President Trump rejected firing Attorney General Rosen. 
Indeed, after Bill Barr submitted his resignation as Attorney General, 
President Trump apparently considered Richard Donoghue as a 
replacement, showing his displeasure with Rosen.
  Third and final fact: President Trump accepted Acting Attorney 
General Rosen's position that the Department not file a lawsuit against 
the States with reported voter issues.
  The Democrats' report makes much of the efforts by individual lawyers 
to push the Department to take these steps, but the fact is, none of 
these steps were taken because President Trump made the ultimate 
decision not to take those steps. At each of these critical decision 
points, the President asked his advisers for their candid views and 
their candid recommendations, and the President followed them.
  Now, ask yourself this: Where would we be now if President Biden 
followed the advice and recommendations of his advisers regarding 
Afghanistan? And we know what that advice was because we heard it last 
week before the committees in the House and Senate by the generals who 
were testifying.
  Again, I am not sure why the committee is releasing transcripts and 
an investigative report when the investigation doesn't seem to be 
complete yet. I, as chairman of a committee, run investigations 
differently. I collect records and run all the necessary interviews. I 
gather the full set of facts.

[[Page S6963]]

Then and only then, I release the material publicly.
  So far, the narrative the majority has been spinning here just isn't 
borne out by the facts. So this advice from me: Don't take this 
Senator's word for it; do as we have done on the Republican side. Read 
the transcripts. I think you will come to the very same conclusions 
that I have just stated.

                Tribute to Professor Lisa Schulte Moore

  Mr. President, on a second point and a much shorter point, I would 
like to recognize an outstanding professor at Iowa State University. 
Professor Lisa Schulte Moore of Iowa State University is doing 
important work on behalf of farmers and rural communities, and 
eventually it affects all Americans.
  Dr. Schulte Moore is a landscape ecologist and professor of natural 
resource ecology and management. Additionally, she serves as associate 
director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University.
  Dr. Schulte Moore was recently recognized as the 2021 MacArthur 
Foundation Award recipient and the first-ever Iowa State MacArthur 
Fellow. This award is known as the Genius Grant and is given to 
individuals who have shown a dedication to their field through 
creativity and originality.
  Dr. Schulte Moore is a founder of the Prairie STRIPS conservation 
program. Established in 2003 at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge 
in Prairie City, IA, this program studied the effects of planting 
prairie strips on farmland.
  Before I continue, I just used the name Neal Smith--former 
Congressman Neal Smith of Iowa, 36 years a Member of the House of 
Representatives. He has been retired quite a while now. He just 
celebrated, I think, his 100th birthday and is still active in the Des 
Moines community.
  Participants found that prairie strips can protect the quality of our 
soil and water by reducing farm field soil loss by 95 percent. They 
also reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff by up to 80 percent. Because 
of the professor's work, prairie strips are used in 14 States on over 
115,000 acres of cropland.
  In addition to the $625,000 received through the MacArthur 
Foundation, Dr. Schulte Moore was recently awarded a $10 million 
Federal grant to turn biomass and manure into fuel. With this research, 
the professor is looking for additional ways that farm waste can be 
turned into renewable fuel and consequently not contribute to the 
degradation of the environment.
  Whether it is researching the next generation of biofuels or helping 
farmers understand what conservation practices work best at their 
farms, I am grateful that the MacArthur Foundation recognized Dr. 
Schulte Moore. Her dedication and innovation encourage young people at 
Iowa State University and beyond to become involved in agriculture.
  The fact is, the United States has the safest and most abundant food 
supply in the world thanks to the American farmer and through research 
at institutions like Iowa State University.
  Congratulations, Dr. Schulte Moore. Iowa State University and the 
State of Iowa are lucky to have a professor like you.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.


  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. President Biden ran on a promise to be a 
unifying moderate. He promised to bring America together. On the 
campaign trail, he promised to ``shut down the virus, not the 
country.'' As we have seen with his vaccine management, the opposite 
has happened.
  Joe Biden and Democrats in Washington have adopted an agenda of 
systemic socialism focused on expanding government and Federal control. 
In Joe Biden's America, the government knows better than the people, 
and President Biden has shown that he is eager to use government 
mandates to keep families in check.
  President Biden's latest vaccine mandate for private companies 
tramples on the personal freedoms of Americans. This unconstitutional 
order will push more Americans out of the workforce, devastate our 
economy with product and service shortages that cripple supply chains, 
and throw America into a stagflation crisis not seen since the 1970s.
  By forcing some working Americans to choose between keeping their 
jobs or doing what they believe is best for their health, Biden's 
mandate hurts the people he claims to help--workers, low-income 
Americans, and seniors on a fixed income, who will all be either hit 
with higher unemployment, higher prices, or a shortage of available 
  When I think about the impact of burdensome government regulations, I 
think about my dad. My adopted father was a truckdriver. Anyone who has 
driven trucks or been close to someone in that line of work knows how 
demanding that job can be. It is hard work, and it is one of the most 
critical jobs in our country. Truckdrivers are like the offensive 
linemen of America's supply chain--often overlooked but absolutely 
essential to getting things moving. Our country is already experiencing 
a significant shortage of truckdrivers. We can't afford to lose any 
  Of course, trucking isn't the only industry that will be affected by 
Biden's unconstitutional mandate; nearly every sector is under the gun. 
In an economy where simply keeping shelves stocked is an everyday 
challenge, losing workers in almost any critical industry will have a 
catastrophic impact across our supply chains and drive prices even 
  Just this week, a month and a half before Thanksgiving, Amazon began 
already giving Black Friday discounts on goods because they expect so 
many delays and shortages on goods. That means families who have to 
wait for holiday bonuses before they can go shopping are going to be 
facing ``out of stock'' signs online and in stores.
  Joe Biden needs to answer this question: How is he going to fix this? 
How can Joe Biden guarantee that our supply chains won't completely 
crumble under his failed policies and mandates?
  In fact, I urge President Biden to have Transportation Secretary Pete 
Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo testify to the Commerce 
Committee on the shortages we are already seeing and the shortages that 
we anticipate.
  Ensuring the stability of American supply chains requires the urgent 
attention of the Biden administration. As a member of the Commerce 
Committee and ranking member of the Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade, and 
Export Promotion, I know this testimony from Secretaries Buttigieg and 
Raimondo would be useful in understanding how this will be addressed.
  We are already starting to see major supply issues. Seafood 
restaurants in Miami are seeing price increases of 50 to 60 percent on 
fish. Furniture stores in Florida are seeing wait times of 6 to 8 
months before they can deliver certain products. Florida grocery stores 
are warning of product shortages as customers are starting to see empty 
  Small business owners and families aren't able to afford those kinds 
of drastic increases, but if President Biden has his way, those 
transportation difficulties are going to become even worse and prices 
will rise even higher. Right now, rising prices on everyday goods are 
forcing American families to make hard choices.
  I have said it on this floor countless times, and I will say it 
again: Reckless government spending causes inflation. The reckless 
spending agenda of Joe Biden and Democrats here in Washington is having 
disastrous effects on families across our country.
  We can never forget that, as inflation worsens and prices surge 
higher, it is the poorest Americans and those on fixed incomes who are 
hurt the most. There are single moms wondering if they can put an extra 
few gallons of gas in the car and still afford to put dinner on the 
table this week or moms like mine who took on odd jobs to make ends 
meet and watched the smallest price changes at the grocery store to 
make sure we could still get by.
  If President Biden actually spoke with small and midsized employers 
and hard-working families instead of big banks and CEOs, he would learn 
that massive Federal mandates won't help us get our economy back on 
track. His Big Government mandates will only hurt us.
  I want to be clear. I got the vaccine. I had COVID. And I encourage 
every American to talk with their doctor and consider doing the same. 
But getting the vaccine is a choice every American

[[Page S6964]]

gets to make for themselves. We can't give people an ultimatum to 
comply, quit, or get fired. It is a gross overreach by the Federal 
Government at a time when we need more jobs, not less; lower prices on 
everyday goods, not higher.
  Unlike Joe Biden and Democrats in Washington, I don't believe that 
government knows better than the American people. My parents didn't 
have much of a formal education, but they worked hard and made the 
choices they felt were right for the health and well-being of our 
family. They relied on government to keep them informed, and they made 
their own choices. That is how government should work.
  That is what I did when I was Governor of Florida. In 2016, Florida 
was faced with the Zika virus, which impacted newborns. Rather than 
placing mandates on pregnant women or restricting their travel to areas 
with local transmission of Zika, which we knew where they were, we 
simply informed Floridians. We worked to be as transparent as possible 
and offered free Zika testing to all pregnant women in Florida. That is 
how the Federal Government should deal with COVID. The government's 
role in public health is to inform and support, not mandate.
  Our country has seen labor shortages caused by Democrats' failed 
policies of rewarding unemployment, paying people more to stay at home 
than to get back to work. Energy prices are surging, and inflation is 
raging. American families can't afford more of President's Biden's 
radical policy decisions that are inflicting lasting damage and driving 
our economy backwards.
  Restoring and strengthening our supply chains is a critical step in 
getting the American economy rolling forward.
  It is time for President Biden to acknowledge that massive, 
unconstitutional mandates on private companies won't do anything but 
hurt American business and throw gasoline on the already raging 
inflation crisis he has created.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.

         Tribute to Warrant Officer Hershel ``Woody'' Williams

  Mr. MANCHIN. Mr. President, I am here today to honor the lives of our 
World War II Medal of Honor recipients who bravely served our Nation, 
including the last surviving recipient who just celebrated his 98th 
birthday, Hershel ``Woody'' Williams.
  My colleague is here with me. We have known Woody for years and years 
and years. This is a person who has never quit serving his country from 
the day he was born to the day he fought and won the Congressional 
Medal of Honor in Iwo Jima.
  If you ever saw any pictures and basically the war videos we see, you 
see a little guy running around Iwo Jima shooting the flame thrower in 
the pill boxes. That was Woody. It is just unbelievable.
  He is a fellow West Virginian. He was a marine, a Medal of Honor 
recipient for his heroic efforts at the Battle of Iwo Jima that I have 
been told involved the flame thrower, which I have seen. And it is not 
just one. I think he went through five flame throwers because when he 
ran out, he went and reloaded and went at them again. It is just 
  Woody has dedicated his life to our great and our beautiful United 
States through his service in the military and his dedication to 
supporting veterans and advocating for their needs for decades after.
  There is not a time when I know that Senator Capito and myself don't 
hear from Woody and there is something going on, whether it is at the 
cemetery, or whether we are having a ride for the Gold Star families. 
We do a motorcycle ride, which I would like to invite the Presiding 
Officer to.
  I say to the Presiding Officer: You would enjoy it. It is wonderful.
  Senator Capito has been with us before on that. It is just a 
wonderful thing, and Woody has never failed to be part of it. Now, he 
rides in a sling shot, but, by golly, he makes the whole route.
  He has dedicated his life fully to our veterans and to the Gold Star 
  He is bound and determined to get a committal shelter built at the 
Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery. Again, Senator 
Capito and I, both serving on the Appropriations Committee, have 
committed that we are united in getting this done. We will get that 
done, and it needs to be.
  That basically would ensure that the families of our fallen soldiers 
and veterans, they have a safe place to lay their loved ones to rest, 
protected from the weather, rain, Sun, and snow throughout the year.
  In this year's Military Construction and Veterans Affairs 
appropriations bill, we include a language to create a pilot program 
that allows Federal veterans cemeteries to build shelters for those 
purposes. But we must ensure the pilot program includes State veterans 
cemeteries, like the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery.
  The families of our fallen servicemembers deserve to honor their 
loved ones in peace, and I am proud to help Woody fight for this simple 
  Americans like Woody Williams answered the call to serve our great 
Nation during World War II, and he fought to ensure democracy 
prevailed. Their sacrifices allowed the rest of us to enjoy the 
freedoms we hold sacred and help make the United States the strongest 
Nation in the world.
  I am going to share with you one story that Woody has told all of us 
back home. He says the thing that he remembers most and the thing that 
he stills grieves the most about, he had two marines that were 
protecting him with gunfire while he ran around, and their lives were 
sacrificed for him. I think both got shot and perished. And he says: 
They gave their life for me to do my job and protect and save my life.
  There is not a day that goes by, he says, he doesn't think about 
that, how the Good Lord spared him and the sacrifices that were made 
for him and our country.
  So I believe that honoring all of those who served in World War II by 
allowing the last surviving--and I want to make sure we understand. 
Woody Williams is the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from 
World War II.
  We are asking that he be allowed to lay in State at the U.S. Capitol 
Rotunda. And what better way to honor this generation, their sacrifices 
than the President to authorize the State funeral for that brave 
  And Woody--there is not a better person to represent all of those who 
sacrificed and given their all, all of those who were basically 
decorated for their valor, to do this. And bestowing this great honor 
on the last survivor and the World War II Medal of Honor recipient 
would be the perfect way to come together as a nation to salute the 
``greatest generation.''
  So I am honored to be here with my colleague and my friend Senator 
Capito in a bipartisan--you know, I have always said this: The glue 
that holds this country together is the people who put themselves in 
harm's way for all of us.
  They didn't say: Well, I will put a uniform on and I will take a 
bullet for the Republican, but not the Democrat, or I will take a 
bullet for the Democrat and not the Republican.
  Senator Capito's father took a bullet for all of us too, and she will 
speak about that, I am sure, and the bravery that he had. He was my 
dear friend, and we all miss him. But the sacrifices that my parents 
and Senator Capito's parents and the generation--that was the 
``greatest generation,'' I think, that we will ever see because they 
took responsibility and took responsibility for their action. They held 
themselves accountable for their actions, and that showed the character 
that generation has.
  And that is what I would hope these young interns and all the young 
pages that we have here understand, that your character is defined the 
day that you take responsibility for the actions--good, bad, or 
indifferent--and be able to look yourself in the mirror and say: I made 
a mistake. I can do better. That is my fault. I will fix that. That is 
  So I am honored to be here and to honor every World War II veteran, 
every World War II Medal of Honor recipient.
  I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in our 
efforts to honor these brave veterans. And I call on our President, 
President Biden, to grant our request.
  With that, I yield the floor to my colleague.
  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.

[[Page S6965]]


  Mrs. CAPITO. Mr. President, it is an honor to talk about a good 
friend of ours, Woody Williams, here with my fellow Senator from the 
West Virginia, to talk about our fellow West Virginian, Hershel 
``Woody'' Williams.
  He is just an incredible, incredible, individual. He turned 98 just, 
I think, last week. So he was born in 1923, which was the same year my 
father was born. Woody and I have talked about this because when I see 
him, I see my dad and that generation. My dad is no longer with us. You 
know, they did incredible things at such a young age.
  One day, I was honored to sit next to Woody on an airplane flying 
home. He travels all over. It is amazing where he goes and what he 
does. He told me his whole story of joining the Marines and signing up 
for the Marines and why he wanted to do it. He was a country boy, just 
born--they didn't really actually know when he was born. He didn't have 
a full birth certificate. And he is a little guy. He wasn't quite big 
enough to maybe get--be able to join, and he worried about that. He was 
17, but nobody really knew how old he was.
  I asked him: Well, what was your attraction of being in the Marines?
  He said one day he was in town and he saw this guy walk by, and he 
was fully dressed in a Marine uniform.
  And he said: I want to be that guy. I want to wear that uniform.
  And he persevered, as he has in every aspect of his life.
  There are so many, as Senator Manchin said, so many brave from that 
``greatest generation'' that served in World War II. And he is the 
final World War II veteran Medal of Honor recipient of that award.
  We are so proud of him in West Virginia because, you know, it didn't 
stop there for him. He spent a lifetime advocating for veterans, for 
veterans' health, for fallen soldiers' families, in a whole variety of 
roles, and he never stopped.
  As Senator Manchin said, he fought valiantly in the Battle of Iwo 
Jima, storming those pill boxes, all four of them, under relentless 
fire. He survived the entire 5-week campaign in Iwo Jima. As we know, 
that was one of the most staunchly defended Japanese strong points at 
that time, and his actions played a critical role in the eventual 
capture of that island.
  He has inspired future generations to want to serve our Nation. He is 
a hero for what he has done at home. He has committed himself for 75 
years to veterans and their families, and he created the Hershel Woody 
Williams Foundation.
  Through his foundation, Woody advocates for and recognizes the 
sacrifices of our Gold Star families who have lost loved ones in the 
  Because of his tremendous efforts, Woody and his foundation are 
responsible for 60 Gold Star family memorial monuments. Senator Manchin 
and I have been to the grand opening. They just had a new one in 
Charleston, on the grounds of the Charleston capitol. It is beautiful 
to see, and the other 70 additional monuments that are going to be 
built in the future.
  We need reminders, I think. We need reminders of the sacrifices that 
people make. And we need reminders of what it takes to defend our 
liberties, our freedoms, our families. So we are really, really pleased 
to be here.
  The West Virginia Legislature included Woody in the West Virginia 
Hall of Fame and named him a Distinguished West Virginian in 1980, and 
again in 2013, and they would probably do it again next year. He is 
just so exceptional.
  His unending energy and passion have also inspired many generations. 
He has spoken to numerous schools, universities, community events, and 
veterans' receptions, promoting patriotism and the ideals of service 
above self.
  I have been privileged to attend--and I know Senator Manchin has 
too--several speeches given by Woody Williams, keeping in mind the last 
one I heard, he was 97 years old. Oh, my gosh, so inspiring. It makes 
you just want to feel pride for our country but also for our people, 
that our country boy from West Virginia could keep inspiring the next 
  He has been here to the Halls of the U.S. Capitol. Or you might have 
even seen him at the coin flip--how did he get there?--at the Super 
Bowl in 2018. So he has gone on to really, I think, be a remarkable 
human being. If you haven't met him or haven't seen him, make sure you 
get a chance if you hear he is coming your way.
  Abraham Lincoln famously said: ``Any nation that does not honor its 
heroes will not long endure.''
  Today, I am proud to honor my friend, with Senator Manchin and many 
other West Virginians and others around the country, and to share his 
stories of courage, compassion, and the service not only in the past 
but the service that he has today. I am glad to join a bipartisan group 
of our colleagues in honoring him and honoring him in the future.
  Thank you.
  I yield back.
  Mr. MANCHIN. I say to Senator Capito, if you could just wait a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.
  Mr. MANCHIN. I know you remember this very well.
  Woody is a person who taught us all how to say the Pledge of 
Allegiance. Because we think we know how to say it. We all memorized it 
as a little kid: ``I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States 
of America and to the Republic for which it stands.''
  Woody would always say: One Nation under God--do not stop, do not 
hesitate at ``one Nation.'' It is ``one Nation under God.'' It is not 
``one Nation.'' ``Under God with liberty and justice for all.''
  He corrected us, and he never would let us say it without going with 
no pause because he said we are a nation under God.
  And I will never forget. He drove that home so many times to all of 
us. So the young pages here, I hope you will remember that.
  With that, maybe we should do a ``happy birthday'' together to Woody 
because he is probably watching. So together, you and I? Happy 
birthday, Woody.
  Ms. CAPITO. Happy birthday, Woody.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mrs. HYDE-SMITH. Mr. President, I also want to wish Woody a happy 
birthday as well.
  I just join my colleagues today to commemorate and honor some of the 
Nation's most admirable warfighters in the Second World War, and I so 
appreciate my colleagues bringing their personal stories to the floor 
today. This is something that all Americans should cherish--the stories 
of these heroes. We have very few of these brave heroes still among us 
today, and it is so important that they receive every ounce of 
recognition that we can give them for their selflessness and 
extraordinary heroism.
  I am pleased to be a cosponsor of Senator Manchin's legislation to 
provide a merited celebration and commemoration of the last living 
World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Woody Williams, who recently 
celebrated his 98th birthday.
  Medal of Honor recipients like Mr. Williams demonstrated a courageous 
and noble commitment to our Nation, and their exemplary actions deserve 
all the praise that we can give them.
  I am proud to represent a State that has several World War II Medal 
of Honor recipients of its own, in Mississippi: Van Thomas Barfoot of 
Edinburg, Robert T. Henry of Greenville, James Daniel Slaton of 
Gulfport, Louis Hugh Wilson of Brandon, and Jack Harold Lucas of 
Hattiesburg, whom I still remain friends with his family today.
  From Germany to Japan, these men served our Nation without hesitation 
in the height of the Second World War, defending our Nation, our 
allies, and the very principles of freedom. It fills my heart with 
great pride to call these late veterans my fellow Mississippians. The 
tributes we offer today for Mr. Williams in truth stand for our deep 
appreciation for all of those who fought in World War II.
  I thank my colleagues for their great work on this important 
recognition and the opportunity to be a part of this.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana.
  Mr. TESTER. Mr. President, I join my colleagues today in support of 
our bipartisan resolution to designate a state funeral in honor of the 
last surviving Medal of Honor recipient for

[[Page S6966]]

World War II. Woody Williams is that person, and this would also 
recognize millions of Americans for their service and sacrifice during 
the war.
  The Medal of Honor represents a small token of our appreciation for 
the spirit, determination, and gallantry of those who performed far 
beyond the call of duty, those of our ``greatest generation'' who gave 
everything on the battlefield. This includes five brave Medal of Honor 
recipients from the great State of Montana: William W. Galt, Laverne 
Parrish, Leo J. Powers, Donald Ruhl, and Henry Schauer. Each of these 
men pitted bravery and heroism against great odds and showed exemplary 
devotion to our Nation. Now, they have all passed, but their memories 
live on in each of us--in our freedoms, in the freedoms of our 
children, and in those of our children's children.
  Today, we have a special opportunity to honor their service and 
ensure that their acts of heroism are never forgotten. A state funeral 
for the last surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipient is a key 
part of fulfilling this promise. These ceremonies offer our Nation the 
opportunity to pause and reflect on the service of not only the 
individual but also those who served alongside them.
  It is my hope that President Biden designates this state funeral so 
that we may honor the last surviving Medal of Honor recipient from 
World War II with this distinction. It is time to pay a final salute to 
the millions of men and women of our ``greatest generation'' who served 
our country with great courage.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.

             Unanimous Consent Request--Executive Calendar

  Mr. PETERS. Mr. President, shortly, I will ask for unanimous consent 
on the nomination of Robert L. Santos to be the Director of the U.S. 
Census Bureau.
  The mission of the Census Bureau is to serve as the leading source of 
quality data about the Nation's people and our economy. The census and 
the Bureau's surveys are critical for communities, businesses, and 
people across our Nation to ensure communities have the resources and 
the information they need to thrive.
  The Census Bureau Director must meet the challenge of this mission. 
They must have experience in the collection, analysis, and use of 
statistical data and demonstrated management experience at large 
  Robert Santos is an eminently qualified nominee for this role. He has 
over 40 years of experience as a manager and expert in the field of 
survey design and statistical research, including experience as a 
manager at the most renowned research centers for statistics, as 
principal of a market research firm, and currently at the nonprofit 
Urban Institute.
  He has interacted closely with the Census Bureau for decades as a 
researcher, a stakeholder, and an expert adviser, serving on the Census 
Advisory Committees and National Academies' panels on Federal 
statistics. Mr. Santos has demonstrated a deep knowledge of the Census 
Bureau, its data, and its stakeholders. He has demonstrated a 
commitment to upholding the Bureau's mission of producing essential, 
high-quality data that our Nation relies on.
  It is critical that we confirm Mr. Santos to the Census Bureau so 
they can continue their important work with a well-qualified leader at 
the helm.
  So, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to 
the following nominations: Calendar Nos. 311 and 312, Robert Luis 
Santos, of Texas, to be Director of the Census for the remainder of the 
term expiring December 31, 2021; and Robert Luis Santos, of Texas, to 
be Director of the Census for a term expiring December 31, 2026. 
(Reappointment); that the nominations be confirmed; that the motions to 
reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no 
intervening action or debate; that no further motions be in order to 
the nominations; that any related statements be printed in the Record; 
and that the President be immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Mr. President, reserving the right to object.
  First, happy birthday. Is it your birthday?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. No, sir. Don't rush it.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. As my colleague knows, the Census Bureau 
performs critically important functions to collect accurate and timely 
data. Unfortunately, I am concerned that this nominee will politicize 
the Census Bureau and will not perform his duties in a fair and 
unbiased fashion, which this position demands.
  I cannot and will not consent to allowing this nominee to move 
forward in an expedited manner. We should take a vote so every Senator 
can get on the record with their support or opposition to this nominee. 
Therefore, Mr. President, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. PETERS. 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. CORNYN. 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. CORNYN. Mr. President, over the last few months, the American 
people have watched in disbelief and then in anger as the Biden 
administration has completely fumbled the response to the border 
  In the spring, the biggest concerns were the thousands of children 
coming across the border. We lacked the facilities, the personnel, and 
the resources to provide proper care for those children, particularly 
in those kinds of numbers. At one point, one of the processing centers 
in Donna, TX, in the Rio Grande Valley was at 1,600 percent of 
  Then, in the summer, the scale and scope of the crisis grew. In 
addition to the thousands of unaccompanied children entering our 
country each month, the number of family units has skyrocketed.
  I should pause to add, Mr. President, that the reason why the 
smugglers send in unaccompanied children is because they know they will 
simply be placed with sponsors in the interior of the country and most 
of them will fail to return to the immigration courts for their asylum 
hearing. So they will have been successfully placed in the United 
States, sometimes with relatives, sometimes with noncitizens, sometimes 
with foster families who don't know them at all. That is why the 
smugglers have been smuggling unaccompanied children.
  But in August alone, more than 86,000 members of families--typically 
women with young children--have crossed the border. Now that we have 
reached the fall, the crisis has shifted once again.
  I think what really grabbed people's attention was when they saw the 
little town of Del Rio, TX, with 15,000 Haitian migrants under a bridge 
in Del Rio, TX. First of all, they were shocked. They thought this was 
a Central American phenomenon or Mexican migrants. But the reality is, 
as Border Patrol will tell you and has told me, we literally have 
people coming from around the world across the southern border, 
including some countries of particular concern.
  So the Haitians got people's attention and completely overwhelmed the 
border region and our capacity to deal with them. That is why 400 
Border Patrol agents had to be shipped in from other parts of the 
border or from interior checkpoints, which means that those other 
locations were understaffed or perhaps had no staff at all. That, in 
turn, is an invitation to the drug smugglers to smuggle more drugs 
across the border.
  I have mentioned time and time again this shocking number: 93,000 
Americans died of drug overdoses last year. The vast majority of those 
drugs come across the southern border. So the cartels--these criminal 
organizations that smuggle people, drugs, and other contraband--they 
are pretty smart. They understand where the weaknesses are, where the 
gaps are both in our policy and in our physical ability to secure the 
border, and they play us just like a fiddle.
  The individuals and families huddled under the Del Rio Bridge--they 

[[Page S6967]]

trying to escape triple-digit temperatures.
  It is hot in August and September in Texas, and they had little, if 
any, access to food, clean water, or restrooms. It took a number of 
days before the Department of Homeland Security was able to remove them 
from what the New York Times described as squalid conditions--truly, 
Third World conditions.
  Now, President Biden has said to the migrants: Don't come to the 
United States. But the fact is, what he says with his mouth, with his 
lips, is contradicted by all of his policies and all of his action and 
  Here, let me share a few headlines from the last several months: 
``Overwhelmed Texas border community begins busing migrants to 
Austin''; ``Migrants freed without court notice--sometimes no 
paperwork''; ``Haitian migrants released in U.S. on `very, very large 
  Folks beyond our borders are reading this. Friends and family in the 
United States are communicating with potential migrants who have come 
across. Certainly, the human smugglers--the coyotes--who get rich and 
are getting richer with every person they smuggle into the United 
States, are reading these headlines and watching cable TV and talking 
to people inside the heartland of our country. The message they see 
with their own eyes or they hear from others contradicts this lip 
service, really, that President Biden has been paying to border 
  Like I said, this is especially true among the cartels and criminal 
organizations that charge thousands of dollars a head to bring folks 
from literally anywhere around the world. It just gets a little more 
expensive. If you want to come from, let's say, the Middle East or if 
you want to come from, let's say, Iran or Afghanistan, it is a little 
more expensive than if you just want to come from Mexico or Central 
America, but you can do it because the same networks and criminal 
organizations run those networks in those countries around the world.
  Last week, the Biden administration handed the cartels a big 
recruiting tool.
  Let me read you another headline: ``U.S. Will No Longer Deport 
Illegal Immigrants Based on Undocumented Status Alone.''
  That is what Secretary Mayorkas, the Secretary of the Department of 
Homeland Security, said: The U.S. Government will not enforce U.S. law.
  As if we needed to add any more to the chaos and the crisis on the 
border, Secretary Mayorkas has provided explicit confirmation that the 
Department of Homeland Security will not enforce our immigration laws. 
His directive strongly discourages Immigration and Customs Enforcement 
from even carrying out their most basic duties.
  I know it seems like a long time ago, but it wasn't that long ago 
when people said: ``Abolish the police.'' Before that, they said: 
``Abolish ICE,'' Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But now they are, 
maybe, not so much intent on abolishing ICE as just telling them don't 
do your job. Don't enforce the very laws that we in Congress have made.
  Considering the fact that the border czar, Vice President Harris, 
once compared ICE to the Ku Klux Klan, we probably should have seen 
this coming. Liberal activists can throw out their ``Abolish ICE'' 
posters because the administration is, effectively, nullifying the 
Agency from the inside.
  The reality of the situation, however inconvenient it may be, is 
that, by entering the United States illegally, migrants are breaking 
U.S. laws. We are fortunate, indeed, and grateful to the hard-working 
men and women of ICE and Customs and Border Protection, who are 
committed to enforcing our laws and keeping the American people safe, 
but they can't do it when they are told don't do your job or if the 
administration continues to denigrate these officers to try to shame 
them and to publicly criticize them for doing what we have asked them 
to do.
  Secretary Mayorkas's decision not to enforce our immigration laws 
isn't an example of prosecutorial discretion, which is the usual 
excuse; it is a violation of his oath. The Department of Homeland 
Security is charged with safeguarding the American people, but it can't 
do it because of the direction of its own leadership--a member of 
President Biden's Cabinet.
  There is nothing wrong with prioritizing the removal of the most 
dangerous criminals who are here illegally. Previous administrations 
have prioritized certain categories, like those suspected of terrorism 
or others who could be a threat to our national security or public 
safety, but there is a difference between prioritizing and exempting 
entire categories from enforcement altogether.
  Under this new guidance from Secretary Mayorkas, ICE officers are 
discouraged from arresting or removing illegal immigrants unless they 
have been convicted of a serious crime. It is unclear, though, whether 
domestic violence meets this criteria. Certainly, other crimes don't. 
So it defies all common sense to ask our law enforcement officers--that 
is what ICE officers are; they are law enforcement officers--to turn a 
blind eye to illegal conduct and not do what they have sworn to do in a 
professional oath.
  I am reminded of a controversial directive issued by another one of 
President Biden's nominees to enforce our Nation's laws. Rachael 
Rollins was nominated to serve as the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts 
and is currently the district attorney for Suffolk County--home to 
Boston. She is a current nominee from the Biden administration.
  Shortly after taking office as the Suffolk County district attorney 
for the State and local office, she released a memo that outlined more 
than a dozen crimes that should be ignored by law enforcement. This was 
the district attorney, who was charged with enforcing the laws, saying 
to law enforcement: Ignore the laws.
  According to Ms. Rollins, individuals who committed offenses like 
trespassing, shoplifting, larceny--that is stealing--wanton or 
malicious destruction of property or even possession with intent to 
distribute drugs should not be prosecuted.
  Again, I have no issue with law enforcement using limited resources 
to address the biggest threats and to prioritize their prosecution 
decisions, but they cannot, I believe, consistent with their oaths, 
exempt wholesale classes of criminals from enforcement.
  Under the Biden administration, we are already seeing a record-low 
number of deportations for people who violate our immigration laws. 
Back in April, as border crossings hit their highest level in 20 years, 
ICE removed the lowest number of illegal immigrants on record. There is 
no coincidence there. The guidance from Secretary Mayorkas sends an 
unequivocal message to the entire world that, if you want to come to 
the United States illegally, you will be able to stay as long as you 
don't get caught committing a murder or some other crime of a similar 
  The administration has tried to claim that this will not serve as a 
pull factor. That is what the Border Patrol talks about with the push 
factors--poverty, violence, and maybe things like that which are the 
push factors for immigration--but they also talk about the pull 
factors, which are things that the migrants see and the smugglers see 
that will actually attract more illegal immigration to the United 
States. The administration has tried to claim that this refusal to 
enforce our immigration laws won't act as an additional pull factor 
because, they say, the order only applies to immigrants who entered the 
United States before November 2020.
  But let's consider some of the other things that have been said. For 
example, Vice President Harris said migrants should not come to the 
United States because they will be turned back. That is clearly not 
happening. That is clearly not the case.
  We were told that the Department of Homeland Security would use title 
42, a public health law, to return the vast majority of Haitian 
migrants because, after all, while we are still dealing with the 
pandemic of COVID-19, these migrants, by and large, aren't vaccinated, 
and they are not tested for COVID-19 when they are released into the 
interior of the United States. You would think that would be a problem 
for the Biden administration, but Secretary Mayorkas just flat lied to 
the American people when he said what would happen to the migrants from 
Haiti. Some 13,000 migrants from that group have been released into the 
interior of the United States before even appearing in front of an 
immigration judge.

[[Page S6968]]

Clearly, that was a lie when he said they would be repatriated to their 
country of origin. So we have no reason to believe that things will be 
any different this time.
  The President can't have it both ways. He can't say he is taking a 
tough stance on illegal immigration to appease one wing of the 
Democratic Party while implementing policies that just encourage more 
illegal immigration to appease the other wing.
  The only way to address this crisis is to enforce our laws, not as 
the Biden administration wishes they were written. If we are going to 
have any hope of managing the current crisis and the additional crisis 
that will necessarily follow, deterrence is a key.
  As the Border Patrol told me, there have to be consequences for 
illegal immigration. If there are no consequences, people are going to 
continue to come in greater and greater numbers.
  Albert Einstein reportedly once said: Insanity is doing the same 
thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  Unless the administration backs up their ``do not come'' statements 
with actions which actually send the same message, we are going to 
continue down this very dangerous road.
  What will need to happen next before the administration takes this 
crisis seriously? More than 200,000 border crossings during each of the 
last 2 months didn't get their attention nor did the group of 30,000 
migrants in Del Rio, TX, in a matter of days. So you can't help but 
ask: How many more migrants will have to suffer before President Biden 
and Vice President Harris finally back up their empty statements with 
  We stand ready to help and to work on a bipartisan basis. As a matter 
of fact, Senator Sinema and I, along with our colleagues Henry Cuellar 
and Tony Gonzalez in the House, have a bipartisan-bicameral border 
solutions bill. It is not perfect, and it doesn't answer all the 
questions, but it is a good place to start. So far, we have heard 
nothing but crickets from the administration. Apparently, they don't 
care about the status quo and, so far, seem unwilling to do anything 
differently to correct it.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Van Hollen). The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to conclude my 
remarks today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. PORTMAN. Mr. President, I just listened to my colleague from 
Texas talk about what is going on at the border. I thought he made a 
lot of really good points, and I appreciate his willingness not just to 
talk about this issue and the crisis we have on our southern border but 
also to talk about solutions.
  One of the solutions he talked about and I have heard about a lot 
recently--I am the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security 
Committee. In the last week, I have had the opportunity to speak with 
both the current Border Patrol Chief and also the recently retired 
Border Patrol Chief about what is happening on the border and the real-
world problems that it is creating.
  One thing they tell me is, just let us finish the small parts of the 
wall that haven't been completed because it is impossible for us to 
enforce the laws if you have these openings. Secondly, they said: 
Please let us complete the technology.
  On both sides of this aisle, we have agreed, in the past, that, even 
if we disagree on having a fence along any parts of the border, 
including the urban areas, we will agree on the technology that ought 
to go with it.
  They told me these stories that I had confirmed when I was down at 
the border earlier this year in that the technology that goes with it--
the remote sensing cameras, the remote sensors in the ground, and so 
on--were stopped as soon as the Biden administration came in even 
though they were already paid for. So it wasn't just stopping 
construction; it was, in effect, in my view, more important that they 
have actually stopped the technology that is needed to be able to 
protect the border.
  Senator Cornyn talked about how he and Senator Sinema have worked on 
legislation to deal with some of these issues. I appreciate that 
because that is what is needed. We need to make some changes. We can't 
just continue to do what we are doing because we have over 200,000 
people a month now coming over--unprecedented numbers. Usually, in the 
summer, those numbers go down a lot, but they have actually increased 
this summer.
  We also need to fix a broken asylum system. This should not be a 
partisan issue.
  It is obviously not working. People come to our border. They claim 
asylum. They are allowed to come into the United States. They are told, 
you know: Please go to an immigration office and check in, but 4 or 5 
years until your immigration case is likely to be heard, sometimes 
  Meanwhile, these folks are in the United States.
  And then at the end of the process, even though those who end up 
going through the court system are self-selected because they are the 
folks who more likely--I think are more likely to have an asylum claim 
that is valid--but even when you go all the way through that process, 
guess what. Only 15 percent of those from countries like Guatemala, 
Honduras, El Salvador--the so-called Northern Triangle countries--or 
other countries like Ecuador, only 15 percent are granted asylum by an 
immigration judge.
  But, meanwhile, everybody is in the United States. And as I said 
earlier, the internal enforcement is not occurring, so people are 
literally not being told they have got to go back. And often, 
obviously, not identified because, after 4 or 5 years, many people are 
embedded in our community.
  So the asylum system has become a pull factor, and we need to realize 
  I was in four countries in Latin America earlier this year--Mexico, 
Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador--and I heard from every one of the 
Presidents in those countries, the same thing in different ways, but 
the same thing, which is: You guys are pulling our people to your 
southern border because the traffickers, the smugglers, the coyotes, 
who are making all this money, are coming to our families and saying: 
Hey, come to the border. Give me 10,000 bucks. I will take your kids 
there. I can get them into school in the interior of the United States, 
and they are right.
  Their narrative might not be exactly right. I am sure they 
exaggerate. But as a whole, what they are saying is correct. In other 
words, our system is so broken that these people who are exploiting 
poor people all over Latin America and elsewhere now--all over the 
world they are starting to come through our border in bigger numbers--
are able to say: If you come with me, I will get you in.
  That is because the asylum system is broken. So until we fix the 
asylum system, we can do everything else we are talking about--I don't 
think this is going to work.
  And by the way, when I talk to my colleagues on the other side of the 
aisle about this, when I talk to Secretary Mayorkas about it, they 
acknowledge this is broken. I mean, you have to.
  The 13,000 Haitians that just came into our country, that walked in, 
were given a bus ticket or a plane ride and told: Here is an 
immigration office. Please check in.
  My understanding is the vast majority of those people had applied for 
asylum, and we said: Come on in.
  And in 4 or 5 years, their case may be heard. And if they come to 
that trial, many of them will be deemed, just as the Central Americans 
are deemed, to be economic refugees.
  Look, if you or I were in Central America and knew we could better 
ourselves and our family and take care of our kids by coming to the 
United States, wouldn't we make the same decision?
  But don't we also in the United States have an obligation to have an 
orderly, legal way to do that?
  And we have one. We are the most generous country in the world in 
terms of taking in immigrants. And I am a strong supporter of the legal 
immigration system. But we have got to have a proper way to do it. It 
has got to be legal. Otherwise, again, people are going to be 
  This trip north is not a safe trip. It is a dangerous trip, and 
people die in the desert. These kids are not treated well. Many are 
  I did a study on this when I was head of the Permanent Subcommittee 
of Investigations. We did two reports. One

[[Page S6969]]

was on kids who were taken into HHS custody at the border, and then 
when they were sent out to their sponsors--because that is what 
happens. You go to the Border Patrol, then HHS, then you are sent out 
to sponsors.
  You know who the sponsors were?
  The very traffickers who had brought them up--in this case, from 
Guatemala--who were exploiting them.
  And those same traffickers took those kids and took them to an egg 
farm, where they had to work 11, 12 hours a day, no school, paid little 
or nothing, living on bare mattresses underneath trailers.
  Finally, luckily, a local law enforcement official figured out what 
was going on and was able to save these kids.
  But that is not a system we should want in America. We should want a 
legal, orderly system that works for everybody. By the way, including 
the many, many people around the world who are waiting in line 
patiently to come to the United States through legal means.
  So I hadn't meant to talk about this today, but I appreciate the fact 
that my colleague mentioned it. And I do think it is very important 
that, on a bipartisan basis, we put aside our political rhetoric on 
this and talk about solutions.
  I think we should go back to a system where we are encouraging people 
to apply for asylum in their home country, and, second, to do it from 
third countries. If they are not comfortable doing it in their home 
country because they really are feeling persecuted for some reason, do 
it in a third country.
  Those agreements were in place during the Trump administration. They 
were starting to work. They have now been ended. And then if you come 
to the border, have the adjudication be immediate. Let's spend the 
money to have the processing centers there at the border so people 
aren't waiting 4, 5, 6 years to go to their immigration hearing that 
they may or may not attend, as you can understand.
  Instead say: You want to come as an asylee? Here is the system. Your 
adjudication is going to occur right now.
  And for those who apply and are successful--which, again, is about 15 
percent of people from the countries that are sending most of these 
migrants--then you would come in as an asylee and you would have the 
ability to be resettled legally and you would have the ability to work.
  But if you are one of the 85 percent, you would be told: Sorry, you 
didn't make the standards. You have got to go back home, and you can 
apply legally, and here is the way you do it.
  Wouldn't that make more sense for our country?
  By the way, there is now a backlog of 1.3 million people waiting for 
these asylum hearings--1.3 million people. And it is growing every day.

                         Budget Reconciliation

  Mr. President, I had planned today to talk about something else, 
which is the tax situation that we are facing with this new proposal 
from the Democrats.
  You probably heard about the Build Back Better legislation, also 
sometimes called the reconciliation bill. It is in reconciliation 
because it wouldn't require any Republican votes, and Democrats are 
proposing to take this through Congress, much as they did in March with 
the $1.9 trillion legislation.
  This is also called the $3.5 trillion bill, this Build Back Better. 
Actually, I would argue it is a lot more than 3.5 trillion when you 
look at the actual spending in it.
  But let's focus on the tax side for a moment because that is how it 
is intended to be paid for.
  The tax hikes, which would be the largest tax increases in America in 
at least 50 years, systematically dismantle a lot of the pro-growth and 
pro-job reforms that were put in place in 2017.
  Why do I call them pro-growth and pro-jobs?
  Because they worked. They helped Americans keep more of their hard-
earned earnings. They helped businesses to be more successful, to hire 
more people and increase wages. And they are a big reason that, as of 
February of 2020--the month that we went into in this pandemic, as of 
February 2020--we had 19 straight months in this country of wage growth 
of over 3 percent per annum--19 straight months.
  But what all of us should want--Republican, Democrat, all of us--
higher wages. And by the way, most of that wage growth went to lower- 
and middle-income Americans.
  That is what we should want too, right?
  That was happening. In fact, as of that point, we had the lowest 
poverty rate in the history of America. We started keeping track of it 
back in the fifties. It was the lowest poverty rate ever. This was just 
a year or so ago. This was before the pandemic hit.
  We also had a 50-year low in unemployment--the lowest unemployment 
ever--for certain groups: Blacks, Hispanics, disabled, others.
  So this is something that was an achievement, that met the standards 
that we talk about on both sides of the aisle--more economic 
opportunity, closing the wage gap, giving people a chance to come off 
the sidelines and get a job. Things were happening, and in large 
measure, because of these 2017 reforms.
  And yet, in this proposal that is now being proposed, called the 
Build Back Better proposal, there are tax increases that dismantle much 
of the reform in 2017 that caused this economic growth.
  U.S.-based corporations are going to have a really hard time 
competing now in the global economy again because it takes our tax rate 
back up to being the highest, depending on where they end up in terms 
of their rate--one of the highest or the highest rate in the entire 
  The average corporate tax rate under the Ways and Means proposal will 
be 32 percent again--back up into the thirties--instead of an average 
of 21 percent, plus about 5 points on the State average, which is about 
26 percent.
  So, again, it puts us in a position where we are not competitive with 
the rest of the world. That is why we changed it back in 2017. In fact, 
according to the International Tax Competitiveness Index, the 
Democrats' plan would cause the United States to drop steeply down the 
rankings from 21st in the world to 28th in the world among developing 
countries in terms of competitiveness of our Tax Code.
  Once again, as happened too often before the 2017 reforms--and, by 
the way, has not happened since then--companies will choose to say: OK. 
I am out of here.
  Because of the Tax Code and the tax changes that they want to make, 
companies will say, as they did before 2017, because of the tax laws: I 
can't be competitive as an American company. I am going to go be a 
company of some other country.
  It is called inversions. Sounds bad, and it is. Nobody wanted 
inversions. Democrats, Republicans, we all hated them. Guess what. We 
stopped them. After the 2017 reforms, they stopped.
  Miraculously, we had companies in Ohio that chose to do that. It was 
terrible. They chose to actually become foreign companies because our 
Tax Code was so uncompetitive. We can't let that happen again.
  Small businesses, which make up about 99 percent of the business in 
America, and they account for about two-thirds of the jobs in America--
and, by the way, most of the job growth is in small businesses--are 
also hit hard by these tax increases.
  The vast majority of small businesses are structured as what you call 
pass-throughs. In other words, they don't pay taxes at the company 
level; the individuals who own the company pay the taxes. That is the 
vast majority of companies in America.
  So when you raise individual income taxes, guess what happens. You 
are socking it to not just the wealthy or whoever you are trying to 
sock it to; you are socking it to small business because that is, 
again, the vast majority of businesses in America, most of the 
employees. And that is how they are taxed, down to the individual 
  To make matters worse, the Biden administration seems intent on 
ending section 199A, which is a deduction we put in place on purpose to 
help small businesses kind of level the playing field between big 
businesses and small businesses. They are actually talking about 
getting rid of that deduction. So for small businesses listening today, 
be aware.
  In all, the more successful pass-through companies should expect 
their Federal tax rate to rise from about 29.6 percent today to about 
46.4 percent under the Democrats' new plan--46.4 percent taxation on 
small business.
  How does that make sense?

[[Page S6970]]

  So I think what is going to happen is you will see a lot of small 
businesses go out of business if this happens and certainly not be able 
to create new jobs and the opportunity that we saw during the 2018, 
2019 time period.
  But it is not just larger and small businesses that are going to feel 
the impact of these tax hikes. American workers and families will find 
themselves losing more of their hard-earned cash from all sides, thanks 
to the across-the-board tax increases, whether in estate taxes, capital 
gains taxes, retirement account taxes, the marriage tax, cigarette 
excise taxes--the list goes on and on.
  It is no surprise, then, that contrary to what President Biden has 
repeatedly said, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on 
Taxation--they are the people up here on the Hill who tell us what the 
impact is of tax law changes. The Joint Committee on Taxation, 
analyzing this tax proposal that is out there already--this is the 
Democrat tax proposal of the Ways and Means Committee--they say a lot 
of taxpayers who make less than $400,000 a year are going to see higher 
  Some percentage of taxpayers in every bracket will see tax rates go 
up, even folks making between 40,000 and 50,000 a year, according to 
the distribution tables by the Joint Committee on Taxation.
  More than one in three taxpayers making between $100,000 and $200,000 
per year will be paying higher taxes in 2023--more than one in three. 
By 2031, more than three-quarters of those middle-class taxpayers will 
be paying higher taxes.
  This is according to the Joint Committee. I encourage you to go on 
their website. Joint Committee on Taxation, JCT.org.
  So even working-class families are going to end up paying some of the 
price of this spending spree in the form of higher taxes. But all of us 
have to pay an additional price in damage to our economy.
  According to the Tax Foundation, the combined long-run effects of the 
tax hikes include a decline in our long-run gross domestic product of 
0.98 percent. So about a 1-percent decline in our GDP--wow--a decline 
of the wage rate of about 0.68 percent, and a loss of 303,000 full-time 
  So this is the Tax Foundation analyzing what the effects of this 
would be in addition to what I have talked about in terms of the tax 
  The Joint Committee on Taxation has looked at this and said: Well, if 
you raise taxes on corporations, it is going to come primarily out of 
the pockets of the workers, and that is a lot of these middle-class 
families. But also it is going to reduce our economy. It is going to 
decline our wages. And it is going to result in a loss of over 300,000 
full-time jobs.
  That is the Tax Foundation.
  So, to be honest, I am not exactly sure where the President got the 
notion he has been repeating lately that the price tag on this $3.5 
trillion--maybe $5 trillion; I don't know; depending on how you look at 
the spending--is zero dollars. That is what he said. It is zero 
  Even by their own admission, the big tax hikes we are talking about 
here are not going to cover all the spending, No. 1. But more 
importantly, billions of dollars lost in economic growth, a significant 
decline in wages, and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost doesn't sound 
like zero to me; it sounds like a bad deal for the American people.
  So, along with my Republican colleagues, we have to keep telling the 
American people what is in this tax proposal and urging people to learn 
more about how these new taxes are going to affect them, their 
businesses, and their communities, and weigh in with their 
representatives in Congress.
  Why would the American people support tax hikes that are going to be 
bad for workers and bad for our businesses? We have a responsibility to 
our constituents to ensure that does not happen.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 2846

  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, President Biden announced his vague, still-
unwritten mandate for the vaccine just almost a month ago. He said 
then, at the time of his announcement, that his ``patience was wearing 
thin.'' Those are his words, not mine. Yet, oddly, President Biden's 
administration is now in no particular rush to implement the rule. So 
almost a month has now elapsed, but there is still no rule and 
therefore no implementation of the rule. Perhaps President Biden and 
those who work with him are realizing what countless Americans already 
know: that the mandate was not well thought out.
  First, neither the President of the United States specifically nor 
the Federal Government generally has the authority to issue a sweeping 
vaccine mandate of this nature. The Constitution doesn't empower the 
Federal Government and certainly not the President individually, acting 
in isolation, with the right, the authority, or the power to broadly 
dictate personal medical decisions for all Americans with the stroke of 
the Executive pen.
  I spoke earlier this week and I also spoke last week about 
individuals with religious, moral, and medical reasons to forgo 
vaccinations. The President's mandate ignores their concerns and their 
  Much of corporate America is already starting to fire unvaccinated 
workers despite the legitimate religious, moral, or health concerns 
that those workers might have. Some are even being charged fees for 
being married to an unvaccinated spouse. So it is not just their 
decisions but that of their spouses that are causing them to confront 
adverse action from their employer, all as a result of this mandate--a 
mandate which doesn't yet exist. Even though time was of the essence a 
month ago when it was issued, there is still no rule and still nothing 
to enforce, but people are starting to enforce what they think will be 
in the rule if and when it ever does get promulgated.
  In recent days, I have heard from over 200 Utahns who are at risk of 
losing their jobs due to this mandate. They are scared of becoming not 
just unemployed but unemployable--unemployable, second-class outcasts 
due to the President's order.
  Have we lost compassion? Have we lost all reason? Troublingly, it 
seems that these mandates aren't based in reason. The mandate 
completely ignores the millions of Americans who have previously 
contracted and recovered from COVID-19. These people have antibodies 
against the virus.
  In other countries where significant research on natural immunity has 
been conducted, the results are compelling. A study conducted in Italy 
shows that natural immunity is more effective than vaccines at reducing 
risk of future infection. Another study of half a million people in 
Denmark has shown that natural immunity provides significant, lasting 
protection against infection. Finally, a study from three separate 
hospitals in Israel found that natural immunity from a previous COVID 
infection was ``27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity in 
preventing symptomatic infections.'' But the President's mandate 
announcement makes no mention of natural immunity--no mention 
whatsoever. Our entire national health apparatus seems to disregard the 
significant protection individuals have if they previously had and 
recovered from COVID.
  Now, I believe the vaccines are generally safe and effective. I have 
been vaccinated. Every member of my family has been vaccinated, with my 
encouragement. I see these vaccines as a miracle, one that is helping 
to protect millions and millions of Americans--hundreds of millions of 
Americans, for that matter. But I also recognize that millions of 
Americans are already protected by their natural defenses because they 
contracted COVID, before the vaccines were available in many instances, 
and they have recovered and therefore have natural immunity. The 
science shows that this immunity is strong, that it is effective, and 
that it is widespread in America.
  So I, today, am offering a bill that would require Federal Agencies 
to recognize, accept, truthfully characterize, and include natural 
immunity in any regulation. This bill does not say that vaccines are 
bad or unhelpful; it merely asks the Federal Government to respect 
widely available science.
  I am glad to be joined in this effort by Senators Braun, Tuberville, 
and Sullivan as cosponsors.
  The bill would allow us to keep Americans employed and help us beat

[[Page S6971]]

the pandemic in a smart way, in a reasoned, rational way, and in a 
compassionate way.
  Now, I believe--in fact, I am quite confident that the mandate in its 
entirety will be struck down as unconstitutional, as having been issued 
outside the authority of the President of the United States. This 
simple bill wouldn't undo the whole thing, as I believe the courts are 
certain ultimately to do. This simple bill is narrow, and it would 
simply give peace of mind to Americans and employers by recognizing and 
upholding evidence-based realities concerning our natural defense to 
COVID. It is a commonsense proposal, and I urge my colleagues to 
support it.
  So, Mr. President, as if in legislative session, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Committee on HELP be discharged from further 
consideration of S. 2846 and that the Senate proceed to its immediate 
  I ask unanimous consent that the bill be considered read a third time 
and passed and that the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, 
unfortunately, even though the Senate has had multiple exposures now to 
nonsense ideas like this bill, they keep coming back.
  Now, Agencies like the CDC and NIH are already looking closely at 
data on COVID infection and natural immunity. They have been since the 
earliest days of this pandemic.
  In an August ``Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,'' CDC assessed 
data from Kentucky and found that out of a group of people who had been 
infected with COVID before, those who were unvaccinated were twice as 
likely to get COVID again than the people who were vaccinated. In other 
words, being unvaccinated puts you at higher risk of being reinfected, 
  Getting vaccinated is a necessary step to protect you but also to 
protect those around you.
  We are in the middle of the deadliest pandemic in American history. 
It has now killed 700,000 people and counting. If we are going to end 
this thing, if we are going to reopen our economy, if we are going to 
save lives, we need to get everyone vaccinated when they are eligible.
  We don't need politicians suggesting they know more than those 
experts and ignoring the data. We don't need bills meant to weaken one 
of our strongest tools to get this thing behind us, like the ones that 
Republicans have repeatedly been pressing for.
  Workplace safety standards are nothing new in this country. 
Immunization requirements are nothing new in this country. And let's be 
clear. The vaccine requirements President Biden has enacted so far 
include tailored exemptions for legitimate religious and medical 
considerations that have long been standard. The emergency temporary 
standard he has envisioned would allow testing as an alternative.
  People are dying every day. Families are scared, and they are tired, 
and they are angry that even as they try so hard to do the right thing 
so we can end this crisis, their hard work is being undermined.
  So can the Republicans stop the theatrics and stop wasting our time? 
Can they stop pretending they know more than the experts about this 
disease? Is that too much to ask?
  It isn't, and I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I appreciate the insight and the thoughtful 
attention paid to this matter by my friend and distinguished colleague, 
the Senator from Washington.
  I respectfully submit that we are not dealing with theatrics when it 
comes to hard-working Americans, including the more than 200 Utahns 
whom I have heard from just in the last 2 weeks, who are losing their 
jobs or are at immediate risk for doing so based on a decision forced 
upon them by an action that has been threatened but not taken and in no 
way legally articulated by the President of the United States.
  These are not theatrics for those who are losing their jobs. That is 
just not an accurate portrayal, and it really is disrespectful to those 
who are enduring that. To them, these are not theatrics. To them, this 
is their ability to make a living.
  As far as the characterization that these claims of natural immunity 
are one off, I have yet to see any study that refutes the studies I 
referenced a moment ago--not the one from Denmark, not the one from 
Italy, and not the one from Israel that shows the significant immunity 
benefits conferred by a previous COVID infection, one from which a 
person has fully recovered. In the case of at least two of those 
studies--the one from Italy and the one from Israel--the immunity is as 
strong if not stronger. In fact, the one from Israel concluded that it 
is 27 times more protective.
  Yet we continue to hear efforts like this one today characterized as 
``theatrics,'' characterized as ``nonsense ideas like this bill''--
bills that try, in the case of the bill that we are talking about 
today, to protect the employment rights and the personal decisions of 
Americans who have natural immunity or, as in previous bills, those who 
have a legitimate medical concern, especially where that concern is one 
that has been taken on the advice of a board-certified physician who 
has advised them, based on a preexisting medical condition, not to get 
  I also heard that the President has indicated that there would be 
exceptions. We don't know what those exceptions are. Many of those 
exceptions are not being honored by those segments of corporate America 
already moving to implement and enforce this vaccine mandate.
  What is happening is that HR departments and general counsel's 
offices in large corporations--those with more than 99 employees--are 
understandably trying to get ahead of this so that they are not behind 
when the rule actually issues, so they won't run any risk of the 
aggressive, heavy fines with which they have already been threatened. 
So for that reason, many of them are trying to get ahead of it, and 
many of them are now using President Biden's speech about the yet-to-
exist rule, and they are either threatening to fire or preparing to 
fire or in some cases already have fired people regardless of any 
exceptions that they think they ought to be entitled to. It is easier 
for the corporation, in some instances, perhaps, or maybe more 
convenient or maybe more in conformity with the liking of the 
individuals making the decision to do that, but it is not fair to the 
workers. It is especially not fair in light of the fact that all of 
these actions are being undertaken in response to a yet-to-exist rule 
promulgated by an executive branch Agency that has yet to act at the 
behest of the President of the United States--one person without 
statutory authority and without constitutional authority to do this. 
That is tragic.

  Because he doesn't have the authority to do this, it shouldn't happen 
at all. At a minimum, we, as the lawmaking body within the Federal 
Government, have an obligation to take it down. Even if we can't take 
it all down or to stop it, we at least have an obligation to try to 
make its effects less draconian, less hurtful, and less harmful to 
individuals who, by no choice of their own and no fault of their own, 
aren't in a position to get this, whether because of religious 
convictions, natural immunity, or a health condition or something else.
  It is tragic. We are better than this. We should be acting to protect 
Americans, not make them more vulnerable.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Cortez Masto). Without objection, it is so 

                        Build Back Better Agenda

  Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Madam President, I am here to talk about the 
President's Build Back Better agenda and its importance to our country.
  We have heard a lot over the last couple of months about the new jobs 
that that plan will bring. It is estimated by economists that it will 
generate 4 million jobs every year for the next 10 years. That is 
because we are going to be investing in modernizing our infrastructure.

[[Page S6972]]

  We have already heard about the important work to modernize our roads 
and our bridges, expand our transit systems, build out the 
infrastructure of the 21st century, including high-speed internet to 
every American household and every small business.
  We have talked about the importance of deploying a clean energy grid 
and making sure that we move toward a clean energy economy. That will 
put millions of Americans to work in good-paying jobs. If you are 
generating that kind of economic activity, that kind of wage 
opportunity, obviously, that is good for every American household and 
brings in more income.
  But, today, I am going to gather with some of my colleagues, 
organized by the Senator from Minnesota, Ms. Klobuchar, who will join 
us shortly, to talk about how the Build Back Better agenda will not 
just generate millions of jobs and good-paying jobs, but help the 
dollars that Americans have in their pockets and bank accounts travel 
faster, how it is going to save them money.
  Now, one way it is going to save money is for families with kids. 
They are going to get a tax cut. In fact, that tax cut was put in place 
as part of the American Rescue Plan that we passed earlier this year. 
As a result of a tax cut for families with kids, families around the 
country right now are getting up to $300 per child to help cover the 
everyday costs of raising kids and addressing the needs of a family.
  That will also cut child poverty in half, but only for this year. It 
is currently scheduled to terminate at the end of this year, that tax 
cut for American families with kids. So one of the things we do in the 
Build Back Better agenda is extend that for many years because it 
doesn't make sense to have that terminate and have those families stuck 
with all those additional costs.
  But there is also another way that the Build Back Better agenda is 
going to help every dollar that comes into the family bank account go 
farther, and that is by reducing the costs that they face in so many of 
their everyday household expenditures.
  I want to focus on a couple of areas. One is in the area of 
childcare, one is in the area of healthcare and prescription drugs, and 
the other is the energy costs and gas costs that so many families face. 
The Build Back Better agenda is going to lower the costs for American 
families in those areas so that the income they have will go much 
  I want to start with childcare because working parents with infant 
children are scraping by today to pay for childcare, paying, on 
average, $1,300 every month to get licensed care.
  Under the Build Back Better agenda, if you look at the projections, 
you will see that Marylanders--families in my State of Maryland--will 
see their childcare bills cut nearly in half with weekly savings of 
$141 every week. That is $7,322 a year for childcare costs--lowering of 
childcare costs for those families.
  If you think about the need to try to get more people in the 
workforce, it is understandable that if you are a parent with kids, you 
want to make sure that when you go into the workforce, your kids have 
an affordable and secure place during the day. And right now that is 
not an option for millions of American families. So one of the things 
this proposal does, the Build Back Better plan, is dramatically reduce 
those costs for childcare.
  The proposal will also cut prescription drug costs for seniors. We 
have been having a debate for years about the need to allow Medicare to 
negotiate for lower drug prices on behalf of all of us, on behalf of 
all the beneficiaries in Medicare.
  The Veterans' Administration negotiates drug prices for veterans who 
are in their care, and yet we don't allow Medicare to negotiate drug 
prices. This is nuts. And it runs up the costs for Medicare because if 
you don't get to negotiate price, the pharmaceutical companies get to 
set the price wherever they want. So this proposal, the Build Back 
Better plan, will cut those costs and reduce prescription drug costs 
for Part D premiums by 15 percent.
  We are also proposing to expand Medicare to cover vision, dental, and 
hearing services. This is a big gap in the current Medicare Program. 
Right now, seniors, on average, each year, are paying $914 out of 
pocket for hearing services, $874 for dental services, and $230 for 
vision services. Our proposal would cover that big gap in the Medicare 
  I am going to talk for one moment about energy prices because we all 
know we have to move to a clean energy economy. We are going to make it 
easier to do that as we put more Americans to work in that area.
  One of the things that is proposed is a generous electric vehicle tax 
credit of up to $12,500. This will make it easier for Americans to 
afford those cars. It is much easier to run a car on cheaper 
electricity than on gas.
  But it is also going to help folks who continue to drive their gas-
powered cars for years to come, because if we get more people into 
electric cars, that means less demand for gas, and so that means the 
folks who continue to drive in their gas cars will get lower gas 
prices. And we all know that gas prices have been on the rise.
  Finally, talking about energy savings--you know, the best way to save 
energy money is to make sure that we don't waste as much energy. All of 
us know that we have homes, in many cases they are not that well 
insulated. So part of this plan also includes help to homeowners to 
more cheaply make their homes energy efficient. That means, with a 
given amount of power, they will heat their homes at cheaper costs 
because there will be less wasted energy.
  In situation after situation, if you look at this bill, not only will 
it generate more jobs at better wages, not only will it provide working 
families with kids with tax cuts, but it will also help Americans save 
money on everything from prescription drugs to childcare, to energy 
prices, and many others.
  That is what economists have said, and that is especially true 
because we are going to pay for this by finally requiring big 
corporations to pay their fair share and not allow them to hide so many 
of their profits offshore in places like Bermuda and the Cayman 
Islands. And we are going to ask the very wealthiest, billionaires, to 
also pay more for the success of the entire country.
  So I just want to emphasize the fact--because we hear so much 
misinformation in this Chamber about what is in the Build Back Better 
agenda--that in addition to the jobs and higher wages, it is also going 
to help save families money on their bills so that their dollars will 
travel farther.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin.

                           Order of Business

  Ms. BALDWIN. Madam President, let me start by asking unanimous 
consent that the vote on the motion to discharge the Lhamon nomination 
occur at 3:30 p.m. today.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                        Build Back Better Agenda

  Ms. BALDWIN. Madam President, I rise today to talk about the 
opportunity we have before us to deliver results for the people we work 
  Right now, too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet and 
get ahead because of the cost and availability of childcare, 
healthcare, home care, and prescription drugs.
  In my home State of Wisconsin, people like Zena, a human resources 
representative from Twin Lakes, needs us to pass the Build Back Better 
Budget that invests in working families.
  Zena has been battling several severe autoimmune diseases, and she 
has been battling this for more than 15 years. She fell very ill after 
contracting norovirus, and she was unable to work and ultimately lost 
her job, as well as her employer-sponsored healthcare that came with 
  Sick and uninsured, she turned to our State's BadgerCare program for 
help. But because the Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature 
have refused a Federal investment to fully expand Medicaid coverage, 
Zena was locked out of the program and unable to access necessary 
healthcare coverage. Like millions of Americans, Zena found herself in 
the Medicaid coverage gap and was forced to make choices that no one 
living in the United States should have to face, choices like paying 
for life-sustaining medication or paying her mortgage.

  Right now, the people we work for are paying two to three times more 
for their prescription drugs than people in

[[Page S6973]]

other wealthy countries. This needs to change, and we have an 
opportunity to get the job done if we simply make the superwealthy and 
most profitable corporations, like the big drug companies, pay their 
fair share of taxes.
  For years, Congress has been talking about lowering the cost of 
prescription drugs, so let's finally do it by giving Medicare the power 
to negotiate lower prescription drug prices that will save taxpayers 
money. Let's stand on the side of seniors, who should no longer be at 
the mercy of Big Pharma.
  In addition to lowering the cost of needed medications, our Build 
Back Better budget provides the opportunity to expand Medicare benefits 
to include vision, dental, and hearing. The last time I checked, your 
ears, eyes, and teeth are all a part of your overall health, and there 
is no good reason not to include them in Medicare coverage.
  Right now, the United States is also in the midst of a long-term care 
and caregiving crisis. Hundreds of thousands of older adults and people 
with disabilities who need and qualify for home- and community-based 
care services are unable to access them. I know something about this. I 
was my grandmother's caregiver, and I know firsthand the challenges 
that family caregivers face.
  But we can do something about this, and we should, with Build Back 
Better legislation that invests in long-term care; creates new, good-
paying home-care jobs; and raises wages for care workers who often work 
around the clock to care for our loved ones yet live in poverty.
  All of this and more is doable if Washington finally says we are not 
going to continue spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on tax 
loopholes and tax giveaways for huge, profitable corporations, 
millionaires, and billionaires.
  This is all to say that we face an urgent choice: Do we work for the 
powerful special interests who have too much influence in Washington, 
or do we work for people like Zena and others like her who simply look 
for a little help from us to even the playing field and to get ahead?
  This is our moment to prove to the American people--to people like 
Zena--that their government works for them, not just those at the top. 
I have faith that we can do this for Zena, for Wisconsin, and for the 
millions of Americans counting on us to get the job done for them.
  I yield.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Madam President, as we go over the wonderful things 
that Build Back Better offers--including tax benefits for families with 
children, support for home care and childcare for family members, lower 
prescription drug costs--I want to focus on a particular area, which is 
the addiction crisis, which grinds on in Rhode Island. I think every 
Member of this body knows a family who has been touched by this crisis.
  I remember visiting the small town of Burrillville, RI, a close-knit 
community. People know one another there. On January 1, 2015, no one 
would have known that half a dozen people would die in Burrillville of 
drug overdoses in the next 3 months. That went through that community 
just in a heartbreaking wave, and it remains burdened by addiction and 
  We have made a lot of gains since then. The CARA bill that Senator 
Portman and I did, CARA 2.0, which was baked into the SUPPORT Act, 
shifted the way we think about addiction so we don't see it as a moral 
failing. We recognize its medical nature. We recognize, frankly, the 
noble nature of the path to recovery that people have to walk. We 
invested in prevention and education and treatment.
  But still there is a massive gap that remains between the needs of 
families who have a member who is facing addiction and the care and 
support that we give them, and Build Back Better makes some really 
important steps for those families--first, for new mothers in recovery.
  A new mom has a lot going on: caring for a newborn, coping with a 
potential substance abuse complication for that newborn, and caring for 
herself in her often deadly battle with addiction. Build Back Better 
would grow the workforce specializing in that care for moms.
  The Medicaid Reentry Act, which I did with Senator Baldwin, is also 
in the mix to provide Medicaid coverage to people as they get out of 
jail and prison. We showed in Rhode Island that these programs 
dramatically reduce overdoses and deaths in the weeks following release 
from incarceration. Steady access to care through Medicaid will save 
  There is a boost to the Minority Fellowship Program because it is 
demonstrable that a more diverse workforce produces better outcomes for 
patients and families.
  Finally, the peer recovery coach is a personal favorite of mine. We 
are pioneering this in Rhode Island. These are people who have walked 
the path of addiction and recovery, and they can relate to people who 
are struggling in a way that you and I might not be able to. Their 
role, after an overdose or in a crisis, to get people onto the path of 
recovery is wonderfully important.
  All of the other things we are doing will actually create more stable 
lives. When events happen that knock people off of the path of 
recovery, having a stable life actually allows for a better shot at 
recovery and work around relapse.
  So there is a lot to love in Build Back Better, and I want people to 
know that we did not forget those folks who are struggling with 
addiction or walking the noble path of recovery.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that Senators 
Merkley, Kaine, and I be able to complete our remarks prior to the 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, we are all gathered here today, the 
group of us, to make a real case for passing the Build Back Better 
agenda and what it really means to people back in our home States, as 
Senator Whitehouse was just explaining about Rhode Island. We get a lot 
in the minutia here for good reason. We are fighting a lot of forces. 
But in the end, what I know about this agenda, from the infrastructure 
in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the work we are doing as part 
of this people-first agenda, it is about putting the people of this 
country first over the pharmaceutical companies, over polluters.
  As I see those fires rage in my State, I know we have to do something 
about it. As I see people coming to me after years and years and years 
about the costs of common drugs--Lyrica. You see it advertised on TV 
all the time. What you might not know is that it has gone up 50 percent 
in just the last 5 years.
  What I do know is that the people of this country overwhelmingly--
Democrats, Republicans, and Independents--support bringing costs down 
for families, support a big middle-class tax cut, and support doing 
something about pharmaceutical prices.
  Chief among the reforms in this bill when it comes to healthcare will 
be allowing Medicare to negotiate directly for less expensive drugs for 
our seniors. I think 46 million seniors should be able to get a pretty 
good deal, and I know they could if someone let them do it.
  Right now, in law, because the pharmaceutical companies lobbied to 
get it done, they got a ban--a ban--on Medicare negotiating better 
prices for our seniors. This doesn't just help our seniors, to lift 
this ban; it helps everyone in America because this is the single 
biggest purchaser of drugs, our seniors, because they need help in 
their later years. They have health issues.
  The stories I have heard in my State--people like Claire from St. 
Paul. When the cost of the prescription drugs she relied on to manage 
her arthritis jumped from 60 bucks per month to 1,400 bucks per month, 
she knew she could no longer afford it. She tried over-the-counter 
options. Her arthritis advanced. She could barely hold a fork and a 
knife. I met a woman who was literally holding the drops of her insulin 
from day to day to day so she could save it for the next day. That is 
how we are treating seniors in our country?
  Let's unleash the power of 46 million seniors, get better prices for 
the drugs, push this Build Back Better agenda, which puts people first, 
and bring down the cost of prescription drugs.
  Thank you, Madam President.

[[Page S6974]]

  I yield the floor to my friend from Oregon.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. MERKLEY. Madam President, Build Back Better invests in families, 
the foundations for our families to thrive--in education, in childcare, 
in healthcare, and in housing. So much is needed. It makes huge 
investments critical to taking on the biggest challenge facing mankind: 
climate chaos.
  Earlier this summer, the U.N. climate panel released a report they 
called ``code red for humanity'' because the science shows what a dire 
path we are on right now.
  Another report, this one coming from Save the Children and published 
in the journal Science, titled ``Born into the Climate Crisis,'' shows 
how much harder life is going to be for our children. Let me say it 
again: for our children--not our children's children, not our 
grandchildren's grandchildren; our children. On average, they will 
experience 2\1/2\ times more droughts than we did, three times as many 
floods, three times as many crop failures, twice the number of 
wildfires, and so forth. This is the dangerous and unforgiving world we 
are willfully leaving our children if we do not act now to control 
methane and carbon dioxide that are heating up our planet and causing 
these catastrophes. This is a collective effort of humankind, but 
America has to act and help lead the world to action.
  Now, some say we simply cannot afford the investments, but the truth 
is, we can't not afford to act. Last year alone, America confronted 22 
separate billion-dollar disasters. That came with a $95 billion 
pricetag to the American people. Winds and flooding and severe storms 
accounted for $35 billion. Hurricanes over the last 5 years cost $400 
billion. Those numbers don't account for the droughts, the wildfires, 
the impact on sea life, ocean ecosystems, the fishing industry. They 
don't account for any of that.
  We are facing massive economic disasters if we don't act on climate, 
and the way we act: We pass Build Back Better. We set ourselves on that 
path to net zero in the next 30 years, reducing our emissions over the 
next decade to half of what they were in 2005, ensuring that 80 percent 
of our American electricity is carbon-free by 2030, and ensuring that 
half of America's auto fleet is electric by the same time. We have the 
tools. We have to have the political will to act. So we must pass Build 
Back Better.
  Thank you, Madam President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Madam President, I rise with my colleagues on Build Back 
Better, and I just want to emphasize two points that really matter to 
  First, Build Back Better is absolutely critical to combine with the 
infrastructure bill. If we make an infrastructure investment that will 
be the biggest since the Interstate Highway System, who is going to 
build it? Who is going to build it?
  Open the paper. You can't hire schoolbus drivers. You can't hire 
truckers. We have a tight labor market right now. What Build Back 
Better does is massive investments in the American workforce, beginning 
with the workforce of tomorrow--our children--all the way up through 
community college, workforce development, and immigration reforms that 
will expand the Nation's workforce.
  If we invest in infrastructure but don't think about making sure that 
we have the workforce to do it, what a missed opportunity. The Build 
Back Better plan has amazing investments in our workforce--the 
workforce we need right now and the workforce we will need for decades.
  The second thing about Build Back Better that I particularly 
appreciate is what it does for children.
  If we pass Build Back Better, we will have done for American children 
what Social Security has done for American seniors.
  Let me just point something out.
  Pre-Social Security, you would work your whole life; you would 
educate your kids; you would be the PTA president or the Little League 
coach or the Sunday school teacher. You would retire, and 50 percent of 
people would retire and then go below the poverty level. That was what 
being a senior citizen was in the United States before Social Security.
  FDR basically said: We want you to have a dignified retirement 
because you have worked, and you have earned it.
  So Social Security, once passed and implemented, dropped the senior 
poverty rate from 50 percent to 10 percent. There has never been a 
program that has been as successful in doing exactly what it was 
designed to do as Social Security.
  Build Back Better can do the same thing for kids. We are a nation 
that has tolerated, for decades, a youth poverty level dramatically 
higher than the adult poverty level. What does that say about a 
society? Yet we have sort of acted like: Well, I guess that is the law 
of nature. I guess we can't do anything about it. I guess kids are just 
going to be a lot poorer than adults.
  We don't have to tolerate it. We can do something about it with the 
combined impact of the child tax credit, the childcare tax credit, the 
funding for childcare, universal pre-K, paid parent and family leave, 
and free community college. If you put those things together, we will 
do for children what Social Security did for adults, and we will no 
longer be a nation that tolerates an unacceptably high children's 
poverty rate and says: Well, there is nothing we can do about it.
  We can do something about it, and we will do something about it. That 
is why I so strongly support, with my colleagues, Build Back Better.
  I yield back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.

                              Debt Ceiling

  Ms. KLOBUCHAR. Madam President, as we await the vote this afternoon, 
I hope we will resolve a number of things today so that we make sure we 
stand by the full faith and credit of the United States and not let 
regular people's interest rates go up, the economy go to tatters, and 
our credit rating be downgraded. I hope we can get this done.
  At the same time, just as Americans have gone through this pandemic--
just as those moms and dads have been at home, with their toddlers on 
their knees and laptops on their desks; just as they have been teaching 
their first graders how to use a mute button; and just as so many 
people have lost their jobs or risked their lives while working on the 
frontline--they are ready to get through this. They see the light at 
the end of the tunnel or, as we say in Duluth, MN, the lighthouse on 
the horizon. They see this just as we continue to work, as best we can, 
with a number of our colleagues we disagree with because we think we 
should just simply move through this and make sure we are standing by 
the full faith and credit of the United States and not let our debt 
ceiling lapse.
  As we do that, we are looking to the future just as America is. Just 
as we are starting to see those jobs come back, they are going back to 
work; they are starting to see their families again; they are going to 
family reunions; they are starting to be able to go to weddings again. 
As all of this is happening--as we get the vaccine out there and as we 
bring people back together--we also have to plan for that future just 
like families do every day.
  That is what this is about, the Build Back Better agenda. That is 
what this is about--putting people in front of so many people who, 
honestly, have done pretty well during this time. There are a whole 
bunch of billionaires who didn't even have to pay taxes while these 
families have been struggling through the pandemic. There are a whole 
bunch of people for whom it is easier to go and get prescription drugs 
or do whatever they want while other people are having to choose 
between filling their refrigerators with food or filling their 
prescriptions at the pharmacy.
  So you got a tour in the last half hour from Maryland to Wisconsin, 
the State of my neighboring friend Tammy Baldwin; to Rhode Island; to 
the great State of Oregon on the west coast; to my home State of 
Minnesota; to close by Senator Kaine's State of Virginia. What we are 
seeing, while our States may be very different, and what we are hearing 
are the same things: Regular people want to bring costs down. That is 
what this bill is about--bringing costs down for families in America--
and there are many ways we are going to do this.
  One is with straightforward tax cuts for people. Another is with 
making it

[[Page S6975]]

easier to afford things. It is that simple. That is what I like most 
about it in my State. They want to make it easier to get childcare. 
They want to make it easier to get healthcare. They want to make it 
easier for their parents at the moment when they go to assisted living 
or they need to get someone in to help them, just like my dad, whom we 
lost this year. He got that long-term care insurance. I don't know why 
he did it, but he did. I knew the day that his money ran out, and he 
was going to go on Medicaid because that was there for his safety net. 
So many families in America know exactly what I am talking about, and 
what this bill does is build on the safety net we have in place.
  So let's remember that. Putting our kids first, our seniors first, 
our families first, our healthcare first--that is what this is about.
  We look forward, over the next few weeks, to getting this bill done 
and getting it agreed to. To me, it is not always about what those top 
numbers are and everything you hear on the news; it is for what it is 
going to mean to the families in my State.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.
  Mr. KAINE. Madam 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. SCHUMER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

                           Order of Procedure

  Mr. SCHUMER. Madam President, as in legislative session, I ask 
unanimous consent that notwithstanding rule XXII, following the 
disposition of the motion to discharge, the Senate resume legislative 
session; that there be 3 hours for debate under the control of Senator 
Lee or his designee and 1 hour under the control of the majority; that 
upon the use or yielding back of time, the Senate vote on the motion to 
invoke cloture on the motion to concur with an amendment; that if 
cloture is invoked, all postcloture time be considered expired, 
amendment No. 3848 be withdrawn, and the Senate vote on the motion to 
concur with the amendment; that if the motion to concur with the 
amendment is agreed to, the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table without intervening action or debate; further, that 
upon disposition of the House message with respect to S. 1301, the 
Senate vote on the motion to invoke cloture on Executive Calendar No. 
259; that if cloture is invoked on the nomination, all postcloture time 
be considered expired and the Senate vote on the confirmation of the 
nomination at 5:30 p.m., Monday, October 18.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.

                      Vote on Motion to Discharge

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.
  The question is on agreeing to the motion.
  The yeas and nays were previously ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from North Carolina (Mr. Burr).
  The result was announced--yeas 50, nays 49, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 410 Ex.]


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The motion was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Warnock). Pursuant to S. Res. 27 and the 
motion to discharge having been agreed to, the nomination will be 
placed on the Executive Calendar.