[Congressional Record Volume 168, Number 194 (Wednesday, December 14, 2022)]
[Pages S7153-S7162]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


                           Government Funding

  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, last night, Chairman Leahy, Ranking 
Member Shelby, and Chairman DeLauro announced that the appropriators 
have agreed to a framework for an omnibus agreement that will fully 
fund the Federal Government in fiscal year 2023. This is welcome and 
important news. Congress now has a roadmap for funding the government 
before the conclusion of the 117th Congress--something the large 
majority of us want to see. We still have a long way to go, but a 
framework is a big step in the right direction.
  A yearlong omnibus is by far the best option we have for making sure 
our kids, our senior citizens, our veterans, our small businesses, our 
military members, our defense, and all of the families who benefit from 
this don't

[[Page S7154]]

see vital government services lapse or shrink. It means we can fully 
implement the investments secured. We fought so hard for the PACT Act; 
we have to fund it. We fought so hard for the CHIPS and Science Act; we 
have to fund it. A CR will not fund these bills, but an omnibus 
agreement will. And they were all bipartisan, with large support from 
both sides of the aisle.
  An omnibus bill is also a balanced approach because it will contain 
wins that both sides want to see, like the Electoral Count Act and 
funding for our friends in Ukraine. If we can come to an agreement on 
an omnibus, I am optimistic that these bills, which are so important to 
Democrats and Republicans alike--the ECA and funding for Ukraine--can 
become law.
  But before we pass a funding bill, we also must ensure the government 
doesn't first shut down, so we are going to have to pass a 1-week 
continuing resolution ASAP. The House is set to act on a 1-week CR as 
soon as tonight, and when that bill comes to the Senate, we should be 
ready to act quickly, as soon as tomorrow if we can.
  The appropriations process, of course, is not over. So the 
responsible and prudent thing to do right now is to pass a 1-week CR 
quickly, without the unwelcome brouhaha that has provoked shutdowns in 
the past.
  And, remember, as we go through this appropriations process, the 
experiences of the last decades show that those who risk shutdowns in 
order to make political points always lose in the end.

                              Nancy Pelosi

  Mr. President, now, on Speaker Pelosi, later this afternoon, I will 
have the honor--the bittersweet honor--of joining with congressional 
leaders, past and present, to unveil the official portrait of my dear 
friend and a great leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Every year, millions 
come to the Capitol to learn about our democracy and to put a face to 
the names of history. They walk these halls and see the portraits of 
Speakers from ages past--Sam Rayburn, Tip O'Neill, and so many others. 
But after today--after today--the faces of those male leaders will 
forever be joined by Madam Speaker.
  So today is a happy day to celebrate an amazing public servant who 
had an amazing career. But it is also a chance to say thank you to a 
dear friend and a beloved colleague.
  Leader to leader, I will always admire Speaker Pelosi for an 
important quality that has set her apart: She always keeps her caucus 
united behind a common goal. She keeps repeating over and over again, 
and has for 20 years: Our unity is our strength. That is what she 
always has said. I have and will continue to repeat the same to my 
  I yield the floor.

                   Recognition of the Minority Leader

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Republican leader is 

                           Government Funding

  Mr. McCONNELL. Today is December 14. The Senate Republicans have 
spent months--literally months--begging our Democratic colleagues to 
stop fiddling with partisan nonsense and focus on two core things: the 
NDAA and government funding.
  I have been talking about the need for a strong National Defense 
Authorization Act all year long--all year long. I am glad we are 
finally going to wrap up the basic governing duty that we have in the 
next few days.
  With respect to government funding, I was glad to hear Senator Shelby 
announce yesterday evening that negotiators have reached a bipartisan, 
bicameral framework for a full-year government funding bill.
  Long-term continuing resolutions cheat our Armed Forces out of the 
resources and the certainty that our commanders and civilian leaders 
need to keep modernizing our forces, investing in crucial weapons, and 
outcompeting adversaries such as China.
  I am glad that our Democratic colleagues finally accepted reality and 
conceded to the Republican position that we need to prioritize our 
national security.
  Republicans simply were not going to lavish extra liberal spending on 
the Commander in Chief's own party as a reward for adequately funding 
our national defense. It simply wasn't going to happen. Funding defense 
is a basic, bipartisan duty of our government, not something that earns 
Democrats special treats.
  As Senator Shelby stated last night, this framework agreement doesn't 
mean the hard work is over; it means the hard work can finally start. 
It will take seriousness and good faith on both sides to produce actual 
legislation that follows the framework.
  Poison pills, especially far-left demands to overturn longstanding 
and commonsense policy riders will need to stay away from the process. 
And even then, the calendar will still make this a challenging sprint. 
Our side has made it clear that the Senate has until December 22 to 
complete either a full-year funding bill or a short-term CR into early 
next year. That is the deadline, and those are the two options.
  If a truly bipartisan full-year bill without poison pills is ready 
for final Senate passage by late next week, then I will support it, for 
our Armed Forces particularly. Otherwise, we will be passing a short-
term continuing resolution into the new year.


  Mr. President, now on a different matter, against the backdrop of 
punishing 13.8 percent cumulative inflation since January 2021, an open 
borders crisis, spiking deaths from drug overdoses, and surging violent 
crime from coast to coast, President Biden has decided that his A-1 
priority needs to be--listen to this--cracking down on charter schools 
and harming the educational opportunities available to millions of low-
income students in the process.

  Charter schools have long injected a huge dose of choice and 
competition into the schooling options available to low-income 
Americans and communities of color. This became especially true and 
especially important back during the pandemic.
  Big Labor teachers unions spent the entire pandemic forcing 
government-run public schools to keep their doors shut long after 
private schools, parochial schools, and schools across Europe were all 
back operating safely in person.
  Charter schools became a haven. They offered an escape rope out of 
the learning loss for kids who would otherwise have been left behind. 
No wonder that, according to one analysis, charter school enrollment 
has surged since the pandemic started, even as public school 
enrollments have fallen off.
  But, sadly, whenever kids' best interests and Big Labor's pocketbooks 
come into conflict, we know where most of today's Democratic Party will 
come down. The Biden administration has dutifully written a harsh new 
regulation that would intentionally chip away at the Federal charter 
schools program and strip funding from many public charter schools. 
President Biden and his team are trying to force charter schools to 
conform to a whole new set of top-down, one-size-fits-all rules that 
the teachers unions want to be forced onto their competitors.
  The Democrats' rule is designed to hamstring charter schools and 
leave them more reliant on government bureaucracies in everything from 
what they teach to how kids get to school in the morning. Perhaps worst 
of all, they want charter schools' Federal funding to be heavily 
contingent on whether the Democrats' Federal bureaucracy agrees there 
is a ``need'' for their existence.
  This is a plan to take options away from parents, to take 
opportunities away from kids, to take choice away from families, and to 
transfer that power directly to Big Labor bosses and Big Government 
bureaucrats--yet another example of Democrats' trying every trick to 
make end-runs around parents' rights in education, stripping power away 
from parents, and handing it over to the bureaucrats.
  So I want to commend the Senator from South Carolina, Senator Tim 
Scott, for bringing forward a Congressional Review Act resolution to 
right this wrong. I would urge every Member of the Senate to put 
families first and vote for Senator Scott's commonsense resolution.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. 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.

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  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 

           Remembering Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

  Mr. BLUMENTHAL. Mr. President, many of us in Connecticut and 
throughout the Nation awoke today with a heavy heart, with grief still 
so raw that we could almost touch it.
  I wish I could tell you that 10 years ago to this day was a blur. I 
wish I could tell you that the memory of that day has dimmed. I wish I 
could tell you that the knife-like sorrow and pain has subsided. But 
the fact is, it is still raw and real for so many of us in Connecticut, 
this day 10 years ago.
  My mind goes back to the horrors of this day, and I think that 
reliving it reminds us of the need to honor those 26 lives with action. 
It is still searingly and scarily vivid--the voices, the faces, the 
unforgettable moments of that tragedy, as we stood at the firehouse in 
Sandy Hook and saw parents and loved ones emerge after learning that 
their children or loved ones--beautiful babies and great educators--
would not be coming home that night; parents with their faces frozen in 
shock and sorrow, struggling through tears; police and first responders 
bent with disbelief and grief; townspeople, loved ones feeling helpless 
and hopeless.
  And at the wakes and funerals that followed, what we saw was a town 
and a State that rallied together--but still the searing sorrow of 
those losses and also the determination that was expressed that night 
at St. Rose of Lima Church to turn that grief and sorrow into something 
  As I recall very vividly, at one of the wakes, I approached a mom who 
had just lost her child and said: When you are ready, I would like to 
talk about what we can do to stop this kind of gun violence. And she 
looked at me through her tears and said: I am ready. I am ready now.
  That is the spirit that Sandy Hook and Newtown brought to the world 
as the world watched them. And many of them, not all, but many turned 
that grief and loss into advocacy. They came here to the Capitol. They 
asked us to do something about gun violence. They spoke to colleagues. 
They crusaded. They sought to improve the background check system that 
all too often allows people who are dangerous to have weapons, people 
who should be separated from their guns or prevented from having them 
in the first place.
  And they were in this Gallery, many of them, when the vote on that 
background check bill failed. It received 60 votes, but it failed--it 
received less than 60 votes, so it failed. It received a majority but 
not the 60 votes that it needed.
  And from the Gallery I heard then and I still feel that it echoes in 
this Chamber: Shame. Shame on you.
  And, indeed, shame on us for the 10 years afterward when no action 
came from this body.
  In the last decade, they have continued that crusade. They have 
helped to form a movement. They have been joined by tens of thousands 
of others in a movement to change the law, to turn that trauma and loss 
into positive social change and reform, and they have helped create a 
movement--organizations like Giffords and Newtown Action Alliance, 
Sandy Hook Promise, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, the 
Newtown Action Alliance, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, many of them 
coming here and working year after year.
  That episode and others like it--the scourge of gun violence--have 
given rise to that movement.
  And through that decade, literally 41,000 Americans have died every 
year. One million Americans in total have been shot. Gun violence is 
now the leading cause of death among American children and teens. Every 
day, eight children and teens are unintentionally or accidentally 
injured or killed due to an unlocked or unsupervised gun.
  But the survivors and the loved ones have become the difference 
makers, and they have been joined by law enforcement and parents, 
teachers, medical professionals, activists and advocates who have said 
to us: Enough is enough. And their determination and courage, their 
conviction, that momentum has created a different trajectory, a 
different climate of opinion in this country so that now a majority of 
Americans want commonsense, sensible controls on gun violence.
  So the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act was not an 
accident of history; it was the culmination of a movement that is still 
growing and spreading in its influence and impact.
  And there is no minimizing the importance of the measure that we 
passed with strong bipartisan support last August. It improves the 
background system. It closes the boyfriend loophole. It helps stop gun 
trafficking. It adopts the concept of red flag statutes, intervention 
in crisis, separating people from guns when they are going to kill 
themselves or others or at least tell people they are going to do it.
  And that red flag or emergency risk protection order movement is one 
that we in Connecticut initiated. We were the first to pass that 
statute. And I have worked with Senator Graham and others in bipartisan 
expansion of that proposal, and it is already helping to save lives. In 
Florida, it has saved countless lives, in Connecticut--in the 19 States 
where there are red flag statutes. And the act as a whole is helping to 
save lives.
  As my colleague Senator Murphy, who will speak shortly, has said, the 
reforms on the background check system alone have helped to save lives, 
and I credit him with his leadership in passing that measure.
  And yet--and yet--the deaths continue. We know that that measure was 
not the single solution or the panacea that will solve the problem of 
gun violence, the scourge, the epidemic of gun violence deaths in this 
  We have broken the grip of the gun lobby. The NRA is a shadow of 
itself, and we have a movement that is growing in importance and 
impact, but there is so much more to be done in the law. We need 
Ethan's Law, safe storage, such as we have done in Connecticut, 
strengthened red flag and emergency risk protection order statutes, 
better background check systems to make them more complete and better 
enforceable, and, yes, ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, 
ghost guns, which are the scourge of law enforcement.
  And so I say to the advocates and activists who are continuing this 
movement: We will continue that work. We will honor with action the 
lives which are lost not only in Sandy Hook but all around this 
country, day after day, in drive-by shootings, in crimes, and criminal 
assaults in domestic violence.
  Just in this past month, a brave young woman, Julie Minogue, was lost 
in Connecticut to domestic violence, where a protective order should 
have helped to save her life.
  And we owe our police more support and resources to enforce those 
protective orders and to take action against gun violence. They are 
unsung heroes. And in the wake of Sandy Hook, many of them experienced 
trauma and mental health challenges that still linger with them. On 
this day, we should remember and commemorate and celebrate the service 
of our police and, yes, our teachers who also, every day, have to do 
the drills and experience the fear and apprehension for themselves and 
their students.
  They are also unsung heroes of Sandy Hook and afterward; and parents 
who have to explain why they have that apprehension and why their 
children have to prepare for those drills; our medical professionals in 
the emergency room who see this trauma and the death and injury day in 
and day out.
  They are doing their jobs. Our teachers are doing their jobs. Our 
police are doing their jobs. Parents are doing their jobs. Congress is 
not doing its job. Thank you to them for doing their job. Congress must 
do its job to strengthen our laws and prevent gun violence.
  And there is a new generation of activists and advocates coming 
along. The young woman who spoke at the vigil last Wednesday night and 
introduced President Biden--a survivor of Sandy Hook--is just one 
example; March For Our Lives, emanating from Parkland. All of the young 
people who are demonstrating that positive energy that is so critically 
important in advancing this movement, they are showing awe-inspiring 
hope and grace. Junior Newtown Action Line is another example.
  The community of Sandy Hook has responded with dazzling strength and

[[Page S7156]]

courage. That community has not only rallied around the loved ones who 
have experienced unspeakable loss, but they have helped to support the 
charitable and nonprofits that those families formed in the wake of 
those losses.
  They have truly chosen love, those families. Many of them have 
established foundations and nonprofits that benefit music, art, 
education, scholarships for students, animal sanctuaries.
  I have worked with the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement, started by 
Scarlett Lewis; the Sandy Hook Promise organization, started by the 
Hockley and Barden families; the Catherine Violet Hubbard Foundation; 
Ben's Lighthouse; the Emilie Parker Art Foundation; the Vicki Soto 
Memorial Fund, which just a couple of weeks ago had a run in Stratford, 
a 5K, to benefit the great work that it is doing on scholarships; the 
Avielle Foundation; and the Ana Grace Project. The list goes on. It is 
a part of this story because Sandy Hook is the story not only of social 
change and legal and legislative reform, but it is also an intensely 
personal story about grace and grit, about courage and strength, and 
about a personal dedication to making good come out of the unimaginable 
horror and evil on that day.
  Sandy Hook in Connecticut is also the story about peacekeepers--a new 
generation of peacekeepers, young people who are dedicated in Hartford 
through the Compass Youth Collaborative, graduates of the Brother Carl 
Hardrick Institute, who are determined to try to prevent violence and 
reach out to others of their age and stop gun violence before it begins 
by enlisting others in peacekeeping and intervention.
  That is also the result of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, 
because the investment of $15 billion in mental health and crisis 
intervention and community organization is, at the end of the day, a 
critical part of stopping gun violence.
  The survivors club, as someone has said, is one that no one wants to 
join. This survivors club of gun violence is a network that no one 
wants to be a part of personally. And yet, as long as the violence 
continues, there will be survivors and loved ones, like the great and 
graceful families of Sandy Hook.
  As our heart goes out to them on this day, we should keep in mind and 
in our hearts the need to honor with action--continuing action. They 
are doing their job. Police, teachers, medical professionals, parents, 
all of the professionals are doing their jobs. Congress must do its 
job. The time is for action--more action now.
  I yield the floor to my colleague from Connecticut, who has been such 
a champion in this effort, Senator Murphy.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Connecticut.
  Mr. MURPHY. Mr. President, Jimmy Greene and his wife Nelba lost a 
daughter in Sandy Hook. Jimmy said this, leading up to the 10-year mark 
of the shooting in Newtown that we are commemorating today:

       There is a saying in our culture that ``time heals all 
     wounds,'' but I wouldn't say that is true in my case.

  Senator Blumenthal and I have been down here on December 14 for 9 
years in a row. Senator Blumenthal and I have given hundreds of 
speeches on this floor in the intervening days and months, in between 
those anniversaries, talking about what happened in Sandy Hook and 
trying to compel our colleagues to action. But there is nothing that we 
can say that explains through words the feeling of cataclysmic loss 
when you lose a child--a 6-year-old or a 7-year-old or an 18-year-old 
or a 19-year-old.
  Senator Blumenthal and I were there at the firehouse in Sandy Hook 
that day. There are a lot of days when I wish I hadn't heard and seen 
the things that I saw and heard that day. But we were voyeurs. We were 
interlopers. There is no way that we can understand what those families 
are going through today, as the pain still feels, for many, as acute as 
it did 10 years ago.
  So Senator Blumenthal and I think it is important to come down here 
and honor the memory of those children and those six educators every 
year on December 14. But I also know that there is nothing that I can 
do with words to explain to you how different the community of Sandy 
Hook is and how those lives will never, ever be the same.
  I guess I come to this day every year with two emotions. One is of 
just deep sorrow, just to think about who those kids were going to 
become. Senator Blumenthal and I have gotten to learn so much about 
these kids. I know more about those 20 6-year-old kids than I probably 
know about any other set of 6-year-old kids other than my own when they 
were that age over the course of my lifetime, and I love those kids. I 
see the genius in them. They were already doing such miraculous things, 
showing such kindness and such talent. And to think that those kids 
today would be preparing for college, deciding where they wanted to 
open up their next chapter, to think of what has been stolen from this 
  My sorrow is also due to the fact that, well, this Nation is 
different today than it was before Sandy Hook. The country now compels 
us to action. There are groups all over the country dedicated to trying 
to change the laws of this country to make a Sandy Hook less likely.
  This was all happening before Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook was the first 
shooting of little kids in a school of this size. But a few weeks after 
Sandy Hook happened, Senator Blumenthal and I went to do a community 
meeting in the north end of Hartford, and there we met parents of 
children who had been killed on the streets of Hartford who were 
furious, and even more furious after Sandy Hook. They told us: Nobody 
can relate to those families in Sandy Hook more than we can. We lost 
children just like they lost children, but why did this country wait 
until Sandy Hook to open their eyes to the epidemic of gun violence 
that exists every single day, whether or not it hits the headlines?

  So my sorrow today is for what we lost 10 years ago today, for the 
genius and the talent that was extinguished from this Earth--those kids 
and those educators, those teachers. But also my sorrow today is for 
the fact that it took Sandy Hook to wake this country up to what had 
been happening in front of us every single day.
  And to really understand the gravity of Sandy Hook, you can't just 
think about those kids. That is the worst part of this, by leaps and 
bounds. But there are survivors. There are children who witnessed those 
shootings. There are family members who experienced deep trauma. There 
are first responders who will never be the same after having to sort 
through that carnage.
  Sandy Hook is a window into the particular grief that comes with 
losing someone to gun violence, especially someone young, but also the 
broad sweeping trauma that comes with a shooting of 20 or 1.
  That is the important thing to understand today, as well--that our 
love needs to go to those families, first and foremost, but also to the 
community of Newtown. But so must it go to the broader experience of 
gun violence.
  I live in Hartford, CT. I live in the South End of Hartford, a 
neighborhood adjacent to the South End of Hartford. I hear every night 
the sirens and police cars and ambulances whizzing by my house. I went 
to a middle school--actually, to a K-8 school. I met with middle 
schoolers at this school just down the street from my home a few weeks 
ago, just to kind of talk to these kids about what they wanted to 
change about the neighborhood we live in.
  Do you know what they wanted to talk to me about? They wanted to talk 
to me about their walk to and from school. They wanted to talk to me 
about how dangerous it is for them to walk from their house to the 
school that they go to and how every single day they are experiencing a 
trauma that many people who grow up in the suburbs or rural areas of 
this country will never experience once in their life. But these kids 
experience it every single day.
  That is the true story of American gun violence, not just those who 
lose their lives but this much bigger universe of millions of 
individuals who experienced trauma either through the loss, through the 
firsthand experience of gun violence, or through the daily threat of 
gun violence.
  And so my pain is for what we lost that day. My pain is for the 
delayed reaction of this country in waking up to this epidemic. My pain 
is for the broader community of kids and individuals

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who have to live with the consequences of our inaction.
  But I just simply want to underscore something Senator Blumenthal 
said as well. I also come to this day with a lot of joy, a lot of joy 
for what we have found that lies inside each of us. Out of Sandy Hook 
came kindness and grace. Senator Blumenthal rattled off a list of not-
for-profit organizations, charitable causes that have sprung forth from 
those families in Sandy Hook; the amount of money that has been raised 
to try to make people's lives better in big ways and small ways. I come 
to this day with a lot of gratitude for the community of Sandy Hook for 
deciding to take that awful tragedy and turning it into something 
  There are small, little charities that started out of Sandy Hook 
based upon the passions of those kids--kids who loved art or who loved 
animals. There are now charitable organizations that give more kids--
especially more underserved kids--access to art and experience with 
animals. There are big organizations that are seeking to change the 
culture of schools to make sure that you don't have situations in which 
individuals who are going through mental illness or trauma find 
themselves isolated and ostracized in the way that many mass shooters 
  So there is so much important work that is happening based off of 
that loss. I have joy for that. I do. I do.
  I also have gratitude for all the people who have stepped up and have 
been part of this movement to change the laws of this country.
  I get it that people didn't see results here for 10 years until this 
summer. But Senator Blumenthal and I and others, and Senator Durbin, 
who have been working on this issue for a decade, we saw that small but 
meaningful progress every single year. Every single year, a couple more 
partners, especially on the Republican side, were willing to talk to us 
about change.
  All of a sudden, it became a little bit more likely that we would 
finally pass something. Then, finally, this summer, almost 10 years to 
the day of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we passed the most significant 
anti-gun violence measure in Congress in 30 years.
  I got a briefing from the Department of Justice, as did Senator 
Tillis and Senator Cornyn, just a few weeks ago, and we were shown 
evidence that this law that we passed collectively was already saving 
lives. We were given cases in which individuals who would have gotten a 
gun, who were in crisis, who were contemplating violence did not get a 
gun because of the law that we passed together. What we have done isn't 
enough, and it doesn't absolve us of the responsibility to do more, but 
it is saving lives.
  This day, for me, comes with gratitude and joy for all of the people 
all across this country, especially those people in Newtown who decided 
to be part of this movement which allowed us to pass legislation this 
summer, which is, as we speak, saving lives all around this country.
  My sorrow and my joy that I bring to this day, you know, is through 
my perspective as the Representative of Newtown. I was the Congressman 
for Newtown for 6 years. I had just been elected to the Senate about a 
month prior when Sandy Hook happened.
  It is also due to my perspective as a parent. My kids are amongst 
this generation that has grown up knowing nothing except for the threat 
of a mass shooting. I will never forget my kindergartner, who is now a 
fifth grader, coming home and telling me about his first active shooter 
drill. He didn't exactly know what it was, right? He was 5 years old.
  He said: Dad, my teacher told us all to go to the bathroom today--all 
of us, all 26 of us. She packed us into the bathroom.
  He described the fact that they were standing in the bathroom, all 
tight together like sardines, and he said: She told us we were 
practicing for what would happen if a bad man came into our building, 
and she told us to stay there and be quiet for as long as we could.
  He didn't really know what it was, but he knew enough to say to me 
this: Daddy, I didn't like it.
  My older son texted a few weeks ago to tell us that his school was in 
a lockdown because of a shooting outside. For 2 hours, those kids sat 
in that school until they were released. I mean, my kids, I think, are 
proud of the fact that their dad comes to work every day and tries to 
solve this epidemic, but there is no way to really calculate what this 
generation of kids is losing every single day by living in fear.
  I think what we did this summer really helped, though. I say that 
honestly. Some people say it is not enough; that you have to go 
further. But what we communicated this summer to those kids and the 
parents is that we care. Our answer isn't nothing, right?
  As much as I experience this as a father, I also know that we have 
made progress and that that progress has been logistical and practical 
but that it has also been metaphysical; it has been emotional. What we 
did this summer just gave the kids of this country and the parents of 
this country a little bit of a feeling that we are going to be there 
for them and, hopefully, more in the future.
  So I am grateful to be on the floor with my colleague today in 
commemorating everything that we lost at Sandy Hook and in thanking the 
community members of Sandy Hook for standing up and showing the world 
the best part of that community.
  I am grateful to my colleagues this year for turning a page, for 
turning a corner in our obligation to keep our kids safe. Senator 
Blumenthal and I will be here for the 11th anniversary and the 12th and 
the 13th and, hopefully, we will have more progress to discuss and we 
will have more positive change brought to this country by the families 
of Sandy Hook.
  Robbie Parker and his wife lost their little daughter, Emilie. Emilie 
was so cute. She was 6 years old when she died.
  Robbie said this: We have learned how to hold on to two things. We 
can enjoy the things that make us happy--Robbie says about his family, 
the Parkers--and we can also carry the pain of losing someone and the 
sorrow that comes with that.
  It is OK to feel both things today. It is OK to feel pain for what 
happened at Sandy Hook, but don't let that consume you, because the 
Parkers aren't letting it consume them.
  Jimmy Greene will tell you that time has not healed his wounds, but I 
know Nelba and Jimmy. I know that they bring a lot of joy every day.
  So feel pain today; feel sorrow; think about those families, but, 
man, bring some life and some grace. Make a decision that, in your 
world, you are going to honor those kids' and those adults' memories 
with some action because, I guess, that is what I think about most 
today. I am sad for what we have lost, but I am also inspired and 
hopeful for all of the grace and the kindness that has grown out of 
this tragedy.
  I also realize that, maybe more than anything else today, we should 
recognize that nothing in our lives that we love should be taken for 
granted. It can all disappear in an instant. So show that daily grace 
and kindness that is necessary to communicate to your loved ones, to 
your friends, to your communities that you don't take them for granted.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 

                       Electoral Count Reform Act

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, in 2022, as America approaches its 
semiquincentennial of the independence of our Nation, the United States 
of America stands at a crossroads.
  Disturbingly, since the January 6 insurrection of our Capitol which 
sought to block the peaceful transfer of power after a free and fair 
election, a growing number of Americans believes that violence against 
government can be justified, according to recently polling. We have 
witnessed a disturbing rise of threats against law enforcement 
officials from various domestic violent extremist groups as well as 
threats and intimidation against public officials, such as school board 
officials and election workers, who are simply doing their jobs. We 
must condemn acts of violence from all corners and prosecute

[[Page S7158]]

those who seek to harm public officials to the fullest extent of the 
  We also witnessed the rise of election deniers in the 2022 midterm 
elections who repeated the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen 
and who pledged their loyalty to a particular candidate or ideology 
instead of the rule of law.
  We have seen a rise of violent actions--a rise of anti-Semitism, a 
rise of hate crimes--and it is very much connected to the assault on 
our democratic institutions. All of us must be defenders of the 
democratic institutions, which are the bedrock of America.
  As we saw in the 2020 elections, different interpretations of the 
Electoral Count Act of 1887 can lead down a dangerous path, such as 
when former President Donald Trump and his enablers attempted to 
overthrow a free and fair election won by President Joe Biden, leading 
to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. We were there. We were in 
harm's way. We know exactly how violent that group of insurrectionists 
  President Trump's latest outrage is to talk about suspending the 
Constitution because he lost the election. Free and fair elections and 
the peaceful transfer of power are fundamental to who we are as a 
  For this reason, several months ago, I joined a bipartisan working 
group of, roughly, 20 Senators to make urgent changes to our 
Presidential election processes. I am pleased that, in July of 2022, 
our group reached a bipartisan agreement to modernize the Electoral 
Count Act, ECA, of 1887 and to make other needed changes to improve the 
Presidential transition process.
  Our bipartisan working group's legislative proposal, the Electoral 
Count Reform Act, clarifies the appropriate State and Federal roles in 
selecting the President and Vice President of the United States. It 
makes it easier for Congress to identify a single, conclusive slate of 
electors from each State, in part, by requiring States to follow the 
rules they set before the election when designating their electors.
  We reiterate that the Vice President has a purely ceremonial function 
in the mandatory joint session of Congress to count the electoral 
votes. This was in direct response to President Trump's pressure 
campaign against Vice President Mike Pence to throw out the electoral 
votes from certain States, which enabled and led to the January 6 
insurrection and attack on the Capitol.
  We also increase the threshold needed to lodge objections against 
electoral votes to lessen the chance of frivolous objections in the 
  Our legislation also has a strong provision for expedited Federal 
judicial review to resolve legal challenges more efficiently before the 
electoral college meets to cast its votes.
  I particularly want to thank Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin 
for leading this effort as well as the other working group members: 
Senators Portman, Sinema, Romney, Shaheen, Murkowski, Warner, Tillis, 
Murphy, Capito, Young, Coons, and Sasse. This is how the Senate should 
  Our working group made several additional, useful recommendations as 
part of the Presidential Transition Improvement Act and Enhanced 
Election Security and Protection Act. This legislation would strengthen 
Presidential transitions, improve the U.S. Postal Service's handling of 
election mail, stiffen criminal penalties for those who threaten or 
intimidate election officials, and reauthorize the Election Assistance 
  The Election Assistance Commission helps administer grants to States 
and provides the best practices for election officials in various 
areas, including cyber security, election audits, and voting 
  I am pleased that the Senate Rules Committee promptly held a hearing 
on our legislative proposal and that our legislation has been endorsed 
by a broad and diverse coalition of public interest groups.
  In particular, I want to thank Chair Klobuchar and Ranking Member 
Blunt for making this proposal earlier this year and marking it up in 
their committee. I am pleased that the Senate Rules and Administration 
Committee reported out the legislation by an overwhelming bipartisan 
vote of 14 to 1 in September 2022. The committee made improvements in 
the legislation--again, that is how the process should work--under the 
leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Blunt.
  I am also pleased that the legislation has been cosponsored by our 
leaders, Leader Schumer and Leader McConnell.
  It is now time for the Senate to act. Our legislation, S. 4573, now 
has a strong bipartisan mix of 37 cosponsors.
  We must enact these reforms this month, before the 118th Congress 
convenes in 2023. We all know that the Presidential election cycle 
starts early, and we must make sure that this law is enacted before we 
start in 2023.
  As my dear friend the late Congressman John Lewis said, ``Democracy 
is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part.''
  I urge every Marylander and American to get involved. Stand up for 
our democratic system of government and the rule of law.
  Congress should act now to make sure that the lawful and rightful 
winner of the 2024 Presidential election is ultimately certified as the 
winner by the States and Congress. We cannot fail in this solemn duty 
to do everything we can to prevent another insurrection like we saw on 
January 6. We showed how fragile our democracy really is. We have an 
obligation to defend it together, as we continue our great American 
experiment with a democratic republic that serves as a beacon of 
freedom and human rights throughout the world.
  With that, I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority whip.

           Remembering Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, 10 years ago today, when I first heard the 
news, I couldn't believe it. Then, as I heard the details and learned 
of what had happened in Connecticut, I thought to myself, This is the 
moment. This shooting is so outrageous and horrible, this is the moment 
when finally America will come to grips with the reality of gun 
  What I am referring to, of course, is the Sandy Hook Elementary 
School. It was 10 years ago today that 20 beautiful little children and 
6 teachers and staff were murdered in a classroom at this grade school. 
I thought, This was it. All of the gun violence and all the gun deaths 
notwithstanding, this will do it. It is the tipping point. America will 
come to the honest reality that gun violence is unacceptable and will 
do something about it.
  Other nations have done something. Other nations have had incidents 
like this, maybe even fewer victims, and they have decided to change 
their nation's laws. They have done so, and they made their nation 
safer because of it.
  We are gathering here this morning at the request of Senator Chris 
Murphy of Connecticut to remember what happened 10 years ago. Senator 
Murphy was with the families of Sandy Hook, as was Senator Blumenthal, 
when they learned of the children's fate.
  Can you imagine being the parent of one of these little kids and 
being asked to wait in a building across the street while they looked 
at the remains of these children and tried to identify them with their 
parents? I don't know if I would ever recover from that as a parent or 
a grandparent.
  Senator Murphy and Senator Blumenthal tried to give the families 
comfort. I can't imagine that assignment. They both have brought much 
more than sorrow to this cause. Since that shooting 10 years ago, they 
have brought a fierce resolve to do something about it and to end the 
horrific carnage of gun violence in America.
  This has been an important year for gun safety in this Congress. 
After the racism-fueled mass murders at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, 
after the slaughter of 19 little children and 2 teachers in their 
elementary school in Uvalde, TX, Congress passed the most significant 
gun safety law in 30 years: the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. And 
the Senate did something that hadn't been done for 7 years: We actually 
confirmed a Director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and 
Explosives. That is a position the gun lobby had fought to keep open 
and unfilled for 7 years. We have a man on the job now. So we have made 
some progress, but we have a lot more to do. The American people want 
us to do more.

[[Page S7159]]

  It is hard to say, in this great Nation that we have been blessed to 
live in, that we are the only--only--Nation on Earth that accepts these 
horrifying levels of gun violence on a daily basis and mass shootings. 
A mass shooting is a shooting where at least four and sometimes more 
people are shot or killed.

  Many times, because of the repetition of this horrific conduct, we 
think it is inevitable, unpreventable, and we in America shrug our 
shoulders and say: That is what happens in the United States of 
America. Just in the category of fatal shootings in schools, 
kindergarten through 12th grade schools, how many fatal shootings have 
taken place in America in those schools in the 10 years since Sandy 
Hook? There have been 189--189 school shootings since Sandy Hook in 
  Gun violence is now the leading cause of death of American children. 
Think about that for a second--the leading cause of death. Every year, 
more than 3,000 children and teens die by firearms--3,000 a year--
another 15,000 are wounded, and more than 3 million American children 
are exposed to gun violence every year. For many of these kids, the 
trauma of seeing friends, parents, siblings, classmates shot may result 
in lifelong damage to their physical, mental, and emotional health. 
That is what trauma does to the survivors.
  This past June, 2 weeks after their 10-year-old daughter Lexi was 
murdered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Kimberly and Felix Rubio 
testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. In their 
testimony, Lexi's mom Kimberly issued a prophetic warning. She said:

       There's a mom listening to our testimony thinking, I can't 
     imagine the pain that family is going through, not knowing 
     that our pain will one day be their pain unless we do 

  While school massacres and other mass shootings tend to capture the 
Nation's attention, there are tens of thousands of Americans who die 
every year from the daily toll of gun violence, and many of these 
deaths barely make the news, they are so commonplace in modern America. 
They die in suicides, gun accidents--alone or in small groups--domestic 
disturbances, gang disputes, and crossfire.
  There is no corner of the country that hasn't been impacted by the 
gun violence epidemic. Some of the politicians like to point and say: 
Oh, Chicago has got all of the problems. Sadly, that is not the case. 
We all face these problems. There are many so-called red States that 
vote on the other side politically that have terrible gunshot and 
violence statistics. It affects red States and blue States, big cities, 
suburbs, small towns, rural areas--you name it. America is awash in 
guns and gun violence.
  So far this year in the city of Chicago, so far, 2,718 shootings have 
taken place. According to the Chicago Sun-Times tracker, 88 of those 
killed by guns in Chicago this year were children.
  Last Sunday, I was at a vigil in the Hyde Park section of Chicago at 
Augustana Lutheran Church. We come together each year to pray for an 
end to this gun violence, but we know in our heart of hearts that 
prayer is not enough. I believe the Good Lord expects us to pray but 
expects us to take action, too.
  The Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, has held 11 hearings 
on gun violence in these last 2 years. We have heard from a lot of 
witnesses. One I remember was Ernest Willingham from the West Side of 
Chicago. After the Cabrini-Green housing project towers were torn down, 
Ernest and his family moved to the west side of town. Before he was 17, 
Ernest Willingham's father, brother, and cousin had all been shot. A 
few years ago, he lost his best friend to a stray bullet.
  Despite the horror around him, Ernest became the first in his family 
to go to college. He is now a premed student at Northeastern University 
in Boston. He has been accepted to medical school.
  Ernest said that when he grew up, young people ``attend a lot more 
funerals than weddings,'' and parents ``live in constant fear that 
their [kid] will be the next'' victim.
  Since Sandy Hook, millions of Americans have advocated to keep guns 
out of the hands of criminals and people with mental instability and to 
protect their kids, but the gun lobby has worked to put more guns in 
more hands across America.
  Many gun manufacturers and sellers have launched aggressive marketing 
campaigns for their deadly guns.
  One of the more notorious ads showed a photo of an assault weapon--
this is a military-style weapon--with the words under it ``Consider 
your man card reissued.'' The assault rifle in that ad is a Bushmaster 
XM-15, the same kind of semiautomatic assault rifle used to commit that 
mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School. ``Consider your man card 
  Another ad showed soldiers in combat with the words ``Use what they 
use.'' Use the same weapons that soldiers and marines use in combat, 
but use them here in America. The ad came from the company called 
Daniel Defense, the manufacturer of one of the semiautomatic assault 
rifles used to murder those 19 little kids and teachers in Uvalde.
  It gets worse. AR-15s and AR-style weapons have become the weapons of 
choice for mass shooters.
  This is an ad for a JR-15, a junior model of the AR-15. It is 20 
percent smaller and lighter. It is designed for children--children--
under the age of 18.
  Look at the logos in this ad. I hope you can see it. They are also on 
the weapon. This gun manufacturer uses cartoon skulls sucking on 
pacifiers to try to hook children on using military-style assault 
  If I made that statement without this ad, you would say: Durbin is 
making up a lie. That can't be true. They really want to sell these 
guns to adults to give to little kids, and they have them festooned 
with these images that children will find interesting?
  On July 4 this year, a 21-year-old with a Smith & Wesson AR-15 
military-style rifle went up on a rooftop during a Fourth of July 
parade in Highland Park, IL.
  Now, Highland Park, IL, is one of these idyllic suburbs, a beautiful 
little place, wonderful families, a great community. And a Fourth of 
July parade is like a rite of passage. You take your kids out to see 
the flags, hear the bands, and enjoy every single moment of it.
  This Fourth of July that we just witnessed was different. Up on top 
of the roof, he pulled out his AR-15. He fired off 83 rounds in less 
than a minute. Don't tell me about good shooters with guns, good guys 
with guns that stop bad guys. There were good guys with guns all over 
the place, in uniform, with firearms by their side. What could they do 
in the 60 seconds when he fired off 83 rounds? Nothing to stop him. 
That gunman killed seven people and injured dozens more.
  Fourth of July parade, Highland Park, IL--he left a little 2-year-old 
boy, Aiden McCarthy, an orphan. He killed his mother and his father. He 
paralyzed an 8-year-old boy with a bullet that severed his spine.
  The Fourth of July attack in Highland Park was the 309th mass 
shooting in America in 2022. Do you know how many we have had since the 
Fourth of July? We have gone from 309 on the Fourth of July to 627 mass 
shootings in the United States of America this year.
  Not every shooting is committed with an assault weapon, but if a 
gunman wants to cause mass harm, assault weapons are the weapon of 
choice. And you ought to see, if you haven't already, the ``60 
Minutes'' segment of what happens to the human body when it is hit with 
a bullet from one of these guns. It doesn't pass through neatly and 
cleanly. It does damage inside the body which is almost impossible to 
  Doctors know the harm these bullets cause when they tear through the 
flesh. They don't just pierce bones and organs; they pulverize them.
  I will make it clear: I support banning these military-style assault 
weapons from civilian use. We have banned them before, and I voted for 
that. It saved lives. It is time to ban them again.
  Military assault weapons belong in the hands of the military, not in 
the hands of an 18- or 19-year-old on a roof in Highland Park, firing 
off 83 rounds in less than 60 seconds.
  One other point: Federal law gives the firearms industry broad and 
unjustifiable immunity from civil liability. I am embarrassed to say 
that the

[[Page S7160]]

laws of the United States protect the manufacturers of these weapons 
from liability. There may be a way around that, and I hope there is. 
Firearm manufacturers should not have a license to recklessly peddle 
high-powered killing machines to those who shouldn't have them. They 
should be held accountable.
  Every other product in America is held accountable. Why do guns get 
off the hook?
  The brave families of Sandy Hook took assault weapon manufacturers to 
court for their marketing practices. The families prevailed, leading to 
a landmark settlement earlier this year.
  Congress should do more to allow victims of gun violence and 
negligence to seek justice in our courts. If naming and shaming won't 
cause the gun industry to act responsibly, a day in court just might.
  As we mark the grim anniversary of that devastating day 10 years ago 
in Newtown, CT, we have got to recommit ourselves to do more--more to 
protect our kids, more to prevent mass shootings, more to reduce the 
daily toll of shootings in our homes and neighborhoods. Our work is not 
done. Families across America are counting on us. Let's do something. 
Let's stop this carnage in America.
  I yield the floor.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Oregon.

                  Unanimous Consent Request--H.R. 4330

  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, in a moment, I intend to put forward a 
unanimous consent request to pass my bipartisan bill with our colleague 
from Utah, Senator Lee, entitled the Protect Reporters from Excessive 
State Suppression Act, also known as the PRESS Act.
  Before I make the unanimous consent request, I want to take just a 
few minutes to talk about why our colleague from Utah Senator Lee and I 
feel this legislation is so important, and I will start with the basic 
proposition behind the legislation.
  If you don't have a free press, you don't have a democracy. My dad 
was a journalist. After fleeing the Nazis, he came to this country, 
taught himself English, worked in our Army developing propaganda that 
we dropped on the Nazis. He believed deeply in individual freedom and 
in press freedom and would always tell me: Ron, they go hand in hand.
  If you want to see what happens when governments undermine and 
eliminate the free press, look at Russia, look at Saudi Arabia, look at 
Iran. Information became a tool of power, abuse, and manipulation. That 
is what governments do when they want to keep freedom from breaking out 
in their countries. And so they abuse power rather than promote 
education, expression, and enlightenment among the countryside and the 
  So--let's be clear--the threat of government overreach interfering 
with the free press in the United States is not some distant, far-off, 
hypothetical idea. It happened very recently. The Trump administration 
spied on several journalists at outlets the disgraced ex-President 
personally disliked and attacked, grabbing phone and email records. The 
extent of this abuse of power has come out in shocking revelations over 
the last few years.
  And let me emphasize, the Trump administration was not the first to 
do this sort of thing. Both the Trump administration and the Obama 
administration went too far in prosecuting journalists just for doing 
their jobs.

  Now, Members of the Senate talk pretty frequently about their 
interest in protecting journalism in America. My view is the bipartisan 
PRESS Act is the best opportunity we have to make progress on that goal 
before the Congress ends--and we all hope that that is fairly shortly.
  The PRESS Act would protect the free flow of information by shielding 
journalists from being ordered by the courts to give up their sources. 
The bill includes key exceptions, such as when that information is 
necessary to prevent an act of terrorism against the United States or 
necessary to prevent the threat of imminent violence. Those exceptions 
were very important to Senator Lee and me.
  I see our colleague here from Arkansas. He and I serve on the Select 
Committee on Intelligence, so we know about the importance of 
protecting our country against terrorism.
  This legislation is very similar to legislation already on the books 
in several States, including my home State of Oregon and Senator Lee's 
home State of Utah. It is our view, though, that these protections 
should extend from sea to shining sea in our great country.
  Now, I will close by saying this is a proposal that brings both sides 
together. The House passed the PRESS Act a few months ago unanimously. 
And I think our colleagues would agree that sometimes these days it 
seems you can't get every Member of the House to even agree that there 
are 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, yet they passed our bill 
  This is a can't-miss opportunity to protect the free press in 
America. It is good for the free flow of information. It is good for 
holding government accountable, and it is good for the democratic 
ideals on which this country was founded.
  And I will just close by saying that if you read the writings of the 
Founding Fathers, it was almost as if they thought a free press was as 
important, if not more so, than government. That is how strongly they 
  Let's pass this unanimous consent request when we make it, and let's 
send the PRESS Act to the President's desk today.
  And I will now ask unanimous consent that the Committee on the 
Judiciary be discharged from further consideration of H.R. 4330 and 
that the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration; further, that 
the bill be considered read a third time and passed and the motion to 
reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Is there objection?
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Reserving the right to object--and I will--I want to make 
a few brief remarks here about why I object to the passage of this 
bill, the so-called PRESS Act, which would open a floodgate of leaks 
damaging to law enforcement and our Nation's security.
  The press, unfortunately, has a long and sordid history of publishing 
sensitive information from inside the government that damages our 
national security. During the Vietnam war, the New York Times published 
the Pentagon Papers in an effort to demoralize the American people and 
turn them against the war effort.
  During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the press routinely revealed 
details about America's efforts to hunt down terrorists, details that 
helped our enemies cover their tracks and evade justice.
  These leaks were reckless and harmful to our national security. Yet 
the PRESS Act would immunize journalists and leakers alike from 
scrutiny and consequences for their actions. This bill would prohibit 
the government from compelling any individual who calls himself a 
journalist from disclosing the source or substance of such damaging 
  This effectively would grant journalists special legal privileges to 
disclose sensitive information that no other citizen enjoys. It would 
treat the press as a special caste of crusaders for truth who are 
somehow set apart from their fellow citizens.
  But that is not how the law historically has treated journalists. Our 
laws have always made clear that journalists can be held criminally 
liable for what they publish. In the Pentagon Papers case itself, a 
kind of holy grail for the liberal media, Justice White wrote the press 
is on ``full notice of the position of the United States and must face 
the consequences if they publish'' material damaging to our national 
  So while prior restraints were ruled out, consequences for violating 
the laws of our country remained necessary, and they remain necessary 
today as well because, moreover, if recent history has taught us 
anything, it is that too many journalists these days are little more 
than leftwing activists who are, at best, ambivalent about America and 
who are cavalier about our security and about the truth.
  For instance, as the publisher of the New York Times during the 
Pentagon Papers case, Arthur ``Punch'' Sulzberger, wrote:

       I am not sure that what we offer the Vietnamese peasant or 
     what their own leaders offer them is any better than what the 
     communists offer.

[[Page S7161]]

  Think about that for a minute. The publisher of the New York Times, 
whose family still controls it today, couldn't see a difference between 
us--the United States--between Democratic Presidents John F. Kennedy 
and Lyndon Baines Johnson and Ho Chi Minh, a murderous, communist 
butcher. This is the kind of person we would be giving special legal 
privileges to that no other citizen enjoys.
  Supporters of this bill insist that it is necessary to grant 
journalists this special kind of immunity in order to ``preserve the 
free flow of information to the public.'' But, of course, there are 
many legal avenues that whistleblowers can use to air their concerns 
about potential government misconduct.
  In the executive branch, they can go to their Agency's inspector 
general. They can also go to the Office of Special Counsel, and, of 
course, they can go to the proper oversight committee here in Congress. 
Put differently, there is no shortage of legitimate and legal avenues 
for whistleblowers to unveil potential government misconduct. But this 
bill would allow any disgruntled bureaucrat, totally unaccountable to 
democratic processes, to circumvent these legitimate channels and go 
straight to the press, relying on the highly questionable judgment and 
unaccountable judgment of these bureaucrats and reporters alone to 
determine whether America's most sensitive secrets should be revealed.
  And, finally, quite aside from all these grave concerns, this bill 
hasn't been through the Senate's usual process for debating and 
refining legislation. And, as I have explained, it shows. It hasn't 
been through regular order. There have been no hearings, no markups, or 
even a previous effort to pass the bill on the floor, to my knowledge.
  This bill needs to be thoroughly vetted before we take such a drastic 
step to ensure that we don't open a floodgate of damaging leaks to our 
national security.
  Therefore, Mr. President, I object.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I think the fact that there has been an 
objection here is very unfortunate. I am just going to briefly respond.
  Our colleague from Arkansas has talked about the exceptions that are 
made in this bipartisan bill. And I would only say that the exceptions 
to make sure we can protect our country to deal with national security 
in this bill were strong enough to get the support of 435 Members of 
the House of Representatives.
  I look at the President of the Senate, and he and I were in the other 
body. And sometimes, you would think you couldn't order a 7UP over 
there. But the fact is, it got the support of every Member of the House 
of Representatives--all 435--because they thought the exceptions made 
sense here.
  Second, my colleague from Arkansas said that this was somehow giving 
special status--special protection--to the press in America. That is 
not accurate. This gives the press the kind of protection I believe the 
Founding Fathers would have supported because I have read their 
writings and saw what they had to say about the press and have already 
noted it.
  And then our colleague seemed to make the case that this was somehow 
for liberal journalists--not for journalists for moderates and 
conservatives--for liberal journalists. The legislation extends to 
people in the press across the political spectrum. There are no special 
fast-track arrangements for people of one philosophy or another. And 
that was something that was especially important to me.
  I mentioned in my remarks my dad, who fled the Nazis, taught himself 
English, and served in our Army. And he worked--particularly, after his 
service--writing historical nonfiction. He wrote a very important book 
about the Bay of Pigs where he highlighted what really happened. And 
what I enjoyed so much about my dad's book and what happened 
afterwards, the first person to call my dad, because, he said, Peter--
my dad was Peter Wyden--you are writing the truth about what happened, 
was the late Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois, one of the most 
conservative Members of the other body. And he and my dad struck up a 
fast friendship over the phone because they were interested in the 
facts. And that is what journalists do: They get the facts out.
  So I think it is unfortunate there has been an objection here on all 
of these points. These issues were considered by the other body. And 
435 Members of the other body said: This is important for our country. 
This is important for getting the facts out to the American people--
unvarnished information, not information from the left, center, or 
right--unvarnished information.
  I just want to close by saying we are going to be back on this floor. 
We are going to push this again and again and again because at a 
crucial time in America, where--and I mentioned this has not been 
relegated to one administration or another. This has been happening too 
often. It happens in any kind of administration, any philosophy. It is 
time to end it, and it is time to make sure that our free press is in a 
position to get the facts to the American people. We need this 
particular bipartisan effort, Senator Lee and I. And we will be back on 
this floor until we get it passed.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent 
that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. Without objection, it is so 

                              S.J. Res. 60

  Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. Mr. President, today, my CRA on public 
charter schools is a simple vote today. It is a vote for common sense; 
it is a vote for parents; and it is a vote for kids.
  Here is the truth: Everywhere in America, except for Washington, DC, 
this is an 80-percent issue. Literally, 68 percent of Democrats, 67 
percent of Independents, 68 percent of African-Americans, and 72 
percent of Hispanics all agree with some form of school choice. This is 
simply a public charter school issue stopping the Biden administration 
from destroying one of the most important vehicles for human prosperity 
for the kids of our country. I urge my colleagues to vote yes.
  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I do know that lawmakers on both sides of 
the aisle support high-quality charter schools because they are an 
important part of many States' public school system, which is why I 
come to the floor today to urge my colleagues to vote against the 
  I want to be clear: This resolution will cause unnecessary chaos, 
undermine simple accountability measures to ensure that our Federal 
funds are well spent and delay funding from supporting new, high-
quality charter schools and the students that they would serve.
  Earlier this year, after responding to over 25,000 comments from 
charter schools, parent organizations, and others, the Biden 
administration issued their final rule laying out various criteria for 
Federal charter school grants. This is a common step in administrating 
the charter school program--one the previous administration took as 
well. And the latest rule included some commonsense ideas to increase 
community and parent involvement, to strengthen the fiscal transparency 
to make sure that taxpayer dollars are being used properly.
  The goal of the rule is simple: to help make sure our Federal dollars 
support high quality charter schools. Passing this resolution now would 
upend a balanced rule that is a result of months of careful work from 
the Department of Education.
  The Biden administration has already used this rule to issue 12 
awards now, totaling $65 million across 11 States, and it is currently 
now in the middle of a grant competition, which charter school 
management organizations are now applying for.
  So let's not disrupt the plans of Mississippi and Tennessee and 
Georgia and the other States that have already received awards under 
the new rule and that were counting on that funding. That is not fair. 
It is not good for schools, teachers, parents, or students.
  So I hope no one here wants to see our schools disrupted, 

[[Page S7162]]

weakened, or learning undermined, which is why I am here today to urge 
everyone to join me in voting against this resolution and to work with 
me and the Department of Education to continue to support high-quality 
charter schools, while improving oversight and transparency of our 
Federal funds.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. I ask unanimous consent for another 30 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. This issue is an issue of America's 
future and America's now. Today, our kids desperately need quality 
education from sea to shining sea. This CRA provides us more momentum 
in the direction of making sure the poorest kids in the poorest ZIP 
Codes have quality education. That is all this is about.
  I urge my colleagues to vote yes.
  The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading 
and was read the third time.

                          Vote on S.J. Res. 60

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the bill having been 
read the third time, the question is, Shall the bill pass?
  Mr. SCOTT of South Carolina. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from Colorado (Mr. 
Hickenlooper) is necessarily absent.
  Mr. THUNE. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Texas (Mr. Cruz).
  The result was announced--yeas 49, nays 49, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 390 Leg.]


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The joint resolution (S.J. Res. 60) was rejected.
  (Mr. KAINE assumed the Chair.)
  (Mr. SCHATZ assumed the Chair.)
  (Ms. STABENOW assumed the Chair.)
  (Mr. KAINE assumed the Chair.)