[Congressional Record Volume 169, Number 65 (Wednesday, April 19, 2023)]
[Pages S1238-S1243]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                 FIRE GRANTS AND SAFETY ACT--Continued

  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Cortez Masto). The Senator from Florida.

                            Amendment No. 81

  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. I call up my amendment No. 81 and ask that it 
be reported by number.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment by number.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Florida [Mr. Scott] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 81.

  The amendment is as follows:

 (Purpose: To use unspent COVID-19 relief funds to offset the costs of 

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:


       (a) Covered Funds.--The term ``covered funds'' means 
     amounts made available under--
       (1) the Coronavirus Relief Fund established under section 
     601 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 801); and
       (2) the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund 
     programs established under section 602 or 603 of the Social 
     Security Act (42 U.S.C. 802, 803).
       (b) Identification of Funds to Transfer.--Not later than 30 
     days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary 
     of the Treasury shall identify unobligated covered funds, 
     which shall be transferred to the Administrator of the United 
     States Fire Administration under subsection (c).
       (c) Transfer.--Effective on the date that is 60 days after 
     the date of enactment of this Act, the unobligated covered 
     funds identified by the Secretary of the Treasury under 
     subsection (b) shall be transferred to and merged with other 
     amounts made available to the Administrator of the United 
     States Fire Administration to carry out section 17(g)(1)(N) 
     of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (15 
     U.S.C. 2216(g)(1)(N)).
       (d) Availability and Use.--Amounts transferred under 
     subsection (c) shall remain available until expended.

  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Madam President, we must do more to support 
firefighters, which--I support this bill. However, as we all know, we 
are in a very tough financial situation. Families are struggling. We 
are over $31 trillion in debt.
  I have a very simple amendment. It would transfer all remaining 
unobligated State and local COVID funds to offset a portion of the cost 
of the Fire Grants and Safety Act.
  I urge all my colleagues to support this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. PETERS. Madam President, the funds this amendment targets have 
already been obligated to States to help communities continue 
recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, at the end of last 
year, the Senate unanimously passed legislation led by Senators Cornyn 
and Padilla that also allows States and localities to use these funds 
to respond to natural disasters and fund infrastructure and community 
development projects. Under this amendment, this funding would be 
redirected to the U.S. Fire Administration--an account that should be 
consistently funded through the annual appropriations process.
  Firefighters deserve steady, dedicated funding for their programs. 
Redistributing this funding could weaken our Nation's ability to 
continue responding to and recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and 
would pull funds from a program that is supporting our communities, 
families, and small businesses in important ways.
  Firefighters and the communities they protect are counting on us to 
reauthorize these programs to help them get the safety equipment and 
the training they need in order to do their job. We should not have to 
choose between supporting our Nation's recovery and investing in our 
communities and helping our Nation's firefighters.
  I would urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. SCOTT of Florida. Madam President, I appreciate what my colleague 
has said. Let's remember that President Biden declared the COVID 
emergency over. These are unobligated dollars. We do have $31.5 
trillion in debt. I think the right thing to do is pass this

[[Page S1239]]

bill with this amendment to support our firefighters.
  I urge my colleagues to all vote for this amendment.

                        Vote on Amendment No. 81

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to the amendment.
  Mr. SCHATZ. 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 legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. DURBIN. I announce that the Senator from California (Mrs. 
Feinstein) and the Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. Whitehouse) are 
necessarily absent.
  Mr. McCONNELL. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Alabama (Mrs. Britt) and the Senator from Arkansas (Mr. 
  The result was announced--yeas 47, nays 49, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 91 Leg.]


     Scott (FL)
     Scott (SC)


     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--4

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 47, the nays are 
  Under the previous order requiring 60 votes for the adoption of this 
amendment, the amendment is not agreed to.
  The amendment (No. 81) was rejected.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Indiana.

                   Unanimous Consent Request--S. 1101

  Mr. BRAUN. Madam President, I come here this evening because I have 
got a problem, and the problem is the IRS. It has a bad track record. 
They often fail to be good stewards of taxpayer money and to protect 
highly sensitive information as well. They don't do a good job at that.
  Despite this, Congress and President Biden recently gave the IRS $80 
billion in new funding--$80 billion--most of which we had to borrow, 
  Last week, the IRS released a 150-page document outlining how it will 
spend $80 billion in new funding. The report is very vague about how 
that will be done. ``Enforcement activities''--I would love more 
  The IRS has a history of being weaponized against conservative 
organizations and for hassling hard-working taxpayers and small 
business owners with audits. I don't know that the wealthy are going to 
be held to account. They have got their lawyers, and they fight this 
stuff off routinely. I am worried that it is going to hit middle 
America. With this huge funding boost, these problems, I think, will 
only grow.
  It is unacceptable to treat American taxpayers this way. The IRS does 
not need more power. It needs to be reformed to ensure that it serves 
the best interests of all Americans.
  I have got a solution: Simplify, don't amplify, the IRS. And let's 
just put ``act'' right after that.
  Last Congress, I introduced a bill with several IRS reforms to hold 
the Agency accountable and protect taxpayers. The Simplify, Don't 
Amplify the IRS Act would stop the Biden administration from continuing 
to grow the power of the IRS.
  This bill would stop attempts to target Americans and small 
businesses by snooping in their bank accounts, credit union accounts, 
Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App.
  The bill would also repeal the Democrat ban on cutting State taxes, 
hold IRS employees accountable when they release private taxpayer 
information, and ensure that the IRS spends its time helping taxpayers 
rather than on unofficial union activity.
  We can debate how much money the IRS needs to do its job, but we also 
need commonsense policies like the Simplify, Don't Amplify the IRS Act. 
This bill would immediately add value to the American taxpayer and help 
restore faith to a dysfunctional government Agency that affects every 
  Therefore, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee 
on Finance be discharged from further consideration of S. 1101 and that 
the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. 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 (Mr. Ossoff). Is there objection?
  Mr. WYDEN. Reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Oregon.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President and colleagues, there are ideas in Senator 
Braun's bill that Democrats and Republicans definitely could work 
together on, and I have always enjoyed working with Senator Braun. 
Unfortunately, there are two ideas in this proposal that are 
showstoppers. The first, in effect, deals with rigging America's tax 
system, and the second issue deals with rigging our political system.
  As far as I am concerned, the tax laws on the books already make it 
too easy for the very wealthy, multinational corporations, and the 
politically powerful to avoid paying taxes already. To a great extent, 
those people can pretty much pay what they want, when they want to. 
And, unfortunately, the bill that Senator Braun has brought forward 
would rig this system even more.
  Democrats, in the inflation reduction legislation, put a focus on 
coming down hard on tax cheating by the ultrawealthy. Republican budget 
cuts in the past have made it far too easy for the wealthy and the 
multinational corporations to get away with cheating on their taxes. 
So, in late 2022, Democrats said ``enough already'' and put special 
protections in place to ensure that the IRS would focus on cheating at 
the top, not on people earning under $400,000.
  The way this proposal busts open a huge new tax loophole is it would, 
in effect, redefine what counts as income when it comes to deciding who 
gets audited, and it would encourage billionaires to disguise their 
wealth. The bill would give billionaires like Jeff Bezos, who, 
allegedly, reported less than $100,000 of adjusted gross income, a free 
pass. It would be a loophole.
  The tax part of this would encourage tax cheating and be a huge gift 
to these scofflaw billionaires who are ripping off working Americans 
who do the right thing and follow the law.
  The second aspect of this proposal that, regrettably, I have to 
oppose is that this proposal would lock in a Trump policy that opens 
the floodgates to more dark money influencing our elections and our 
laws. It codifies, in black letter law, rules to make it easier for 
illegal donations and foreign actors to intervene in our elections 
undetected, encouraging illegal campaign activity, and inviting Russia 
and China to undermine our democratic process.
  I have just gone through seven open-to-all townhall meetings in 
counties in my State, in areas that were pretty darn red, and I don't 
recall anybody ever telling me they wanted to get hit with more nasty, 
shadowy political ads.
  So, for those reasons, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is heard.
  The Senator from Illinois.
  (The remarks of Mr. Durbin pertaining to the introduction of S. 1199 
are printed in today's Record under ``Statements on Introduced Bills 
and Joint Resolutions.'')
  Mr. DURBIN. I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

                 Unanimous Consent Request--S. Res. 164

  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 

[[Page S1240]]

to the consideration of S. Res. 164, which is at the desk; further, 
that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and that 
the motions to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table 
with no intervening action or debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, reserving the right to object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I have discussed the matter which Senator 
Lee brings to the floor for consideration, and I thank him for 
accommodating me by allowing me to object at the beginning rather than 
at the end of his remarks. And I will say that it relates to a 
commemorative resolution which he wanted to offer. I came to learn as 
chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that we have rules and 
standards by which we allow these commemorative resolutions to be 
  I have given Senator Lee a copy of that policy--the committee 
policy--and I would like to ask unanimous consent that I be allowed to 
have it printed in the Record at this point.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

      Committee Policy for Consideration of Commemorative Measures

       The following conditions shall govern the consideration of 
     holiday and commemorative legislation by the Senate Committee 
     on the Judiciary.
       1. The measure must be bipartisan. At least one Republican 
     and one Democrat must support the measure.
       A. If the measure is specific to a particular state, the 
     bipartisan requirement may be waived--provided that both home 
     state Senators support the measure.
       2. No measure may commemorate:
       A. A commercial enterprise, industry, specific product, or 
     fraternal, political business, labor or sectarian 
       B. A particular state or any political subdivision thereof, 
     city, town, county, school or institution of higher learning, 
     except for the purpose of recognizing a significant 
     anniversary or achievement; or
       C. A living person.
       3. Committee policy and committee jurisdiction will not 
     ordinarily be waived.
       4. Committee policy will provide for an annual 
     commemoration, in each of two years, provided:
       A. Such proposal is introduced during the first session of 
     a congress;
       B. A substantially similar proposal has been passed by the 
     Senate with respect to each of the four years immediately 
     preceding the first year of the proposed commemoration;
       C. The commemorative periods proposed would occur during 
     the Congress in which the resolution is introduced.
       5. No measure may direct or otherwise request or encourage 
     the President of the United States to take action with 
     respect to the holiday or commemoration.
       6. Written committee reports will not be filed regarding 
     this type of legislation.
       7. The committee will not consider requests to waive any of 
     the above requirements unless two-thirds of the members 
     indicate a desire to do so.
  Mr. DURBIN. Let me say further, he, as I understand it, is going to 
be trying to offer, despite my objection, a resolution commemorating 
the 50th anniversary of the Heritage Foundation.
  The fact that I am applying the Committee Rules is no reflection on 
that organization whatsoever. But I do want to make it clear that under 
those rules, I have to object at this point.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The objection is heard.
  The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, for half a century, the Heritage Foundation 
has worked to build a United States where freedom, opportunity, 
prosperity, and civil society flourish. Their unwavering commitment to 
our Nation's core principles has been a guiding light for generations, 
and we owe them our deepest gratitude.
  In 1972, the Heritage Foundation was conceived by Dr. Edwin J. 
Feulner and Paul Weyrich to deliver timely and persuasive research to 
Congress with facts, with data, and sound arguments on behalf of 
principles that promote freedom, opportunity, and prosperity for all 
  On February 16, 1973, the Heritage Foundation opened its doors for 
the first time and quickly grew to become one of the most influential 
and most broadly supported think tanks in the United States.
  Over the past 50 years, the Heritage Foundation has played a critical 
role in many great legislative successes of our great country. They 
published the ``Mandate for Leadership'' in 1981, which served as a 
``policy bible'' for President Ronald Reagan in his administration.
  In 1982, the Heritage Foundation published the first comprehensive 
study outlining a missile defense system to defend the United States 
from nuclear missile attacks. Six months later, President Reagan made 
his historic speech calling for a strategic defense initiative to 
protect the United States.
  Research by the Heritage Foundation formed the basis for welfare 
reform in the 1990s, resulting in more than 5 million people in the 
United States leaving welfare, finding work, and, ultimately, reducing 
African-American child poverty to historic lows.
  The Heritage Foundation understands that the people of the United 
States are best served by a government that understands, honors, and 
respects self-governance. They have been a voice of reason and an 
advocate for our shared American values, reminding us of the power of 
individual liberty and the importance of limited government. Their 
dedication to promoting a society based on these ideals has helped 
shape the course of our Nation, and we are all better off for it.
  As we look back on the past 50 years, we should remember the 
incredible impact of the Heritage Foundation on our Nation. Their 
legacy is one of service, and we are grateful for their unfailing 
commitment to our country.
  I urge my colleagues to support my resolution recognizing the 
important contributions at the Heritage Foundation to American life 
over the past 50 years and acknowledging their central role in shaping 
our Nation's policies and values.
  As we move forward, the challenges facing our country continue to 
grow. We need the Heritage Foundation now more than ever. Their 
expertise, research, and dedication to our shared values are crucial. 
They will continue to be a force for good in the years to come, and I 
am proud to stand with them to support a better, brighter, and more 
prosperous future for all Americans.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.
  Mr. LEE. Mr. President, moments ago, when I asked to pass this 
resolution honoring the Heritage Foundation by unanimous consent, 
moments before I made that motion, I was informed of this policy, a 
policy that I have never seen. After more than 12 years in the Senate, 
I haven't seen this policy.
  It is a policy within the Judiciary Committee--not a rule but a 
policy--but a policy that is seldom employed. I have never seen it 
invoked. There are a couple of requirements in it. One is that a 
commemorative resolution, in order to be approved for clearance for 
passage by unanimous consent on the floor with the approval of the 
committee, would need to be bipartisan.
  I want to be clear that while this was not bipartisan, I invited 
Democrats to join in this. I genuinely think they should be willing to 
join it in the same sense that I would be willing to join them in 
something honoring Brookings or some other think tank. This group has 
done good work, and there is nothing in the resolution that commits 
them to substantively embracing every policy recommendation in the 
Heritage Foundation's past.
  So that one should be easily satisfiable. I hope to get to that point 
at some point. It is unfortunate that we can't get this passed today, 
but I would love to be able to do that.
  The other one is that no measure may commemorate any entity that is 
political. Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3), and it is a charitable 
nonprofit entity. It is not political, and it also can't commemorate a 
living person. This is there to commemorate an institution, a 
foundation--not an individual.
  So even though I wasn't aware of this policy until today, I think 
there is no strong reason why this should stop us from doing this. In 
any event, I hope we can get this passed, if not today, then on some 
other day soon.
  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. BUDD. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.

[[Page S1241]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. BUDD. Mr. President, taxpayers should not be forced to fund the 
taking of unborn life. That is why I voted in favor of Senator 
Tuberville's resolution to overturn the Biden administration's rule 
that allows the VA to perform abortions up until birth. Using taxpayer-
funded VA facilities to perform abortions is a clear violation of 
Federal and State law, and it is a clear abuse of Executive power.
  The American people may have different views on abortion, but the 
majority of Americans agree: Their hard-earned tax dollars should not 
be used to pay for it.
  All told, the VA admitted that this rule will allow at least 1,000 
taxpayer-funded abortions each and every year. That is unacceptable, 
and that is why this rule must be overturned.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Hassan). The Senator from Texas.

                        Tribute to Jason Fuller

  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I rise today to give tribute to a great 
American, a great Texan, a great friend, and a 24-year veteran of this 
institution who has dedicated his career to serving the needs of his 
fellow citizens. His name is Jason Fuller, and he has served as my 
regional director in the southeastern part of Texas, including my home 
city of Houston, for the last 5 years. He is now retiring and moving on 
to the private sector.
  Jason is a native Texan. Born in Corpus Christi, he graduated from 
the University of Houston, where he served as student body president. 
He is a proud Houston Cougar.
  Jason started working in the Senate in late 1994, after working on my 
predecessor Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's 1994 campaign for a full 
term in the Senate. At the time, Jason said he was only going to come 
to DC for 2 years, work for Senator Hutchison, and move on. He ended up 
working in the Senate for 19 years. During that time, he served as 
Senator Hutchison's personal aide, until 1997, when he moved back home 
to Texas and worked for her regional office in Houston. He eventually 
became regional director and served in that role until Senator 
Hutchison left office in 2013.
  In 2018, Jason heard the call to once again serve his fellow Texans, 
so he came on board as my regional director of southeastern Texas. His 
region stretches from the Texas-Louisiana border down south towards 
Victoria and all the way to the upper Texas gulf coast.
  Jason hates to be on the sidelines, and he is always eager to help 
others in a crisis. When Hurricane Katrina happened and everything was 
chaos, Jason had 12 people, 6 dogs, and 3 cats squeezed into his 
downtown residence. He helped out in the shelters in the aftermath of 
Hurricane Harvey. When the Santa Fe shooting horrifically happened in 
May of 2018, Jason was there to lend a helping hand to the victims and 
their families, as well as to law enforcement. Many of those people 
became his personal friends.
  When Jason is not helping his fellow Texans, he likes to travel to 
some of the most exotic and hard-to-get-to places on the planet. When 
Jason is getting ready for a trip, he spins the globe and sees where 
his finger lands. He has been to Iraq, China, Russia--anywhere that is 
going to give my State director and national security advisor 
  He has often helped people in stressful situations, navigating the 
leviathan of Big Government on behalf of fellow Texans in their time of 
need. He has taken the time to connect with them personally and to 
listen as a friend listens.
  In the coming days, Jason will start his new job in the private 
sector. We will miss him greatly, but we wish him well. The Senate, the 
people of Texas, and the thousands of people and families he has helped 
over the course of 24 years of service will miss him too.
  Thank you, Jason, for your hard work, your determination, your 
passion, and your patriotism. God bless you.
  I yield the floor.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. COONS. Madam 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--Executive Calendar

  Mr. COONS. Madam President, I am, in a moment, going to ask unanimous 
consent that we proceed to confirm a nominee.
  Stephanie Sullivan has been nominated to be U.S. Ambassador to the 
African Union. She was nominated June 15, 2022, for a position now 
vacant since January of this year.
  Let me briefly say why this is important.
  The African Union is the entity most likely to successfully negotiate 
peace in Sudan, a country now roiled by domestic violence, by a war 
between one faction of its military and another, and thousands of 
Americans are at risk.
  I think it is crucially important to fill all of our vacant 
ambassadorial positions, but this one is particularly critical because 
of the role the AU can and should play in resolving this conflict. But 
we lack an ambassador in this vital continent-wide organization.
  I will go on at some greater length about the qualifications and the 
background of this talented career Foreign Service officer who has been 
an ambassador twice before in Africa. But I will also say that 
statements that she has made in her role as an ambassador reflect the 
policy of the administration at the time, not her personal preferences 
or values. She is a talented representative of the United States, as a 
diplomat, whose actions and statements reflect the administrations she 
has served.
  With that, I ask unanimous consent, as if in executive session, that 
the Senate consider Calendar No. 68, Stephanie Sanders Sullivan, to be 
Representative of the United States to the African Union, and that the 
Senate vote on the nomination without any intervening action or debate; 
that, if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be considered made and 
laid upon the table, and the President be immediately notified of the 
Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  The Senator from Ohio.
  Mr. VANCE. Madam President, reserving the right to object, I want to 
talk about a few things here and why I am objecting to this nomination 
and why I would not vote for it if and when it comes before the full 
  First is a question of competence. This is an ambassador--Ambassador 
Sullivan--who went to Ghana and said on local television that she was 
proud of the fact that she had failed her Foreign Service exam twice.
  It is hard to imagine a Chinese leader going to a country where they 
were trying to develop diplomatic relationships and bragging about 
failing any type of Foreign Service exam.
  I don't know where this idea that we should celebrate failing the 
Foreign Service exam amongst our diplomatic corps comes from, but it 
doesn't make us look good, and it doesn't help Ambassador Sullivan in 
her duties.
  Now, a second problem, the last time we sent Ambassador Sullivan to a 
senior job in Africa, her successor spent the following couple of 
months apologizing for and cleaning up for the job that she had done. 
In particular, she did so much to push a very, very divisive set of 
ideas in an American political context on a foreign country that had 
nothing to do with our national interests.
  In particular, she seems particularly fond of the most leftwing 
versions of transgender ideology. Now, let me just address this 
particular issue.
  I have my views on the transgender ideology question. In particular, 
I really worry that we are going too far, too fast not in support of 
the evidence, prescribing treatments and surgeries and hormonal 
therapies that could damage children for years. I think we need to be 
patient with this, and we need to follow the science.
  This is why, by the way, most of our European allies--Sweden, for 
example, a country hailed as a great example of good healthcare, 10 
years ago, by many Democrats in this Chamber, is going in the opposite 
direction of where we are going on the transgender ideology question.
  Now, that said, I can accept that many people disagree with me. But

[[Page S1242]]

that disagreement in an American political context has no place for the 
diplomatic corps of our country. We should not be taking something that 
a majority of Americans disagree on and try to force it down the throat 
of another country. And the fact that we engage in this cultural 
imperialism is one of the biggest threats to American national security 
in the world today.
  Now, let's talk about this cultural imperialism, the fact that it is 
unsupported and the fact that it is not good for our country.
  We haven't had a real debate in this body. We have not had a 
sufficient conversation about whether we want to support certain 
ideological preferences in our diplomatic corps.
  Why, for example, do we have a liberal White woman going to Africa 
and telling them that they are not civilized enough when it comes to 
issues of transgender ideology?
  Why do we have a diplomatic corps that is taking a hotly contested 
issue in an American political context and demanding that African 
nations follow the lead of the far left instead of doing what they 
think that they should do?
  Now, there are going to be people who say that there are all manner 
of atrocities that happen in Africa when it comes to sexual issues, 
when it comes to gender minorities, and so forth, and, of course, we 
think that is terrible, and we don't want that to happen. But she has 
gone so much further than that in placing a very particular set of 
ideas at the forefront of our diplomacy.
  Let me just leave this body with one final thought. Look at the 
demographics of the people who have fought and died in American wars 
over the last generation. Many Democrats, of course, have done so, and 
we honor their service and we honor the sacrifice of themselves and 
their families. But a disproportionate share, especially of the 
enlisted troops, who are at the forefront of American power--the threat 
of military action and, sometimes, the reality of military action is 
what gives the State Department so much power in the first place--the 
knowledge that, if you don't follow America's lead, you can sometimes 
have military and security consequences because of it.

  Do we think that the thousands of Americans who have died in 
America's wars in the last 20 or so years died so that the trans flag 
would fly over the nation of Ghana or any other African nation?
  And why is it the policy of this government, again, to take a 
controversial topic in the context of an American political debate and 
force it down the throats of somebody else?
  This is damaging our national security. Larry Summers, an Obama 
administration economist, a guy well respected on the left side of the 
aisle, said, talking to some of his friends who work in development in 
Africa, that when the Chinese come, they bring--let me get the exact 
quote here because I don't want to mess it up:

       What we get from China is an airport. What we get from the 
     United States is a lecture.

  That is Larry Summers quoting somebody who does economic development 
in troubled regions of the world. Why----
  Mr. COONS. Madam President, would the Senator yield?
  Mr. VANCE. Can I finish the point, Senator Coons?
  Mr. COONS. Go ahead.
  Mr. VANCE. Here is what I would say here. The final point that I will 
make is, we have built a foreign policy of hectoring and moralizing and 
lecturing countries that don't want anything to do with this.
  The Chinese have a foreign policy of building roads and bridges and 
feeding poor people, and I think that we should pursue a foreign 
policy, a diplomacy, of respect and a foreign policy that is not rooted 
in moralizing; it is rooted in the national interests of this country. 
Because Ambassador Sullivan is at the lead of moralizing instead of 
pursuing America's national interests, I object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. COONS. At, apparently, another time, I look forward to having the 
opportunity to hearing some substantiation of the wild charges just 
made by my colleague from Ohio.
  I did as much research as I could before appearing in what I had 
understood, mistakenly, to be the foundation of his objection. Now I 
look forward to figuring out how this nominee to serve again as an 
ambassador is an advocate of far-left gender therapies of some kind.
  Let me make two simple points, if I can, in response to the comments 
I just heard on the floor. As someone who chairs the Senate 
Appropriations subcommittee that funds our development efforts around 
the world, and particularly in Africa, and as someone who was just in 
five different countries across the continent, to characterize China's 
engagement with Africa as one that promotes development in a positive 
way that is respectful and uplifting, and our engagement as simply 
``hectoring,'' badly misses decades of the United States' being the No. 
1 supporter of public health across the continent.
  We are just now celebrating the 20th anniversary of President Bush's 
signature initiative, PEPFAR, which has saved 25 million lives. The 
Chinese do not invest in public health anything like the scale and 
scope the United States does. The Chinese, it is true, don't ask 
questions about the suppression of minorities, about the mistreatment 
of journalists, about the closing of political space, about domestic 
repression, and the United States does. So, if that is to be 
characterized as hectoring, then I would be glad to stand up for 

  We do challenge autocrats across the continent of Africa, and we do 
stand up for democracy. We also invest significantly in human 
development at a time when China invests principally in airports and 
soccer stadiums and highways.
  So I would be happy to have a debate at any time that my colleague 
from Ohio chooses to stay long enough to have the discussion about the 
foundations of our engagement in the developing world.
  I also, frankly, take exception to his characterization of a 
talented, long-serving member of the Foreign Service who represented us 
as a confirmed ambassador in both Ghana and the Democratic Republic of 
the Congo.
  Let me make the core point that I intended to make earlier, but in 
order to accommodate my colleague's need to be interviewed on 
television, I cut my comments short.
  In Sudan today, a newly emerged war is raging between two militaries. 
Thousands of people are at risk. In particular, Americans are at risk. 
It is the African Union--a continent-wide organization headquartered in 
Addis, in Ethiopia's capital--that could and should be the entity that 
leads to peace in Sudan. To not have a confirmed ambassador is to 
weaken our ability to engage with the AU and to engage with the leaders 
of these two military factions in Sudan.
  For too much of the 2 years of the Biden administration, we have 
struggled to get confirmations here on the floor of the Senate of 
talented nominees. We have worked closely together to make sure that we 
have overcome some of the holds and some of the blocks to nominees in 
the past. I am disappointed and frustrated by the spurious argument by 
my colleague as to why he is standing in the way of this particularly 
capable, seasoned, and experienced member of our Foreign Service.
  I had imagined, based on previous statements made by my colleague, 
that he might be objecting to something she said on the occasion of 
George Floyd's murder, and I came to the floor today with significant, 
detailed content from the previous administration, making it clear that 
she wasn't acting simply on her own, that she wasn't acting on some 
leftist agenda, but that she was acting in response to the direction 
from both the Africa Bureau and the Deputy Secretary of State.
  I had thought he might also be referencing a posting that was made on 
the occasion of a pride event, of an LGBTQ pride event--something that 
happens in Embassies all over the world and that reflects a shared 
commitment by the American people to human rights that is 
understandably part of diversity and inclusion.
  My hunch is that I will have to wait for another time for my 
colleague to prioritize debate on the floor of the Senate over making 
his way to a cable television hit, but I respect my colleague. He is 
someone who has written

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a very compelling book, who has been elected by the people of Ohio, and 
whom I expect to have the opportunity to get to know. We have only 
served together now for several months, and today was literally the 
first time we had exchanged words.
  So I hope there will be more reason and more substance to his 
opposition to this nominee than what I heard on the floor tonight, and 
I look forward to engaging with him in that discussion and that debate.
  With that, I conclude my remarks on this particular topic, and once 
handed the closing remarks, will speak briefly and then close the